Monday, 30 January 2012

Discerning the Body

Has anyone out there recently had any thoughts on what 'discerning the Body' means?
I've been asking the Lord about it, and a scripture came to mind; Malachi 2:10-11. "Do we not all have one Father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers? Judah has dealt treacherously and an abhomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which He loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god."

It seems as if by not recognising, or remembering the fact that we are all children of one Father, (which, in Christ, makes us all members of one Body) we inevitably commit acts of treachery against one another and spiritual adultery against our Lord Jesus, to whom His Body, His Bride, is betrothed. We become friends with the world in some way, adopting worldly thinking, and turn against one another. We judge one another according to the flesh and sometimes without knowing it, erect boundaries which reject others, rather than accepting one another as brothers and sisters in the Spirit.

I was recently talking to an old friend, who several times said the words,'our church', by which she meant the organisation we used to see ourselves as part of. I still see those believers as my brothers and sisters and love them as before, although we don't go to services there any more, but while she had no idea of them doing so, her words instantly put a barrier up between us. It was as if she were saying, "You are not a part of me."

This attitude which so many have, who see 'their' church as separate to others who may worship in a different group or denomination, divides us. We cease to see the Lord  - as being the One who unites us into His Body. The Lord Jesus Himself is, in subtle steps, removed from the centre of our attention, and other things (often apparently good things) become central, which inevitably means that we commit spiritual adultery, or idolatry. People become secondary to position or programme.

Paul's way of helping the Corinthian church, who had begun to fall into sexual immorality, divisions and selfishness, was to remind them of the gospel of the Kingdom; that there was a new King under whose rule they now lived; and the fact that they were all now one body; the Body of Messiah, awaiting resurrection. He reminded them of their true identity; who they were in Christ. He reminded them of the difference between who the Lord Jesus is: a life-giving spirit, and the natural, earthly man, and that while they had borne the image of the earthly man, they would one day bear the image of the heavenly.

Last week I heard about a move of God amongst a church somewhere, many years ago, where the power of the Spirit was so strongly poured out that people were bringing ladders to prop up against the church building so as to be able to look through the windows. The building was overflowing and there was no more room for outsiders. The church members had to put little brass name plaques on their places in the pews, so that their seats would not be taken.

How sad.

The building today, I would hazard a guess, is now cold and empty. The brass plaques, however, remain; a silent and shameful rebuke to a more recent Corinthian attitude of division and selfishness.

If we saw the Lord Jesus as central in our lives, If He was our ONLY vision as He (presumably) once was when He first found us, when we were in the first flush of our first love for Him, then none of these divisions (which means two visions, I've just realised) would exist any more. How can we have two visions? Confusion results. Sin results. We are no longer wholeheartedly His, but become divided from each other, dealing treacherously with one another, erecting boundaries against Him and one another, seeking selfish ambition, breaking the covenant of our Father. Did He not say, 'You shall have no other gods besides Me'? Oh, God, forgive us!

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