O1 Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours”. 1 Cor 1:1-2
Notice how carefully the Apostle Paul sets out his words in the above scripture. There is a reason for that, as we shall see.
The title above might appear a bit confusing. But I have written it deliberately so in light of what I need to say here.
Have you ever noticed, in the epistles, that the apostles did not write to a particular person when writing to the churches? In other words, they did not address their letters to a man. On the contrary, they wrote to the church. In their letters, they addressed the church as a unit. In doing so, they were proclaiming a cardinal truth of the Spirit: that WITH GOD, IT IS THE CHURCH – OR NOTHING.
Just in case you missed it, let me reiterate it right here, at the very outset, in the clearest terms possible: NO MAN IS ABOVE THE CHURCH. No minister, no ‘spiritual’ leader, no one in the five-fold ministry, no elder, NO ONE is above the church. The church as a unit is above any man or any group of people.
Actually, the forerunner to this state of affairs is our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus did not put Himself above the church. He put Himself in the midst of the church!
“I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.” (Heb. 2:12)
The church is a Body, a singular unit, and God has no favorites. Oh, but I have to correct myself there. I needed to say that God does have favorites; but God’s favorites are not what we have been programmed to accept. On the contrary, God gives greater consideration to the weak, the less honorable, and the less beautiful. We read that in 1 Cor. 12:22-23.
“Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: 23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.”
The Early Apostles had an understanding of God that we do not have today. No wonder even their lifestyle, their modus operandi, and the miracles, wonders and mighty deeds that happened in the Early Church are incomparable to anything that we see today.
These men of God knew the heart of God for the church. And they knew exactly how God equally gives honor to every part of His Body, which is the church, and that there is favoritism with Him. That is why they addressed letters to the churches, and not to men!
But even then, all along, since the time of Moses, this aspect of God with regard to the church had been lying there in plain sight for everyone who had eyes to see. In the Old Testament, when we read about when the children of Israel went out to gather the manna that God had brought down to them, the account states:
“17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. 18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack…” (Ex. 16:17-18).
Long before, in the Old Testament, God had declared His standard: none is of more value to Him than another. In fact, God is particularly detestful of any one of His children who aspires to appear more important than his brethren. God has equal regard for all His children.
Praise God for whoever we are. But the minute we begin shelling out our position, our qualifications and our accomplishments we become nothing with God. In effect, we cut ourselves from the Body of Christ.
In the days we live we hear things that literally make your ears to tingle. I heard one preacher say, on live TV, “I have spent 3 billion shillings building my reputation!”
Yeah, you heard that right. Someone had tried to soil this man’s name on social media, and he was not taking it lying down.
Of course, the man is a big minister, and he has a large following. But, alas! he is a classic example of a man who is living on his own. The man has effectively cut Himself from the Body of Christ. God cannot allow a person with such an attitude into His church.
But the standard for being a part of the Body of Christ is,
“Who maketh thee to differ from another?” (1 Cor. 4:3)
In other words, Who are you?
The Apostle Paul said repeatedly, “I am nothing.”
That is the standard for one becoming a member of the Body of Christ.
Have a lovely Sunday morning all.
[God loves His church!]