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DISCERNING THE BODY

1 Corinthians 11:29-30
For if you eat the bread or drink the cup unworthily, not honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself. That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died.

Spiritual Gifts
1Cor 12:1-12
And now, dear brothers and sisters, I will write about the special abilities the Holy Spirit gives to each of us, for I must correct your misunderstandings about them. You know that when you were still pagans you were led astray and swept along in worshiping speechless idols. (You have had a background wholely disconnected to the way God sees things)
So I want you to know how to discern what is truly from God: No one speaking by the Spirit of God can curse Jesus, and no one is able to say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. (No one can see God’s perspective except by the Holy Spirit and here’s what the Holy Spirit teaches us about that…)
Now there are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service in the church, but it is the same Lord we are serving. There are different ways God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work through all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice(Apostle); to another he gives the gift of special knowledge(teacher). The Spirit gives special faith to another(miracles), and to someone else he gives the power to heal the sick(healing). He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and to another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to know whether it is really the Spirit of God or another spirit that is speaking. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, and another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Holy Spirit who distributes these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have. The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up only one body. So it is with the body of Christ.

WHAT HAPPENS IF A PART OF YOUR BODY ceases to function or
WHAT HAPPENS IF A PART OF A BABY’S BODY isn’t developing as it should? The answer is obvious.

THE CHURCH has struggled since it’s political coming-out, in the 4th century, with reverting to the default, human tendency to reserve an elite position above “the people” from which a special class of people can keep control and optimize the use of money and enfluence.
Martin Luther saw this as a desease that had corrupted and threatened to kill the Body. He deplored the isolation of the “common” people from the actual Word of God. The Reformation was the result.
Unfortunately, the Reformation didn’t really reform the perception of the minister. Only that the control and service he was to exert would be as a married man and in the language of the culture. A different set of seminaries were the result but these seminaries still trained its students to keep the gap between the “clergy” and the “laity” distinct and sacred. The result of that?
The church still takes the bread and the wine without discerning the Body of Christ.
The Holy Spirit was sent because for every human being to have access to the physical Jesus would mean that the job of redemption would never have been done.
Every human being would have to take a number and wait for their turn with Jesus. But Jesus, with His last breath, said,
“It Is Finished!” That once sacred curtain that divided the professional priest from the people was immediately torn from top to bottom like tissue paper. A few days later the risen Jesus gave instructions for the disciples to
go to Jerusalem and wait for the promise. That promise was that He would send “the Other” and that He would teach you all things and “Lo, I am with you to the end.” The work of this “other”, when He had come upon us and been invited to take the preeminent place in His temple, our bodies; would be to “convict of sin and righteousness”. That means, to
distinguish for us between what is the old carnal way of looking at things and the right(eous) way, God’s way.
Now, the Holy Spirit DID come. A lot of us HAVE invited Him to endwell us and empower us. That’s why we are here today. That’s why we make the effort to get out of the house on Sunday morning and come to church. It really is proof that we desire the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. But let’s look for a moment from another angle. Let’s take a little harder look at ourselves.
Here we sit, having broken out of our weekly routine for an hour or so to come to church. That’s where most of us sing a few songs, hear a Bible study and, if we are in the mood, we smile and fellowship with a few others who have done the same – if they are in the mood.
When that is finished we go back to our life styles that if looked at from the surface are, except maybe for that hour or so, almost completely designed by the culture in which we live.
If those words sting your conscience, don’t push away and start defending yourself too quickly. You see, feeling the sting means that we are still willing to hear what the Holy Spirit wants to say to us. Please, look at verse 14.

Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part.

Each part is to be functioning and healthy and in harmony with the rest. A pastor, an assistant pastor and a few others who give their time to minister to different age groups on Sunday
IS NOT ENOUGH to qualify this or any other church as a FULLY FUNCTIONING AND HEALTHY BODY.
Read with me from verse 24 to 27
… So God has put the body together in such a way that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other equally. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. Now all of you together are Christ’s body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it.

Now go back please, and read with me again the words of 1 Cor 11:29-30
For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.
Do not stop breaking out of your house and your life style to get to church on Sunday morning.
Don’t stop partaking, eating and drinking, of the nourishment and Spirit. But do not continue to do that without understanding that the provision that God has prepared in you to be given through you would complete the function and growth of this Body that you have been sent to. Don’t eat and drink judgment to your selves by not discerning the Lord’s body.

Look around you. It’s hard isn’t it. Do it. Look around. What do you see? People. Yes. Faces of people that are threats to you. They are threats to your schedule and your life style. Look around. Those are faces of people who may be weak, who may be sick, who may even be dying. Why?
Not because the Word is not being taught in this place. Not because there are not people here who have given themselves to do what the Lord has put in their hands to do.
But because you haven’t see them as the Body, the Body members, the hands and feet and eyes and ears and lips of Jesus. The same Body you are a member of. You look at them and feel the strong urge to quickly look away. Why?
Because your life is complicated enough. You can’t even handle your own problems, you don’t need someone else’s on top of that.

What is it that causes your hand to reach for your ankle when it is twisted? That reflex is caused by the fact that both the hand and the ankle are connected to the same nervous center in the one brain in your head. And that one center is in trusted with the health and well-being of every part of that body. The compassion is not in the hand! The compassion and power to move complicated and even super-human forces into action to protect and to heal is in the One Head with is sending impulses to each member for the benefit of the whole Body.
That one Head is Christ Jesus. Stop thinking you have to feel the compassion or the special calling. We are all members of the same Body and
we have all been called. The special callings come, unnoticed after we are caught up in the life of Christ’s Body, giving ourselves as the Spirit gives us the impulses. We have been redeemed by the life-blood of the very Son of God; it drained from that mortal body to by our freedom. We can safely let the passion back in, because – Isa 53:5
He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed…. that we might be set free , healed from this body of death and be
resurrected to live the life of Jesus Christ, the head, the Alpha, the Omega. The freedom to surrender our bodies as living sacrifices to prove the gracious plan of God to seek and save and restore us back into Him; that He exists and is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
To Him be glory in the Church!

Now, look around again and hear these words of
1Co 2:9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
What you see. What you think when you look at the members of the Body is not the issue. The important thing is what God has prepared for those who love him. There is something in each one you see in this room that has been prepared for you, because you love Him.

Now you must turn that around.
Please, bow your heads and close your eyes. Look into the face of the one who now sits on the throne of your heart. He is waiting, not only to be given the authority to live out His life and purposes through you; but also for you to acknowledge Him and commit to His ways. Hear Him say concerning you,
“There is something in you that I have prepared for those who sit around you, who live in your house with you, who work with you, who go to school with you.
Are you willing to be the gift He wants to give? You don’t have to figure out what that gift is or even how it is to be given. That is the work of the Spirit “to will and to do His good pleasure.” The One seated on the throne of your heart will take care of that.
Your responsibility is 2 simple steps:

1. to hot-wire your attention to Him, read His word asking Him to give the insight needed for today’s arena for giving and the target of the gift.
2. To let His view of those around you dictate the issue of your thoughts about them and your actions and words to them.
See them as part of the Christ’s body, just like you. See them as part of you.

John 17:20-24 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; THAT’S US! that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me…
Pray this prayer after me.

Father, thank you that I can be the one
who Jesus is talking to you about here,
Thank You for giving me to Jesus.
Please, give me the courage to turn to you,
to submit and surrender my body
and my attention to Your purpose and pleasure.
With all my heart, I say to You today,
I want to see you complete
the work that you have begun in me.
Fill me with you Holy Spirit.
I gratefully give You my life
and I willing give Your life in me
to those You have prepared it for.

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