Lesson 7 - “One Body, Many Members” - 1 Corinthians 12:12-26
The WORD: What does the Bible say?
ID: Inductive Questions (Asking the text questions like who, what, where, when, why, & how?”)
CR: Cross References (Comparing Scripture to Scripture, understanding the vague by the clear.)
WS: Word Study (Understanding grammatical and theological definitions and usages in other passages.)
1. Context: Read 1 Corinthians 12:1-13:13 to get the context and reread this week’s passage noting the occurrences of the words “one” (19 times, 8 referring to the Spirit or the body) and “body” (18 times). (No discussion for this exercise)
2. ID: (11-14, 20) What is the point being made by the frequent references to “one Spirit” and “one body?”
3. CR: (13) Carefully read Romans 6:1-6. What is the result of the baptism “into His death?” What should be the result of the baptism mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12.13? How should we be able to tell it has occurred?
4. ID: (11, 13, 18, 24) Who has assigned to each individual member his particular place and function in the body? How should that affect the way we think about other members?
5. ID: (14-26) What is Paul teaching about our attitude toward the various members of Christ’s body by using the illustration of the human body?
6. ID: (15-17) What does the body illustration teach us about our attitude about ourselves?
7. WS: (24-25) Study the word schism (schisma) and compare the other uses in 1 Corinthians 1:10; 11:18. What does our passage say causes schisms in the body?
8. ID: (v 25-26) Why did God compose the body the way he did?
The WALK: What should I do?
1. Have you ever felt like an unneeded or unimportant part of the church?
2. What makes us feel like we don’t need other members of the body?
3. What should be your attitudes toward others in the body?
4. What can you do to encourage more coordination and appreciation of others in your church?
TIDBITS TO PONDER
A Christian is someone who, first of all, has been reconciled to God in Christ…Yet that’s not all! Second, a Christian is someone who, by virtue of his reconciliation with God, has been reconciled to God’s people. (Mark Dever, What Is A Healthy Church?, p. 24)
The same Spirit who regenerates Christians and baptizes them into the Body also indwells them. The church’s unity, therefore, is not based on an artificial, organizational relationship. Nor on the fact that people are churchgoers. Rather, all believers have been identified in the work of a single Spirit. We are one in the Spirit. (John MacArthur, The Body Dynamic, p. 88,)
Paul also shows that unity does not mean uniformity (Eph. 4:7-13). He reminds us that God has richly blessed his children with a wide array of gifts, talents, and callings (1 Cor. 12:12-31). Mature Christians rejoice in the diversity that God has given to his people, and they realize that believers can legitimately hold differences of opinion on “disputable matters” (Rom. 14:1). When differences rob us of harmony and peace, however, there is work to do. (Ken Sande, The Peace Maker, p.53)
Unity, although it can not be created by the Christian, must be preserved by him. This is to be diligently pursued (vs. 3) by an attitude of humility (seeing ourselves as God does, unworthy recipients of His grace). Our humble spirit should be demonstrated by a gentleness and graciousness in our dealings with others. This gentleness should be longsuffering, patiently enduring prolonged irritation. The love which we have for one another should prompt us to put up with the eccentricities of our fellow-Christians. As Ironside put it, “lovingly putting up with all that is disagreeable in other people.” (Bob Deffinbaugh, “Christian Unity”)
And the bottom line again is this: verse 24—God composed the body. This does not mean that we can't argue and persuade, as though it would offend God. It means that if a person is a Christian and in this body, we will reckon with the stunning truth that God is in that person and he is using them right now just as they are in some imperfect but necessary way for the common good of this church. (By John Piper, “Body Pains: Feelings of Self-Sufficiency”)
Peacemaking can be hard work. Instead of brushing off his brother, the peacemaker tries to understand him. He tries to feel his brother’s pain and elation, walk in his shoes. The peacemaker does not avoid brethren who are not like him; he wants to learn how to get along with them. (Nathan Williams, “How Do You Become a Peacemaker?”)
When I take the pendulum out of my grandfather's clock, it can still do certain things, such as open sealed paint can lids. But that's a misuse of the pendulum. The pendulum (a part) was designed to fit inside the clock, join the other parts, and provide the weight to put in motion the cogs which turn the hands which allow us to tell time. That's how Christians are meant to function within the body of Christ. A Christian who cuts himself off from a local body of Christians is like a pendulum opening a paint can, not a pendulum that makes a clock run. (Matt Schmucker, “Those Toxic Non-attenders”)
Because God’s people are called to be one people, they must manifest their unity, and because they are called to be a holy people, they must manifest their purity. Unity and purity are two fundamental features of a life worthy of the church’s divine calling. (John Stott, The Message of Ephesians, p. 147)