Faithlife Sermons

The Eyes Have IT

God And Religion?  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  21:04
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When asked a question last week about believing in God and believing in religion, Pastor Raph was tasked to dig a little deeper in his study of 1 Corinthians 12. Are you an ear, a foot, a hand, or an eye?

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The Eyes Have IT

State fair is going on and it always reminds me of one great thing: It’s marching band season. Last week was Band Day at the State Fair and our Elwood Mighty Marching Panther Band placed 24th! They’ve been in the top 25 bands for In marching band, the students march in specific formations to a specific rhythm using steps a specific size for a specific number of counts to get from frame to frame. The effect we see is an organic movement of shapes on the football field.
The students also have to play memorized music at the same time. On top of that, they have to aim to use the same style of step, point their instruments a certain way so that they’re as uniform as they can be, and keep their eyes on the drum major.
The drum major keeps everyone together by indicating with a hand pattern what beat the band should be on at any given time. It would be easy to think that the drum major is the single most important person in the band. Hold that thought.
The Ohio State University has one of the most organized marching bands in the nation right now. They march 192 every week.
The make-up is very specific, too. It has:
12 E-flat Cornets 51 B-flat Trumpets 21 Flugelhorns 28 Mellophones 21 Trombones 7 Bass Trombones 28 Baritone Horns 28 Sousaphones 14 Snare Drums 6 Tenor Drums 6 Bass Drums 6 Pairs of Cymbals
Out of that many people on the field, it would be hard to miss one, wouldn’t it?
How about now?
Who ever knows about college marching bands or even college football traditions also knows that the dotting of the I is a tradition. But that really shows the difference one person in the sea of 16 dozen students makes. That one letter, “I”, is completely changed in the context of time.
I see a lot of similarities between this marching band and the body of Christ.
1. Each member is important,
Isn’t that word pretty powerful today? “I?” We just sang “I love you Lord.” Open the eyes of My heart. It’s about me me me. The kind of help books you see are do it “self-help” books…do it yourSELF, or looking out for Number 1. The Bible says differently. Let me explain.
2. Each person is put there by design,
3. No one can do the whole task on their own.
Isn’t that word pretty powerful today? “I?” We just sang “I love you Lord.” Open the eyes of My heart. It’s about me me me. What if we changed those lyrics to “We love you Lord”, open the eyes of our hearts, or even Revive us. Open the eyes of their hearts, Revive Them? The kind of help books you see are do it “self-help” books…do it yourSELF, or looking out for Number 1. The Bible says differently. Let me explain.
Someone asked me last week, “what does it mean when someone says ‘I believe in God but don’t believe in religion?’”
My first thought was, “Being a Christian isn’t following a religion, it’s a relationship.
That’s true. We can understand that Christianity comprises of a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus.
If we think of it this way, then we are not practicing a religion, but rather following the Way, the Truth, and the Life upon which we place our trust, faith, and hope.
I don’t think that’s what the person meant by “don’t believe in religion,” though. I believe that they were referring to the notion that the personal relationship with God is the ONLY relationship they need. In other words, they don’t need to be a part of a church (organized religion) to be obedient to God.
Paul addresses this in 1 Corinthians 12:14-21. Starting with Verse 14:
14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”
How many have you heard this before? Tap the Amen button if you have! I have, too, and recently. However having been asked that question, I felt the need to dive in a little deeper.
What I found is that this analogy as people being parts of the body was used in a completely different way in ancient society. It was used more to “Put people in their places” within the social system. This analogy was used to keep people from rebelling against their superiors.
Paul did the opposite. Instead of focusing on a heirarchy of body parts, he goes on to tell us how:
1. Each member is important,
2. Each person is put there by design,
3. No one can do the whole task on their own.
Just like the marching band earlier. Let’s just track the eye through this Scripture.
V. 16: And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body?
Of course the answer this is “no” because we’re all important in the Body of Christ. We can’t all be _____s. Then only one part of God’s mission would get done! We can’t rely on people who have this one spiritual gift to do all the work of the church. If we go on to verse 17, Paul continues:
V. 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear?
Imagine if everyone on the field tried to dot the “I” at once. There would be no “I” there to dot! Or what if everyone just tried to be the letter I on the field. It wouldn’t really be recognizable as “Ohio,” would it?
Of course, I’m not trying to be insensitive to those who cannot hear or see well, but think about how the body functions as a whole. Without eyes, other things would have to step up and perform the function of the eyes. We would maybe have to rely more heavily on our ears or our sense of touch to get around safely. We may need tools to enhance our vision if our eyes don’t function 100%. But, the idea of “seeing” what’s ahead plays a vital role in keeping our own bodies safe.
