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Many Members, One Body

The main theme of this Journal is how God views you as a member of His body. Many Scriptures are given to support the text and to provide more content for future study.

The Church is the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it (1 Cor. 12:27-30). We are the apple of His eye (Zech. 2:8); the temple of God (1 Cor. 6:19); precious to Him (1 Pet. 2:4); a royal priesthood (1 Pet. 2:9). There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:28), chosen before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4; Rom. 8:30).

Our sins have been washed away and put in the sea of forgetfulness, never to be remembered against us anymore … but you were sealed, washed, sanctified; you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (Eph. 4:30; 1 Cor. 6:11).

Among the 12 disciples, Bartholomew, Thomas, Lebbaeus (whose surname was Thaddaeus), and Simon the Canaanite were also called. They were a part of the twelve although there is little mention of them (Matt 10:3-4).

What is Christ’s primary calling? Is it to do works of ministry? Was the calling of the aforementioned lesser-known disciples the same as that of the better-known disciples such as Peter, James, and John? Yes! The calling of Christ is the same to all. The ministry of the body is diverse for each of its members, yet the unseen members of His body are as essential as those who are seen (1 Cor. 12).

The calling of the disciples was primarily a call to Him, not to ministry. “He ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach” (Mark 3:14; Matt. 10:5, 22:3). They were called to Him. Intimacy with Him is priority (John 17:6-8)!

In looking at 10 translations of the New Testament, the phrase “called to preach” is not found. (Commands to “send”, to “go”, or similar commands are often used.) Paul affirms that his number one priority is his call to Christ. It was to “reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen” (Gal. 1:15-20).

The same applies to us. All of God’s children are valuable, however they serve. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28).

In the life of Christ there were some named women (Joanna and Susanna) who served Him while he was on earth. There were also many others who shared with Christ out of their property and personal belongings (Luke 8:3). In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there (Mark 15:41). The unnamed as well as the named were so critical in His life here on earth.

God used Priscilla and her husband Aquila to explain the way of God more accurately to Apollos the preacher (Acts 18:26). There are other women mentioned in the Scriptures—Heb. 11 includes Sarah (v. 11), Moses’ mother (v. 23), and Rahab the harlot (v. 31). Mary Magdalene was the first to declare the resurrection of Christ (John 20:1-18).

Consider the anonymous “rope holders” who rescued Paul by letting him down the city’s wall in a basket to escape those who wanted to kill him (Acts 9:25). We don’t know who they were. They are not named, but they played a vital part in Paul’s ministry. They waved no banners, blew no trumpets, and demanded no applause. But they were a vital part of God’s plan to spread the gospel.

These disciples had no idea who it was they held in their basket. They knew he was a preacher. They knew he had recently been converted to faith in Christ. Yet there was no way they could imagine the impact this man would have on the world and the Christian faith. He would become a missionary of the New Testament church. He would shake the Roman Empire with his preaching. He would write one third of the New Testament!

There is the little boy (we do not know his name) who gave a gift of 5 loaves and 2 fishes. That meager gift fed more than 5,000 people after Jesus blessed it (Matt. 14:21)! The Lord rewarded him.

Then there were the four “rope holders” mentioned in the Gospels. They uncovered the roof of a house where Jesus was preaching and let their paralytic friend down. Jesus forgave his sins and healed him. There would not have been a healing if these anonymous men were not part of the equation (Mark 2:1-12)!

John Egglen had never preached a sermon in his life until one snowy Sunday morning. The pastor wasn’t able to make it to church. In fact, Mr. Egglen was the only deacon to show up. He was not a preacher, but he was faithful. So on that particular Sunday morning, he preached.

God rewarded his faithfulness, and at the end of his hesitant sermon, one young man invited God into his heart. No one there could appreciate the significance of what had taken place that morning. The young man who accepted Christ that snowy Sunday morning was none other than Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the man who has often been called the “prince of preachers.”1

God blessed Spurgeon’s preaching tremendously. When he was still less than 30 years old he became the pastor of London’s Metropolitan Tabernacle. His sermons were so powerful that although the building could hold 5,000 people, crowds lined up outside trying to hear him preach. And his sermons are still impacting those who read them. Yet not many of us have heard of John Egglen!

Often when telephoning a ministry I will ask the office worker, “When was the last time you gave thanks for your pituitary gland? Thyroid? Lungs? Heart? These organs cannot be seen but are an essential part of the body. People cannot see you, but you are a vital part of the ministry.” Many have given thanks in appreciation for the encouragement and some have wept.

Can you imagine the number of “hidden” members of the Body who were involved in preparation and follow-up in support of the ministry of Billy Graham, who preached to over 100 million people around the globe? They were many and were absolutely necessary.

God receives praise whether you are speaking or simply serving. So let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Matt. 5:16).

Sometimes you cannot openly witness. However, God gets praise regardless of the capacity in which you serve Him. Most saints will never be known on this earth until that Day when the Lord will reward the good and faithful servants (Matt. 25:14-23). God loves and prizes every member of His body!

The ultimate illustration of our calling and sending—resulting in our unity with God—is the life of Christ. His unity with His Father came before He was sent to the world for its salvation. Jesus Christ is our model and example of His call and His mission to do His Father’s will (John 17:5).

“I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). “So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you'” (John 20:21). “But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father has been working until now, and I have been working'” (John 5:17). There is no clearer statement of His mission and method. Know God and go where He sends!

Soli Deo Gloria,

Reuben & Carmen Sequeira

P.S. The Lord has confirmed many times that our move to Texas was His will! We are entering into the culture!