THE TRUE BODY OF CHRIST

An Outline Study of  I Corinthian:12-13

 

The Synthetic Body takes the form of a wheel, with a hub at the center (a strong human personality) and spokes (the folks) taking direction from the hub.

 

The True Body is modeled after a human body, with Jesus as the head and each of us joined to him by the Spirit, fulfilling our function as servants---held together by the love of God, shed abroad in our hearts by the Spirit.

 

I Corinthians 12:1-11

 

Paul is dealing with the engine that drives the Corinthian church: the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

That church, for all its problems, had power.

Things were happening to people when they came into the fellowship.

Lives were being radically changed….

… because the Holy Spirit was moving among them.

 

At the same time, things were getting a bit wild.

 

During worship some people were speaking in tongues---sounded like gibberish.

 

Nobody knew what these people were saying… nobody was interpreting.

 

Some of these tongues-speakers were feeling superior to the ones who didn't speak in tongues…. there was tension.

                       

So Paul lays out in detail the importance of allowing the Spirit to move in their lives---the Spirit's way.

 

How the gifts of the Spirit are for the common good…. not for individual glory.

 

The Holy Spirit creates faith.

The only way anyone can know and proclaim that Jesus is Lord is by the Holy Spirit---no other way.

 

The Holy Spirit imparts gifts.

These gifts are an expression of the will of the Lord Jesus, who is working out the will of the Father.

 

The Holy Spirit never works independently of the Father and the Son.

 

Each believer is given some manifestation of the Spirit---for the common good….to strengthen the Body.

 

Paul mentions 9 gifts of the Spirit---and notice he puts Tongues and the Interpretation of Tongues at the bottom of the list.

 

1. A word or utterance of wisdom.    We face a problem and we don't know what to do.

 

A man or woman in the fellowship receives from the Spirit a Word of Wisdom that sheds light, gives direction, and we all agree that this word will help us with the next step we need to take.

 

Maybe this Word of Wisdom comes as the person is praying…. maybe it comes spontaneously---but it's recognized by the fellowship as wisdom from God.

 

2. A word or utterance of knowledge

 

Example:  Matthew 21:1-3…. Acts 11:27-29

 

There are times when the Spirit may show us something we need to know which is known in no other way---a future occurrence, something happening in another place. 

                       

We need to let the Spirit reveal when he chooses.  Not to go trying to force a revelation.  

            People who "push" for revelations often come up with

            "revelations" that are false, even demonic.

 

3. Faith by the same Spirit

 

Example: Acts 27:21-26

Sometimes the Spirit imparts special faith--that certain things will happen, that a lost soul will find their way back.

 

4. Gifts of healing

 

The Spirit may give a certain man or woman this gift.  It may start out as a simple burden for the sick… then one day their hands convey healing.

They use this gift as Jesus did…. no production… no fanfare.  Quietly, humbly. 

 

5. Working of miracles

 

Example: Acts 9:36-43

This kind of thing still happens in the Body of Christ…. where the Spirit is allowed to rule… where the atmosphere of the kingdom replaces the atmosphere of the world.

                                   

6. Prophecy

 

A word from God in our common language, coming through one of us.

Example:  I Corinthians 14:23-25

Prophecy is simply a word from God that cuts through to the heart.  The Woman at the Well.

 

7. Discerning of spirits

 

Consider: I John 4:1-4

Certain men and women are specially gifted with discernment from God.  They can pick up on a message that sounds good, but underneath is manipulative or deceptive---appealing to our vanity or greed.

 

Or they may hear a word that sounds dry and boring, but they can tell that it rings true; it's coming from above, even if the speaker seems rather dry.  They use this discernment primarily for intercession

 

8. Tongues

 

On Pentecost the believers spoke in other languages, even through they themselves did not know what they were saying.

 

To them it sounded like gibberish, but Parthians, and Egyptians, and Medes heard their mother-tongues and understood.

 

In Corinth and in many charismatic meetings today, you'll hear people speak in tongues.

 

Sounds like gibberish.  What's the value?

If it's the real thing, it edifies the speaker.

