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Gifts in Diversity: The Body of Christ

Notes & Transcripts

Gifts in Diversity: The Body of Christ

1Corinthians 12            May 25, 2003

 

Scripture Reading:

Ephesians 4:1-16

Introduction:

As if the Corinthians couldn’t think of enough things to be divisive about, Paul now addresses the issue of spiritual gifts.

In the last chapter we discussed solutions for the differences in gender and status that adversely affected their worship.

Now we will discuss differences in ability that seem to be dividing the congregation.

Gifts in diversity, perspective, priority – 1Cor. 12, 13, 14.

Lessons from Christmas (gifts given with the individual in mind – gender, age, ability, need).

Lessons from Pastors’ Conference.

(diversity training, unified diversity, team work)

Big Question:

What must we understand about spiritual gift diversity in the body of Christ?

We must not remain ignorant about the spiritual gifts we have received.

Spiritual ignorance was the basic condition of our pre-Christian life.

Salvation is the basic gift of spiritual intelligence by the Holy Spirit to overcome our spiritual ignorance.

The gift of salvation opens us to the unified diversity of God’s generosity in the receiving of other gifts.

The Holy Spirit applies the generosity of God to the diversity of the church.

The Holy Spirit applies the generosity of God to the uniqueness of the individual.

The church is the body of Christ formed by God from unique individuals.

These unique individuals are dependent upon all others in the body.

The body is made to protect and honor its integrity.

The working diversity of spiritual gifts in the body of Christ is the greatest statement of God’s integrity we could ever proclaim.

I.       Cycle One

          A.      Narrative (v. 1)

          B.      Implication

We must not remain ignorant about the spiritual gifts we have received.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

II.      Cycle Two

          A.      Narrative (v. 2)

          B.      Implication

Spiritual ignorance was the basic condition of our pre-Christian life.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

III.    Cycle Three

          A.      Narrative (v. 3)

          B.      Implication

Salvation is the basic gift of spiritual intelligence by the Holy Spirit to overcome our spiritual ignorance.

          C.      Illustration

Spiritual Growth

Untapped Spiritual Resources

Holy Spirit; Pentecost; Poverty; Power; Spiritual Formation; Spiritual Growth

Acts 2:1-4; Romans 8:1-17; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 5:16-26; Ephesians 5:18

Dr. Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ tells this story of a famous oil field called Yates Pool:

During the depression this field was a sheep ranch owned by a man named Yates. Mr. Yates wasn't able to make enough on his ranching operation to pay the principal and interest on the mortgage, so he was in danger of losing his ranch. With little money for clothes or food, his family (like many others) had to live on government subsidy.

Day after day, as he grazed his sheep over those rolling West Texas hills, he was no doubt greatly troubled about how he would pay his bills. Then a seismographic crew from an oil company came into the area and told him there might be oil on his land. They asked permission to drill a wildcat well, and he signed a lease contract.

At 1,115 feet they struck a huge oil reserve. The first well came in at 80,000 barrels a day. Many subsequent wells were more than twice as large. In fact, 30 years after the discovery, a government test of one of the wells showed it still had the potential flow of 125,000 barrels of oil a day.

And Mr. Yates owned it all. The day he purchased the land he had received the oil and mineral rights. Yet, he'd been living on relief. A multimillionaire living in poverty. The problem? He didn't know the oil was there even though he owned it.

Many Christians live in spiritual poverty. They are entitled to the gifts of the Holy Spirit and his energizing power, but they are not aware of their birthright.

à        Citation: Greg Asimakoupoulos, author and speaker, Naperville, Illinois; source: Bill Bright, "How to Be Filled with the Spirit" (Campus Crusade publication)

          D.      Application

IV.    Cycle Four

 

          A.      Narrative (vv. 4-6)

          B.      Implication

The gift of salvation opens us to the unified diversity of God’s generosity in the receiving of other gifts.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

V.      Cycle Five

          A.      Narrative (vv. 7-10)

          B.      Implication

The Holy Spirit applies the generosity of God to the diversity of the church.

          C.      Illustration

Topic:  Healing

Subtopic: 

Index:  1538-1541

Date:  4/1998.1924

Title:  Statistic: Healed by Faith

   A recent survey at a meeting of the American Academy of Family Physicians revealed the following:

   Percentage of family doctors who:

   --are convinced that religious belief can heal: 99

   --believe the prayers of others can help a patient's recovery: 75

   --believe faith-healers can make people well: 38

   -- Yankelovich Partners, cited in Parade (12/1/96). Leadership, "To Verify."

See: Mt 10:1; Mk 16:18; 1 Co 12:9.

