1 1Crinthians 12C Thrugh the first ten verses f chapter 12, Paul has begun patiently teaching the church abut the nature and purpse f spiritual gifts We ve learned that spiritual gifts are a cnsequence f the salvatin wrk accmplished by the Spirit As we believe, we are equipped by the Spirit He is present in us frm the very mment f salvatin And He unites the bdy f Christ Thugh there is ne and the same Spirit wrking in all believers, nevertheless He manifests Himself in a variety f ways There are a variety f ministries Therefre, there are a variety f gifts in the bdy The Spirit is wrking t assign gifts accrding t the Lrd s purpses S we cannt assign greater wrth t ne member f the bdy ver anther based n spiritual gifting Finally, all these gifts are given fr the cmmn gd N ne receives a spiritual gift t shw ff r gain attentin We use ur gifts s that the entire Bdy benefits Gifts always draw attentin t Christ and His wrk in the Bdy, never t us and ur wrk At the end f ur last lessn, Paul listed nine gifts as examples f hw the Lrd can assign very different gifts and yet all cme frm the same Lrd with an intended purpse At the very end f the list we read v.11, which is where we pick up again this week The same Spirit wrks all these things accrding t the will f Gd 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
2 1Crinthians 12B 2 f 11 1Cr. 12:11 But ne and the same Spirit wrks all these things, distributing t each ne individually just as He wills. Paul summarizes his list f examples by repeating his main pint The diversity f spiritual gifts are all the wrk f the same Spirit In v.11, Paul says the gifts f the Spirit are always a wrk f the Spirit We can t create ur wn gifts, either thrugh hard wrk r by asking Gd fr it Gd assigns t each believer the gift r gifts He wills, and we dn t get a chice in the matter Our gifts are assigned by the Spirit, accrding t His will, and they are urs at the mment we becme a believer Neither can we create a gift thrugh persistence r effrt By definitin, the wrd gift means smething given t us, nt smething we btain in ur wn pwer S I can t earn a gift Nr can I learn a gift Such things are wrks f flesh S even if we hned sme talent r ability t perfectin, it desn t becme a gift Yu ll knw a spiritual gift when yu see it...because yu ll recgnize yu culdn t mimic it n matter hw hard yu tried On the ther hand, we can develp r nurture ur spiritual gifts The Spirit wh equips us als calls us t wrk with Him t develp ur gift t its greatest effectiveness As Paul cunseled Timthy: 2Tim. 1:6 Fr this reasn I remind yu t kindle afresh the gift f Gd which is in yu thrugh the laying n f my hands Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
3 1Crinthians 12B 3 f 11 If gifted t teach, I must still apply myself t learning the wrd f Gd and delivering the teaching with plish If gifted t pray, I must develp the discipline t slicit prayer requests and devte the time t prayer If gifted t service, I must seek pprtunities t becme useful t thers in the bdy When we develp ur gifts in these ways, we aren t prducing a gift ut f nthing Withut the Spirit wrking in us, we might be able t mimic the behavir, but we ll never prduce the same results Fr the gd ur gifts is always a prduct f the Spirit wrking in us The gifted teacher sees things in scripture n ne else see The gifted prayer warrir sees prayers answers mre pwerfully The gifted servant cntinues serving lng after the rest have lst energy r interest And s n Frm v.11 Paul nw fcuses his teaching t his main cncern fr what he s heard has been happening in the church in Crinth in the practice f spiritual gifts 1Cr. 12:12 Fr even as the bdy is ne and yet has many members, and all the members f the bdy, thugh they are many, are ne bdy, s als is Christ. 1Cr. 12:13 Fr by ne Spirit we were all baptized int ne bdy, whether Jews r Greeks, whether slaves r free, and we were all made t drink f ne Spirit. 1Cr. 12:14 Fr the bdy is nt ne member, but many. 1Cr. 12:15 If the ft says, Because I am nt a hand, I am nt a part f the bdy, it is nt fr this reasn any the less a part f the bdy. 1Cr. 12:16 And if the ear says, Because I am nt an eye, I am nt a part f the bdy, it is nt fr this reasn any the less a part f the bdy. 1Cr. 12:17 If the whle bdy were an eye, where wuld the hearing be? If the whle were hearing, where wuld the sense f smell be? 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
