星期二, 5月 17, 2005

Will The Real Body of Christ Please Stand Up?

Years ago there was a game show entitled, "To Tell the Truth." Two contestants would face a panel of three guests who all claimed to be the same person. The contestants could ask a series of questions with the hope of identifying who the real person in question was. At the time of the unveiling of who the show was centered on, the host would say, "Would the real 'so and so' please stand up?"


This reminded me of the way people view Christians today. Each Christian or Church claims that they are the real Body of Christ. Each person gives rationalization for their own church's existence. Each may even defame the other "contestants" in order to lift themselves up to be chosen. Why is it that within seconds of finding out that a person you know or just meet is a believer or "Christian," the prominent question is: "what church do you go to?" Why is it that so often Christians quickly revert their conversation to going to church on Sunday, to Pastor so and so, to the great things the Lord is doing in "my" church. It seems the issue of which church we attend is pre-eminent to people.


The sad thing is that Christians may have lost sight of Christ mission in coming to the earth. We banter back and forth about irrelevant issues, wasting precious time in regard to salvation. Saints, it is the world who needs Christ's followers to live Him out. It is the world who needs Christ's disciples to speak forth the truth of the gospel. And it is the world who will ask the question: Will the real Body of Christ please stand up? Therefore, instead of competing with each other, instead of fighting against one another, and instead of backbiting and devouring one another (Galatians 5:15), we believers must be clear as to Christ's mission.



Christ's Mission


The Lord Jesus mentioned this in John 13:20-35: Truly, truly, I say to you, He who receives whomever I shall send receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 21 When Jesus had said these things, He became troubled in His spirit, and He testified and said, Truly, truly, I say to you that one of you will betray Me. 22 The disciples looked at one another, perplexed over whom He was speaking about. 23 One of His disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining on Jesus' bosom. 24 Simon Peter therefore nodded to him to inquire who it might be about whom He was speaking. 25 Then he, while reclining thus on Jesus' breast, said to Him, Lord, who is it? 26 Jesus answered, It is he for whom I will dip the morsel and to whom I will give it. And dipping the morsel, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27 And at that moment, after the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus therefore said to him, What you do, do quickly. 28 But none of those reclining at table knew why He said this to him. 29 For some supposed, since Judas held the purse, that Jesus was saying to him, Buy the things that we have need of for the feast, or that he should give something to the poor. 30 Therefore having taken the morsel, he went out immediately; and it was night. 31 Then when he went out, Jesus said, Now has the Son of Man been glorified, and God has been glorified in Him. 32 If God has been glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and He will glorify Him immediately. 33 Little children, I am still with you a little while; you will seek Me, and even as I said to the Jews, Where I am going, you cannot come, now I say to you also. 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."


The scene described above was the night before the Lord's crucifixion. He had gathered His disciples together in the famous upper room to break bread and drink wine as a commemoration of the Old Testament Passover and an initiation of the New Testament Lord's supper. Most Christians focus on the rituals and "sacrament" of the Lord's supper and completely miss the central theme of the Lord's ministry and economy. John 13:20 speaks of receiving those whom He has received. The apostle Paul repeats this in Romans 14:3. Then, the Lord breaks bread to signify His mystical body. He passes the cup of wine which is a New Covenant of joy for genuine believers in Christ. But this passage climaxes in the matter of believers LOVING one another. Christ's mission was initiated, carried out and will be fulfilled all in the realm of the divine love. Nothing is more precious, nothing more obvious, nothing more important than the Lord's love flowing out of Himself, into His believers and through His believers. The world should not need to ask the question: Will the real Body of Christ please stand up? because they will know we are His disciples by our LOVE for one another.


The book of Ephesians speaks the highest, most profound revelation of God's economy in the entire Bible. Each and every chapter is enveloped by love (Ephesians 1:4; 2:4; 3:17; 4:2, 15; 5:1-2, 25; 6:23-24). The apostle John places the final exclamation point on the matter of love in his writings. He had the final words of the New Testament. John unveiled the matter of love from virtually every conceivable angle (1 John 3:10; 4:7-8, 10, 12, 16, 20; 5:3). Finally, 1 John 4:8 says, "GOD IS LOVE." We should never question the central theme on God's heart.



One Body With Many Members


The apostle Paul wrote a simple, yet complex letter to the Corinthians believers around AD 59. These believers were young, confused and on the verge of dividing the Body of Christ based on preference, immorality, improper behavior, legalized practices and spiritual gifts. One crucial part of Paul's message concerned the Body of Christ and all His members. Paul's message was simple because we can all relate to our physiological body. His message was complex because Paul was touching the matter of the mystical, divine Body of Christ.


