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1 Corinthians 12:12-15; 20-21

David Himes

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ for by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

Paul is talking about the relationship of Christians in Christ’ spiritual body to show that there are many members but one body.

I believe that there is a place for every member. If you are a Christian, there is a place for you in the body of Christ. Think about it. It doesn’t matter what your status in life might be there is a place for you.

A lot of people don’t believe that there is a place for them in the body of Christ. It is ridiculous for you to say that there is no place for you in the Church. The mouth has a different function than that of the ear. You might not think you have a place in the body because you don’t have their ability. But as Paul was trying to get across is that there is something you can do.

I’m afraid that this may describe you. Have you ever felt that you are unneeded in the church? Have you ever felt unloved in the church? That maybe some people don’t know that you exist. You might feel that they just don’t care about you. Some of you don’t feel this way but maybe some of you do. Some of you may feel that you would not be missed if you quit coming to Church all together. In fact, some may feel that you are just a number among many numbers. I’m just a knot on the log. I am nothing. The church would be no worse off if you just did not come to services anymore. Do you feel that you would not be missed?

If you do, then you fail to realize the importance of being a member of the Church of Christ. Just like the parts to the human body we are important to the function of the body. Many of you don’t feel that way. You feel wanted, needed, and important to the body. That is wonderful. All people should feel this way.

But, that is not always the case. We are a people who believe in numbers. We all have a Social Security Number, driver license number, and credit card numbers. We have employee numbers and tag numbers. We are just a number to Florida Power. We may think that in the Church of our Lord "I’m just a number". It is not meant to be that way. You are not just a number to God. You are an individual and God loves you. He loves you so much that he gave his son to die upon the cross for you, so that we can be with him forever. God is concerned about the individual. The world is concerned about the masses. Whether the church is large or small, God is concerned about the individuals in the small church as well as the ones in the large church. Whether the body is small or large there is a function that the finger holds, as well as the foot, eye, and mouth. Although there is one body there are multiple functions for that body.

I am not everybody, but I am somebody

I cannot do everything but I can do something.

And what I can do – by God’s Grace – that I will do.

This is a motto that every Christian should have imprinted in their mind.

I am reminded of a story about a young man from Nebraska. One day this young man laid in the field of wheat and stared at the sky. As he did he wondered if he would have to work in the fields all his life. He really did not want to, but he did not know what he wanted to be. On this particular day, he was watching the clouds pass overhead.

It appeared to him that the clouds were forming letters in the sky. He was able to identify them. First there was the "P" then an "R" then came a "E". As he waited for the clouds to pass over he was able to see "PREACHER" written across the sky. He immediately realized that God wanted him to be a preacher of the gospel.

After his senior year in high school, this young man went to college in Tennessee. He was determined to become a preacher. He studied hard, but for some reason he never was able to conquer his fear of speaking before an audience. Finally after his second year, one of his teachers came to him and told him that it just did not look like he chose the proper profession. The young man told the teacher what he had seen in the sky and how he knew that God was speaking to him.

The instructor asked him if it was possible that he misread the clouds. Could it have possibly been "TEACHER" that he saw? He was told that God loves a Bible teacher as much as a preacher. The young man was happy again. He now knew what was his true calling was.

He returned to his home in Nebraska and volunteered immediately to teach the Bible in Church the next week. Again the young man had problems teaching. He was not afraid to speak to the children in Church, but he had a bad time controlling the children. He lost his temper several times and shouted at the children. Finally he had to be removed from being a teacher. The young man was devastated. What could God have meant for him to be.

The young man gave up. He became a farmer like his dad, he married, and had several children of his own. He was successful because he had a good head for numbers and managing the family business. He treated everyone with respect and became very influential in the area. He continued in his religious upbringing, and he and his family attended every time the Church’s doors were open.

He became a deacon, then an elder. By the time that young man was 60 years old, he had helped in the building of 3 church buildings in the town. He was responsible for leading his wife and 3 children to Christ, as well as 6 grandchildren, 2 of his neighbors, 4 of his co-workers, at least 12 acquaintances that he met through his farming business. He had participated in nearly 100 home study classes and raised more than $300,000 for overseas missionaries.

To this day, he still believes that what was written in the sky said "PREACHER", but now he knows it was meant for another. It might have said "TEACHER", but if it did, it too was meant for another. But if it said "REAPER", well then that is just what he was. You see he was reaping souls for Christ.

