Body Life: Correcting Two Mistakes

1 Corinthians 12:27,

27. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

It’s an unfortunate fact (spiritually speaking) that we live in such a modern, “enlightened”, individualistic culture and society. As former Gentiles, coming out of such, we still hold tightly to such ideas. But they are not from God. Even in our worship, as we sing onto the Lord and praise His name, we do it in a very individualistic manner. Consider:

  • Most worship songs are sung in first person (I will…I love…For meMy Savior…etc.) even though we sing them corporately, with “one voice”, as it were
  • Most worship experiences are focused on the self, that is, on a personal, PRIVATE interaction with God (eyes closed, standing near but apart, etc.), as opposed to a communal experience of God
  • Salvation is seen as the personal, individual response one makes to the preaching of the Gospel separate from any corporate consciousness; that is, the sense of entering a new community/family is lost on most, if not all new converts
  • Exclamations such as “if no one else will live for God, I still will!” are often declared, isolating members from one another
  • In most preaching, there is a dichotomy between the “me” (i.e. the preacher) and the “you” (i.e. everyone else); there is very little “us” or “we”
  • Much emphasis is placed on how much “I” get fed spiritually. Very little is said about what “we” put into/add to the Body
  • There is a great dependence upon individual stances and unilaterally given doctrinal statements (e.g. “I believe…I teach…I perceive…I experience…etc.) instead of sharing what the Messianic community of disciples stands for and believes as a whole (e.g. “we believe…we teach…we perceive…we experience…etc.)

A part of the problem is our language, or rather, our understanding of our language. English is not always clear on when “you” is meant as the second person singular or “you” as the second personal plural, as in “you all”. Compare to Spanish, which has tú and vosotros or even usted and ustedes. When reading or speaking Spanish, one can easily discern between a personal, individual address and an address that speaks to a collective of people, even if it’s only two.

But we have no way, a part from context, to easily determine such things in English. So what happens when we read Scripture in English, and constantly see such words as “ye/you”, “thou/you”, “thee/you”, “thy/your”, and/or “thine/yours”?

What happens is the first mistake, and it needs correcting.

Most people I know read the King James Bible, but some do not. In either case, a mistake is generally made, usually of ignorance.

If one reads the KJV, as they read verse after verse, and see all the archaic pronouns (ye, thee, thy, thine, thou) they just naturally accept that an adequate replacement for all such old words is “you”. This isn’t so.

Additionally, if one doesn’t read from the KJV, but still reads from a modern English translation, all the old pronouns are removed, and universally replaced with “you”, creating the same problem (Compare to La Versión Reina-Valera, which makes full use of all the corresponding (archaic) pronouns. Sin embargo, ¿puedes leer y comprender el español penisular?).

So then, what’s the problem?

Namely, this: that of the archaic pronouns used in the KJV, some refer to the second person singular (i.e. you, as an individual) and some refer to the second person plural (i.e. you all/every one of you).

And if you can’t tell the difference, you’re going to think many verses are directed at you only as the individual recipient of God’s Word. I will give you an example to explain it better.

Matthew 5:14,

14. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

John 15:4,

4. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

In both of these verses, notice the use of “ye”. Guess what? This is the second person plural, as in you all/every one of you.

Jesus was not talking to individuals! He was speaking to a collective whole, an entire group of people. It’s not that only any one person gets to be the light of the world, it’s that the church, as a whole, gets to be the light of the world.

It’s not that only any one person can abide by himself or herself in Christ and so bear fruit. Jesus is talking to the assembled disciples. This means that none of the disciples can properly bear the fruit the Lord wants them to have unless they ALL abide in the vine.

Not realizing this, or being mistaken about this leads to the second error that needs correcting: that what we do as individuals has little to no spiritual impact on the Body as a whole, especially when we are not present.

Christians are not designed to have a personal, individual relationship with God through Christ apart from the Body of Christ. We are extensions of each other. No one can keep the 1st commandment if they don’t passionately obey the 2nd commandment.

But we say things like “work out your own salvation and don’t worry about anyone else”. Nonsense! Paul wrote that exhortation to an entire CHURCH, not to one person. The whole church needs to work out its own salvation together, corporately, as ONE. Not as secluded, divvied up members off doing their own thing while trying to get to Heaven, regardless of how brother or sister in the Lord is doing.

