1 Corinthians 12:12-27 NIV
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
Today, more than ever it seems, people need to belong to a group.
Belonging, or being a member of some group implies a unique sort of social standing to many.
Many want to cling to an ideology and associate with groups where thoughts align. With many it revolves around politics and some ideologies can be very extreme.
For yet others, it is a group with a cause like the Rotary Club or Scouting.
Unfortunately, far too many allow their “group” to be the driving force in their life, when in reality this should not be a priority.
THE BODY OF CHRIST
There is however, a group that you can join that should be the driving force in your life and one where you will receive lasting benefits.
It is the body of Christ.
I’m not talking about a church building, or a specific denomination, but the exclusive body of all believers, known as the universal church.
The universal church is made up of those who have died as a child of God, as well as all living Christians today.
All you have to do to become a member of this group, is repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ into your life as Lord and Savior.
Then, it is a new beginning.
As Jesus told Nicodemus, the old self is gone and you are born again. Old things have passed away and all things are become new.
I know, it sounds “fantastic” and hard to believe. That is because it IS FANTASTIC.
Paul even said “to the wise this being “born again” thing is foolishness.”
But it is NOT. We KNOW that it is not.
Again, the body of Christ is made up of all believers.
In order to gain entry to this body, we must have accepted God’s free gift of salvation and redemption, through repentance of our sins and acceptance of Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
When we do this, we become a member of the body of Christ, known as the church.
Ephesians 1:22-23 NIV
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
Ephesians 4:15-16 NIV
15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Paul uses the union of marriage to illustrate becoming a member of the body of Christ.
Paul says, “a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife and they become one flesh.” Paul says, “this is a great mystery, but I speak of Christ and the church.”
The illustration or analogy Paul is using is this. When a non-believer accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, repenting of their sins, they leave their old life of sin and hold to Jesus by faith.
At the point of salvation, the sinner becomes a child of God and becomes a member of the body of Christ.
Ephesians 5:30-32 NIV
29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[a] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
Those who are saved by the precious blood of Jesus belong to this glorious group or body.
We are joined with Christ, who is the head of the members.
We do in fact, leave our old life of sin and despair and are joined with Christ.
THE CHURCH WILL SURVIVE
Upon reflection upon the early history of the church, it is only because of God’s will and power, that the Church survived persecution from the Romans and only because of God’s will and power that it flourished and grew.
Remember the story in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus asked Peter who he thought Jesus was. Peter replied “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus told Peter that upon this rock, the rock of Jesus, the Son of God, I will build my church and the gates of Hell will not overcome it.
Matthew 16:15-18 NIV
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[a] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it.
YOU ARE WANTED
It was reported on November 2, 1949, that upon resigning from the Friars Club, Groucho Marx made the witty statement “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.”
Membership in the body of Christ has no prerequisites, or prior standing. It matters not how sinful or wicked we may have been. We are all sinners and come short of the glory of God, Paul tells us. The blood of Christ will cleanse the sins of all who join, regardless of the nature or number.
We must simply accept Christ as our Savior, truly repent of our sins and embark on a life of living and reflecting the teachings of Jesus.
As a member of this body, we become ambassadors of Christ in this world, representing Him and His teachings.
Through this church body, the world sees the life and teachings of our Lord.
If you are not a member of this blessed group, please consider the state of your soul and the condition of your life. You cannot be blackballed, rejected or made to wait, if you humbly and sincerely make your petition. You will immediately become a child of God and a member of the body of Christ.
It is the greatest group you can belong to, with the greatest eternal benefits of all.
If you are a member, be thankful and praise God.
If not, consider joining today!