The body is not a collection of individuals coming together to form one large individual called Christ. If that were the case then Christ would derive his identity from us. No – the body is made up of parts that come together to form a whole.
Christ is the loaf. We are the parts – fragments put together in Him – sharing his life. We are not little loafs coming together to from one big loaf called Christ.
It is vital that we grasp this truth. Almost always we come to church as complete individuals – or microcosms of the body conglomerating together for a few hours on a Sunday to form a macrocosm called the church.
A few hours later we disband and go back to our piecemeal, individual, microcosmic existences. Nowhere in the Bible is the church presented thus.
Instead we are an eye, a nose, an eyebrow, an ear, a lip – each coming together to form the whole face or body. Once we recognize this reality – we realize that our significance is derived from being part of the whole. Regardless of how good looking one’s nose may be – when removed from the face it loses its beauty, significance, function, proper place, origin and purpose. This, unfortunately is the condition of the Christian in the church today.
Recognizing that you are part of the whole and that your significance comes from what you are a part of – also reinforces and extends the reality of the body beyond the two hour service on Sunday.
No longer do we disband after the doxology – because a hand or a foot or an eye or an ear that dissociates, disconnects or isolates from the body – is rendered a prosthetic.
If we don’t change our understanding of how we constitute the church – then we will either continue banding and disbanding at events or come together as isolated parts that engage and disengage in fellowship – sweet as that may be.
Like jigsaw pieces – we find our place in the puzzle. It is the puzzle that gives each piece its boundary, definition, location, direction and function.
At Acts 29, when a person chooses to enter into covenant with the body, we give them a piece of a 500 piece puzzle – with verses from I Corinthian 12:13-18 (MSG)
By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain–his Spirit–where we all come to drink. As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it.
But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. No part is important on its own. The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part….