We Need Each Other

Sun, Sep 27, 2020
Teacher: Mark Hull
Duration:26 mins 15 secs

Message text

1 Cor. 12:12 – 27

OPEN: Centuries ago in Europe, a wealthy nobleman decided to build a church bldg. for the mountain village that he’d grown up in. Everybody, in the village was excited, but no one was permitted to see the plans, or the inside of the church building until it was finished. Finally, the day arrived, and people gathered on Sunday to marvel at the beauty of the new building.
But when they went inside... someone said, “Hey! Where are the lamps? It is dark in here. Where are the lamps?” Then the nobleman pointed to a line of brackets along the walls, and then he gave each of the families a lamp, telling them to “Bring your lamps each time you come to worship.” And he explained, “Each time you are here, the place where you’re seated will have light. But every time you are not here, your place will be dark. This is to remind you that whenever you fail to gather with the church, some part of the building will be dark”.
The point we are making this morning is this: When Christians aren’t together in worship there’s something missing. It’s like there’s a bit of darkness that settles over our hearts.
In fact, the Bible is very clear about that idea that God’s people need each other. Back in the Old Testament God declared: “Two are better than one... If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no-one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

Paul tells the Church at Corinth “You are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” I Corinthians 12:27
The problem Paul found with the Corinthian church was, lots of folks were arguing about who had the best spiritual gift, and some were thinking they didn’t have any gifts at all!
This Morning I would like us to consider three different attitudes, and see if you find yourself in any of them. First, the attitude...

The 1st attitude we will consider is found in vs 15 – 20 of the text
“I can’t do anything!”
This is the person who feels inferior, who thinks, “I have nothing to offer. The church doesn’t need me. I can’t sing. I can’t preach. I’m not good at anything.”
First, you are not inferior.
Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
The word for “handiwork” is sometimes translated “masterpiece.” You are a masterpiece on the canvas of God’s creation. And you were “created in Christ Jesus to do good works.”
And that brings us to Paul’s favorite metaphor for the church: the “body of Christ.” He uses the word “body” 18 times in today’s text and draws on the picture more than any other in his writings. In fact, he sandwiches today’s text with this thought: verses 12 and 27 say the church is the body of Christ.
Back to the first attitude, “I can’t do anything.” Sometimes we’re jealous of people who have gifts we don’t have. “Why can’t I be more like them?” Drawing on the image of a human body, Paul writes in verses 15-17, “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 to stop being part of the body.Infra
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. 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?”
Every part of the body is important. The foot is important, even though it’s not a hand. The ear is important even though it’s not an eye. The body needs every unique body part! Each of us are equipped to glorify God and his church in some unique way.

The 2nd Attitude is found in vs 21 – 25 of the text
“I have to do everything!”
In these verses Paul wrote to people who thought their gift was better than everyone else’s. So let’s correct that right now: You and I are not God’s last hope for mankind! This church could survive quite well without any one of us. No one is indispensable.
In verse 21, Paul says, “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!’” He goes on to talk about how some of the most hidden parts of the body are absolutely indispensable. Think of your liver or kidneys. Quite hidden, but very important!
Sometimes I hear about someone who has been quietly praying for a person or for a situation coming up. Some have called these individuals the “knees” in the body of Christ, because they’re at least figuratively kneeling in prayer. We may hear about someone visiting a person who is hurting, or offering food, or comforting & encouraging the person who just lost their spouse. These little things that would often go unnoticed are no less important than the most stirring sermon or the leading a bible study. None of us can do it all. We need everyone to be at work in the way God has called them. Otherwise, the body is incomplete. And there are lots of churches with missing body parts.
So those are the first two myths when it comes to being church. “I can’t do anything,” or “I have to do everything.” And the last we’ll look at today is,

3. “I don’t need anybody else.” (vv. 25-26)
Every person counts in the body of Christ. And the truth is, we do need each other.
Paul writes for the need for unity out of our diversity. Listen to verse 25. Why has God given greater honor to the parts that lacked it? “So that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.” God wants us to care about each other. That’s what being part of the church is all about!
Our world today is struggling between “Black lives matter” and “Blue lives matter.” I’m going to tell you, in God’s eyes, every life matters! Martin Luther King once said, “In a real sense all life is interrelated. All men [and women] are caught in an inescapable network of support, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be . . . This is the interrelated structure of reality.”
Martin Luther King was talking about society, and with God’s help, perhaps we can get there someday. And our greatest chance of doing so is if the church leads the way! The body of Christ should model for society that every life matters!
We are interconnected. Verse 26: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” Elsewhere, Paul writes, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15).
Our lives are caught up in each other. You know how, when you have a hang nail, it ruins your whole day? Or if you have a migraine, nothing else in your body is going to function well? That’s because the human body is inter-related. And so it is with the church. It’s ok to admit that you need your brother and sister in Christ. We are not designed to go it alone.

