Find Your Place in the Body of Christ!
Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body (1 Corinthians 12:1-20).
Thank God this morning for His word! I praise God for Paul, who wrote this epistle to the Corinthians, and that he was in the place where God could reveal His will.
Not many are found in the place where God can use them. We find Jonah, when God needed him to go and warn the people of Nineveh, running away. He had had much training; many things had been spoken to his heart. He knew the will of the Lord. He was a prophet of the Lord, but when God needed him to go and tell this wicked city of its sin—that there was a judgment about to be pronounced upon it and its inhabitants—we find Jonah taking the boat going in the opposite direction.
He did not go in the wrong direction because he did not know the voice of the Lord. He knew it very plainly, and because he knew it and knew what God wanted him to do—to go warn those people who never had had the opportunity of hearing—he took the boat that was going away from Nineveh.
Praise God that the one we speak of this morning was in the place where he could get the revelation of the Lord, with the intention of obeying. He thanked the Lord for it even though he had an abundance of affliction; even though a messenger was sent by Satan to afflict his body; even though the powers of darkness came against him, tormenting him. Yet, he was in the place where he could speak the words of the Lord. We have them written for our admonition, our edification, our comfort, or for whatever the need might be.
Paul was in the right place, at the right time, so that he could get this marvelous revelation of the body of Christ. Those in the past could only see that Israel was to be blessed and established; that the Lord somehow would see that Israel was in the right place where He could again establish His righteousness. But thank God, Paul could be in the place where he could see that Jesus had broken down the middle wall of partition between the Jew and the Gentile—that there was to be peace between those who would never come to any decision in themselves. The Jews could look upon the Gentiles and say, “What could you have of God? We are the chosen people!” The Gentiles could say, “You are but a failure!” But thank God for Paul, who was in the place to receive this marvelous revelation of the body of Christ, and that this body would take in both the Jew and the Gentile.
If you do not have a vision, you might run; you might fit in your place at times, but without the vision you will perish. You do not know what you are running for; you do not know what you are running from. But praise God for Paul! Praise God for Habakkuk! Before Habakkuk knew what God was speaking about, he said he must get upon his watch tower. And as he listened for reproof, then he did hear what God had to say (Habakkuk 2:1). It was not enough to be a prophet; it was not enough to be one called of God; it was not enough to have a message to Israel. He needed to know what God would say personally and definitely to him, because he was to give out a message to the people, and before he could, he must first know what the message was. Then the word of the Lord came, “Write the vision and make it plain upon tables of stone that he may run that reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie; though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (Habakkuk 2:3).
What the Lord was speaking seemed like a contradiction. It seemed that the Lord was speaking a mystery, and the people would say, “That preacher tells us there is vision, that it is for an appointed time, but if it should tarry to wait for it because it would surely come, and now he says it will not tarry?”
These truths need to be enlightened by the Holy Spirit so that we may know where we are running. Then we will know that we do not run in vain, or as one beating the air, or fighting because someone told us to. We will know what the vision is; we will be able to make it plain and put it down on tables of stone. As we wait to see what the Lord has to say to us, let us get upon the watch tower as Habakkuk did. We, too, will be able to write it down and as those come up to read it they will say, “It is time to run.” There is to be no uncertain sound to the trumpet.
It is not enough for us to come and sit in our usual places, not enough to have our certain place where we can get a hold of God. It is not enough to get in a place where we give our tithes and offerings, though all of this is necessary, naturally. But there is a place in the body of Christ where we must fit. If we do not, we are misfits.
It is not enough just to be in the family of God, we need to be in that Body.
The enemy hates the body of Christ. We have studied how, from the very first, the enemy was against God’s creation. After God made the earth, the devil twisted it out of shape, but praise God, the Spirit of God was not satisfied for it to be so. He came down and straightened it out. He put the water where it belonged; the dry land where it belonged, and so on. Then we see how angry the devil was when he saw he could not get even with God and be as high as He. He came and attacked God’s creation, caused them to sin so that he could belch back in God’s face, “There is your creation, look what a mess it is.” Praise God, God could straighten that out somehow. He has been in the straightening-out business ever since the beginning.
