SH.08.03.14.The Body of Christ

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Aug 3, 2014 - Baptism is a picture for us of a watery grave, the death of our old nature and the resurrection of our new. We now have new hope. Those bonds ...

SUMMER SCHOOL: CHURCH 101 The Body of Christ August 3, 2014 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 (Holman) Jay Strother I know you guys enjoyed hearing that beautiful orchestra. What you guys didn’t know was that I grew up playing the trombone. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I was first chair in high school. In my junior year I was brass captain. By my senior year I was student director. I was offered a couple of college scholarships, and at graduation I won the John Philip Sousa band award, thank you very much. Right, oohs and aahs. See you didn’t know any of this about me, did you?

I had a chance to play a little bit. One of my dad’s bowling partners was a guy by the name of Gene Steinman. How small-town is that? My dad’s bowling partner. But my dad’s bowling partner was a guy who played with Benny Goodman and his orchestra. Most of you are like, “Who’s Benny Goodman?” Only one of the greatest big-band leaders of the mid-twentieth century, the ‘30s and ‘40s. So today I thought as much as you have enjoyed the beautiful sounds of this orchestra, you would have a lot more fun listening to me play my trombone. Are you ready?

Uh oh. What? You’re right, I’m not going to play this. Because it’s been like 20 years since I’ve played this horn. And...no, no, no, listen. The last time I played it, Tanya will tell you, the dog tried to cover his ears with his paws. It was so absolutely painful. And my mom loaned my trombone to some high school kid, and so I don’t know what would come out of that spit valve, but it’s been in there for about 20 years.

The point is this. It’s absurd for us to think that one individual instrument could do everything this orchestra just did for us. The experience, the practice, the way the sounds blend together, the way they’ve rehearsed and followed the score—all of those things portray for us a beautiful picture of what Paul writes about in 1 Corinthians 12, the idea that the body of Christ is full of

2 all of these different parts and these different roles, and working together they all form this beautiful tapestry that’s greater than just the sum of its parts.

We live in a world today in which there’s a lot of individualism, and there’s a lot of people who say—and remember that this series is a response to a survey that you guys did about what we needed to talk about—and there’s a lot of people out there who’d say, “I know Jesus. So why do I need the church?” And if you need any further illustration, do you want this...or do you want this, what you just experienced in worship today? That’s what Paul is talking about in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. Would you stand with me in honor of God’s Word as we read this passage together this morning?

12 For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 14 So the body is not one part but many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I’m not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,” in spite of this it still belongs to the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I’m not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,” in spite of this it still belongs to the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But now God has placed the parts, each one of them, in the body just as He wanted. 19 And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? 20 Now there are many parts, yet one body. 21 So the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” nor again the head to the feet, “I don’t need you!”

22 On the contrary, all the more, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those parts of the body that we think to be less honorable, we clothe these with greater honor, and our unpresentable parts have a better © 2014 Brentwood Baptist Church. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited by law.

3 presentation. 24 But our presentable parts have no need of clothing. Instead, God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the less honorable, 25 so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. 26 So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it. 28 And God has placed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, next, miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, managing, various kinds of languages. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all do miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in languages? Do all interpret? 31 But desire the greater gifts. And I will show you an even better way.

Speak Lord, for Your servants are listening. Pray with me this morning. Heavenly Father, we thank You for the living, breathing body of Christ that’s made up of all true believers. Father, thank You that You weave us together into Your church. I pray that false ideas, broken pictures that we’ve had of the church, give way to the beautiful vision that Paul paints for us of a diversity of gifts and experiences working together as one to make Christ known. That’s what we want to be about as a people. We love You Father. Thank You. Open our eyes and our hearts to Your Word today, and it’s in Your Son’s name we pray these things, and all God’s people said, Amen.

So Paul gives us a really nice outline here in 1 Corinthians to walk through in verse 12. He says, “For as the body is one,” and that’s what he’s going to talk about first. “And as it has many parts,” number two, “and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ.” So I put a little outline in the bulletin, and our first point is this: the church is marked by unity that comes from the Spirit, as it says in Ephesians 4, another of Paul’s writings. We don’t

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4 create unity. The Spirit creates it. But we are charged to keep it. And that unity is symbolized through baptism.

