The Spirit and the Body: Your Church Isn’t Good Enough for Me – Message Notes for September 24, 2017

September 25, 2017 12:20 pm

For the Common Good: The Spirit and the Body
1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 11-14
September 24, 2017

Drinking of the Spirit and Baptized with the Spirit go back to the words of Jesus: ‘If you’re thirsty, come to me!, he cried; ‘you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now’, he told his followers. The Spirit was always central to the ministry of Jesus. The Spirit remains so. It is only by the Spirit that we even have contact with Jesus. “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.’ Yet the grace given to us is even deeper than this; we don’t have mere ‘contact’ with Jesus, but perpetual communion. We are united to Jesus through the Spirit.

The Spirit unites us to Christ and in doing so unites us to one another in the Body of Christ.

That’s another name for ‘the Church’

“For where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God; and where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church, and every kind of grace” – Irenaeus

1. The Spirit Forms the Body of Christ: 1 Cor 12:11, 13, 18
As in Mary’s womb, the physical body of Jesus so also now the mystical body of Jesus is formed by the Spirit.
You can no more have Christianity without the mystical body called the church than you can the physical body of Christ.
To have Jesus is to have the Church! 1 Corinthians 12:12
To be a believer is to have a new communal identity, to part of an exile people, a priestly people, a holy people.

People today claiming Christ but denying the Church:
“They still love Jesus, still believe in Scripture, and most of the tenets of their Christian faith. But they have lost faith in the church,” said Roxanne Stone, editor in chief of Barna Group. “Particularly if you live in a more churched area of the country, it’s more than likely you have a significant number of these disaffected Christians in your neighborhoods. They still love Jesus, still believe in Scripture and most of the tenets of their Christian faith. But they have lost faith in the church. While many people in this group may be suffering from church wounds, we also know from past research that Christians who do not attend church say it’s primarily not out of wounding, but because they can find God elsewhere or that church is not personally relevant to them. The critical message that churches need to offer this group is a reason for churches to exist at all. What is it that the church can offer their faith that they can’t get on their own? Churches need to be able to say to these people—and to answer for themselves—that there is a unique way you can find God only in church. And that faith does not survive or thrive in solitude.” – Barna

While I love the traditional church, I love it like a foundational part of my past, as though it were a University I’ve graduated from to join a much larger church those still in the University program are quite suspicious of. – Donald Miller

  • Robbery:
    living off the capital of the investments of others
    Robbing the rest of us of you. We need you.
  • Pride:
    You can invent Christianity as you go, as though it consists of parts you pick up at Lowes or Home Depot and do a little DIY project called ‘personal faith’. Well, your faith has to be personal but your personal faith is the Faith of the Church. You wouldn’t even have a Bible if it weren’t for the Church. When you say ‘I don’t need the Church’ I get that you might not need to be part of a certain congregation, BUT you can’t mean you don’t need to be part of any congregation.
    You suppose you’d obey Jesus if you’d encountered him personally. But he is yours through a community.
  • Idolatry of Idealism
    It’s the real Church of history, in time and space, messy, drunk and disorderly, sinful and hopeful, empty and filled, a Bride one day and a whore the next.
    “You want a perfect church, don’t you.” – F Schaeffer
    “The Gospel is the pearl of great price, preserved in the Church, though under a cloud of dust.” – Met K
    “How many recognized in the man of sorrows the eternal Son of God? We must recognize victory beneath the outward appearance of failure, discern the power of God unveiling itself in weakness, and see the true Church within the historic reality.” – Vladimir Lossky

2. The Spirit Formed Body of Christ Consists of All
1 Cor 12:18-19
– What the Foot Can’t say
– What the Eye Can’t say
There isn’t a time period to which you can say, “I don’t need you.” True for the ancient and the current!
In fact what you might imagine you need the least, the least ‘cool’ part of the body, may well be what you need most of all, and its lack is impoverishing you.
There isn’t a believer right now in this city that you don’t need. I say it to people: “I need you.”
Toes on a hoops player

3. The Spirit Formed Body of Christ is For All
1 Cor 12:7
There is no every gift Christian
There is no every Christian gift
The Physical Body of Christ in heaven, raised from the dead by the Spirit, is perfect. So is the ecclesiastical body of Christ that is in heaven and we worship with them as we gather at this table. Here and now, we aren’t perfect. Here and now we need the Gospel – and the Gospel is BIG ENOUGH for our personal sins as well as our congregational sins.

“The head cannot say…”

Jesus came to get us; to be united to us. He died to remove all obstacles to that union, to reconcile us in his body. He sends the Spirit to create and perfect that union.



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