Summary: Paul, Pt. 7
UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL (1 CORINTHIANS 12:12-26)
Once upon a time the colors of the world started to quarrel. Green said “I am the sign of life and of hope. I was chosen for grass, trees, leaves - without me, all animals would die. Look over the countryside and you will see that I am in the majority.”
Blue interrupted: “Consider the sky and the sea. It is the water that is the basis of life and drawn up by the clouds from the deep sea. The sky gives space and peace and serenity.”
Yellow chuckled: “I bring laughter, gaiety, and warmth into the world. The sun is yellow, the moon is yellow, the stars are yellow. Every time you look at a sunflower, the whole world starts to smile.”
Orange started next to blow her trumpet: “I am the color of health and strength. I may be scarce, but I am precious for I serve the needs of human life. I carry the most important vitamins. Think of carrots, pumpkins, oranges, mangoes, and pawpaws. When I fill the sky at sunrise or sunset, my beauty is so striking that no one gives another thought to any of you.”
Red shouted out: “I am the ruler of all of you. I am blood - life’s blood! I am the color of danger and of bravery. I am willing to fight for a cause. I bring fire into the blood….I am the color of passion and of love, the red rose, the poinsettia and the poppy.”
Purple spoke with great pomp: “I am the color of royalty and power. Kings, chiefs, and bishops have always chosen me for I am the sign of authority and wisdom.”
Finally, Indigo spoke, “Without me you all become superficial. I represent thought and reflection, twilight and deep water. You need me for balance and contrast, for prayer and inner peace.”
Suddenly there was a startling flash of bright lightening - thunder rolled and boomed. Rain started to pour down relentlessly. The colors crouched down in fear, drawing close to one another for comfort. Rain began to speak: “You foolish colors. Don’t you know that you were each made for a special purpose, unique and different? Join hands with one another and come to me. From now on, when it rains, each of you will stretch across the sky in a great bow of color as a reminder that you can all live in peace.” (Abridged)
According to Unger’s dictionary, Corinth is Greece’s most splendid commercial city. Its strategic situation just south of the narrow isthmus connecting central Greece with the Peloponnesus made it the mecca of trade between the East and the West. The city derived rich income from the transport of cargoes across the narrow isthmus. The city of Corinth is divided along racial, social and economic lines, affecting the church and influencing its dynamics. Jews and Gentiles, masters and slaves, rich and poor are represented.
How can a church rally her members to emphasize spiritual and godly service and bypass physical and cultural distinctions? What do they need to adopt and affirm in order for the church to flourish and grow?
The Flock is One
12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body-whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free-and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. (1 Cor 12:12-13)
This is as good a story on the plight of the church and the lack of workers as any: This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that job. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
The church is a family, not individuals; an organism and not an organization; a body and not the building. Her members are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:28), and the sum is greater than the parts.
The word “body” (soma) occurs 18 times in chapter 12 alone and 47 times in the book. The word “unit” (v 12) is an awkward translation of the Greek for “one,” which occurs 13 times in the chapter. The Lord’s purpose for the church is for her unity, as witnessed by Jesus’ High Priestly prayer for the church before his crucifixion. Six times He prayed for them to be united as one (John 17:11, 21, 21, 22, 22, 23).