The Church is the Body of Christ, and it is a wonderful creation of God! It is intended to be the manifestation of Jesus on the
earth today, demonstrating His love and power to the world just as Jesus Himself did when He walked the dusty paths of
Galilee. There is, however, a problem I want to address here. The problem is that far too many Christians fail to demonstrate
neither the love nor the power of Jesus Christ in their personal lives on a day-to-day basis. This is not how God intended for it
to be. He designed His Church to portray the very nature of His Son Jesus. When individual children of God fail in this regard,
the whole of the Church suffers for it.

Recently we witnessed the fall of a prominent Christian leader, which was heralded by the news media as a failure of the
Church, much to the surprise and sadness of us all. One thing became evident as we watched this tragedy unfold, and that was
that the sins of this pastor directly affected each and every born again believer on the face of the earth. Our testimony was
tainted by his personal sins. I do not mention this sad situation to condemn Ted Haggard in any way; on the contrary, I advocate
we forgive him and that we pray for him and restore this man of God to Kingdom service. My reason for using his sins in this
teaching lesson is to convey this truth:

                                                                 YOU ARE NOT YOUR OWN, YOU ARE THE LORD’S

You and I are each a body part, according to I Corinthians 12:12-26. Just as any particular member of our physical body is
counted by us as important, so it is with the spiritual Body of Christ. Try smashing your pinky finger and see the affects of how
even the pain in our smallest member directly affects our entire being. Ouch! When joined together by our mutual faith in Christ
and our acceptance of his gift of salvation we form the family of God and comprise the single unit called the Church. The key
word in the last statement is “single.” Ephesians 4:4 builds on this principle of oneness. In fact, oneness is the fundamental
principle of our covenant with God – we are one with Him and one with all who carry His name. What I want to emphasize in this
teaching is the oneness of believers and what that requires of us.

A number of years of ago when I was the pastor of a local church the Spirit of Lord taught me something about oneness that
was new to me. It happened after a Sunday morning worship service. Everyone had left for the day except me. I was in my office
meditating on the wonderful things God had done in our service, but I was also saddened because so many of our church family
were absent that day. I knew that if several of our people had been there they could have received exactly what they needed in
their lives to counter challenges they were facing. The Lord revealed to me in that hour that our church family was like a jar and
each individual member was like a drop of anointing oil. When everyone that He had called to be a part of our church family was
present, the jar was filled to capacity and the level of anointing was at its peak. But, with each “drop” that was missing at any
given time the level of His anointing was diminished accordingly. This revelation teaches us that each of us is needed in our
church and that means each one is of us is needed for the sake of the Church.

We must extend this principle of oneness to our lives outside of our church as well. I now speak of sinning. When you sin
against God, the effect of that sin goes beyond just ourselves, it hinders the church of which we are a member and when our
church is weakened it in turn hinders the overall Church from being all that it can be. When your testimony is compromised
because of sin, every Christian suffers for it in a number of ways. They suffer in their testimony because what you have to say
about how Jesus changes our lives becomes unbelievable to the ears of the sinner who hears the gospel. When your attitudes
are not Christ-like sinners do not desire to know your Jesus because in fact you represent Him to them; therefore, the Body of
Christ is weakened in its capacity to evangelize the world. Simply stated, your individual sins have a direct bearing on whether
or not the will of God is done or whether or not His divine plan is fulfilled in the earth. That is how important you are!

My encouragement to you is this: live your life above reproach. This is not just for your own benefit but also for the benefit of
the Body of Christ. Be ever mindful of how your actions appear to others and what your words and attitudes convey. Remember:
You are being watched and measured by those who potentially can find salvation. So, be an asset to God and to His Church by
learning to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) so your flesh will not manifest and hurt you, me, and all of our spiritual family.

Now let me take the principle of oneness a bit further by extending it to include your wealth. I realize that anytime Christians
start talking about money some get a little uneasy. But be that as it may, I will tread forward anyway. Please understand that any
money that flows into your control belongs to God, it is not yours. You are merely a steward – one who is entrusted with
managing His wealth. With that being said, let us be reminded that Jesus Himself went about feeding the masses and giving to
the poor. (II Corinthians 9:9) As you know, being a disciple is a matter of imitating our Lord; therefore, you must emulate Him in
this regard as well. Be generous. Be a giver. Be a sower, and realize that because you are you will receive much back in return.
(Luke 6:38) When those harvests happen, don’t consume them all on you. Consider the oneness of the Body of Christ. If she is
to prosper and grow and expand, she must have your help financially. Your wealth is the means by which God harvests the
souls of the earth. Money is the lubricant of the gospel. It enables us to print and distribute Bibles. It gives us the ability to
send missionaries and build churches, schools, orphanages, and medical clinics. It provides well for God’s chosen servants
and their families so they can concentrate on Kingdom matters. Be the conduit through which God can bless His Church with

Your salvation may be a personal thing, but your life in the Church is not a personal thing – it is a family matter. You are a
member of the family of God. What you can receive from God is really not the central issue. Whether you are blessed or fulfilled
or even happy must not occupy the focus of your prayers. As you develop in your understanding of being a part of the whole,
your life will be far richer and in fact you will prosper and be blessed at an even higher level. So, my admonition to you my
friend is this:

For The Sake of the Church