The Church – The Body of Christ – an illustration – Biserica – Trupul lui Hristos

1 Corinteni 12:12-31

12 Căci, după cum trupul este unul şi are multe mădulare, şi după cum toate mădularele trupului, măcar că sînt mai multe, sînt un singur trup, -tot aşa este şi Hristos.
13 Noi toţi, în adevăr, am fost botezaţi de un singur Duh, ca să alcătuim un singur trup, fie Iudei, fie Greci, fie robi, fie slobozi; şi toţi am fost adăpaţi dintr’un singur Duh.
14 Astfel, trupul nu este un singur mădular, ci mai multe.
15 Dacă piciorul ar zice: ,,Fiindcă nu sînt mînă, nu sînt din trup„, -nu este pentru aceasta din trup?
16 Şi dacă urechea ar zice: ,,Fiindcă nu sînt ochi, nu sînt din trup„ -nu este pentru aceasta din trup?
17 Dacă tot trupul ar fi ochi, unde ar fi auzul? Dacă totul ar fi auz, unde ar fi mirosul?
18 Acum dar Dumnezeu a pus mădularele în trup, pe fiecare aşa cum a voit El.
19 Dacă toate ar fi un singur mădular, unde ar fi trupul?
20 Fapt este că sînt mai multe mădulare, dar un singur trup.
21 Ochiul nu poate zice mînii: ,,N’am trebuinţă de tine„; nici capul nu poate zice picioarelor: ,,N’am trebuinţă de voi.„
22 Ba mai mult, mădularele trupului, cari par mai slabe, sînt de neapărată trebuinţă.
23 Şi părţile trupului, cari par vrednice de mai puţină cinste, le îmbrăcăm cu mai multă podoabă. Aşa că părţile mai puţin frumoase ale trupului nostru capătă mai multă frumuseţă,
24 pe cînd cele frumoase n’au nevoie să fie împodobite. Dumnezeu a întocmit trupul în aşa fel ca să dea mai multă cinste mădularelor lipsite de cinste:
25 pentru ca să nu fie nici o desbinare în trup: ci mădularele să îngrijească deopotrivă unele de altele.
26 Şi dacă sufere un mădular, toate mădularele sufăr împreună cu el; dacă este preţuit un mădular, toate mădularele se bucură împreună cu el.
27 Voi sînteţi trupul lui Hristos, şi fiecare, în parte, mădularele lui.
28 Şi Dumnezeu a rînduit în Biserică, întîi, apostoli; al doilea, prooroci; al treilea, învăţători; apoi, pe ceice au darul minunilor; apoi pe cei ce au darul tămăduirilor, ajutorărilor, cîrmuirilor, şi vorbirii în felurite limbi.
29 Oare toţi sînt apostoli? Toţi sînt prooroci? Toţi sînt învăţători? Toţi sînt făcători de minuni?
30 Toţi au darul tămăduirilor? Toţi vorbesc în alte limbi? Toţi tălmăcesc?
31 Umblaţi dar după darurile cele mai bune. Şi vă voi arăta o cale nespus mai bună.

Lumea nu vede capul (pe Hristos), dar vede trupul (Biserica lui Hristos)

1 Corinthians 12:12-31

One Body with Many Members

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves[a] or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts.

And I will show you a still more excellent way.

Russell Moore: Why Impostors Love the Church

Russell More asks: But why, when there is so much opportunity for debauchery out there in the world around us, do such people choose the church? His answer?  Read below:

Recently, I read a book that kept me awake a couple of nights. It was about “Clark Rockefeller,” and the scare quotes are important. The man was neither “Clark” nor “Rockefeller.” He was a German immigrant who crafted an identity as an heir of one of America’s wealthiest dynasties. He married, fathered a child, and was involved in fraud, theft, and maybe even murder. And no one ever knew, until the very end.

What made me squirm was the fact that the fake Rockefeller’s inroad to all his deception was churches and relationships, particularly with women. He would make the connections he needed in local congregations, and he would charm the women there.

At the same time, he would parasitically imitate the men, watching and mirroring back to them their convictions and opinions, even the inflections of their voices. But behind all of that, there was nothing real but a predatory appetite.

