1 Corinthians 12:1-13
If we are in Christ Jesus, by genuine God-given faith in Christ, not only have we died with Christ to sin and been raised with Christ to newness of life in him to be lived for his glory, but we are now indwelt with the Holy Spirit of God, and now we are God’s temple, his church, his body. We are his sanctuary, his dwelling place, not a building built by human hands.
Now that God lives within us by his Spirit, the Spirit has gifted us all with spiritual gifts which are given to us “for the common good,” i.e. for the benefit of the entire body of Christ and not for ourselves alone. Some of those gifts listed for us in 1 Corinthians 12 are “wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, working of miracles, prophecy, distinguishing of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues,” although this is not a complete list.
These gifts are not natural talents. They are not something we can produce within ourselves. So, “knowledge” does not come from book smarts, but from the Spirit. This “wisdom” is not a natural ability to exercise wisdom, but it comes only through the Spirit. And the preaching or teaching of the Word of God also does not come from what we learned from Bible college or seminary or seminars, but it should be of the Spirit by the Spirit.
There are many people today, preachers included, who deny the working of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives. Some of them are relying totally on books written by mere mortals, in the flesh, or on the great theologians of the past, rather than letting the Holy Spirit teach them and guide them in what to teach. Now the Holy Spirit is not some emotional experience, so anything that we say is of the Spirit must agree with what the Word of God teaches.
Now, this is how the body of Christ is supposed to function. We are all one body. We are not to proclaim to be Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, and Church of God, etc., for that divides the body. We are all one in Christ. And we are all members of this church by spiritual birth, not by joining one of these church denominations. And we are to function as one complete body, not as separate entities, but by the Spirit, not by the flesh of man.
We may be in different physical locations, but we are all still one body. So, we don’t “go to church.” We are the church. We don’t have to go to one specific physical location to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, either, because we are the church. So, we can gather together in grocery stores or restaurants or at a park or a gas station, and we can gather together on the internet, and we are still assembling ourselves.
So, just because you may not go to a building called “church” does not mean you are forsaking the assembling of yourselves together if you are getting together with other believers in Jesus Christ regularly for his purposes and for his glory and praise, and if you are encouraging one another in the Lord and if you are using your spiritual gifts to encourage the body of Christ, whether it be face to face or it be virtually or by telephone or texting or whatever. I, for one, am finding this kind of body life more on the internet than in person. So, I am thankful to God for this place to gather together.
We are All Different Parts
1 Corinthians 12:14-20 ESV
“For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.”
Now, many of these institutions of men called “church” are making their own determinations of who is acceptable to their “body,” based on human resources and determinations and not on the Scriptures at all. They are reading marketing books on how to grow their “churches,” and so they are utilizing humanistic marketing techniques on how to conduct their “churches” and their gatherings. And this is not of God, not his plan.
And so they are rejecting parts of God’s body or they are making them to feel as though they are not a part of God’s body if they do not function according to modern church growth philosophies. So, they are leading the people according to “church growth” principles taught in seminars in ways that are not of God at all but of man. And so many people are not utilizing their spiritual gifts or functioning as their appropriate body parts because the “church” is not functioning as the body of Christ but as man-made institutions.
I Have No Need of You
1 Corinthians 12:21-26 ESV
“The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”
As I already stated, many of these institutions called “church” do not function as the body of Christ and therefore do not follow biblical guidelines for how the church is supposed to function biblically, unless it suits some objective of theirs, which sometimes is so that they can rid themselves of parts of the body of Christ who don’t fit in with their marketing plans. So, they will abuse people and the Scriptures to exclude “undesirables.”
My husband and I were “church planters” twice, so we went through their seminars, so we know the kinds of things that are being taught to pastors of churches which are according to business plans not according to God’s plan. At one of these seminars we were told to “use needy people” to help us get our “church” up and going, then to “discard them” so that they don’t “drag us down.” Wow! And our “church” was filled with “needy people.”
So, parts of the body of Christ are indeed being told “I have no need of you” or “we don’t want you” because we don’t fit in with their modern day marketing plans and goals, and because some of us who are still following what the Scriptures teach are actually a deterrent to what they are trying to accomplish in the flesh and so they are being trained to invite us to go somewhere else where we will be a “better fit.”
And so many of us, I would imagine, have either deserted “the church” altogether or we have had to find the body of Christ in other locations other than inside the walls of these institutional churches, which is good, actually, because the Bible says for us to come out of “Babylon” so that we don’t share in her sins and in her punishment. And the Lord is providing other places for us where we can indeed function as his body parts.
So, don’t let “churches” (institutions of men) discourage you from functioning as members of Christ’s body as God intended. And don’t let intimidation and shame keep you from doing the will of God because “church” people are telling you that if you don’t go to a building called “church” once a week that you are forsaking the assembling of yourselves with the body of Christ.
Go where God sends you, and function as his body as he intended wherever he plants you. Use the Spiritual gifts he has given you to encourage (strengthen, urge, counsel, instruct) the body of Christ according to the Word of God (in context) for their spiritual growth and maturity and let others within the body of Christ encourage you in your walks of faith in Jesus Christ, too, for we are all necessary. The body of Christ will grow together in the Lord Jesus as EACH PART does its work (see Eph 4; Rom 12).
Lord, Move Me
An Original Work / October 16, 2011
Be my desire, my heart set on fire,
Lord, move me to worship You only, I pray.
Fill with Your Spirit, my heart overflow.
Lord, may I long for You; Your word to know.
Teach me to walk with You, Lord, in Your power,
And may I serve You, Lord, right now in this hour.
Lord, how I want to obey You forever.
Help me to hear You, Lord, so I will not stray.
Teach me to love You; adore You always.
Envelope me, Lord, with Your grace today.
Meet me in my need, and show me Your mercy.
Forgive me for all things, as I humbly pray.
Counsel me, lead me, direct me, and guide me,
So I follow You, Lord, where’er You lead now.
I love to hear You speak Your words to me.
I am so grateful that You set me free.
Wash me, and cleanse me, and make me like You, Lord,
And I will live with You for eternity.