Jesus Christ is alive and walking and working in the world today.
"Christ lives in me." Especially, the Lord is seen in the company called the Church.
As the salt of the world, Christians are God's healing power to sick humanity. "You are the light of the world," says Jesus to us also.
Show the world Jesus. What a responsibility!
Now to do that, we have to be meek and lowly. Scripture says He is. Of course, meekness is not weakness. Rather it is that strong gentleness with one another - the spiritual adhesive force that unites and holds us in fellowship.
"The number one mark of a Christian is loving and putting up with one another," as one puts it.
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34,35. Study this text carefully.
Now, turn over to our main text in I Corinthians 12. Beginning about verse 14, I wish to lift out four tremendous affirmations of the Christian life. Every believer can strengthen his relationship with others within the church by making these four affirmations in his heart - constantly.
I. I AM NEEDED BY YOU
That is not wrong to say. It is sin not to hold it. Read prayerfully verses 14-20. No one has the right to feel insignificant and "out of it" when it comes to the Christian community, vss. 14, 15. Let no one say because I am not this or that in the church, or have this or the other ability, I do not count. See 16.
One fellow, who worked with the church young people, painted a football like a giant eyeball, covered it with a baby blanket and appeared before the group with his "baby" tucked beneath his arm. Gasps greeted the unveiling. "you see, folks, he concluded, "it takes more than an eye to make a body." That is what vs. 17 is saying.
If this is true, then you can look at any other believer and say in your heart, "I am needed by you." What a revolutionary concept! Now, don't fight God over what He wants of you, 18.
No need to feel inferior and not needed. You may be older, ill, shut-in but you are needed. Never feel driven to pretend to try to be what you are not. It's all so unnecessary. Your fellow believers need you just as you are -- your prayers, words, presence, service, encouragement. Thank God for a purpose and place in His wide universe. Plugged in where I am needed. Look on your brother and say, "My life purpose is involved with you...and I am needed by you."
Now, move on to the next affirmation.
II. I NEED YOU
Verse 21 of I Corinthians 12 bring us to this, too. No member of Christ's body, the Church, can say to the other, "I don't need you." Superiority and envy are both shot down by this verse. Oh, the sin behind the muffled rumble, Why was I not selected for that task, that place of honor?" No, I see clearly that I am the needy one - awaiting vital inflow from the others - even the ones I thought so weak.
"On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable," vs. 22. Put it down, the ones you appreciate least are apt to be ones you need most. Look on that brother or sister in the church and affirm in your heart, "I need you."
Our very differences unite us. Our needs are mutual. We need each other.
III. I CARE ABOUT YOU
The next word is "and," in 23. That is, "in addition to this" or, "still further." Then follows more assertions of importance. We are shown that spiritual service which other people perform for Christ must be appreciated by us. Indeed, those least attractive to us might be the more important. A little known believer, faithful in prayer, perhaps accounts for more results in the church life than more public figures. Thus, the lungs are more vital than the tongue's ability to speak. Remember that!
Now, study verses 24 and 25, again learning from the analogy between the Church fellowship and our own human body. The least attractive parts are given more dress and attention - which the presentable members do not require. This balances out concern, preventing division, because we have equal "care one for another."
I must get my eyes of love and heart-concern off material things and worldly responsibilities and fasten upon my spiritual brother, saying sincerely, "I care about you."
Note again that vs. 24 teaches that the Body is so adjusted by God that the point of concern shifts toward the less obvious fellows. I must say to one and all, "I care about you." No time like the present to get started!
IV. I KNON YOU CARE ABOUT ME
This is harder to say, but say it we must. It is necessarily inferred from this same passage. If each member of the body is making the first three affirmations. then we may safely, surely conclude, they care about me. There is a common sharing of joy over each honor that comes to anyone of the assembly, 26.
Therefore, I can confidently affirm, "I know you care about me."
Let every Christian look upon his spiritual brothers and sisters and make these holy affirmations with all his heart. Everything depends upon our relationships with one another. The Head of the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ made it this way.