The Study of Spiritual Gifts (Sermon 5 of 14)
September 23, 2001 | Andy Davis
1 Corinthians 12:1-31
Pastor Andy Davis preaches a verse-by-verse expository sermon on 1 Corinthians 12. The focus of this sermon is spiritual gifts.
- SERMON TRANSCRIPT -
Good evening. It's good to see all of you here. If you would, take your Bibles and open to 1 Corinthians 12, continuing our study of spiritual gifts. I'm passing out for you something that I've referred to before, but I just wanted to give it to you. It's from National Geographic, a little depiction of the body's immune system and how it handles disease. Now, this is not a biology class and you're not going to be tested on this, all of these different types and aspects of the body's immune system. I really just want to stimulate worship in you. I'd like you to rejoice in the complexity of the human body. Now, since you're already having it, I'm going to go ahead and allude to it right away. The reason I'm doing this is that this is exactly what Paul does in 1 Corinthians 12, also in Romans 12, in saying that the body is a unit but it's made up of many individual parts and these parts are woven together in a marvelous way.
Now, you'll notice in the upper right-hand corner there it says, “A miracle of evolution, the human immune system is not controlled by any central...” and it goes out from there. Now, what I want you to do is take a pen, if you have it, and cross out the words, “A miracle of evolution.” They're contradictory anyway. How can evolution be a miracle or a miracle evolutionary or whatever. The whole point with evolution is that it's natural not supernatural. And the whole point with the miracle is that it's supernatural not natural. So we'll dispense with that foolish prose right off the top. This is created by God and I don't want you to think that I'm espousing the evolutionary views of National Geographic in any way, shape, or form, but what I am doing is I'm saying God has made us in a fearful and a wonderful way.
Now, I'm not going to go through all the little details of this, but basically what is described here is what happens when you breathe in or take into your body a virus, and all the different kinds of cells there and all the different approaches and each part of the body's immune system plays a role, doesn't it? And if you don't have, for example, the helper T-cell or the killer T-cell or the B cells or any of these things, you're going to have a problem. As a matter of fact, this article came out in June of 1986 when AIDS was really starting to make inroads into popular consciousness, it had been going on for about five years before that on a pretty large scale, but people were starting to think about it and there started to be articles written and they were seeking to explain, among other things, what happens to the body's immune system when the AIDS virus comes in and how it just destroys the immune system.
But what I found so remarkable is the complexity of the immune system itself. It's not residing in the brain, but there's information, there's memory to it. It keeps track of the things that your body has done. This is why immunizations work well. The immune system stores up data and information. David didn't know one 1,000,000th of it when he said, "I bless you Lord, because I'm fearfully and wonderfully made." Isn't that true? And I guess what I'm getting at, you can just fold it up now and put it in your Bible and read it later, not now, but it's just the immense complexity and yet they're all working together for a common end. That God has put within one body a hundred trillion cells, each of them specialized to do their own job, and they all work together to make you, and you are fearfully and wonderfully made. And in the same way God has put the body of Christ together. The thing I wonder about is how simplistic we are in thinking about the body of Christ. The same God who put this together, put the body of Christ together. And it isn't simple, but it is wonderful and remarkable in how it's made.
Let's begin with prayer if we might. Father, I thank you for the joy that we have in coming into your presence. Father, I thank you that there are things going on in our bodies right now that we will never fully understand. I thank you, oh Lord, that you do fully understand them, that you knit us together in our mother's wombs, that you have arranged us with such remarkable diversity, and within that diversity there is incredible unity. All of us working together and all the cells working together in the body to achieve the common end that you have for that person. And in the same way, oh Lord, you're calling the body of Christ, though diverse and diversely gifted, to work together in a marvelous unity under the headship of our Lord Jesus Christ. And so I pray, oh Lord, that you would send your Holy Spirit, enable us, oh Lord, to understand just what you have done in us spiritually as we also will never fully understand what you've done in us physically. We thank you, oh Lord, for the apostle Paul and for his writings here. And we pray, oh Lord, that we would understand 1 Corinthians 12 and also that we have put into practice the things that we learn here in this body. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Let's read the text now, I don't know how far we're going to get this evening, but I would just like to get a sense of the scope of what Paul's doing in 1 Corinthians 12 on spiritual gifts. Beginning at verse 1 it says,
Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. You know that when you are pagan somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. Therefore, I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit and he gives them to each one just as he determines.
