Y’all

www.bible.com/1713/1co.6.19.csb

There are times in Scripture where English simply falls short of the original. This verse is one of them. Unless you know some of the Greek behind it, you don’t get the intended meaning of this passage.

For example, I have often heard this verse used as justification against smoking, drinking, or even overeating. How? Because all of those things desecrate the Temple that is the body. The body is understood here as one’s own body, and anything that harms the body, even lack of exercise, is preached as misusing the Temple of God, from which the wrath of God may be involved.

However, a simple check back into the Greek of the text reveals something else. The word for “your” in English can be both singular and plural, unfortunately. While the verse can be understood of speaking of your personal body, the word is translating a plural original, meaning “y’all’s” body. In this context, y’all does a better job communicating the intent of the original. This also changes the meaning. Instead of one’s personal body in question, it is the body of believers as a whole that is the Temple. The Spirit dwells among us, it just in us. When we are together, we are the Temple, not just by ourselves.

Now does that mean smoking and drinking and whatnot are good for us? By no means, but it does mean that we cannot press this verse into service to be against it.

This means that our body of believers is a gift from God. That ought to change our attitude as we meet together this morning.

God bless!

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What We Need in Church

What does our church need to achieve fundamental change? Three things: Greatness, Openness, Direction.

We need Greatness in worship and personal spiritual experience. We need to rise above mediocrity and “just enough to get us by.” We need great worship. We need worship where we come face to face with Jesus Christ, with Almighty God. We need sacrificial worship. We need to bring something to the service and to God’s presence, rather than expect to take something away from it. We need to expect to bring a gift to God, our broken and bleeding hearts, the kind of sacrifice He desires. We need uplifting worship. We need worship and personal spiritual experience that is literally “out of this world.” This is what gives us the glimpse of the “other side,” the realm of the eternal and the spiritual. Without it, our religion becomes dull, lifeless, monochrome, and carnal.

Next, we need Openness. We need to be open and transparent to our brothers and sisters in faith, to open our hearts to them. We also need openness to God, so that we do not approach Him with hypocrisy, but with complete and sincere honesty about who we are and we wish to become. This is called in John 4 worshiping in “Spirit and in truth.” “In Spirit,” for God is spirit. We can only approach Him as translucent spirit, not as opaque flesh. This is true intimacy, not the kind of “lets-make-love” philosophy passed around by fornication, but true and lasting intimacy of heart, shared between Christians, other Christians, and Christ, the true intimacy of the “Body.”

Lastly, we need direction. We need to know where we are going. What is the point of all this? Is it to make more money, to hire more staff, to break 200, or something else completely pointless? Are we trying to achieve a certain level of spiritual maturity (Ephesians 4:13) together, something that we can measure and touch? Are we trying to bring new lives into the Kingdom? What is the direction that all of our services and groups and ministries are aiming for? Firmness of direction gives us a sense of purpose. Without it, we will fail, because we will fail to set goals. Failing to even set goals is a mark of a dying church. There would be no life here without direction. As children, out intention is to grow up. As older children, we set goals for our future, what will I be? As adults, we set goals in our career, how high will I go, or, how well a job can I do? As as Church, what is our direction? To get bigger? How big? How soon? Who will cater to? How will we grow? Are we willing to sacrifice our building to build newer and bigger? Are there sacred cows along the way we will have to butcher in order to make more room (i.e., music, wall color, more preaching, more services, more home Bible study)

Without these three, Greatness, Openness and Direction, Church is pointless, monotonous, and will eventually die. Do you want to be a hanger-on, one of the last to go down with the ship, or do you want to live?! Do you want to live the life that Jesus calls for in Scripture, to be filled overflowing with the water of life, to live life more abundantly? (John 10:10)

Where To?

It is the Sunday before Mother’s Day. I tell my wife that we ought to go out to eat, since next week we will probably go out to eat with my mother. Her first choice is to go out to Ryan’s in Lafayette. Ryan’s, I think, Mmmmm. Let’s go. By the time we are on our way to Lafayette, Ryan’s gets downgraded to Long John Silvers. Ok, fish, not as many options, but still ok. By the time we get there, instead of dining inside the restaurant (because it’s too busy), we go through the drive through and end up eating at home anyway. What I had imagined as an elegant dining experience out became a rushed lunch at home.

Like our ill-fated lunch journey, many churches end up exactly where they started, only more frustrated than when they set out. One of the biggest problems that churches run into when they hire a new minister or make any drastic change is that they don’t know where they are going. When the minister has exhausted himself trying be a one-man operation, the church fires him because he “just doesn’t understand the way things are done around here.” We want to fulfill what the Lord had commanded us, to go out and make disciples, baptizing them and teaching the apostles’ doctrine and empowering them in Christ, but, how do we do it in a way that is culturally relevant? How do we attract these people to the gospel? How do we get there from here?

What the New Testament teaches is “every-member” ministry. (Romans 12:1-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-14) All of us are empowered to become ambassadors and witnesses. Evangelism is the function of the entire church, and so must be a part of everything we do. .

Any large church has hundreds of ministries to many different kinds of people. As a small church, we don’t have that luxury. We must be willing to do a few things well rather than trying to do a lot of things poorly. What things do we do well as a church? I would suggest that we find out and use those outlets as a springboard for bigger and better things, when our numbers justify the change.

First, does your church know how to eat? I’ve been in many churches that serve good food. Why not use this ability for evangelism? What about making meals the center of home-based Bible Studies and Small groups. What we put to God’s use, God will not neglect.

Secondly, is your church a giving church. What about helping in local projects, like building a shelter for the school kids in the morning, or letting them come into the building for hot chocolate. What about some after-school tutoring and programming. God will use what we can give to further His kingdom.

Thirdly, maybe you are the only church in town. Many in in a community consider the only church to be their church who have never been in a Sunday Service. Why not capitalize on that and use it to your advantage? Your facility is your number one physical asset. Why don’t we use it to bring people inside?

Many of you have ideas that you would like to see your church work on. It’s time to step up to the plate and get involved. Get involved in Youth Ministry, or Missions, or Worship, or even Benevolence. What great things can God do with a church that is listening to Him? Think about it. Think about where you want to go with your church. Draw the “map” and plot the course for your church. Then act to accomplish the goals you’ve agreed upon. Let’s make your church’s community a “city that cannot be hid”!