What Would Happen to the Body?
1 Corinthians 12:12-31 explains clearly the necessity of each member of the body of Christ. The church does not consist of one member. Not all the members function the same. Every member is placed there by God. No one can declare any member insignificant. The body pleases God when each member fulfills their role. It is the amount of work each member does or the specific function of a certain member that makes them a superior church member. There is to be no division among members over placement in the body. If any member grows and is honored, all the members praise the growth. If a member suffers, all the body feels the same pain and anguish.
What would happen if the body of Christ did not honorably fulfill each of the above in order to make the church what God intended?
What would happen? The church would be an institution of ministries. Since the church could not depend upon its members to complete the task God has assigned, ministries of all sorts and sizes have been created. These ministries range from teaching teenagers how to cook or remain pure to senior adults who need daily care in a church-built and church-maintained facility. Family crisis training for the community at a minimal cost and ball teams to keep the young men from leaving the Lord have been provided. It is because the members of the body of Christ have neither time nor skill to know what to do when Christians lose their faith or become overwhelmed with trials and temptations. They would rather contribute more money or ask the church to purchase the services of a resource outside the church to do their work for them. While all these ministries are supplying “what the members need,” the members learn nothing about their roles in building up the body of Christ. To them, a church is an institutional learning, fun-providing, and services center to satisfy the needs of the members, whatever they may be.
What would happen? The church would be divided, not united. 1 Corinthians 12:25 says the church has the ability to fulfill every task God assigned so “that there be no division in the body.” Since no one does what needs to be done in the body, it is not done. One member looks to another to do it. The other member looks to the first member in surprise that they would look to them to help provide what the church needs. One member says, “I can’t!” Another member says, “I’m not!” The next member says, “Don’t ask me!” Then some other members ponder and murmur why someone does not do it. Others corner an elder, asking him when this matter is going to be resolved. All this results in division. Brethren know a problem exists. They know there is a need. It is announced. It is discussed after services. Members talk about it over dinner. When members of a church are not involved in their responsibilities, others in the church are upset. No one is happy. The church is not united. The work of the church is not done, except for making sure the door is open for worship services and closed when services are complete.
What would happen? The church would lose its spiritual light and influence. When institutional ministries take the place of member responsibilities and local church division exists because the work is not done, the church’s spiritual influence dies down to a flicker. We pour oil into the container with a gospel meeting or occasional potluck for the members, but the spiritual growth of the members, their focus on teaching unbelievers, and growth in the knowledge of the Lord diminishes. When people are looking for truth, the members “don’t know enough to teach them the gospel.” When the unfaithful member is weak, “I’m not sure it is going to do any good because they have been gone so long.” When the church has no one to appoint as an elder or deacon, “I’m not ready to take on that responsibility” is an often-stated excuse. Where, then, is the light for the future? It may be Jesus is about to “disconnect our service” because more Christians are living inconsistent, non-committed lives, and there are not enough Christians who are genuinely full of the Holy Spirit “to keep the lights on.”