The Circus and the Church
This week was the third week in our sermon series A House United, a series where we are learning to live united in the midst of this divisive world. Division in the church is a bad witness, for it means that we are just talk and no walk. We believe we are called to not go along with the division that is so rampant in our culture, but to live as a unified body of Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 12, we see how spiritual gifts were a source of division in the Corinthian church. While often in 1 Corinthians Paul talks to people who think they are superior to others, this passage also addresses people struggling with feelings of inferiority and insecurities. Paul addresses some self-doubts that people had, such as doubts that people had no gifts to offer the world, feelings that others had better spiritual gifts than them, and thoughts that they did not belong. These self-doubts are insecurities that many of us struggle with in our day to day life. At the root of all of these self-doubts is this belief that we are not enough.
Paul uses the image of a human body to relate to the church, but this analogy is not an original one with Paul. Other classical literature compares human bodies to communities, but previously that analogy was used to reinforce hierarchy. It was used to tell people that their gifts were less important and less valued than others in the community. Paul flips this analogy on its head; instead of using it to support hierarchy, he uses it to advocate for interdependence, equality, and diversity in unity in the body of Christ. The church needs many different parts to be the full body of Christ, and only when all of those parts are participating can the body of Christ be whole and united.
In verse 18, Paul addresses insecurities by affirming that God has made each of us exactly as God wants us to be. Paul reminds us of the truth that we all have gifts, and those gifts are needed and valuable. We would not have a body of Christ if it wasn’t for all of our different gifts and body parts coming together as one. We all belong in the family of God. The bottom line truth in all of this is that we are enough just as we are. We become united when we not only embrace and use our gifts, but we embrace and celebrate other people’s gifts as well. Everyone belongs and is welcome in the body of Christ. We become a house united when we use all of our gifts to participate and build up the body of Christ.
Monday- 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Tuesday- 1 Corinthians 7:1-19
Wednesday- 1 Corinthians 7:20-40
Thursday-1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Friday-1 Corinthians 9:1-11
Questions to Consider and Discuss:
1. What do you think are your spiritual gifts? If you are unsure, we encourage you to take this spiritual gifts assessment.
2. Do you ever struggle with self-doubts about your gifts?
3. Read 1 Corinthians 12:18. What does that verse speak to you?
4. How do/can you use your gifts to build up the body of Christ?