We're going to stop there, we'll continue on once we're done with this section. Now, when we studied this last a number of weeks ago, we talked about the unifying work of the Holy Spirit, how it is the Holy Spirit that's called us into one body that we might be Christians. You cannot say, “Jesus is Lord” from your heart believing the full ramifications of that except that the Holy Spirit has moved it and worked it in you. You are born again by the Holy Spirit and unless the Holy Spirit moves in you, you cannot say, “Jesus is Lord.” But when that same Holy Spirit, and there is only one Holy Spirit, moves in you, you become a Christian, you're born again. It does not matter what tribe or language or people or nation you're from. One Spirit has worked that same conversion in you and he's doing it in people all over the world, and it is the giving of that Spirit at the moment of regeneration that unites the worldwide body of Christ. There is one Spirit that unites us all, not just this one local body at First Baptist Durham, but also worldwide there is one Spirit that unites us all. And he is the down payment, the deposit guaranteeing our final inheritance it says in Ephesians 1. We have an experience of fellowship with God that's partial, it's not complete. He is, the Holy Spirit, is the down payment or the deposit guaranteeing the full inheritance. We don't have the full amount now, but by means of the Holy Spirit we have fellowship with God, don't we? And that fellowship is partial. So Paul can say, “For me to live is Christ and to die is…” what? Gain.
"You are born again by the Holy Spirit and unless the Holy Spirit moves in you, you cannot say, 'Jesus is Lord.'"
Now you could say what could be more than Christ? Well, in one sense, nothing could be more than Christ except more of Christ. And that's exactly what he's saying. “If I die, I get to be in face-to-face fellowship with Jesus Christ and nothing would make me happier for me personally.” He says there in Philippians 1, “it's better for you if I remain.” But for me personally, I would really delight in having that additional fellowship with Jesus Christ. For me, to live is Christ and to die is more Christ, I think is what he's saying there. Gain. But we do have in part fellowship with God by the Holy Spirit now, and we experience that. In 1 Corinthians 13 it says, “we see through a glass darkly but then we shall see face to face.” So we have a partial experience of fellowship with God now.
Now there's nothing wrong with our position with God. We are seen to be perfect, holy and blameless in His sight through the blood of Jesus Christ. And there's nothing wrong with that partial fellowship either. It's exactly what God has ordained for this time. There is an already and a not yet aspect of our faith. We have something now but we get the full amount later. But it's the exact same way with the body of Christ and the fellowship we enjoy with one another. We have a partial fellowship with one another by the Holy Spirit. We will enjoy a full fellowship with one another in heaven. And the reason I know that is that we've already seen, in John 17, the measure of fellowship or unity in the body is the trinity itself, Father, Son, and Spirit in perfect unity with each other. And Jesus prayed, “Father, that they may be one just as we are one. You and me and I and them, may they be brought together into complete unity.” and so the whole work of the church is a bringing together of all of God's people who have trusted in Christ into perfect complete unity in Christ. And that's an ongoing work, isn't it? And it's a unity through evangelism in that lost people are brought into the body of Christ and the indwelling Spirit is given to them, the same Holy Spirit when they're regenerated. But then there's a unity that comes through growing up in maturity that we individually become more and more like Jesus. And that process is never going to be completed in this world but only in the next world. And so this is the work of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit has been given to us.
