The Human Body - An Illustration of Unity and Dive

Faith Church September 21, 2002 1 Corinthians 12:12-18

Introduction
- we're moving ahead now in our study we've titled Discovering and Using Your Spiritual Gifts.
- last week I mentioned that in an expository study, we let the Bible set the agenda…in other words, God tells us what in wants to tell us, in whatever order He chooses to do so…
- the upshot of that is, sometimes our questions are not answered as rapidly as we might like, or in the order we might like, or in the way we might like.
- eventually we will get to our central questions, which I understand for many of us are things like…
1.  What are the spiritual gifts?
2.  Are they all operational today?
3.  How can I know which one I have?
  those are important questions, and at the appropriate time and in the appropriate way, they will eventually be answered.
- but the truth is, God chooses to emphasize some other issues…I hope we'll come to the conclusion that the issues/questions God anticipates and then answers are worthy of our careful attention.
- so far we have carefully worked through verses 1-8.
- remember, I'm hoping that every member of our class will be able to "talk through" the argument of this text.
[Nancy - please put these next five points on the transparency but not the handout]
- you could do that with what we've addressed so far like this:
1.  God wants us to understand this topic.
2.  Prior to coming to Christ, we were enslaved to all kinds of idolatry.
[we were seeking fulfillment in false gods and false approaches to living]
3.  Acknowledging the Lordship of Christ is foundational to a right approach to spiritual gifts.
[cf the put off/put on dynamic of verses 2-3 as a prerequisite to properly understanding and applying the biblical teaching on this topic---this could be a lesson in and of itself---the possible idolatry that will short circuit godly approaches to the issue of spiritual gifts]
4.  God has built the principles of unity and diversity into this subject.
- diversity in that there are varieties of gifts, ministries, effects
- unity in that there is the same God, Spirit, and Lord.
5.  The purpose of this design is twofold, the glory of God [manifestation of the Spirit] and the edification of Christ's church [for the common good].

- now, in verses 8 and following, we might be tempted to think something like…
- here's what we've been looking for…
- here's the list of the gifts…
- here's where I'm going to have my questions answered…

- not exactly…we can begin to answer some of our questions….but we have to understand these verses in light of the context in which they are given…
- this is simply an illustration of the points that have been made in the previous verses…
- they are not "stand alone" verses, and they are certainly not a comprehensive list, nor do they address the issue of whether they are all to be used today or not [that isn't addressed until chap 13]
- we worked through the gifts mentioned in verse 8 and then ran out of time last week…I'd like to move through the remaining gifts in verses 9-11 and then get move into the next series of verses.
- for continuity with our classes, you'll notice our outline completes last week and begins a new one for next week…that is an attempt to help the other classes.
- READ I Corinthian 12:4-11

I.  The Principle Stated - v. 7
The variety of gifts is given by our triune God for the common good of Christ's church.
A.  Manifestation
phanerosis - "making known, clear, evident"
When the spiritual gifts are used in the way they are intended, God is glorified.
B.  Common good
sumpheron - to draw together
II.  The Principle Illustrated - vv. 8-10
A.  The word of wisdom through the Spirit.
B.  The word of knowledge according to the same Spirit.

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C.  Faith by the same spirit.

- this gift especially illustrates how with many of the gifts, every believer has the responsibility to posses/be cultivating the characteristic, but God enables certain persons in unusual ways.
- INPUT - How would you define faith?
- [the ability to believe God's Word even when it is hard.]

- INPUT - What categories of persons would say evidence unusual amounts of faith?

- INPUT - Why is this gift so essential for the church?

- now, I'm going to list the rest of the gifts mentioned in this passage without a lot of comment.
- please don't let that frustrate you….as we said earlier, we will address "our questions" later in the study…
- before we're through, we will put together a list of all the gifts mentioned in the NT, talk about whether they are for today or not, etc.
- but that’s not the point of the verses in their present context…my goal now is to try to emphasize what is being emphasized in the text.

D.  Gifts of healing by One Spirit.
- like Christ, the apostles had the ability to heal people completely and immediately.
- this was done to authenticate the message of the gospel and as a sign of judgment on unbelieving Israel.
- the ability was waning even during the time of the apostles…
- we'll have more to say about it when we study the matter of temporary and permanent gifts…

E.  The effecting of miracles
- "a supernatural intrusion into the natural world and its natural laws"
- not, "it was a miracle that he made it out the accident alive…."
- the reason Jesus performed miracles was to confirm the truth of the gospel message [cf. John 2:11, 20:30-31, Acts 2:22]
- the apostles were never able to do "miracles of nature" [make bread, walk on water, still storms], but they were able to cast out demons…[develop the reasons we don't do this today]

F.  Prophecy
- includes foretelling [predicting the future] and forthtelling [applying God's word]

G.  Distinguishing of spirits
- discernment between truth and error

H.  Tongues
- a language that was either known by the hearer or "interpretable" by another person.

I.  Interpretation of tongues
- see above


III.  The Principle Restated

- verse 11 [READ] comes back to the point made in verse 7.
- the variety of gifts should not frustrate or divide us…
- it should make us rejoice in the creative power of our God and unify us around a common purpose that can only be accomplished by many different people working together.


