Christmas Lightbulbs Belong Together

This time of year, most people are decorating for Christmas. One of my favorite parts of Christmas decorations are the Christmas lights – the beautiful colors working together give a special Christmas glow to the room. However, have you ever gotten a string of lights untangled and plugged in, only to find out that they don’t work, because one bulb is broken or missing?
That is how it often is with the local church – someone who does not understand their responsibility to be a part of the local church is missing, and the church does not function as intended.
First Corinthians 6:19 is one of my favorite Bible verses. It says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”
This verse is often used to support the wonderful and Biblical teaching of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit on an individual level, but the grammar does not support that. Here’s why: where it says “…know YE not that YOUR BODY is the temple…”, ‘ye’ and ‘your’ are plural, while ‘body’ is singular. It is talking about a single body that the whole group has in common; and that body is not one’s physical body, because then it would have said “your BODIES” (plural).
First Corinthians was written to a church. A few verses before this one in Chapter 6, Verse 15, in talks about each individual’s body belonging to the Lord: “Know ye not that your bodies [plural] are the members [plural] of Christ", but by the time you get to verse 19, it is talking about a different body: the local church. According to Ephesians 1:22-23 and Colossians 1:24, the local church is the body of Christ. It is that body (the church) which fits in the grammar here, and gives us a wonderful understanding of how things are supposed to work.
When a person receives Christ as his personal Saviour, he receives the indwelling presence of Christ. He is supposed to immediately be baptized and join the local church (Acts 2:41, 47) to which he has been fitted by God (Ephesians 4:16). Then, the light of Christ shining through that individual joins to the light of the other believers like a bright string of beautiful Christmas lights, and “A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” The dark areas of our personal lives are edified and perfected and overcome by the other saints in that church, who love each other and work together to reach the world with the Gospel.
How about you? Are you trying to be a self-sufficient Christian, independent of the local church? That’s not God’s plan. Christ died for the church (Acts 20:28), so you should be a part of it so that the light does not go out. “Ye are not your own”.