Video Transcript: Different Parts, One Body

The Book of Romans from chapter 12, on talks about daily Christian living and taking the  great salvation God has brought about for us in Jesus Christ and living it out in our lives. Today we're going to look at Romans 12, verses three through five especially we'll begin by looking,  just reading verses three through eight, but then focusing in on especially verses three  through five, and some very closely related verses from I Corinthians 12. Both of those  passages speak of the church as the body of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of the different  abilities and gifts that the Lord gives to his body and to the individual members of it. Romans  12, beginning at verse three, for by the grace given me I say to every one of you, do not think of yourself more highly than you ought. But rather think of yourself with sober judgment in  accordance with the measure of faith. God has given you. just as each of us has one body  with many members, and these members do not all have the same function. So in Christ, we  who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different  gifts, according to the grace given us, if a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in  proportion to his faith, if it is serving, let him serve. If it is teaching, let him teach, if it is  encouraging, let him encourage, if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give  generously. If it is leadership let him govern diligently, if it is showing mercy. Let him do it  cheerfully. This ends the reading of God's word, and God always blesses His Word to those  who listen. A science professor, an old preacher, and a Boy Scout were the only passengers  on a small airplane. As they were flying along, they began to hear some very strange sounds  from the engine. And the pilot, got up and came back to them and said, This plane is going  down. I have a wife, and small children who need me desperately. We only have three  parachutes for the four of us, and I've got to have one. So he took it and put it on his back  and jumped out of the plane. The scientist jumped to his feet and said, I am the smartest man in the world. Humanity needs my knowledge and my discoveries. And he grabbed a pack and  strapped it to his back and jumped out of the plane. The old preacher said to the boy scout  son, I really don't want to die. I'd rather go on living, but I've lived a full life and I'm ready to  meet the Lord. You take the last one. And the Boy Scout said relax, Reverend, the smartest  man in the world just jumped out of the plane with my backpack. Well, we appreciate that  story. Because anybody who says I'm the smartest man in the world, immediately rubs us the  wrong way. Someone has said pride is the only disease that makes everybody sick except the  one who has it. And the apostle begins this part of Romans by talking about thinking too  highly of yourself, do not think of yourself more highly than you ought. But rather think of  yourself with sober judgment in accordance with the measure of faith that God has given you. As I've said, Romans 12 is getting into the ability to really serve God and do His will. And in  order to know God's will and to do it. You have to begin where that passage begins by looking  at God's mercies and knowing God's mercy for you, and then offering yourself your body to  God completely as the temple of the Holy Spirit. Offering your mind to God and not having it  conform to the world but having trance having it transformed by the reality of the Holy Spirit,  living in you having the mind to the spirit, the mind of Christ. So having yourself offered  completely to the Lord because He purchased you. Then the next step in really carrying out  God's will, is to know yourself to have an accurate understanding of who you are. And there  are a number of possibilities in thinking about yourself. One is to overestimate yourself to  have too high an opinion of your yourself and of your abilities and of your importance.  Another possibility is to have too low and opinion of yourself to underestimate your abilities  and your opportunities for impact. So the apostle urges us to have sober judgment, to be  sane in the way that we think about ourselves. When you think too highly of yourself, you  believe that you are indispensable, that your personality and your talents are more important, and more vital than anybody else's. And Jesus himself reminds us that people of great talent  and accomplishment can be much lower than they think they are. Jesus says, On the Day of  Judgment, there are going to people who say to me, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your  name, and in Your name, drive out demons and perform many miracles. And he'll say, Depart  from me. I never knew you. What a terrifying statement from our Lord Himself, that people  with the kind of spiritual gifts that seem magnificent and astonishing, might not know him at  all, and be lost forever. That happened with Judas. He was sent out with the other 12 with  them, he drove out demons performed miracles, and he ended up betraying the Lord Jesus. 