4 1Crinthians 12B 4 f 11 Paul intrduces what is perhaps his mst famus analgy in all his letters: the analgy f a human bdy t the church, the bdy f Christ In v.12 he begins with his premise: the human bdy is a single rganism Yet that ne whle is cnstructed f many members The wrd members is mels, which literally means parts S the human bdy is made up f parts But we dn t perceive ur bdy as a cllectin f parts We think f urselves as a single persn, a single bdy And mre t the pint, we instinctively appreciatin that all parts f ur bdy are equally imprtant t us and wrk in unisn There is n part f ur bdy that we wuld chse t live withut vluntarily We might use sme parts mre ften than thers, but when a certain part is required, it becmes all imprtant at that mment Then in the secnd half f v.12, Paul draws the cmparisn t the bdy f Christ Within the church, we find many individuals, each bearing a different spiritual gift as given by the Spirit But this cllectin f individuals (r we culd say parts) perates as a single bdy The church is nt ne persn, but everyne That s why Jesus said Matt. 18:20 Fr where tw r three have gathered tgether in My name, I am there in their midst. Jesus wasn t saying that He isn t present with a single believer Fr mre certainly Christ Spirit lives in each f us and will never leave us r frsake us Rather, His pint was that Christ s bdy is represented by the assembling f the saints 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
5 1Crinthians 12B 5 f 11 S the cllected presence f the church is a physical manifestatin f Christ s bdy n earth in these days while we await His persnal return This unin f many int ne is accmplished thrugh ur sharing f the ne Spirit f Gd As the Spirit indwells all f us, He becmes ur cnnective tissue uniting the varius members int a single rganism In v.13 Paul calls the cllective indwelling f the Spirit ne baptism As Paul taught earlier, we have all received the same Spirit upn cming t faith That indwelling is called the baptism f the Spirit It s called a baptism in the sense that by faith, we are immersed in the Spirit f Gd and cleansed by the bld f Christ Ntice again Paul emphasizes that all believers, n matter their rigins r human circumstances, are unified by this cmmn experience Every believer receives the same Spirit, t the same degree and fr a cmmn purpse: t becme part f the bdy f Christ Als ntice the tense f the verb Paul uses: he says we were made t drink f the ne Spirit We play n part in the cming f the Spirit and His pwer t equip us with gifts We were made t receive the Spirit, and by His arrival came ur entrance int a cmmn bdy Then in vs , Paul mves t the secnd half f his analgy t illustrate the imprtance f every member f the bdy He says the human bdy is many parts wrking tgether fr the benefit f the bdy The fact that a ft differs frm a hand desn t mean it s less a part f the bdy r less imprtant It s nt as thugh the hand standard fr wh can be cnsidered part f the human bdy r wh can be cnsidered useful 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
6 1Crinthians 12B 6 f 11 Furthermre, the ft desn t lk at the hand and put because it assumes that nly hands are wrthy t be cunted part f the bdy And Paul makes this pint again with the example f the ear and the eye Next Paul pints ut the absurdity f such attitudes If a bdy culd be designed with nly ne kind f part, it wuld be a hideus, unwrkable, useless thing If the ear gt its way and it culd becme an eye, then where wuld the bdy be when it needed t hear smething? We need ur hearing just as much as we need ur eyesight, f curse And in sme situatins, we need hearing even mre than eyesight A cncerned husband went t a dctr t talk abut his wife. He says t the dctr, "Dctr, I think my wife is deaf because she never hears me the first time and I always have t repeat things." "Well," the dctr replied, "g hme and tnight stand abut 15 feet behind yur wife and say smething t her. If she desn't respnd, mve abut 5 feet clser and say it again. Keep ding this s that we'll get an idea abut the severity f her deafness." Sure enugh, the husband ges hme and des exactly as instructed. Secretly, the husband stands abut 15 feet behind his wife in the kitchen as she is chpping sme vegetables and says, "Hney, what's fr dinner?" He hears n respnse, s he mves abut 5 feet clser and asks again. N reply. He mves 5 feet clser. Still n reply. He gets fed up and mves right behind her, abut an inch away, and asks ludly, "Hney, what's fr dinner?" She replies, "Fr the furth time, vegetable stew!" Then Paul mves t making the pint frm this analgy 1Cr. 12:18 But nw Gd has placed the members, each ne f them, in the bdy, just as He desired. 1Cr. 12:19 If they were all ne member, where wuld the bdy be? 1Cr. 12:20 But nw there are many members, but ne bdy Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
