1 Corinthians 12:25-26
That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.…
I. GOD BESTOWS UPON US NOTHING MERELY ON OUR OWN ACCOUNT BUT FOR THE GOOD OF OTHERS. We should all sympathise in the sorrows, and rejoice in the joys, of each other, as if they were our own. This principle is not peculiar to the Church. It enters into the very idea of a society, that we are reciprocally affected by whatever affects every member.
1. Take, e.g., the family. Let but the youngest and the least considerable suffer, and what a shade of sadness is spread over the whole household! When the family grows up to maturity, it might, at first, seem as though the chain which once bound them so closely together had been severed. The thought of each other rarely breaks in upon the pressing cares of each one's daily occupation. But let any of these brothers attain to high distinction, and what a lustre is at once reflected on all who bears his name! Or let a member disgrace himself by crime, and how mournfully the disgrace settles down upon his kindred.
2. But we are members of a larger society. Our happiness in the community is subject to the same law. If our fellow-men around us suffer, we shall suffer also, unless we do all in our power to relieve them. Let a deadly epidemic alight upon some neglected neighbourhood, and it will be wafted to the dwellings of the opulent, and the pestilence will utter in solemn accents the words of the text.
3. Take a more extensive field. How often has the form of social organisation been constructed for the sole benefit of the few, rather than the whole! You will see the face of the land here and there beautified by the mansions of the proprietors, while the million, the children of ignorance and vice, herd together in cabins like brutes. All this goes on quietly, it may be, for generations. At last, some famine or some giant act of oppression maddens the multitude to frenzy, and all at once the fabric of government which ages had cemented crumbles into dust.
4. Or we may observe the relations of a single individual to a whole nation. Suppose that a Government lays its hand unrighteously upon the smallest portion of the property of a citizen. It may be, for instance, the ship-money of Hampden, or the trifling tax on tea that inaugurated the American revolution. At once the shock is felt by the remotest citizen of the realm. One member has suffered, and all the members have suffered with it. By inflicting injustice on a single citizen, the Government has outraged the moral sentiment of the nation. And it must retrace its steps; or else, unless the love of liberty be wholly extinguished, a revolution must ensue.
II. IF GOD HAS MADE OUR HAPPINESS TO DEPEND UPON THE COURSE OF LIFE HERE INDICATED, HE HAS DONE SO TO TEACH US HIS WILL. A moral necessity is thus laid upon us. We cannot live to ourselves without doing violence to our conscience and incurring the consequences of disobedience to God. But, in a matter of so much importance, we are not left to the unassisted light of natural religion. The Bible teaches us this doctrine on every page. Our Father imposes upon us no duty of which He has not set us the example. We are to imitate His boundless beneficence, by using the talents of every kind which He has committed to us for the good of others. We are to imitate His self-sacrificing love in the plan of redemption, by carrying the good news of salvation to the lost. Such was the Spirit of Christ, and we are told that unless we have the Spirit of Christ we are none of His. God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. Conclusion: We are spending our probation under the most solemn of all possible conditions. The choice between two modes of life is presented to every one of us. Will you live unto yourself, and lose your own soul, or will you live unto God, and enter into the rest that remaineth? Now is the time for decision.
(J. Wayland, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.