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Summary: Christian unity is necessary for spiritual health.

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Spiritual Gifts Series # 3

Introduction

1. Illus... Asperger’s Syndrome from Homiletics Online / Source: Osborne, Lawrence. “The little professor syndrome.” New York Times Magazine. June 18, 2000, 55ff.

The syndrome was first discovered in 1944 by Hans Asperger who noticed that certain autistic children enjoyed extraordinary verbal skills while suffering the intense isolation of being unable to empathize with other human beings. According to Fred Volkmar, a child psychiatrist from Yale, people with Asperger’s Syndrome “become fixated on things that evoke their curiosity, but not always in a life-enhancing way.” They fail to see themselves as part of a whole community.

Just like all other autistic individuals, they enjoy minimal social intelligence. In other words, they are socially inept far beyond the usual awkwardness and quirks of most people. At the same time children with Asperger’s Syndrome can master a wealth of knowledge.

They look like your average grade schoolers. One reports that Mom took him to McDonald’s last night. Another announces that he skinned both knees yesterday. Yet another discloses that his next birthday party will be celebrated at the science museum. Just a group of kids sharing kid things ... until you listen more closely.

The Happy Meal lover reports that his fries were cooked in a Sigma Model 3000 deep-feet fryer. The boy with scabby knees further points out that his patella was not broken in his accident, nor were the remainder of his 205 other bones damaged. The birthday boy tells you he plans to examine the intricacies of the atomized optics wall at the science museum, but he does not tell you that the only other partiers present will be his parents and grandparents. He has no real friends.

Are they brilliant? Are they dysfunctional? Clearly, they dwell in their own little worlds. They can memorize such things as certain exotic species and telephone cable insulating companies. They can real off the names of the passengers of the Titanic, the provincial capitols of Brazil, or the birthdays of every member of Congress, but they cannot read the facial expressions of the person sitting next to them.

Notoriously difficult to befriend, Asperger’s children must learn what most children know inherently - that a crying person is sad and that a smiling person is happy.

People call them oddballs, “little professors,” and social misfits.

Trans...The apostle Paul noticed that the people of Corinth - gifted though they were - had little sense of being a part of the whole community of faith. The ancient Greek and Roman ideal of individualism and self-sufficiency was as prevalent in Paul’s day as it is today. Just like a room full of Asperger’s children, each focusing on his or her own individual fixations, the Corinthians were individualistic Christians - each with his own ideas of how the Church should work, each vying for Divine attention with little regard for the neighbors. Then alone came Paul with a curious idea: “We are the Body of Christ.” (Read I Cor. 12:12-27)

I. There are many members, but one Body. (Vs 20)

A. The Corinthians had to learn, as we do, that they were only a part of the whole. Not the whole itself.

1. Illus... The Aristocratic Illusion

The universe does not revolve around the earth. We are only a part that revolves around the sun (or Son)

It is an illusion to believe that the world revolves around you, as an individual.

It is to heavy of a load to believe that you are the center of gravity. Freedom comes when we realize we are only a part of the Body.

Trans...And sense we are a part of the whole then we need the other parts to have completeness.

II. All have need of each other.... (Vs 21)

A. The only One who is totally self-sufficient is God.

Everyone else is dysfunctional to the place where we need all the others to be made whole.

B. Consider the weaker brothers in verse 22.

in the sense of "fainthearted. In Septuagint it is used as the equivalent of Grk: koshel, the tottering or feeble-kneed in Isa 35:3; 54:6; Grk: oligopsuchia occurs in Septuagint twice (Ex 6:9; Ps 54:7), for "anguish of spirit" and "trouble." The term refers to weakness of will and vacillation of purpose. (ISB Dictionary)

Paul says they are necessary. They are a part of the Body and therefore necessary to the total function of the Body.

Illus...Asperger’s Children Grow Up

“Some (Aperger’s children) grow up to be functional human beings. Others struggle throughout adulthood , finding intimacy impossible and common milestones unattainable. The Washington Post reported the story of a young man with an IQ of 146 and an SAT score of 1,320 who had studied Advanced Placement statistics and three years of Latin but was nevertheless rejected by the colleges he applied to his senior year of high school. His social and organizational skills were abysmal and inconsistent with collegiate life because he has Asperger’s disease....” (Washington Post, August 7, 2000).

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