So you can have great gifts, and badly overestimate the the notion that hey, because I have  abilities and gifts, and maybe even some great accomplishments, that rates me very highly,  when in fact, you could be without Christ at all. It's also possible to overestimate your gifts  even being a believer, or overestimate your own importance and think, wow, I, I am truly  important. And people who are like that, you know, okay, they're in the church, and they're all right, I suppose they're saved, but they don't matter all that much. And the apostle is warning against that kind of thinking here in Romans. Even though he hasn't been to that church, and  isn't really familiar with it. He just figures he better tell them this. But when he writes to the  Corinthians, he knows what's been going on over there. And he knows that there are some  people there, for instance, who have the gift of speaking in tongues, and they think that is the big one that really shows that they are full of the Holy Spirit, and nobody else is. And they are  a cut above the ordinary believer. And the Apostle says, No, you're not. And he warns them  against that kind of thinking that they're higher and better. And so to think too highly of  yourself, either because of your talents, or something else about you that you think sets you  apart is a great danger. And you need to have sober judgment, you need to be able to  understand how you're seen by other people. And even more importantly, how you're seen by God. Take a little example, how many of you have ever heard yourself speak on tape or on  audio? You listened to yourself, is that a heartwarming experience? Does that voice on audio  just thrill you and say, Wow, that's me. When you hear yourself on audio, most people say,  that's not me. That's not what I sound like. Sorry, that's exactly what you sound like. That is  exactly what you sound like to other people. But that is not how you sound to yourself. And I  take that as just an example of how we go through life thinking we're a certain way and  considering ourselves and we think that that's how we come across to others. It's not. So  when you're thinking of yourself, you have and of course, how others perceive you is not the  only or even always the most important measure of who you really are. But I'm telling you  that sometimes they know you better than you know yourself. And when you say that's not  what I sound like, that's just a symptom of the kind of people we are it is exactly what you  sound like you have the audio recordings playing right back at you. And you're denying that  that's what you sound like. And, and in all of our lives, we have a really hard time having an  objective understanding of what we actually do, what we actually accomplish, how we  actually affect other people. And so to have too high an opinion, is a great danger and it can  keep us from really carrying out the Lord's will in our lives. When we're phony. When we're all  wrapped up in ourselves. We cannot Become the kinds of people that God wants us to be. So  don't overestimate yourself. Ask God for the grace to see yourself sometimes the way others  see you. And also, even more importantly, to see yourself the way God Himself sees you ask  the Holy Spirit to more and more, show you an accurate understanding of who you are. And  Paul doesn't deal with the other danger as much in this passage, but the Bible as a whole  does, it's a danger to overestimate yourself and think too highly. It's also a danger, to have  too low an opinion or to believe that you're worthless or unable to do anything of value.  Sometimes it may be that you just think you're totally unworthy I'm too rotten I'm too sinful,  God can't do much with a loser like me. And that's something that we have to get over. When  the Prophet Isaiah first had a vision of God, high and lifted up being worshipped by angels. He saw God in His Majesty and holiness. And he said, Woe to me, for I am ruined, for I'm a man of unclean lips, and I live among the people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the Lord  Almighty. And he's had an accurate view of himself, he was unclean, in the present and in the  sight of God, but then God sent one of the great Seraphim from his throne to touch Isaiah,  and cleanse him and said, Your guilt is taken away, your sin is covered. And now who will go  for us? And Isaiah said, Here I am, send me once he was cleansed, then he was ready to go  and serve the Lord, Isaiah. And you know, if he had just stayed stuck in the woe is me, I am  ruined phase, he would never have been a great prophet. He had to go through that phase,  but he couldn't get stuck there. If you think about the apostle Paul, before he was the apostle  Paul, he was the killer and persecutor of Christians, and the blasphemer of the name of the  Lord Jesus Christ, and he never forgot it. He said, I do not deserve to be called an apostle,  because I persecuted the church of Christ. But by the grace of God, I am what I am. And his  grace to me was not without effect. You see, if he had just gotten stuck forever in it, just 

