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Summary: This message focuses on the family of God and the fact that all of us have a significant place in God’s work. In this message I compare the body to a puzzle. All pieces of the puzzle must work together to complete the bi picture. I gave every person who

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“We are Family”

1st Corinthians 12:14-26

David Henderson, Pastor/Teacher

Two friends were out hunting. As they were walking through the woods, one of them suddenly screamed and the other one looked around and saw a huge grizzly bear charging at them. The first friend started to frantically put on his tennis shoes. When his buddy saw him he quickly asked, what are you doing, don’t you know you can’t outrun a grizzly bear. The first guy responded I don’t have to outrun him. I just have to outrun you!

I am reminded this morning that as the Family of God gets together that our faith ought to affect our relationships. And instead of just always looking out for ourselves, we need to recognize that we really do need each other...because we are all members of the same body. Now that’s not an easy thing to do. As someone has said:

to dwell with the saints above, that will be glory,

but to live with the saints below that’s another story.

When we look at this passage we see some guidelines that Paul gives us for ministry. First of all he tells us that we (1) cannot be a lone ranger. One thing is for sure. Paul did not operate alone. In his NT letters Paul mentions over 100 different people. Just in this brief passage he mentions 10. Paul was a part of a team of people.

Eagle’s Landing has organized our ministry through ministry teams, now functioning with about 25 teams. This is the way we do ministry.

(2) Churches must work together. One church cannot be in competition with another. We are in this together. The gospel travels faster through groups.

(3) Friendship and fellowship are central to evangelism. People do not care what we have to say until they know that we care about them. We must spend time with them making friends with people who need the Lord. Solomon said as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

(4) Friendships develop when we share ministry together. Some of the best friends you will ever have will be those you serve with on a ministry team.

(5) It is good to serve with people who are different from us. Included among Paul’s friends were a doctor and a runaway slave. Paul was a tentmaker. He had friends who were Jews..others who were Gentiles. Some were guys, some were women. He was closer to some than others. Some of them were old friends, some were new friends...some of them were very committed...some of them were not.

(6) People are always more important than programs. Picture this: ministry always flows along relational rivers. I have made mistakes when I have placed programs in the church above people in the church. If I have ever done that to any of you I am truly sorry.

It is interesting being the pastor of a church when people come from all kinds of backgrounds. I looked across our membership rolls this past week and noticed that we have former:

Episcopalians

Methodists

Catholics

Non-denominational

Assembly of God

Jehovah’s Witnesses

Mormon

And even a few Baptists.

Also I should say many had no church relationship of any kind in their adult life. We have now baptized 150 people. So we have a healthy mix of people. As a result we don’t all think the same. That’s an understatement. But it’s O.K. As long as we practice unity in the Family.

The apostle Paul stayed in Corinth for 18 long months working through a variety of problems that were troubling the church family in Corinth. There was a lack of unity...there were divisions...they had some very serious problems. Among them were:

* a temple had been built to honor Aphrodite; 1000 women worked in that church as prostitutes.

* they were consumed with pleasure, sin, drunkenness

* it was a church that was divided with at least 4 different groups competing for leadership.

* some said they lived under grace and because of that they could do whatever they wanted

* they were also consumed with pride.

All of this spells big trouble for a church...that’s also an understatement. We find in the NT that the apostle Paul writes letter after letter to these cities-Rome-Philippi- Ephesus-Galatia-Corinth and with only one exception he was always writing to solve a problem to en courage them to correct the sin problem they were dealing with. In this case Paul knew that all of the other problems with sin, pride and poor leadership were causing the church to fall apart. Paul sees all of this a a hug puzzle and he takes on the job of putting the puzzle together. To do it he gives us four principles.

1. Each piece of the puzzle is a part of the big picture but it is also very unique. Distinct. Different. Your teaching notes you received today contain a puzzle piece. Yours is different from everyone else’s. No 2 are exactly alike. Here’s what that means: (1) if there were 2 pieces that were exactly alike one of them would not be needed. God does not expect any of us to be a carbon copy of someone else. (2) Since there is no other one just like us then we are essential to the success of the puzzle. It will not be the same without you. Verse 14.

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