Some thoughts from your Elders
Every now and then the RVC Elders will post a few thoughts or reflections
The Body; Purposefully United
When Christ was born into this world He took on a physical, fleshly body. During His time on this earth, Jesus in His physical body demonstrated the love of God clearly and boldly – this love gets no more obvious than when we consider His sacrificial death on the cross.
Now that Christ has ascended into the heavenly realms, His work is continued in this world by those who He redeemed. These redeemed people are us – His Church – and it is us who must now demonstrate God’s love both clearly and boldly! It is in this way that the Church now functions as “the body of Christ.”
Now if your anything like me, when I hear this stuff my first reaction is “Good luck God” if you’re counting on me to love like Jesus, I hope you’ve got a backup plan because I’m not much like Him. And the best bit is… He has! You see it’s not up to you or me; it’s up to us, us as His Church, as one body.
Now you still might be thinking “well that’s great, but I hope these others pull through for me, because I still have nothing when it comes to living and loving like Jesus”. Well join the club, me either. But guess what?
We don’t have to rely on us and our own human nature because Romans 8:9 tells us that if we belong to Christ, we’re no longer controlled by the sinful nature but by the Spirit of God which lives in us. Now I can’t urge you enough to accept this promise as fact through faith and allow the Spirit to overcome you and your earthly nature.
So now we have learnt that it’s us as one body that is called to demonstrate Gods love - but that left me with another question; “if God is so keen to have His love demonstrated here on earth, why couldn’t
He have left Jesus here for a little longer with us? Like I’m sure there was more He could have taught us”. Well, I believe the answer is, that Jesus so loved us believers, who now form the body, that He choose to marry us, as the Church, as a symbol of His love. And like all good traditional marriages, there has to be a time before the ceremony where the bride and bridegroom are kept apart. These are those times, and it is our duty during these times to remain faithful. So, what does it mean to remain faithful to Jesus? What is it that He requires from us?
Well I think the answer to this is found in two spots of the Bible; the first is Mat 28: 19-20 this is the great commission where we are instructed to go out and make disciples of all nations, and the second is in Luke 10-27 where Jesus tells us to " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' "
So, then I thought; “this is going to look different for different people”. I think we all have slightly different ways of offering our love to God. But what about the great commission? How am I going to make disciples of all nations? Well, the good news is, once again, you don’t – we do! - Us as the body – Us as the Church.
You see, as the Church, functioning as one body, we need all different parts to make up the one body, no one part is more important or more valuable than the other and no one part is expendable. In fact, Paul said it like this:
1 Corinthians 12:14-26
14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand,
I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If 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? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body,
every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be?
20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" 22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honour to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.
Now all of this might make you wonder about rewards in heaven, you may think “but if I don’t win at least one thousand souls for Jesus I will be so far back in the stands in heaven I may not even get a glimpse of God”. Well, I can assure you that this is not the case. You see God knows exactly how much of a calling you have on your life and He has arranged for you to receive just the right amount of strength and gifting required for you to accomplish them. In fact, if we look at 1 Cor 12:4-11 it says:
4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5There
are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
Now the best Biblical example I could find of someone who completely understood this message was that of Paul. You see in 1 Cor 15:9 Paul refers to himself as the “least of the apostles”.
Now that has to strike you as a little strange! This is a man who at the time had impacted the entire known world and accomplished more than anybody else in his day. There was no doubt he was the greatest.
How could he call himself the least? Well, the answer comes in what he says next:
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them— yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me”.
You see God had given Paul the strength and the gifting to accomplish what he was called for, no more no less. If Paul hadn’t acted on the calling he was given, he would have to face
judgment over that, and if he tried to do more than his calling, he would have failed.
Another Biblical example of this same principal comes in the form of a parable; this time from Mat 25:14-30, “The parable of the talents.”
In this parable we hear of a man (who is Jesus) going on a journey, who calls His servants (who are us) to him and entrusts them with money (which in this parable I believe represents our level of callings and gifts).
Now to one servant he gives 5 talents of money, to another 2 talents and to another 1 talent. Now when we look at this in terms of our callings, the servant with the 5 talents may be expected to reach nations, the servant with 2 talent maybe home groups and the servant with 1 talent maybe neighbours.
In this part of the parable there are two important points, first, all the servants are given something, which tells us that we are all blessed with a calling and the relevant giftings. And secondly the different levels of calls and gifts given to each servant were according to his own abilities (which we must remember are also God given).
In this parable the first two servants doubled their invested effort, which may serve to explain to us that even when God gives us gifts we must co-operate with our labour to see them reach their full potential. However, the servant with only the 1 talent of money, probably feeling a bit ripped off and insignificant, hid his talent from everyone and as a result saw no profit for his master.
Now when the master returned home and heard what his servants had done with his talents, the first two servants received equal praise for they had both been faithful with what they had been given and they received even more than before. However the servant who chose to hide his talent was sternly rebuked and what he had been given was taken away and given to another.
So as we can see, the servant who felt insignificant and done nothing suffered great loss, while those who were faithful (with whatever amount) gained even more.
And it’s likewise for us, if you have been called to stay in the home and offer prayer support to others and you do that, you are, in Gods eyes, as great as Paul! But like Paul if your calling is to Church leadership or
big scale evangelism and you ignore it,
you will be held just as guilty as the wicked servant.
This is important! We all need to discover Gods calling for our lives and act on it. If we don’t, we will be preventing Christ’s body from functioning as it should. But when we do, we can take great comfort in the fact that however big or small that part we play may be, God has prepared us in advance to do it!
Father, where shall I work today? And my love flowed warm and free.
Then He pointed out a tiny spot, And said “tend that spot for Me.”
I answered quickly, “Oh no, not that.
Why, no one would ever see,
No matter how well my work was done, Not that little place for me!”
And the word He spoke, it was not stern, He answered me tenderly,
“Ah little one, search that heart of thine; Art thou working for them or me?
Nazareth was a little place, And so was Galilee.”