Sunday Sermon: You are the Body

WORLD COMMUNION SUNDAY??

1 Corinthians 12.12???20

12For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body???Jews or Greeks, slaves or free???and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.??

14Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15If the foot would say, ???Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,??? that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16And if the ear would say, ???Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,??? that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many members, yet one body.??

St. Teresa of Avila (1515???1582)??

"Christ Has No Body"

Christ has no body but yours,??

No hands, no feet on earth but yours,??

Yours are the eyes with which he looks Compassion on this world,??

Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,??

Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.??

Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,??

Yours are the eyes, you are his body.??

Christ has no body now but yours,??

No hands, no feet on earth but yours,??

Yours are the eyes with which he looks co
mpassion on this world.

Christ has no body now on earth but yours.??

You are the Body???the hands and feet of Jesus Christ in this world. I want us to look at this today as we celebrate World Communion Sunday. To say that 'connectedness' is important is a gross understatement. Our unity as the Church is vital. If we are divided against ourselves, we fall. Jesus reminds us of this in Mark 3.24 & 25,

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.??

God is unified in His love and action toward the world. Being united in God is crucial to the success of our mission to make disciples for the transformation of the world. The key is in understanding the implications of what it means to be the Church. This means that Jesus has entrusted His redemptive mission into our hands.??

And with this mission we have a great responsibility to see the mission through. One of God's greatest gifts to us is His willingness to trust us with His desire to see the world rescued from its sin. Sin is the world missing the mark that God has set-up for us to hit through Christ-like living. Our sin is our attempt at life without God. This life was created for us to live it connected to God. This unity with God is what connects each of us, making us sons and daughters of God???and that is who you are, sons and daughters of God.??

Becoming the Body: Baptism??

As God's children, we are born into His kingdom through the waters of Baptism. It is through our baptism that we are made members of Christ's Church, which is His Body in this world. The fellowship we experience as the body of Christ is unlike any membership this world can offer. It is more than a club, a network, or a system. You don't pay dues or have a yearly subscription. Your membership was paid for you???paid through the blood of Jesus on the cross.??

Paul understood our membership in the Body as being the hands and feet of Christ, as being the very presence of God in the world. Jesus' charge was for us to go into the all the world and make disciples, baptizing and teaching others to follow the way of Jesus, the Way God created from the very beginning. This membership or fellowship is different than anything else because it changes you. Once you enter, you are exposed to God in ways that begin to work on you???inside and out???transforming you into God's redeemed people.??

Each of us is given sufficient grace, here and now, to become more like Jesus, learning to love as God loves, forgive as God forgives, and learning what it means to defeat sin and overcome temptation through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Body of Christ can do these things.??

Our role in the Body: many members???one body??

Now, our role as the Body is other-worldly. God's people have been charged with the task of loving with a Divine love, not a natural love; we have a task of engaging others with a Divine forgiveness, not an earthly one. Being the body of Christ goes beyond being an organization, beyond an institution. We are not in this to be powerful or to be seen as a force to be reckoned with. Our purpose is to be God's representatives in this world; a holy nation that shines a beacon of hope in a world that believe it must fashion its own love, its own purpose. But God has ordained our purpose and sent us out into this world to shine forth a light that destroys darkness and frees the world from its captivity to sin and death.??

Each of us has our place in this membership, this community, this body.
As Paul reminds us, we are gifted in our different ways, each one of us being vital to the functionality of the Body. Some are hands, others feet. Some hear and others see. Together, we work for the redemption of the world???relieving suffering and absolving people of the sin that holds their future apart of God.??

Every denomination has its place and value. Working together in a divine dance???each member moving to the choreography of God. When we perform together, we are no longer divided but connected as a unit in battle. That connection is sacred and real. What happens to the foot, the hand feels; what happens to the ear, the eye knows. Being the body of Christ means being in tune with what the body is going through. And this role is one that must be grown into, like a infant that discovers it's own capabilities as it grows into a child. As we grow together, our faculties come with greater ease???walking, seeing, speaking, understanding.??

Maintaing the Body: Communion & Grace??

But to maintain such a body means a complete and total reliability on God as our nourishment. If we should turn to the right or the left for our strength we will miss God altogether. We must feed on His grace???taking in God's love in its various forms. Through fellowship, community, giving, sacrificing, we experience the life of God in our own life and that life feeds the Body of Christ, giving it the nutrients it needs to continue on its mission of salvation for the world.??

Here at this table, grace is available. See this meal as the perfect picture of the Gospel message???the body given for you; the blood poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins. The grace found here feeds the body. There are supernatural implications when you take Holy Communion. The body of Christ receives spiritual benefits when you draw from this well of God's grace.??

And so, as you grow in your faith through Bible study, the body gains understanding; as you pray deeper, the body is fed; as you serve freely, the body is strengthened. See that your life is part of a greater whole. What you do with your life effects the body of Christ, so treat it well. Now, let us feed on grace; let the Lamb of God take away the sins of the world, may He have mercy on us, and grant us peace. Amen.


Written with Essay on iPad

Rev. Whit R. Martin??
Pastor,??New Liberty United Methodist Church

www.newlibertyumc.org

Devotional Blog – http://devoblog.posterous.com

Sent from Whit's iPad??

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