If your life is a mangled something today, God can say, “That is darkness…that is light. Let dry land appear here…let darkness go where it belongs.” God has saving, healing power—whatever is needed. The enemy of our souls will let us go so far, but always fight the next step we are to take. He will fight us from being born into the family of God. He has done that in every life. You say, “Yes, I was fought before I was born into the family of God,” but after that, there is more to be done.
Without the Holy Spirit, you will never fit into the body of Christ.
It is not enough just to be in the family of God, we need to be in that body. Are you in the family? You say, “Yes, I am.” Then it is another thing to be in the body of Christ. You can be in the family of God without being in the body. The Spirit of the Lord is not satisfied until we fit into that body.
How do we get into that body? The way to solve the problem is to turn to the word of God. “For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many” (1 Corinthians 12:13). There is no other way under God’s heaven that we can get into the body of Christ except we are baptized by the Holy Spirit into it.
You can say, “I feel I fit in here, or I feel I fit in there.” That is all very well as far as it goes, but there is no fitting in like what the supernatural power of God can accomplish. There is nothing else that can do it. You might do ever so well, but the supernatural is left out. When you are lifted by the Holy Spirit, there is a supernatural something from God that only He can give you. You may find the place you fit naturally, but there is not that supernatural something of God upon you—that fitting in that only the Spirit of God can give you.
The truth is that this is the only thing that will make us free. If you have not been baptized into the body by the Holy Spirit, you have not started to get into the body of Christ. Where do we see the body fitting together? The enemy hates it. He hates the body of Christ. He hates to see it get in working order more than anything else, because the whole creation is groaning and in pain now to see the manifestation of the sons of God (Romans 8:19).
Everything is waiting for the children of God to be baptized into the body. Not just to have an experience; not just to say, “I have been saved, sanctified, and baptized with the Holy Ghost.” No, that is only the beginning. It is the only thing that will usher us into the place where we will wait for the diversity of gifts—tongues, the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, or whatever else the Spirit gives to all to profit the whole congregation. Without it, you will never fit into the body of Christ.
If today you are not baptized with the Holy Spirit, I pray to God that you will see this need. If you ever expect to be in the body of the Lord Jesus Christ, you will have to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. No matter what you might think, or how you twist the word of God whichever way you like, the word says, “For by ONE Spirit we are ALL baptized into ONE body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles…and have been ALL made to drink into ONE Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13).
That is the need, and that is what the enemy is fighting. We say we do not see many getting through, and that is true. We heard of a man who had been attending a camp meeting this summer, and he said they had so many baptisms in the Holy Spirit that they stopped counting them. A little while later he told of one young girl who had received the baptism, and a little while after that, she was frivolous, just wasting her time. He called that a “shallow baptism”.
My friends, he can call it what he likes, but I would call it “nothing.” To say that people receive shallow baptisms is an insult to God. I would rather say they did not get anything than to say that God does shallow work.
For the most part that is what is going on. It is just a matter of getting people to the altar and railroading them through to an experience and then turning them out, saying it is a finished work. At another camp meeting, they just worked them up to a pitch saying, “They HAVE to get something…something must break.”
On the one hand, anything is passing for the work of God, and on the other extreme, people are worked up to a breaking point. That is nothing. There needs to be in our hearts a desire for the baptism, for God is still pouring it out. At the breakfast table this morning, if your child asked you for bread, you would not give it a stone; if it asked for an egg, you would not give it a scorpion; if it asked for a fish, you would not give it a serpent. God does not give wrong things to His children either (Luke 11:11-13). He likens that to us, to show us that we need not be afraid. It is so wonderful how He works! If we, being earthly, know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Ghost to those who ask Him? The Holy Spirit will still come down to those hearts that want Him. It is not that God will not give Him, and it is not that He gives a shallow business. He will give the real baptism of the Holy Spirit, and we will all be able to drink at the same spiritual fountain. If we allow God to have His way, we will all be one.
