Fitly Joined Together
An article from SVM Summer 2010
Do you partake of the body of Christ at the Passover Service every year? What does that mean in your daily life? Do you repent and fast and cry out to God the week before because of your sins? Do you walk out that door after the last hymn, take a deep breath of air, and think you are justified and good-to-go for another year? Do you think you now have God’s seal of approval? If that is so, what on earth was Paul preaching about when he talked of brethren taking the Passover unworthily?
Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord (1 Corinthians 11:27 NIV).
Read verses 29-30 in the Contemporary English Version:
If you fail to understand that you are the body of the Lord, you will condemn yourselves by the way you eat and drink (bread and wine). That’s why many of you are sick and weak and why a lot of others have died.
And again in the Living Version:
For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself.
So does it mean when we take the bread and wine unworthily that we are sinning against the body and blood of the Lord? What does it mean “drinking the cup without honoring the body of Christ”?
Are we not symbolically eating Christ’s body and drinking His blood when taking the bread and wine? Does that not mean we have become one with Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:15-17)? What about the brother sitting with you in the same room—are they not also partakers of that same body (1 Corinthians 10:15-17)?
We know Paul talks of one body of which Christ is the head (Colossians 1:18). Where do you fit into that body? Maybe you are a foot or an eye. The brother or sister next to you may be a foot or a hand or your other eye in that same body.
We need to ask ourselves how we can be the Body of Christ. Are we in harmony one with another? That is not what we see in the churches of God. I’ve heard horror stories of how brethren treat brethren. I’ve witnessed it. Many won’t talk to others, avoiding them like the plague; some spread toxic rumors; some even hate other members. Some are not content where God has placed them. Sometimes the hand wants to be the mouth, or the knee, or the foot. This should not be. Isn’t it God who has positioned us in the best place we can be? Do we not want to be the best we can be? Of course we do. And we want to be counted worthy. I cannot imagine anyone taking the Passover not wanting God to find him or her worthy.
According to scripture God takes our treatment of our brethren seriously (1 Corinthians: 8:11-12). How then should we treat the other parts of our own body? Do we treat our body with disrespect; do we injure parts of our body intentionally— maybe poke ourselves in the eye or box our ears or carelessly cut off a finger with no regard for the rest of our body? Would we fight and struggle with our own members without thought for our body? Yet we do not always act as we ought. If the body fights against itself, it becomes a cancer. “After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of His body” (Ephesians 5:29, 30).
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others” (Romans 12:4-5). (Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-31).
If part of our body were wounded, what would be our response…indifference, anger, resistance, impatience? I don’t think we realize how important our response is. The brethren are actually made one flesh with one another at the Passover service when they partake of Christ’s body, like it or not. Remember Christ’s analogy of the married man and woman…they become one flesh. I recently had surgery and treated the wounded part of my body with great gentleness and care. I was very sympathetic, the other parts of my body responding with extra thought and attention for the wounded part, being careful not to put it in jeopardy—anything to help stop the pain and suffering. “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself…” (Romans 15:1-3).
Likewise, we need to take great care for the Body of Christ. We need to walk out of that room after taking Passover and open our eyes to what really happened in that room. Buy eye salve so you can see clearly. We need to recognize that we are part of our brother or sister’s body as he or she is part of ours and all part of Christ and Christ in God (John 17:21-23). We wouldn’t do harm to our own body. Likewise, we should treat our brethren (members all of the same body) with love and concern throughout the whole year (Read Matthew 25:34-46).
Appreciate their gifts; celebrate their differences and the contributions they make to the smooth running of the body. We need to be fitly joined together: “we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Ephesians 4:15-17 ESV). That’s why we need to gather together on the Sabbath each week (Hebrews 10:24, 25). We can only take the Passover worthily if we understand (or discern) the body of Christ. It’s a very serious matter… some in the body are sick and some are dead because we don’t understand.
How can we be worthy? One of the last things Christ says to His disciples is to give them a new commandment: “that you love one another as I have loved you that you also love one another by this shall all men know that you’re my disciples” (John 13:34-35).
We become one with Christ and one with each other and with the universe in that ceremony. What an awesome future! So let’s prove we are worthy and treat our body (the body of Christ) like we ought.
Paul tells us very succinctly what our future is if we do it right and with God’s Spirit we can soar: “In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit” (Ephesians 2:21-22).
If you have not considered your behavior in this regard during the last year, it’s not too late. We have an amazing merciful God who has great patience with His children. So when you walk out of that Passover service this year, start truly loving your brother…see him through fresh, discerning eyes. Recognize it’s that one body, the bride, that will rise together to meet Christ in the air and one bride who will marry Jesus Christ and that we all will become one for all eternity. So love your brother… your eternal life depends on it!
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