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The Function

You are the Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  41:42
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We have been in a series called “You are the Church.”
We have talked about the founder of the church which relates to the very beginning of the church.
We have talked about the foundation of the church, the Word of God. The prophets and apostles who gave us the foundation on which the church of the Lord Jesus Christ was built.
We have talked about the fellowship of the church.
We have talked about the faithfulness of the church.
And today we are going to talk about "The Function of the Church" or ministry.
The church is the body of Christ. And a body must function.
If a body is to be useful it must function as it was designed to function.
The body is not built to be a couch potato.
The body is meant to produce.
The body is meant for a purpose.
The body is meant for productivity.
And the Lord designed His body, the church, to function and to produce and to glorify God.
That is the function of the church really, to glorify God.
The function of the church is to win souls to Jesus Christ, but the end of it all is to glorify God.
That is the purpose of our lives.
Today as we look at this topic we are really looking at the function or the ministry of the church, about every member being a minister.
Lets turn to 1 Cor. 12:12-26
READ
1 Corinthians 12:12–26 NKJV
For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 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.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
In March of 1981, President Reagan was shot by John Hinckley, Jr., and was hospitalized for several weeks. Although Reagan was the nation’s chief executive, his hospitalization had little impact on the nation’s activity. Government continued on. On the other hand, suppose the garbage collectors in this country went on strike, did you know that happened once in Philadelphia. That city was not only in a literal mess, the pile of decaying trash quickly became a health hazard.
A three-week nationwide strike would paralyze the country.
Who is more important--the President or a garbage collector?
In the body of Christ, seemingly insignificant ones are urgently needed. As Paul reminds us, "The head cannot say to the feet, ’I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable" (I Cor. 12:21-22).

I. We Are All Members of Christ’s Body (12-14)

A. For As the Body is One
1. After Paul’s explanation of spiritual gifts, he tells the Corinthians that we are all one body.
2. Did you notice that he compares the church to the human body.
The picture is practical and descriptive: the human body is one organism, one person, one being, one life; yet it has many members or parts to it.
All the parts of the body are still in the body and actually form the body, enabling it to function.
By saying, "So also is Christ," he means so it is with Christ’s body, the church.
a. Just as our human bodies have many parts, we are still just one body. So the church has many parts, but it is still one body.
Paul says,
1 Corinthians 12:13 NKJV
For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,” that is to say, when a person becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit takes up residence, and he or she is born into God’s family.
"And have all have been made to drink into one Spirit’’ means that the same Holy Spirit completely fills our innermost beings.
We all have the same possibility to be used by God in ministering to others.
Then Paul states, “Not One But Many” v.14
In a Peanuts cartoon, Lucy demanded that Linus change TV channels, threatening him with her fist if he didn’t. "What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?" asks Linus.
"These five fingers," says Lucy. "Individually they’re nothing but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold."
"Which channel do you want?" asks Linus. Turning away, he looks at his fingers and says, "Why can’t you guys get organized like that?"
Charles Schultz.
I think that Paul’s point is clear: we are all in this together. We all:
a. Walk together
b. Talk together
c. Sing together
3. Either we sink together or we swim together.
4. If we are going to get anywhere, or accomplish anything, it must be together.
Paul also tells us that...

II. As Members of Christ’s Body, We Are All Important (15-20)

Paul says "If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body?"
Apparently, some members of the Corinthian church had an inferiority complex.
"Oh, I can’t do what Brother so-in-so can do, so I’m just no good for anything."
People get this "I’m useless" attitude and so they give up.
However, Paul says that we would be a mess if we all did the same thing.
We would look pretty silly if we were all ears or all eyes.
A body all eye or ear not only eliminates other necessary functions, but ceases to be a body.
We wouldn’t be a body at all; we’d be a freak show.
What would happen if in the Super Bowl, the quarterback goes up to the line of scrimmage and all of the sudden his offensive line decides they want to be wide receivers?
Paul says "But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased."
Paul brings the believers back to the sovereign purposes of God. It is God who has organized the body in the way he wants it.
The implication is that it is the same with the church; according to God’s will, it is composed of many parts, so that it may function as one body—the body of Christ.
If God wanted you to have a gift that someone else has, He would have given it to you.
If He didn’t want you to have the gifts you have He would have given them to someone else.
Romans 11:29 NKJV
For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Finally...

III. As Members of Christ’s Body, We Are Indispensable (21-26)

Here Paul talks about the fact that we need one another.
He says, "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."
As the organs of the human body—such as the eye, hand, and feet—need each other, so the members of the church with their various functions need each other.
When a person loses his/her leg, they quickly discover something: an important part of them is missing.
You know when a member of the Body of Christ stops coming to church or gets themselves un-involved in the function of the church the church body suffers, and that member is missed.
We are all necessary! You are necessary!
Paul says, "No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary."
NIV puts it this way, "On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable (NIV)."
Paul further illustrates the fact that we are all in this together when he says ,
1 Corinthians 12:26 NKJV
And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
We are called to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15).
Too often, unfortunately, we are jealous of those who rejoice and apathetic toward those who weep.
Believers are in the world together — there is no such thing as private or individualistic Christianity.
We are to share in the lives of those to whom we have fellowship with.
• The word fellowship means to share in something.
• We are to share in one another’s joys
• We are to share in one another’s sorrows
• We are to share in one another’s success
• We are to share in one another’s setbacks
1 Peter 3:8–9 NKJV
Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.
Conclusion
As we wrap this topic up let me say this,
If we are going to be the Church that God wants us to be, we have to find our place in the body of Christ and perform that function that God has given to us.
Well, what if my place in the church is to sit and do nothing? Lets take a look at what Eph. 4:11-12 says,
Ephesians 4:11–12 NKJV
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
notice it says, “for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry.”
We all have something to do.
We all have a place.
We are all important.
We are all indispensable.
We all have a job to do and function a ministry. You are the church, you are the Body of Christ. You have been appointed to serve.
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