We Are Members of One Body
These past few weeks have been difficult for GBC, as we have mourned the loss of loved ones and friends. As we sorrow together, Ps Eugene reminds us how we, as a body in Christ, are bond to one another; and gives some practical suggestions on how we can love and give courage to one another so as to strengthen the entire body, for God's glory.
Is there a part of your body that you are indifferent to, perhaps a finger or toe that you would not really miss if it fell off? Or maybe it’s a body part that, although it is in pain, you happily ignore and carry on with your life as usual. These are absurd questions, of course. We know that the different parts of our body all matter because they belong to one body. The different parts of our body are organically, inseparably related to one another.
This is the picture of church membership that Paul presents to us in 1 Corinthians 12. It is important to listen carefully to what the Bible says about membership because our understanding of what it means to be a part of a church may be more worldly than we realise. We might be accustomed to think about membership in terms of joining a club. As a club member, I have certain rights and privileges. I may have responsibilities too. But ultimately, if the burden of these responsibilities outweighs the benefits of membership, then I may decide to go somewhere else. I may have plenty of friends at the club, but I might not feel any deeper sense of responsibility for them.
Biblical membership is not like that. As fellow Christians who belong to the same local church, we are “the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1 Cor 12:27). We have been brought back to God and also brought together as one through the redeeming work of Jesus Christ. God’s Spirit has powerfully worked in us, regenerating and making us clean, and uniting us to Christ and to one another. We are members—different body parts—who belong to the same body, Christ’s.
Therefore our relationships with one another in the church are not casual. And they are more than merely social. We share in Christ together. We belong to Him and to one another. We are accountable and responsible for one another’s good, particularly our well-being as followers of Jesus. Because we belong to the same body, I cannot afford to be indifferent if another body part starts to wander off. I will lovingly pursue, encourage and even admonish other members to press on in the faith. If another member is hurting or discouraged, I will pray for and speak God’s truth in love to comfort and strengthen them.
Indeed, Paul describes the solidarity and mutual care of the church in this way: “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together” (1 Cor 12:26). These past few weeks have been difficult for GBC, as we have mourned the loss of loved ones and friends. As fellow members, we sorrow together. We share the burden of grief and we help give courage to one another. As we love one another in this way, the entire body is strengthened.
Here are some practical suggestions to help us live out these truths:
1) Pray regularly for the church and its members.
2) Strive to build relationships with diverse members across the whole body of Christ—not just with those with whom we are most comfortable.
3) Use your care group as a means to help connect with the wider church. See your group, not as an end in itself, but as a means to build relationships with the whole church.
4) Actively look out for ways to serve the rest of the body, especially members who are hurting or grieving.
5) Seek to be equipped in God’s word, so that you are better able to speak God’s truth in love to others.
May God help us to become more like Jesus together, as the various members of the body of Christ love one another!