What We Do Matters-Jan. 29, 2012

Many Christians may go about their daily lives wondering if what they do really makes a difference?  I believe God’s word is clear that it does not just for the individual Christian believer but also the body of Christ his church.

Our sermon for the day focused on 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 & 1 Corinthian 9:19-23.  The scripture texts themselves focus on a divisive issue of that day, whether it was alright to eat food that had been offered to idols?  Paul contends that since really there are no other “gods” this should not be an issue, however what is an issue both then and now is how do our actions affect the faith of others?  Our actions do matter and can have effects on believers and unbelievers alike.

Although we are individuals Christians God intends for us to be members of the body of Christ.  The body of Christ is there to encourage as we seek to live out Christ in our world. As Christians we each have a unique opportunity and responsibility to share Christ with others who do not know Him and to build up one another in Christ.  One great set back to sharing Christ with the outside world is that many believers do not have the fullness of Christ that comes from the unity of the body.  There are no “Lone Ranger” Christians, we need to be connected with the body of Christ.

“It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”  Ephesians 4:11-13

It is hard to be full of Christ while still full of ourselves so first we must give ourselves daily to Christ as individuals. Next to live out our unique lives and gifts in the body of Christ.  It is as Paul tells the church at Ephesus prepare God’s people for works of service, and the reason is that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in faith and mature in Christ, and attain the fullness of Christ.

Unity does not mean uniformity.  The members of the body will not all look the same or have the same gifts or functions within the body.  The head (Christ) is where we pursue unity.  Although it is not outwardly expressed it is certainly implied that to build up, there must be a trust among members of the body because not all can be a hand or a foot, but we must trust the calling and gifts God has placed on each members life that these gifts be used for the edification of the body and the glory of Christ in the community.

We as members of the body of Christ, should serve generously in the capacity God has gifted us, pray for, encourage, and build up the  members of the body.   Allowing Christ to be our focus drawing our hearts to unity in our pursuit of the fullness of Christ.  May we find a place of encouragement in the body of Christ, and seek to draw others to him.  What we do, really does matter!

Love is Action

When considering our response to each other and the world, the Christian should remember love.  Not the mushy stuff seen on t.v. and in books but the love that requires tough choices such as loving our enemies and those that disagree with us.  In the life of Christ we see this evidence not in expressions but rather in action.  Jesus cared for others, reaching out to those who had been hurt or rejected.  The ultimate action of love was Jesus giving His life for all. 

The gospel of Matthew record Jesus prayer in the garden before his arrest, trial, and crucifixion.  Jesus says to His disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.  Stay here and keep watch with me.”  Then Jesus falls face first to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.  Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  Jesus realizing that cup could not be taken away unless he drinks it, again confirms that the will of God be done.

Jesus makes the loving choice to give up His life for us all, not because the world was nice, good or friendly to Him, but because He loved the world.  Scripture records that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us, and in John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

Truly, this is good news to all the world and demonstrates true love is not in expression alone, but in action.