Look what Paul says in verse 13, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body.” Paul as the New Testament was being written, was gripped by this picture of baptism and all that it meant. So we find it all over his letters, written to almost every church that he wrote to, where he would address the issue of baptism in some way, shape or form. Because for him it was one of the factors, one of the events that brought us together as God’s people. In Galatians 3:27, he says, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ like a garment.” He gave us this incredible word picture, that in our baptism it’s a picture of the putting on of Christ, that we become one with Him, and He now lives in us, and we live to serve Him.

And this word picture of putting on a garment is very applicable to us, especially this time of year. You know why? Because football season is almost here, right? So...yeah, we got some amens on that. That woke you up just a little bit. So what is happening right now? People are going out to the sporting goods stories, buying the latest shirts, buying the polo, maybe even buying the jersey of their favorite players. People are starting to put bumper stickers on their cars, and those silly little flags, and they’re purchasing chairs and grills and tents and all kinds of things with the logo of their favorite team. Why? Because they want to identify with the team that they root for.

In the same way, Paul says, baptism is one of the ways we identify with Jesus Christ. But of course the bonds are much, much stronger. It’s funny, because just a few weeks ago when we were at the beach, we had use of a golf cart to help us get the half-mile down to the beach. And we pulled out on the road that first day, and this golf cart just happened be a certain color of blue, and on the front it just happened to have a giant sticker in orange with an A and a U, for Auburn University. I wasn’t sure we were going to make it to the beach that day, because we pulled out and I heard “Roll Tide!” And they were coming for us. © 2014 Brentwood Baptist Church. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited by law.

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My kids were like, “Why are people angry? Are they jealous of our golf cart?” My family was with us from the upper Midwest, and they were like, “What is this Eagle and Tide stuff? What’s going on?” On other days we’d pull out and people would shout, “War Eagle—way to go!” So I’d just wave. It’s just a golf cart. We’re just using it. But people identify so strongly with those logos, with those team colors, that it just takes a second and automatically there’s some kind of a response. In the same way, Paul says, one of the things that marks you as being in Christ is your baptism. It’s why it’s so important.

He says there’s something else that helps us identify with it as well. Romans 6:4, “Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we may too walk in a new way of life.” When we baptize we often say, “Buried with Christ in baptism, raised to walk in a new way of life.” It comes from this verse. Not only do we identify with the person of Jesus, but we identify with His experience. Baptism is a picture for us of a watery grave, the death of our old nature and the resurrection of our new. We now have new hope. Those bonds of sin and death that once strangled us don’t have a hold on us any longer.

This identification is important because when we are baptized or when we see someone baptized, it reminds us of the powerful spiritual change that’s all come about because of the work of Jesus Christ in our lives. And what’s more, a baptism of course identifies us with His church. What does he say? “For we were all baptized,” talking about all believers. For Paul, there wasn’t a believer who wasn’t baptized, meaning that the fact for him was that it was an act of obedience that needed to happen after the point of salvation. We were all baptized. It’s one of the things that we share in common as followers of Jesus Christ—this experience.

I remember that I made the decision at seven years old to give my heart to Christ. I understood at that point the basics. I knew I had sinned, I knew I had done wrong things, and I knew I © 2014 Brentwood Baptist Church. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited by law.

6 needed Jesus to save me. And that was enough. I prayed with my mom in a chair in our dining room to accept Christ. But at that point I didn’t fully understand baptism, what it was all about. I give my parents a lot of credit, because they were very patient with me, waiting for me to understand and to begin to ask questions.

So I started to do that when I was about eleven years old, and when I was twelve we went and met with the pastor, and I asked him some questions. And then I was baptized. Because at that point in my life at twelve years old I began to realize that if this was something that Jesus did, then I needed to do it. If this was something that identified me with God’s people, if it was the public profession of my faith, of what I had done in my home as a child, then that was something I needed to follow through on.

And Paul says that’s one of the reasons why baptism is so important. We gather together as God’s family to see people who are following Christ through the waters of baptism become a part of our church family. And you know that one of my favorite times of year is coming up in just a couple weeks. On August 24, that afternoon after church, we’ll head out to Deer Run Retreat and we’ll have our church picnic and lake baptism service. And it’s such a fun time for us as a church family, to not only celebrate the great fellowship we have, but to hear the stories, the lives God has changed, and to watch people being faithful in obedience in believer’s baptism.