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

Faith/1201-1218

Miracles/2360-2374

Medicine/1529

Topic:  Discernment

Subtopic:  Spiritual

Index:  1007

Date:  4/1998.1796

Title:  The Purpose of Discernment

   When we discern that people are not going on spiritually and allow the discernment to turn to criticism, we block our way to God.  God never gives us discernment in order that we may criticize, but that we may intercede.

   -- Oswald Chambers,  Leadership, Vol. 9, no. 2.

See: Dt 4:6, 1 Ki 4:29, 1 Co 12:10.

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

Intercession/Of Man, with Fellowmen/1784

Life/Spiritual/2153

          D.      Application

VI.    Cycle Six

          A.      Narrative (v. 11)

          B.      Implication

The Holy Spirit applies the generosity of God to the uniqueness of the individual.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

VII.   Cycle Seven

          A.      Narrative (vv. 12-13)

          B.      Implication

The church is the body of Christ formed by God from unique individuals.

          C.      Illustration

Topic:  Church

Subtopic:  Attendance

Index:  3523

Date:  6/1986.29

Title:  The Missing Lamps

   In a certain mountain village in Europe several centuries ago, a nobleman wondered what legacy he should leave to his townspeople. At last he decided to build them a church.

   No one saw the complete plans for the church until it was finished. When the people gathered, they marveled at its beauty and completeness. Then someone asked, "But where are the lamps? How will it be lighted?"

   The nobleman pointed to some brackets in the walls. Then he gave to each family a lamp which they were to bring with them each time they came to worship.

   "Each time you are here the area where you are seated will be lighted," the nobleman said. "Each time you are not here, that area will be dark. This is to remind you that whenever you fail to come to church, some part of God's house will be dark."

   -- Church Bulletin Bits 

See:  1 Cor 12:12; 1 Cor 12:27-28

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

House of God/Attendance in/3927

Church

Body of Christ

Children; Church; Church, body of Christ; Church, family of God; Church, unity of; Community; Compassion; Empathy

Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31; Ephesians 4:1-16

After an accident in which she lost her arm, a girl named Jamie refused to go to school or church for an entire year. Finally the young teen thought she could face her peers. In preparation, her mother called her Sunday school teacher and asked that he not call attention to Jamie. The teacher promised, but when he got sick on Sunday and had to call a substitute, he forgot to tell the second teacher.

At the conclusion of the lesson that day, which was about inviting friends to church, the sub led the class in doing the hand motions to the familiar children's poem:

Here's the church,

Here's the steeple,

Open the door,

See all the people!

Jamie's eyes filled with tears. A 13-year-old boy realized how she must be feeling. He knelt beside her. With one hand apiece, they supported each other, making the church, steeple, and people. Together they illustrated what real church is.

à        Citation: Billy Waters, Teacher Touch (Colorado Springs: Cook, 1999)

          D.      Application

VIII.  Cycle Eight

 

          A.      Narrative (vv. 14-20)

          B.      Implication

These unique individuals are dependent upon all others in the body.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

IX.    Cycle Nine

          A.      Narrative (vv. 21-26)

          B.      Implication

The body is made to protect and honor its integrity.

          C.      Illustration

Topic:  Church

Subtopic:  Body of Christ

Index:  726

Date:  9/1995.12

Title: 

   Dr. Halbeck, a missionary of the Church of England in the South of Africa, from the top of a neighboring hill saw lepers at work. He noticed two particularly, sowing peas in the field. One had no hands; the other had no feet: these members being wasted away by disease. The one who wanted the hands was carrying the other, who wanted the feet, upon his back; and he again carried the bag of seed, and dropped a pea every now and then, which the other pressed into the ground with his feet: and so they managed the work of one man between the two. Such should be the true union of the members of Christ's body, in which all the members should have the same care one for another.

   -- 6000 Sermon Illustrations, Edited by Elon Foster, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992), p. 309.

See: Rom 12:3-8; 1 Cor 12:12-27; Gal 6:2

Teamwork

Teams at Their Best

Body of Christ; Love; Teamwork

1 Corinthians 12:21-27

In the Arkansas Democrat Gazette (February 7, 1999), Larry Pillow writes:

Like every graduating class in Arkansas, the 1997 graduating class of Witts Springs, Arkansas, had a valedictorian and a salutatorian. Unlike other graduating classes, the two top graduates were the only graduates.

Witts Springs, population 100, produces few graduates. They also have a hard time producing athletes from a student body of 41 in grades 7 to 12. But they manage to produce athletes that take team play to a new level.

