Apart or a Part

1 Corinthians 12:12
The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole
body. So it is with the body of Christ (v.12).

In The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the
Church, Reggie McNeal writes, “A growing number
of people are leaving the institutional church for a
new reason. They are not leaving because they have lost
faith. They are leaving the church to preserve their faith.
They contend that the church no longer contributes to
their spiritual development.”

I wonder how the apostle Paul would view this
phenomenon. He provided a biblical framework in
1 Corinthians 12 for how the church should function.
Paul used a living, breathing analogy as he wrote,
“The human body has many parts, but the many parts
make up one whole body. So it is with the body of
Christ” (v.12). In many Bible translations, the last few
words are rendered “so also is Christ.” Perhaps Paul
was trying to drive home to his readers the idea that
“Christ” and “church” could be used interchangeably.
For Christ is the Head of the church, and the church is
how He makes Himself known in the world today.

The apostle goes on to address two common
church problems—the feeling of insignificance and an
independent spirit. “Yes, the body has many different
parts, not just one part” (v.14). Essentially, every part
in the body has an important part to play, and we’re
mutually interdependent.

Next, Paul honed in on personal application. He
wrote, “All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it”
(v.27). So, before we make the decision to leave a local church, we need to
ask first: How will my leaving affect the spiritual development of my brothers
and sisters in this church?

Let’s consider our part before the congregation comes apart.

—Poh Fang Chia

Read Nehemiah 3:1for a picture of unity in diversity and how God
used it to do the work that needed to be done.

How will the understanding that you play a significant part in
the body of Christ affect your participation in your local church? What part
will you play?

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