We Are Individually Members One of Another

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As I was reading my daily devotional by T. Austin-Sparks [1] something jumped off the page and into my heart. The lead verse in this missive read,

For as in one body we have many members… so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. (Rom 12:4-5, ESV2011)

It was the word, “individually” that got my attention. God places us not only in Christ’s body in a general way, but in an individual way. Yes, we are part of what is called “the Church,” but this has been way over-emphasized, so much so that we can’t see the trees for the forest. When we think of “church” we think of a mass of people coming together on Sunday (Catholics even call this “the mass”) in a very impersonal way. We are arranged in rows facing forward so we can see the face of the pastor and hear his words, only being allowed to see the backs of hundreds of heads which we call “church members.” And they call this fellowship? Is this really what Paul had in mind when he referred to us as being ONE in Christ’s body and members one of another?

In this system we call “doing church,” how much individual interconnection in Christ’s Spirit do we really have? Think about it–this system even divides families, God’s building block of humanity. Under its rule we have little time to be together as a family. As soon as we hit the door the children are ushered off to the nursery or “children’s church.” Then there is “teen church,” the “adult Sunday school class” and during the week there is “men’s fellowship,” the “women’s Bible study,” “Wednesday night prayer meeting,” etc. Everything is about division under the rigid control of an appointed leader. Let’s face it, most of the involvement we have in that system is controlled by a human head and is anything but an organic connection where we are “individually members one of another” with Christ’s Spirit leading and inspiring our fellowship.

So, as I was reading the above passage from Romans, the Spirit was making it clear that there is an inner-working of the individual members of Christ’s body where we, as in the case of a human body, are interconnected in an interdependent way, INDIVIDUALLY members of one another. Elsewhere, Paul wrote, “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’” (1Cor 12:21, ESV2011), yet do we live that way with one another? Isn’t there a cold indifference in our church membership outside of our organized meetings?

Sparks went on to write about an even greater intimacy between members of the body of Christ where one member is suffering and we feel it in a personal way.

We are a part of a Body. Many of our sufferings are not on our own account at all. Many of the sufferings of the children of God have nothing whatever to do with their own faults or their own failing. They are suffering in a related way, they are suffering for the Body’s sake, they are entering into the battle; the conflict of this one great testimony. Sometimes it is almost uncanny when the Lord has something in view in relation to His testimony of Life, how for no reason whatever, on no account at all, we discover that we are involved and ours is not an isolated experience. All sorts of people all over the place are having the same kind of experience – a terrific sense of pressure, upset, annoyance, anything to frustrate – it is happening all round, testifying that in the spiritual realm, in the realm of the Spirit, there is a fine, sensitive oneness which matters to the Lord, and therefore matters to the enemy.

Do not always take your sufferings as some controversy that the Lord has with you. That is the twist the enemy often gives. Be open to the Lord to be checked up on anything, but do not always take it that the things which are happening to you and causing you trouble and suffering are due to your own failure or wrong. You are involved in something very much more than that. [2]

One time my wife and I were at a “couples weekend retreat” and the opening meeting was on a Friday night at a lodge on a scenic lake in north Idaho. As the meeting started, the leader of this function said he was feeling a heaviness in his spirit for some reason and asked us all to start by praying for the Lord’s direction as to what it could be. I also was feeling this heaviness and as I prayed, I heard the following words, “Rachel weeping for her children because they were not.” When we were through praying, he asked what we might have heard and I shared that verse. I sensed there had been a massacre somewhere, just as this passage was speaking of all those babies who were killed by Herod in Bethlehem that day (see Matthew 2:16-18). We were all puzzled until we got home and heard the news. That very day the massacre at Jonestown had taken place and we were feeling the tragedy of so many innocent people being killed by that maniacal cult’s leadership.

Yes, we who are members of Christ’s body ARE members one of another corporately as well as individually. Have you ever been so knit together with another member that you could feel their sorrow and their joy without even physically being with them or hearing from them to find out about it? You see, Paul spoke of us being individually members one of another. The members of Christ’s body that He has knit us together with in His Spirit have this happen quite often. If we have offended one of them, we can’t stand it until we make it right. We feel the heart-rending separation. We also feel their joy and rejoice. This is true most often with husbands and wives, but it can happen with others who He has brought together as “members one of another.” We can be so knit together that we often have the same thoughts or even find ourselves speaking the same words at the same time. This is where it gets exciting, being made one even as the Son is one with the Father. Jesus said, “I only speak the words that I hear my Father saying.” Isn’t this what Jesus was praying for us to experience as His last will and testament before He died?

