THE MINISTRY OF THE BODY
Read: Romans 12:1-5
In generations past the one-man ministry was the thing.
There have been prophets who have single-handedly shaken
One man with a fiery tongue brought Nineveh
to its knees.
One man stood on the banks of the Jordan River
and shouted "Repent!", and all Isreal came out
to listen and get baptized.
In the Church of Jesus Christ, the one-man ministry has
never been the best way. And yet in times of widespread
apathy God has often raised up solitary voices to pro-
claim the message that no one else had the faith or the
guts to preach.
People would be drawn to that man and cling to him as to
a New Testament Moses.
- until the man would either be corrupted by all this acclaim,
- or killed by his enemies.
There are church buildings all over It this city which are
monuments to the strong personality and driving ambition
of some gifted preacher or some lady with healing
charisma. And there are still assemblies and evangelism-
tic enterprises that are held together by the drive of
one man or woman.
But the day of the one-man show in the Church of Jesus
Christ is over. The real move of God which is stirring
on this planet at this hour is by-passing the one-man
ministry. Itís working in those places where believers
give up trying to be one-man shows, give up the false
security of leaning on one shining flesh-and-blood
leader, and start functioning together as a Body with
Jesus Christ as the Head.
The apostle Paul was a fantastic man - a man anointed
with great power from God. But Paul was not a one-man
show. Paul went into Corinth, preached the gospel,
discipled believers for 13 months and left. Paul wasnít
there to supervise,
nurse their wounds,
or blow their noses for them....They got along...
Every ministry that they needed in Corinth was in that
flock, if Paul never came back.
When Paul wrote his letter to the Romans, he was writ-
ing to people he had never seen. Paul had never been
to Rome yet, but there was a flourishing church there
for which Paul had done nothing but give thanks.
The boss of the Church at Corinth was not Paul. And
the boss of the Church at Rome was not Peter. The boss
of those churches and every other church on earth was
the Holy Spirit who took His orders in turn from the
glorious Lamb of God - Jesus, who submitted in turn to
These churches had pastors, elders, deacons, evangelists,
teachers, healers, helpers; but the real Shepherd was
the Lord Himself. And there wasnít a single believer
in the flock who didnít have a divine ministry to per-
form. The Church functioned as a Body held together
not by the personality of a chaplain, but by love flow-
ing between brothers and sisters, driven forth into the
world not by the program of some fleshly mastermind,
but by the Spirit of God.
The Spirit gathered them to Jesus.
The Spirit enlightened them concerning Jesus.
The Spirit filled them with the love of Jesus
and the power of Jesus
... built them into a living temple of God, transformed
them into a literal Body of Christ on earth. And
through them all together the Word of God went forth
and the grace of God was made manifest to the world.
They were the Alpha age.
We are the Omega age.
Itís all happening again. The Spirit is doing this same
beautiful thing again. But this time not just in a few
cities around the rim of the Mediterranean Sea, but
across the entire surface of this planet. This time not
to get the Church Age started, but to end it. To get
out the good news of the mercy of God in Jesus to the
whole earth before the hour of judgment strikes.
The work of getting the final call to the Banquet of God
out to the whole world with power
- is not given maverick to preachers,
- or to lone-ranger evangelists,
but to the Body.
And we see the Body being drawn together before our eyes.
We are all hearing the call of the Spirit to give up our
private spiritual enterprises and to enter into the mind
and will of Him who has set us in the Body, made us
members of each other.
So that we may no longer be children, tossed
to and fro and carried about with every wind
of doctrine by the cunning of men, by their
craftiness in deceitful wiles. Rather, speak-
ing the truth in love, we are to grow up in
every way into Him who is the head, into Christ,
from whom the whole body, joined and knit to-
gether by every joint with which it is supplied,
when each part is working properly, makes bodily
growth and up builds itself in love.
The message of the Spirit at this hour is that we must
no longer be children tossed to and fro and carried
about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of
men. We are to grow up into the Head - into Christ.
To give up our own pet things and our own hang-ups
and prejudices and come together, under Jesus, and
Not everybody is responding to that message. There are
many who are going on in their own private way, re-
serving the right to rule their own lives,
to obey Jesus when they want to,
and disregard Him when they want to.
But these are not the ones who are going to get the job done.
- They may be gifted.
- They may be brilliant.
- They may be eloquent.
but they are
being by-passed as the Spirit draws together those who
will practice their faith and exercise their ministry
as part of the Body.
And who are these people who are taking their place in
the Body? Romans 12 tells us exactly who they are.
1. They are those who have presented their physical
bodies to God as a living sacrifice.
How do you worship God? You worship God by making Him
- The Israelites would kill the best animal
in their flock and put it on the altar.
