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United in the Body of Christ

As I watched the recent election results locally and nationally, I saw what I had not expected to see. I observed that there are many who do not have the same perspective I have about what needs to occur in our country. Don't get me wrong there were many who do share that same perspective, but it is certainly not the overwhelming or all-consuming perspective I had thought.

I hoped and prayed for some different results. My thoughts were that people would sincerely consider what is going on and what the future might be if they voted a particular way. I am honestly surprised at the decisions that were made in certain races.

Unity is an important need in any organization, community, nation, or church. The things that bring common interest are what bring unity. Unity means simply that we are committed to something larger than ourselves and something that provides for our well-being.

Now we may or may not have gotten that right in these United States in yesterday's midterms. Yet as Christians we have to get it right in our churches. So goes the pew, so goes the church.

The church as described in Scripture is not a building or denomination rather it is all believers in Christ as their Savior who reside on this earth. It is that simple. In our churches, we are to be united. It is common and important for us to consider the church at the local level. Because that is where we live each day. Our local church is where we build community, share our faith and learn more about the Lord. It is where we pray together for God's will to be done and for His Kingdom to be expanded by our sharing His Son Jesus with others.

In Paul's first letter to the church, those who were believers in Christ and resided in Corinth at the time of his letter read this in 1 Corinthians 12:12-14

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 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.

There are 10 things that we see in Scripture that define what it is to be united in the body of Christ:

1) United in the Body of Christ we are joined to Christ in salvation

Ephesians 4:15-16

15…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.

Jesus is what unites us and it is that union that provides for us to do more together than we could ever do alone. Coming together to share a message of salvation in our Jerusalem and even unto the whole world.

2) United in the Body of Christ we follow Christ

Ephesians 1:22-23

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.

If there was ever a time in history for the church to be seen as the church of Jesus Christ it is today. Mankind is traveling at warp speed away from its only hope which is Jesus Christ. Listen, they need to see Jesus in us.

3) United in the Body of Christ we represent Christ in this world

1 Peter 2:9

9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

When people see you in this world, are you different than the world? You won't look different but as they get to know and observe you they need to see and sense something that is different in you. We are His ambassadors and present His values and desires for all mankind.

4) United in the Body of Christ we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of Christ

Romans 8:9

9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong

to Christ.

My mother used to encourage me, before she went home to be with the Lord, to speak often about the Holy Spirit and His role in our lives. I try to do that and in so doing I must say I find much ignorance on the part of believers as to His role and work in their lives. Recognizing and following the leadership of the Holy Spirit individually will lead to that same leadership being followed by all of the church.

5) United in the Body of Christ we possess a diversity of gifts suited to particular functions

1 Corinthians 12:12 **our text verse**

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is

with Christ. 

One of the most important areas for a pastor to preach and teach his church is the topic of spiritual gifts. Simply stated we all have all of the spiritual gifts as noted in Scripture. However, for each person, there are about two to three of them that are like cream rising to the top of the milk. They become motivational gifts that God uses for His service to the body of Christ.

6) United in the Body of Christ we share a common bond with all other Christians, regardless of background, race, denomination, or ministry

1 Corinthians 12:25

25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.

The vast difference in the body of Christ is evidenced in the local church. Background, race, denomination, or ministry make us each different and unique. Yet the common faith in Jesus Christ brings us together as one for the Glory of the Lord.

7) United in the Body of Christ we are secure in our salvation

John 10:28-30

28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 

29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 

30 I and the Father are one.”

No matter what we may face in our life we know that we are saved. Elaine will tell a child that she is witnessing to that nothing can ever take them out of God's hand. She has them put their fingers in her hand. She grips their fingers and says pull. As they pull she grips harder and they cannot pull their fingers out. You get the picture just like they do, our salvation is secure.

8) United in the Body of Christ we partake of Christ’s death and resurrection

Colossians 2:12

12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

When Christ died for our sins and rose on the third day we were given victory over death and a promise of resurrection. That is why when Paul says in Romans 10:9-10 NLT 9 If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.

9) United in the Body of Christ we share Christ’s inheritance

Romans 8:1

1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus

If you have ever received an inheritance from a relative or friend, you know what a blessing it is to you. The inheritance we receive through Jesus Christ is eternal life with He and God. That is the greatest blessing there is for us to receive.

10) United in the Body of Christ we receive the gift of Christ’s righteousness

Romans 5:17

17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

A dictionary defines righteousness as “behavior that is morally justifiable or right.” There is nothing righteous in any of us. However, we are called to be righteous as seen in Mathew 5:48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” but that can only be imputed to us through Jesus.

Jesus is righteous by virtue of His very nature—He is the Son of God. By God’s grace, “through faith in Jesus Christ,” that righteousness is given “to all who believe” as seen in Romans 3:22. That’s imputation: the giving of Christ’s righteousness to sinners.

In God's Grace,

Elbert Nasworthy

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