Summary: This sermon deals with the reality that Spiritual Gifts are given to draw us to a closer unity in the body of Christ.
Spiritual Gifts-The Call To Work Together
4/18/2001 Psalm 133 Philip 2:1-16 Text 1 Corin. 12:1-26
Let’s suppose for a moment, you were driving down the highway just having a good time listening to your music. You’re on your way to somewhere you plan to have a really good time. But unknown to you a drunk driver is rapidly approaching you from the rear. He slams into you from the rear, you lose control of your car, it goes over the embankment, flips over and throws you out of the vehicle. Your leg is broken, you’re bleeding and you are fully conscious. What do you think most of us would be praying. "Oh Lord, please send somebody to help me."
Would it matter if the Lord sent a black or a white, a man or a woman, a high school dropout or Ph.D. holder. Would it matter if the person was skinny or overweight. Would it matter if they had on Nike’s Jordans or Pay Less XJ 9000. Would you be overly concerned if they had bad breath, or if their deodorant was no longer working?
Would it matter if they were not that good looking. Can you imagine saying, God I know I asked you to send me some help, but this is not the kind of person I usually hang with. Could you please send me somebody else to help me? Some of us are thinking, anybody who prays like that deserves to go ahead and die.
Did you know that prejudice and arrogance only have the time to develop in our lives when we think we are at peace and in safety. When we find ourselves in trouble, it’s amazing how accepting and humble we can be. If four people were about to jump us, and three strangers stepped up and said, if you jump him or if you jump her, you’ve got to jump us as well. We wouldn’t care if they were the biggest jerks, the wrong color, or listened to music we didn’t care for at all, our number one thought would be, "thank you Jesus , thank you Jesus."
Too often in the Church, we forget that we are not in a state of peace with guaranteed safety. The Bible tells us, your enemy the devil is going about as a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. We are told the enemy is throwing fiery darts at us with the intent of mortally wounding us. We are told we are wrestling against spiritual wickedness in high places. In other words, we are engaged in battle. But because we think we are at peace, we slowly develop the luxury of turning against each other and attacking one another.
In World War II over in Europe black and white soldiers fought side by side heroically to overthrow the German army. Some died together on the battlefields of Europe. Was it insanity that America loved white German prisoners of war, more than it did loyal black soldiers? Those German prisoners who tried to kill Americans were shipped back to the United States. Black soldiers who had fought against them and captured them were also shipped back to the US. When they travelled together on trains in the South, the German prisoners could be fed at stops where the Black soldiers couldn’t. The prisoners could ride in the front of the train, the Black soldiers could not. Why, because when one thinks there is peace and safety, one can afford to be prejudice against others. We forget who the enemy truly is.
There is an illusion of peace in the church, when often times guerrilla warfare is taking place. Guerrilla warfare is different from regular war, because in a regular war, you can usually tell who is on what side by the uniform which is worn. In guerrilla warfare, the enemy eats at the table with you during the day, and secretly shoots at you by night.
We use to say the person was two faced or a back stabber. In the church at Corinth, they had forgotten that Satan wanted to destroy the church, so instead of focusing in strengthening each other, they were turning against each other in the same way, the country turned against Blacks from both of the World Wars. It’s obvious it was a stupid policy at best and suicidal at worst.
Some of the Christians in Corinth had decided to declare their own independence as believers. Everybody had the right to do what they want to do. As long as I’m not hurting anybody, what I do is my business. We all talk about our rights. I got a right to be happy. I got a right to watch what I want to watch. I got a right not to use my gifts for God if I don’t want to.