This is a message that has been on my heart for some time - perhaps close to the better part of a year. It has been a hard learned lesson. Thankfully it has been taught to me by a loving Lord and His Word. None the less, it was still a hard lesson to apply to my own life, but I have come to understand that it is a matter at the very heart of God.
I hope you will be able to find the heart of this short message. It is much shorter then what I felt I would initially share, when I got around to doing so, as over the last few months I have written a great deal of this matter in my private journal. I know the Lord is still implanting further aspects of this into my heart and perhaps one day will be able to bring it all together in a full text format for both my own life application, and for the glorification of others as well.
Unification of the Body of Christ:
A few years ago a local pastor started teaching on the topic of "Your Identity in Christ" that has totally helped turn the church around! What started as a seemingly simple topical series turned into a life-style-change for everybody who was able to experience this teaching. Now, a few years later, the pastor is still preaching on the topic of our identity in Christ - not because he is long-winded, but because he hit upon something the Church had forgotten, something that has revolutionized not only the church, but other local churches, and eventually the city as a whole! What was once a city of lost people has become a city of people who understand who they are in Christ - but it does not stop there!
As the pastor explained to me some months back, one does not only find your identity in Christ, but you find your identity in the Body of Christ. As we become more aware of who Christ has made us to be, we also become more aware of what Christ has made the Body to be. He shared with me two key verses he has been using as the foundation of this change:
Ephesians 4:11 says, "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers".
1 Corinthians 12:12 says, "The body (which is we Christians)
is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body".
As I myself have thought on this issue for the last year or two since I first meet with the pastor, I have come to agree with him that a great many of us have forgotten who we are in Christ. Yes, the Father has made us all individuals - but individuals within Christ, within the Body.
As individuals we have our independence, opinions, thoughts, feelings, hurts, manner of doing things, and most importantly, our faith. All uniquely ours, yet all uniquely intertwined together to form the Body of Christ for two purposes: The first purpose is to Glorify our Creator. The second is to expand the Kingdom of Christ here on earth.
I have come to conclude that even if the second reason for the Body of Christ is never realized, never fulfilled during our time, the first reason will never pass away, never be nullified, never be exterminated by anything or anybody for any reason - the Glorification of God is at the heart of all of Creation. Praise God!
Often times, we as Christians, do not get so hung-up on the first reason as we do the second reason. This has caused me many hours of meditation and seeking insight into why. What I think it comes down to is that we have let our individualism interfere with the unity of the Body of Christ, and we have therefore put a sword into the very heart of our ability to fulfill the growth of the Kingdom of Christ.
Throughout the history of histories it has been set upon us to fulfill the duty to help advance forward the Kingdom of Christ. Those generations who have been able to unite together have done great deeds for the Kingdom of Christ to grow. Those who have not unified, and instead individualized, have failed - and such will be the case throughout the span of Earth's history until the King comes again. Unification will also see the fruit of growth, while individualization will always see the downfall of a civilization and their faith.
For many months I have tried to open my own eyes to this, to see the truth of this, to see the absolute need for unification - for in the end, what good is a single coin buried in the middle of a field when compared to that same coin being united together with other coins for the advancement of the owner of the field. Christ taught us this lesson in the Parable of the Talents.
This has lead me to constantly remind myself that while I am growing inwardly, I must also be growing as apart of the Body; ever striving to be united, ever striving to help others, every striving to advance the Kingdom of Christ on Earth!
Blessings to all,
John B. Abela