Page 8 - September 2021 - Truth & Tidings
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God’s design for where the teaching of   purpose that the Spirit has for him. Local
        those letters is to be expressed. The body   assemblies need the diverse service that
        metaphor teaches us why we should be   the individual members of Christ’s body
        part of a local church; Scripture doesn’t   provide. And the individual members
        envision detached members of the body.  need the body.

        A Body Represents Unity               A Body Represents
          A local church isn’t merely something   Interdependency
        you attend, but a people to whom you
        commit. If a marriage is going to be good   We should be part of a local church to
        – an experience of true oneness – there   express our oneness in Christ with like-
        needs to be love, respect, patience and   minded Christian brothers and sisters. We
        commitment. A local church is like a   should be part of a local church because
        marriage. And while a marriage is two   it is a God-ordained fellowship in which
        becoming one, a local church is many   we are to serve the Lord and His people.
        living as one (cf. Php 1:27). It is a oneness   And we should be part of a local church
        forged out of “many-ness.” The metaphor   for our own spiritual protection and care.
        of the church is not a toe or an elbow, but   A local assembly is not only for us to serve
        a body. An individual Christian is not at   others – we need others’ support. In the
        liberty to just do their own thing (cf. 1Co   body metaphor, “if one member suffers,
        12:15), or to proclaim their commitment   all suffer together” (1Co 12:26). Being
        to Christ by baptizing themselves and   independent, freewheeling, anonymous
        taking the Lord’s Supper on their own in   disciples is not for our benefit; we need
        their bedroom. God’s pattern for us is a   the accountability that a healthy church
        corporate oneness, a mutual commitment   fellowship provides. The individualistic
        to a community of God’s people under the   nature of our culture fosters a thinking
        Lordship of Christ.                   that we can grow spiritually apart from

        A Body Represents Diversity           the trappings of a stodgy old church.
                                              Virtual connectivity and access to a vast
          In the human body, every member has   amount of teaching via the internet –
        a different role to fulfill. This is one of the   neither  of  which  is  automatically  evil
        Spirit’s main points of application to the   – magnifies this. But the geographically
        church in 1 Corinthians 12. And according   distant preacher can’t care for you like
        to that same epistle, the way for us to dis-  a local brother or sister with a shepherd
        cover and fulfill our individual role in the
        body of Christ is through a real and close   heart who knows you and loves you. And
        fellowship with the body. That is what the   downloading sermons doesn’t equate to
        local church is for; it is a God-designed op-  downloading community.
        portunity to serve and edify one another   In the dispensation of the Church, God’s
        with our diverse abilities and callings. An   will for His people is to experience the
        unattached foot is of little help both to a   community of a local church. And experi-
        body or itself; it cannot fulfill its purpose   encing community requires commitment.
        that way. Likewise, a believer who is not   Don’t settle for being a name in a directory
        part of a local church is not fulfilling the   – be a true partner in the fellowship.

        264 TRUTH kTidings   September  2021
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