The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. (John 17:22-23, ESV2011)

That we who are members of His body may become perfectly ONE in His love, this is His will for us. You see, dear saints, anything less than this is not normal Christianity. We who are Christians have settled for so much less in today’s Laodicean church system. Lukewarmness involves much more that a lackadaisical on again off again church attendance. Lukewarmness is being content with anything less than the unity among us of the Father and the Son. God is not satisfied with the status of today’s church and neither should we be content with it in our own lives. Some of us are driven to walk in the unity of the Father and the Son with other members of the body of Christ because we have tasted it. I pray that you all may experience this in the Spirit as well.

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! (Ps 34:8, ESV2011)

[1] http://austin-sparks.net/subscribe.html

[2] http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/books/002986.html

28 comments on “We Are Individually Members One of Another

  1. This is a very good article, Michael! ⭐

    Actually, forgetful me wanted to ask you to publish a blog article about your revelation of what being INDIVIDUALLY members one of another means. Alas, I forgot to mention it in my email to you. But thank God, you did it anyway! 🕊️😀👍🏼

    Indeed, only a few hours ago I pondered on the sad fact of Christians being content with their ‘doings’ for God. As you mentioned these different opportunities to distract yourself inside churches, I thought about how these things have changed nowadays.

    Young ppl are drawn into churches to celebrate Jesus in endless hours of emotionally loaded pop music aka worship. Even though their belief systems might have some biblical truth in it, these performances make the audience dependent on good feelings, seemingly having come from God. However, when things get tough and all this musical enthusiasm plus power preaching does not work anymore, Jesus finally gets a chance to be heard: when we are suffering, our soul becomes silent sooner or later. Silent enough to perceive His subtle whisper.

    Matthew 11:28-30 NASB1995

    “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Susanne, it has been nine weeks since I felt any inspiration to write, but as usual the inspiration came from a time of fellowship with a dear saint and this time it was you! 🙂 Once again we both were hearing the Spirit that I should write about what He was showing us on how we are not only corporately called into fellowship with the Father and the Son, but as individuals as members one of another. Getting open and honest with one another on an individual basis goes much deeper into the heart of things than just coming together as a crowd. In fact Soren Kierkegaard went as far as to write that “The crowd is a lie.” Why? because in a crowd we can hide who we really are and even take on a crowd identity. It is no wonder that some of the best recordings of what Jesus had to say in the gospels was when He was One on one. In fact He often avoided the crowds.

      Yes, the younger we are as Christians the more we rely on our five senses being stimulated. As we grow in Christ we learn that “the flesh profits nothing.” It is His words that bring us life and HE speaks in a still small voice.

      “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal… When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1Cor 13:1-13)

      What some people call “worship!” I also started out liking the “clanging cymbals” and drums and loud “worship” music. I was even on the road crew of a Christian rock band for six years. I think that is where I lost part of my hearing. :-p The organization that formed around that band eventually went the way of all flesh and blew apart as did the band because of carnality in the leadership. Yes, my whole life has been one of “putting away of childish things” that have taken over in today’s churches.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Patricia Lelión says:

    Simplemente amén a esta hermosa enseñanza, cuánto dolor en el corazón al ver la cristiandad de este tiempo, la falta de discernimiento es muy grande en aquellos que dicen ser cristianos y están inmersos en este sistema de iglesias.

    Alguien que ha visto algo del Señor no puede seguir en su ceguera, el problema está en que no han visto al Señor, sus ojos siguen vendados como Lázaro, la ceguera hace parte de este sistema, tenemos que ver al Señor y eso hará que nuestros ojos se abran a Él, esa es mi oración cada día Michael y Susanne, “Señor dame ojos para ver, para verte a Ti”.

    Gracias Michael por esta enseñanza.

    Abrazos mil para los dos

    XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO
    ———
    Patricia wrote:

    Simply, “Amen” to this beautiful teaching, how much pain in the heart to see the Christianity of this time, the lack of discernment is very great in those who claim to be Christians and are immersed in this church system.

