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Why Church? The Body of Christ

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This morning, Pastor Ed Allen continued his sermon series "Why Church?" by looking at I Corinthians 12:12-27, where the church is described as the Body of Christ.

He began with an anecdote that Facebook friends have been legally declared to not be your actual friends.  Though the issue is still in doubt (from a different court ruling) and may some day go to the Supreme Court.  [I perked up at this, having taken the precaution to "unfriend" most of my author Facebook friends when I got on the Newbery committee -- except it turned out I missed a couple of published authors, which could be a problem.  So I'm going to say they're not legally my actual friends!]

The Bible doesn't talk much about friendship.  We're supposed to be Church with one another.  And the church is the body of Christ.  Here we read the passage, I Corinthians 12:12-27.

-- This means we actually represent Jesus to the world.

-- This also means the church is an organic, living organism.

Five things that govern how we think about the church and how we engage with it from this passage:

1)  The church is composed of many different parts.

There's diversity in our unity.  One Spirit and one body, but many parts.

2)  All of the parts of the body are needed.

There's not much conflict here at Gateway -- we don't know each other well enough yet!  Conflict is easy -- from different values, hurt feelings, and arrogance.

3)  All of the parts of the body are ordered and arranged by God.

We're not here by accident.  God arranged for us to be here.

That has implications for how we treat each other:

4)  We give honor to one another.  In fact, special honor goes to the parts of our body that seem most modest.

When it comes to our body, looks can be deceiving.

As an example, the reason we can sit down during the service is because of the people on set-up team.

*5)  We are all part of the body of Christ!

What if I don't know where I belong?  You are part of the body.

What if I don't know anyone?  You are part of the body.

What if nobody likes me?  You are part of the body.

What if I don't get it?  You are part of the body.

What if I'm super busy?  You are part of the body.

Therefore (because of all the points above), what we do here matters. 

What we do in the midst of these relationships matters.

Every contact leaves a trace.  How we engage here matters.

Count Me In!

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On Sunday, May 21, Pastor Ed Allen began a new sermon series called "Count Me In!"  This week, we looked at Romans 12:1-8, and answered the question What should our relationship with the church be?

We're building a new building and will be inviting people into our home.  It's important for us to figure out what that home should be like.

Community is what the church is.  It's our main thing.

Romans 12:1-2.  "Therefore..."  This is the culmination of what Paul has written in Romans up to that point, and a high-level summary of what our life as a Christian is supposed to be about, how we are to live in light of God's work in us.

We're God's property!  But we should be involved in that, and it's continually repeated.

True worship is thoroughly thought-through and reasonable obedience to what God wants for our lives, and it's based on what God has done in our lives.

"Stop allowing yourselves to be conformed, continue to let yourselves be transformed."

"Pattern of this world" is the cultural forces that press on us from all sides.  Don't let these be the things that shape our lives.

How?  By the renewal of our minds, which is primarily God's activity.  But we're not passive observers.  We must yield to the working.

The result:  We'll know God's will!  In the world and in our own lives.  We'll be transformed.

Now, epic question:  Where does Paul begin after that?  What is his lead priority?

He begins with the church! and how we should function together.

"I say to every one of you" is emphatic in the Greek, and is Paul's way of saying, "If you miss everything else, don't miss this!"

We need to think rightly about ourselves.  We belong to one another.  Each of us should do our thing!

Why the church first?

The church is the hope of the world.

Not family, government, or anything else.

If we are operating effectively and fully within our church, then all other activities and priorities are elevated and benefitted.

We're not talking about church activity, but church life.

Almost everyone has a church they're devoted to, but it's not always a Christian church. 

Step in and give yourself among God's people.

You can give too much time to church activity, but not to the church community.

To the degree we hold ourselves back, God's activity is limited in us.

What is our relationship in church like?  Like a chair to a table?  Like red paint to white paint when mixed?

No, our relationships in church are like an arm to a shoulder - Ineffective without the other, yet distinct.

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What were your reactions to this sermon?  Please use the comments below!

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