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- in the next verses, Paul uses a very interesting illustration to continue to help us be committed to this point [could develop --- the fact that so many verses are devoted to this topic is instructive in and of itself]

- Read I Corinthians 12:12-18

I.  The Church is Like a Physical Body

A.  The physical body is one organism with many members - verse 12

- Paul's point is, while we generally think about the body as one "thing", the truth is that it is made up of many smaller "parts".

B.  The church is one organism with many members - verse 12 b

- "so also is Christ".
- this statement is instructive for many reasons, but it is interesting that Paul refers to the church as "Christ" [you would have expected him to say - "so also is the church".]  This statement emphasizes the unity of Christ with His church.


II.  Church Members Must Not Depreciate the Importance of Their Gifts.

- in the verses we read, the emphasis is on what a person thinks regarding their own gifts. 
- the message is---don't depreciate the value of what God has given you.
- in the subsequent verses, the emphasis changes to --- don't depreciate what God has given others.

A.  Depreciating ones gifts is irrational - v. 15-16

- INPUT - What point is Paul trying to make with the foot/hand and ear/eye analogies?
- saying it "doesn't make it so".
- just because a foot says something about itself doesn't make it true…just because a person says their gift is unimportant to the body doesn't make it so.

B.  Depreciating ones gifts is devastating - v. 17

- if the foot was right, or the hand was right…you could wind up with the ridiculous condition of the whole body being comprised of only one "part".


C.  Depreciating ones gifts is offensive - v. 18

- ultimately this kind of thinking insults God who gave the gifts in the first place

 

 

 


Adult Bible Fellowship
Discovering and Using Your Spiritual Gifts
The Human Body - An Illustration of
Unity and Diversity in Christ’s Church

Introduction
I.  The Principle Stated - v. 7
The variety of gifts is given by our triune God for the common good of Christ's church.
A.  Manifestation
phanerosis - "making known, clear, evident"
B.  Common good
sumpheron - to draw together
II.  The Principle Illustrated - vv. 8-10
A.  The word of wisdom through the Spirit.
B.  The word of knowledge according to the same Spirit.
********************************************************************************************************
C. __________ by the same spirit.
INPUT - How would you define faith?
INPUT - What categories of persons would say evidence unusual amounts of faith?
INPUT - Why is this gift so essential for the church?
D. Gifts of ______________ by One Spirit.
E. The effecting of _______________
F. ________________
G. Distinguishing of ____________
H. ________________
I. ____________________ of tongues

III.  The Principle _______________
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I.  The Church is Like a _____________ ___________
A. The physical body is one _______________ with many ______________ -
verse 12
B. The ______________ is one organism with many members - verse 12 b
II.  Church Members Must Not ________________ the __________________ of Their Gifts.
A. Depreciating ones gifts is _________________ - v. 15-16
B. Depreciating ones gifts is _________________ - v. 17
C. Depreciating ones gifts is _________________ - v. 18


Adult Bible Fellowship
Discovering and Using Your Spiritual Gifts
The Human Body - An Illustration of
Unity and Diversity in Christ’s Church

Introduction
1.  What are the spiritual gifts?
2.  Are they all operational today?
3.  How can I know which one I have?
1.  God wants us to understand this topic.
2.  Prior to coming to Christ, we were enslaved to all kinds of idolatry.
3.  Acknowledging the Lordship of Christ is foundational to a right approach to spiritual gifts.
4.  God has built the principles of unity and diversity into this subject.
- diversity in that there are varieties of gifts, ministries, effects
- unity in that there is the same God, Spirit, and Lord.
5.  The purpose of this design is twofold, the glory of God [manifestation of the Spirit] and the edification of Christ's church [for the common good].
I.  The Principle Stated - v. 7
The variety of gifts is given by our triune God for the common good of Christ's church.
A.  Manifestation
phanerosis - "making known, clear, evident"
B.  Common good
sumpheron - to draw together
II.  The Principle Illustrated - vv. 8-10
A.  The word of wisdom through the Spirit.
B.  The word of knowledge according to the same Spirit.
************************************************   
C.  Faith by the same spirit.
INPUT - How would you define faith?
INPUT - What categories of persons would say evidence unusual amounts of faith?
INPUT - Why is this gift so essential for the church?
D.  Gifts of healing by One Spirit.
E.  The effecting of miracles
F.  Prophecy

G.  Distinguishing of spirits
H.  Tongues
I.  Interpretation of tongues
III.  The Principle Restated
**************************************************
I.  The Church is Like a Physical Body
A. The physical body is one organism with many members - verse 12
B. The church is one organism with many members - verse 12 b
II.  Church Members Must Not Depreciate the Importance of Their Gifts.
A. Depreciating ones gifts is irrational –
v. 15-16
B. Depreciating ones gifts is devastating –
v. 17
C. Depreciating ones gifts is offensive –
v. 18

Faith Church