|Vol. 14 No. 7 July 2012||
Roelf L. Ruffner
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20). In our efforts to dwell upon our duties to our Savior as Christians, we often forget about our body. When Jesus died on the cross for my sins, He not only laid claim to my spirit but my body as well. I am to be His servant: spirit, mind and body.
Yet, that isn’t the way it usually works. We love Jesus and our neighbor. We worship God “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). We don’t drink alcohol, use illegal drugs, dance, fornicate, dress immodestly or do anything that will bring reproach upon our Master and His bride – the church of Christ. Yet, in other ways, we neglect our bodies, “the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19).
This principle came home to me about six years ago. While moving boxes, I almost ruptured two discs in my lower back. My doctor said that they could heal, if I took care. For eight months, I did not drive a car or do several other activities. To avoid future back surgery, he said I should also lose weight, taking some pressure off that injury. I began to give this serious thought. I have always had a weight problem and have lost (and found!) hundreds of pounds in my life.
I thought, “Should my weight loss be for spiritual reasons, not just health and appearance concerns? Was I glorifying my Savior by ignoring my weight?” When the world sees me digging my own grave with knife and fork, what does it say about my discipleship? “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).
It grieves me to see otherwise faithful Christians who do not practice self-control (2 Peter 1:5-8). They continue to smoke, chew and dip tobacco in spite of the many dangers to their health. They overeat, disregarding their doctor’s warnings about heart problems, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. I know many are quietly fighting this battle, and I am thankful for their vigilance. However, others are apathetic and seem to have a secret death wish.
We must always seek to look at things the way our Father in Heaven does. For example, our neighbor borrows our automobile for a few days. After a period of time he returns it with a flat tire, a burned out engine, stains all over the upholstery and a broken headlight. He then pushes it into our driveway and thanks us profusely for its use. We are upset and disappointed. Perhaps this is the way God feels when we do not take care of His present to us – our bodies.
At the end of time, will we present Him a legacy of a battered body that did not glorify God? Or, will we have a history of a body worn out in use to His service? The choice is ours to make each day. “…as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death” (Philippians 1:20).
Mark T. Tonkery
Russians resurrected a frozen flower; can the same happen with the church of the Bible? Fox News reported (February 21, 2012) that Russian scientists managed to resurrect an ancient plant in a pioneering experiment that paves the way for the revival of other species. The Silene stenophylla is the oldest plant ever to be regenerated, the researchers said, and it is fertile, producing white flowers and viable seeds. The experiment proves that permafrost serves as a natural depository for ancient life forms, said the Russian researchers, who published their findings in Tuesday’s issue of “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” of the United States. The Russian research team recovered the ancient fruit after investigating dozens of fossil burrows hidden in ice deposits on the right bank of the lower Kolyma River in northeastern Siberia, the sediments of which are said to be dated back 30,000-32,000 years. (http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/02/21/russians-resurrect-30000-year-old-frozen-flower/#ixzz1nIxJeiMG)
Now, it is true that others have resurrected old seeds, but what makes the Russians’ experiment so special is the age of the plant. However, can this same principle be used in religion? Can we take the “ancient” Bible and “resurrect” the ancient faith? Can we have Christians like we find in the Book of Acts? Or, can we have the church that Christ built?
Matthew 16:18, states, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” In this passage Jesus taught that He built one church, and He prohibits it from experiencing a total falling away or disappearance from the face of the earth, although Jesus warns about apostasy in Matthew 7:21-23. Paul penned in 1 Timothy 4:1 that some people, even congregations, will fall away, but not all will apostatize.
What if the church has never been in one’s area? Or, like Corinth, Sardis or Rome, the church in a certain area has fallen away and is not there. Is there any hope?
In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus in Luke 8:5-18 described a farmer who sowed seed, some of which fell upon good soil. In explaining the parable, He identified the “seed” as “the word of God” (Luke 8:11) and the “good ground” as “an honest and good heart” (Luke 8:15). As the Gospel of Mark records it, those who “hear the word, and accept it… bear fruit” (Mark 4:20). The result, then, is a New Testament Christian and a member of the body of Christ, the church.
This principle is known as the seed principle. The way God designed seeds in Genesis 1:11-12 is for them to bear seed and fruit after their own kind. The same principle can be applied to the Bible. If Christians have not existed in an area or the church has fallen away, the Bible reminds us that the “seed” – the Word of God – can once again be planted in receptive hearts and grow Christians.
Marshall Keeble used to illustrate this principle by discussing that if a person wanted to grow Georgia watermelons in Africa, he would not need to grow a vine stretching across the Atlantic Ocean from Georgia to Africa. All he would need to do is get the seed from Georgia and take it to Africa and plant it.
Just as the Russians were able to resurrect the ancient flower, the Silene stenophylla, by using the ancient seed, those who hear (Romans 10:17) the “ancient seed” – the Word of God – and obey the Gospel (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9) and bear fruit will result in a Christian. It does not matter how old the seed is; when put in the right environment, it will grow and bear fruit.