Imagine… standing in the Pulpit, facing your congregation, and saying…
“YOU… are… the body of Christ.”
<< pause >>
“You… ARE… the body of Christ.”
<< pause >>
“You… are… THE BODY of CHRIST!”
<< pause >>
“Now… how’s that going for you? And Him?”
I was vehemently struck with this awareness this morning during Church.
God created All. Man fell. God established (re-established) a caretaking intimate relationship with man again throughout the Old Testament (or tried to, despite our best efforts). Man refused to draw close to God through embracing the Law and letting God mold his heart. God then became Man in Jesus, and embraced all the Law, absorbed into Himself all “cosmic disorder”, and personally fed all of that into the maw of disorder’s most horrendous product… Death. The Father then raised Him from the dead, destroying Death in the process, and Jesus returned to heaven in His Union with The Father. In that reunion, the way was paved for His Essence, His Spirit, His (literally) “Breath” to come among us, into us, and take possession of our abode, our temple, our lives… when we allow.
How incredible is all that?
What’s more, Jesus has “translated” us from the worldly kingdom of darkness, to His Kingdom, the Kingdom of Light.
So, when we yield to Him, when we say “Yes, Lord!” adopting Him as fully Lord of our lives, He not only “signs the Title Deed” of the house, but He Himself takes residence, assigns a Kingdom Address to the dwelling, and calls us “HIS Body”.
Is this true of the Church Universal? Yes.
Is this true of the Church? Yes.
Is this true of the Local Church? Yes.
Is this true where “two or three are gathered”? Yes.
This is true, as attested time and time again throughout Acts and the Epistles, of the INDIVIDUAL CHRISTIAN.
So… let me ask again… “How’s that going for you? And Him?”
We could spend weeks on exactly how this all plays out, and I encourage those here who preach or teach to do so. But for here, for now, I just want to suggest a couple ideas.
If we are the “body appointed” for the use of Jesus Christ in our own lives, our own universe, is there any reason to think Jesus would do anything radically different in THIS body, than He did in the one borne by Mary? Or than He instructed through the Disciple/Companion/Friends in the Gospels? I think not.
So… with the utmost simplicity, what is Jesus trying to do here, now, today through your body (or mine, for that matter)?
Well, what did Jesus do with THAT body, the first time around? Simply put… here’s the key passage:
7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” 8 Philip *said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus *said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. 12 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. 15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” [John 14]
In short, then, Jesus did the Father’s will, spoke the Father’s words, and did the Father’s works.
Too simple? Hard to get a grasp on? OK, then how about His instructions to the Disciple/Companion/Friends?
16 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” [Matthew 28]
12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.“ [John 15]
Still too broad? Not specific enough as to “mechanics”? As to the “how, precisely, do we DO that?” Well, that brings us back around to the Sermon on the Mount for a set of instructions on how to do this, in detail. Matthew 5:48 “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (And “perfect” here as in “finished” or “nothing broken, nothing missing”.)
Your denomination doesn’t matter, nor does your race, age, sex, occupation or education. If, and only if, you dare to accept Jesus Christ, at face value, as “Lord of your life”… then He has need of you, your arms, legs, lips, relationships, family and environment… through which to continue to build His Kingdom. The massive up-side of all this is… the grace given, the grace received, and the grace flowing through “His body” (you, me, him, her, them)… carries with it Life, Love, Truth, Joy, Beauty, and every other good thing of which He is author.
So… “How’s all that going for you? And Him?”