Sunday, January 04, 2015

The Christly Community

Church Community

Reading: First Corinthians 12:1-31

While the primary function of the Church is to glorify God (Ephesians 3:10; First Peter 2:9), viewed from the human side, the Church may be said to make certain specific provisions.

It provides fellowship for its members. The new relationship of the disciples with Christ found expression in a social form, In the early days of the Christian Church fellowship was a very significant feature (Acts 2:42, 44-47; 4:32-33).

It bears testimony to the world. The Church was formed for the purpose of witnessing to the world (Acts 1:8). It is commissioned to evangelize (Matthew 28:19-20)

It provides channels for service. Through the medium of the local Church Christian service within the community is facilitated

Read More: The Functional Church

Every opportunity has a responsibility. It is an opportunity to be a member of the Church. What are the responsibilities?

In the passage we read from First Corinthians 12, we see the Lord’s provision for every member of His church to be fully involved in the Church organization. In God’s Church there is no unemployment except for those who do not want to work.  

All through this chapter we see reference to the Christly assembly – what the Church should really be. Overlooking the more minute parts of this chapter and taking a broad glance at the whole, there are three important subjects. These are that every member of the Church has passed through a radical change; that every member has received special endowments from God and that every member should regard these endowments as vital parts to be used in keeping the whole perfectly functional.

Every member of the Christly community has passed through a radical change

Paul writes: “Now concerning Spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. You know that you were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as you were led” The change here spoken of, it is to be observed, is a change from the spirit of the Gentiles, or the world, to the Spirit of Christ. The most radical change that can take place in a man is a change in his moral spirit. Such a disposition is in truth man’s moral heart. This change is here described first negatively; “No man who has experienced it has anything irreverent or profane in his spirit towards Christ. No man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed.” Second, positively; “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost!” Now no man is a member of the true Church, who has not experienced this transfiguration; who has not renounced the spirit of the world and come under the control of the Spirit of Christ. All who are under the control of the Spirit of Christ belong to the Church of the Firstborn written in heaven

Every member of this Christly community has received special endowments from God

Without pausing to interpret the meaning of these endowments, I simply remark that they seem capable of being divided into three classes
(a) Those of intellect – wisdom, knowledge  etc
(b) Those of faith operating faith in words, in deeds, and in discernment.
(c) Those of language – Tongues, speaking and interpreting.

Now, all responsible men have intellect of some kind and amount. All men have some faith of some sort. Man has an instinctive tendency to believe; hence his credulity is proverbial. And he is necessitated to believe; he could not carry on the business of life without faith. All men have a language of some kind or the other. What then do we mean when we say that the endowment here refer to intellect, faith and language? Simply this, that the man who has come into possession of the Christly Spirit  and purpose, and is thus a member of the genuine Church will receive a new force and elevation of intellect; a new object and energy of faith and a new style and emphasis of expression. All the varied endowments are bestowed for a purpose – all for the highest usefulness.

Every member should regard these endowments as parts of a vital whole

The whole is not complete when one part is either un-functional or mal-functional. Every member of the Church has one thing which he/she does better than every other member. The Church is here described as “the body of Christ”. In Ephesians 4:12-13, speaking on the same issue of the unity of the Church, Paul says the gifts are for the building up of the body of Christ.

Let us pause here for a moment to think. What is your special endowment? What is my special endowment? What does the Lord want me to do for the building of the body of Christ? What is it that I should do which I have not been doing?

We are still at the threshold of a New Year. What are your resolutions for this year? How can you be more effective, how can you contribute more to the building of the Church of Christ? Remember what Christ answered the unprofitable servant who did not use his talents: “Why didn’t you ...?” Compare that to what He said to the one who used his – “Well done good and faithful servant ... you enter ...” God knows what He has given to you and He has placed you in this Church that you may use it to His glory. You are answerable to Him and will give account before Him of all that He had made available to you. God is waiting for you.

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