THE CHURCH AS A BODY-Mike Gilland Week 2
September 11, 2022 Preacher: Mike Gilland Series: 25 in 5
Topic: 25 in 5 Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:12–27
THE CHURCH AS A BODY
SUNDAY, SEPT. 11, 2022
Cindy and I count it a real honor to have been asked to be here today, to
celebrate a church that I love, during this special time of recognition of all that
Jesus has done in and through Abundant Grace.
For me, being here for 17 years was more than employment, it was our life. I will
forever be grateful for Phil’s faith in adding me to the team, and for the many
relationships that God gave us that are dear to us, even to this very day.
INTRODUCTION (DON’T LINGER TOO LONG IN THIS SECTION!)
There are several points of importance from which today’s passage flows:
Paul is aiming to inform the Corinthians – who severely needed this letter,
which in some ways was a real correction, as we learn from reading Paul’s
first letter. In short – they were a hot mess, in multiple areas of both
practice and doctrine.
It is so comforting to realize that, as messed up as they were, Paul did not
lose faith for them, and his confidence of their sincerity for the Gospel
Years ago, I heard an illustration that I believe was spot on then, and it is
now, especially in considering this passage. It goes like this: “Wherever
there has been abuse, the corrective action is not misuse, or disuse…the
correct direction to take is the correct use…
Now – that is the tone of Paul’s writings to the Corinthians – and the focus
was for them to see themselves properly, who they were, what they
believed, what type of orthopraxy – (or conduct) – in their day-to-day lives
they were to manifest.
It is so interesting that Paul was such a patient leader – one might expect
that, in order to bring “order” and saneness into that church, he would just
have them sit down and back off from ALL practices. He does not do that.
He lovingly teaches what should be taking place – both in their services,
and in their lives individually. He wants them to see that they are MUCH
MORE than just a banded group of individuals.
They were – and are – the church, the BODY OF CHRIST.
Let’s pause to pray – for the reading of God’s word…
1 Corinthians 12:12-27
One Body with Many Members
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the
body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were
all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to
drink of one Spirit.
14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot
should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would
not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I
am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a
part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of
hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18
But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he
chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there
are many parts, yet one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to
the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that
seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we
think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts
are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not
require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that
lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may
have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together;
if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
The gifts mentioned in chapter 12 are not gifts that we acquire in mere study or
GIFTS GIVEN FOR OUR COMMON GOOD…
They are gifts that are GIVEN – given to us by God. They are not earned.
They are not assets for which we qualify by our actions or obedience. They
are gifts given to us by God – for the purpose of becoming the people that
He has called us to be.
Commentator Bruce Fisk uses an analogy of bookends – to help us see how these
three verses – 8-10 – are framed by the adjacent verse on both sides of the verses
detailing those first 9 gifts of the Spirit.
I constructed a graphic that I hope will help illustrate his point.
(TEAM – USE THE two MP4s (Part 1, then Part 2)
Bookends of verses 7 and 11…
(Fire animation (or PART 1 mp4) – part one – with a click)
On one side, IN VERSE 7, Paul stresses the community of the church – The Spirit
gives these gifts for THE COMMON GOOD OF THE PEOPLE. Paul is stressing that
these are gifts – given to us by God – to benefit us, to mature us, to equip us. The
following three verses – according to Paul – are for our GOOD. They are given -
not to be divisive, and they are not given to bring confusion.
(now, fire part two of animation.)
The other bookend – VERSE 11 – makes it very clear that these gifts are given by
the ONE SOURCE – the SPIRIT OF GOD. And He gives these gifts as He will,
according to His purpose. It is to be very clear that these gifts are NOT the result
of our merit, our worthiness, our personality, or our abilities. They are given
freely for God – to enable His purpose to go forth in His church.
SO WITH THAT – LET’S UNPACK TODAY’S PASSAGE!
Three points that we are going to examine:
1. UNITY IN THE BODY OF CHRIST
2. OUR ENTRANCE INTO THE BODY OF CHRIST
3. GOD’S INTENDED HARMONY FOR THE BODY OF CHRIST.
1. UNITY IN THE BODY OF CHRIST
In verse 12, Paul goes into a metaphor, contrasting our human bodies to the
picture that Scripture paints about the church.
Paul begins to show how much unity there is in our human bodies, and when we
think about the way God ordered every organ, every muscle, every patch of skin,
It is truly a wonder. In recent decades, as the medical community began
understanding the DNA code, how complex and unique each individual strand of
DNA is from one person to another, you would think that all correctly thinking
doctors and scientists would throw out the big bang theory all together, and land
on what we know to be true – that our bodies were formed by the intelligent
designer who happens to be God.
Sadly, man’s sin and rebellion have made many blind to that fact, in spite of all
the evidence before them.
(note – can you make each one appear as I mention it…)
God made us to all these aspects of our bodies…
- Eyes that see
- Ears that hear
- Noses that smell
- Legs that can move, walk, bear our weight
- Arms that reach
- Hands that touch and hold…
All of these functions are by different members of ONE BODY.
I love this quote from Roy Laurin:
“The hand has one operation. The eye has another operation. The ear has yet
another diverse operation, but all the diversity becomes a unity, for the whole
body functions as one. The body does not function as many members but many
members function as one body.”
~ Roy Laurin
Paul then makes the following statement – “So also is Christ.”
We are members of Christ when we belong to His body (the church).
