Summary: Every member of the Church is an indispensable part of the Body of Christ.
Remember talking about NEXT? How we’re going to specifically going to be working on …
N – New small groups and measured Sunday School growth
E – Encouraging strong homes
X – Extending our reach
T – Taking it to God
Not only have we had several specific measures that have accomplished much of that, but those are just always good things to be doing, aren’t they?
The church is always supposed to be thinking of what’s next…
The next generation of believers
The next generation of leaders in the church, preparing for service
The next person who’s going to accept Jesus
The next project we will throw ourselves into
The next time we get together to worship
The next level of maturity in your faith
The next surprise God has ready for you - Heaven? Challenge? Blessing?
We need to constantly be looking at the horizon, to consider what’s next at CCC.
2 things to keep in mind about all that: it’s going to take God making it happen, and it’s also going to take more than a couple people.
In fact, it’s going to take a bunch of people – and not just a bunch of people together, but a bunch of people working together – like a body. It’s going to take “unity.”
I visited in a church that struggled to get this straight. They were lacking unity. They had a big task in front of them, but they kept letting things get in the way. They were proof, in fact, that you can not only meet together each week, but you can even belong to the same Body of Christ and still live in a dis-united way.
They had members of the church dividing over who had led them to Jesus. There were members suing each other in court. There were other members who were exercising their freedom in Christ without caring how it affected the others. They were divided over corporate worship – can you believe it? They didn’t agree about how it should be conducted, and they weren’t thinking of each other when it was time for the Lord’s Supper. On top of this, they were using their God-given gifts to promote themselves over one another.
Now, take a congregation with all this trouble and try to fix it. What would you do? The Apostle Paul would write them a letter – really 3. And that’s exactly what he did. So, we all have the opportunity to visit the church of Corinth by reading what he wrote to them.
1 Corinthians 11:18 - In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it.
Among the word-pictures that the Bible uses to describe the Church, the picture of a human Body is one of the most important. Not only does it describe Jesus as the Head, but it also helps us picture how the rest is supposed to fit together. That’s what Paul does in Ch12. In fact, I think that what Paul is describing here is a way to unity.
Christians have God’s HS living inside them. Having the HS ought to cause some attachment among us.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
Paul goes on to talk about some of the different ways the HS is seen or “manifested” in the early church to help it grow – “The message of wisdom,” “the message of knowledge,” “faith,” “gifts of healing,” “miraculous powers,” “prophecy,” distinguishing between spirits,” “speaking in different tongues,” “interpretation of tongues” – 9 different special gifts, all different, but all from the same Spirit. And He is the One to determine who gets which gift, and God already determined that the reason He gave those gifts was for the common good of the Church.
That Church, that body, is a unit. It has many parts, but it’s just one Body. It’s brought to life by the life-giving force of just one Spirit. That means, if you’re in Jesus Christ, I’m a part of the Body with you.
A unit is “one.” The word unity means “oneness.” How is that possible in a church that has a goal to keep adding more and more people? How is that unity possible when there are thousands and thousands of congregations meeting around the world, or 7 different adult SS classes meeting in one building, or 4 small groups meeting in different places, or even 360 people worshiping in 2 different worship hours? How can we keep what is truly a “unity”? One answer is in this word-picture Paul paints in Ch. 12. We are all parts of a body, and…