Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Church Is ... (Part 2)

The Church is the Body of Christ. Referring to Christ, Paul told the Ephesians that “God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body.”

The church is more than an organization; it is an organism, with life and vitality. Maintaining a healthy body does not happen by accident or without great effort.

The church as the body of Christ on earth needs to accept differences without allowing them to become divisions. It needs to defend unity without demanding unanimity. The church can learn something from the great Peanuts psychiatrist, Lucy, who held up her five fingers to Charlie Brown and said, “You see these five fingers. Individually they are nothing but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold.”

Satan is afraid of this weapon and that is why he desires to tear us apart and sift us as wheat. He knows that if he can drive a wedge in the body and divide us into warring factions we are powerless to go to war against him.

This sermon outline uses 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 as a text.

As the Body of Christ the people of the church need to:
Acknowledge our differences as a part of God’s plan – “now the body is not made up of one part but of many” – v.14

Appreciate our differences as gifts of God’s grace – “in fact God has arranged the parts of the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be” – v.18

Affirm unity as the aim of God’s assembly – “so that there should be no divisions in the body” – v.25

Achieve unity as the pattern of God’s people – “as it is, there are many parts, but one body” – v.20

In His last prayer with the disciples before the garden and the cross Jesus prays for unity within the church, His body. This has been called the only unanswered prayer of Jesus. Is remains unanswered because this unity is entirely up to the members of the body.

Check back next week for the final sermon summary from the “The Church is …” series.

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