And if you’ve never experienced that before, with Paul I pray that you would pray about that opportunity. We would be honored to talk to you about your relationship with Jesus Christ. No, baptism doesn’t save you. Putting your trust in Christ saves you. But baptism is an important next step in your spiritual journey, so that you can identify with Jesus and identify with His people. Because Paul says one of the things that’s so important for us as believers is to have that common shared experience, because all of the divisions of the world that keep us apart pale in comparison to the cross and the Jesus who unifies us. © 2014 Brentwood Baptist Church. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited by law.

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Look what he says. “Whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free.” Now, it’s real easy for us in the 21st century to kind of gloss over that. But realize what Paul is describing there is that the fact that between Jews and Greek—these were cultures that had very little in common. Their worldview, their philosophy, their way of going about life could not have been more different. Centuries and centuries of difference, and yet what is Paul saying? Paul, being a Jew himself, but being a Greek-speaker and engaging those who were Greek for the sake of the gospel, Paul understood the power of the gospel to bring down barriers. Slave or free? Especially in this era, in the first century, slaves were considered non-persons. That they would be treated with dignity, that they would be considered to be part of the family of God on an equal footing with those who were free men—that was a radical teaching.

You know, it’s a little more subtle, but there are all kinds of biases and distinctions that still exist to this day. But one of the beautiful things about the church of Jesus Christ is that what we have in common in Jesus is more important than all of our differences. And as I look around this room today, I know some of your stories and experiences, and that’s one of the fun things for me as a pastor, to watch God build a body of believers. Let’s be honest. Most of you would not be in this room together. You wouldn’t know each other’s names, if it wasn’t for Jesus.

One of the coolest things happened in our first year of being a campus. I was standing right there in the back during the greeting time, and I had greeted a couple people who had come in the door, and on this side of the room there sat a family who I had known for some years, had a relationship with, I had their kids in the past in student ministry. He was, and remains, one of the most influential figures in Tennessee politics to this day. On the other side of the room came in Tim and Renee Faith, who are a couple in our church, and they had been really faithful to reach out to teenagers in our community through a Sunday night Bible study.

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8 And there was a young man with them whose name was Angel. Angel was clearly from a different set of experiences than most of us have been from. His hair was purple, he had giant spacers in his ears, he had tattoos and he had his pants hanging down, and you could see right through them. So they had brought him to church and I welcomed him. I had met him earlier that week. I told him I was so glad to see him here. And the two of them sat on opposite sides of the aisle there in the back of the room.

And Jeremy, as he was doing his greeting, got to the end of the fellowship time and said, “Here’s what I want you to do today. I want you to turn to the person next to you, I want you to give them a handshake, and hey, give them a hug today.” Jeremy just being Jeremy, you know, trying to bring us together. So I watched, had a front-row seat standing in the back of the room, as these two people from two very different walks of life turned and faced each other. And there was this moment where I thought, “Oh, this should be interesting.”

And here’s what happened. The politician walked across the aisle, extended his hand. That young man shook it, and he pulled him in for an embrace. And I got emotional. It doesn’t happen often. But why? Because I thought, that’s exactly what should happen in the church of Jesus Christ. The living picture: Jew/Greek, slave/free. It doesn’t matter your story. It doesn’t matter your history. It doesn’t matter, centuries of division and different philosophies and ideologies. When we all come together in the name of Jesus Christ, something powerful happens. The whole is greater than just the sum of its parts.

And that’s exactly what Paul begins to describe next. Point number two for us today: the church is marked by diversity. There is this wonderful unity that we have, all centered and rooted in the person and nature of Jesus Christ. And yet we don’t lose our uniqueness as individuals. What does he say in verse 14? “So the body is not one part but many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I’m not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,’ in spite of this it still belongs to the body.” In other words, you can’t vote yourself off the island. It’s not the way it works. If you © 2014 Brentwood Baptist Church. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited by law.

9 are a believer, then you are part of the body of Christ. And it absurd for you to say, “I’m not going to participate in the local church.” It doesn’t make any sense for you to try to ignore the fact that this was God’s design and His plan, and so He has a role and a purpose for you.

