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On Being a Disciple - Our Place in the Body

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"As a disciple, I want to master the Bible so that the Master of the Bible can become my Master."
May God bless you all!
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Maranatha!
References
As we mature in Christ and continue our journey of sanctification and service, we have a certain existence within the Body of Christ that I would like to look at this month. Let's start with this passage in 1 Peter 2:
- Author unknown
Unknown.
And That Brings Us Back To:
2 Peter 1:10:
"Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling
and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:"
Strong, J.
[computer software] . Franklin, TN: Equipping Ministries Foundation. (Original work published 1890)
Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries.
Meyers, R. (2005). e-Sword.
1 Peter 2:1-12:
Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord
is
gracious. To whom
as unto
a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God,
and
precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believed
he is
precious: but unto them which be disobedient,
the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence,
even to them
which stumble at
the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye
are
a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,a peculiar people; that
ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: Which in time past
not a people, but
are
of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech
you
as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which
war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak agianst you as evildoers, they may by
your
good works, which
Let's dissect this passage with a focus on our place/position within the body of Christ:
What not to do:
"
Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all
evil speakings
," - Peter is aware that even saved believers have a tendency toward
sin and that includes with the Body of Christ.
Malice:
others, including believers whom you think wronged you or that you just don't like.
Guile:
to be deceitful, crafty, wilily and otherwise set traps for others.
Hypocrisies:
acting as someone you are not. Pretending to be godly while harboring secret sins, hates, etc.
Envies:
an ill-will and/or jealousy (Strong's G5355) towards others
because they seem to have what you do not.
Evil Speaking:
backbiting, defaming
(Strong's G2636) others, libelous statements, gossip about others in the body. These are to be put away - they not only tear down the unity of the body, but they destroy your ability to serve, cause God to have to resist you, and severely stunt your spiritual growth.
What to Do:
"
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby
:" -
We need to desire, and to continue to desire, God's Word.
Desire
is an imperative,
active verb of an undefined (aorist) tense (Zhodiates, 1992, p. 766) meaning that it is a desire that should never quit. The "sincere milk" of the Word is an interesting phrase, for it implies unadulterated (Strong's G97), untainted, easy to consume Word of God. It is OK to read commentaries, hear sermons, sing songs, etc., but we need to be in God's Word without the slant of others, except for the guidance that Holy Spirit gives as our ultimate teacher. In other words, we need the Word of God foremost, and all others sources fall way behind it. We need to be like the noble Bereans who heard the preacher, but then went home and checked it out in the Scripture themselves.
The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament.
Zhodiates, Dr. S. (Ed.). (1992).
Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
"
Dearly beloved, I beseech
you
as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts,
which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by
your
good works, which
they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation
." As we mature in our walk
as a disciple, we must abstain from fleshly lusts. Our bodies have a lot of needs. We need to eat, drink, breathe, stay within a certain temperature range, eliminate, wear clothing, procreate, etc. However, every one of those "needs" can easily become a lust. Too much food: gluttony. Too much or the wrong kind of drink: sickness or drunkenness. Too much emphasis on clothing: either too little (immodesty), or too expensive (braggart or exhibitionist), or no care (slovenly, careless, dirty to the point of smelly). Too great an emphasis on sex: promiscuous, lasciviousness, unrestrained, immoral actions and activities. These war against the soul - these damage your testimony, hinder your growth in Christ, and damage your fellowship with God (not to mention the damage to your prayer life and Bible study life).
We also need to have an "honest conversation" - that is, an honest lifestyle before the lost. I do not agree with those who insist that they must become like the lost in behavior, music, activities, and events in order to win the lost. If you are a believer, behave like one honestly! They will not like you, and they will speak against you because of your stand for Christ. But in time, you will cause them to look at you and your good works and cause them to seek for the reason for the hope that lies within you. Let them behold what a true Christian looks like so that should they someday stand before the throne unsaved, at least they will not be able to point to you and say, "But I was just like Joseph!"
Who Are You Anyway?
