Summary: We must find our place in the church and perform that function that God has given to us.
IF WE ARE THE BODY
Text: 1 Cor. 12:12-26
1. Read 1 Cor. 12:12-26
2. In March of 1981, President Reagan was shot by John Hinckley, Jr., and was hospitalized for several weeks. Although Reagan was the nation’s chief executive, his hospitalization had little impact on the nation’s activity. Government continued on. On the other hand, suppose the garbage collectors in this country went on strike, as they did not long ago in Philadelphia. That city was not only in a literal mess, the pile of decaying trash quickly became a health hazard. A three-week nationwide strike would paralyze the country. Who is more important--the President or a garbage collector? In the body of Christ, seemingly insignificant ones are urgently needed. As Paul reminds us, "The head cannot say to the feet, ’I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable" (I Cor. 12:21-22).
3. I think that we have done church wrong for years. The reason I think this is that God’s word says so.
a. Someone gets up and performs
b. Everyone else watches
4. Church growth experts indicate that in a typical church 20% of the people are doing 80% of the work.
Proposition: Solution to the Problem: We must find our place in the church and perform that function that God has given us.
Transition: According to Paul...
I. We Are All Members of Christ’s Body (12-14)
A. For As the Body is One
1. After Paul’s explanation of spiritual gifts, he tells that the Corinthians that we are all one body.
2. He compares the church to the human body.
a. The picture is practical and descriptive: the human body is one organism, one person, one being, one life; yet it has many members or parts to it.
b. All the parts of the body are still in the body and actually form the body, enabling it to function.
3. By saying, "So also is Christ," he means so it is with Christ’s body, the church.
a. Just as our human bodies have many parts, we are still just one body.
b. So the church has many parts, but it is still one body.
4. Paul says "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free--and have all been made to drink into one Spirit."
a. When a person becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit takes up residence, and he or she is born into God’s family.
b. "And have all have been made to drink into one Spirit’’ means that the same Holy Spirit completely fills our innermost beings.
c. We all have the same possibility to be used by God in ministering to others.
B. Not One But Many
1. Illustration: In a Peanuts cartoon, Lucy demanded that Linus change TV channels, threatening him with her fist if he didn’t. "What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?" asks Linus.
"These five fingers," says Lucy. "Individually they’re nothing but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold."
"Which channel do you want?" asks Linus. Turning away, he looks at his fingers and says, "Why can’t you guys get organized like that?"
2. I think that Paul’s point is clear: we are all in this together. We all:
a. Walk together
b. Talk together
c. Sing together
3. Either we sink together or we swim together.
4. If we are going to get anywhere, or accomplish anything, it must be together.
Transition: Paul also tells us that...
II. As Members of Christ’s Body, We Are All Important (15-20)
A. If the Foot Should Say
1. Paul says "If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body?"
2. Apparently, some members of the Corinthian church had an inferiority complex.
a. "Oh, I can’t do what Brother so-in-so can do, so I’m just no good for anything."
b. People get this "I’m useless" attitude and so they give up.
3. However, Paul says that we would be a mess if we all did the same thing.
a. We would look pretty silly if we were all ears or all eyes.
b. A body all eye or ear not only eliminates other necessary functions, but ceases to be a body.
c. We wouldn’t be a body at all; we’d be a freak show.
B. But Now God
1. Illustration: What would happen if today at the Super Bowl, the quarterback goes up to the line of scrimmage and all of the sudden his offensive line decides they want to be wide receivers?