Key Text: Romans 12:1-8
The Church is the body of Christ, the church is not a building. The Church the expression of Christ to the world. The members of the church are part of a real, living body and yet we are all different and all have distinctive qualities.
We also have distinctive ministries. Jesus gave to the church the ministries of Apostle, Prophet, Pastor, Teacher and Evangelist and many others. They are all different and yet all ministries are equally important and necessary.
The plan of God is as follows: as the several different types of ministry in a variety of ways bring the Word of God to our heart and mind, two aspects of our personality are affected:
(1) we grow in the ability to minister to the Body of Christ and to mankind in general; and
(2) Christ is formed in our personality. As these two aspects operate and develop in each member, the Body of Christ is brought to unity and maturity in Christ.
The Substance and Life of Christ (His body and blood) are added to us when the Holy Spirit reveals Christ through the members of the Body of Christ.
Our mind is renewed as the Word of God creates in us the mind of Christ. Our understanding of the purposes and methods of the Lord grows in us. We also gain wisdom and knowledge that enable us to better meet the practical daily needs that arise while as students of Jesus we walk with Him through this life.
Christ is formed in us by the gifts and ministries given us by the Holy Spirit 1 Corinthians 12:11.
Each disciple has his or her own ministry by which they can make their individual contribution to the perfecting of the whole Body of Christ.
There is no instance in which a member of the Body of Christ has nothing to give. If we are not aware of our own role in the building of the Body of Christ, we should present our body a living sacrifice that we may “prove what is the good, acceptable and perfect, will of God” for our life Romans 12:1-2
That is why Jesus set us in a church together. He puts us into relationship with one another. John Wesley once said ‘The Bible knows nothing of solitarily religion.’
1.Our Relationship with God
It is vitally important to foster our relationship with Jesus. We are called to know Him and we are to experience His resurrection life. When we have this relationship there is a flow of resurrection life and power, He becomes our power supply.
If we want to experience God’s power, we need to fellowship with Him. Relationship is the prerequisite to fellowship. Fellowship is communication. As we fellowship with God there is a communication of His power, strength, love, peace, joy and life.
Fellowship is not just being together, it is doing something with someone. We fellowship with God when we pray or read the Bible, when we serve Him and when we praise and worship.
• When we fellowship with others He is also there. In conversation with someone recently they described it like this, ‘We must first learn to walk together before we can sit together.’ The closest and most intimate form of fellowship with God is worship. That is when we are closest to Him. We therefore receive most from God when we worship Him.
Lastly, our relationship is not out of duty but out of love. Considered the church in Ephesus in Revelation Chapter 2.
This was the active church, sound in doctrine but deficient in love. v.4 of the second chapter says ‘But I have this against you, that you have abandoned your first love.’ What is this first love to which Jesus refers? It is spontaneous, it is exciting, it is enthralling, it captivates every part of our lives.
God does not want us to replace that love with duty. He does not want us to replace the dynamic and life of God’s presence with forms and rituals. We are to love Him.
2. Relationship with Others
The Bible says that God puts the solitary in families. It says two are better than one. If one falls down the other can pick them up. If one gets cold the other can keep them warm. When attacked two can defend themselves better than one.
The first thing that God said was not good was that man should not be alone. God saw Adam alone and said ‘it’s not good’ Adam said amen.
Even when He sent out His disciples, it was in pairs.
Our relationship with others is precious. It brings protection, balance, mutual encouragement, fellowship and strength. We need one another we have to love one another. When we get saved we received Jesus. We become a part of the body of Christ.
There has to be a commitment to one another. When we come to take communion it is both a vertical and horizontal commitment. If we have received Jesus, we have received each other. We are therefore committed to one another.
There is the personal redemptive Christ but there is also a corporate, communal Christ. We are members of the redeemed community and we have a responsibility in the body. We all need this relationship if we are to overcome.
It is a wonderful thing that God has done for us. He is not only given us, He has set us in a family. He has bound us together by the Holy Spirit. There is a sense in which when we get saved we are not just accepted by God. We are also accepted by each other. It doesn’t matter what job we do, what ethnicity we are, how little we have or how intelligent we are.
We need to know that we are accepted, we are precious and we are loved.
When Jesus said love one another He commanded us to do something that would release power and blessing into our lives and the lives of others. It is a blessing to us. It is a testimony to the whole world.
3.Relationships in The Church
Commitment – The church in the past has suffered from a lack of relationship, lack of love. Some people come to church because they like the sermon or the singing or the organ playing but they don’t want to join anything. They don’t want there to be any commitment or loyalty to one another.
The next thing they do is criticise. It becomes easy to criticise when we have no commitment in our relationship.
Unity – Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones Chapter 37 God joined the bones together. The life that is so necessary to every church and every believer is only possible where there is unity.
Authority – to come into relationship we have to come under authority. God has structured the church in such a way so as to facilitate growth.
There is a proper Biblical structure of authority in the scripture. We need to take a proper place.
The Scriptures refer to the church as a building that Jesus has put together. Each stone (Living stone) connected to and surrounded by other stones.
So the disciples of Christ in His church are connected to one another. Our life depends on others. Their life depends on us. We are all part of the structure
Other Scriptures speak of the church as a body, a vine, an army.
They all require that we are close to a few, but related to many.
The body cannot function unless the parts are joined.
The vine will not bear fruit.
The army will not win a victory.
Illustration – Suspension bridges are held together by support cables. Each cable though very thick is made up of many thousands of thin wires carefully bound together. Each wire on its own would easily break but together the wires are able to support thousands of tons.
On our own we are weak but bound together by Christ we can build bridges that will bring people to a knowledge of Jesus the Christ.