There have been some people really stepping up to serve here lately. It’s a sign of a healthy church when more and more people are willing to step up. The Gap Food packing event was a HUGE success because people showed up to serve. We are a good church for that, but we can always do more for God. I ask myself how I can help more. I just need…we just need to do it. We are all important.
There have been some people really stepping up to serve here lately. It’s a sign of a healthy church when more and more people are willing to step up. The Gap Food packing event was a HUGE success because people showed up to serve. We are a good church for that, but we can always do more for God. I ask myself how I can help more. I just need…we just need to do it. We are all important.
On the other side, we have to understand that we need one another. We cannot be a Christian and not be in a church. Verse 21 says, The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” No one can live in a bubble with just them and their spirituality. You can live there, but that’s not God’s plan. We’re all here, so we’re giving it a try. But the church is strongest when we all work together towards God’s plan. In order to accomplish that goal, we need all of us.
As I was reading this Scripture this week, I noticed something I hadn’t though of before. Verse 18 says this:
V. 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. God gives us all function within His church. I’ve heard it before, but something struck me this time. Of course we can’t boast about our strengths within the church because He assigned it! On the other side, if we ignore this instruction about functioning within the church, we are essentially rejecting God’s design. God gave us gifts for use within the church.
Each person is put there by design. Let’s look at it this way, The original Greek word hekastos means more “every one considered individually.” How great and humbling is that—God considered your place in the kingdom individually. But being that individually placed person is part of a group.
Lastly, No one can do God’s work on their own.
We have to understand that we need one another. We cannot be a Christian and not be in a church. Verse 21 says, The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” No one can live in a bubble with just them and their spirituality. You can live there, but that’s not God’s plan. We’re all here, so we’re giving it a try. But the church is strongest when we all work together towards God’s plan. In order to accomplish that goal, we need all of us.
When we, as believers, decide that we no longer need the church, we are not only looking out for ourselves. Maybe we should consider that we are actually injuring the body? The body of Christ, our Lord and savior, our creator, our sanctuary? If we go a step further and decide we don’t need to serve the body in the best ways we know how, we are depriving the potential of God’s church.
Here’s my Challenge to you.
If you haven’t already, find an opportunity that you can support personally. I know that many of you have, and that’s great! But let’s look at other ways to serve.
Within the church, we are in need of Audio/Video folks. If you have an interest in that, even if you’re not proficient, let us know and we can get you started. This includes running sound, slides for worship, doing camera work (pictures and video).
We can always use hands in the food ministries of the church. We have a wonderful group of people who serve faithfully in our Soul Food and Funeral dinners. See if you can lend a hand if you’re free.
Locally, the Food Pantry can use assistance. In August, the load is a lot higher than the rest of the year. We can use donations of food, money, grocery bags, egg cartons, etc. Place your donations (not the money!) in the hallway and we’ll make sure they get to the food pantry.
You can also volunteer there. They are open Mondays 6-7:30 p.m. and Wednesday and Thursday from 10 to noon.
On our website emscchurch.org, many local and international missions that we support. If one or more of them speak to you, then come speak to us and we’ll get you connected.
I’ll leave you with a story. There’s a man named Charles Plumb who does a great deal of speaking about his experiences in Vietnam. He was a U.S. Naval academy graduate and in the conflict, he flew 75 combat missions as a Captain. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a lot of missions. On his last mission, he was shot down. Luckily his parachute allowed him to land safely only to be captured. He spent 6 years away from everyone he trained with not knowing what was going to happen next.
I can’t imagine one day being captive let alone 6 years. But he did it. After that time was out and he got home, recovered, and started living his life again, he was eating at a restaurant with his wife. A man came up to him and said, “You’re Plumb!” Somehow, the man knew who Plumb was, that he flew jet fighters, what aircraft carrier he served on, and that he was shot down.
I know if someone came up to me with that much information today, I’d think he’d been Facebook stalking! But what got me was how he actually knew. After Plumb asked the man how he knew, the man said, “I packed your parachute.”
Captain Plumb’s testimony reminds us that every community needs EVERY person playing their part. Some of us will be glorious fighter pilots, while others will be behind the scenes like the parachute packer. Whether you look at yourself as an eye, ear, nose, or hand you are All important in the kingdom of God.
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