- The wise men brought gold, frankincense,
You say you're worshipping God today with words of
praise - thatís beautiful. God loves to hear those
words of praise, provided theyíre backed by something
What are you putting on the altar of God to back those
words of praise?
Money? Thatís a start if itís serious - and
not a half-hearted tip. But money is not enough.
Fasting and Prayers? Thatís beautiful if itís
coming from your heart. But fasting and prayers
are not enough.
If you really mean those words of thanks to God for
the gift of His Son,
- youíre going to go all the way
- youíre going to put your body on the altar -
your flesh-and-blood body as a living sacrifice.
I appeal to you, therefore, brethren by the
mercies of God to present your bodies as a
living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God
which is your spiritual worship.
Your body is offered up. Itís still alive, but itís alive
now only to God. And all it does is now for the glory
of God and whatever does not glorify God,
honor God, it does not do
Your body was once a house of lust and a
temple of vanity.
Your body is now a house of prayer and a
temple of the Spirit of God.
If you havenít presented your body as a living sacrifice
to God do it now!
"Lord, today I lay my body on the altar.
I present it to you as a living sacrifice.
Accept it, 0 God. Cause the fire of your
holiness to come down and rest upon it like
that bush on Mt. Horeb that burned but re-
mained green, that men may turn aside to
see it and hear your voice speaking out of it!"
When we present our bodies to God we become together
one single living sacrifice, one glorious burning bush
from which one voice speaks. Thatís the first step
toward actual unity among believers - the laying of our
physical bodies on the altar of God.
2. The Body of Christ is made up of those who have
given up their citizenship in this world for the
citizenship of Heaven.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that you may prove what is the good and
acceptable and perfect will of God.
So the mind is wrenched out of its old conformity to
the ways of this world....gives up its citizenship and
becomes a citizen of Heaven. Itís a new mind,
a heavenly mind,
a mind that is set
on God, a mind thatís aimed at doing Godís good and
acceptable and perfect will.
You donít give up your earthly citizenship with ex-
ternals like refusing to vote or pay taxes. People
refuse to vote and pay taxes and think theyíre really
something but theyíre still bound to the earth. Itís
an internal thing. Itís a matter of where is your mind?
What is it set on?
Where is its comfort?
A thousand influences will try to make it turn back to
Egypt and think the way the world thinks.
Be not conformed.
God wonít do this for you, you have to do it constantly -
always breaking conformity with that lust of the flesh,
lust of the eye, and the pride of life. Always being
renewed in that River of Life that flows through the
desert of this world, so that your mind is filled with
light instead of darkness,
truth instead of lies,
reality instead of vain dreams and paranoid suspicions.
3. The Body of Christ is made up of those who have
For by the grace given to me, I bid every one
among you not to think of himself more highly
than he ought to think but to think with sober
judgment, according to the measure of faith
God has assigned him.
Prestige, status, importance do not belong to the Body
of Christ - they belong to the world. Whenever these
things creep into our fellowships, weíve got the world
not the Kingdom.
If youíre worried about your image in the eyes of other
believers - still sulking because you havenít been ac-
corded the recognition you deserve - swinging back and
forth between feelings of inferiority and superiority,
youíve brought the world with you. Youíre conforming
to the world and not the Kingdom.
When you really enter into the Body of Christ, with your
heart, the climbing stops because God has turned every-
thing upside down.
In the Kingdom you donít climb - you descend,
you donít put yourself above your brother
you put your brothers above yourself,
you donít seek honor - you give honor.
4. The Body of Christ is made of up those who fit in
where theyíve been put by God.
- They donít sulk because they havenít been
gifted to do some great thing.
- They donít itch to be somewhere other than
where they are.
They start where they are with what they have and they
- They fall in step with their brothers
- They fill the gaps.
- They reach out with their hands and lift
where things are sagging.
For as in one body we have many members and
all members do not have the same function,
so we, though many are one Body in Christ and
individually members one of another.
When you fit in you donít wait around to see if somebody
will come up and talk to you, you open your eyes and
head for the loneliest soul you can find and you talk
to him! You donít stand against the wall waiting to
see whoís going to clean up the mess; you clean it up!
Next thing you know youíve found the place God has for
you - the work God wants you to do. And you do it!
When God wants you somewhere else on some other task,
Heíll let you know. Meanwhile, thatís where you belong,
thatís where you fit,
thatís where your joy is.
The Body is strengthened and you are blessed.
The one-man ministry is not going to do the job. The
job is going to be done by the Body; and the Body is
being drawn together right now from every nation, race,
kindred, and tongue - together (not in compartments).
Every one of us is being called to leave our safe little
fortresses of individualism and fit in where the Spirit
of Jesus puts us and work in harmony with brothers and
sisters - knit together with them in love.
God help us to do this today for time is short and
thereís much to be done.