We are functioning through Christ when we work together as the body of
Just as our eyes, ears, arms, and legs all work together as one, it is the will of the
Lord that each and every member of Christ’s church be in unity, working together,
with our diverse giftings and all, for the unified purposes of God.
2. OUR ENTRANCE INTO THE BODY OF CHRIST
How did we become the people of God? How do we become members of the
Body of Christ?
Just like you didn’t choose the color of your eyes, the height of your frame, or
whether you were right-handed or left-handed…
…Our call into the church, the body of Christ is not just something that we have
randomly chosen. Rather, He leads us where He wants us. The beginning of that
process was when He called us to Himself in salvation.
Peter said that “we were called out of darkness, into His marvelous light”.
In Psalm 68:6, the NIV translation says this:
“God sets the lonely in families…”
In Proverbs 16:9, we read:
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”
And in John 3, we read the very well-known story of Nicodemus, who was told by
Jesus that he had to be “born again” if he wanted to be in the kingdom…
As we are called to, and born into God, and baptized by His Spirit, we enter a new
and living way, no longer apart from the Living God – but made to be alive in Him.
The essence of the Gospel is ours, as we receive and believe that it is HE who
made us to be sons and daughters in Him. What glorious hope we have in
salvation, a plan that we didn’t earn or qualify – but we were CHOSEN in Him…to
become a son or daughter of God…
And He puts us where we should be, placing us in a family of believers, for our
He doesn’t call us to be an organization…the church is not a club, or a society.
Rather, it is an ORGANISM, alive, sustained by and through the Spirit of God,
giving us hope and a purpose.
We have talked about the Unity in the Body, and we’ve just covered how it is that
we Enter into the body…
3. GOD’S INTENDED HARMONY FOR THE BODY OF CHRIST.
Paul continues in his metaphor of the human body, allowing the Corinthians to
see the powerful good that comes when the Body – the Church – is in harmony
He brings up what might have been an unexpected turn, introducing the
possibility of dissatisfaction, envy and jealousy within members of our own body.
How crazy would it be if our foot said, “I want to be a hand!”
Let’s face it…our hands are pretty amazing. The muscles in the hand, the way the
hand can move, the sheer amazing dexterity of our fingers…
The foot could say – I don’t want to just bear weight – I want to paint a
masterpiece, pluck a guitar, pound the keys of a piano! I don’t want to covered
with a shoe!
But thank God…our feet do not act that way, right? Well, at least most of the
Think about how important, though, our feet really are…without their support,
without their balance, without their strength…the work we do with our hands
would be limited greatly.
And then, our eyes…Paul gives us an absurd thought of our eyes speaking out to
those talented hands… “Hey – you down there, with those fingers and thumbs…I
have no need of you…after all, you’re pretty cool – but you can’t see…without
Imagine the warring that could go on in our body, if each of its members
misbehaved, and tried to live differently to their purpose!
Finally, Paul gives thoughts on those members of our body that are most private,
most covered up…yet the importance that those members are to our body is truly
without calculation. They need and receive much more modesty than the
presentable members…but our whole body knows that those parts are
Paul’s teaching on this is wrapped up in these verses from chapter 12:
“But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked
it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have
the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one
member is honored, all rejoice together.” (1 Cor. 12:24b-26)
God wants there to be harmony in the body. Not jealousy, not envy, not a spirit of
The Spirit of God, through Paul’s writing, is calling to us, appealing for mutual
care, love, empathy, not to be divided, but to have unity.
He is calling us to recognize that God has placed us together, local churches of
believers, all belonging to the wider body of Christ, all desiring to bring Glory to
God as we share the hope and love of Jesus to a dying world.
May those who don’t know Jesus, and come through these doors, be welcomed
by a loving body of believers, who share the truth of the Savior, giving care,
prayer and guidance.
And may many come to know the Lord through this body, the Body of Christ
known as Abundant Grace Community Church.
In verse 27, Paul sums everything up with a single sentence.
“Now you are the body of Christ, and individually members of it.”
Each individual member of this body, known as Abundant Grace Community
Church, is a member of the Body of Christ. It isn’t as if you aren’t individuals – you
are, but collectively, you are also joined together – by the Spirit of God, who
called you out, placed you in a family, gave you gifts to serve the Body of Christ in
this local fellowship, all for the purpose of the COMMON GOOD of the Lord.
There was a great song in the 80s by a former member of the Imperials – Russ
Taff was a powerful vocalist whose songs seemed to penetrate straight to the
One of his songs, “We Will Stand,” had these lyrics:
LYRICS TO “WE WILL STAND” – RUSS TAFF
The day will come when we will be as one
And with a mighty voice together
We will proclaim that Jesus, Jesus is King
It will echo through the earth
It will shake the nations and the world will see, see that
You're my brother, you're my sister
So take me by the hand
Together we will work until He comes
There's no foe that can defeat us
We're walking side by side
As long as there is love we will stand
APPLICATION (for community group discussion):
Here are some questions that we can ask of ourselves, to help us diagnose where
we currently are in the Body of Christ…
What gifts has God given you? How will you use those gifts to benefit
others in the church?
Are there fellow-believers that you tempted to look down on? What would
it look like for you were to pray for them, and express concern for them
Are you Isolated or Insulated in the body of Christ?
What part of the body are you functioning as…today? (not the past)
In this last month, did you share w/someone an area of need in your life?
In this last month, did you express gratitude to another member of the
body for what that person means to you?
Would the sign “No Help Wanted” fit around your neck?
If someone asked you, “How can I help you this week?” Would you be
embarrassed or offended?
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