KFC Pentecost Service - 4/6/06
1 Corinthians 12:12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body - whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free - and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. [ 14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. ]
Thursday, 25 May 2006, B.B.C. News; A district nurse has been cleared by a court of indecent exposure after sunbathing naked in her back garden. Lynett Burgess, 55, from Llandyfriog, near Cardigan in west Wales, was filmed by a "shaken" neighbour in July 2005 and was charged by police.
The prosecution at Cardigan Magistrates Court said Ms Burgess's nude sunbathing was "not normal" behaviour. But magistrates cleared her, adding that it was accepted she did not intend to "cause harm or distress".
The court heard that Ms Burgess's next-door neighbour Morien Jones, 34, filmed her sunbathing naked and took the video to police. The film was shown to magistrates who were asked to decide whether Ms Burgess had offended anyone.
We are the body of Christ. 1 Cor. 12:27 "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." We are nearly two thousand years old! It is our birthday today! We are to be seen in our local community and in the world.
What is the body and what should it do?
The body is the church. The church is a misunderstood word. The church is not a building or collection of buildings. It is not an institution. It is the body of Christ and, therefore, should be Jesus to the world. Just as Jesus' body went around doing good, teaching, healing the sick, driving out demons, raising the dead, challenging the philosophy of the day, calling people to repent and trust in Jesus, so we are to do those things.
His body ascended to heaven, something we celebrated 10 days ago on Ascension Day. Since the ascension we are the body of Christ.
Called and equipped to minister to a dying, bankrupt world.
How do I join or be part of the body? .
By being baptized by the Holy Spirit. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body
The Holy Spirit makes us believers and unites us. Baptism, verse 13, is talking about an immersion in the Spirit rather than the sacrament of baptism. Imagine the Titanic. Is it in the water or is the water in it?
On this Pentecost Sunday we remembers the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Sounding like wind. Looking like fire. This was the birth of the church. An extraordinary event. When we come to trust in Jesus this is extraordinary, however, it occurred. God the Holy Spirit brings us to repentance and faith in Jesus. He gives us the power we need to live for Jesus, the fruit we need to become more like Jesus, the gifts we need to serve Jesus.
Membership of the body of Christ is not determined by speaking in tongues, as some of the Corinthians thought. It does not depend upon church attendance, praying, reading the Bible, receiving Holy Communion, being baptized and/or confirmed, living life according to a moral or religious code, even being a member of the "right" denomination!
The Holy Spirit is the life blood of the body. He unites believers. The Holy Spirit lives in every believer and we are all in the Spirit. Whatever our race, age, sex, class, intelligence, educational qualifications, bank balance... We are united by the Holy Spirit, not divided by denominations.
I know I am Preaching to the converted regarding our unity. At least I assume that your attendance here means that. But what about the other members of our churches that are not with us because it is not Holy Communion, it is the wrong time, it is not Book of Common Prayer, it is not Mass, it is not at "their" church, or whatever...
What would happen if my left leg had declared independence this morning? I would have had difficulty driving my car and walking. Because some of the body of Christ in Knebworth are not here we are incomplete. Like an amputee.
Can I encourage you to look around today. Think of someone who is not here whom you know. When you next see them tell them, in a non threatening way, that you missed them at this service. That they are important. That they are part of the body of Christ in Knebworth and the world.
What should I do in the body?
The World Cup starts this Friday, 9th at 5 p.m. England play Paraguay the following day. Power Point. The Paraguay team will be there. What would happen if David Beckham came out of the tunnel alone to represent England? People would be shocked and England or David Beckham would get beaten. Why? Because football is a team game and you cannot fulfil your potential as a footballer without being part of a team. Within the team different people, with differing abilities will fill different roles. You wouldn't put Steven Gerrard in goal because he is a midfield player.
The church at Corinth was divided with members desiring certain spiritual gifts above others. Paul encouraged the Corinthian Christians to identify and use the gifts given to them to build up the body. They are united by the Spirit in the one body.
We are all equally important, yet with different gifts, v.14-20. Given to build up the body, numerically and spiritually. We are to be God's Body Builders. Christianity is corporate. There is no place for the "individual Christian", isolated from church. They will not fulfil their potential. They will be alone, beaten, with no encouragement or support, dejected.
We should recognize that: we are united by the Holy Spirit which brings:
blessings; the care of other believers, acceptance by other Christians, being part of a team;
and responsibilities; caring for and accepting others, accepting responsibilities within the church, telling others about Jesus through our deeds and words.
Christianity is not a spectator sport. Not something we just do on Sunday, even occasionally!
We are different but are part of the one body. We each have different roles and responsibilities. We should to seek to identify the gift(s) we have been given, and to use and develop these. They are free, undeserved gifts from God. Therefore, there is no room for pride or jealousy.
The way of Christ and, therefore his body, is not about receiving but giving. If one part of the human body does this and receives without giving it will weaken the body, making it ill and less effective. Increasing the burden on the other parts. This is what cancer does.
The minority of people are active in the church and the way this limits the effectiveness of the body. There is no place for inactivity/spectator. Contra consumer society. Contra "I can be a Christian without going to church, letting it affect my life, etc...
We are to minister to the world and one another together. We should encourage every believer to realize their place and role within the church. We are all to work together as the body of Christ in Knebworth and the world.
We should practice the 3 R's!
Rejoice in our unity and diversity, as individuals and churches.
Rely upon the Holy Spirit to give us life and the gifts that we need to serve God.
Reach out into Knebworth and the world ministering in the power of God.