Summary: There is only one body, but many members. We are all dependent on one another. It is not just the pastor’s job to care for the members of the body—that would be humanly impossible. Each member must function as he or she is called.
We continue our study of His Church and begin by looking at 1 Corinthians 12.
(1 Cor 12:13 NKJV) For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body; whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free; and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
1 Cor 12:14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.
The word "baptized" is the transliteration of the Greek word, baptizo, meaning "to immerse." In other words, Paul is saying that "By one Spirit (the Holy Spirit), we were all baptized or immersed into one body."
By the way, some have taken this passage to teach what they call, “The Baptism of the Holy Spirit” which is a (false) doctrine that teaches in addition to getting saved, the believer gets a “second blessing” if they ask and tarry (wait) for it. They go on to teach that the “Spirit’s baptism is evidenced by speaking in tongues.”
It is obvious that this passage has nothing to do with speaking in tongues. Paul is referring to the work of the Holy Spirit where He baptizes or immerses the believer into the body of Christ.
If you are a Christian you have been immersed in one body (the Body of Christ) and were "made to drink of one Spirit" that is, the Spirit of the Living God who is living and dwelling within you.
Paul writes, “…we were all baptized into one body; whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free…” In other words, becoming a Christ-follower isn’t dependent on your race or your social or economic situation. Jesus Christ saves those from the gutter-most to the uttermost.
This is a wonderful passage of Scripture reminding us of the unity of the body of Christ.
Paul is letting us know that there are to be no racial distinctions in the body; there are to be no cultural prejudices in the body.
“We all were made to drink into one Spirit” which means that no one can be more of a Christian than another in the body.
In the body of Christ, everybody matters and no one is unimportant; no one is set up over and above the rest, for the body is not one member but many.
Paul goes on to say in 1 Corinthians 12:15:
(1 Cor 12:15 NKJV) If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body?
(1 Cor 12:16 NKJV) And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body?
In March of 1981, President Reagan was shot by John Hinckley, Jr. , and was hospitalized for several weeks. Although Reagan was the nation’s chief executive, his hospitalization had little impact on the nation’s activity. Government continued on.
Also in 1981 the garbage collectors of New York City went on a 17-day strike. That city was not only in a literal mess, the pile of decaying trash quickly became a health hazard.
Think about this, if the garbage collectors around the country all decided to go on strike this would paralyze the country. So who is more important—the President or a garbage collector? They both are important.
Verses 15 and 16 are telling us that in the body of Christ, those who seem insignificant might be the ones urgently needed. We are reminded in this text that the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.
There are no big "I's" and no little "You's" in the body of Christ….thus Paul continues in verse 17 asking several rhetorical questions to prove this point: “If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?”
In verse 18 we find an important truth. “But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.”
God places the believer in the Body of Christ with a specific mission to accomplish. He has given the believer specific supernatural gifts to accomplish this mission (we will learn about those gifts next time).
God didn’t create the believer as an automaton. He uses our individuality and our uniqueness to accomplish His purposes. Each believer is like a spiritual snow flake—no two of us are the same.
Even those of us in the body who have the same spiritual gift manifest that gift differently—1 Peter 4:10 tells us that we use our gifts “according to the manifold or multicolored grace of God.”
This is how you can tell the Body of Christ apart from some of the religious cults.
The religious cults program their followers—they all get the same books and memorize the same pre-programmed responses to your questions when they knock on your door. One cult even builds their houses of worship to look the same way and puts the “authorized” music on their website for their followers.