accusing of himself of all the harm he had done, and of the people he had harassed and  killed, if he had let that paralyze him for the rest of his life, he would have been no good to  anybody. It was important, of course, that he turned away from that, that he repented of that,  and he never forgot who he had been or what he had done. But he didn't get stuck there.  When you've done something evil, or have you had a phase of your life, where you were far  from God, and were doing what was terrible in the sight of God and harmful to other people,  and the Lord has turned you around. Don't spend the rest of your life thinking that that's who  you still are. When you have been saved when you've been washed and forgiven by the blood of Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit has come into your life. That's not who you are anymore.  And so don't have too low and opinion of yourself by just continuing to wallow in guilt, after  the guilt has been taken away, to continue to wallow in weakness and helplessness in sin.  When your sin and its power have been broken, then it's time to have a sober estimate an  accurate estimate of who you are in the Lord now, because Christ dwells in you, you have the  mind of Christ, you have the mind of the Spirit, and so you can live for Him. When you read  the Bible, you find Moses, being called by the Lord, from the burning bush, to go to Egypt, and lead his people out of slavery. And Moses says, No can do. I can't. I am slow of speech. I don't  have leadership gifts. What does the Bible actually say of Moses? The Bible says he was the  meekest man and all the earth so he was humble. But it also says he was mighty in speech  and word. It says he was mighty in speech and word. And he was trying to tell God that he  couldn't speak well enough. And he kept at it so long that the Bible says, God got angry at  him. God got angry at Moses, for continuing to say that he couldn't do it. He didn't say, Wow,  Moses, I admire your humility. You are doing very well. He said, No, I am sending you and if  you're still scared to talk, I'll send your brother Aaron with you but get going. When God called the Prophet Jeremiah, Jeremiah said, I don't know how to speak and I'm just a youth. And God  did not say, well, Jeremiah, thank you so much for that information. I had no clue what age  you were, and I didn't realize your lack of speaking gifts. He says, I've called you, I'm sending  you, and you're going to go in my power, and you're going to be a prophet. So we need to  understand that when the call of God is on your life, and when the presence and power of God are within you, then you don't have the right to tell God what you can't do. Now, if you have a sober measure of judgment, you'll realize there are some things you can't do. But it's not  because you can't do the thing God called you to do. It may just be that he didn't call you to  do this particular thing, and he's calling somebody else to do it. That's another matter. But  when you have abilities, and when you have opportunities, and your excuse is, I can't do it.  Because I don't have the ability or the power to do it, then you're no longer being humble,  you're being disobedient. Know yourself, don't underestimate yourself, don't overestimate  yourself, God given faith is the main measure for you. And so you measure yourself by Lord of how large or small as my faith, and Lord help me to increase my faith. And help me Lord, to  have more and more of the strength and power of your Holy Spirit in my life, In Acts 19  there's a story of the apostle Paul coming across some people who had turned to faith in the  one true God, this was in one of the pagan cities, but they had come to faith in the one true  God, and they believed in his truth. But the Apostle saw that was something was kind of off  about them, in terms of not being what Christians are meant to be. So he asked them a  question, Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? And they said, We haven't even  heard that there is a Holy Spirit. We haven't even heard that there is a Holy Spirit. They had  believed something they believed a partial message. And so the apostle told them the fuller  Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and His salvation, and also the gift of the Holy Spirit that  comes with faith in Jesus Christ. And then they did receive the Holy Spirit's presence and  power in their lives. And so if you're kind of in that boat, I've never really been in church long  enough that I've heard there is a Holy Spirit, but is the Holy Spirit living in you and working in  you and making you strong for God. That's what is so important and, and the measure of faith that you have, you reckon yourself dead to sin, alive to God, in Christ Jesus, you say, I have  the mind of the Spirit, I have the mind of Christ. And more and more, I have to get in tune  with that mind of Christ that God has already put within me. And then I can be the kind of  person that God calls me to be not thinking too high of myself, not thinking too low of myself,  knowing that without Christ, I can do nothing, that in Christ, I can do all things. That's the key. 