In a game with rival Leslie, Witts Springs trailed by over 30 points with just over two minutes to go. The fans began to chant, "Put in Scotty." "Scot-TEE! Scot-TEE! Scot-TEE!" Coach Nash obliged and inserted senior guard Scotty Harmon. Harmon has cerebral palsy.

Harmon received a pass, stood alone on the perimeter, and unguarded, flung the ball toward the goal. He missed. His teammates scrambled for the rebound and gave Scotty a second chance. He missed again, which started another fight for the ball.

"The kids know when Scotty's in there, their game is over," Coach Nash said. "They're doing it for him now. The atmosphere changes. If they're worn out, they'll break their necks to get that rebound. Our kids will go above everybody to get the ball to Scotty."

On his fourth try, Harmon sunk a three pointer. Fans on both sides of the gym cheered wildly. The scoreboard said Leslie 89, Witts Springs 58, but everybody left a winner, especially Scotty's teammates.

à        Citation: Larry Pillow, Arkansas Democrat Gazette (February 7, 1999)

          D.      Application

X.      Cycle Ten

 

          A.      Narrative (vv. 27-30)

          B.      Implication

The working diversity of spiritual gifts in the body of Christ is the greatest statement of God’s integrity we could ever proclaim.

          C.      Illustration

Topic:  Cooperation

Subtopic: 

Index:  3728-3730

Date:  3/1998.1148

Title:  Cooperation

   Rivers gain more attention than the little streams that create them. You can name the great rivers of the world but you cannot name their tributaries. However, without the tributaries there would be no river. It must be remembered, too, that the smaller streams, while less well known, are purer and are found on a higher elevation. Some of our lives are tributary lives. It is our role to provide the pure water from the higher elevation that enables another to be a mighty river of power and influence.

   -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).

See:  Rom 12:4-8; 1 Cor 12:12; 1 Peter 4:10-11

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

Service/Humble/3897

Topic:  Church

Subtopic:  Body of Christ

Index:  726

Date:  6/1998.1509

Title:  No Spectator Sport

   Men and women no longer take exercise in sport as they used to. Instead, people tend to sit in crowds and just watch other people play.  There was a time when people provided their own pleasure but now the radio and television provide their entertainment and pleasure for them.  And I fear that the tendency is even manifesting itself in the Christian Church.

   More and more we see evidence that people are just sitting back in crowds while one or two people are expected to be doing everything. Now that, of course, is a complete denial of the New Testament doctrine of the Church as the Body of Christ, where every single member has responsibility, and has a function, and matters.

   -- D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in Revival.  Christianity Today, Vol. 31,  no. 18.

See: Ro 12:5-8; 1 Co 12:12; Eph 4:12.

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

Culture

Duty/1059-1065

          D.      Application

Big Answer:

What must we understand about spiritual gift diversity in the body of Christ?

We must not remain ignorant about the spiritual gifts we have received.

Spiritual ignorance was the basic condition of our pre-Christian life.

Salvation is the basic gift of spiritual intelligence by the Holy Spirit to overcome our spiritual ignorance.

The gift of salvation opens us to the unified diversity of God’s generosity in the receiving of other gifts.

The Holy Spirit applies the generosity of God to the diversity of the church.

The Holy Spirit applies the generosity of God to the uniqueness of the individual.

The church is the body of Christ formed by God from unique individuals.

These unique individuals are dependent upon all others in the body.

The body is made to protect and honor its integrity.

The working diversity of spiritual gifts in the body of Christ is the greatest statement of God’s integrity we could ever proclaim.

Conclusion:

Illustration: video “The Big Rock Contest” by www.WorshipFilms.com.

Timeless Truth:

Unity in diversity is the power of God at work in the body of Christ through the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

A cord of three strands is stronger than one, and the Trinity is the one true God who can never be defeated. Working together solves a lot of problems.

Topic:  Unity

Subtopic: 

Index:  3724-3727

Date:  12/1992.11

Title: 

   Unity does not eliminate diversity. The absence of diversity is not unity; it is uniformity, and uniformity is dull. It is fine when the choir sings in unison, but I prefer that they sing in harmony.

   -- Warren Wiersbe, Be Hopeful, p. 53.

See: 1 Cor 12:27-30; Eph 4:1-13

Topic:  Consecration

Subtopic: 

Index:  3508-3511

Date: 

Title: 

   During the Korean War, a group of believers were in a little chapel when communist soldiers barged in with machine guns. One of the soldiers said, "All right everybody, get up!" So they got off their knees. He said, "Line up against the wall!" They did what the soldier said to do. Then that soldier ripped the picture of Christ off the wall and threw it down on the floor. He said, "All right, one by one, I want you to come by here, spit on this picture, and curse His name."

