The Body — His Church— is a very real part of our Christian life. Personal issues, institutional structures, and difficult people may keep some away. What do they miss? The oil of joy and the water of refreshment comes to us through the church. (Psalm 133, 1 Corinthians 12:13)

Speaker: Thomas Schaller
Sermon 12716
Date: 2024-05-12
Time: Sun 11:00am

P. Schaller –

I’m going first. All right. So, thanks, pastor. Thank you. Good to be back. Yes. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms.
P. Eugene is going to share something about that. I’d like you to turn to Deuteronomy 11. When we were
in India, we were in India a few days ago. And it’s really on the other side of the world. And we
recognize God’s work there. We were in two cities, Mumbai and then Bangalore. I enjoyed
being with the children as well as of course the adults. I videoed a couple children quoting
psalms. One quoted Psalm 100 and one quoted Psalm 123. I want you just to read this. Deuteronomy 11:18.
These are the words about the Jews coming out of Egypt out of bondage and have them in your
heart. How we think is so important. And then, pass it on to our children.

Vs. 18. If we don’t talk to our children, somebody else will. If we don’t make an effort to invest
in them, somebody else will. They will just by default take in the world around them, but we
have to make an effort to put it in their hearts and to speak to them.

Vs. 19-20. Have the Scripture in the kitchen, living room, bathroom. Put it in the garage. Write
the Word of God on the wall. Write it in your heart and write it in the hearts of your children.
So, moms, happy Mother’s Day. We are recognizing your love, your effort, your perseverance,
your care, your discipline, your efforts, your failures and rebound, your love and you can’t stop
loving.

You love and love. And we are a big family that care about you and your family.
In India, we saw moms and we saw the investment that the church had in the children. And I
just have two little folks for your viewing, just for your pleasure today, so let’s play those two
right now.

Turn with me to Malachi 3 for a word on the offering. Thank you for your giving through the year.
We have our budget meeting this month for next year when the trustees make up our budget.
We are behind a little bit this year. We are about $65,000 in the red so far for the year. And I
want to just teach a short lesson today about offerings.

So, look at Malachi 3:8. And of course, the answers, no. How could we ever rob God? Yet, you have
robbed me. vs. 8. The answer is in tithes and offerings. What a thought that is that I could rob
God by holding back from my money. Let’s put down a picture here of my money. Here’s my
monthly budget. My money that you get from wherever you get your money from. You pay
your bills. And these are your bills.

Insurance, car payments, electricity, maybe savings if you can and so on. You have counsel that you may get for your finances and how you manage them. And I want to recommend based on my wife and I and our experience in handling our money is that we take the top part. This is the 10% number. It might be more. But we try to do at least
that and actually do more but depends on how you manage your money. If you make more
money, you may want to give a lot of money away. That’s a great idea. That’s amazing that
people can do that. There are people in history that after they are dead – the McCormick folks that made tractors and farm machinery. I think he gave about 85% of his income away to the
church. D. L. Moody’s church received a lot of money from these kind of people who made a lot
of money. It’s an amazing story. And on it goes.

The point is: You want God in your finances. And you can start as a simple poor person with ten
potatoes and give one of them away to God. You know, ten percent. Recognize God in your
money.

Look at vs. 10. So, this is like the church is a storehouse. Now, God opening up the windows and
pouring out a blessing. What does that mean? My experience is that there are things that may
come my way that are opportunities that I have because of God. God gave me an opportunity
or a deal. I got a great deal on something. I can’t believe I got that deal. That was God. Or God
closed a door to a bad deal. I didn’t get in trouble with my finances.

God delivered me. Our lives should be filled with these kinds of things. Somebody could say, how do you do it? And you
answer and say I don’t know. There’s something about my life. There’s a blessing on my life and
in the area of finances, there’s just something that is working. We have what we need.
I might not have extra but I have a blessing. I’m not in trouble at the moment. And if you are in
trouble, then maybe you should look at this and just say maybe if I would honor God with this
tithing, maybe if I honored him somehow a bad door is closed.