Faith knows that it's all Christ. And when I have Christ, then I can do the things that God calls  me to do. So know yourself. Ask God for grace, to know yourself the way he does, that's one  of the values of reading God's word of, of listening to God's word of praying before Him in  humility when nobody else is looking. And also be willing to listen to what other people think  of you, what's their tape. Remember, again, how you sound on tape. Listen to somebody else  and get their feedback on how you come across to them. Because you might discover a fair  amount of truth about yourself that you wouldn't discover just on your own. So know yourself, and then realize not just who you are as a person, but now where do you fit in connection with other people. Because an important part of who you are, is not just what you are as an  individual, but who you are in relationship to other people, and how you need them, and how  they need you, just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do  not all have the same function. So in Christ, we who are many form one body and each  member belongs to all the others. This is a very brief statement of something that the apostle sometimes expands at great length in other parts of the Bible, the picture of the church as the body of the Lord Jesus Christ and a body which has a variety of parts, but it needs all those  parts in order to be one healthy body and then every part is contributing to the health and  well being of all the other parts. I Corinthians 12 is A passage that expands on this at great  length, the body of Christ, that it's different parts and the different gifts that come from the  Holy Spirit to that body. In a later talk, we'll look at the spiritual gifts more specifically what  some of them are, and how we can know what our gifts are and put them to use. But here,  we're getting the orientation, the sense of where as an individual, I fit in a larger body. And  the picture of the body reminds us that there is a diversity. But a body, although it's diverse,  is not divided. And the body of Christ, the church has diverse nationalities, people from  different countries and nations, people of different skin color or cultural backgrounds. And  God wants it that way. He wants His Church to have that variety. The church has a variety and diversity of ages, little kids, really, really old people, people everywhere in between, and all of them matter. And all of them help contribute to the life of the church, that the wisdom and  experience and all of the things that are gained with age the elderly can contribute. The really young have that just that freedom and that excitement, that enthusiasm, and so that the  diversity of ages helps make a church a church. There's different social levels in the church.  There are some people who are big earners, they may have important positions in companies, they may be running their own business, they they seem to have pretty high social level,  there are other people who maybe are lower in terms of their employment or in terms of how  society views their importance. But the Bible says that slaves in the church matter as much  as the bosses and the great landowners. And so God has these different social levels in his  church, and he wants those people to be united in him, even though they might have  different levels of importance in their society. Male and female, are part of the church. And  male and female are different and yet complementary. And God loves to have that difference.  And a good church is going to value its female members and its male members. The married  in the church are a blessing the single in the church are a blessing Paul goes on at great  length in I Corinthians seven about the the value of single people in the life of the church. And in some ways the advantage that single people have, but also that he does speak about  marriage being honorable and excellent, as well, at a church which which emphasizes always  marriage and having children and doesn't value singles is getting lopsided, one that doesn't  devalue marriage and children is also getting lopsided. So you have this diversity, but it's not  meant to divide people, but instead to enrich each other with the differences that we have.  There's diverse personalities, you have some people who are extroverts, they love meeting  people, they love just getting out there and meeting one person after another, and a day that  hasn't met anybody new is a day wasted. And there are others who yeah, if I meet somebody  new once every decade or so that'll probably be one too many. But I'm exaggerating a little  bit but but an introvert enjoys, you enjoy being by yourself, or with a very small cluster of  people that you're very familiar with. And a group of people at church needs both kinds of  people and everybody in between. You have people that are very innovative, they love to try  new stuff. They're daring, they always want to get out there and push the borders push the  frontiers. And you have the cautious people, the ones who don't want to risk very much, and a

church with all innovators and pioneers. And nobody who's cautious, will find itself getting  into mess and the ones who are all caution. And no innovators will be so stuck in the mud that they will shrivel up and die. I I've run into more than once people who know Pastor Henry  Reyenga and me fairly well from you know, when we were in seminary and when we were in  ministry and they say How did you two ever work together? Well, because each had  something the other lacked and you know, sometimes I would joke, Henry is the gas pedal  and I am the brake and the car needs the gas pedal or it's not going to move and occasionally it does need a brake. So that the differences of personality are, can really value bring value to each other and benefit each other you have the people who are kind of cerebral they, well,  you know, the people who aren't like them thinks they're kinda living in the clouds. But  they're thinking, and they're always pondering stuff. And then you have the the go getters  that get it done kind of people, the really practical people don't hey I don't want to spend too  much time on analysis, why just get it done. And once again, those kinds of people can rub  each other the wrong way. if they get stuck in a wrong attitude. But they can also benefit  each other enormously. You get the task oriented people that say, We got to get this done, we got to have the assignment, we have to know what projects to accomplish. And you have the  sensitive, people oriented sort who are always willing to listen. In fact, they'll listen, and  they'll listen. And they'll listen. And tasks don't get accomplished if all they ever do is listen.  