Caring For Christ’s Body

In our society today, we find many professing Christians visiting orphanages, hospitals, care homes, prisons, refugee Camps, and correction centres to pray and support the inmates.

Now, when you ask why? They will easily quote to you Matt. 25: 35 – 36. This, they will say is done because Christ said if you perform this philanthropic act on others, you are doing so to Him, v.40.

So they go about providing food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, home to the stranger, clothes to the naked, visit and care for the sick in the hospitals and prisons, while hoping and waiting to ‘inherit the Kingdom prepared for you’. Of course they are doing a wonderful thing in providing for the needy and it is pleasing for Christ to see people caring for one another. But taking a closer look at v. 40 of Matt. 25, we read that Christ said, ‘inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my Brethren, ye have done it unto me’. Yes the act of care should be done, but especially to Christ’s Brethren, whom in v 33 he refers to as his sheep who will inherit the Kingdom

Let us look closer at some of the things we should be providing especially for Christ’s flock, as well as others, when we have the opportunity.

Hunger. Our physical body requires food, so too s our spiritual body requires spiritual nourishment to stay strong and healthy. Spiritual food comes from the Word of God (Jn4:34), hence we need to constantly study it to provide spiritual food for ourselves and others, if you do not have this food yourself you are not able to feed others.

Thirsty: We need water for the health of the body, to assist in the distribution of nutrients to every part of the body, without which food will not be properly distributed.

Water here stands for the understanding of God’s Word. Isaiah 55:1 describe the priceless quality of the water as ‘wine and milk’ – how nutritive. Christ is calling us to come to him when thirsty, Jn. 7:37 and freely drink from the everlasting spring, Jn.4:14.

And so then, when we help others in the understanding of the Bible, we are giving them spiritual drink.

Stranger, is someone who does not naturaly belong in a community. After baptism we are given the right hand of fellowship into the commonwealth of Israel. Eph.2:12. This is done after receiving and understanding the Word of God. When the Word of God is preached and it appeals to its hearers, they are then baptized and become fellowcitizens with the saints though they were once strangers. Eph. 2:19.

Attending to strangers, Christ is saying, gives them the opportunity to become fellowcitizens with His saints and partakers of the Covenants of promise in Christ Jesus. As we fellowship together, we are no longer strangers but Brethren.

Naked: Though believers, if we do not give heed to the doctrine of Christ, we may cause an offence to his body and expose it to shame. When king Ahaz caused Judah to transgress against the Lord we are told he “made them naked’ (2 Chron 28:19). We become naked if we sin. Our mortal flesh itself is sinful, that is why God has provided a covering (2 Cor. 5:1 – 4) for our sins in Jesus Christ who is our garment (Rev. 3: 18). By exhorting and reproving one another, we are constantly clothing and cleansing the white raiment that is a covering for us.

Sick: The mortal body is subject to sickness. If we don’t nourish with food and protect it, we grow weak and attract harmful parasites that are dangerous to our health. Spiritual sickness is when we start doing things that are not healthy for the spirit, Gal. 5:19 – 21, thus growing weak in faith.

Simple clinical signs for a spiritual disease are when one is staying away from fellowship and refraining from ecclesial activities. Immediate acton is needed from the ecclesia (Rom. 15:1) because we may lose that one if careful measures are not taken at this stage. Caution should be taken when supporting the weak (Heb. 12:12) in that some diseases are infectious or transmissible (Gal. 6:1) so preventive measures should be taken to ensure people don’t get sick regularly (I Thes. 5:14).

Prison is meant for law breakers – those who once came under Ecclesial laws, but for some reason are no longer with us.

Christ is telling us by visiting them it is often possible to win them back.

No wonder the righteous asked, “Lord, when saw we thee…’ (Matt. 25:37), so that we could do these things to thee? Today we have ample opportunity of developing ourelves and helping others to be ready for Jesus’ coming. (This is an abridged article)

Bro Amban Rassendyll (Limbe, Cameroon)

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