THE BODY IS ONE

by Kevin Rutherford

 

The church at Corinth had a problem with unity (1 Corinthians 1:10-13). There were a number of issues that had caused strife within the congregation. Division over personalities, and matters of opinion were among those issues. What the brethren in the church at Corinth needed a lot more of was love (1 Corinthians 13).  Love would help them to treat one another in a more Christ like manner.  Love would solve many of their problems.  Love would cause them to work and function effectively and efficiently as the body of Christ.

In order to further encourage unity within the congregation at Corinth Paul gave them an illustration (1 Corinthians 12:12ff).  Paul pictures the church as a body.  We know that a human body is made up of many parts and systems.  We also know that when all of those components do their part and work together the body is healthy.  A healthy body is a strong, fit, and efficient body.  The church must be the same way.

As Paul refers to the church as a body he makes several important points that we should remember.  First of all, Paul says, “the body is one and hath many members (1 Corinthians 1:12).  Each congregation is made up of Christians of various ages and backgrounds.  Christians each have different abilities, and are at different levels of spiritual growth.  Despite all of these differences the body must be unified.  The body must teach and practice the same thing (1 Corinthians 1:10).  The various members of the church must make a deliberate effort to work together.

Paul then addresses a false view related to one’s importance within the body (1 Corinthians 12:15-20).  There may be some within a congregation who think they are not valuable to the body because they cannot do what others can do.  Perhaps a brother in Christ thinks he is of no use because he cannot lead singing.  Or another brother thinks he is less important because he is not talented as a preacher.  This is wrong.  Each member is important and each member can have a role to play in the proper functioning of the church.  Just because the ear cannot see does not mean it is not important to the body.

Paul then turns his attention to an attitude which is almost the opposite of the first (1 Corinthians 12:21-24).  Some within the church might think they are superior to other members and don’t need other members.  Perhaps a talented song leader looks down upon those who are not and suggests they are not necessary.  Perhaps a good Bible class teacher thinks those who do not teach as well are not as important as they.  These attitudes are unchristian.  The eye should never say to the hand I have no need of you.  All members are important.

Paul also addresses the care that members of the church ought to have for one another (I Corinthians 12:25, 26).  Paul says, “whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it (1 Corinthians 15:26).”  Break your arm and you will feel miserable all over.  Stub your toe and the rest of your body will react.  It should be same way in the church.  When someone needs help we should be ready and willing to come to their aid.

The West End Church of Christ is a body.  We are made up of many members but we are one.  We have elders, deacons, evangelists, teachers, and many other members doing their part to edify and strengthen the body.  West End is a healthy body, but let us not be complacent.  Let us always work to make the body stronger and more efficient.  This we will do as long as we remember every individual member is important.