Thursday, March 20, 2014

Touching Base, Part 233

TB 233
The Body – PART 6:
Who Do You See Here?
16 March 14

(This article can also be found on our website
at under the tab called "Blog")

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

Philip Yancey says, “I often wish that we could somehow set aside church history, remove the church's many layers of interpretation, and encounter the words of the Gospels for the first time. Not everyone would accept Jesus—they did not in his own day—but at least people would not reject him for the wrong reasons.

Once I was able to cut through the fog still clinging from my own upbringing, my opinion of Jesus changed remarkably. Brilliant, untamed, tender, creative, merciful, slippery, loving, irreducible, paradoxically humble—Jesus stands up to scrutiny. He is who I want my God to be.”

How much do you resonate with what Philip Yancey says?
Has this been your experience?

Today we are looking at the big idea, The Church Is Jesus!
Text: 1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1

In this section, Paul touches on some similar themes that he has been addressing since chapter 8. He elaborates on, and provides an illustration to help drive home the importance of giving up one’s rights. I would like to focus on two key statements that Paul makes that help the Corinthians understand what the Church is all about, or should we say WHO the church is all about.

V.31 “… do it all for the glory of God”

What does the first part of the sentence tell you about the glory of God?

“Doxa” or glory means the manifest presentation of God’s infinite and majestic nature; normally conveyed to humanity as superlative brightness. It is a word that ties three concepts together: repute, splendor and reflection or image. Do all for the reputation, splendor and reflection of God.

What do people often think of when they think of the glory of God?

Notice the very practical ways God’s glory is revealed in this text. Finish this sentence, “I reveal the glory of God in my life by….” (scan v.23-33 for some clues).

Let me help:

V. 29b,30 “Why should my freedom be determined by another’s conscience? If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?” is again the objection of the Corinthians, as in v.23a, and does not represent Paul’s own view. In v.28, Paul offered a hypothetical example, and here he offers a hypothetical objection or retort to his own argument. Paul himself has just argued that he does limit his freedom, and the Corinthians ought to limit theirs precisely because of someone else’s conscience.

What I want you to note is that the impressive beauty (glory) of God does not always come packaged the way we (or Hollywood) would like to portray it.

If you have seen the movie Son Of God, then you know that they are portraying Jesus as a “hot Jesus” played by Diogo Miguel Morgado Soares- a former model. However note the following:

One tradition dating back to the second century suggested Jesus was a hunchback, and in the Middle Ages, Christians widely believed that Jesus had suffered from leprosy. Most Christians today would find such notions repulsive and perhaps heretical. Was he not a perfect specimen of humanity? Yet in all the Bible there is only one physical description of sorts, a prophecy written hundreds of years before Christ's birth. Here is Isaiah's portrayal (from Philip Yancey), in the midst of a passage that the New Testament applies to the life of Jesus:

“Just as there were many who were appalled at him—his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness… . He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”

Sometimes the glory of God surprises us!

For another example, check out John 17 and note the mission of Jesus - to bring God glory and note one of the ways that was done, “ …by completing the work you gave me”. This included dying on a cross. Cicero calls it “ the most horrendous torture.” So hideous was the act of crucifixion upon a man that he writes that “the very word ‘cross’ should be far removed not only from the person of a Roman citizen but from his thoughts, his eyes and his ears.” (The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, Gary Habermas and Mike Licona, p.49)

Does the Church demonstrate the glory of God in the setting aside of rights, serving, loving, coming alongside, sacrificing, “dying” for others?

Sometimes our contorted version of God’s glory has made us God’s shame.

The Church is Jesus, and we are to reflect His glory.

11:1 “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.”

Was Paul being arrogant when he called for others to imitate him? Not at all. Living in a pre-literary age, he was adopting a deliberate teaching strategy used by many communicators—calling on new converts to imitate the patterns of behavior he modeled for them. Ultimately they were to follow Jesus but for many Paul would have been the model for Christ-like behavior. Note 1 Cor. 2:1-5, Paul clearly wants them to see Jesus.

“Follow” means to mimic or copy, it means to allow who you are following or trusting to determine your response, actions, attitudes and beliefs.

Is that difficult? Can you think of any situation where following Jesus is particularly challenging these days?

When Christ is not the one who we are mimicking, what does the church become? How would you finish this, “The church is…“ (i.e. an accumulation of the traditions of men, a reflection of the trends and needs of current culture)

As a group brainstorm on why “the Church is Jesus” is so crucial. One answer is that people have feet of clay. Regardless of our spiritual heroes, people fail us, our role models let us down at times. If we don’t point people to Jesus, then we can overstate the importance of people, create a savior complex for some and see people crash.

The Church Is Jesus!

Join us today for Breathe, 4pm in the Upper Room – The Living Word Of God

Mark Kotchapaw
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