What happens when we take that attitude and that stance—I just need Jesus, I don’t need the church—is that we cut ourselves off from using the gifts and the role God has called us to play, and our joy is incomplete, because we don’t have the opportunity to work with people who are different from us to advance His Kingdom. And the church suffers, the church is lacking, why? Because there is some part of its body that God intended to be there that is not functioning as it should. So it’s one of the beautiful things about the body of Christ: that we are one, but we are not the same.

All you have to do is take a look around the room. Turn to your neighbor and tell them, “Hey, you’re different from me.” Wait, I didn’t ask you to say how you were different. I didn’t ask you to elaborate on the issue. I just wanted you to note that we’re different. And that’s a good thing. That was the way God designed and planned it, that each of us would come from a different background and life experience that shaped us, that at the moment of salvation God would give us different gifts in the body.

As a matter of fact, look at verse 18. This is a verse to highlight, underline, memorize. “But now God has placed the parts, each one of them, in the body just as He wanted.” Not as I wanted, but as He wanted. Just as God saw fit, God arranges us in bodies of believers because God knows exactly what every community of faith needs to carry out the mission God has for it in the community and in the region and in the world that He’s place it.

So that should encourage you, because I tend to see a couple things as a pastor. On one hand, in one ditch, I see people who are stuck. They’re in a rut. They go show up at church, they may even go to some Bible studies, but they never use their gifts in ministry and in service. So just © 2014 Brentwood Baptist Church. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited by law.

10 like a muscle, those gifts begin to atrophy. If you don’t work them out, it you don’t use them well, then over time they wane and you get more and more discouraged. “Ah, there’s no way God can use me. I’m not good for anything.” The reality is, God made you good for something. He placed you in the body, and if you are a true believer, if you know Jesus, then you were given these gifts and these talents and abilities, and He has a purpose and a role for you.

There are other people in this ditch because they’ve had a bad experience in church. Maybe they didn’t find the love and support and encouragement they needed. Maybe they tried to use their gift, but they were shot down. Maybe they had a bad experience. I don’t know any church, any other than ours—the way our church functions and works—that wants to encourage you as much as our church does to find what your gifts are, to find what God put in you.

We’re a church that wants to come along side of you and say, “Whatever God has given you, we want to see you use that.” We have a whole ministry called PLACE. We offer that class every month around here, or every other month, so you have the opportunity not to just figure it out on your own, but you can come together with men and women who want to help you walk through the gifts and talents and experiences that God has given you, to say, “You know what? I think you’d be good for this.”

I know I needed that as a young person. I needed people early in my spiritual development to say, “Hey, have you ever tried leading a Bible study? Have you ever thought about being a youth pastor? Have you ever tried playing your trombone in church?” Really, no lie. I did that, once upon a time. But all of those were people who encouraged me so I didn’t stay in that ditch of just being focused on myself, being isolated from the body.

On the flip side, we have a group of people who want to do it all. Here’s the reality—none of us have all the spiritual gifts. None of us do. We need each other. And sometimes there are those of us who try to do too much. So in doing too much, a couple things happen. One is we get © 2014 Brentwood Baptist Church. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited by law.

11 burned out, we get frustrated, we get tired, because, man, there’s just so much to do. We’re trying to carry everybody else’s load. But what’s the other thing that happens if we try to do too much? This person over here doesn’t see the opportunity to step and meet that need.

So for some of us, in the journey to maturity, it’s going to be about us focusing on, “God, what did You really put me here to do? Why am I in this church with these gifts, with this opportunity at this season? What is it that only I can do in order to best serve You?” This lets us see a wonderful expression of gifts in the body of Christ begin to emerge, and this body functions together as one, and yet has all of these different parts that are working together, just like a great team.

This team analogy applies, and we get it in the sports world so often. I have a mentor who tells me, “All right. I want you to take the Tennessee Titans. I want you to give them the best of everything: the best coaches, the best facilities, the best players...” I know, you’re thinking, “Jay, this really is fiction.” But I want you to give them the best of everything they could have as a team. How do you still get them to lose every game? Not just because they’re the Titans.... How do you get them to lose every game? You play them out of position. You take punter and you put him in as quarterback. Take the skinny fast wide receiver and you put him on the offensive line.