12 For even as the body is one and has many members, yet all the members of the body, being many, are one body, so also is the Christ. 13 For also in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and were all given to drink one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member but many. 15 If the foot should say, Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body, it is not that because of this it is not of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body, it is not that because of this it is not of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were the hearing, where would the smelling be? 19 And if all were one member, where would the body be? 20 But now the members are many, but the body one. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you; nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 22 But much rather the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we consider to be less honorable, these we clothe with more abundant honor; and our uncomely members come to have more abundant comeliness, 24 But our comely members have no need. But God has blended the body together, giving more abundant honor to the member that lacked, 26 And whether one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or one member is glorified, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has placed some in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then works of power, then gifts of healing, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all have works of power? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret tongues? 31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And moreover I show to you a most excellent way. (1 Corinthians 12:12-31)


A huge misconception in today's so called churches issues forth from the misunderstanding of this and other related passages regarding the Body of Christ. For instance, have you ever heard the statement: "We don't agree with division, but the various Christian groups are like different parts of the body. One group is like the foot, another group is like the hand, still another is like the ears, ...."? This concept reared its ugly head because well-meaning teachers twist Paul's message and disregard God's desire for the genuine oneness of the Body of Christ. Paul speaks of the foot, the hand, and the ear related to the entire body. However, Christians today are either stupefied by the ignorance of their upbringing or background, blinded by their ritualistic, religious traditions, or just not willing or able to recognize the simple truth and reality of oneness.


This may sound harsh to you, but let's face it, how can one group, say the Baptists, be the "foot"? How can another group, say the Methodists, be the "hand"? How can still another group, say the Brethren or any other group, be the "ears"? Paul states that if the whole body were an ear where would the sense of smell be? If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be. To say that Baptists are like the "foot" and Methodists like the "hand", etc. is to imply that a foot can live on its own without any connection to the rest of the body. This thinking is ludicrous. Christian are divided, yet we refuse to accept the responsibility for our division. We have chopped the Body of Christ into thousands of individual, independent pieces ... while defended our doctrinal positions, our traditional practices and our divisive heritage.



Christ Cannot Be Divided


Saints, the Body of Christ cannot be divided! 1 Corinthians 1:10-13 says, "10 Now I beseech you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be attuned in the same mind and in the same opinion. 11 For it has been made clear to me concerning you, my brothers, by those of the household of Chloe, that there are strifes among you. 12 Now I mean this, that each of you says, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ. 13 Is Christ divided?" This rhetorical question is answered emphatically NO! Yet, denomination after denomination, free group and independent group after free group and independent group, Catholic upon Catholic, all claim that they have the divine "goods" from God, and imply through word or action that all others fall short. To try and reconcile their irreconcilable division, they say that maybe other groups are like the parts of the body ... some are the hand, some are the feet, some the ears, etc.


This logic is satanic and far from the divine economy of the Triune God, Whose eternal purpose is to build a group of people into ONE entity, the Body of Christ, the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21-22), for eternity. God's logic is pure, simple and real: He has ONE Body of Christ, yet there are many members. All of these members are integrally related through the exact same divine life and vicarious blood flowing out of Christ and Christ alone. The members being many, are one Body, yet the members are members individually. This is divine logic. To grasp and incorporate the revelation of God's purpose, each and every believer must seek the divine life and the precious blood of Jesus Christ ALONE.


Presently, my family does not affiliate with any Christian group via church attendance, membership or financial support. We are members of the Body of Christ. We seek the Lord each day and each week as to worship. We support whatever the Spirit within leads us to support. We feel that we must seek to worship the Father in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24), not in a physical building or based on systematic teachings, accepted practices and outward traditions. We meet as a family and pray that other believers would simply follow the Spirit and be open to us and we are open to them. So many believers patronize me concerning the practical oneness of the Body of Christ. They remind me that the Body of Christ must be practical and that we should be part of a local assembly. It seems we all are more able to figure out God's economy than God is. Isn't Christ the Head of His Body? Doesn't Christ know when, where and how to build His church? What then is my responsibility as a believer, a member of the ONE Body of Christ? I must come forward to the Holy of Holies (Hebrews 4:15-16; 10:19, 22) and be united, mingled and incorporated with Christ, the Head (John 14:20). Then, and only then, can the Body be built by Him, through Him and unto Him (Romans 11:36) so that He can present His bride, the church, to the Father and to Himself glorious, not having spot or wrinkle or any such things, but that she would be holy and without blemish." (Ephesians 5:26)


By the way, the Lord did say in Matthew 16:18, " I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." Saints, the Body belongs to Christ. He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith. We need to come forward to Him and allow Him to operate. (Hebrews 12:2, 4:15-16, 10:19, 22)

2 則留言:

匿名 提到...

Could you post the name of the speaker?

Heshbon 提到...

I didn't know who was the writer of this article which I quote from Church in Westland website.