7 1Crinthians 12B 7 f 11 1Cr. 12:21 And the eye cannt say t the hand, I have n need f yu ; r again the head t the feet, I have n need f yu. 1Cr. 12:22 On the cntrary, it is much truer that the members f the bdy which seem t be weaker are necessary; 1Cr. 12:23 and thse members f the bdy which we deem less hnrable, n these we bestw mre abundant hnr, and ur less presentable members becme much mre presentable, 1Cr. 12:24 whereas ur mre presentable members have n need f it. But Gd has s cmpsed the bdy, giving mre abundant hnr t that member which lacked, 1Cr. 12:25 s that there may be n divisin in the bdy, but that the members may have the same care fr ne anther. 1Cr. 12:26 And if ne member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if ne member is hnred, all the members rejice with it. 1Cr. 12:27 Nw yu are Christ s bdy, and individually members f it. In the bdy f Christ, the Lrd has placed a diversity f members, each gifted just as He desired It s Gd s wisdm that determines wh gets what gift And that wisdm ensures a distributin f gifting that suits His purpses S we must nt make it a gal t frce everyne t exhibit the same spiritual gift, if that were even pssible In v.19 Paul makes the applicatin f his analgy t the church If everyne in the church were t have exactly the same spiritual gift, then what kind f bdy wuld result? Imagine the cnflict f everyne stepping ver ne anther trying t serve the bdy in exactly the same way Imagine all the needs that wuld g unmet as a result Imagine the cnfusin Imagine the uselessness Just as the bdy needs a diversity f parts, s des the bdy f Christ 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
8 1Crinthians 12B 8 f 11 Every member f the bdy has a place and purpse, s n ne member can turn t anther and say they are mre imprtant r that the ther is unnecessary Just as ur eye needs ur hand and ur head needs ur feet t be a cmplete, functining, useful bdy... S it is in the bdy f Christ...we are all equally imprtant and necessary if we are t be a bdy useful t Christ and t each ther In fact, Paul ges a step further and says that thse members f ur bdy wh seem weaker are actually the mst imprtant t the bdy f Christ Ntice in v.22 Paul describes thse wh seem weaker They seem weaker in the sense that they are in need f ur particular spiritual gifting Frm the perspective f the gifted teacher, a student in need f teaching seems t be the weaker ne T the gifted prayer warrir, the ne in need f prayer can appear weaker T the ne gifted in service, the brther r sister in need f their care is the weaker Obviusly, this relatinship cuts bth ways When smene in the church needs ur particular frm f spiritual gifting, we can say they are the weaker member f the bdy But when we need anther s spiritual gifting, we becme the weaker member S in this cntext, weakness simply refers t a spiritual need within the bdy, a need thers in the bdy have been gifted t satisfy Paul says the weaker members f the bdy are necessary t the health f the bdy f Christ This sunds cntrary t ur expectatins We naturally assume that the strngest churches wuld be thse in which we find n weaker members with spiritual needs 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
