The Body of Christ

Tuesday Devotional: Ephesians 4

bibleRead Ephesians 4:1-16

The body of Christ is ONE body.  There is no other.  Standing side-by-side and shoulder-to-shoulder with your sister and brother in Christ, you are united as ONE body.  This is no easy task, but with God all things are possible.  Our sin desires to be independent.  Our sin desires to be one notch above the rest, one step further than the whole.  Sin deceives us into thinking that certain parts of the one body hold special significance and priority over other parts.  Sin will deceive us into thinking that our gift or position is of more importance to the body than the rest.  This spirit of division is the antithesis to the Gospel.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is humility, unity and love.  The Spirit of Christ in us seeks unity in spite of our own comfort, desires and pride.

The Christian is called to a life of unending and comprehensive sacrifice.  Nothing about sacrifice is easy.  Why should we think that our union and fellowship with other believers would be any different?  It’s not.  Our relationships with each other in the body of Christ are often the things used by God to refine us the most.  Without the tension and challenge of seeking unity in the Church there would be no growth, no transformation and thus no life.  We need each other.  We need this tension.  We need the sacrifice.  The sin in us will turn from the challenge and seek to find any available opportunity to blame-shift, judge, criticize and reject those around us in the Church.  Seek unity.  Seek Jesus.  By the blood of the Lamb we were saved from eternal condemnation and that same blood is the only chance we have to finding unity in the body of Christ.  Allow our Lord to sharpen you.  Allow him to reveal what is in you.  Allow him to teach you.  Find your place at the foot of the Cross and welcome your brother and sister to join you there and only there.  This is not friendship.  This is fellowship, and fellowship of the deepest kind, bought at the highest price.  We have all been saved.  We have all been forgiven.  We are all beloved by our heavenly Father.  These are the ligaments that bind us together and nothing else.  Unity is not an option, it is the result of living in Christ, for Christ and with Christ.

Tuesday Devotional: 3 John

Read 3 Johnbible

There is a powerful unity among those who profess faith in Jesus Christ.  Followers of Jesus find a home in knowing that each and every person is walking on the same path that starts at the cross and ends in his kingdom.  However, at the cross we do not just find a team, but the life of Jesus Christ alone sacrificed for the entire world. We find a Lord and Savior who unites his church through faith in him, but we are also given the power and commandment to take his Holy Spirit out into the world so that they too can find him.  At the foot of the cross we do find a family of believers and a body to become a part of.  However, this family ought never confine or prevent us from reaching into the world of those yet to be grafted in.  Our mission is to find our home with Christ through the fellowship of believers, yet be fully aware of our necessity to go forth into the world in order to bring others back home.  Each and every person must be brought into this faith in Jesus Christ.

Regardless of the point in a person’s life at which they met the Lord and submitted to the work of the cross, in each testimony is a point where they did not have faith in Jesus Christ.  Therefore, the one thing that all of us share is that at one point we were all strangers to Christ, even though he knew us from the beginning.  Every testimony begins with our separation from Christ as a result of our sin.  Thus, as we come into faith in Jesus Christ, we can never adopt a tone of the privileged preaching to the under-privileged.  At the foot of the cross we all receive grace, we all receive mercy and we all receive forgiveness.

This is the gospel that must be taken to the furthest corners of the world and unleashed in healing.  For those overwhelmed and transformed by that experience at the cross there is only one truth. Jesus Christ is the Lord.  Our place in his presence is leveled at the foot of the cross upon which he gave his life for us.  In his presence there are only two groups: reunited children and children yet to be reunited.  Either way, both groups consist of children of the same heavenly Father who desires all of them be brought back home.  In the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we find our family, only family because we share a common Father.  In this Father we find our new life, our new way and the new brothers and sisters, unified because we have all been lost but are now found.