2020-11-29 – 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 – We Need Each Other
2020-11-29 – 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 – We Need Each Other
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.
I pray your Happy Thanksgiving was truly a Happy Thanksgiving. Albeit a very strange time we are currently going through, I would suggest we still can find something to be thankful for. What was your favorite food this year? Mine has always been, and again this year was the Turkey. Pastor Jerry loves Turkey legs.
Have you heard of the Turkey Thanksgiving Prophesy? Gobble, Gobble, Gobble!
Please turn now to 1 Corinthians 12:12, page 1019 in your pew Bibles, which is the Inspired, Infallible and Living Word of God. Prayer..
Last week we covered the first part of this chapter where Paul wrote about several of the Spiritual Gifts of the Holy Spirit. [SLIDE] This message today is a compliment to that message, as it deals with the different duties or offices of the church body. Paul conveys very well that in the ministry of Jesus Christ and this church, We Need Each Other, and that is the title of this sermon message today, We Need Each Other indeed. Starting at verse 12 Paul wrote:
12 For just as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all given one Spirit to drink.
Starting right off Paul speaks about the importance of unity within the church.
As he wrote, “For just as the body is one” – here he’s talking about a physical church body. We are all part of this one body of believers, and Jesus is the head of this church body. Scripture also tells us that as Christians we are “born-again”, and as Christians we are a “new-creation”. These terms are what brings us together and also sets us apart from the world. Even the title and word we use to identify ourselves as “Christians” sets us apart, and it conveys that Christ is the reason and Christ is the leader or head of our church family and body.
When Paul uses the term here “baptized by one Spirit”, he is not talking about water baptism, but about Spiritual Baptism. You might recall that one of the first things Jesus did after He was baptized was meeting a Samaritan woman by the well. The symbology in that meeting piece of His-story is simply amazing. In the book of John chapter 4, verse 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” That water Jesus was referring to is the Holy Spirit, and now in these first verses today Paul says, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all given one Spirit to drink”. As Christians, the moment we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior through God’s Amazing Grace, we were then given the Holy Spirit, and that Holy Spirit will stay with us forever. That’s how we become one with the body in Christ, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Paul continues..
14 Indeed, the body is not one part but many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I’m not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,” it is not for that reason any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I’m not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,” it is not for that reason any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But as it is, God has arranged each one of the parts in the body just as he wanted. 19 And if they were all the same part, where would the body be?
Of course, our body parts can’t talk to each other, but I could almost see this playing out in a cartoon, couldn’t you? As I grow older, I will confess that my body parts are speaking to me most every day now.. Some days they even yell at me. I can’t wait to hear what they’ll say when I am 90 years old, Amen?
This verse also reminds me of that toy Mr. Potato head. Anyone have one of those growing up? We used to have one, but all’s we could find is this Sponge-Bob like toy, lol. It would be so cool if we could exchange body parts like this. Maybe some day we will. When I was young, we never would have guessed we could have a new knee, or heart or lungs, let alone robotic limbs. Paul is trying to convey though that all your parts are important, and so are all the church people.
20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” Or again, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that are weaker are indispensable. 23 And those parts of the body that we consider less honorable, we clothe these with greater honor, and our unrespectable parts are treated with greater respect which our respectable parts do not need. [SLIDE]
Instead, God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the less honorable, 25 so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. 26 So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
Now, here Paul takes the physical body and he says, “Folks, you must realize that a physical body must work together as one to function.” You cannot take a physical body apart and put an arm here, and a leg there, and a head there, and a heart there, and a couple of feet over there and say, “Now, body, go do something.” A body is either a unit or it does not exist. It must be one. Paul also says, “The body is one and has many functioning members.” So, the essence of a body is its unity. We are one, together. Christ is the Head and we are the body. All the members. We are one. If we detach from each other, we are dead. We function as a unit, or we do not function at all. We are one church body. And Christ is the Head of the body from which all the instruction comes, all the brain power, all the energy, and all the resources to make every part of the body function.