The New Testament warns us, of course, about spiritual impostors. Sometimes, these “wolves” are there to introduce subtly false doctrine. But just as often, it seems, these spiritual carnivores hold to true doctrine, at least on the surface. But they use this doctrine and service for predatory ends. The sons of Eli, for instance, use their priestly calling to co-opt the fat of the offering and to lay with the women at the altar (1 Sam. 2). Virtually every New Testament letter warns us about the same phenomenon (e.g., 2 Pet. 2; Jude).

But why, when there is so much opportunity for debauchery out there in the world around us, do such people choose the church?

First of all, I think it’s because deception can look a lot like discipleship. A disciple is like a son learning from his father, Jesus tells us. The student resembles his teacher. That’s good and right. But the satanic powers turn all good things for evil. A spiritual impostor can mimic such discipleship when he’s, in fact, just “casing the joint,” watching the mores, learning the phrases, mimicking the convictions. It can seem like the passing down of the faith when, in reality, it’s an almost vampiric taking on of another identity, all for the sake of some appetite or other.

Second, I think it’s because these impostors are looking for something they can’t find in bars and strip clubs. Many of them “feed” off innocence itself. The Apostle Paul, therefore, warns of those who “creep into households, taking captive weak women burdened down with sins.” (2 Tim. 3:6) The impostors are able to gain power over the weak not only by deceiving them but also by morally compromising them.

Often these victims are drawn, for reasons good and bad, to spiritual authority. The impostor mimics this authority, sometimes with a precision almost to the point of identity theft. But he uses it to defile, sapping away what seems to them to be innocence as a vampire would lap up blood.

Finally, the church often draws such impostors because of a perversion of the Christian doctrine of grace. The Christian gospel offers a complete forgiveness of sin, and not only that, a fresh start as a new creation. But both Jesus and the Apostles warn us that this can easily be perverted into a kind of anti-Christ license. Faith is not real without repentance, and faith is not like that of the demons, simply assenting to truth claims. Faith works itself out in love. Faith follows after the lordship of King Jesus. Faith takes up a cross.

But a notion of “grace” apart from lordship can provide excellent cover for spiritual impostors. That’s why virtually every sex predator I’ve heard of compares himself, or is compared by one of those on whom he’s preying, as a latter-day King David. This is often the case even while this person continues to run rampant in his sin against the Body of Christ. Those who seek to hold accountable, or even just to warn the flock, are then presented as “unmerciful” or “graceless” or unwilling to help along the “struggling.”

This often leads to a church that then loses its ability to be the presence of Christ. The church, desiring to be seen to be merciful, loses any aspect of the merciful ministry of Christ because we don’t do what he called us to do: to tend the flock of God. Or we are so burned over by the presence of predators among us that we lose the ability to trust anyone. Yes, there is Demas, and yes, there is Alexander the Coppersmith. But there’s Timothy and Titus, too.

Moreover, the presence of impostors can cause us to lose confidence in the church itself. But how can that be when Jesus warns us from the very beginning that we must be watchful of this. The Apostolic Word gives us confidence that spiritual predators, like Pharaoh’s magicians, “will not get very far.” (2 Tim. 3:9)

There’s nothing more enraging than the sound of a lamb bleating in a wolf’s mouth. But the Shepherd is coming. (HT)

Dr. Moore is the Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice-President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also serves as a preaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church. Moore is the author of several books, including „The Kingdom of Christ,” „Adopted for Life,” and ‘Tempted and Tried.”

Why can’t we all agree ? A wise and ‘different’ answer

Photo – HollyMonroe.com

An excellent article, Why doesn’t everyone agree with me?  from the Parchment & Pen Blog by C. Michael Patton:

Why doesn’t everyone agree with me? Who is causing this disunity in the body of Christ, them or me? Do these divisions demonstrate the doctrinal bankruptcy of sola Scriptura? Should we elect a Pope of Protestantism? Or could it be that God has a purpose in his allowance of disagreements?

Michael gives 7 answers we might give to this questions such as – They don’t agree with me because „they have not studied long enough” or maybe „they have sin in their life that is blinding them”.

