Summary: This message outlines the marks of a healthy Body (the church), based upon Ephesians 4:1-16. It highlights the attitudes of a healthy body and the gifts of the Spirit that characterize a church which operates on gift-based leadership.
SERMON – SUNDAY, MAY 18, 2014
TEXT – EPHESIANS 4:1-13
TITLE – “CONTINUATION OF THE SERIES: TRUTH FROM EPHESIANS”. . . .”A HEALTHY BODY”
Our physical bodies are a wonderful creation, intricately woven together in our mother’s wombs. The origin for each of us was however, not in the womb of our mothers but in the mind of God, who through His infinite wisdom, knew each one of us and planned for each one of us from the time of the creation of the earth. How vast is the wisdom of God! He is the one who according to Psalm 139, who knit us together in our mothers’ wombs and created us so fearfully and wonderfully, and who has ordained all our days and written them down in his book.
His plan for our bodies is for health and wholeness, but ever since the fall of mankind, when sin entered into the picture, we have been subject to the evils of disease and other things that can rob our health, preventing the human body from being the picture of health, which God intended for us. We were intended to live for ever .. . .not to age. . . . not to deteriorate. But when sin entered into the world, it changed everything and we now experience not only sickness and disease, but the sometimes painful process of aging. I will be glad when JESUS comes again and renews and restores all things. That could be a sermon in itself, but not for today.
A healthy body is vibrant, full of life, energy, joy and enthusiasm, because there is nothing robbing that body of that vitality.
So it is with the church. We are not an institution even though it is necessary to have certain elements of organization for the smooth functioning of the church.
We together as the church of the living God are the spiritual, visible Body of Christ on the earth. We are His eyes, hands, feet, etc. And we operate out of the heart. . .out of the Holy Spirit that indwells each one of us. When you become a believer and you know Christ in your heart, then you by natural process, receive the gift of the Holy Spirit who comes to dwell within you. This doesn’t mean that your physical body won’t wear out and die someday. It will. But it does mean that the spiritual life you have in Christ will continue to live on even when your body dies.
It is vital as a church that we recognize the real nature of the church. It is a spiritual body. . . . united and held together through our common experience of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, and through our shared indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
What are the characteristics of this spiritual Body? What makes the church unique from every other organization on the earth? What are the marks that distinguish us from other organizational entities?
Let’s take a look at those characteristics from Ephesians chapter 4.
Those characteristics are listed here in 2 categories as I see it: attitudes and giftedness.
Both attitudes and giftedness are marks of the Body of Christ.
First of all there are certain attitudes and a certain life-style that make us resemble Christ Himself.. . .that make us definable as the Body of Christ.
The first thing mentioned her by Paul the apostle, is that we are to “live a life worthy of the calling that we have received”, verse 1.
We have been called into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. . . .into a saved position in Christ, having all our sins forgiven through His death on the cross.
Knowing the price He paid for our salvation, in that He laid down His life on our behalf, lays upon us the responsibility to respect Him and to live holy and upright lives in this world.
Not only is it a responsibility to do so, but it should also be a deep desire to live to please Him.
J.C. Sproul writes in the introduction to his book, “Essentials Truths of the Christian Faith”, that work against the Christian goal of maturity.
Lack of maturity among Christians is so prevalent today, and is due to a lack of the understanding and implementation of the essential doctrines of the Christian faith.
That is a problem among many Christians in our churches today, because we don’t study our bibles enough but instead, we give it a casual reading once in awhile.
Today, worldly standards have penetrated the church as a result, and become integrated into the lifestyles of many Christians. Sproul calls it “Easy Believism”, which is listed as cause no. 3. This is a modern form of the ancient heresy of antinomianism. “Antinomianism asserts that once a person makes a decision for Christ or prays to receive Jesus as Savior, it is not necessary to embrace Him as LORD. There are no requirements of law that bind the Christian.” Pg. xv, in the Introduction to “Essential Truths of the Christian Faith”.