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You may not know what you can do. However, don’t judge yourself by the work of others. We get that idea from the office or businesses. We see what others are doing, we think we must do the same. So we feel we must do the same at church. God does not judge us on that basis. Some one may convert 3 people to Christianity - others even more. You say I just can’t do it. God doesn’t judge us on what others are doing, but what we are capable of doing. He does not judge this congregation on what other congregations are doing. He does not judge us on what others contribute financially, but on what we are capable of contributing. Maybe you can afford to give twice as much. We should not expect of ourselves as we see others doing.

You might say: "I don’t think God can use me because I make too many mistakes." Well who doesn’t? The ones who make the most mistakes are the ones who do the most. If you don’t make mistakes then you are not doing anything. People who have done the most for God are the ones who make the most mistakes. Take Abraham for example. He told lies – he told that his wife was his sister.

There is David who committed adultery and then had her husband sent to the front of the battle where he was killed. God said "this is a man after my own heart". Not because of these mistakes but for the things David did for God.

There’s John Mark who went on the first missionary journey. He failed to do what Paul expected, but God used him mightily later in his life. Over and over again people in the Bible have made mistakes. You don’t see where God turned his back on them. He had them learn from their mistakes. God can make you stronger because of them. Don’t ever feel this way. God can use you.

Don’t measure yourself against anyone here. Don’t think that you are incapable of going to heaven because you are not like so and so. None of us are perfect. You should desire to be perfect – but none of us are.

Every one of us has a place to do the will of God. You don’t have to go to the church to do spiritual work. There are things that we do at the church building, but there are other places where we can do God’s work.

  • You have a place in your home. The church is not the home. God set up a home before he set up the church. Where there are parents of small children they need to teach them and train them in the way of the Lord. Parents should not feel guilty for spending quality time with their children. Take for example – over the last 50 years – if the people of the church, had properly raised their children to respect and to give honor to God. Think how many of the church there would be right now. You have an important place in the home. And if you train and encourage these children, then they are well on their way to heaven. We need godly parents in the home.
  • Spend time with your family. What a great thing to be able to say that you have been a great influence on raising your children up in the ways of the Lord.
          • There is a place for us on our job to serve our Lord. Some of us work 40 hrs/wk outside the home. We should not feel guilty about working on a job. You should feel guilty if working causes you to neglect your family or to neglect our commitment to the Lord. There is a place for a job in our lives. To most of us it is a necessity. Show me a lazy person who refuses to work for a living and I’ll show you a person who does not work for the Lord.
    If the job causes you to leave the church work undone then that is wrong. If your job is one that causes you to lose respect by the nature of the job then it is wrong.
          • There is a place for you in the church. It is different from your home and your job. The Church is a place of assembly as we are doing today.


                    Hebrews 10:23-25.

            Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.


          There is a need of you to promote love and influence others. We are to meet together in unity and in peace. As a member of the local body you are to function as a member of that body. I believe that the Lord will bless us as a church if we all are working together – doing what we can.

          What can we do?

          • We can continue to join together in fellowship, strengthening our love for one another.
          • Keep up with one another to make sure that no one is being neglected.
          • Continue working together on projects for the church building and grounds.
          • We can show our concern for one another by sending letters and cards to others – not only the sick and those having birthdays, but also to those we care about.
          • Call members just to say hello.
          • Study together to help each other to learn and to show our desire to study the Bible.
          • Be involved; teach, clean, work.
          • Help one another, financially, spiritually, and physically
          What we do is up to our God given talents. We cannot not waste them.

          Let me tell you one last story that illustrates the principle of the New Testament Church.

          One summer, a church was having its annual Vacation Bible School. There was a teacher of seven-year-olds that was surprised when a one armed boy came to her class. She was concerned that the other children in the class would make fun of the boy. (You know like little children have the habit of doing.) She was very careful to watch for such activities and was prepared to step in at once to stop it if it was to happen.

          Well, the story goes on that during the class the teacher was showing the children the little activity we all know, where you fold your hands together and say, "Here is the church and here is the steeple. Open the doors and here are all the people." The teacher realized what she had done. It was the very thing that she was concerned about – embarrassing the one armed boy. But to her amazement, a little girl came over and said to the boy. Let’s use your hand and one of mine and form the church.

          You see we can even learn from our children.

          I have no doubt that God is speaking your name this morning. He is desiring that you and me trust Him with our time so that He can use it to bring Him glory and others the Good News of His love, grace, and mercy. The only factor left to be determined is, "Will you yield to His voice that is calling you?" Will you continue to settle deeper and deeper into your comfort zone, easing your way through life, or will you step out of what you know and feel comfortable with in order to experience the depth of His blessings and purposes for your life?

          Come as we sing this song of invitation.

     

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