   The first three in line were men of the church, they did what the soldier said to do. They spit on the picture and they cursed the name of Christ. The fourth one in line was a high school girl. She came up before the picture and she dropped to her knees. She wiped the spittle off with her skirt, and she said, "Go ahead and kill me. I cannot curse His name."

   The soldier said, "Get up!" They blindfolded that girl and the three men, and marched them out behind the chapel. The people inside heard three shots. The soldiers came back in with the girl -- alive.

   The soldier said, "Anyone who gives up what they believe that easily is not fit to be a communist." And they marched out.

   -- Ron Blue, Moody Founder's Week, 1985.

See:  Luke 9:62; 1 Cor 12:3

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

Self-Sacrifice/3224-3226

Topic:  Gifts

Subtopic:  Cultivation of

Index:  4016

Date:  1/1996.24

Title: 

   Konnie Stevens took over as pastor of a large southern church after spending eight years ministering in Moscow and other Eastern European cities. Things had changed a lot in America, especially in the world of technology. Cable, computers, cellular phones -- it can all get a bit confusing.  So when pastor Stevens complained to his new secretary that he didn't think that the paging device folks asked him to wear was working, she was gentle in pointing out that he was wearing his garage door opener. That of course explained why his pager wasn't having much success opening the garage door.

   Pastor Stevens had all the tools. He just needed a little good information on how to use them. Today the body of Christ (the church) is facing a similar information crisis when it comes to spiritual gifts.

   -- Dana Key, By Divine Design (Nashville, 1995), p. 57.

See: 1 Cor 12:9; Eph 4:11-13; 1 Tim 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

Ministers/Good/4068

Topic:  Healing

Subtopic: 

Index:  1538-1541

Date:  4/1998.1924

Title:  Statistic: Healed by Faith

   A recent survey at a meeting of the American Academy of Family Physicians revealed the following:

   Percentage of family doctors who:

   --are convinced that religious belief can heal: 99

   --believe the prayers of others can help a patient's recovery: 75

   --believe faith-healers can make people well: 38

   -- Yankelovich Partners, cited in Parade (12/1/96). Leadership, "To Verify."

See: Mt 10:1; Mk 16:18; 1 Co 12:9.

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

Faith/1201-1218

Miracles/2360-2374

Medicine/1529

Topic:  Discernment

Subtopic:  Spiritual

Index:  1007

Date:  4/1998.1796

Title:  The Purpose of Discernment

   When we discern that people are not going on spiritually and allow the discernment to turn to criticism, we block our way to God.  God never gives us discernment in order that we may criticize, but that we may intercede.

   -- Oswald Chambers,  Leadership, Vol. 9, no. 2.

See: Dt 4:6, 1 Ki 4:29, 1 Co 12:10.

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

Intercession/Of Man, with Fellowmen/1784

Life/Spiritual/2153

Topic:  Cooperation

Subtopic: 

Index:  3728-3730

Date:  3/1998.1148

Title:  Cooperation

   Rivers gain more attention than the little streams that create them. You can name the great rivers of the world but you cannot name their tributaries. However, without the tributaries there would be no river. It must be remembered, too, that the smaller streams, while less well known, are purer and are found on a higher elevation. Some of our lives are tributary lives. It is our role to provide the pure water from the higher elevation that enables another to be a mighty river of power and influence.

   -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).

See:  Rom 12:4-8; 1 Cor 12:12; 1 Peter 4:10-11

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

Service/Humble/3897

Topic:  Church

Subtopic:  Body of Christ

Index:  726

Date:  6/1998.1509

Title:  No Spectator Sport

   Men and women no longer take exercise in sport as they used to. Instead, people tend to sit in crowds and just watch other people play.  There was a time when people provided their own pleasure but now the radio and television provide their entertainment and pleasure for them.  And I fear that the tendency is even manifesting itself in the Christian Church.

   More and more we see evidence that people are just sitting back in crowds while one or two people are expected to be doing everything. Now that, of course, is a complete denial of the New Testament doctrine of the Church as the Body of Christ, where every single member has responsibility, and has a function, and matters.

   -- D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in Revival.  Christianity Today, Vol. 31,  no. 18.

See: Ro 12:5-8; 1 Co 12:12; Eph 4:12.

