The Body of Christ | Jay Fesperman (1/3)
How does a young man or woman go about finding his or her right place in the church? Too often, the young person looking for his church home is confused by the variety of forms of faith and expressions of belief. Very often when he is searching, he finds deadness because of an unwillingness to face up to the need for change in the life of the church. What do you look for? How do you evaluate?
When Jesus was on the earth in His . . . human body, many amazing and wonderful things happened. Out from this human being with a fleshly body flowed great gifts, great manifestations of the power of God. Tremendous bodily healings are reported, marvelous gifts of the word of knowledge, great prophetic utterances, unbelievable faith, great miracles of all kinds, the multiplying of bread to feed the multitude, deliverance from demonic oppression.
Today, that human body has been glorified and is now with the Father in heaven. Does that mean the end of all these things? No. There is still the body of our Lord here in the earth. And that’s where the same things are supposed to take place – in the church as it functions as the BODY OF CHRIST. That’s the scriptural definition of the church. It is Paul’s phrase in 1 Corinthians 12:27, “Now YOU are the BODY OF CHRIST, and each one of you is a part of it“.
Paul says in Ephesians, “There is one BODY and one SPIRIT. Make every effort to keep the UNITY of the Spirit through the bond of peace“. When a young person looks at the church today, it sometimes looks like they “made every effort to keep DIS-unity“. Gods word says, “You shall know them by their fruit“. So how does a young Christian know how to find his right spot in the church?
First, look for a group of people who seem to be operating in a way that a physical BODY functions. The same “works” that flowed out of the human body of our Lord Jesus in His days on earth are to flow out of the Body of Christ (the CHURCH). Secondly, the UNITY OF THE SPIRIT must be in operation. We absolutely must be ONE!
What good can your hand do [if it remains in the bed] while you are [needing to work or go to class]? Or what benefit can the legs and feet be if they don’t work to fulfill their purpose in concert with the rest of the body? We are members of the BODY. We must get it together, functioning as ONE in the BODY. Then when we have it together, by THE SPIRIT OF GOD, you can get it together as a total LIVING body.
So, as we evaluate ourselves and our place in the church, we need to recognize that we have something – GIFTS – to contribute, and we then look for anybody who has the capacity to meet our needs – GIFTS which we need. God has so designed the MEMBERS of His body that we are absolutely dependent on one another. And the Body of Christ is absolutely DEPENDENT on everyone of us. We can no more function separated from the Body then can our hand be separated from its body and live. It’s dangerous trying to live out there by yourself! The BODY must be ONE – IN UNITY.
From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Number 15, October 1981.