A good door is open. Maybe it happens ten years from now. You go to buy a house and the whole thing works out to be a blessing and you can’t believe how that happened. Or you get a car or your son gets a blessing.
Or your children. Or there’s some opportunity that opens up. Something happens that you
cannot explain it. That’s God in your life. And he said prove me. I will show you. I will help you. I
will give it to you. I will guide you. I will lead you. I’ll get you out of trouble. If you get into
trouble, I’ll get you out of trouble. I will help you in your life. What an amazing thing that is.I cannot say specifically what it means. I just mean generally that’s what I believe.

Even your health. You might even live like longer and healthier. I do not know. He just said trust me. I will
open up heaven and pour a blessing out on you. I will help you in your life. Isn’t that amazing?
Again, you can’t say, we cannot package it cuz it’s a thing of faith. But it says that there.
So, what does it mean? I have a monthly budget. I just look at my money and say I got to give to
God. I got to give to God and God help me pay my bills and help me with what I’m dealing with
and help me with what I need. And there’s so many stories that could be told about that. I just
want you to take a look at that in your personal life and include that in your life as a Christian.
There is something about it and there’s a blessing in it. Amen. (Prayer)

Okay. You may be seated. Turn with me to Psalm 133. So, there were four of us that went to India:
myself, Gary Groenewold, Roger Robbins Jr. and Fred Ellis. We went to two main cities in the
country: Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay. And then, Bengaluru, formerly known as Bangalore. There we had a missions conference with people in Mumbai and people came from
different parts of central and northern India. And there were about 600 people.

Also, a group came from Nepal in the eastern part of the country. Some for the first time. I
think 37 people the first time came. We had meetings. We had youth meetings. It was like a
convention like we have here in the end of June. By the way, put that on your calendar. The last
full week of June we have our international Convention here.

Sikkim. We learn our geography when we are there. We have a map of India. We have the
pastors put their names over which area or city. Rajasthan. Let’s see. Bhutan. Sikkim. Assam.
And so on. Lucknow. Bihar. Calcutta and so on. So, it’s very encouraging because we are very
much the same. That you as a believer, we as believers learning the doctrine, living in the
anointing of the Spirit and loving each other. You see Body life. Body life is what we’ll talk about
today.

After four days in Mumbai, we flew to Bangalore and we had another conference for the
southern part of India. I have a short video clip where they are greeting our church in
Baltimore. So, we’ll play that video right now. (video). Do you love us in Baltimore? Wow. How
can that be but you know and I know that 1 Corinthians 12:13 we read there what God has done. What
has God done in their hearts and what has he done in ours. Vs. 13. Imagine all believers around
the world baptized into the Body.

What does the Body mean? It’s the word for the reality of Christ in us and with us on the earth.
We are in his Body. Christ is the Body. He’s the head. We are the Body but it’s Christ in us that
makes us one. Like a metaphor for a unified, organic union of parts. The hand is connected to
the arm. The torso and the legs and every part. We are members organically connected. You
could hear it in their voices that they are free. They are loving. They’re just simple. It is clear
that we are one in Christ.

And by the way, many of them are coming to Convention here in June in a few weeks, so that
will be fun to have the Indian pastors and their wives and workers coming here. Why? Because
the Body of Christ is a very real part of our Christian life. Something we didn’t have before and
we’ll talk about that in a minute.

Look at vs. 13. And we could play with that a little bit. We could say whether we are Americans
or Indians. Whether we are people with careers or common workers. Whether we are educated
or uneducated. Whether we are from this country or that country. We are all baptized into the
Body of Christ whether we are bond or free. Whether we are a slave as in the first century or
we are free and we’ve been all made to drink into one Spirit.

So, we have this amazing reality in the Christian life. Now, here’s the point among many. Many
Christians don’t know about the Body of Christ. I have a couple points here.

#1. People do not
go to church because they have personal reasons why they don’t go. Because they don’t like it.
They don’t want to be with people. They want to be by themselves. They don’t go because they
don’t see the value in it.
They don’t go because

#2. Maybe the church is institutionalized. Long word. No picture yet? It’s
coming. Institutionalized. Is that up there? Okay. What does that mean? That means that the
church may be organized for programs but not very personal. Like an institution like the military
or an institution like a school or a hospital or a prison. A prison is an organized community of
people but it’s an institution. It’s not Body life. It’s an organization serving a certain purpose.
Maybe you are in there but it’s not that enjoyable, especially a prison. But a hospital. Even a
church.