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

Culture

Duty/1059-1065

Spiritual Growth

Untapped Spiritual Resources

Holy Spirit; Pentecost; Poverty; Power; Spiritual Formation; Spiritual Growth

Acts 2:1-4; Romans 8:1-17; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 5:16-26; Ephesians 5:18

Dr. Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ tells this story of a famous oil field called Yates Pool:

During the depression this field was a sheep ranch owned by a man named Yates. Mr. Yates wasn't able to make enough on his ranching operation to pay the principal and interest on the mortgage, so he was in danger of losing his ranch. With little money for clothes or food, his family (like many others) had to live on government subsidy.

Day after day, as he grazed his sheep over those rolling West Texas hills, he was no doubt greatly troubled about how he would pay his bills. Then a seismographic crew from an oil company came into the area and told him there might be oil on his land. They asked permission to drill a wildcat well, and he signed a lease contract.

At 1,115 feet they struck a huge oil reserve. The first well came in at 80,000 barrels a day. Many subsequent wells were more than twice as large. In fact, 30 years after the discovery, a government test of one of the wells showed it still had the potential flow of 125,000 barrels of oil a day.

And Mr. Yates owned it all. The day he purchased the land he had received the oil and mineral rights. Yet, he'd been living on relief. A multimillionaire living in poverty. The problem? He didn't know the oil was there even though he owned it.

Many Christians live in spiritual poverty. They are entitled to the gifts of the Holy Spirit and his energizing power, but they are not aware of their birthright.

à        Citation: Greg Asimakoupoulos, author and speaker, Naperville, Illinois; source: Bill Bright, "How to Be Filled with the Spirit" (Campus Crusade publication)

Church

Body of Christ

Children; Church; Church, body of Christ; Church, family of God; Church, unity of; Community; Compassion; Empathy

Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31; Ephesians 4:1-16

After an accident in which she lost her arm, a girl named Jamie refused to go to school or church for an entire year. Finally the young teen thought she could face her peers. In preparation, her mother called her Sunday school teacher and asked that he not call attention to Jamie. The teacher promised, but when he got sick on Sunday and had to call a substitute, he forgot to tell the second teacher.

At the conclusion of the lesson that day, which was about inviting friends to church, the sub led the class in doing the hand motions to the familiar children's poem:

Here's the church,

Here's the steeple,

Open the door,

See all the people!

Jamie's eyes filled with tears. A 13-year-old boy realized how she must be feeling. He knelt beside her. With one hand apiece, they supported each other, making the church, steeple, and people. Together they illustrated what real church is.

à        Citation: Billy Waters, Teacher Touch (Colorado Springs: Cook, 1999)

Teamwork

Jenny Thompson's Gold-Medal Teamwork

Community; Competition; Individualism; Spiritual Gifts; Teamwork

1 Corinthians 12:12-31; Ephesians 4:1-11

Jenny Thompson is the most decorated American woman when it comes to Olympic competition. Her 10 Olympic medals in swimming (in the last three Olympics) also mean that she has won more medals in swimming than any other Olympic athlete of any nation.

Eight of those 10 medals were gold. However, she didn't win any of the golds in individual events; rather, she won them in a team event with three other swimmers.

As a result, some people have questioned whether Jenny's swimming accomplishments ought to rank her with the "great" Olympic champions. She asks the question herself. The 27-year-old swimmer from Dove, New Hampshire, said: "It's got to be very different to experience an individual gold versus a team gold." And ice-skating champion Bonnie Blair said recently of Jenny, "I wish she could feel what it's like for an individual gold, to witness it by herself and not just as part of a team."

I find Jenny's accomplishments in the ego-driven U.S. culture refreshing. With ballplayers moving from team to team and demonstrating little team loyalty, Jenny is a marvelous example of a person whose genuine success came in the context of team play.

This is how the church should work, as well. Our true "stardom" occurs when we participate as part of a winning team. On God's team, there's no room for superstars or mega-celebrities who do it all on their own.

à        Citation: Jon Mutchler, Ferndale, Washington, from Associated Press reports (September 2000)

Teamwork

Teams at Their Best

Body of Christ; Love; Teamwork

1 Corinthians 12:21-27

In the Arkansas Democrat Gazette (February 7, 1999), Larry Pillow writes:

Like every graduating class in Arkansas, the 1997 graduating class of Witts Springs, Arkansas, had a valedictorian and a salutatorian. Unlike other graduating classes, the two top graduates were the only graduates.

Witts Springs, population 100, produces few graduates. They also have a hard time producing athletes from a student body of 41 in grades 7 to 12. But they manage to produce athletes that take team play to a new level.

In a game with rival Leslie, Witts Springs trailed by over 30 points with just over two minutes to go. The fans began to chant, "Put in Scotty." "Scot-TEE! Scot-TEE! Scot-TEE!" Coach Nash obliged and inserted senior guard Scotty Harmon. Harmon has cerebral palsy.