Now, if you go back a few chapters to 1 Corinthians 2, Paul points out that the Spirit, in verse 10 and following, the giving of the Spirit is the very thing that makes a Christian different from a non-Christian. If you look at it beginning at verse 9, it says, "However, as it is written, ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’- but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit." Now we've talked about that before. The fact is that no eye, no mind, no heart, no imagination can imagine or even think of what God has in store for us. But in the teacher training class I've said this is not referring to heaven so much as it's referring to all spiritual things. And the natural mind, the natural man, can't think of them. They can't really enter into the mind of the natural man. But God has, what does it say in verse 10, revealed it to us by his Spirit. So we do know of them, don't we?. We have had these things revealed to us by his Spirit. And so the Spirit is given to us, “The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of man except them man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” Isn't that an amazing thing? The Holy Spirit plumbs the depths of the thoughts of the triune God and brings that to us, brings the thoughts of God, the very thoughts of God to us as he lives within us. Just as your spirit searches out your thoughts and perhaps you're able to put them in words and communicate them, in the same way the Spirit plumbs the depths of the triune Godhead and brings those concepts, those deep things of God to us and explains them to us. This is what he's saying. “We have not,” in verse 12, “We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God that we may understand what God has freely given us.” In other words, the Holy Spirit is given that we might have a full understanding of all that God has given us. Isn't that beautiful? The Holy Spirit reveals to you the perfection and the totality of his gifts to you, and that includes spiritual gifts, as we'll get to in a moment. "This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words," verse 14, "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned." So the distinction between the unbeliever and the believer, between the unregenerate and the regenerate, between the non-Christian and the Christian, is the Holy Spirit, the gift of the Holy Spirit, obviously among other things, faith in Jesus Christ and other things. But here as we focus here, the distinction is the Holy Spirit indwells us and explains to us what he's doing. As a matter of fact, Paul goes so far in Galatians to say, chapter 3:2-3, you don't have to turn there, but there he says that you have been begun or you have begun by the Spirit. Is it possible that you could now be completed by the flesh? Of course not. But the Galatians had begun through the power and the moving of the Holy Spirit and now they're trying to work it out as under the law. They didn't know they were dead to the law. They didn't understand what we talked about this morning, and so they were begun by the Spirit but they're now trying to work it out in the flesh, so what Paul is saying is it's the giving of the Holy Spirit that begins the Christian life. When you received the Spirit you began as a Christian. And then he says in Romans 8:14-17, he says it is the indwelling Holy Spirit that cries out from within you, “Abba Father." And that if you don't have the Spirit of Christ you don't belong to Christ. If you don't have the indwelling Spirit you're not a Christian. But we have received this Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of God, and he lives within us, and it is that Spirit that makes us one. It is the Spirit that enables us to experience unity. Now, we do not experience perfect unity in this world just as we don't experience perfect fellowship with God in this world, but we do experience some kind of fellowship with God and we do experience some kind of unity with one another and it's the Holy Spirit that does that.
Now the Spirit, back in 1 Corinthians 12, the Spirit moves and gives us different manifestations. If you look at verse seven, 1 Corinthians 12:7, it says, "Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good." Very interesting that he calls it manifestation here. Now, we've already covered the force of the phrase, “to each one.” What that means is if you are a Christian you have received gifts of the Holy Spirit or a gift package or some manifestation of the Spirit. But here he is talking about gifts that are given and he refers to them as manifestations. What it means is evidence that the Spirit is among you. We have evidence that the Holy Spirit is here as you see these gifts working, manifestations of the Spirit. And it says in verse 7 that they're given for the common good. What this means is that they're not given for you to enjoy yourself by yourself. Now, you will enjoy using your spiritual gifts, no doubt about it. There's a certain pleasure that comes from using the gifts that God's given you. A sense of belonging, a sense that your work is valuable, that the things that you're doing are counting for eternity, that you are strengthening the brothers and sisters in Christ by the things you do. And that's a joy, isn't it? Isn't it beautiful to know that the things that you're doing have eternal and lasting value and will not be swept away by the sands of time? They can't be removed. They will last forever. Jesus said, "Store up treasure in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in steal, for where your treasure is there your heart also will be." So what he's saying is that you are given this manifestation of the Spirit and you can derive pleasure out of it. Of course you can, but they're really given for the common good. And that's wonderful because what that means is that you're deriving pleasure not only from your own gifts, but from what? The gifts of other people. And how is that multiplied a hundred or even a thousand-fold? You receive the blessings and the benefits of a healthy church body in which everyone is using the gifts that they have been given and that's healthy and it's strengthening. And as a matter of fact, you can't grow up into full maturity in Christ without it. We all need each other. I can't grow up into full maturity as a Christian unless you all and those Christians that God has put around me, use your gifts. Neither can you grow up unless I and others use our gifts. “As each part does its work,” Ephesians 4, “we grow up into full maturity,” and that's delightful. So the manifestations of the Spirit are given for the common good.
