Last week we saw how the Apostle Paul compares the church to a body. Each member is essential for the body to function properly. No member of the body should feel himself more important than another. When we begin to appreciate and cherish each member of the body, then we can function properly as a church. However, what happens when the body is sick? Could it be that the church languishes because of illness? Today, we will look at disease in general and how it affects the church body. Diseases of the Corinthian church included gossip, pride, legalism, backbiting, immorality, and a host of other sins.
- Disease has a tendency to filter through the entire body..
You never stand alone in the community of Christ. Your struggles are our struggles. A man in the church of Corinth was having an affair with his stepmother and the church did not want to help the young man or the family with their problems. Paul says, "Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" (I Corinthians 5:6). When you become a member of this church you are not isolated from the body. You have become an integral part of what God is doing in this community of believers. This is what Paul means when he tells these same Christians in Corinth, "Whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it, or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ..." (I Corinthians 12:26-27).
- Disease is most deadly when it is never discussed or diagnosed..
To pretend and hide is the deadly curse of religion. Real Christianity is always transparent. A body of believers will not hesitate to frankly discuss issues at hand. The Apostle says to the church in Corinth, "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world" (I Corinthians 11:31-32).
- The best way to treat disease is to go to the source book for treatment.
Are you struggling in your marriage? Is there an addiction in your life? The New Testament has the answers for you. For instance, the Apostle Paul gives several instructions to the people in Corinth. They were to help the immoral man (Chap. 4), they were to settle some lawsuits (Chap. 6), they were to settle a disagreement among the members whether it was lawful to eat meat offered to idols (Chap. 8). Paul said, "Let all your things be done with chairty" (I Corinthians 16:14). Are you practicing this?
- No church is always healthy, but a vibrant church sees and treats disease.
You will never find a perfect church. You will never find a group of people without issues. Further, you and I are not without problems. A healthy church is composed of individuals who are willing to see and deal with the individual, isolated problems of the members for the sake of the whole body! "Ye are the body of Christ" (12:27). We should produce Christian experience better than we produce Christian activity.