Harmon received a pass, stood alone on the perimeter, and unguarded, flung the ball toward the goal. He missed. His teammates scrambled for the rebound and gave Scotty a second chance. He missed again, which started another fight for the ball.

"The kids know when Scotty's in there, their game is over," Coach Nash said. "They're doing it for him now. The atmosphere changes. If they're worn out, they'll break their necks to get that rebound. Our kids will go above everybody to get the ball to Scotty."

On his fourth try, Harmon sunk a three pointer. Fans on both sides of the gym cheered wildly. The scoreboard said Leslie 89, Witts Springs 58, but everybody left a winner, especially Scotty's teammates.

à        Citation: Larry Pillow, Arkansas Democrat Gazette (February 7, 1999)

Topic:  Church

Subtopic:  Attendance

Index:  3523

Date:  6/1986.29

Title:  The Missing Lamps

   In a certain mountain village in Europe several centuries ago, a nobleman wondered what legacy he should leave to his townspeople. At last he decided to build them a church.

   No one saw the complete plans for the church until it was finished. When the people gathered, they marveled at its beauty and completeness. Then someone asked, "But where are the lamps? How will it be lighted?"

   The nobleman pointed to some brackets in the walls. Then he gave to each family a lamp which they were to bring with them each time they came to worship.

   "Each time you are here the area where you are seated will be lighted," the nobleman said. "Each time you are not here, that area will be dark. This is to remind you that whenever you fail to come to church, some part of God's house will be dark."

   -- Church Bulletin Bits 

See:  1 Cor 12:12; 1 Cor 12:27-28

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

House of God/Attendance in/3927

Light/Spiritual/2166-2167

Topic:  Baptism

Subtopic: 

Index:  756-760

Date:  6/1998.1164

Title:  What Happens at Baptism

   In baptism we are initiated, crowned, chosen, embraced, washed, adopted, gifted, reborn, killed, and thereby sent forth and redeemed. We are identified as one of God's own, then assigned our place and our job within the kingdom of God.

   -- William Willimon.  Leadership, Vol. 11, no. 4.

See: Mt 28:19; Ac 2:38; 1 Co 12:13; Gal 3:27.

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

Church/Body of Christ/726

Work/Religious/3888-3893

Topic:  Community

Subtopic: 

Index: 

Date:  7/1998.1540

Title:  Why We Need Community

   At a recent meeting, our leader suggested, "None of us is as smart as all of us." Words to live by, I think.

   -- Don Ratzlaff in Christian Leader (March 1993). Christianity Today, Vol. 37, no. 10.

See: Ro 12:4-8; 1 Co 12:12-31; Eph 4:12.

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

Unity/In Christ/3724

Church/Body of Christ/726

Topic:  Church

Subtopic:  Body of Christ

Index:  726

Date:  7/1998.1541

Title:  No Hierarchy in Diversity

   We would all find more serenity in life if we could ... be done with comparisons and envy. God made us diverse, and, in God's eyes at least, our diversity lacks hierarchy. As a friend says in her song "Weave," God makes of us a symphony: different instruments playing in harmony. Each part matters, but only if it's played according to its calling and isn't fighting another part for control. We in the church make better music when we treasure our diversity, rather than stifle it.

   -- Thomas L. Ehrich in Journey.  Christianity Today, Vol. 40, no. 3.

See: Ro 12:5; 1 Co 12:12-31; Eph 4:16.

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

Unity/3724-3727

Fellowship/1265-1272

Topic:  Church

Subtopic:  Body of Christ

Index:  726

Date:  4/1998.1555

Title:  The Help of the Body

   Alone I cannot serve the Lord effectively, and he will spare no pains to teach me this.  He will bring things to an end, allowing doors to close and leaving me ineffectively knocking my head against a wall until I realize that I need the help of the Body as well as of the Lord.

   -- Watchman Nee,  Leadership, Vol. 9, no. 3.

See: Ro 12:4, 1 Co 12:12, Eph 4:12.

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

Fellowship/1265-1272

Friendship/Among Believers/1325

Topic:  Church

Subtopic:  Body of Christ

Index:  726

Date:  4/1998.1557

Title:  No Passive Worship

   The fellowship of the body is always two-way; receiving and giving.  Wanting only to receive is not fellowship.  We may not be preachers, but when we come to worship we nevertheless bring what we have.  There must be help of the pulpit from the pew.  Sitting and looking on will not do.  We must give others to drink, not necessarily by speaking, but maybe by quiet prayer. ... Every member of the Body has a ministry, and every member is called to function in the place appointed by the Lord.  It makes no difference who does the work if the glory is his. 