"
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up
spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ
." You are compared to body
parts (all unique) by Paul and as living stones by Peter. But what good are stones if they are laying about alone on the ground? Peter indicates that these living stones have a purpose; we are a spiritual house - with walls made of living stones! We are, therefore, not alone (or at least better not be). As we mature, you may believe that you know more than the others around you, you heard all those Bible stories, you don't need others - and you would be wrong! Best way to be the target of a predator is to be separated from the herd. So as you mature, remember you have a place in the walls of the house. You are an important part of the body and need to remain with the body. You are also part of a royal priesthood. The priesthood has the job of taking the cause and worship of the people to the Father. We assist in the offering of spiritual sacrifice, prayers, worship, praise, intercession and offerings to the Most High. The old priesthood had a strict purification set of steps to take before they could do the priesthood duties. We, as a royal priesthood, must strive to keep ourselves pure and untainted by the world. We want what we offer to be acceptable to Christ as we offer them.
"
But ye
are
a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people;
that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: Which in time past
were
not a people, but
are
now the people of
God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy
."
Let's take these verses as bullets:
You were once
NOT
an acceptable person of God
You dwelt in darkness - no spiritual light at all in you (beware all those false prophets selling you some business about "enlightenment.")
You had no expectation or right of any mercy from God
However, you have been chosen - part of a chosen generation
You are now part of the royal priesthood
You are now part of a holy nation of peculiar (set apart, special) people
You now identify as part of the people of God because you are a person of God
You have now obtained mercy
You now walk in the marvelous light of God
You should now be showing forth the praises of God - no excuse not to really . . .
We Are to "Grow Up into Him"
Ephesians 4:15-16:
"But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things,
which is the head,
even
Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and
compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."
Without going into the various parts of Scripture that describes us as body parts, all unique, aren't you glad we are not all eyes, mouths, ears, feet, etc.? I would like to center on these two verses from Ephesians that kind of sum up where we ought to be headed as we are part of that body.
1.
We need to learn to speak truth to one another, but always in love. Love covers a multitude of sins, and in this case, can sooth the occasional tough rebuked or exhortation we must deliver (or receive!).
2.
Our goal as part of the body is to grow up in Christ (sanctification anybody?) And that includes helping those "living stones" you are mortared with as well.
3.
This "growing up" process is meant to include ALL things pertaining to holiness, righteousness, fellowship, doctrine, prayers, etc. All things!
4.
We have a head. Christ is the undisputed head of the church. He is our head, and if not, get off the throne of your life and let Jesus sit back where He belongs. Jesus is our head and we need to look to Him for our daily directions.
5.
We are fitly joined together. What does that mean? It means that the builder took the time to look over every stone (or body part) and was careful to select each stone for the exact location in the wall for placement to ensure the strongest wall that would be the most beneficial to the owner - Jesus Christ. HE is the builder. He did not make a mistake placing you where you are. Too many Christians, sadly, get upset at something (usually petty, I think) and pull themselves out of the wall they are in and run off to join another wall. If God has moved you, that's OK; but if we move ourselves, we hurt those we left and may well hurt those we join.
6.
Compacted by what each joint supplies. Have you ever really thought about that phrase?
Compacted
- to force, to drive together, knit together, bind together
(Strong's G4822), dare I say compress together? It is not always a pleasant process. I have laid bricks several times. When the mortar (love) is new, freshly made and soft, the brick sets easily in place, might need a light tap or two, and we move on to the next brick. But if the mortar sits too long, starts getting stiff (not so much love as before, I think), then it takes a lot of taps, harder taps, to get the next brick into place. I have even chipped a brick or two doing so. Not pleasant. (P.S. If the mortar of love has become that stiff, it really needs some attention and remix!) Where does this compacting come from? From what all the other joints supply - from other believers surrounding you in the wall. You need them as much as they need you.
7.
Effectual working (efficient, strong operation (Strong's G1753)) in the measure (portion, what they can contribute, their share) of every part (you are not alone!)
8.
Maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. This is the bottom line. The goal - that the body increases, and that it gets edified, and that these two things happen in the surrounding environment of love (agape love of course).
Imagine six ears all on the right side of a head because that's where they think they belong. Or all on the back. Imagine that the legs stick out at the shoulders and the arms are attached to the hips because, well that's where they wanted to be. Imagine the eyes are way over on the side of the head, well you can see it simply doesn't work. As you grow in grace and knowledge of Christ, remember - you are an important and integral part of the Body of Christ - you are needed!
coming,
now the people
they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
were
an evil maliciousness toward
Bro. Joe