You see, what begins to happen in the body of Christ, if I’m reading this passage correctly, and I believe that I am, God has given every New Testament church everything it needs to function, to equip its saints and to call out and to fulfill the calling that God has placed upon it. But what is the problem? We don’t play at all, we try to do too much—or we play out of position. So it’s so important for you to know your role, to know this is what God has placed you here to do. And then for you to step up and for you to fulfill that role and for you to encourage your brothers and sisters in Christ around you who have the gifts that you don’t have.

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12 The couple weeks after Vacation Bible School were really fun for me. Why? Because our church family—the entire church body—had to work together to pull off a VBS for 450 plus kids here in our community. And you guys did a great job. So I got to walk into Starbucks or I got to walk into Kroger and have people say, “Hey, aren’t you that pastor at Station Hill? Hey, man, VBS was awesome. My kids are singing those songs still.” I kept getting that kind of feedback. And you know it was awesome for me to stand there and be able to say, “You know what? I had so little to do with that. I was an assistant teacher in a 5th grade class with my wife. But man, we have great people who are creative and talented and who love kids.” That was fun for me.

And that’s the way it should be for us, that we get to celebrate each other’s victories, that we get to walk alongside of each other in our struggles. And that’s the very next thing that Paul talks about. The third thing he tells us is the church functions better together for God’s purposes and for our joy. Verse 21, “21 So the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” nor again the head to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, all the more, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are necessary.” Better together than apart. That was God’s design behind the church. It was His design behind the home. And if you think you feel weak or you feel like you don’t fit, be reminded that every part of our body is important, just like every part of our physical body has to be healthy for us to feel 100%. And the same way every part of the body of Christ must function in order for us to be all that God has created us to be.

When I sit down with couples who want to get married, I use this metaphor of better together over and over again with them. Why? Because Paul’s very clear in the New Testament. Marriage reflects the church and the church reflects marriage. These are interchangeable word pictures, so to speak. And when I sit down with this young couple, and they’re head over heels in puppy-dog love with each other, I begin to ask them some questions. Well, why are you together? Why do you want to get married? What are your hopes and your dreams? What are your fears? What do you believe in the most?

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13 And a picture begins to emerge, and a lot of times the guy’s attracted to the girl because she’s cute, and the girl’s attracted to the guy because he’s strong and he can be a good provider. And I tell them those are all good things, but that’s not going to keep you together over the long haul. The right question to ask is this: are we better together as a couple for what God wants to do in our lives than we are apart? The way He’s wired us, our gifts, our talents, are they complementary? The way God has taught us together through our life experiences—do we have a diversity of things we can speak into in other people’s lives?

In other words, the question to ask is: is this a team that God wants to unite for what He wants to do? Yes, for our joy, but ultimately for His glory. And we have to ask the same question about joining a church, participating in God’s family. Is this the place where I am called to be better together, where my brothers and sisters work together to accomplish the mission of loving other people in the name of Jesus Christ? Is this the place where God wants me to be? Not just this consumeristic—do I like the music and are the Bible studies good? There are a lot of churches that those things are good in. The question is, what God has entrusted to me—my time, my talent, my treasure, my testimony—is this is the place where I’m to deploy that with these other people so that we can be better together than we are apart?

And I know there are a lot of people who don’t have that kind of experience in church. But that’s the kind of church we’re praying for Jesus to create here. And we already see how He’s doing it in so many ways, and it takes my breath away. As a pastor, as I’ve been talking to these other campus pastors that are launching some of these new campuses and church plants, I tell them often, as we launched Station Hill, I knew that God was going to be faithful to work through you guys to reach lost and hurting people. And it has been awesome to see Him do that. That was the mission—that’s what we’re about, and that still makes my heart beat so fast.

But what I couldn’t anticipate was the way He would bring each of you and how I’ve had a front-row seat to watch God build a body of believers, that He would bring to us people with © 2014 Brentwood Baptist Church. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited by law.

14 great gifts and great talents and great experience, and He would bring to us people from the community who had great needs. And I’ve watched over time as the Holy Spirit has led those threads to intersect, and I’ve stepped back, and I say, “Wow. That’s what the church is supposed to be. That’s what only God can do.”

