February 5, 2013
“If the whole body were an eye where would the sense of hearing be?” (1Corinthians 12:17)
The story is told of a doctor who came out of the delivery room and told an expectant father, “I have some grave news for you my son. Your wife has given birth to a 7-pound eyeball. And that’s not all. It’s blind!” If you came home one night in the dark and found a 185 pound eyeball in the corner of your front porch, would that give you a rush of anxiety?
In this verse from the writings of the Apostle Paul he is using an illustration as grotesque as the illustrations I have just used. He does this in his inspired letter to the Corinthians because he wants to make a point: his point is the beauty of diversity.
One of the fingerprints of the Church of Jesus Christ is that in the Church we celebrate diversity. Diversity in the body of Christ is to be celebrated rather than resolved. If two of us are exactly alike one of us is unnecessary. Some of the members of the First Church of Corinth were telling others they were not authentically spiritual unless they had the same spiritual gifts that they had.
The remedy of Paul for that kind of thinking was the hideous metaphor of a body being just one member and not a body with the beauty of many diverse parts. Other members of the body of Christ have what you do not have and you have what they do not have. That means you need them and they need you.
The body of Christ is a team sport. Are you willing to be a team player?
Step up and play your part.
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Posted by Dick Woodward
May 4, 2012
“… your fellowship in the Gospel…” (Philippians 1:5)
When you read the first words of Paul’s letter to his favorite church they show you the passion of Paul and the heart of this church he loved. The bonds that made them so remarkably one in heart are expressed in the repetition of one word: “Gospel.” Paul writes that the things he has experienced have fallen out to the furtherance of the Gospel. And that he has them in his heart because in the defense and confirmation of the Gospel they all are partakers of God’s grace.
As Paul continues to repeat the word “Gospel” he expresses his heart’s passion when he describes what he calls “the faith of the Gospel.” He precedes that with the concept of behavior that becomes the Gospel. Paul is describing the purpose and function of a church when he calls their church “a fellowship of the Gospel.” The context in which the Gospel is to be believed is that fellowship of the Gospel.
Paul is in prison when he writes these words and he doesn’t know if he will be released. In verse 27 he writes his ideal for his ideal church. His great Gospel prescription is: “I want to hear that every member of your church is a Christian; every Christian is Christian and Christians are Christian together in a way that results in other people believing the Gospel!”
Paul’s plan for filling this prescription for his ideal spiritual community is to “Stand fast in one Spirit with one mind, striving together for the faith of the Gospel!” (1:27) That Church in Philippi is to act as if they have one mind among them because in fact because they do.
It is the mind of Christ.
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Posted by Dick Woodward