There is only one way to get into the family of God, and that is by the blood of Jesus Christ.
There is only one way into the body of Christ, and that is through first being baptized in the Holy Spirit, who will then baptize you into the body of Christ.
There is no other way to do it. There is only one way to get into the family of God, and that is by the blood of Jesus Christ. People talk around it, but it must be the blood of Jesus Christ. And when we walk on and take steps towards the baptism in the Holy Spirit, you might say, “I am doing all I can.” That is good as far as it goes, but there is only one way to get into the body and that is to be baptized into it by the Holy Ghost. As the word of God says, “One faith, one Lord, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5).
There is only one way, as there is only one Jesus, one precious blood to be put on our hearts. There is only one way into the body of Christ, and that is through first being baptized in the Holy Spirit, with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues. There are counterfeits, to be sure. You say that would mix you up. Well, you were not mixed up when someone told you about the blood. Many today would try to talk you out of your salvation, but no matter what they say, it does not bother you, for you know what saved you. You know what the blood has done for you.
Don’t let the enemy tell you there is any other way to fit into the body. Jesus had His body broken, beaten, mangled, torn almost into pieces, thank God, that He might have a purchased possession. He went all the way through. He was not weak, scarcely living it through.
Thank God for it! As we look around, people say, “How is it that we see such little company, so few people? Why don’t you have great crowds, like others?” And so on. My friends, it is not in the crowds. We have learned that. It is not in what we have, or what we do not have. It is in fitting and having what is right. Though two or four find their places, it is worthwhile. But if we smile and say we are few in number and do not fit or have any more than other assemblies, there is no virtue in that either. We will be beaten with many more stripes.
God help us to get through to our place in Him! The devil fights. He has always fought. We see Moses, a tiny baby that anybody could hold, yet how the devil fought! The devil sent forth a curse that all children should be slain. His aim was to get that one little baby. Why? Because God’s plan was going to work through that little baby. Why did the enemy have it against a little child? Because God was going to work through that infant, to lead the children of Israel out of bondage. God was going to use that baby to stand before Pharaoh and say, “Let my people go, thus saith the Lord!” Praise God, he could do it. Hell fought him, but he could go through with God. He stood before Pharaoh and could do signs and wonders, and the Israelites were freed from Egyptian bondage.
We see Jesus Christ when He was a little infant. The same curse went out. Herod sent forth orders to kill every baby. Those towns throughout the land were swept with lamentation because little children were killed in the hope of getting this one little infant—the Lord Jesus Christ. Why was the devil set against this child? Because the plan of God was to be worked through that life. He was to grow up, die and save people from their sins.
Why does the enemy fight you and me? Why does he fight this work? Because there is a plan of God working in it. If we do what God gives us to do we will fit in the body of Christ. We will be able to bring forth something. We will be able to say to the prisoners, “Be free!” Not only naturally but spiritually. That is why he hates it. That is why he goes against us and fights us. He knows there is something worthwhile in it. To the least child, it is fought. Why is it fought? Because we have a plan of God, and it is not something far-fetched or theory—but we are aiming to fit. If we do not fit, somebody will. It will be that our day will be over.
There is only one body. There might be hundreds of professing churches, but thank God there is only one body, and we can fit in that one body as we are baptized by that same Spirit that leads us to do the same thing. The same Spirit does not lead to a half dozen things, but it profits the whole. It will be working out to one end—that Jesus Christ might be glorified, souls be saved, the heathen hearing the gospel message, and that we might fit in our places.
We should want to be found there in our place more than anything else. We will not want to be where we should not be. You do not have to worry, if we are baptized by one Spirit, and are willing to allow God to fit us in our place where we belong. We will not hinder Him, but we will fit and work for and with Him. We will be glad for it!