9 1Crinthians 12B 9 f 11 Where everyne is self-sustaining and in n need f teaching, n need f prayer, n need f service, etc. But this isn t the truth; the strngest churches are thse where many scalled weaker members reside Ntice again in v.23 Paul says these weaker members are thse we deem as less hnrable They are nt actually less hnrable, but until we appreciate the true purpse f the church, we are likely t perceive them as less valuable The weaker members f ur bdy are the mst valuable members in the church because the church exists t bestws hnr upn them Hw s? Because everything we d as a bdy gathered tgether is fr the ur weaker members We hnr the weaker when we serve them We bestw hnr upn them when we use ur spiritual gifts t meet their spiritual needs Paul says in v.23 that the bdy s purpse is t make the less presentable members f the bdy int mre presentable members In ther wrds, when I cme t the gathering, I find my purpse in teaching thse wh need t be taught If I m t make gd use f my teaching gift, I must have smene wh needs my teaching But if n ne were the weaker in respect t teaching, then I wuld have n ne t serve, and I wuld lse the chance t develp my gift If I culd nt develp my gifting, I cannt receive the blessings the Lrd hlds ut fr thse wh serve Nr can I myself grw spiritually, since my wn spiritual grwth is made pssible thrugh serving in my gifting S the Lrd is in the business f bestwing hnr upn the weaker members by sending them strnger members t serve them in their need 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
10 1Crinthians 12B 10 f 11 Truly, the weaker members f any church bdy are the mst imprtant t the health f the bdy, fr they give purpse t the bdy We gather t pray fr thse wh need prayer We gather t serve thse wh need ur service We gather t encurage thse wh need encuragement We gather s that ur cllective strengths may serve ur cllective weaknesses Smetimes we re the ne wh is less presentable and in need f strengthening And at ther times we are the ne strengthening thers Cllectively, we are all grwing and being strengthened spiritually, which is the very purpse f the church Eph. 4:11 And He gave sme as apstles, and sme as prphets, and sme as evangelists, and sme as pastrs and teachers, Eph. 4:12 fr the equipping f the saints fr the wrk f service, t the building up f the bdy f Christ; Eph. 4:13 until we all attain t the unity f the faith, and f the knwledge f the Sn f Gd, t a mature man, t the measure f the stature which belngs t the fullness f Christ. Eph. 4:14 As a result, we are n lnger t be children, tssed here and there by waves and carried abut by every wind f dctrine, by the trickery f men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; Eph. 4:15 but speaking the truth in lve, we are t grw up in all aspects int Him wh is the head, even Christ, Eph. 4:16 frm whm the whle bdy, being fitted and held tgether by what every jint supplies, accrding t the prper wrking f each individual part, causes the grwth f the bdy fr the building up f itself in lve. Paul says the varius rles f service with their respective giftings exist in the church t serve and build up the bdy And as the bdy is strengthened, we all attain t the unity f faith, t the knwledge f Christ, and t His full stature We are all grwing int all aspects f Christ as His living bdy n earth, fitted tgether accrding t the prper wrking f each individual part 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
11 1Crinthians 12B 11 f 11 In v.26 Paul says that as ne suffers r rejices, s d the rest, because ur very existence n earth is s clsely cnnected t ne anther As Christians, we have been left t live n earth fr a time s we may use ur spiritual gifts t serve ther Christians even as we are served by thers This is ur very purpse f ur earthly lives, while we await the Lrd s return We nw have ur third principle fr understanding spiritual gifts prperly First, we learned that spiritual gifts cme by way f the Hly Spirit at the pint f ur salvatin Everyne receives the same Spirit, in the same measure N ne gets mre f the Spirit, and n gift in the bdy is mre hnrable r desirable Secndly, Paul taught that the gifts in the bdy are assigned as Gd wills We cannt decide fr urselves what spiritual gift we want We shuld expect a diversity f gifts in the bdy, accrding t Gd s purpse And nw we learn that the purpse f gifts is fund in serving thers wh are in need f ur particular spiritual strength If n ne needed ur gift, then we cease having purpse in the bdy f Christ S we can be assured, there will always be smene in the bdy wh needs what we can ffer Likewise, it wuld absurd fr everyne in the bdy t be gifted in the same way It wuld be like a bdy made up nly f hands r eyes r feet A healthy bdy needs a diversity f part wrking tgether All three f these principles cme t bear in the next part f this letter, as Paul begins t chastising the church fr their abuses f spiritual gifts 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.