1 Corinthians 12:27
Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
I. THE CHURCH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST (cf. Ephesians 1:22, 23; Ephesians 4:12; Colossians 1:24).
1. Note the resemblances.
(1) As the body reveals the soul, so the Church reveals Christ. What we love is in our friends, not the body. That is but the casket. But we know nothing of their souls except through the body. They are revealed to us by the glance of the eye, the tone of the voice, the deeds of love. So Christ is never seen directly. The salvation of men depends on the Church's revelation of Christ.
(2) As the soul acts by the body, so Christ acts through the Church. The soul is the seat of the affections and motives, but the body must carry out its purposes. The soul of the parent goes out after the children who are scattered over the world. The body must write with pen and ink the messages of love. A neighbour longs to help some sick one. The body must be robbed of sleep that the neighbour may be helped. So Christ, the soul of the Church, loves and desires to save all men. But wherever men are saved, it is usually by the action of "His body, the Church."(3) As the soul speaks through the body, so Christ speaks by the Church (1 Corinthians 6:1-5; Matthew 18:17, 18).
2. If all this be true —
(1) How great is the honour which Christ has put upon us!
(2) How great is our responsibility!
(3) How important that we should see to it that we do not become a body without a soul — a Church without Christ!
II. INDIVIDUAL CHRISTIANS ARE MEMBERS IN PARTICULAR, i.e., each in his appointed place. The teaching of the previous verses is —
1. That we are all members or parts of the body of Christ. We may have nothing that brings us into prominence, and yet we are component parts of the body. Without us it would be incomplete.
2. That we all have a part in the work of the body. No part of a living body is without a function which it alone can perform. So in the body of Christ our office may be a humble one, but it is one to which we are Divinely appointed.
3. That the meanest offices are often most important. How the disorder of one small obscure part of the body hinders the whole; — pleurisy or tic! So in the body of Christ. If the Church is hindered we need to make it a personal matter. "Lord, is it I?" Again, the less prominent offices in the Church are just now more necessary. We have had much preaching; we want religion lived in little things.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.