As we look in Revelation (chapter 12), we see a scene that will happen. I do not know all about the doctrine of it, but I do know that the woman it speaks of here is victorious. She is travailing to bring forth a child, but the devil is there; through every groan and pain, the great red dragon is so angry that he lashes his tail and draws down the third part of the stars! He hates every groan, every moan, as the child gets nearer the earth. He hates it all, and he stands there, ready to devour the child as soon as it is born, because it is in some way in the plan of God. It is God’s plan to touch the earth.
God is moving, the earth is groaning, and everything is moving to see that plan brought forth. Hell is lashing its tail, ready to grab and devour whatever it can, but thank God, the man child was brought forth, the woman was delivered, and the child was caught up to God. Wasn’t it the same with Moses? Though he was caught up in the arms of a Princess, he was caught up to God and protected. Jesus was caught up in safety, thank God, through Joseph being warned in a dream. We can be safe during these times. We see the fight of the enemy is terrific. Thank God as we look up we can be caught up to God and to safety.
Though the devil belched out a flood after the woman, God gave her wings. God wants us to find our places in the body. Let it not be just theory, or how many steps you moved. Are you groaning, travailing, moving and asking God to move everything that you might be baptized into that body? And that you will not have just emotions or thrills, but you will be able to say, “I have found my place; I love it, cherish it, hold it, and I will not let another take it away from me?” You will be there to stay because you have been baptized into the body and He has fitted you.
In Ephesians we read, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of man, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:12-14).
You will say, “I have found my place. I love it, I cherish it, hold it, and I will not let another take it away from me.”
That is why the Lord Jesus has given us evangelists, pastors, and so on. That is God’s purpose. That is what Jesus is pleading for. That is what the earth is waiting for. How about it? What are we doing? Are we bound head and foot, letting the thing pass? Are we giving it up, throwing it over? But it will not always be so. Jesus is going to present to the Father His Church, His body, for which He shed His blood, that He might have something worthwhile to give to the Father. Are we satisfied to be just cleared of our sins? May the Lord help us, that we might see that there is a need. The heathen are dying, and His plan must go forth. May we see that, baptized by the Holy Spirit into one body, we will be in the place where we will fit. We will be in the place where the finger cannot move without the hand and arm; that the arm must be linked with the elbow, and so on.
The Word of God tells us plainly what we must do. Jesus is the head, and He wants a body for His head. We should never forget that He is the head and we are the body. The ax cannot chop wood, but the person must be in back of it and bear it down on the thing it cuts. That is God’s business. There is work to be done. Things need to be done. You say, “I will do all I can but that is as far as it goes. There is no fitting for me.” God wants us to fit in our place.
Are we fighting, bemoaning our condition? There is an experience in God that is more than an experience. It lets us into that supernatural place where nobody but God can get you in. I might try to explain something to you about the moving of God but you are not in the body and you will not understand. It is the same as the sinner who says, “How does the blood of Jesus Christ cleanse you?” You say, “When you are saved, you will understand.” You can go so far, but it takes the Spirit of God to reveal it. You say, “I will do something.” All right, but it is not fitting just the same. There needs to be that supernatural moving of the Spirit of God, and it is by the Holy Spirit that we are baptized into one body. I pray we will see that God wants us to fit. He is calling for hands, feet, and so on, to be put in working order—but we will only get there through His way. As we come His way, then we can have the result of what He wants us to have.
He will give you a place where you are needed, and that is what you will love.
Today the message goes forth and we need to seek Him that we might be enlightened to find our place, and work in that place. If you are anxious to do something to make the cause go forth, that souls might be saved—find your place. How? By being baptized into one body. He will give you a gift that is needed; He will give you a place where you are needed, and that is what you will love. You will not want any other place.
If your heart is hungry, let Him have His way. Then He will fill you with His Holy Spirit, who will baptize you into the body of Christ. If earthly parents know how to give good gifts, the Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. He will not give you something that is worthless. If your heart is honest, He will not give you anything false. He will not send you a devil if your heart is honest and open before Him. He will give His gifts to those who are pure and true. Amen!
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