I don’t go to church to be honest in my case, I went to church as a young man every Sunday.
But I sat there. I didn’t feel that anybody really cared about me. Nobody knew my name.
Nobody talked to me. Not even one time in 18 years. I don’t remember anybody talking to me,
stopping me on the way out. It was just like sterile community. We were in the same room but
what was really there. I mean God was there but in people it wasn’t Body life. It wasn’t a
fellowship. So that happens to people.

#3. Some people say I don’t go to church because people are difficult. People are – and that’s a
nice word. People are hard. People are, can’t trust them. People are mean. People can be
judgmental. They can be cold and so on. I would like to stay by myself. Stay at home. Play it
safe. Not know many people and just kind of be away from people. That’s how some people
live. Christian people live without church life.

But in this Psalm 133, it says the opposite. Something else. And I want to point it out to you. I
wonder if I did a good job on those first three points. What do you think? Huh? By the way, hey.
Wait a minute. I was in India. I was with a pastor. He pulled out a book out of his knapsack and
it was written by Ron Swingle on love. He goes this is my favorite book. That guy right there
wrote the book. Huh? Ron Swingle. Wow. In India. Did you know your book goes to India?
Wow! Isn’t that good! Great. My favorite book. All right.

You want to turn to your neighbor and say give me three reasons why people don’t go to
church. And then just read them right off the screen there. Give me three reasons why people
don’t go to church. Okay. Why don’t they go? Maybe they are nervous. They are afraid. They
don’t know how to talk to people. Maybe somebody is going to ask them a difficult question.
Why don’t they go? Because they are not relaxed. They are not comfortable. They are not
thinking the right way about it.

But we have Christ in us. So, we have now a capacity to think with God. And when God says
church life is important, then I like to think with God to understand what is he saying? What do
you mean? It is really? It is something I could discover? Something I could know about?
Something that is good and pleasant. This is vs. 1 of Psalm 133.

Vs. 1. Let’s put down these two words: good and pleasant. It wasn’t like that for me. It was kind
of cold and distant and not connection. Until I found a fellowship of Spirit filled believers who
had an interest in discovering Christ in each other. Talking about Christ. Thinking with Christ.
Believing that Christ is in us. Believing that Christ is in the room. Believing that Christ’s mind is
better than our mind.

If we are left to ourselves, our bent will be like this way and we’ll be our way and even in a
group we’ll be our way and we have our difficulties and so on and that is all that we have. But if
we make the effort to think with God and what God is saying to us about Christ and what Christ
has done, we will discover something else. Not us. But we’ll discover Christ in us. We’ll discover
God’s mind for us. We’ll have faith. We’ll have love in our heart. We will start to believe. We
will be believing and thinking and talking in terms of who we are in Christ. What God has done.
And then how good and how pleasant it is. Let’s see that in a minute.

Here’s a short list of things. Let’s say in the Body of Christ we have a place where people are
taken, people are taken seriously. Let me explain that. People are taken – you are important.
You are taken seriously. You are a child of God. You have value. Now, this doesn’t necessary
happen always from the pulpit to you even though we pray that that would be the case, but
also with each other.

You’re with people that have Christ’s mind and they consider that your life is valuable. Because
God sees your life as valuable. That your troubles in life are also understood. And that there is
grace from God and faith in God and love from God that we have amongst ourselves. We are
not people that we look at each other as problems that need to be solved or broken things that
need to be fixed. But instead, we look at each other in terms of the finished work and we say
that we died with Christ and have been raised with him. We are in our flesh but we’re living in
faith and the Spirit is speaking to us and encouraging us. So, we are able to look at each other
and take each other seriously as members of the Body.

We also learn in the Body to trust. We learn to trust. Look at each other, know each other, and
believe in each other in the Lord. It’s not that we don’t make mistakes or we might let
somebody down. That can happen of course. But there is this never ending resource where
what Christ has done for us is always applicable. We always can get up again. If we fall down,
we can always continue on because when he died, he died to take care of us in the old man and
give us the new man. Give us a new life and to know each other that way. Not after the flesh
but know each other in faith. Yes, we can do it. Yes, we believe God. Yes, we have a future.