But he concludes that we should probably look at 2 other options before all the others and those are:

  1. Others don’t agree with me because they are right and I am wrong. But the possibility always exists that I am the one who is in error, misinformed, motivated by false pre-understandings, tradition-bound, or lacking perspective. I must consider this with great humility…
  2. Others don’t agree with me because God does not want us to agree, regardless of who is right.

and here is where I find so much wisdom in his reasons for point # 2:

A) I believe that it is a real possibility—even likelihood—that God does not want absolute doctrinal unity right now. In fact, practically speaking, it could do more harm than good. I believe doctrinal disagreements are often healthy for the church. When there is conflict between opposing viewpoints, the issue at hand is understood at a more profound level than is possible in the absence of conflict. Conflict, in the end, can bring about a deeper conviction of the truth. When there is no conflict, there is no iron sharpening iron in the same way.

B) What I am saying is this: it may actually be God’s sovereignty that brings about division over the doctrine of God’s sovereignty! This does not mean that wrong belief is always justified. Wrong belief is often (though not always) the result of sin. Neither does it mean that we need to be content with agnosticism or lessen our conviction about any doctrinal issue. To the contrary. It means that we engage in it more vigorously than we did before, being confident that God has a dignified reason for conflict resulting from diversity. In the end, we will find that through the conflict our beliefs become stronger, not weaker. I believe we must open ourselves up to the possibility of being wrong in order to find truer faith and conviction.

You can read the article in its entirety here why-doesnt-everyone-agree-with-me/ and you may also enjoy reading this article too – why-do-i-a-calvinist-go-to-an-arminian-church/

Final order signed for Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s Execution – Urgent Prayer is needed!

After many lies from the Iranian government sources in the past year, about the danger Pastor Youcef faces for the crime of apostasy- that is the crime you are guilty of for becoming a Christian in Iran-  Mission News Network reports that his execution order has been signed and he now awaits execution at any moment. Pray for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani and his family, that God gives and strengthens their faith, as this is the biggest trial a man or woman could face. Here is the article in its entirety from Mission News Network:

Iranian pastor’s execution could come at any time

Posted: 23 February, 2012

Iran (MNN) ― Sources in Iran say an execution order for Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has been signed.

According to Present Truth Ministries (closely connected with Nadarkhani), this is grim news. Todd Nettleton, a spokesman for Voice of the Martyrs USA, confirms the news.  „Apparently, that execution order has not been delivered to his family or his attorneys, but the report is that it has been signed. That means that at any time, he could be executed.”

Often the government will execute people without any prior notice to attorneys or family. It’s also unclear whether it has been approved by the Ayatollah who is the head of the Judiciary Sadegh Larijani.

Nadarkhani was born to a Muslim family and admits that he was introduced to the teachings of Islam, but he claims he never accepted the faith. That was the basis of his appeal to the High Court on the apostasy verdict.

Nettleton explains, „His reply to that is: ‘Well no. I wasn’t a practicing Muslim.’ This execution order being signed says that the court has not approved that logic. They are saying: ‘Yes in fact, you were a Muslim. Because you’re a Christian now, you’re an apostate, and you’ll be executed for that apostasy.'”

Pastor Youcef has refused to recant his faith during the three years he’s been separated from his wife and two sons. His conviction and sentence has been delayed due to international pressure, according to other reports from Present Truth Ministries.

Meanwhile, on February 17, Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA) introduced a resolution denouncing Iran for its leaders’ ruling of apostasy against Youcef Nadarkhani and calling for his immediate release. So far, it has the support of seven other members. Nearly 90 members of Congress previously signed a letter supporting Nadarkhani.

When asked if international pressure would be enough to intervene again, Nettleton responded, „The most important thing we can do is to pray. There are petitions you can sign. We have Pastor Youcef on PrisonerAlert.com. They can also send e-mails to Iranian authorities asking that he not be executed.”

Given the application of the apostasy law, one would think it would have a severe „chilling effect” on evangelism. Quite the opposite, says Nettleton. The Arab Spring and Iran’s Revolution played a big role in that.

Ruthless government oppression of the protestors shook many Muslims’ faith. To them, the government is the mullah, and the mullah is the government. That means, Nettleton goes on to say, that „when there is disappointment with the government or frustration with the government, it translates in people’s minds to disappointment and frustration with Islam.”

People are looking for an anchored Truth, „so there’s hunger for the Gospel. There’s an openness for the Gospel. And the Church is growing at a rate that is really mind-boggling.”

Ask the Lord to uphold and sustain Youcef, his wife, and their two children. Pray that this family may soon be reunited. Pray for Youcef’s legal team and all those in authority connected with this case.

Pray that the Body of Christ will continue to multiply and mature despite persecution.

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