The Humble Body of Christ – 6-1-22

Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.”  1 Corinthians 12:27 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of First Corinthians chapter 12 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Spiritual Gifts: Unity in Diversity

12 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: You know that[a] you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb[b] idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus [c]accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.

There are [d]diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works [e]all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by [f]the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

Unity and Diversity in One Body

12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink [g]into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.

15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?

20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And 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 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no [h]schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the [i]best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Corinthians 12:2 NU, M that when
  2. 1 Corinthians 12:2 mute, silent
  3. 1 Corinthians 12:3 Gr. anathema
  4. 1 Corinthians 12:4 allotments or various kinds
  5. 1 Corinthians 12:6 all things in
  6. 1 Corinthians 12:9 NU one
  7. 1 Corinthians 12:13 NU omits into
  8. 1 Corinthians 12:25 division
  9. 1 Corinthians 12:31 NU greater

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Are you seeing a trend with this year’s memory verses? Last year they were all verses that are great swords to swing in battle. This year is a bit more ministry minded and you can speak these verses into other people’s lives and watch the Word set them free.

Acts 4:12- “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Today is the day Paul finally gets the FULL download about “The Body” of believers! We saw so many glimpses of it throughout the first 11 chapters that we knew God was trying to get him here! God dropped it in and Paul added a piece but kept going, over and over, until God finally said Paul, add the whole thing!  – Or at least when I am writing a sermon, a study or a book that happens to me. I touch it down and then distract myself with my own thoughts – and they are good, so God lets me keep going until finally God literally clears my mind of everything else except it. Some times while writing I forget what I was doing and I know I need to delete back and start something new, because whatever it was God said no. Sometimes as I write, I get uneasy (almost anxious) and I check what I am writing and have to delete until I have peace and go in a different direction. God speaking to us is not necessarily a voice.

I love also how yesterday’s reading almost seemed like Paul was done and saying good bye – but today he jumps back in with “And one more thing”. Although today’s reading continues the build on correcting the divisions in the church it also changes direction from the corrections and responses to the problems Chloe’s people brought to Paul.

The last few chapters here really bring so much meaty revelation into aspects of who the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and God each are. As well as who we are in Him.

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: You know thatyou were Gentiles, carried away to these dumbidols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.”

And we start with a misused verse. Paul is pointing out how they were once idol worshipers and now they are believer and he knows it is true because his spirit bears witness. But he tries to say it in a more simple way and says because you do not cure Jesus and you confess He is Lord. That is ALL he is saying. It is not some magic phrase.

A year or so ago in a fellowship group (not of my own church) that was a mix of young and old Christians I overheard one person saying to another that at the name of Jesus the enemy flees. They went on to say evil melts in the presence of God. And they went into saying that they can’t call Jesus accursed and if they say it – they become empty words without meaning or effect and that EVERYONE who says “Jesus is Lord” is automatically saved. And I thought – these people watch too many movies and do not read their Bible.
So I got the groups attention and started leading a discussion on these thoughts and many said they had been taught that too and other said – they never thought about it. So I asked for book, chapter and verse. I try not to come a crossed as a “know it all” so I did not jump right into sermon mode which was almost as hard at not laughing at the ludicrous notions.
After some time of searching this section, verse 2 particularly was brought to me. Sometimes “You used to worship idols and now you proclaim Jesus” means exactly that.
The enemy doesn’t flee at Jesus’s name. You must be under authority and cast it out – and some only with prayer and fasting. Jesus Himself had to cast them out, His name and His presence did nothing to them except cause them to recognize Him as the real Son of God and declare so! So yes, even the enemy declares Him Lord, and they believe and tremble. They knew him long before man was created.
As for melting in the presence of God? They were created to be in the presence of God, then they fell. In the book of Job we see the leader of the enemy attending meetings in God’s court. He doesn’t melt. That is not a thing.

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree” Galatians 3:13 ESV
Even Paul himself called Jesus accursed here in Galatians, while quoting Moses in Deuteronomy – who prophetically called Jesus cursed. So OBVIOUSLY the words have great meaning – Jesus took the curse of sin and death to the grave because He was hung on a tree (a wooden cross). And obviously believers can and should use them when sharing the gospel.