Yes, we are on a mission. Yes, we love each other. Yes, we forgive each other. Yes, we are members
of his Body. Yes, we are here in Christ’s place. This is all Body life. It’s a new life and we
recognize it with each other.

I have a piece here from Deitrick Bonhoeffer and he says this: “The Christian needs another
Christian who speaks God’s Word to him. He needs him again and again when he becomes
uncertain and discouraged for by himself, he cannot help himself without belying the truth.”
That means like there is a day in my life where I just need somebody to speak the Word to me
again and again. And then, there are days when I do that like today where God has ordained for
a pulpit in our life to minister Christ to us so that we can hear who we are in Him. That’s Body
life. We discover who I am in him. Not like who I am as a failure or a sinner or discouraged
person or empty person or lonely person. I want to know who I am in him. What does God say
to us? And we need each other.

Do you know the crown of God’s creation was Adam and Eve? Let me repeat it. He made
everything. He made the animals. He made the land. He made the grass. He made the clouds.
And then finally, on the sixth day he made Adam and Eve. And even on that day, he made Adam
first and then he made Eve sometime and they are and he finished on the sixth day and they
are a community. They are husband and wife. That’s the crown. Not being alone that’s not
being the crown. The highest level is fellowship. It’s communion with another person. It’s Christ
in us with each other. It’s Body life. How good and pleasant it is. It’s amazing when it happens
to us. Let’s see that in a minute.

He says, “He needs his brother man as a bearer and proclaimer of the divine word of salvation.
He needs his brother solely because of Jesus Christ. Christ in his own heart is weaker than the
Christ in the word of his brother. His own heart is uncertain but his brother’s is sure.”
That means Christ in me on a certain day is weak. I need you. Christ in you to be strong. And
you minister to me. I find that to be encouraging, edifying. I need that. You are loving me. You
are seeing me in Christ. You are recognizing God in us. We are in the Body of Christ. This is a
part of the Christian life. To be honest, many Christians do not experience that. Many Christians
are maybe home reading their Bible.

They don’t go to any church. Maybe they go to the health club. Maybe they go on walks. Maybe they go out in nature and they try to find God. That cannot compare to Body life. Body life is so good and it’s so pleasant. It’s like heaven on the earth when we are in the Spirit together and loving each other and we don’t forget it. It is so
good. We remember it.

There’s a website from our Bible Speaks days up in Lenox, Massachusetts where old people that
used to live there on the campus in Lenox. If some of you were from those days, you know what
I’m talking about. In Finland, we had a block of time and you know what we’re talking about.
How Body life is and how good it is. When we have Eurocon, the Polish people stay up all night talking. The Polish people. All night talking. All night talking sometimes because they love Body
life so much.

The Russians loving Body life. I remember the years in Russia. I remember in Finland. I
remember in Hungary the block of time where we had just this how good and how pleasant it is
when we dwell in unity. Where’s that unity come from? Him. As the Father and I are one, so
you are one with each other. Continue in that love. Continue in that oneness. Continue in it. It’s
so unique. It’s so valuable. It’s so important in our lives. Okay.

Another thing that we learn in Body life is compassion. We learn to be compassionate with
people that are unfortunately troubled or going through difficulties. We have compassion on
each other. We do not shame each other. We are not judging each other. We are loving each
other. We have compassion. We care about each other. We are members of the Body. We are
not fighting with each other. We are not ego centered. Like my way, my opinions, my ideas. Like
I am number one or something like that. No, we are submitted one to another and listening to
hear Christ in the conversation and Christ in the firmness and Christ in the spirit of God’s will
and mission.

And then

#4. We rejoice together a lot. We have a lot of fun. We have a good time. So, there it
is. Okay. I have a subpoint here that’s really good. We refuse to label one another in a certain
way that we would do by nature. By nature maybe we would label people according to opinion
or a judgment we would make on them. Maybe they are different from us. We could label them
or we could talk about them as though they are different.

The Indians that you saw on the video, maybe the natural man could evaluate them and talk
about them and label them a certain way and they in turn could label us as Americans and say
American people are like this or like that. But they don’t do that and we don’t do that. Why?
‘Cause the only thing that I want to know about them is Christ in them. And the mind of Christ that
is toward them and in them.

