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Transformed Lives

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. 3For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. 6We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; 8the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness. (Romans 12:1-8, NRSV)

We are all the body of Christ. I pray each week that we will be united as the body of Christ, that what joins us together would be enough to keep us together and the things that we have created that separate us would be pushed aside. Here in Romans 12, we read one of the three passages about the body of Christ and the many members that make it up. We all have our role to play and we need each other to make this work. We can not fight each other but must be united in the ministry that God has given us.

We all have a gift to us and we must use it for the betterment of society. Martin Luther said a Christian shoemaker doesn’t show his faith by putting crosses on his shoes, but by making the best shoes he can for everyone. We use our gifts for the glory of God and for the betterment of society. We are all in this together and we should work with each other.

Let your life be transformed by God and show His love to all the world.

 

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The Council at Jerusalem

The whole assembly kept silence, and listened to Barnabas and Paul as they told of all the signs and wonders that God had done through them among the Gentiles. After they finished speaking, James replied, “My brothers, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first looked favorably on the Gentiles, to take from among them a people for his name. This agrees with the words of the prophets, as it is written, ‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the dwelling of David, which has fallen; from its ruins I will rebuild it, and I will set it up, so that all other peoples may seek the Lord— even all the Gentiles over whom my name has been called. Thus says the Lord, who has been making these things known from long ago.’ Therefore I have reached the decision that we should not trouble those Gentiles who are turning to God, but we should write to them to abstain only from things polluted by idols and from fornication and from whatever has been strangled and from blood. For in every city, for generations past, Moses has had those who proclaim him, for he has been read aloud every sabbath in the synagogues.” (Acts 15:12-21, NRSV)

Once we hear about the many wonders the Gentiles are doing then we know that God has given them the Spirit. And so they do not need to uphold all of the law of Moses, but we should write to them to abstain only from things polluted by idols and from fornication and from whatever has been strangled and from blood.

Again we do not all have to be the same, and follow the same guidelines, but we have to follow the same Lord. Who calls us all from different places in different ways to be who we are a gift to the body of Christ!

 

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Gifts

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:4-13, NRSV)

We are all amazing bodies that function together to let us type and move. We do so many things without thinking about them and forget how amazing the fact we are able to do anything is. And that is how the church is.

The church is the body of Christ and all of us are a part of it. We each have a gift to use in the body.

All of us can’t do the same thing, we all have something special to do.

It is a gift. Use your gift for God.

 

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one

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:1-6, NRSV)

We are to be united in what holds us together.

There is one body.

There is one Spirit.

There is one calling.

There is one Lord.

There is one faith.

There is one baptism.

There is one God.

There is one Father of all.

We have this in common, so nothing should keep us from being in unity!

 

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Eat and drink

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment against themselves. (1 Corinthians 11:23-29, NRSV)

Here we have the words of institution most of us use in worship service for celebration of the Lord’s Supper. No, the words don’t come out of a gospel, but an epistle from Paul to the Corinthians. He is telling them what he heard happened, and are the words we still use today.

Eat this bread and drink this cup, they are my body and blood, do this as often as you will in remembrance of me.

But what is an unworthy manner? And how does one examine oneself?

And how does one examine oneself?

And whose body are we discerning?

You can eat and drink judgment on yourself. You can eat and drink salvation on yourself.

How do we know for sure?

Remember what this meal is. And who this meal is. And what He has done for you, broken and poured out for the many.

In that we can then trust in the promises of God and hold fast to His grace.

 

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The Last Supper

170412On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover meal. When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; and while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, “Surely not I, Lord?” He answered, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.” Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” He replied, “You have said so.” While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (Matthew 26:17-30, NRSV)

Jesus, as a good Jew, was making preparations with His disciples during the Feast of Unleavened Bread to have the Passover with His disciples.

And they sat down at dinner that night and while they were eating the meal, He took a loaf of bread, blessed it and broke it and gave it to them and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then He took a cup and gave thanks for it and He gave it to them saying, “Drink of this all of you; for this is my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”

And Jesus had the first communion at the Last Supper with His disciples, before He was arrested, tried, flogged, and crucified…

 

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gifts

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says “Let Jesus be cursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:1-12, NRSV)

I do not want you to be uninformed about spiritual gifts!

I don’t think any of us want to be uninformed about gifts. Don’t we all like getting gifts?

But really these are not necessarily gifts for us.

The gifts we receive from the Spirit are gifts to help show forth God’s love to the world. To allow God to use us to spread His mercy and love and grace to a world that needs to see it.

We get a gift to help the body, which we are all a part of, and each of us has a part to play. None more important than another. All parts are needed and there is no small job.

So use your gift to build up the body, and show His light to the world!

 

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