• Matt Beaney

#588 (27/4/22) - I DON’T BELONG



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.


Liverpool Football Club, I understand, are a team that’s doing really well at the moment. When we think about success in football, It’s common that we focus on the players and the coach. They are in front of us. They save the goals. They score the goals. However, currently, they have 1,953 staff! For that 11 man or woman team to play well, they need a huge support team. If everyone wants to be a forward, who will drive the coach? Who is going to cut the grass? Who is going to design the kit? It would be nonsense for the groundsman to say ‘because I’m not a physio, I’m not useful in the club! Likewise, in the church, we must not disqualify ourselves because we are not somebody else with different gifts.


‘Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed 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.’ (1 Corinthians 12:15-20)

There are gifts that receive more attention. There are gifted people who receive more adulation. However, in the Kingdom of God and in His sight, each of us is important to the healthy functioning of the church - His body. We read something similar in Ephesians,

‘But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” (Ephesians 4:7-8)
  • According to this text, to Whom have gifts been given?

  • Who has decided which ‘grace’ (another word for gifts) each of us receives?

  • Who has decided the ‘portion’ (or ‘measure’ ESV ) of gift you’ve received?

Clinton Arnold writes of the way that Jesus apportions gifts in the church:

Christ does not apportion gifts in a random way, but according to his plan. He is the one who chooses who will receive what gift and determines the amount of the gift that each person will receive. This is the most natural explanation of “according to the measure” (κατὰ τὸ μέτρον). The emphasis here is on Christ’s sovereign distribution and apportionment. There is no room left for good works and merit to earn a better gift or a greater portion of a gift.’

RESPONSE

Are you tempted to say “I don’t belong”? I’m of no use! I’ve got nothing to contribute! Do we allow what we’re not to rob us of what God has made us to be? You have been given a portion of grace with which to serve your church. Let’s not hide our talent away. Let’s invest what we’ve been entrusted with.

 

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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