We Are One Body
This was the fourth week in our sermon series called A House United, where we have been journeying through Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. In this letter to the Corinthian church, a church that had been wrecked by division, Paul builds a case for unity. Paul claims that we are the body and that Christ is the head of the church. The church belongs to Christ, and as members of the church, we renounce our rights when we become a part of the body. We are here to serve, not to be served. As the church, we are called to put the Great Commission of “making disciples of Jesus Christ” at the front and center continually. The unfortunate reality is that often we can be consumed by other things that detract us from our call to make disciples. Pastor Mike shared how he has heard a lot of complaints throughout 30 years in ministry- he’s heard complaints about events not being publicized well enough, sanctuaries being too hot or too cold, people messing something up in classrooms, people not getting their way- but in all of these years of ministry, he has never heard a concern about not having enough professions of faith and/or baptisms at a church. These kinds of complaints and divisions are signs that we have lost focused on the mission of the church to make disciples of Jesus Christ
This week we read 1 Corinthians 12:20-31. This chapter is all about spiritual gifts, which was a major point of division in the Corinthian church. Some people in the Corinthian church were telling others in the church that they weren’t really needed and that they did not fully belong. This isn’t just an issue in the Corinthian church though, for there are individuals and groups of people in our world that we tell that they don’t belong here. There are people in our church that we tell that they don’t belong here. Many of us, whether we would like to admit it or not, have told someone that because they don’t look like us, believe like us, or act like us that we don’t really need them, and they don’t belong. But Paul counters this negative core belief with the truth that all parts of the body are needed. He says that the eye can’t say to the hand “I don’t need you” and the head can’t say to the feet “I don’t need you.” All parts of the body are needed and all are essential for the body to be whole and functioning. While sometimes we think we don’t need others, God created us to be independent. We all need each other and are called to participate with each other to build up the body of Christ.
How do we overcome these prejudices we have about others sometimes, in thinking that they are not needed or don’t belong? In his book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell suggests that we overcome prejudice by not only making a commitment to equality, but by also spending time with the other person or group of people. Basically, it’s more than equality, it’s mutuality- the sharing of relationship. When we have relationships with others we grow to have a mutual concern for others, and when that happens, the body of Christ really starts functioning as God intended. This week we challenge you to do something kind for someone who has been told by society that they are not need or that they don’t fully belong. Building that bridge is a way for us to recognize our need for all parts of the body, and it’s one step closer towards unity.
Monday- 1 Corinthians 9:12-27
Tuesday- 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
Wednesday- 1 Corinthians 10:14-33
Thursday- 1 Corinthians 11:1-16
Friday- 1 Corinthians 11:17-34
Questions to Consider and/or Discuss:
1. Who are people that society has told that they do not belong? Who are people the church has told that they do not belong?
2. Why do you think Paul says that all parts of the body are needed?
3. How can you help our church fulfill our mission to “make disciples of Jesus Christ” this week?