• Matt Beaney

#587 (26/4/22) - BAPTISED BY ONE SPIRIT



This week we return to our series in 1 Corinthians in our devotionals. This week we will be looking at 1 Corinthians 12:12-20.


Unity is a word that is often used as a great aim for all Christians. Often it’s used as an ideal that should trump theological truths that are essential. However, we must no seek unity at the cost of disloyalty to Jesus. The nature of unity and our efforts to attain it must be understood from scripture. Paul writes in order to teach and encourage true unity,

‘For we were all baptised by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.’ (1 Corinthians 12:13-14)

The truth is that all Christians are already united to Jesus and to one another. Jesus has achieved this in us! These words: ‘For we were all baptised by one Spirit so as to form one body’ speak of how all Christians are filled with the Spirit and are thus united together.


The word ‘Baptism’ (baptizó) means to dip, sink or submerge into, normally, a liquid. Here, Paul may have the act of water baptism in mind, but his main idea is that every Christian, at conversion, has been immersed and plunged into the Spirit. This baptism is an objective reality. However, salvation will normally be accompanied by a Spirit-given joy in the Spirit as we read:

’You welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.’ (1 Thessalonians 1:4)

He speaks of a new Spirit-given unity between, ‘Jews or Gentiles, slave or free’. The racial and social divisions that were causing in the Corinthian culture and church must not be allowed to infect the church of God. In the Kingdom, all divisions are are reunited because we have ‘all been given the one Spirit to drink’. Our love for each other must be shaped by the reality of God’s grace in our lives no matter who we are.


This verse with its references to ‘baptism…drinking’ is not speaking about a post-conversion experience of the Spirit; it’s about our unity in Christ and in the Spirit. Lloyd-Jones speaks of this unity between Christians,

‘He is ‘in Christ’, he is joined to Christ, and the life of Christ is in him. Christ is the Head, and he is a member of the body. Christ is the Vine, and he is a branch. He is ‘in Christ’, a part of Christ. The life of Christ is in him. And it is the same life in all the members. All this is true of the Christian because he has been baptised into that one body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. (Lloyd Jones Ephesians)

RESPONSE

Our response is not to seek to create unity. Our response is to recognise it in all who can say “Jesus is Lord” (1 Cor. 12:4). Our response should be what we read from Ephesians 4:

‘Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.’ (Ephesians 4:3-6)
 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

 

2. Icebreaker

Do you have any encouragements to share from how God has been speaking to you from His word recently?

 

3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group


On Sunday, we continued with our series 'Becoming Love' from the book of 1 Corinthians.


PLAY YOUR PART IN THE BODY OF CHRIST (12:12-31)


i) CHRIST HAS A BODY

Please read 1 Corinthians 12:12-14

Paul uses the illustration of a human to show how Jesus works through each of us in this world. Through the local church - His body- He continues His ministry. Bittlenger comments:

‘In order to accomplish his work on earth, Jesus had a body made of flesh and blood. In order to accomplish his work today, Jesus has a body that consists of living human beings.’

ii) EVERY PART OF THE BODY IS NEEDED

Please read 1 Corinthians 12:15-16, 18, 21, 25.

God wants us to understand that each of us has gifts that are important for the health and ministry of the church. It's easy to feel that we have nothing to offer or, alternatively, that our gifts are more important than that of others. Both attitudes need to be corrected. Every part of the body is important and needed. It's too easy to say "I'm not needed" or "I don't need you". Specifically, we are to be careful not to say I don’t need Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Miracles, Gifts of healing, Helpers/servants, Administrators, and Tongues and interpretation.


iii) EAGERLY DESIRE YOUR GIFTS

Please read 1 Corinthians 12:31

Finally, we are urged to 'Eagerly desire the greater gifts.’ The 'greater gifts' are about using spiritual gifts that build others up in love. Gifts are not for self-indulgence. Gifts are given to build others up. Let's eagerly seek to use words, works and wonders to build others up according to their needs. Let's be eager in this!


Discussion questions

i) Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?

ii) How does the analogy of the body, help us to understand how Jesus works in His church.

iii) According to verse 13, how do we become members of Jesus' body and how should this identity affect us?

iv) In what ways can we 'eagerly desire' to grow in the use of our gifts?

SIV - How can we use our spiritual gifts to reach our community for Jesus?

SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories of sharing your faith with your friends?

SIV - How do you plan to 'serve, invest and invite' into your friendships?

SIV - Let's pray for the Spirit to lead us in reaching our community.










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