Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. (Romans 12:4-5 NLT)
“We all belong to each other.” Paul flatly contradicts what almost every church member believes about their relationship to the larger body.
Thomas Constable notes: “It is important that we remember we are part of a larger organism. We are not just a group of individuals each doing our own thing. … The body of Christ is a unified organism, and its members are diverse personally and in their functions.” He quotes William Newell: “Your right hand has never yet had a fight with the left: on the contrary, each constantly helps the other!” And John Witmer: “The point is that each member functions to serve the body, not the body to serve the members.”
Westerners are so individualistic, and Americans so consumer-oriented, that most church people cannot fathom how profoundly they misunderstand what it means to be part of the Body of Christ. We shop around for the church that will “meet our needs.” When we grow restless – or the preaching gets too close to costly discipleship – we start looking for another church more to our liking.
Such church people are like nipples on a man’s breast: useless and not missed if they are gone. Don’t prostitute the Body by organizing your church to service these Johns. Preach the whole Gospel, love your neighbors, and make disciples who make disciples.
If we truly all belong to each other, as integrated with, and dependent upon, each other as the organs in our bodies, we must all work together, singularly focused on accomplishing God’s kingdom mission for our church and each fulfilling our proper role. We must work together in harmony, in submission to the Head, who is Christ Jesus, our Risen Lord.