And what is it all about? The motivation is love. It’s not just to have a big crowd. It’s not just to have people say, “Wow, that’s a really cool church.” No. It’s to love Christ and in doing so show His love to other people. Look what Paul says at the end of this passage. Verse 27, he says, “Now you....” underline it, that’s emphatic in the original language. “You are the body of Christ.” So this building, our new campus—that’s not a church. It’s a building. It’s a ministry tool. Our slates of programs and events—those aren’t the church. Those are ways that God works in our church, but they’re not the church. You are the church, “and individual members of it.” Again, unity and diversity.

“And God has placed these in the church.” And he begins to talk about the pastoral gifts. Is he ranking them? What Paul is doing is he’s addressing a very real issue that the church at Corinth had, the fact that there were some who were speaking in tongues who felt themselves to be spiritually superior to everybody else. And so what Paul is teaching is that all the gifts matter. All of them are important. And he list the pastoral gifts first—why? Because those are the gifts that build up the body of Christ. And he says, “Desire those gifts.” But look what he says at the end of verse 31. “And I will show you an even better way.” What is that way? Love. And that’s your last point today.

Now, 1 Corinthians 13. It’s printed on a lot of plaques. It’s read at a whole lot of weddings. But it’s not talking about romantic love. It’s talking about the love that we should experience and share as the body of Christ. Listen to these words with me. “If I speak the languages of men and of angels, but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” You see, right there is the reason that most people have a problem with the church. Because what they © 2014 Brentwood Baptist Church. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited by law.

15 experience first is not love. So the church has an important message to give, a message that shapes eternity, to give—but most people never hear it. Why not? Because all they hear is the cymbal and the going, because the motivation has not been love.

“If I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so that I can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” So what are we suppose to model? As we follow Christ in His church, what does love look like? Paul says, verse 4, it looks like this. “Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy; is not boastful; is not conceited; does not act improperly; is not selfish; is not provoked; does not keep a record of wrongs; finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” That’s the true mark of the body of Christ.

Bow your heads with me this morning as we come to this time of commitment. Of course, where it all begins is with a relationship with Jesus, because without Him bringing us together we have no common cause, we have no common purpose. So today if you don’t know Jesus personally, if you need to know Him, that’s where you must begin. And today we invite you to know a God who can bring us together, a God who has given us, in His grace and in His mercy, gifts, so that we can not only know our eternal destiny, but so that we can have purpose and meaning, mission, in this life as well. So remember, the church of Jesus is all about Jesus, and it exists to serve Him and honor Him. So we begin by honoring Him with our lives and surrendering our lives to Him. So today, if you don’t know Him, the Bible says, “Today is the day of salvation.” The life you’ve been looking for isn’t found on your own. It’s only found through a relationship with Him.

Second, maybe you realize that you’ve trusted Jesus with your heart, but you’ve never been obedient to Him in believer’s baptism. We would be honored to talk to you about being © 2014 Brentwood Baptist Church. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited by law.

16 baptized, to share more with you about why it’s important and how, as Paul says, it’s such a powerful testimony identifying us with Jesus.

Last, maybe you’re out there and you’ve been searching for a church home, a place to belong. I don’t know what your experience has been like with the church in the past, but I can tell you this church longs to serve Jesus. We’re not perfect, but we serve a perfect Savior. And as we seek to grow and worship and serve together, we ask God humbly to make us more like Him, every week and every month and every year. And we’re honored to get to be a part of what He’s doing in this place at this time. So if you want to become a part of that, we’ll show you and tell you how. We have a few steps we walk people through, so they know who we are, so that you know who you are, so you can find your place in this body of believers.

But whatever it is today, whatever response—maybe you just need somebody to pray with you, to show you that Christ-like love that never gives up—that’s why we’re here as well, and we invite you to respond. Lord Jesus, thank You for the gift we have of the church. Forgive us when we miss the mark, but thank You for the picture we have of the body, all working together in our uniqueness to make much of who You are, to make much of Your glory. And it’s in Your name we pray these things, and all God’s people said, Amen.

© 2014 Brentwood Baptist Church. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited by law.

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