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I Corinthians 12:12-31
What is the last body part to die?
The eyes, because they dilate.
Did you hear about the road made of body parts?
They call it the Organ Trail
If you had to choose one body part to smell…
Would you pick your nose?
Last week we looked at the first 11 verses of I Corinthians 12.
Paul reminded the believers that they all have received spiritual
These gifts were given by God to all who believe.
As Paul continues writing the rest of the chapter, he uses an
analogy to help the Corinthian believers better understand his
His point is this: The body of Christ is like a human body.
It has many parts and all are necessary for the body to function
Remember our context. Paul is helping the church understand
how they can use their gifts properly in worship.
As we take a look at the first two verses of today’s text we see the
Physical Diversity of the Body of Christ.
I Corinthians 12:12-13
The body of Christ is made up of a diverse group of believers.
There are believers in almost every corner of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.
They are like snowflakes. No two believers look exactly alike.
But it takes each and every one of us to accomplish the work God
has given us to do.
The baptism Paul writes about here is not water baptism.
It is also not another second baptism when you receive the gift of
speaking in tongues.
He is writing about the baptism of the Holy Spirit of the believers
into the body of Christ.
The point Paul is trying to make is that there is diversity in the
body of Christ, there are Jews, Greeks, slaves, and free men, and
they were all baptized by the same Spirit. They all serve the same
There are many people who have trusted Jesus as their savior
and they all make up the body of Christ. The body of Christ is
Functional Importance of the Members of the Body
I Corinthians 12:14-20
Paul gives two examples in these verses telling the members not
to think too lowly of themselves.
The body needs all of its members.
If the foot decided it was too unimportant because it wasn’t the
hand, it can’t just stop being part of the body. The body was
created in the image of God.
And the church is the bride of Christ.
If the ear got upset because it wasn’t an eye, it too can’t stop
being part of the body.
God made the body just like He wanted it.
If we don’t like the gift we have been given, we are basically
telling God we don’t agree with His sovereign choice.
Your gift is important because God gave it to YOU!
Paul then goes on to describe the difference between unity and
Uniformity is when everyone is exactly alike.
Unity is different people united for the same purpose.
Paul continues with his human body analogy to drive home his
If the entire body was an eye, how would it hear?
If the whole body was an ear, how would it smell?
We need variety in the body.
And we need each other.
While visiting Christian workers in the country of Romania,
Charlie VanderMeer from Children’s Bible Hour went to an
orphanage where people with physical and mental
disabilities live together.
Misha, a young man of 24, broadcasts music and Christian
programs into the orphanage buildings. Although he is
paralyzed below the waist, he gets around just fine. A friend,
who has Down’s syndrome and cannot hear or speak, carries
him on his shoulders.
Charlie could tell by the smile on the face of the man who
carries Misha that this is his mission in life. According to a
worker, when Misha had to be gone for a few weeks, his
friend didn’t know what to do.
What a picture of members of the body of Christ relying on
one another! Each of us is a little like Misha. We are partially
equipped to do the work of the Lord, but we need the “legs”
of our fellow believers to carry us along.
This example of Misha and his friend reminds us that none of
us can do the entire job alone. God designed us to rely on
each other as we serve Him. So look for ways you can help
others, and learn to appreciate how much you can do
together. By: Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. —
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Paul places a Focus on the Weaker Parts
I Corinthians 12:21-26
Every part of the body is important.
It is not good for one member to look down on another member
because they have a gift that seems less important than another.
The eye can’t do without the hand. The head can’t do with the feet
Paul calls the parts that seem weaker indispensable.
He says “on those parts of the body that we think less honorable
we bestow the greater honor,” v.23
Society tells us that the weak are unimportant.
God reminds us that all of His children are important to Him.
It reminds me of Jesus’ words in the parable of the vineyard, that
the first will be last and the last will be first.
Paul explains it in verse 25.
God wants there to be no division in the body. Remember why
Paul wrote this letter to the church at Corinth? He heard there
were divisions among the people.
God wants believers to care for one another.
If one member suffers, all suffer together.
If one member is honored, all rejoice.
God is glorified when the body functions as a whole.
Every member is important.
A Washington, DC, couple invited friends to bring their loose
change to a party to benefit a charity fund. From what people
had at home in boxes, cookie jars, plastic bags, and a few old
socks, they brought coins totaling more than $1,500.
Few individuals have more than $30 in change around the
house, but Americans together have an estimated $7.7 billion
in loose change just lying around. And researchers say that’s
typical of people in many other countries of the world.
To me, it’s a wonderful illustration of the collective wealth
and worth of the family of all believers in Jesus Christ. The
Bible often refers to the church as “the body of Christ” and
says that “all the members of that one body, being many, are
one body” (1 Corinthians 12:12).
Every person, therefore, is essential and valuable as part of
the whole. By ourselves, we may sometimes feel
insignificant, unneeded, and of little value, like so much
spare change. But as individual parts that make up the
whole, each of us is needed (vv.15-22).
All people are unique individuals, but as Christians we are
also indispensable parts of the body of Christ, and of greater
value than we can ever know. By: David C. McCasland
(Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Finally, we see Paul close out this section with a reminder of
some of the gifts that God gives the body.
I Corinthians 12:27-31
Paul seems to rank the first three gifts.
First Apostles. They delivered the first message and walked with
Second Prophets. They also declare the word of God and speak
Third teachers. We all know teachers are held to a higher
standard. They must rightly divide God’s word.
Even though there are a variety of gifts, they are all important.
None is greater than another.
Without the entire body, the church can’t function.
Without all of our body parts we don’t function properly.
Paul ends with a prelude to the next chapter, which is a
continuation of the previous one.
His point is that there is something greater than any gift and that
We will talk more about this next week, but God wants the body of
Christ to love Him and love others.
This whole chapter has been about using your gifts for God’s
glory not lording it over others in the church.
Serve Together in Unity to Accomplish God’s Work
We all have a gift. How can we use our collective gifts to bring
What can we do to point others in the world to Christ so they can
receive and use their gifts?
Whatever we do, we have to do it together because that is how
God designed us.