Good morning everyone. I pray this is finding you well. We are continuing with 1 Corinthians 12.
So far we have considered how the gifts of the Spirit are for everyone because we have all been called to minister to others. We have also considered how these gifts are given for the common good and not to be used selfishly. Today I want us to consider the issue of unity because the only way the Body can function properly is through unity. Paul wrote:
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. 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. vv. 12-13
Unity should be as natural to us as breathing. If we are truly saved and if we are truly possessed by the Spirit then we should be united. Regardless of our background, our education, our current status in life or even our sex we have much in common; we have the Spirit. This is the same Spirit who has given us gifts to function in the Body. But the problem is there are a few things that we allow to get in the way of unity. Envy is one of those things. Envy that leads to despair is devastating to the Body:
Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. vv. 14-16
Your emotions, feelings and opinions do not carry much weight when it comes to God's truth. The fact is that if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord you are a member of the Body and you have certain responsibilities and obligations. After all, you are called as a servant in the same manner that Jesus served. The Church is meant to be filled with diversity. That is how God arranged it so find your place, celebrate it and serve because we all have to do our part to make it work:
If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. vv. 19-20
Another thing that destroys unity is pride, a "go it alone" attitude. This is an attitude that says I do not need anyone else. An attitude that says "they are all hypocrites so I will have nothing to do with them". There are sveral "Christians" who remain separate from the Church because the Church isn't good enough, but it doesn't work that way. Without the Church we cannot function:
The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. vv. 21-26
To me this is one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible. It describes the unity as it should exist in the Church, when we would get beyond our own selfish nature and put others ahead of ourselves. This is when we come to understand that we have died and the only life we have is through Jesus. We have forfeited our life and have become servants, putting the concerns of others first, because that is what servant's do. The unity of the Body is so great that we feel with each other and experience with each other, and no selfish thought interfers with it. Paul states so simply:
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. v. 27
What gift or gifts you have does not matter. The important thing is you realize the importance of them for everyone else. You can't be selfish in this. You can't measure the greatness or the smallness of your gift because in the Body we need them all. Don't compare yourself with anyone but Jesus Christ and take your place. Don't be so afraid of rejection that you cut yourself off from the Body because you will only either die or become so distorted you will not be recognizable as a Christian. We need each other. As imperfect as we are we need each other.
So look to Jesus, look to his example and serve with purpose, power and love. We will look at how we can all function together tomorrow.