Summary: on the parts and pieces of Church life.
“It Isn’t Puzzling.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-31
In our scripture this morning we find one of the greatest examples of the church, that God would ever give us. It is so easy to understand and yet sometimes it is so hard to put into real practice.
Today though I have an interactive exercise that I pray will not only bring the point home but also cement it in our hearts, our minds and just as important – our actions.
This example in the Bible is vitally important to anyone who calls themselves a Christian and any group that calls themselves a Church…
While Paul used the picture of the human body to depict the unity and functioning of the church, today I want to use this puzzle.
We are going to work through this scripture this morning with an object lesson.
I have asked some volunteers to help me pass around the pieces of this puzzle.
If you are member or a regular attender - please take a puzzle piece, if you are a guest I apologize but I would ask that you not take one… you will see why later. (Pass the puzzle pieces out)
A word of caution here –
DON’T LOSE YOUR PIECE OF THE PUZZLE!
Now holding your puzzle piece, turn in your bibles to 1 Corinthians 12 and let’s continue reading from verse 12 to verse 31. (READ)
Let’s start at verses 4-7 (read) - The bible tells us that each one of us is diverse and different in the gifts that GOd has given us yet it is God who assembles the gifts, frames them and holds them together.
Now look at your piece of the puzzle. Yours is completely different from anyone else’s in this room. It has a different shape and a different color. Now look at the bigger picture –
The board of the puzzle represents God –
(The firm foundation, with out it this puzzle would fall apart)
The border of the puzzle represents Jesus -
(The one who frames everything we do and who we are)
The binding of the puzzle (the glue) represents who?? The Holy Spirit -
(The one who holds together what God puts together).
Pay close attention to verse 7 (read) – the gift that God has given you is not for you… When the bible says, “the manifestation of the Spirit” it is referring to the gift, the talent, which God has given you. But just as important is the fact that it isn’t for your personal use… because it goes on to say – “for the profit of all, the common good.”
Look again at your puzzle piece. A single piece of puzzle is not much to look at. In order for your piece to serve any purpose whatsoever you must use it to link up with others to form this beautiful picture… the same goes for the gifts and talents God has given you.
You don’t even have to be a professional “puzzler” - It does not call for the job to be done only by the “professionals.” All believers have their own positions and spiritual gifts that they must exercise “for the profit of all” – for the common good.
Now let’s continue on with verses 11-14 (read) – While a puzzle may be held together by glue the church is bound together by the working of the Holy Spirit.
We all have different skills, different God given gifts… and we are made up of all sorts of sizes and shapes but together you form the very thing that God desires –
The body of Christ!
And it is the fact that you can work together with all your oddness that makes the church something wonderful to behold. Individually you are all diverse but collectively you make up the picture that the world sees of God and Jesus.
Now verses 15-26 simply tell us that the individual parts are never greater than the whole.
Let me ask you to look at your puzzle piece again…
Who has the most important piece of this puzzle? Anyone? Let me ask a volunteer… Why is your piece of the puzzle the most important? Is it the least important? NO!
God Himself tells us why there is no one piece of the body that is more important in verse 25 - (read).
There are no parts, no gifts anymore important than another so that in the church body there would be no pride, no selfishness, no disunity – the word “schism” means – division or a “split”
Have you ever seen a church split? It isn’t a pretty picture, and what the world sees is a bunch of strange people talking about heaven on earth but who raise hell instead.
Each one of you is called not to be professional - but to be usable, to be an active part in forming the body of Christ, in working together to paint the picture that the world will see…