• Matt Beaney

#589 (28/4/22) - I DON’T NEED YOU



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.


Dani Leviss in Live Science wrote,

‘The organs in our bodies are collections of tissues that work together for a common goal. But not every organ is necessary for survival. Only five organs — the brain, heart, liver, at least one kidney, and at least one lung are absolutely essential for living. There are normally considered to be 78 organs in the body. (Although some count it differently and put the number at 315)’

In our bodies, we also have 206 bones; I dread to think what would happen if your bones were suddenly removed from your body! Maybe we’ve experienced the discomfort and hindrances caused by the fracturing of even the smallest bone. All this is to say that the body is diverse and its members important. We can live without members of our bodies functioning properly but we would not flourish as we should. Likewise, the church can do well with a reduced number of gifts, but she would not make use of the diversity that is reflective of biblical teaching. We should not say of any part of the body of Christ “I don’t need you”!


‘The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honour to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.’ (1 Corinthians 12:21-26)

The previous section (12:15-20) was an exhortation to the weak: they are not to nullify themselves as they compare themselves, unfavourably, to others. This section is an exhortation to the proud: they are not to nullify others whom they deem to be useless or less than themselves.


Paul makes the point that there are parts of our bodies that ‘seem to be weaker’ and parts that ‘we think are less honourable’ and parts that are ’unpresentable’. Paul is making the point that some parts of our body may seem weaker, be less than pleasing to look at and may warrant being covered for modesty’s sake; however, every part is God-given and is important in the body and in the body of Christ. My wife used to make the joke that she loved me from the ankles up! Something about my feet was not so pleasing to her! However, my feet are important to me!


RESPONSE

Like our bodies, the church can function without everyone playing their part. Too often the church does not have the full use of all of its gifts because we fail to value each other as we should. we are told that ‘Its parts should have equal concern for each other.’ Perhaps a good response could be to tell people how much you value what they do or what you see in them. Sometimes it’s easier for someone else to see the gifts that we are failing to see in ourselves.

 

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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