God has chosen to speak also through his people, the gathered body of Christ. A problem of the evangelical church is that we have emphasized the priesthood of the believer so much that we have lost our corporate identity as the church. Christians think that can stand alone before God and are not accountable to the church (other believers). Remember that Jesus died for the church (Matthew 16:18). Check out how the church is described in the New Testament:
- Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27)
- Jesus is the head (Ephesians 4:15)
- Every believer is placed in the body as the Spirit chooses (1 Corinthians 12:18)
- The Spirit manifests, or works through each person in the body as he chooses for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7)
- The body is fitted together by the Father.
- The members are enabled and equipped to function where the Father has placed them in the body (Ephesians 4:13)
God has made us mutually interdependent. Paul was constantly requesting the believers to become vitally involved with his life and ministry. The effectiveness of Paul’s ministry rested on THEM (Colossians 4:3, 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2, Ephesians 6:19).
The point is that apart from the body of Christ, you cannot fully know God’s will for your relationship to the body. God can and does speak through the church. There are many needs in the church, and the need itself does not constitute a call to meet that need, but the need however is NOT to be ignored.
There are no lone ranger Christians, we are connected to one another in bond of love, salvation and mission. The individual believer is not the church; the church is the body of Christ gathered. Every member is to listen to what the other members are saying, because others will help me to understand God’s will.