THE HEALTHY FUNCTIONING OF THE LOCAL CHURCH (THE EXPRESSION OF THE BODY OF CHRIST) DEPENDS ON EVERY MEMBER FULFILLING THEIR GOD-APPOINTED ROLE
We have been studying the subject of spiritual gifts. Do you know how God has uniquely gifted you for the goal of building up the body of Christ? Are you fulfilling your role so that the local body of believers is benefiting from your ministry? Do you have an appreciation for the contribution that others are making in your life and in your church? Are you envious of the gifts that others have? Are you content with your God-appointed role? Too many people approach church from the standpoint of what they can receive rather than what they can give. Too many people sit on the sidelines and squander the opportunity to invest their spiritual gift to impact the lives of others.
I. (:12-27) THE BODY OF CHRIST IS PATTERNED AFTER OUR PHYSICAL BODY WITH DIVERSITY OF FUNCTIONALITY SUPPORTING UNITY OF PURPOSE AND EXPRESSION
A. (:12) Presentation of the Thesis: The Parallel Between the Human Body and the Body of Christ – Unity Despite Diversity
1. Human Body
“For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body”
2. Body of Christ
“so also is Christ.”
B. (:13-18) Argument Based on God’s Formation of the Body of Christ
C. (:19-26) Argument Based on Each Role Being Significant and Essential
D. (:27) Conclusion: Many Members but One Body of Christ
“Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.”
II. (:28-31) EACH CHURCH MEMBER MUST FUNCTION WITHIN THEIR GOD-APPOINTED ROLE WHILE DESIRING THE OVERALL EDIFICATION OF THE BODY AND PURSUING LOVE ABOVE ALL
A. (:28) Sovereign Disposition of Spiritual Gifts – All Are Not Equal in Order or Importance
“And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.”
B. (:29-30) Sensible Diversity of Spiritual Gifts — One Size Does Not Fit All
“All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?”
Stedman: These gifts, when they are being exercised, grow into offices. Notice how that which is listed as a gift in the beginning of the chapter has now become an office in the church at the end of it. Instead of having “gifts of healing,” we speak of “healers,” and instead of “gifts of administrations,” we speak of “administrators.” One grows into the other.
C. (:31) Strategic Design of Spiritual Gifts
1. Edification of the Church Must Be the Differentiator in Promoting Spiritual Gifts
“But earnestly desire the greater gifts.”
2. Love Must Be the Common Thread in Exercising Spiritual Gifts
“And I show you a still more excellent way.”
Stedman: Now, there is a big difference between the gifts of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit is what God is after. That is the character of Christ coming through. The gifts are given to enable us to achieve in increasing degree, by mutual exercise, the fruit of the Spirit. But the fruit is what God is after, and every congregation should be infinitely more concerned with the fruit of the Spirit than they are with the gifts of the Spirit.