But if you have these task oriented people, there's no telling how many folks get trampled on  on their way to getting their task accomplished. Unless they learn to pay attention to the  more sensitive souls among them who are good at listening. And if the sensitive learned to  pay a little more attention to the task oriented people, you can get a lot done, and at the  same time, honor people without trampling on them. And I'm kind of drawing opposites and  extremes here. But I trust you get the idea that when people are actually connecting with  each other, and drawing on each other's strengths, and those things are all brought together,  then it enriches and really benefits. And when we kind of get divided from each other and just go with our own individual tendencies, we really miss out and lacks some important things.  And I haven't even talked about the thing that is the main theme here. And that is the  spiritual gifts that you have, the abilities and talents that you have, and how a body needs a  whole bunch of different ones, not just one. So Jesus overall, I think it's safe to say, wants  unity, but not uniformity. Because it's obvious that he's made a lot of different kinds of  people, and brought them together in his body, the church, we look at I Corinthians 12. In  more detail, we'll see how this teaching applies in a variety of ways. The body is a unit that is  made up of many parts, and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with  Christ. For we were all baptized by one spirit into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slave or  free. And we were all given the one spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part,  but of many. So he's saying basically what we've just seen in Romans that the body has a lot  of different parts, but the Holy Spirit brings them all into one body. And that whole body works together. Now, when Paul was writing, there was already a story going around. That was part  of the myths or legends of the time. And that was the story of a body where all the members  got really angry at the stomach. Because the stomach was such a hog. The stomach took all  the food. And so the hand said I'm not going to grab any more food for that miserable  stomach. And the foot said, I'm not walking anywhere to get food for that rotten stomach and  the mouth said I am not going to open and let food pass through me into that stomach  anymore. We've had it with that stomach. And you know how the story turns out, of course,  the hand and the mouth and all the rest of the body begins to starve because they are all  angry at the stomach and won't let it have its food and eventually they relent and start eating and feeding the stomach again. And Paul takes that kind of picture in which he says you can't  just take one part of the body and gang up on it and say it's not needed because it's  desperately needed. Now when we think about the different parts of the body, we can think of it in an individual congregational level. One quick flyover way is to also look at it a bit out of  denominational level and here's some terrible oversimplifications. Everybody would be  offended of every denomination if they consider this list, but I'll just highlight what I think are  some strengths, or emphases of some denominations. Reformed denominations, often like to  emphasize education as being very important and sound accurate teaching. And if you've got 

that you've got what matters the other stuff is kind of fluff. A Pentecostal or charismatic group will praise place more emphasis on spontaneity and praise and worship and enthusiasm and  and on the gifts of the Spirit. Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches place a very high  premium on tradition on the traditionally held beliefs but also on traditional practices, and  ceremonies and rituals. Over time Anglican churches and Methodist churches and some  mainline denominations have come to really emphasize acceptance, where you accept people the way they are. And we are just an accepting, affirming community and anybody and  everybody is welcome to come on in. And the people who emphasize doctrine, boy are those  people's squishy, they don't stand for anything anymore. There are some denominations that  place a very heavy emphasis on obedience on obeying and doing what God says I'll lump  some fundamentalist groups and some Baptist denominations, and now all the Baptists are  gonna be mad at me for shortchanging them, but they do emphasize obedience, okay, and  sometimes a strict obedience. And then there are those who really put evangelism at the top  of the list. Some seeker sensitive churches really want to tailor everything to those who  weren't Christians, to make the worship experience, very friendly and open and welcoming to  them. Some of the mega churches have gotten to be mega by being very user friendly, by  being very evangelistic and intentional about that. And in one sense, we could say that all of  these groups are onto something important. And I think that divisions in the church and  sometimes denominations or divisions in the church have harmed it, by removing people with  one strength, from contact with those who have a quite different strength I mentioned a  moment ago, I mean, my tendency for those churches that are accepting and in my opinion,  to the point of being overly accepting, I can get really grumpy at the overly accepting  churches. And at the same time, I wonder whether the divisions that have happened, where  the more orthodox and those who emphasized obedience and said we've got to get out of  there, we got to get out of there soon have nothing more to do with them? How do we  maintain more contact, there might have been a little more influence that in their accepting,  they may still have continued to want to hold the sound doctrine and to hold obedience. And  on the other hand, Hey, I've come across churches that are big in obedience, very strict, strict obedience. And, oh, we