Summary: Message 33 in our exposition of 1 Corinthians. This message continues exploration of Paul's answer to the Corinthians about spiritual gifts.

Chico Alliance Church

Pastor David Welch

“The Matters of the Spirit: the Giver”

Supplementary notes to the notes provided for message 32.

I Corinthians 12:1-11


I. Reproof for fleshly behavior 1-6

II. Responses to specific inquiries

A. Concerning marriage 7

B. Concerning voluntary limitation of Christian liberty 8-11:1

C. Concerning proper protocol in public worship 11-14

1. Proper decorum in corporate worship 11:2-16

2. Proper heart and order for observing the Lord’s Supper 11:17-34

3. Proper understanding of the matters of the Spirit 12-14

a) The Operation of the GIVER in the body 12:1-11

(1) Don’t be ignorant about the “matters of the Spirit.” 12:1-3

(2) The Holy Spirit operates in three arenas 12:4-7

Gifts (aptitudes) – Ministries -- Effects

(3) The Holy Spirit generates specific effects through individuals for the common good 12:7-10

(4) The Holy Spirit chooses who and how to energize according to His desire NOT ours. 12:11

b) The responsibility of the receiver 12:12-31

This next section is full of analogies and illustrations of how those being energized by the Holy Spirit in ministry should think of their “gifting” or of the supernatural manifestation they are experiencing. There are three key concepts introduced in verse 12 and then illustrated to the end of the chapter.

(1) Principles of the body presented 12:12

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.

Three balancing principles concerning the body are presented in this first verse.

1. The principle of UNITY

The body is all connected and controlled by one head.

2. The principle of DIVERSITY

The body is made up of many members or parts with different function unified by the head

3. The principle of MUTUALITY

All the members are interdependent or mutually dependent on each other.

(2) Connecting agent identified 12:13,18

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

How does one get connected to this marvelous body headed by the incomparable Christ? This is a most vital passage. It actually defines for us the ministry of Holy Spirit call “baptism by the Holy Spirit. According to this passage the Holy Spirit is the agent who connects the various members of Christ’s body to Christ. He connects the members regardless of nationality (Jew or Gentile) or social status (slave or free). Every person who puts their faith in Christ is identified (passive) with the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. Every believer is given to drink (irrigated) of the indwelling of Holy Spirit.

What did Jesus say about this thirst quenching ministry of the Holy Spirit?

"He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.' " But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:38-39

The Holy Spirit is what ties us together.

The Holy Spirit is who operates differently in each member.

The Holy Spirit is who keeps us mutually dependant on Him AND each other.

God is the one who places each member.

But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 1 Cor. 12:18

Remember the problem in the church was the exaltation of particular gifts over others. Everyone wanted the more “glamorous gifts.” Paul then illustrates the absurdity of such self-centered thinking by an analogy with the body.

(3) Principles of the body illustrated 12:14-26


For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, "Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, "Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 1 Cor. 12:14-17

If they were all one member, where would the body be? 1 Cor. 12:19


But now there are many members, but one body. 1 Cor. 12:20

MUTUALITY (Interdependence)

And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 1 Cor. 12:21-26

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