Summary: Part one looks at the commonalities among believers; part two looks at the distinctions.
United, Divided, One In Christ
August 18, 2002
Romans 12: 4-5
"For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another." Romans 12:4-5 (RSV)
"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. . . Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it." 1 Corinthians 12:12, 27 (RSV)
A Baptist preacher tells the story on himself about receiving a call from a woman who was quite upset over the death of her pet cat, Homer. She wanted the preacher to conduct the funeral service for Homer! The Baptist preacher explained that this was little out of his line, and he referred her to a friend, a Presbyterian pastor at a church down the street. Later, the preacher learned that his Presbyterian friend had referred her to a Methodist minister, who had referred her to someone else. About an hour later, she called the Baptist preacher back and she was still upset. The woman said she was at her wit’s end. She couldn’t find a preacher to conduct Homer’s services and didn’t know what to do. She said she planned to give $1000 to the church of the minister who performed this service for Homer. The Baptist preacher said it took him only a moment to mull this over and then say to her, "Well, why didn’t you tell me Homer was a Baptist cat in the first place?!"
[Hodgin, Michael. 1001 Humorous Illustrations For Public Speaking. (Zondervan Publishing House: Grand Rapids, MI, 1994). p. 113.]
Why indeed so many denominations, so many churches?
Should we not have unity rather than division?
Need For Division
1. Will of God (for growth)
Tower of Babel
Pentecost- "when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be my witnesses..."
In the temple where people will come to you?, no
Unto the ends of the earth, spreading out
2. Means of Personal Development
Proverb 27:17 "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" (NIV)
Recap: Six Things That Unite
a. One God, One Lord
b. One Faith
c. One Prayer
d. One Spirit
e. One Baptism
f. One Body
Divisions God Has Created
Not just merely physical makeup, but we think and behave differently.
Ill-Shelley, Ronika playing with Barbie Doll with Valerie
Imagine guys doing this.
Our brains are wired differently
Causes alterations to the brain during development
Women-relational, need to talk (25,000 words/day)
Men-reason/objective, less talk more action (12,000 words/day)
16 Types- Introvert/Extrovert
Sensing (empirical)/Intuitive (abstract)
1 Corinthians 13:11 "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways." (RSV)
Young people see life differently than older folks. Youth perceive themselves as invulnerable. Older folks have more wisdom, but mellow with age-lack ‘gusto’.
Old folks sky diving? Race car driving? Zooming down the freeway?
We need both together. The wisdom of age, and the action of youth.
Romans 12:6-8 "Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness." (RSV)
a. Spiritual Gifts
Imagine a church where everyone could preach, but not teach.
Or a church full of administrators, but no helpers, or givers of mercy.
b. Non-spiritual gifts for work and ministry
Each of us had different abilities for the use of the community. Where would we be with no skilled plumbers, or carpenters, electricians...etc.
3. Call/ Ministry
1 Corinthians 12:27-31 "Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way." (RSV)
Ephesians 4:11 "And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers" (RSV)
What would it be like if everyone were a pastor, but we had no givers of hospitality? If everyone were a teacher, but no ushers? Etc.