are excellent and outstanding on our doctrinal standards, and they  are correct, we can give you chapter and verse for every one of them. And they, nobody is  good enough to be accepted there. We, it's easy, you know, if you come from a more  Protestant tradition to say, hey, the, the Catholic and the Orthodox they've, they've gone too  far from the Bible, and just got stuck in their own traditions, well maybe so. But some who  emphasize the Bible, haven't given enough weight, to what the church learned throughout its  years of existence. And again, where the where the divisions have happened, we've  sometimes lost something, because of our lack of contact with people who had a different  emphasis. So again, in all these groups, if you're offended by and please forget it, don't be  offended. My emphasis is on unity, not on trying to make us even madder at each other. But  the point is, I trust that you get it. You know, we can a church that emphasizes close  fellowship and sound teaching might say, you know, those mega churches, they're just  interested in numbers and putting butts in the seats. And that's all they're about, you know?  Well, that's the that's the habit of people who are separated from each other. And in the habit  of feeling superior. We look at what we're good at. We look at what somebody else isn't good  at. And then we consider ourselves superior rather than saying, Boy, they are. They're good at what they do. And maybe there's something that they could learn from others yet. But instead of always knocking, what somebody's weakness is, we might want to learn something from,  what their strengths are. I'm not sure how that all works out in practice in a splintered  Christian world, but I know that the Lord Jesus Christ play prayed that his followers would be  one as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one and their oneness would be a demonstration of the truth of the gospel. So we have a long ways to go in terms of the of the worldwide church in  the Lord, reestablishing that oneness, helping us to correct each other's tendencies and also  to be a living demonstration of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Well getting back from the  the big picture of different church groups, to us as individuals within an Individual church  body, the apostle in I Corinthians 12, verse 15, says if the foot should say, because I'm not a  hand, I do not belong to the body, it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 

And if the ear should say, because I'm not an eye, I do not belong to the body, it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. Can you imagine the parts of the body doing that?  And the foot says, Wow, I look at the hand. And look at all the things the hand can do. It can  grab things it can write, it can caress, and I'm just a miserable old foot. what good am I? Well,  just one question. How many of you would like to walk a mile on your hands? Would you like  to go for a long walk on your hands? Maybe if you're a gymnast, but everybody else? No, I'm  glad I have feet and legs. And if the ear is saying, oh, man, it's amazed the eye can see all  those colors. People rely so much on their vision. It is so valuable to be in I wish I could be an  eye. And I'm kind of ugly old ear hang in here. What good is it? Well, it's a lot of good. And the apostle is saying that's what it's like, if you're part of the body of Christ, and you have a  particular spiritual gift and personality, but it's not what somebody else has. And then you're  saying, I'm nothing, I'm nobody. And you say, Oh, if only I could be a preacher like that.  preachers matter in the church, and somebody like me, doesn't matter. Yeah. So you want the whole body to be one big mouth. That probably is not what you're after, is it? So yet, there's  just many different ways in which we can feel inferior, if you don't have the gift of leadership,  and all you're good at is being kind of nice to people and helping them out. They say, Oh,  man, I wish you know, I wish I was more important. Well, what would what would the church  be without people who have mercy when people are down, and encouragement when they're  discouraged? Oh, no, those don't seem like that fancy, a gift. But the church is ruined, without encouragers. And people of mercy. Or somebody might say, well, you know, I'm not a very  spiritual, I don't know if I'm very spiritual, because I don't have, you know, any great gift of  prophecy or teaching, all I'm good at is making money. And I can give, you know, I can give  quite a bit. But, you know, that just means I'm a businessman, it doesn't mean I'm some  spiritual giant. Well, if you have the ability to make a lot and give a lot, you are doing  something that is extremely valuable to the Church of Jesus Christ, don't give it to every  charlatan that comes along. But you do have a tremendously valuable spiritual gift. And for  too long, people who are good at business, don't realize how spiritual it is, to be skilled with  money. If you can be good with money and bless the rest of the body of Christ, they're going  to be mighty grateful for you. So those are just a few examples of people who, who think that  just being a nice guy, and speaking a kind word or writing a check here and there. Those  aren't the really spiritual things. The spiritual people are the mighty prayer warriors and the  speakers and so on the apostle is saying that all these different abilities and gifts are of  tremendous value to the body of Christ. So don't go around being the foot who gripes that  you're not a hand or the ear who gripes that you're not an eye. Because every part of the  body matters if the whole body were an eye, be kind of gross. But where would the sense of  hearing be? If the whole body an ear. Where would the sense of smell be? But in fact, God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them just as he wanted them to be? If they were  all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body, so the  Lord wants us to know ourselves, and then rejoice in the kind of part that we are, and in the  contribution we can make to the wider body and then make that contribution? Then there's  the opposite problem. One problem is nobody needs me. I'm not. The opposite problem is, I  have all I need, why do I need anybody else? Why do I need to be part of a