As Ecclesiastes reminds us - we’re in this together, and when we’re together - we have others around us to help us, to keep us warm, to protect us, and to keep us from being broken down by the hardships of life.
Now, God deliberately uses the imagery of us being the BODY of Christ. And in Ephesians 5:29 we’re told “... no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church”
God reminds us that WE (who are part of that body) need each other and we need to nourish and cherish the BODY of believers that we’re part of.
So, think about this for a minute: How do you nourish/cherish YOUR physical body?
ILLUS: Well, you feed it (sometimes you feed it really well); You cleanse it (showers/baths/shaving, etc.); If you’re sick, you see a doctor; If your teeth hurt – you go see a dentist; You put clothes on body that (at least) you think makes you look good; And once in a while you even pamper yourself/ entertain yourself. Those are just some of the ways you and I nourish and cherish our mortal bodies. But now, God is telling you that you’re part of a huge SPIRITUAL body, and He’s asking YOU personally to help take care of that body.
ILLUS: Francis Chan observed that “It’s no secret that most people who attend church services come as consumers rather than as servants.”
In other words, folks often don’t come to be involved with others, they come only to consume/receive. They don’t want to get involved!
ILLUS: Years ago, Snoopy (in the Peanuts comic strip) broke his leg. Believe it or not, 100s of “get well cards” came in from fans across the world. In one of the frames of the comic strip, Snoopy (with his leg in cast) says this: “My body blames my foot for not being able to go places. My foot says it was my head’s fault, and my head blamed my eyes. My eyes say my feet are clumsy, and my right foot says not to blame him for what my left foot DID....”
And then Snoopy looks out at his audience and confesses, “I don’t say anything because I don’t want to get involved.”
Now, why is that funny? It’s funny because Snoopy WAS involved. It was his foot, his head, his eyes, his feet! He was already involved because he was in part the body. And we’re part of the Body of Christ and the BODY needs you and I to be involved
Well, what can you do to involve yourself with the body?
Some of the stuff we already do: We pray for each other, we try to make people feel like they’re important, and we try take care of each other’s needs.
There are people here who will regularly call the shut-ins and sick, and there’s others who will send out encouraging cards.
That’s especially important in this post-Covid world. We don’t have the opportunity to interact like we once did. That’s why I constantly emphasize your cell phones. Call people. Email people. Contact each other on Facebook. Send cards and letters. Contact one another and see how each other is doing. Pray for one another.

In II Corinthians 1:3-4 we read “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, SO THAT WE MAY BE ABLE TO COMFORT THOSE WHO ARE IN ANY AFFLICTION, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
What those verses are saying is this: Each of US is comforted by God in our struggles/affliction, so that we can comfort others in their afflictions. God “TRAINS” us to minister to each other.
ILLUS: An old time minister tells the story of an “open mike” prayer time... and one Sunday a man stood up and said “I need your prayers. I’ve been struggling with alcohol most of my life and I’ve made the decision that I’m going to quit. I’ve not had a drink for the past couple of weeks and it’s getting tough.”
There was a pause, and then another man stood and said: “I had the same problem. And I didn’t think I could quit, but I did. I’ve been off the bottle now for 5 years.” And another man stood... and said roughly the same thing. And then another. About 3 or 4 men stood up that day and confessed they’d struggled in this and they all pledged to help the first man overcome his habit.
Do you know what happened there? What happened was that there were 3 or 4 men who’d been comforted by God and they in turn comforted a struggling brother – saying they’d be there for him. They showed what it meant to need each other.
Now, one last thought – WHOSE body is the Church? Who does the body belong to? That’s right, the body belongs to Jesus! It’s the BODY of CHRIST.
Colossians 1:16-18 For by (Christ) all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And HE IS THE HEAD OF THE BODY, THE CHURCH. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.”
Christ is the HEAD of the church. It’s HIS body!
That’s why the name on the sign out front says: “CHURCH OF CHRIST.” That’s who OWNS this church.
But (you know) it doesn’t matter what’s on the sign out front. Because, unless this church - not just the building, but the BODY - unless we as a body of believers belong to Jesus Christ WE’VE FAILED! You see, the marquee isn’t bragging about WHO we are. It’s bragging about WHO we belong to. It’s a proclamation that JESUS OWNS US: He’s our head; He’s our master; He’s our savior; and He holds US - the body of Christ – together.
And we call ourselves a Church of Christ because we love Him; because we belong to Him; and because we want to spend eternity with Him.
The question for you this morning is this – DO YOU? Do you love Him? Do you belong to Him? And do you want to spend eternity with Him?
You can do that this morning if you BELIEVE that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God. If you are willing to acknowledge that you have sinned and that you need to REPENT of your sins. If you are willing to CONFESS that Jesus will now be the Lord and Master of your life. And if are willing to allow yourself to be BAPTIZED – buried in the waters of baptism and rising up a new creature in Christ.

Sermon Contributor Jeff Strite


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