Summary: EPIPHANY 3(C) - Believers belong to the body of Christ uniquely as different members but united in one purpose.

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1 CORINTHIANS 12:12-26 JANUARY 26, 2003

1 CORINTHIANS 12:12-26

12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don’t need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don’t need you!" 22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

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Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:

We live in a country and a society that is diverse and different. We celebrate the fact that there are people of all different nationalities that live in these United States. Because of the diversity of our nation and the difference, sometimes there is a lack of a sense of belonging. Because of that diversity, there is a lack of conviction and commitment because we don’t want to step on anyone else’s ethnic background. That describes our society in general as a whole. Also, we see that some of that attitude has crept into the churches of today. One of the biggest Lutheran churches today, when it comes to doctrine, says they don’t want to make a firm stand anymore in case they would offend someone. Their main teaching about doctrine is that they agree to disagree. If people disagree then, that’s all right. BUT it is completely different when one looks at what scripture says and when one looks at what faith means to us. It is true. We are diverse and different, but we still ought to feel a sense of belonging--because we belong to Christ. The Lord tells us: "You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness"(1 THESSALONIANS 5:5). He says, yes, we know what is right and wrong. We cannot simply state that we agree to disagree when it comes to doctrine. We still take our stand on that which is right and try to avoid that which is wrong. We belong to the body of Christ in other words. That’s what the Apostle Paul wants us to concentrate on this morning in the words of our text. He says

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