Ever notice how trouble-makers in the church only want God to sort them out, correct or reprove them, and have no interest in being accountable to the entire Body for their actions? That’s not how it works, folks. If God uniquely sorted them out, corrected, and reproved them on an individual level without the Body, then guess what?

That person wouldn’t still be a trouble-maker. So admit it. The only reason such a person is still a struggling, carnal trouble-maker is because God is not dealing with them one on one, i.e. on an individual level. The Lord expects His Body to handle its business. We govern ourselves under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit. We’re not islands that get to assume that Christ can be my Head but not yours, too. Christ is OUR Head. He oversees all.

1 Peter 2:25,

25. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

Again, “ye”. It’s the second person plural. You [all] were as sheep going astray; but now [you all] are returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of [all of] your souls.

I hope we get this! The Holy Church of One doesn’t exist. You are not complete without the Body. You’re just a severed limb bleeding out, rotting away, returning to the dust. The Body survives without you, even as you die and are lost.

Let me break it down in real world terms.

You’re at a church gathering, a revival service, let’s say. You arrive early for pre-service prayer. You notice many people aren’t praying. You decide against the current and go up front, kneel down and consecrate yourself to God and pray His will to be done for the meeting.

Song service starts. Because you’ve tanked up on the Holy Ghost, you enter that place of worship, and passionately, exuberantly, even demonstrably, praise the Lord and love on God with all your heart.

The preacher preaches. You’re fixed on the Word of God. Your spirit soars with the message.

Altar call is given and you’re the first one there and the last to leave.

You walk away from that service practically floating in the Spirit, joyfully over-flowing.

Praise the Lord and pass the salt at the restaurant afterwards, right?

Friend, you missed it!

How can you in good conscience, enter the Holiest of All by yourself, not caring if you’re the only one there?

Feed me, Lord! Save me, Lord! Heal me, Lord! Work in my life, Lord! Help me, Lord!

We pray so selfishly. When will we pray Feed us, Lord? Save us, Lord? Heal us, Lord? Work in our lives, Lord? Help us, Lord?

John 14:3,

3. And if I go and prepare a place for you [all], I will come again, and receive you [all] unto myself; that where I am, there ye [all] may be also (brackets added for effect).

Jesus is not preparing a place for just you or just me. It’s a place for both of us, all of us. He’s not just going to receive individuals. He’s going to receive a corporate number of people into the place where He Himself also resides, i.e. the Holiest of All (Hebrews 6:19-20).

John 17:18-23,

18. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent THEM into the world.
19. And for THEIR sakes I sanctify myself, that THEY also might be sanctified through the truth.
20. Neither pray I for THESE alone, but for THEM also which shall believe on me through THEIR word;
21. That THEY all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that THEY also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given THEM; that THEY may be one, even as we are one:
23. I in THEM, and thou in me, that THEY may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved THEM, as thou hast loved me.

Notice what I did for the sake of clarity. Jesus here didn’t just send, sanctify Himself, pray for, and give the Father’s glory to just one person. It was for all of them, as a complete unit, a whole.

But look at how things are today. Few are being sent. Few are being sanctified, few believe on Jesus, few are truly one in the Father and the Son. The world barely if at all believes that the Father sent the Son. Few are being made perfect. The world, generally speaking, doesn’t know (or care) that the Father sent Jesus. Few know God loves us.

Why? Why is it so?

Because there is no real unity. We think unity is being friendly and affectionate toward each other. We think unity is praying for each other. We think unity is attending church service together. We think unity is doctrinal agreement. We think unity is fellow-shipping around the dinner table.

IT IS NOT!

Unity, or oneness with each other is what Jesus said it was: being one with each other in the same way that He was one with the Father. The Divine Spirit of God the Father married to the human flesh and body of the Son of Man, Jesus Christ in such a way that nothing and no one can ever separate them, EVER. The Father and Son were so immersed into each other that you can’t tell them apart. That’s what the Greek word for Son means: resembling something so much so that no discernible difference between the two exists (from the word huios). If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father, right?

Do we have that level of oneness, Church? If they that are of the world look at or have seen us the Church, do they automatically see and experience Jesus Christ?