   -- Watchman Nee, What Shall This Man Do?  Christianity Today, Vol. 34, no. 10.

See: Ro 7:4; 12:4-8; 1 Co 12:12; Eph 4:12.

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

Fellowship/1265-1272

Ministers/2083-2099

Topic:  Selfishness

Subtopic: 

Index:  3222-3223

Date:  7/1998.1544

Title:  Why We Suffer

   The body poorly protects what it does not feel. In the spiritual Body, also, loss of feeling inevitably leads to atrophy and inner deterioration. So much of the sorrow in the world is due to the selfishness of one living organism that simply does not care when another suffers. In Christ's Body we suffer because we do not suffer enough.

   -- Paul Brand, M.D., Leadership, Vol. 5, no. 4.

See: 1 Co 10:24; 12:26; Php 2:4.

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

Church/Body of Christ/726

Self-Sacrifice/3224-3226

Topic:  Unity

Subtopic: 

Index:  3724-3727

Date:  12/1992.11

Title: 

   Unity does not eliminate diversity. The absence of diversity is not unity; it is uniformity, and uniformity is dull. It is fine when the choir sings in unison, but I prefer that they sing in harmony.

   -- Warren Wiersbe, Be Hopeful, p. 53.

See: 1 Cor 12:27-30; Eph 4:1-13

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

Church/Body of Christ/726

Topic:  Church

Subtopic:  Body of Christ

Index:  726

Date:  9/1995.12

Title: 

   Dr. Halbeck, a missionary of the Church of England in the South of Africa, from the top of a neighboring hill saw lepers at work. He noticed two particularly, sowing peas in the field. One had no hands; the other had no feet: these members being wasted away by disease. The one who wanted the hands was carrying the other, who wanted the feet, upon his back; and he again carried the bag of seed, and dropped a pea every now and then, which the other pressed into the ground with his feet: and so they managed the work of one man between the two. Such should be the true union of the members of Christ's body, in which all the members should have the same care one for another.

   -- 6000 Sermon Illustrations, Edited by Elon Foster, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992), p. 309.

See: Rom 12:3-8; 1 Cor 12:12-27; Gal 6:2

Topic:  Church

Subtopic:  Body of Christ

Index:  726

Date:  7/1996.14

Title: 

   Marc Lory is a forty-four-year-old expert mountaineer.  He has climbed Mount McKinley and Mount Everest.  As the founder of Orlux Distribution, Inc., an eyewear distribution company in Santa Ana, California, he is one of the top entrepreneurs in southern California.  "Mountains are climbed in teams where every member is an essential link to reaching the goal," he exclaims.  "It doesn't matter if you have the best climber in the world on your team.  If you have one weak link, the whole team will fall."

   Growing churches focus on building a smoothly functioning team with high commitment to the church's vision, rather than promoting stars.

   -- Glen Martin & Gary McIntosh, The Issachar Factor (Broadman & Holman, 1993), p. 94.

See: Rom 12:4-5; 1 Cor 12:12-27; Eph 4:11-13

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

Unity/In Christ/3724

Cooperation/3728-3730

Topic:  Church

Subtopic:  Analogies of

Index:  4142

Date:  11/1986.13

Title:  False Signals

   A visitor in a strange city was returning from supper when a sign in a store front window caught his eye. It read "Chinese Laundry." He made a mental note of the location because he had been gone long enough to have need of a good laundry. The next morning he arrived at the store with a bag full of soiled clothes.

   He piled the clothes on the counter before a shocked attendant.

   "What's that?" the attendant asked.

   "My laundry," came the reply. "I've always heard that Chinese laundries do excellent work." The startled clerk quickly informed the visitor that the establishment was not a Chinese laundry. "But what about the sign in the window?"

   "Oh, this is not a laundry, it is a sign shop."

   The church sometimes sends out false signals about its purpose. Needy people bring in their dirty laundry only to discover that the cross of forgiveness is only a sign and that the attendants are not equipped to handle soiled lives.

See:  1 Cor 12:27-28; 2 Tim 4:5

Topic:  Church

Subtopic:  Analogies of

Index:  4142

Date: 

Title: 

   In one of my favorite Peanuts cartoons, Lucy demands that Linus change TV channels and then threatens him with her fist if he doesn't.

   "What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?" asks Linus.

   "These five fingers," says Lucy. "Individually they're nothing but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold."

   "Which channel do you want?" asks Linus.