    Someone who has seen something of the Lord cannot continue in their blindness, the problem is that they have not seen the Lord, their eyes are still blindfolded like Lazarus, blindness is part of this system, we have to see the Lord and that will make our eyes open to Him, that is my prayer every day Michael and Susanne, “Lord give me eyes to see, to see You.”

    Thank you Michael for this teaching.

    Thousand hugs for both of you

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Patricia, thanks for your loving comment. I have to agree, the lack of spiritual discernment in today’s churches, especially in the leadership, is overwhelming. I think that this is partly due to their focus on worldly success and prosperity. Bigger is always better and building-up the church machine to take in more people and tithes becomes the focus. You can’t serve God and mammon… mammon always wins once that camel gets its nose under the flap of the tent of meeting.

      Years ago when I saw the direction the church system was going, at first I thought it my duty to blow the trumpet and rush in and warn them. But after praying about what to do I heard the Lord say, “They are blind guides leading the blind. Leave them alone and let them fall into the ditch.” You see, when the flesh is in control, sometimes nothing else works than falling into a spiritual ditch full of demonic effluent. Sad to say, I have found this out the hard way. God let my flesh rule until I cried out for Him to change me and the task masters in these “Christian” cults did a lot to change the way I was heading–down the road of becoming a “somebody” in the church system of today.

      You wrote, “we have to see the Lord and that will make our eyes open to Him, that is my prayer every day.” As I read this He reminded me of a scripture…

      “Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1John 3:2, KJ2000)

      Yes, dear sister, there is hope for us all for He wills it so. “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”

      It was good to hear from you again.

      Love in Christ,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

      • Patricia Lelión says:

        Amén Michael, que el Señor nos dé un corazón limpio para verlo, que arranque sin piedad lo que no es de Cristo es nosotros y nos dé esa vista espiritual cada día, en cada momento.

        Siempre es bueno leer lo que el Señor te guía, es comprobar todo lo que Él mismo nos enseña en el día a día, caminando con Él en la labores de la casa o del trabajo.

        Como tú, al principio yo también quería decirle a esa gente que salieran fuera del campamento, que estaban ciegos y esa misma palabra habló el Señor a mi vida, simplemente que los dejara.

        Hoy Dios me trae aquellas personas a las cuales quiere que yo les comparta de todas estas cosas que hemos visto y oído, quisiera que fueran más, pero cada día veo como siguen atrapadas en este sistema, porque de algún modo este sistema les habla bonito al oído y es gratificante a su carne, así que perder esto para ellos es un costo muy alto para pagar.

        Que el Señor tenga misericordia de todos nosotros.

        Que alegría volver a compartir contigo y con Susanne, han sido tiempos inciertos y hasta extraños, pero viendo la bondad del Señor cada día en nuestras vidas.

        Abrazos

        Patricia wrote:
        Amen Michael, may the Lord give us a clean heart to see it, ruthlessly tear out what is not Christ’s is us and give us that spiritual sight every day, every moment.

        It is always good to read what the Lord guides you, it is to check everything that He himself teaches us on a day-to-day basis, walking with Him at home or at work.

        Like you, at the beginning I also wanted to tell those people to go outside the camp, that they were blind and that same word the Lord spoke to my life, simply that he should leave them.

        Today God brings me those people to whom He wants me to share all these things that we have seen and heard, I would like there to be more, but every day I see how they are still trapped in this system, because somehow this system speaks beautifully to the heard and it is gratifying to their meat, so losing this for them is a very high cost to pay.

        May the Lord have mercy on us all.

        What a joy to share with you and Susanne again, they have been uncertain and even strange times, but seeing the goodness of the Lord every day in our lives.

        Hugs

        Liked by 2 people

      • Patricia Lelión says:

        Michael creo que yo escribí una respuesta aquí y no la veo, debe ser que escribí y no la envié.

        Me acuerdo que dije que al principio quise hacer lo mismo que tú e ir y decirle a las personas aquello que había visto y oído, y el Señor me dijo lo mismo que a ti, que los dejara.

        Así que, el Señor me envía de vez en cuando a alguna persona que Él necesita que yo le hable de aquellas cosas que el Señor nos ha revelado y Dios se glorifica de maneras preciosas, abre los ojos de esta persona y los veo salir de este sistema corrupto de iglesias. Amén por la obra del Señor en estas vidas y Su trabajo maravilloso.

