Summary: We need each other. As a part of the body of Christ, the church needs us and we need the church. There is to be an interdependent relationship between each and every member of the church.
Text: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31
Good morning! Today we continue with part two of our series of looking at the Church, the household of God – Oikos tou Theo. And we’re going to look at a famous and probably familiar portion of Scripture found in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. And so please turn with me to this passage and let us hear the Word of the Lord…
I’m about to say three words that may be hard to hear or may perhaps offend some of you. I want to give you ample warning so that when you hear them you won’t be disturbed or set off emotionally...OK, you ready? Here they are:
I NEED HELP
There, I said it. I – Need – Help. Did that hurt? In a country such as ours and on a day especially like today – Independence Day – these three words go against everything that our society values and against many things that we were taught growing up. As a man, it almost sounds unmanly to utter these three words because we’re told that in order to be mature and responsible, you and I have to become independent of others.
Even little kids who are told to ask for help if they’re stuck, quickly want to learn how to do something for themselves. Some of our kids may ask for our help once or twice, but pretty soon after that they want to do things on their own – like tie their own shoes or button up their own shirts. They don’t want our help as much anymore – and although we may miss their need or dependence upon us, we also feel proud that they are learning to do things on their own.
And this independent, “I don’t need help” mentality carries over from childhood into our adult years as we learn to become independent individuals who are competent and responsible and who don’t need to rely or depend on anyone else. And if we ever (God forbid) have to ask for help from someone, we make sure to apologize profusely for bothering them.
BUT THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS THAT WE DO NEED HELP FROM TIME TO TIME AND THAT IT’S NOT WRONG TO ADMIT TO OURSELVES THAT WE NEED HELP NOR IS IT HUMILIATING TO ASK FOR HELP BECAUSE GOD NEVER INTENDED US TO BE ISOLATED, SELF-SUFFICIENT, INDEPENDENT BEINGS IN THE FIRST PLACE.
YOU AND I WERE CREATED FOR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AND ONE ANOTHER. WE AS HUMAN BEINGS ARE BY GOD’S SOVEREIGN DESIGN RELATIONAL BEINGS.
• Studies show that newborn babies either thrive or shut down based on whether or not they have close human contact or not within the first few minutes and hours after birth.
And this morning we see that Paul understands this about us as people and corporately about us as the church. And he describes or likens to the church to a body – a human body – that is one unit comprised of many different parts. And we want to reflect on this simple analogy this morning and think about our relationship to one another as the church, the body of Christ.
• The body is one unit made up of many parts
Paul has been speaking about the variety of spiritual gifts within the Church and how the Holy Spirit gave and distributed these gifts for the common good.
o Anytime spiritual gifts get mentioned in the church way back then and today, controversy is always around the corner. Nothing seems to be as volatile and divisive an issue as spiritual gifts – what they are, who has them, and why don’t I have more…
Apparently, the Corinthians were divided about this area and peoples’ feelings were getting hurt. Paul had to figure out a way to shepherd the Christians back to a place of unity instead of division…and so he used the analogy of the human body to explain the oneness of the Church while taking into account its diversity.
• Baptized by one Spirit into one Body to Drink of one Spirit
Paul links the analogy of the physical human body to the Spiritual Body established by Jesus Christ. It is into one spiritual body that all of us in Christ were baptized, and it is the one Spirit that all of us in Christ are given to drink.
o Paul brings up the walls of hostility that the peace of Christ established to make us one. And so whether we were Jewish or Greek (Gentile), slave or free – all of us are brought together and baptized by one Spirit of whom we also partake and drink. (This is a reminder of what we discussed last week...)
• HAND AND EYE ENVY
Paul uses the analogy of different body parts to raise up this issue of envy and jealousy within the body.