The Church is ONE (or at least it should be)


 

 

There is ONE body

1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.

Paul is talking about a spiritual body and that Body is the Church

Colossians 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

Colossians 1:24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church,

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.
1 Corinthians 12:15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body?
1 Corinthians 12:16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body?
1 Corinthians 12:17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?

The body does not function this way

And even if it did we are diluting the little power that we have

Revelation 3:7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “HE WHO HAS THE KEY OF DAVID, HE WHO OPENS AND NO ONE SHUTS, AND SHUTS AND NO ONE OPENS”:
Revelation 3:8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.

1 Corinthians 12:18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.
1 Corinthians 12:19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
1 Corinthians 12:20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.
1 Corinthians 12:21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you“; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
1 Corinthians 12:22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.

We cannot say that we will be our own little group and that we can go forward without all the other groups.
If you are an eye and you think that you see things clearly:
How do you write without the hand?
How do you work without the arm?
How do you preach the gospel without the feet? (Ephesians 6:15)
How do you have depth in your perception without the other eye?
Do you have an ear to hear this?
Not if you are only an eye….

1 Corinthians 12:23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty,
1 Corinthians 12:24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it,
1 Corinthians 12:25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. [show love]
1 Corinthians 12:26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

This is what the whole next chapter is about. I love chapter and it is the more important virtue that is to be guiding us in our relationships with one another.

John 13:33 Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you.
John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
John 13:35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Love is not a feeling, but an action.

The question is, “In what way have we shown love for the brethren?”

It is difficult to do this if we do not even know who they are

In these verses Paul compares the Church to the human body. He makes the point very clearly that if the body is separated, it does NOT function properly.

If we are to function as a church it MUST be in unity and love for one another

Ephesians 4:1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,
Ephesians 4:2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,
Ephesians 4:3 endeavoring [diligently and earnestly making an effort] to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;

We must keep this in mind:

There is ONE spirit

There is ONLY one spirit of God

This goes to the definition of the church

called out ones
that have His spirit in them and is led by it

Romans 8:9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

Without the spirit we are not a part of the church or the family of God

So there is ONE spirit – we have established that

It is that same single power of God that is in each one of us in the church WHEREVER we are

It is not bound by organizational walls or different names of for the Church of God

It resides in each one of us right now – no matter where we are sitting on this Sabbath day

This ONE spirit also binds us together more so than any other civil mechanism.

Of course if we have the ONLY spirit of God dwelling within us then we will be acting in a Godly way

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

One of the ways that we are to be acting is in UNITY or ONENESS

As was discussed last week:

John 17:20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;
John 17:21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
John 17:22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:
John 17:23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

The church becoming ONE can only happen through God’s spirit AND if we have God’s spirit and are using it, we ALL MUST be ONE now

Ephesians 2:11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—
Ephesians 2:12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. [Through His death He brought about a unity among us – that is whoever God is calling]
Ephesians 2:14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,
Ephesians 2:15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two [Jew and Gentile; all of those with God’s holy spirit], thus making peace, [the result of this]

I would not say that this is so among the greater church of god. I see division and lack of harmony.

What do you think God is thinking when He gave His Son’s life that we might be unified and we are acting the way that we are now?

Ephesians 2:16 and that He [Christ] might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.
Ephesians 2:17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.

To all that were going to be called into the church whether sooner or later

Ephesians 2:18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

Here is the key unifying factor among the people of God – His ONE spirit.

Ephesians 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

There is no longer a separation – or least there should no longer be a separation.

Yet there were problems between the Jew and Gentiles initially

When we have read about these disagreements in the past, what has been our thought?

Short-sighted?
immature?
Ungodly / unChristian?

Ephesians 2:20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,
Ephesians 2:21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together,[not separately here and there; but EVERYONE in the church; ALL those that have God’s spirit] grows into a holy temple in the Lord,
Ephesians 2:22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

This is where God wants to dwell – in all of us TOGETHER!

God is not divided

God is not divided against Himself nor does He want to be against His people

Nor does He want us to be divided against one another

Proverbs 6:16 These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

Proverbs 6:19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.

God hates division; it is not of Him

It is a product of carnality

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: …dissensions,… of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Who do we allow to divide us? Think about this….

1 Corinthians 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able;
1 Corinthians 3:3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?

like the world; like those without the holy spirit

1 Corinthians 3:4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?

What about today; when we try to say that we are better because of a man or organization and deny that it is God working in them – we show that God is not working in us

1 Corinthians 3:5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one?
1 Corinthians 3:6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. [each have a different gift or job]
1 Corinthians 3:7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. [when we act like this we deny God]

1 Corinthians 3:21 Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours:
1 Corinthians 3:22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours.
1 Corinthians 3:23 And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

What else do we allow to divide us?

There is ONE faith

Ephesians 4:5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;

Because of this there is a unity of the faith

Ephesians 4:13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

this is our goal

Ephesians 4:14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,

The truth is that we have allowed doctrine to divide

We are proud of the fact that the church has been given spiritual insight into the Bible

Others are even more proud that they know something NO one else in the church KNOWS

Pet Doctrine; New ideas (to them)

It is like what is said about the speaking in tongues. What good is it if no one understands?

Or do we think we are just that much smarter than everyone else?

Is this the first thing that they have to talk about?

It is on some of the web sites that I go to

Is this the only thing that they talk about?

They will push and push trying to convert you to their way of thinking

That’s not the way God works

Ephesians 4:15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—

If we believe that we have more spiritual understanding should we not act like we are more spiritual?

Our doctrine should not divide – yet that is what is happening

There is a unity of the faith

We need to be on the same page

There is ONE voice

1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. [on the same page; concur and agree]
1 Corinthians 1:11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you.
1 Corinthians 1:12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.”
1 Corinthians 1:13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

Why is it necessary to speak the same thing

Genesis 11:4 And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
Genesis 11:5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.
Genesis 11:6 And the LORD said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.
Genesis 11:7 Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”
Genesis 11:8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.
Genesis 11:9 Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

This is what can be accomplished if they spoke with one voice

For this reason we need to be on the same page

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

The Future

AS we talked about last week: We are going to be ONE with God – united in mind and purpose with God for eternity – just not right now?

We need to live this life now we can no longer be divided

When the Bible speaks of division it is speaking directly to us. The Bible is for those that have God’s spirit and are called now – it is not for the world. When we boil down the Word of God to love and love for God and love for our fellow man, it is about having a good relationship with them – God and His household.

If there are problems/schisms

then there is a means of reconciliation

so there is no division

He is telling us this – that we are not to be divided

We are to use the tools that He has given us to rectify the situation.

We are MANY MEMBERS but we are to be ONE BODY joined together by ONE SPIRIT living by ONE FAITH and speaking with ONE VOICE.

How good and how pleasant it would be for brethren to dwell together in unity!