In Ephesians 5:23, Paul said, “Christ is the Head of the Church.” In Colossians 1:18 he said, “And He is the Head of the body” – “the Church.” So again, Christ is the Head of this church body. As your pastor, I have the role and responsibility to shepherd this flock, but it is really Christ’s flock, and He is the Great Shepherd. And we are all one body together. One body, in unity, receiving all our resources, all our strength, all our wisdom, and all our instruction from the same Head, Christ Jesus. Paul continues at verse 27:
27 Now you are the body of Christ and individual members of it. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, next miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, leading, various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all do miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But desire the greater gifts. And I will show you an even better way.
So just as a hand cannot do what an ear does, and an eye cannot do what the feed does, we all have special talents, abilities and gifts to be used in this church body. God expects all of us to come together for the benefit of the whole. That is called synergy. Synergy is the interaction of all the elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual contributions. That is the value of unity within the church body. That is the whole point. Paul is stressing our need for unity. We Need Each Other. And as Christians, we were born of the one Holy Spirit when we put faith in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is the glue that holds us all together.
You might ask, “Does every Christian have the Holy Spirit indwelling in them?”
You better believe it. Romans 8:9 says, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” So there’s no such thing as a believer who doesn’t have the Holy Spirit. We are one in the Spirit. Each of you came by one Spirit into the one body just like everybody else did. We are all trophies of God’s grace, brought into the body by the same way. So in that we have nothing to boast about. You see there is no such thing as a super saint. I am not any higher than any of you except that I am standing up and you are sitting down, and if that bothers you, from now on I’ll start preaching from a chair, lol.
We are one together. I hope you get that. There is no hierarchy in the New Testament. There are different roles and responsibilities and gifts, but no hierarchy. If you want to see an organizational chart of Christianity, it’s got Christ at the head, and from then on it’s flat. Addressing this issues the the church in Ephesus, in Ephesians 4:4 Paul wrote, “There is one body, one Spirit, as you are called, and one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” One, one, one, one, one, one. I hope you see the significance here. We are one in Christ.
The Church is a people, an assembly of redeemed people who owe their blessed existence, their life together, to the fact that they were by one Spirit put into one body and indwelt by the one same Spirit. We are not separated believers, my friends, we are one.
I like what Paul wrote in Galatians 3:23-29. It is an amazing summary of this oneness idea. [SLIDE] He said, 23 Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. 26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Jesus Christ has abolished all barriers to make us one. He’s abolished the barriers of nationality, the barriers of race, the barriers of class, the barriers of sex – every single barrier has been abolished. In Christ the days of discrimination are over. The Church that Christ has created, and headed by Him, tolerates no distinctions. None at all. We are one people, and to that I say “Praise the Lord”.
Jesus also prayed to Father God about the oneness of His followers. He could have prayed for a lot of things, but listen to what he prays for. John 17, verse 20, He said, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me”.
Isn’t that an amazing prayer? I hope you can see that Jesus’s heartfelt desire is that we become one with each other and with Him. So how do we do that you might ask. How do we become one in this church body?
The key, I might suggest, can be found in Romans 12:3. Where Paul wrote, “For I say, through the grace that is given to me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.”
So how do we get our unity in this church family? Simply by me not thinking about me, but instead, me thinking about you. God loves a humble heart. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Start reaching out and touching somebody’s life, make a difference, lift a spirt, be an encourager. And in that you will most assuredly be blessed.
Christ is our Head, we are the body, and we are to minister to each other in love. And humility is the first key. And the second key factor, equal to humility, is love. In John 13:34 Jesus says this, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye” – what? – “love one another.” And that is what next weeks sermon is all about.
Would you please rise now and pray with me..
Next week we are going to talk a little about the subject of Love. I hope you can make it. We always could use a little more of that, especially these days. 😊
“A FRIENDLY CHURCH IN A FRIENDLY TOWN”