        Que el Señor limpie nuestro corazón en cada momento para verlo más y más a Él.

        Con amor, Patricia.

        Patricia wrote:
        Michael I think I wrote an answer here and I don’t see it, it must be that I wrote and didn’t send it.

        I remember saying that at first I wanted to do the same as you and go and tell people what he had seen and heard, and the Lord told me the same thing as you, that he leave them.

        So, the Lord sends me from time to time to some person that He needs me to talk about those things that the Lord has revealed to us and God glorifies himself in precious ways, open this person’s eyes and I see them come out of this corrupt church system. Amen for the Lord’s work in these lives and his wonderful work.

        May the Lord cleanse our hearts at every moment to see Him more and more.

        With love, Patricia.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Patricia, yes the people who are hungry for God are few and far between, but when He puts us with one of them it is a blessing to watch Him do the work while we rest. Those caught in that system are fed those things that satisfy their soulish natures (mind, will and emotions), so they don’t think of looking any further. It doesn’t occur to them that God wants their souls to be crucified and for them to walk after the Spirit and not the flesh, as a result they see all trials that He sends as “of the devil,” so it takes a while for God to break through. The more a church focuses on emotions and outward signs, the worse the delusion gets because it feeds the soul and starves the spirit.

        We thank our Father that He has done a great work in you setting you free to follow the Spirit and for sending you our way that we might have fellowship in Him. Like John wrote:

        “That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (1John 1:3, ESV2011)

        This is our heritage in Christ as we listen to and obey His voice,
        Michael

        Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia, ❤

      Mil abrazos más uno para ti también, mi querida hermana. 😉

      A thousand hugs plus one to you also, my beloved sister. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Patricia, going outside the camp and bearing His reproach has to be an individual choice, “Let us go thereforth outside the camp bearing His reproach…” He has to call us out and we have to have ears that can hear that call. God has to do a deep work of the cross in us to make that happen. So, we wait. It is interesting that Jesus had to take that blind man outside the city before He could heal him. 🙂

      Hugs back, my sister.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Patricia Lelión says:

        Y qué gran obra de la cruz tiene que hacer el Señor en una persona para que salga fuera del campamento, Dios debe primero arrancar el sistema de nuestro corazón y después sacarnos del sistema. Y lo que dices del ciego es bien interesante.

        Patricia wrote:
        And what a great work of the cross the Lord has to do in a person to go outside the camp, God must first tear the system out of our heart and then take us out of the system. And what you say about the blind man is very interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Thanks Patricia.

        Like

    • Michael says:

      Sorry I did not get to this sooner, Patrica. You are right and sometimes it hurts to be right. Seeing is not always what we expected in our blindness. But seeing Jesus as He is always brings peace.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Patricia Lelión says:

    Amén Michael, verlo a Él hace toda la diferencia, el Señor tuvo misericordia de nosotros y nos dio la vista.

    Patricia wrote:
    Amen Michael, seeing Him makes all the difference, the Lord had mercy on us and gave us sight.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Patricia, spiritual sight makes all the difference. Seeing things through intellectual reasoning will never suffice in His Kingdom. It is just like God told Samuel. Man looks upon the outward things, but God sees the spiritual heart of the matter.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Patricia Lelión says:

    Amén Michael, como dijo Austin Sparks en un escrito: ” si realmente vemos al Señor Jesús, seremos emancipados”. Que el Señor nos revele a Su Hijo cada día en nuestro corazón.

    Patricia wrote:
    Amen Michael, as Austin Sparks said in a writing: “if we really see the Lord Jesus, we will be emancipated.” May the Lord reveal his Son to us every day in our hearts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      This is so true, Patricia. ⭐ Paul prayed that we might have spiritual sight,

      “I Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what is the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” (Eph 1:16-18, KJ2000)

      To see Jesus with spiritual eyes is to be transformed out of our old soulish natures into the riches of His glory.

      “Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1John 3:2, KJ2000)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Patricia Lelión says:

        Amén Michael, ¡Qué grandiosa promesa!, verlo tal como Él es, que podamos verlo cada día con nuestros ojos espirituales y que todo lo demás a nuestro alrededor pierda su brillo.

