Members who Belong to One Another

Paul, in his first epistle to the Corinthians, says at the end of chapter 6:

You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.

I think we understand that, at an intellectual level.  Before Christ entered our lives (or, rather, became our lives — see Colossians 3:4), we were slaves.  Romans 6 speaks of how we were slaves to sin, simply indulging in impurity and lawlessness, things of which we are now ashamed.

The Good News of Jesus Christ — the Gospel — is that we are purchased by Jesus Christ: purchased out of the “slave market” of sin, and granted freedom.  The currency of the transaction was His very blood (see Acts 20:28, Hebrews 9:12-14) — a weighty price indeed!

Thus, we are set free, and become God’s.  We are His people (Psalm 100), His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), His house (Hebrews 3:6), His children (1 John 3:2), His treasured possession (Malachi 3:17).  As Paul says in Romans 14:8, “whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.”

We are the Lord’s.  Hallelujah!

Given to One Another

I was struck by what Paul says in Romans 12, though, as I read the New English Translation:

12:4For just as in one body we have many members, and not all the members serve the same function, 12:5so we who are many are one body in Christ, and individually we are members who belong to one another.

In the text, Paul is making the point that the Church of Jesus Christ is like a body, and each person in the Church is like a different body part.  In a physical body, each part needs to carry out its function — in fact, if that isn’t happening, we call that being sick!

Look how Paul puts it.  We belong to one another.  The NLT and NIV bring out this meaning in the Greek, too:  “… each member belongs to all the others.”  Paul then goes on, in Romans 12, to speak of the gifts given to the church, and how they’re gifts to use in the church, for the church.

Jesus Christ has purchased us by His blood.  He then gives us to each other.  I am here, in the church, for you.  You, if you are in Christ, are in the church for me and for us.

When you do the things God has called you to do, EVERYBODY benefits:

  • The church benefits from the God-enabled service you do.
  • You benefit by experiencing the joy of God’s strength and power at work in you.  You also have the future blessing of heavenly reward, see 1 Corinthians 3:14.
  • God is pleased by your obedience (yes, soteriologically, God is pleased with us only in Jesus Christ, but take a look at Phil 4:18, Col 1:10, 1 Tim 2:1-3 to see God being pleased by the obedience of His saints).

What happens, though, if you and if I choose to please ourselves instead?  Actually, I think I’ll have a lay in this morning; after all, it was a late night!  Or, I think I will take some “me-time” this evening and …

You are GOD’s.  He bought you.  And He gave you to the church.

He has given you and me to the church.  In fact, to this very fellowship.  He’s put us here, in accordance with His will, His gifting and His foreknowledge of the church’s needs.  He’s called us to serve Him through service to one another.  I’m not simply talking about signing up on the rota; I think God calls us to serve spontaneously as well.  Through arriving early to pray.  Through staying late to help pack up.  Through opening your home.  Through weeping with those who weep, and rejoicing with those who rejoice.  Through a loving rebuke, or a word fitly spoken.  Through encouragement.  In so many ways.

There is such blessing available to us as we walk in these good works.  When we choose to say “no” to our own selves and plans, and “yes” to God and serving His people, there is a joy and peace that is incomparable.

Isn’t this why we come together?  To love, serve and encourage one another?  Isn’t this why we have our Connect Groups, to be intentional in looking how we can bless, serve and build up one another?

May the Lord God show you how you can serve the church in which God has placed you.

“God did not call 20 percent of the church to serve the other 80 percent.  He called 100 percent of us to serve each other.”
Tony Adams

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