church I'm really  quite self sufficient. And the apostle says 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. On the contrary, those parts of the body that  seemed to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable, we  treat with greater honor. Now if an eye said, I don't need the rest of the body, I am going to  remove myself from the body what would happen instantly the eye would itself lose its ability  to see and it would rot and be gone. Because apart from the body, the eye is nothing The  same is true of every other part of the body, if you cut it off from the rest of the body, it is no  longer good for anything, it's dead. And that's, that's a reminder too that if we think that we  can get along without participation and involvement in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ in  connection with his people, then death and spiritual decay, are the likely outcome of that  attitude. I know that not just from the scriptures, but from a lot of my doctoral research, I did  a lot of research on sociology of religion in Europe. And a lot of people said, you can be a  Christian without going to church. They did that for a couple decades. And they stopped 

believing, and their kids stopped attending. And the, the ceasing of involvement in the church came before the ceasing of belief. Okay, a lot of people think that there are that everybody  stops going to church only because they no longer believe that's not true. For most people,  they stop going before they stopped believing. So it's important to realize you cannot just say, I don't need you, and get away with it. We all need each other. If you want to come to know  the Lord in the first place, you will be greatly blessed if someone with a gift of evangelism  explained the gospel to you. If you want to know the big picture of God's work in the world,  you will be blessed if there is somebody with a gift of teaching, who showed you how, if you're up against the wiles of the devil, and the various temptations and lies, if you have somebody  with a gift of discernment in your life, who knows to sort out the guards, not all of us have the  equal gift of discernment. But if we stay connected with people who do have it, they can help  us out even when we're not very good at it. When you're going through a rough patch in your  life. And someone with a gift of encouragement is there to help you out. You make it through  that rough patch. And I could go on and on with the various gifts that we need. If you want to  praise the Lord, somebody with the gift of music is handy to have right nearby. If you want to  survive somebody with the gifts of helping and service. that take a couple of unspiritual gifts.  Maybe if you're good with computers, you may say, well, that's just that just means that I'm  kind of good with numbers and programming and all that. Well, yeah, but that screen wouldn't be working very well, if I didn't have half decent tech people that know what they're doing.  You know, in the church, there's a lot of things that we do together as church that this or that  member, you say, Well, I don't see computer tech support anywhere in the Bible's list of  spiritual gifts. Okay, it's not. But I will just say this, I'll get into it more on the next talk about  spiritual gifts. But when the Bible talks about gifts, I don't think any of the list is  comprehensive, I don't think you take them all and add them together, that they are the list  of all the spiritual gifts, where you find yourself somewhere in one of those slots. It is a pretty  long list, and a lot of us will have something somewhere in one of those slots. But the point is  when the Apostle is talking, he'd say, Okay, here's some gifts. I'll just give you six or seven as  an example. And then I'll move on. He's not saying here's the great list. And if it's if you're not on that list, you don't have a gift. There are a lot of gifts that might not even be listed  specifically in the Bible as spiritual gifts. But if they anything, you have as a special ability  that can help other people out and build up the Church of Jesus Christ is a spiritual gift,  because you've got the Holy Spirit and you've got that gift. So whatever talent you have, it is  a spiritual gift if it can be leveraged to help other people. Now, the apostle says those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable. So again, that that whole notion of  thinking that one part is more important than another as a big mistake. And the ones that we  treat with special honor aren't necessarily more or less important. I'll give a few examples  from the body. If you're 15 years old, and you Discover a zit on your nose, it is a world shaking crisis. A zit on your nose is much more serious than a tumor on your pancreas. Because who  even knows what a pancreas is when you're 15 But if you have a tumor on your pancreas, you are pretty certainly going to be dead soon. And that zit on your nose might go away. And the  shape of your nose which you gaze in the mirror and meditate upon and wonder why did God  give me such a nose and you never contemplate the shape or the function of your liver. Your  liver matters more than the shape of your nose. You spend a lot of time wondering oh, man,  what can I do with my hair? Your hair and its functions do not matter. quite as much as your  heart and your intestines, which nobody ever looks, did anybody ever come up and say What  lovely intestines you have? Well, no. But those unnoticed parts of the body are actually a lot  more important in some ways than the than those lash, Oh, it's all that you get those lashes  longer and more luscious life would be rich and full. You know well, the lashes are part of the  body, that's fine, it's good to have good lashes. But you know, the spleen comes in handy too. So that we we sometimes pay attention to the things that are up front, even in church life,  you know, the people that are on the stage, or those who are very visible and some of the  things they do. But those quiet unseen parts are maybe the real heart, and liver and  intestines of the whole operation that keep it going. And they keep it alive. So I'm not trying  to set the you know, one part over against each other. But the Apostle is saying, you know,  the ones that seem weaker, they're indispensable on the parts that nobody pays attention to. 