It is vital, we read this stuff for ourselves and double check what people say – even me. We are only human and make mistakes. But a mistake made by a Bible study teacher at a church had a whole bunch of people believing a lie and instead of having more power in the face of the enemy, they became powerless. But before we judge too harshly – remember many churches have shut down and people are on the internet looking for a new church and are learning new things that were taught in their churches or were incorrectly taught. The church looks different now. And it is time to get back to the basics.

There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.”

Paul thought his opening was easy and he starts tip toeing into this idea of diversity (Paul under estimated us). Paul was worried that after saying unity, unity, unity – they might be confused by switching subjects to diversity.

There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.”

As if some how they would diversity is the opposite of unity. So to explain this sameness and differentness, He first puts them all under one God.

And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.”

And then, just like when the Holy Spirit gives your pastor a download in the middle of service and he or She spins for a minute, trying to say what is on their notes while figuring out how to say what God is leading them to say. They spin in place for a minute – Paul spins in place for a minute.

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”

And then – BOOM – Here it is: The Body of Believers is now 4 words away!

But that doesn’t mean we can skip what was said in verse 7-11. There are many gifts and Paul lists a few. That is right, this is not an all-inclusive list.  I have the gift of creativity and art – that is not here. Some have the gift of administration. That is not here.
Some have multiple gifts, some have all on this list in a small amount and one in a great amount. If you have one, then you probably can move in any of them – because once you are open to God for a gift and are a willing vessel – He will use you for whatever He needs in the moment He needs it. But if that happens, it might be a onetime thing. For example, I was at a church and a lady spoke in tongues, loud over me and the whole church heard, except I never knew she spoke in tongues. I heard her pray in English over me. And then another lady said the same thing but made it more general and applied it to the whole body and left off a couple things – So I thought the second lady was like, great prayer, let’s pray some of that over everyone. My brother was there and he told me the first was in tongues and the second was interpretation. God gave me the interpretation – but it was also very specific to me and my life – like the lady knew me (which she did not we were visiting a church we had never been to before). I have never had the gift of interpretation before or since that day.  SO God can give you it for a second for a reason.
But more commonly, we get one or two we are very strong in. God gives them as HE wishes. So think of the parable of the talents – if you use them and invest them into the kingdom, God gives more and if you never use your gift, then you do not get more.
Seriously – This is bad. Imagine giving someone you love a beautiful watch and you never see them wearing it. Like your heart would be broken, God’s heart is broken when we do not use the gifts he gave us. But it is so much more than just a gift, just a watch. There edify everyone, these save souls, these grow soul winners, these gifts are the tools to building the Kingdom.
Which ones often depend on the church God called you to and the job you are called to do there. But like I said – it is really up to God. You can pray for a specific one – He may not give it to you. You should pray for a gift or a few or as many as He needs to – to use you whenever He needs you.

12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.”

I am not an apostle – obviously. I would have gone with the construction crew metaphor and how electricians, plumbers, roofers and masons are all different but needed to build the Kingdom.
The body is more cooperative and in unity (unless there is an ailment).  

15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?”

It is ok to chuckle – we have seen Paul’s humor before. It is dry but clever, with a little bit of silly. I can picture him lifting his foot and balancing on the other, while changing the sound of his voice and saying “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body”. And then shacking his ear with his hand and using a different voice for the ear. And I hope whoever read the later did the same. And quite frankly if you watched me read it – I would probably do the same. Paul is effective, because he is relatable.
His highly intelligent logic and rhetoric, especially when reading the New King James or King James makes him feel stoic and distant. Lacking personality. We are a Body, animated. Even at rest we are in motion. There is so much to us that we need many parts to reach us all. Body really is the perfect metaphor… or many God did it intentionally by design.

20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And 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 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”

The body really is the perfect metaphor. I love his choice of words: “honorable” and “bestowing honor”. I painted my finger nails today with sparkles and animal print patterns. My heart might looks at all that glitter and think I bestow a greater honor on my nails. But the truth is – I value my heart more. And I do not want to live without either.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.”