And what they want to know about us is the mind of Christ in us. And one reason why we are
together is because we’re online and they watch lunch raps and morning devotionals and
services and we are of the same mind. ‘Cause the Spirit has baptized us into the Body and we are
discerning the Body of Christ as the Body of Christ.

Also, we don’t label people as people that need to be fixed. Maybe somebody has an addiction
or problem and we could label them a certain way but we don’t. We don’t know who they are.
Maybe we don’t know or maybe some of our counselors they know but they don’t talk about
them cuz it’s confidential and that’s not how we know each other. I want to have Christ’s mind
regarding my brother and my sister and encourage them and build them up in it and maybe their problem will go away in a year or two or maybe a longer time. I do not know. Maybe in
one day. This is a different way of thinking and living. It’s having the mind of Christ in the Body
of Christ.

Okay, so the last part of the message is the psalm has two metaphors for what this goodness
and pleasantness is. That’s Psalm 133:2. So, we have comparison. Good and pleasant here. Like
what does it mean? Good and pleasant. And he uses two things: oil and the second one is
water. Oil. It’s like oil. What is oil? Oil went on the high priest, Aaron. It went on his head and it
went all over him. Like all the way down, every part of him.

We could say about oil that it – when people use it, they glisten or shine. When it’s on your
skin, the light hits it and kind of reflects it and you have a little bit of a shine. And it’s soft. And
it’s pleasant. Because you’re shining and there is a fragrance from the oil and there’s a softness
on your skin.

You know, that means that when we are together in the Spirit, then there’s not hard corners.
There’s not concrete. Maybe the opposite of oil could be toughness, hardness, military rules.
Condemnation. Judgment. Hardness. You know, toughness. But oil is soft. And that’s what
people need. They need kindness. They need understanding. They need quietness. They need
love.

It’s like a man and his wife on their honeymoon. It’s not hard and tough. It’s kindness. It’s
quietness. It’s connection. It’s care. And the Body of Christ is like that. How good and how
pleasant it is when we dwell in unity and we can sit quietly and not be fighting. Not be yelling.
Not be fighting for our rights or demanding something. But oil is like – this is the presence of
God in our life.

And not only is it like for Aaron as a priest but for all of us as priests. We are all priests. It’s
almost like you are a priest to me. You care about me. You minister to me. You have a word for
me. You help me. You care about me. We’re riding in a car and how good and how pleasant it is
that nobody’s fighting. That we’re talking and listening.

How good and how pleasant it is when we find in our Christian fellowship that there’s real care
for each other and kindness and connection and I hear what you’re saying. Not only do I hear
what you’re saying, I’m also hearing what you are not saying. And I’m also realizing that you’re
a very kind person, and you care about me. Me? You care about me? You do. You care about
me. One could say cause that’s Body life. It’s beautiful.

The second metaphor is water. So, let’s read it in vs. 3. Now, Hermon is a mountain in the north
of Israel. It’s 9,000 feet tall. The highest mountain in the area. And it’s right on the border of
Syria, way in the north and there’s Mt. Hermon. And the air blows from the west, east.

So as the air from the Mediterranean picks up moisture and it rises to go over the mountain, it drops
the water on the mountain. A lot of water. So much that they say if you went to sleep on Mt.
Hermon, you would wake up in the morning wet. Like soaked. You’d be soaked with water.
That’s how much water drops on that mountain.

And what does it mean to have Body life? It means that water drops on you and it refreshes
you. It refreshes you. We could say it renews you. It restores you. It builds you up. It affects you
but it’s so gentle like dew is gentle. Maybe you don’t even notice it at first but it just is coming
and there’s more of it and there’s more of it.

That’s what I feel about Body life. Body life is so exciting, so encouraging. And it’s like gentle
and it has an effect on you. You can’t even believe that because I go to church how it affects my
life. You cannot even believe that I have sisters and brothers that care about me and it’s like
dew that comes and it just comes every day and it refreshes me and builds me up. And I know
that’s happening to you because I’ve seen it and many of us have been here like 40 and 50
years.

