Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Are You Adding To Or Taking Away From The Body Of Christ?

The Church certainly looks like she is fractured into many pieces with no hope of unity. It is a shame that one group always seems to think they have the total and complete revelation and understanding of God. It is also a shame when a congregation believes it is self contained and needs no one from the "outside". It is a sad thing that denominations are set up in such a way that if you are a pastor or teacher who does not belong to that denomination you cannot preach there. The diversity of the Church in her revelations, understanding, teaching and manifestation of the Spirit is a beautiful thing but we make it ugly.

The doctrines of the various denominations are basically the same with a slightly different emphasis on some aspects of the teaching so unity should not be a problem. But we allow these simple matters of doctrinal emphasis to become walls where one thinks it is better than another. Can I tell you, with such an attitude these denominations are demonstrating they don't understand the most basic teaching of Jesus. They need to go back to "kindergarten". Read this:

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 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. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14)

Diversity in the Body of Christ is a given, as long as it is a diversity produced by the Spirit of God. We know unity is the will of Jesus because it was his final prayer for us, that we would have oneness with each other as we have it with Jesus. Unity is made possible because of the Spirit of God. All that we have comes from the Spirit; all our revelations, gifts, ministries come from him. They did not come from us, they were not our idea, they did not happen by our will. If they did we had better shut it all down and run back to the Spirit quickly because we are off track and nothing we have done will survive.

We have been baptized by and in the same Spirit because he has formed one Body. In that Body we have diversity because the Body needs diversity to function properly. The greatness of the Spirit cannot be contained in one person so he has spread himself out among all believers. Let me remind you of my previous posts:

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:4-7)

The diversity of the Body is for the common good of all believers. Instead of attacking the differences we should be celebrating. Instead of trying to copy another person`s ministry or giftings we should be working all that much harder with our own. The fact is I need you and you need me. You have something from the Spirit that will help me in my growth and in my service and what I have you need as well.

We must change our vision and perspective of the Body of Christ. We have to start understanding that we need each other and we must work together. We should be willing to listen to each other knowing that we need each other to be complete. It is the Spirit of God who has done this, who has created such diversity and we need to be celebrators of this diversity. Unity is found in the Holy Spirit, under the authority and headship of Jesus Christ.

I am going to give this out in spoon-sized bits so we can take the time to digest it better. For today just meditate on the understanding that the diversity of the Church has been brought about by the Spirit and that even in this diversity we need unity to work. It may seem impossible but at the end of this chapter we will look at how it is possible to achieve. If you wish to go back and start this from my first posting here they are:

1) Living By The Spirit Of God Is The Only Way To Live In Jesus

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