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The Church -- God's Superorganism

Cooperation Church/Body of Christ Fellowship

Source: "Secrets of a Superorganism" by Tate Holbrook, Rebecca Clark, and Brian Haney, published Arizona State University Biology

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Marcelle Smith | Date Posted: 2024-02-06

Scripture: Romans 12:4 ; Ephesians 4:6

Author: Marcelle Smith
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ILLUSTRATION

Ants are everywhere. They thrive in forests, fields, deserts, and cities all over the planet. Their secret to success is that they all live and work together in highly organized communities, some of which have many millions of members.

Ants have the largest brains of any insects, but that doesn’t mean a single ant on its own is all that smart. As individual ants leave their nest in search for food, they walk in what appear to be random paths, hoping to come across something to eat. When an individual ant finds a food source, the ant will take a bit of the food back to the nest, leaving a trail of pheromones behind them to mark the path. Over time, ants organize their search, optimizing the best and shortest path between the food source and the nest. As more ants follow the optimal path back and forth, they leave more and more pheromones, which in turn attract more and more ants, creating a reinforcing efficiency effect. Over time, older ants gather more experience about the environment surrounding their nests, which makes it easier for them to forage effectively.

Even though individual ants can get smarter over time as they learn more about their surrounding environment, the real ant intelligence [and strength] is in the collective. They are so united toward the common purpose of growth and reproduction that they behave like a “superorganism.”

APPLICATION

The Church -- the Body of Christ -- is not simply an institution, but rather a living organism. When the Body Christ functions as God intends, we become, like the ants, a superorgansim. Yes, we can be frutiful and grow stronger and more "spiritually" intellegent on our own. but, also like the ants, our real strength, our real intellegence is in the collective. 

So many reasons, as Scripture encourages us, to, "Look to the ant ... consider her ways!" (Proverbs 6:6)"For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another" (Romans 12:4-5, ESV).

"From whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love" (Ephesians 4:6, ESV).

When Love Takes a Bite Out of Your Sandwich

Jesus' Humanity God's Care Fellowship

Source: “Wife has sweet reason to always take a bite out of husband’s sandwich,” by Ben Cost, published New York Post, December 10, 2020, retrieved 9/7/22.

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2022-09-07

Scripture: Hebrews 4:15 ; Matthew 11:29

Author: Illustration Exchange
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ILLUSTRATION

Tracy Howell of Leonard, Texas, has found a unique way of showing her husband both her love and her fellowship in his daily life. On December 1, 2020 she shared the following in a Facebook post which has since racked up hundreds of thousands of shares:

"Clifford and I have been married almost 41 years and I have made his lunch every working day since day 1. On occasion I would join him on the job site and have lunch with him. He made the comment once that lunch tasted better when you share it with someone you love ❤️. Soon after that, while fixing his sandwich one night, I took a bite out of it before putting it away. When he got home (long before cell phones) he commented that someone took a bite out of his sandwich. I told him that since I couldn’t join him for lunch, I took a bite so he knew I was joining him. I continue to do this frequently (unless it’s tuna or pimento cheese) and he still says, 'saw you joined me for lunch today and it sure was good."

Tracy wanted her husband to know that she isn’t just thinking about him, she’s actually “joining” him in his daily experiences.  She’s “with” him. She’s “taking a bite” out of whatever struggles or hardships he encounters. She’s “sharing a meal” to fellowship with him over his victories and triumphs. In this simple gesture, she is communicating to him that they truly are in this thing together. It's fellowship on the deepest level.

APPLICATION

What a picture of the love, commitment, and fellowship of the Savior for us, His children.

Jesus left the glories of Heaven and condescended to become one of us so that He could truly enter into our daily experiences.

He isn’t just watching over us; He is “with us” in all things!

In taking on humanity, He identifies with us in all our experiences, our joys and sorrows, blessings and burdens, struggles and temptations. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15, NIV).

In taking on our yoke of burden, He is “taking a bite” out of our hardships. “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV).

In securing our salvation He offers to enter in and “sup” with us. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20, ESV).

In keeping with Tracy’s husband’s sentiments, life tastes so much better when you share it with someone who loves you. It’s fellowship on the deepest of all levels!

 

Pressure to Conform

Conformity Fellowship Transformation

Source: Psychology Today

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Stephen Kingsley | Date Posted: 2019-01-29

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 6:14 ; Romans 12:2

Author: Stephen Kingsley
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ILLUSTRATION

In 2005, neuroscientist Gregory Berns conducted experiments to try to gauge how people respond to societal pressures. Berns created social groups that were tasked with looking at a series of objects to decide if they were the same or different. But unbeknownst to the volunteers, four participants in each group of five had been coached to unanimously give fake answers to some of the questions. Even though they were obviously wrong, on average, 40 percent of the time the volunteers went along with the group.

Subjects were also hooked up to a brain scanner. Berns concluded that social pressure activates the part of the brain devoted to spatial perception, showing the desire to fit in causes people to change their picture of reality.

APPLICATION

in Romans 12:2, the apostle Paul writes, "Be not conformed to the world." Berns' study proves how easily we can abandon what we know is right in order to fit in with a group. Paul adds, "But be transformed by the renewing of your mind." The world's pressure is an external force, while the transformation the apostle calls for is from within.

The secret to this renewing of the mind lies not in running the right thoughts through the mind, repeating Scriptures over and over, but by yielding to the Holy Spirit. Knowing how susceptible we are to the influence of others, the power of good and godly fellowship is of the utmost importance.

"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14)

Don't Let Your Friends Hold You Back

Destiny Character Fellowship

Contributed By: Morgan McKinley | Date Posted: 2017-06-15

Scripture: John 3:20 ; 2 Corinthians 6:14

Author: Morgan McKinley
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Division Is Never Good

Unity Love (Human) Fellowship

Contributed By: Corey Sawyers | Date Posted: 2017-03-17

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:10 ; Matthew 12:25

Author: Corey Sawyers
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I Murdered My Grandmother This Morning

Words (Power of) Fellowship Encouragement

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-02-19

Scripture: Hebrews 10:25 ; Psalms 19:4

Author: Chuck Swindoll / Illustration Exchange
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The Table Is A Splendid Pulpit

Hospitality Fellowship Discipleship

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-11-29

Scripture: Hebrews 10:24 ; Acts 2:42

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Rent-A-Mom

Motherhood Church/Body of Christ Fellowship

Contributed By: Barnett Gushin | Date Posted: 2015-11-15

Scripture: Hebrews 10:25 ; Ephesians 2:19

Author: Barnett Gushin
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Avoid A Collision With Trouble

Fellowship Wisdom Trouble

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-10-21

Scripture: Psalms 1:1

Author: Illustration Exchange
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There's Always Room At His Table

Thankfulness Fellowship Evangelism

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-11-19

Scripture: Luke 14:23

Author: Illustration Exchange
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