Well, those are important ones too. And then he says God is combining the members of the  body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there'll be no division in  the body, but that its parts should equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. I'm a basketball fan. And I  watched the finals. And the finals were exciting this year, but they were also pretty  disastrous. And there were two of the greatest basketball players in the world. And you think  about their tremendously long arms and their speed and their skill and the great Kevin Durant making shots from everywhere, nobody can stop the man. And one little thing his Achilles  ruptures and he's gone for a year Klay Thompson, one little anterior cruciate ligament in the  side of his knee, and he's really scores 30 points in the first part of the game, and he's gone,  because one little unseen part of his body blew out. And that's what the apostle was saying.  That's how the human body is those little parts that you hardly even know the word for, can  just cripple you if they're not working right. And so every part of the body needs to be valued  Jesus in his parable of the 100 sheep says he goes after one when it wanders off. And that's a  different way of saying any part of the body really matters. Not the I'll just mentioned two  things when one party suffers, they all suffer canker sores, how many of you love those  things? You just say to yourself, well, it's just a canker sore and only My mouth hurts. No,  when you have a canker sore, you are miserable as a whole. Or maybe there are some of you  who are like me who suffer from ingrown toenail. However, you can't get much smaller or  unimportant than an ingrown toenail. But I assure you, it is a very, very miserable experience  that the whole body suffers from if that stinky little toenail isn't the way it's supposed to be.  And so the apostle say if one part suffers, every part suffers with it if one part is honored,  every part rejoices with it. And in the life of the church, when somebody is hurting, then it  affects all of us and we pray for them when we long for them to be restored and healed. And  when something good happens with somebody, it makes all of us glad that's what it is to be  the body of Christ where one part suffers everybody does when one part is honored  everybody feels honored along with them and then the punch line in I Corinthians 12 Now you are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of it. Or as Romans 12 Puts it just as each  of us has one body with many members and these members do not all have the same  function so in Christ we who are many form one body and each member belongs to all the  others maybe you've heard of of the meeting in the tool shop and in the carpenter shop the  various tools are having a discussion and Mr. Hammer presides over the meeting but some  others in the meeting say we want Mr. Hammer to leave he's too noisy he makes way too  much noise and so Mr. Hammer says well I'll go but if I go and Mr. screws should go to  because you never get anything done with him until you turn him around and you got to turn  around again and so Mr. Screws as well okay I'll go do you want me to but then Mr. plane has  got to go to because he's always just working on the surface and he's got no depth  whatsoever. And the Plane says well I'll go but then if I go Mr. ruler has got to go because Mr.  ruler is always measuring everybody in judging Everybody, so he should be out of here. And  Mr. Ruler says, well then Sandpaper's gotta go because he is rough and he's always rubbing  people the wrong way. And then the carpenter from Nazareth walks into the shop, and he  says, I would like to build a pulpit for proclaiming my gospel. And so he takes up the hammer  and the screw, and the plane and the ruler, and the sandpaper and his other tools, and he  builds what he wants out of those tools. And then Mr. Saw says I saw today, that we are all  workers, together with the Lord. That's what the Apostle Paul is saying, if you really want to  serve the Lord and understand who you are, you need to know yourself. But you also need to  know where you fit and how you connect with others, and how you can bless their lives, and  how they can bless yours. Don't underestimate yourself, don't overestimate yourself, don't  say I don't need you. And don't say, You don't need me. We're all together one body, in our  Lord Jesus Christ. We pray, Lord, that you will indeed give us unity of spirit and joy and the  gifts that you've given each of us individually. And in the totality of gifts that you've given us  as a body here. We pray too Lord that we may see our place within your larger body in our  community, as we work together with other congregations in this area, and also Lord in the  life of the church around the world as we support others in various ways and as we're  encouraged and learn from them. Father, we thank you for the wonder of the Body of Christ 

and the privilege of being part of it. Help us Lord to know ourselves, as you know us and then  Lord to use our gifts to build others up and in turn depend on others gifts to build us up. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

Last modified: Monday, January 17, 2022, 9:42 AM