Body of Christ
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
It was so great to be together on Sunday. We not only had a good number, but we had some visitors share with us. I was thankful that they came and shared with us in the morning worship service. I am always excited about our visitors.
But I wondered, what is a ‘visitor’? To most of us it is a person that comes to our church and shares in a service with us. Sometimes a visitor is related to someone in our church family. I’ve seen Mom’s, Dad’s, children, siblings and many times grandchildren. They may come from another town and are spending time with their family.
Visitor status seems to be based on whether one is a member of a local body of believers or not. I suppose that is the easy way to define a person. If you’re a member of Highland you belong, if you’re not then you are a visitor. Sounds a little exclusive in some respects, but keeps things open in others.
But there was something about this that made me do a little reflection and made me think. Let me explain. Years ago there was a church in Missouri that practiced ‘closed communion’, meaning that only those who were members of that body could participate in the Lord’s Supper. Everything went fine until one man’s family moved off and then visited with us when we were celebrating the Lord’s Supper.
Because they had joined another church family they were unable to join in the celebration with us. After that day the practice was re-evaluated and they now practice ‘open’ communion so that any believer can share in the supper. It makes sense to me since we have all trusted the same Lord to bring the same salvation to our individual souls.
In Mark 9:38-40 there was some concern expressed by John. He said, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to hinder him because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not hinder him, for there is not one who shall perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me. 40 For he who is not against us is for us.”
The body of Christ goes beyond the confines of any one church building to envelop every believer. Paul was very clear that the body was more than just one part. In 1 Cor. 12:14-26 he makes it quite clear that the body of Christ goes beyond the walls of any church building.
Yes, I realize that the various parts of the body have different worship styles that have led us to meeting in various places. Here it comes – Yet, as the body of Christ we must be working together in order to accomplish the task to which we have been called.
Our task is not to make Baptist’s, Methodist’s, Church of Christ’s, Pentecostal’s, Episcopal’s, Non-Denominational, or any other “denomination”. Our task is to reach a lost world with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
When a person enters into the kingdom of God and is a new disciple of Christ, they are in the body. So whether they are in Pampa, Texas or Kihei, Maui or Seoul, South Korea they are a part of the body of Christ. Yes, they are visiting a different building, but for every believer their membership is held in the hand of Christ and we are all a part of the same body.
So the next time you see a ‘visitor’ remember -- if they’re a Christian they belong with you. If they’re not a Christian they need to belong with you. So introduce them to your dearest friend. Let’s bring the body of Christ together for such a time as this.
JESUS, JESUS, JESUS, there IS something about that name!!
Christ only, always,
Brother Paul Nachtigall is the preacher at Highland Baptist Church. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.