Now when Paul says first apostles, second… and so on. He is listing things in order of authority; not in order of importance. Is there an order of importance?
If there is, it might be the cleaning lady or man!! If the preaching is amazing but the place is dirty – I don’t want to go there, maybe I’ll watch online. But if the place is clean, I can sit through a terrible sermon.

Now – let’s acknowledge what a great job I have done so far without yelling “REPENT AND GET HUMBLE” every day. However the truth is – every last issue in this book is a type of pride. It is something that takes even an ounce of Glory away from the Lord our God who is the ONLY one to get the Glory. And do not confuse meekness and humility. I know some proud meek people. They are the worst, because they cannot see it unless God opens their eyes.

Why am I always carrying on about humility? Well, as you can see in this book, pride can cause division, offence, idolatry (following a man instead of Jesus), and it was literally the downfall of all of mankind. We are kind of super vulnerable. But humility is equally, if not more important. It is the way into the secret place (Psalms 91), it is the only way we can have full deep and meaningful intimacy with God, if is the most powerful means for God to use us.

I have shared before, but let me share again – This is my metaphor of the function of humility.
Have you ever been in a simulated fire room or watched a training video with fire safety training? If you haven’t, let me suggest you do.  My first experience with fire safety training was a simulated room fire in a nursing home setting. They told us we have 3 minutes to get us and anyone we are taking with us out of a burning room. At 2.5 minutes you may still make it out – but you’ll need medical attention. The number of minutes for survival varies based on the room sized and fire prevention steps that were taken. I have been through the training for hospitals, nursing home, assisted living, rehabs, and integrated housing for the developmentally disabled. Every time I have been through it, especially in a fire simulation room, with real fire – fire is scary, even with all the fire department around. So I have to prep my mind – talk myself into being ok. God made fire – and if we do what we are supposed to we can make it out in time, because God. AND I KNOW that is not BIBLICAL! God did not made houses and sky scraper and building so big and unsafe in a fire situation – but I know every time the fire moves faster than I anticipate and I grab onto God’s sovereignty and a concept with holes in it and I get through it.

So here is the secret to surviving. Because the lights may go out and will at some point and the smoke is thick and dark and will kill you before the fire reaches you – you should already know your room. Well, in the metaphor of humility the room is big and full of people, congested and full of distractions and stuff. The door also has a big doggy door in it and the doggie door is big enough for you to get through. You smell the smoke before you see the fire. The smoke rises. The faster you hit the grown the more minutes you buy yourself in your escape. You can tell people to follow you along the way but you must slide on your belly, completely humbled and prostrate and get to the doggie door. You cannot stand up to reason with them. You cannot stand up and say, look at me and follow me. You have no time to share your qualifications – they do not matter. You should conserve oxygen, so be strategic with how you tell others what to do. This is literally life and death and you staying humble is the only hope for you and anyone else to survive. Once out the doggie door – you’ll see the Father. That, my friends is where we are at.
Our job is NOT to carry anyone out of the room. Jesus is the only one in fire-fighter’s protective gear. Our job is not to save them, of even ourselves. Our job is to be obedient to our training and get humble, and tell others to do the same. Our job is to live by example. God gives us the vision of getting everyone out of the room – but all we can do is tell them what to do and live by that example.

The hours is late and the world is on fire. Get low. Repent get humble – get low. We cannot make an eternal impact for ourselves or other unless we get low. Our strength is only when we are weak and submitted, humbled. The battle is not ours. The smoke is not ours – get beneath it.

The hour is too late for us NOT to examine ourselves and make sure we have hit the ground in humility and not just meekness. Hit the ground with authority, because you know that you know that you know that is the way – because the Bible shows us in chapter after chapter from the fall of man through to here where Corinth had divisions because of unidentified pride. And it continues in mankind to the end.

The battle to die to self (which we studied and went through the exercises for when we read Romans) is the pride battle. We cannot even get ourselves safe, without God’s help and getting humble – let alone do the work He has asked us to do. We fail it all if we do not get this one thing right – and the hour is late.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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