Being Members One of Another - RR274K19a
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission.|
Let us worship God. Blessed is the man who Thou choosest and causes to approach unto Thee. That he may dwell in Thy courts, we shall be satisfied with the goodness of Thy house, even of Thy holy temple. Let us pray.
Oh Lord our God we give thanks unto Thee for Thy mercies of the week past. Thy sure promises in Jesus Christ, for the days ahead and for all eternity. For the blessed presence of Thy Holy Spirit, the comforter. Oh Lord our God how great and marvelous Thou art. We give thanks unto Thee; Thou hast loved us in spite of ourselves through Thy grace and mercy in Jesus Christ. We thank Thee that all Thy promises to us in him are yea and amen. We come joyfully into Thy presence knowing the certainty of Thy grace, Thy love and Thy providential care. Give us in all things a grateful heart. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Our scripture this morning is in First Corinthians 12:19-25. Our subject: Being members one of another. First Corinthians 12:19-25.
“And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20But now are they many members, yet but one body.
21And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
22Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
23And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
24For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.
25That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.”
Paul continues his study, his description of the necessity for unity in diversity. Because of the modern man’s exaggerated sense of individualism he fails to see how his behavior is often far from self-determined. In fact the more individualistic he may try to be the more likely he is to be really socially conditioned. [00:04:51]
Precisely because such a man ignores his creaturely...
Precisely because such a man ignores his creaturely limitations he becomes more subject to them. How can there be a body if all the members are identical? Paul asks in verse nineteen this very important question, the word body implies and requires a unity which presupposes a diversity. It is not to be forgotten, that Paul makes clear that it is an aspect of man’s sin that he seeks to isolate himself from human diversities. In so doing he beggars himself and becomes more and more narrow in his perspective. This will, this will to isolation can make peoples in high and low places blind to their condition. It leads to social hostilities and to conflict. Now, this simple fact, Paul says, precisely because there are many members, there is one body. Each requires the other; both the one body and the many members are not meaningful without the other. It is ridiculous for the eye to say to the hand ‘I have no need of thee’ or for the head to say the same to the feet. The very idea is an absurdity. The body cannot be one member it has to be many. Paul uses this absurdity to drive home his point. We dare not allow either the important nor the seemingly unimportant church members to regard one another as unnecessary. We cover many body parts while happily exposing others, we find some aspects of the body attractive and others less so, this does not mean that the covered parts are any the less necessary for our existence, Paul says. Some parts are feebler than others and yet equally essential. Some parts of our body we regard as less honorable in Paul’s term, but they are no less important for life. Some aspects of our body which we do not flaunt we still treat very well. [00:09:04]
Giving them more abundant honor, and so on...
Giving them more abundant honor, and so on. We cannot very well dispense with these aspects of our body so that we must recognize and do that the various parts of the body are all essential. And these various organs without death or serious crippling cannot be dispensed with. God has so ordained the body that we quickly learn to recognize the inter dependence and necessary place of all aspects of our body. God has so created us that we have no schism, no dissention in our physical body. The whole body functions readily and naturally as a unit. We readily give care and respect to each part, to all our body. God’s purpose in this is that there should be no schism in the body but that the members should have the same care for one another. This is a remarkable and very important statement. We are told that God wants the body and the most important members of the church and the least important to show the same care for one another as they do for themselves as for important members. This is the perspective on the church lacking in many, many circles. What Paul is saying is that no more than we can try to pamper, say, our head and neglect the rest of our body can we survive, no more the church that does not have in mind every member survive. There is an organic unity. It has at times been in evidence in the church, as of John Calvin in Geneva, and with Saint Charles in Milan, that the body is cared for every member. The word schism in verse twenty five is not to be read in terms of modern usage, that is church splits, but in its Greek meaning, division. [00:12:30]
The church is divided if members isolate themselves...
The church is divided if members isolate themselves from others because of their needs or from those in authority because of their authority. In either case it is a division, whether it is done without biblical warrant. In reading Paul’s letters to the Corinthians it becomes clear that the Corinthians had seriously misconstrued the meaning of the gospel. They had seen it as freedom, but for them it was not so much freedom from sin and death as freedom from responsibility. Paul’s letters are written to correct this very, very dangerous antinomian fallacy. To read the meaning of the gospel individualistically means to see the gospel as man centered and as simply personal whereas it is kingdom centered, justice centered, mercy centered, and much more. We are enlisted then in the cause of Christ, to serve Him and his people and to abandon self-will for God’s law word. Now, man’s original sin is to be his own god, to be his own source of law, his own source of morality whereas to be redeemed means that God is for us, God the Lord, our total source of God and morality, our Savior and our King. Man’s idea of things, of salvation, is a cheap one, it’s be to be saved from hell. To go our own way with an occasional nod to God and to Christ. Despite the waywardness of the Corinthians Paul was very hopeful. In Second Corinthians 3:2-3 he actually says: “Ye are our epistle, our letter, written our hearts, written not with ink but with a spirit of the Living God.” Paul’s patience had led to a change in the church so that the members had become however still frail in the faith mindful of much that Paul had taught them. They must now learn humility in faith. [00:16:48]
They must learn to be members one of another...
They must learn to be members one of another. We cannot ask the body to dispense with any of its members, so too the church with the strong and the weak must be a unit in Christ. Let us pray.
Our Father we give thanks unto Thee for this Thy word. We thank Thee that Thou art on the throne. That Thy will shall be done, that Thou hast ordained that we are to be members one of another, that all the parts of our body and all the members of the church together are Thine to serve Thee as Thy body. Make us joyful in Thy appointment, in Thy calling, and productive in Thy service. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes?
[Man speaking] You know Rush I was just thinking, I never thought of it in this light, but the thesis of this text would very decisively refute the perfectionist notion of the church and the advocates of the so-called pure church, that only the highest members and purest, the medieval idea of the [unintelligible], the Antibaptist pure church and to push away all that don’t stand up to their notions of holiness.
[Rushdoony] Yes, you are very right. What Paul is saying is we do have a diverse membership in our body and we have diverse people in the church. People of diverse abilities and diverse faith and dedication. God needs all. God uses all. And so we have to live with the reality of a diversity of callings and gifts.
[Man speaking] I’ve never really noticed in that light, verse twenty two that points out that the feeble members of the body are absolutely necessary to the body so if we didn’t have them we wouldn’t have the church.
[Rushdoony] That’s right; we wouldn’t have a body either. It’s a very interesting analogy because Paul by this insists on the necessity of the wholeness of the body. It is interesting that perfectionist groups have constant problems. Because they are not content with diversity, they try to fit everyone into the same mold. Are there any other questions or comments? [00:20:20]
If not let us conclude with prayer...
If not let us conclude with prayer. Our Father we give thanks unto thee for this Thy word. We thank Thee that each of us in our way has been created by Thee to serve Thee, to fulfill our duties in the body of Christ in Thy kingdom and in Thy service. We thank Thee that the diversity of functions, a diversity of gifts is Thy purpose. Make us joyful in the gifts that are ours and make us faithful in Thy service. And now go in peace, God the Father, God the son and God the Holy Ghost, bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always, Amen.