As sad as I am to write this, the answer is no, the world doesn’t see and experience the real Jesus Christ when it sees and experiences the Church. So how can we say we have unity?

You know what I’ve seen? I’ve seen (for an example) un-repentant fornicators sin against the Body (1 Corinthians 6:15-17) and continue on as though “God’s not through with me yet”.

1 John 3:14,

14. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

1 John 4:12,

12. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

If I sin against you, the truth is, I don’t love you. And if I don’t love you, guess Who doesn’t dwell in me? In fact, I can reasonably conclude that I haven’t yet passed from death to life, i.e. I’m not saved, no matter how much I once upon a time obeyed Acts 2:38.

The same goes for gossips, slanderers, accusers, backbiters, and such people.

I’ve seen so-called saints rip-roar through a worship service causing such a disturbance that the Spirit of God lifted off the Body while the children of the Most High were being distracted by the carnage.

1 Timothy 3:15,

15. But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

Notice how this exhortation is to the individual. It is up to the individual, for the sake of the House of God, the Church, to behave and act properly. But that’s not how we often do things.

Usually some hurt soul, craving medical (read: spiritual) attention from God, cries out, shakes out, falls out, or slams out the presence of the Lord and causes the whole church to suffer the consequences.

Ask yourself:

  • Why do you need to drown out the worship leader?
  • Why do you need to preach over the preacher?
  • Why do you need ten altar workers praying for you, holding you up?
  • Why do you need to speak in tongues so loudly, no one around you can discern the voice of God for themselves?
  • Why do you have to scare the person in front of you and make them jump in fear every time you “get moved on”?

I’m talking about Body Life, am I not? Correcting mistakes, right?

These are just some of the issues the modern, U.S. church is facing.

Look what Paul wrote concerning the carnal Corinthians:

2 Corinthians 11:19-20,

19. For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.
20. For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.

It’s a carnal church that let’s one person bring about such harm to the Body. It is an unwise church that suffers such fools gladly. They are a detriment to the well-being of the whole. Is the Church going to let one individual take their ability to be one with Christ into captivity, by forcing all attention away from the Lord? Is the Church going to let one individual eat up the entire Body’s resources and ministry? Is the Church going to just let one individual keep taking and taking and taking, sapping the saints of all their spiritual energy? Is the Church going to let an individual lift himself or herself over the rest, so dis-unity and jealousy reign?

IS THE CHURCH GOING TO LET ONE INSIGNIFICANT INDIVIDUAL BEAT HER DOWN TO THE GROUND SO THAT ONE PERSON MAY ALWAYS HAVE HIS OR HER WAY?

It’s time to start thinking like a group. It’s time to walk in the same line, the same file, face the same way, and get blessed together. Get saved and delivered together. Get healed together. Get renewed together. Get restored and helped together. It’s time to serve and minister together. To love and adore together. To pray and worship together. To give and receive together.

Not as one man or one woman, or a group of individuals getting their praise on regardless of anyone or even everyone else. Don’t just lock arms. LOCK SPIRITS! Be one with each other as the Father and Son are one. Inexorably One. Hug that person you don’t like. Feed the person who gets on your nerves. Wash the feet of the person who broke your heart and injured your soul. Do whatever you have to do to be ONE–Just like Jesus did with and for us!

I leave you with this:

In parts of the world where the culture is group based, what do you often see? Take the Middle East. If someone dies, or is killed, no matter who it was, what happens? Hundreds if not thousands of people jam the streets in mourning, crying and lamenting the loss. Why? Do you think those thousands of people personally knew the deceased?

Not a chance. They aren’t mourning the loss of a close, dear personal friend or relative. Rather, they are mourning the loss of part of their identity. You have to understand. In such cultures, this is the way people think and feel: when you die, I die. If you live, I live. If you suffer, I suffer. If you rejoice, I rejoice.

Why, that sounds almost…Biblical???

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~ by votivesoul on 10/08/2013.

2 Responses to “Body Life: Correcting Two Mistakes”

  1. Votive, that is a great sermon, and I stand convicted. I have been too individualistic. I intend to do something about it.

    • Thank you, Sister. May the Lord lead and bless your undertaking. Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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