 

Example:  I Corinthians 14:1-19

Basically; tongues is for private prayer…. that's how Paul spoke in tongues. 

If someone speaks in tongues in the assembly, someone should interpret

--- put into English the message.

 

9. Interpretation of tongues

                                   

The one who interprets is not "translating."  This person is trusting the Spirit to give a message in English (or whatever the common language is) that will edify the believers.                  

           

All these gifts are inspired by the one Holy Spirit, who imparts them to individuals as he chooses---for the good of the Body.

The Spirit is in charge---not we.

 

I Corinthians 12:12-13

 

The gifts of the Spirit do not belong to the individual.  They belong to the Body---the fellowship.

 

They are given to hold us together in unity---coming from the One Holy Spirit.

 

I Corinthians 12:14-26

 

We are all individuals, each with a unique history, each with flaws.  The one thing we have in common is the Lord Jesus.  He is the True Vine...

we are the branches.

 

As we abide in our Lord, the Holy Spirit, like sap from the Vine, imparts life to us, and gives each of us (without exception) a certain gift.

 

This gift of the Spirit is not something we were born with----it comes from heaven.

 

As we serve each other and serve our neighbor out in the world, the gift begins to operate.

--freedom to speak

--confidence in prayer

--new insight from heaven... etc.

                                   

Paul says, "Don't look at some other person's gift and feel like you're an outsider.  They have their gift, you have yours.             

 

Do not think that somebody's tongues-speaking gift is a more favored gift than your gift of quiet prayer."

 

The Body of Christ has various gifts, just as the human body has various parts. 

 

 

I Corinthians 12:27-30

 

Apostles

Prophets

Teachers

Workers of miracles

Healers                       

Helpers

Administrators

Tongues speakers

Interpreters of tongues

            ….all spread about in the Body.

 

Notice that the word "pastor" is not in the list.

Notice that Jesus is the center, not some dominant personality.

 

1 Corinthians 12:31-13:3

 

Tongues           without love... empty noise

Prophecy         without love… nothing

Wisdom           without love… empty

Knowledge     without love… hollow

Strong faith     without love... I am nothing

Sacrifice          without love... I gain nothing

 

All these powerful gifts of the Spirit and mighty acts of commitment---without God's love in them---are useless distractions from the Kingdom Walk.

 

So what is love?   I Corinthians 13:4-7

 

Love suffers long and is kind

Exercises patience and maintains a good spirit… doesn’t turn cynical or sour.

 

Love does not envy

We need to examine our souls to see if envy does not lie beneath our negative attitudes.   

 

Love does not parade itself

Does not model "superiority" before the world.

Love is not arrogant

Never looks down on others.

 

Love is not rude

Is considerate of others----all others.

 

Love does not insist on its own way

Knows how to yield…. how to fit in with others with a good spirit.

 

Love is not irritable or resentful

Not easily provoked…. not quick to hold a grudge

 

Love does not rejoice in the wrong, but rejoices in the right.

Doesn't celebrate when "the one who insulted me" goes down in flames…. Rejoices when something good happens to my "pesky neighbor."

 

Bears all things that come its way.                            

 

Believes all things---that no one is beyond salvaging.

 

Hopes all things---that all things are under God's control.

 

Endures all things---by the Spirit's power.

 

I Corinthians 13:8-13

 

Love never ends.

Tongues will cease, our flawed knowledge will end…. our limited prophecy no longer needed.

 

The Perfect arrives with the return of the Messiah, as the imperfect is swallowed up in the Perfect Light.

 

We will pass from spiritual childhood into maturity…. from dim vision to face-to-face glory

 

Only then shall we understand fully---even as we have been fully understood by God all along. 

 

Then, all that will be left will be:

Faith.

Hope.

Love.

 

And the greatest of these will be Love, the essence of God's heart.

 

Meanwhile we function as a Body….. not as a Wheel with a dominant human as the hub.

 

We abide in Jesus, the Vine, drawing the life of the Spirit from him.

 

We let the Spirit rule our life together as we allow his love to sanctify our relationships with each other.

 

 

 

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