About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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Immersed Into Church  


If we are ever to experience church as it should be experienced, we must have the proper understanding of 1 Corinthians 12 burned into our brains and secured into our hearts where it becomes the conviction whereby we live.  This passage is foundational to what church is all about. 


In 1 Corinthians 12:27 Paul wrote that Christians are the Body of Christ.  Just prior to verse 27 he compared Christ's present-day earthly body, the church, to a human body.  A human body consists of individual body parts that are literally supported by a few other parts as all parts work together for the health of the body.  As it is with a human body, so it is with the earthly body of Jesus.  Now read 1 Corinthians 12:12 and 13. 


Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.  For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.


We cannot equate the word "baptized" with water baptism in the above passage.   Since the context of the word "baptized" concerns us being baptized, or immersed into the Body of Christ, the church.  I conclude that when the Holy Spirit entered my life, I was not only immersed into the life of Jesus, but also immersed into the lives of those to whom Jesus has placed me alongside in His earthly body, the church. 


Consider the bones in my finger.  They are joined together by supporting ligaments so my finger can function as it should.  In like manner, I, as an individual Christian am joined to a few others in supportive relationships to function with them for the health of Jesus' body, the church. 


This baptism is not merely in reference to an immersion into the organizational structure of church as a whole.  It is an immersion into the lives of other individual Christians.  This is the case because in metamorphic terms Paul compared you and I to individual human body parts, like an eye or an ear.  An eye, for example, is joined to specific body parts in close proximity in order to function properly with them.  An eye is not physically joined to a foot.  So it is with my placement in the Body of Christ.


The bottom line to this is that we must understand what it means to be baptized into the Body of Christ.  We must know who Jesus has placed us alongside in church so we can give and receive support as we function together for the health of the church.  This is a fundamental Biblical aspect of church that I believe is missing in much of what we call church in the western world.  It is this lack of communal experience in church that is hindering us from being the church we are called to be.               


Are you experiencing this immersion into the lives of those to whom Jesus has placed you in supportive and functional relationships in His present-day earthly body?  This is an important question that requires an important answer. 


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