How did you live your Christian life? I had a church. What kind of church? The Spirit of God
baptizing us into the Body of Christ. Well, what did you talk about? Not about what our natural
life would say or do, but instead I want to discover Christ in the church. Christ in my sister and
brother. I heard them talking. God was using them. I saw them in life. They were not hard,
angular, concrete, tough kind of people. They were gentle. They were kind. They were
encouraging. They were very edifying. They were very gracious to me. I can’t believe that they
really believe this about me that I have a future. That I have a blessing. That God is with me.

That God cares about me. But that’s what I hear them saying because that is indeed our calling
to be blessed from God in our lives.
Vs. 3. That’s the meaning of good and pleasant. How good and pleasant. It is like the oil. It is like
the dew that comes down and it says for there the Lord commanded the blessing even life
forevermore. Do you know if you live in the oneness of Christ in the Body of Christ not tearing
people down. Not gossiping. Not living in your natural disposition, your natural way of thinking.
Kind of judgmental, critical and maybe depressed and all those things.

That’s why my mind is an important part of Body life. ‘Cause how we think in our mind with the doctrine and the thoughts of God has a lot to do with how I look at you. How I look at myself and then how I look at you.
When we look at each other through God’s mind and heart and we speak that way and live that
way, then we are very edifying and it is like the oil that comes down and like the water that
comes down out of the air and refreshes us and builds us up.

If you took your life and you live your Christian life without the church, your life is much
smaller. Very different. It’s not the same as when you are baptized into the Body cuz it’s God’s will for us to be baptized into the Body of Christ and discerning the Body and appreciating it and
knowing it. So, that’s that. That’s the message. It’s a good message. Something to think about
and to know.

Let me finish with this. “Where relationships are warm, – this is from Eugene Peterson – “where
relationships are warm and expectancies fresh, we are already beginning to enjoy the life
together that will be completed in our life everlasting.” This is really good. I believe that this is
the beginning of heaven for us. That we will be in heaven together with the unity with many
members of incredible magnitude but we taste it now in this life together in the Spirit this way.
He says “in your imagination put together all the friends you enjoy being with most.”

I don’t know if you have them but I want you to have them. I want you to get them. I want you
to be with people that are very stimulating, very encouraging, very loving. Many of us have that
kind of – by the way, I think as a pastor the way I survive is by being in the Body where I am
being loved and I’m being ministered and I’m being edified. Not mechanically but by the nature
of Christ in you. The same applies to you. The way you live your Christian life is by having
people in your life that are ministering to you.

Don’t be alone. Don’t be isolated. Don’t be picky and selective about people. Have your sisters
and brothers. They are members of the Body. Don’t just have your own little circle and just be
alone and just call that – and I come to church and I get out of there as fast as I can. I don’t
want to get in trouble. I don’t want people who are difficult. I don’t want people to know about
me. Whatever the reasons. We covered that a little bit in the beginning.

But come on! Be secure. Be Spirit filled. Be vulnerable. Be loving. Be caring. Have companions
who “evoke the deepest joy, your most stimulating relationships, the most delightful of shared
experiences, the people with whom you feel completely alive.” When I’m with you, I feel alive.
Right? I mean not just being up here. That’s for sure but I mean being with my sisters and
brothers. Being in the car with my sisters and brothers. I feel alive. That is a “hint at heaven for
there God commands a blessing even life forevermore.” Wow!

Now, some of us do different things. Randy Rollins has a bicycle – like Memorial Day we go for a
bicycle ride. You know, there are picnics and barbecues and different things we do and sitting at
the house and having somebody over your house for prayer. Bible studies. Having these little
children quoting the Bible verses. Isn’t that cute and how amazing that is. And having a family.
All mothers, listen. You got a family. You’re a mother.

Have your family in the big family in God’s family. That will help you. You’re a single mom. You need help. We’re the Body of Christ and we can be part of that. Not necessarily the ultimate solution – we are – we are part of that.
We want to be part of peoples lives. You need it. I need it. We all need it. It’s a little taste of
where everything is going. That will be amazing. We are going to go to heaven and be with God and God’s people one day. Before we get there, let’s practice it on the earth with God’s love in
our hearts. Words and availability and being a servant and helping others and understanding
the value of people. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.