Jesus did not die only to save us from our sins. He also died to unite God’s people, removing the barriers that separate us from one another (Ephesians 2:14-18). To be reconciled to God is to be reconciled to God’s people. Jesus’ death has given us a new and living way into the holy Presence of God and a new and vital relationship with one another.
The Christian life is one of serving and worshiping God together with other believers. Once saved, we are fellow citizens in God’s Kingdom, so we share a common loyalty and a common mission. We are fellow members of God’s family, so we share our individual lives. And we are living parts of God’s Temple, so we share the indwelling Presence of God’s Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22).
Followers of Jesus are like the various parts of a person’s physical body. The parts are many but the body is one. The individual parts do not all have the same function. Each part contributes in a unique way to the health of the body. Each part needs the body and the body needs every part (Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31).
Each follower of Jesus is called and equipped by God to serve the Body of Christ and to be served by the Body of Christ. Believers are equipped with spiritual gifts, abilities given by God’s Spirit like teaching, leading, or showing mercy. No single believer has every spiritual gift, which means that every believer is dependent on other believers in order to live a healthy spiritual life.
Many of you know your spiritual gifts. You know what God has called and equipped you to do in order to serve him in the local church. Others of you are still seeking. Please pray and search the Scriptures, especially Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4. God has given you the ability to do something that will honor him, strengthen the church, and bless you.
In addition to a kingdom, a family, a temple, and a body, the church in the New Testament is also pictured as a bride. All believers collectively are the radiant Bride of Christ, for whom the Lord is preparing a great feast: the wedding supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-8). Our Lord Jesus is working toward the day when he will present his Bride, the Church, to himself without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:25-30).
My prayer for each of you is that you will take your place in God’s Kingdom, Family, Temple, and Body, and labor for the day when we will celebrate together with our Lord at the wedding supper of the Lamb.
May the Lord knit us together with the love of Christ and the power of His Spirit,
Brother Richard Foster, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church, Camden, AR