   Turning away, he looks at his fingers and says, "Why can't you guys get organized like that?"

   -- Bruce Shelley, What is the Church, p. 38.

See:  John 17:23; Rom 15:5; 1 Cor 12:12-27

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

Cooperation/3728-3730

Unity/3724-3727

Topic:  Church

Subtopic:  Body of Christ

Index:  726

Date:  10/1985.5

Title:  Fable of the Belly

   One day it occurred to the members of the body that they were doing all the work and that the belly was having all the food. So they held a meeting and after a long discussion decided to strike work until the belly consented to take its proper share of the work. So for a day or two the hands refused to take the food, the mouth refused to receive it and the teeth had no work to do. But after a day or two members began to find that they themselves were not in very active condition. The hands could hardly move, the mouth was all parched and dry, while the legs were unable to support the rest. Thus they found that even the belly in its dull quiet way was doing necessary work for the body and that all must work together or the body would go to pieces.

   -- Aesop

See:  1 Cor 12:14-28

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

Work/Religious/3888-3893

Topic:  Humility

Subtopic: 

Index:  1714-1721

Date: 

Title: 

   From an experience of her childhood, Mrs. Floyd Crook recalls how a great truth was impressed upon her with special meaning. She writes, "I came home from school one day crying because I had been given only a small part in the children's program, while my playmate got the leading role. After drying my tears, my mother took off her watch and put it in my hand. 'What do you see?' she asked. 'A gold case, a face, and two hands,' I replied. Opening the back, she repeated the question. I told her I saw many tiny wheels. 'This watch would be useless,' she said, 'without every part -- even the ones you can hardly see.' That object lesson has helped me all through life to see the importance of the small duties we're asked to perform."

See:  Rom 12:3; 1 Cor 12:14-27

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

Service/Humble/3897

Duty/Daily/1059

Topic:  God's People

Subtopic: 

Index:  2723-2725

Date:  6/1988.14

Title:  The Hands of Christ

   During the Second World War, a church in Strasbourg was destroyed. After the bombing, the members of this particular church went to see what was left and found that the entire roof had fallen in, leaving a heap of rubble and broken glass. Much to their surprise, however, a statue of Christ with outstretched hands that had been carved centuries before by a great artist was still standing erect. It was virtually unharmed except that both hands had been sheered off by a falling beam. The people hurried to a sculptor in town and asked if he could replace the hands of the statue. He was willing, and he even offered to do it for nothing. The church officials met to consider the sculptor's proposition -- and decided not to accept his offer. Why? Because they felt that the statue without hands would be the greatest illustration possible that God's work is done through His people.

   In a very real sense that's true. Jesus Christ chooses human hands. Sometimes they seem to be the most infirm hands, the least potentially successful hands, or the least qualified hands -- but those are the hands He uses.

See:  Acts 9:15; 1 Cor 12:27

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

Works/Of Christ/3913

Topic:  Glorifying God

Subtopic: 

Index:  1423-1425

Date:  10/1997.1256

Title:  Glorify God with Who You Are

   Suppose the mole should cry out, "How I could have honored the Creator had I been allowed to fly!" It would be very foolish, for a mole flying would be a most ridiculous object; while a mole fashioning its tunnels and casting up its castles is viewed with admiring wonder by the naturalist, who perceives its remarkable suitability to its sphere. The fish of the sea might say, "How I could display the wisdom of God if I could sing, or mount a tree, like a bird," but a dolphin in a tree would be a very grotesque affair, and there would be no wisdom of God to admire in trouts singing in the groves. But when the fish cuts the wave with agile fin, all who have observed it say how wonderfully it is adapted to its habitat, how exactly its every bone is fitted for its mode of life. Brother, it is just so with you. If you begin to say, "I cannot glorify God where I am, and as I am," I answer, neither could you anywhere if not where you are. Providence, which arranged your surroundings, appointed them so that, all things being considered, you are in the position in which you can best display the wisdom and grace of God.

   -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Quotable Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, Inc, 1990)

See: 1 Cor 12:18-20, 27

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

Providence/Divine/2905-2913

Service/Rendered to Christ/3895

Topic:  Striving

Subtopic:  Spiritual

Index:  1082

Date:  7/1998.2308

Title:  When You Reach the Top ...

   When you get to the top of the mountain, your first inclination is not to jump for joy, but to look around.

   -- James Carville.  Leadership, Vol. 15, no. 4.

See: 1 Co 12:31; 14:1; Php 3:13-14.

Other Topic/Subtopic/Index: 

Life/As a Pilgrimage/2764

Vision/503-506

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