        Mil abrazos desde la distancia.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Patricia wrote:

        Amen Michael, what a great promise! To see Him as He is, that we can see Him every day with our spiritual eyes and that everything else around us loses its shine.

        A thousand hugs from a distance

        Patricia, I was blessed by your latest blog https://enlaescueladedios.blogspot.com/2021/04/donde-dos-o-tres.html and to read that you finally were able to have some face to face fellowship with the brothers there in Columbia. Sometimes we get to see Jesus as He really is in the eyes of another member of His body who walks by the Spirit, too. I hope to meet you in person, too, someday, Lord willing. But one thing for sure, we surely will know one another in His presence for eternity. Many hugs back. 🙂

        Like

  5. Patricia Lelión says:

    No había leído este comentario, a veces se me olvida, ya que me toca estar pendiente de todo lo de la casa y de mi madre, pero aquí estoy de nuevo. Me alegra que haya sido bendición para ti este artículo que escribí, estaba muy feliz con esta reunión de hermanos, fue un tiempo corto, pero muy especial. Amén a eso que dices, es ver al Señor en la vidas de los hermanos. Y también es mi deseo conocerte en persona, el Señor me diera ese regalo y en la eternidad será grandioso y ya no habrá obstáculos por el idioma.

    Abrazos mil más uno mi amigo y hermano Michael, en el amor del Señor, su hermanita Patricia

    Patricia wrote:
    I had not read this comment, sometimes I forget, since I have to be aware of everything in the house and my mother, but here I am again. I am glad that this article that I wrote has been a blessing for you, I was very happy with this meeting of brothers, it was a short time, but very special. Amen to what you say, is to see the Lord in the lives of the brothers. And it is also my desire to meet you in person, the Lord gave me that gift and in eternity it will be great and there will no longer be obstacles due to the language.

    Hugs one thousand plus one my friend and brother Michael, in the love of the Lord, his little sister Patricia

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Patricia, all our earthly limitations try to keep us far apart in one way or another, but Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit so that our nationalities, religions and even our genders would no longer come between us.

      “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:26-28, KJV)

      They say that love is the universal language. How much more true this is when we abide together in the love of God! Many hugs to you as well, dear sister,
      Michael

      Like

  6. Patricia Lelión says:

    Amén Michael, el amor del Señor nos une por Su Espíritu, ¡qué gozo cuando estemos todos reunidos glorificando el nombre de nuestro Señor!. Abrazos para ti también.

    Patricia wrote:
    Amen Michael, the love of the Lord unites us by His Spirit, what a joy when we are all gathered together glorifying the name of our Lord! Hugs for you too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Patricia, as I read your reply I was reminded of the time that Paul and Silas had been flogged and cast into that dungeon in Philippi with no hope of getting out. Things could not have been worse for them physically, but in all that they had hearts that were moved to sing praises to the Lord and He was moved to release them in a way that brought about salvation to the jailer and his family. They were indeed united IN the Lord and the faith of Jesus Christ. Like Jesus said, the peace He gives us surpasses ALL understanding.

      Bless you ever deeper IN Him,
      Michael

      Like

  7. Patricia Lelión says:

    Pues en estos días malos que estamos viviendo, el estar unidos con nuestros hermanos y entonar juntos alabanzas al Señor es lo más glorioso, así estemos a kilómetros de distancia. Mi país está lleno de violencia y estos días han sido difíciles, pero creemos que todo obra para bien. El corazón del hombre debe ser transformado y se necesita urgente un verdadero arrepentimiento.

    Abrazos mil para ti mi amigo, que también el Señor te lleve a navegar por sus profundidades.

    Patricia

    Patricia wrote:

    Well, in these bad days that we are living, being united with our brothers and singing together praises to the Lord is the most glorious thing, even if we are miles away. My country is full of violence and these days have been difficult, but we believe that everything works for the good. The heart of man must be transformed and true repentance is urgently needed.

    Hugs a thousand for you my friend, may the Lord also lead you to navigate through the depths of him.

    Patricia

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Patricia,

      “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” (Isa 60:1-2, ERV)

      I think that the whole world is being consumed in darkness and evil, but we are not of the world. It is in this same darkness that His saints are being drawn together by His Spirit to shine forth In His glory. Remember His promise, “I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

      Love in Christ,
      Michael

      Like

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