We think far too individualistically as Americans, don't we? We really do. We have a hard time understanding corporate reality. We have a hard time thinking of ourselves as part of a group, but God doesn't have a hard time thinking that way at all. The remarkable thing about 1 Corinthians 12 is the blending together of the unity and diversity themes. You really can't be too strong on one or the other. You can't go too far, that this is all about unity here and forget that there's diversity, or this is all about diversity and neglect the fact that there's unity. There is unity in diversity and that's exactly what he's getting at here. We are all one body and we function as one body, but we are marvelously varied and we need each other for the common good to use our gifts.
Now in verses 8 and following, he gives a list of spiritual gifts. Now, we're not going to go through these lists right now. We're going to come back and look at them. And especially I would like to dedicate one, if only one, teaching time on what we call sign gifts or those kinds of gifts that make you sit up and take notice. And we really should be sitting up and taking notice at all gifts, but those gifts that have been somewhat controversial in the 20th and 21st century, things like speaking in tongues, miracles, prophecy, the way that some define it, the word of knowledge and all of these things, we're not doing that tonight but we'll do it sometime, God willing. But I think what we should look at is the fact that Paul consistently gives lists of gifts that are different from other lists that he gave at other times. Have you noticed that? And so you get the sense that these listings are just meant to be suggestive. And just like that sheet I gave you shows the remarkable complexity and diversity within the body, I don't think we're ever going to get a full list of all the manifestations of the Spirit. It's not going to be just 29 spiritual gifts according to C. Peter Wagner or others. I think that's all that's listed as you go through the New Testament, but because every single list is different you get the sense that not one of them is meant to be exhaustive, and that even if you were to put them all together and add them all up and categorize them, as some have done, that that's all there are. I really don't think so. I think actually every one of you is unique. All of you have kind of a unique package or arrangement of spiritual gifting, but we need to get somewhat specific and talk about how these functions work. And whereas in Ephesians he talks about persons, he gave some people to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, here we're talking more about manifestations, namely the movings of the Spirit and how they work and function. So it's less tied to the person at this point, although I don't think there's any disagreement whatsoever between the two.
So we're not going to go through these and I'm not going to list what I think they mean. We'll do that, God willing, another time. But if you look down at verse 11 it says, "All these are the work of one and the same Spirit." And that's the point he's making. It's the same Spirit that enables you with your gift of administration or your gift of teaching or of helping or of faith or prayer, it's the same Spirit who works that same gift in someone else. And so you should be just as delighted in somebody else's gift as you are in your own gift. And here we're getting to what I think is one of Paul's main motives for writing. I think there was some jealousy working in the Corinthian church. I don't just think it, I know it because he says so. They were jealous of each other. They were envious and it divided them. They were broken up into factions and they were, it says in Galatians, kind of biting and quarreling with one another, devouring one another. I think the same thing was going on in the Corinthian church, and I think the root of it was envy and jealousy, if not also some insecurity on some people's parts. And so I think he's working on helping us to realize how every single gift in the body is needed and how every single gift in the body is done by the Holy Spirit and how we should be just as delighted in somebody else's gift as we are in ours. And how all of these gifts are done, it says in verse 11, as the Spirit wills. And so who are we to question the Holy Spirit? Rather we should just be incredibly delighted at the whole body and the way it all fits together. Look again at verse 11. "All of these," these spiritual gifts, "are the work of one and the same Spirit and he gives them to each one just as he determines." Now if we look at, for example, in verse 4, verse 5, verse 6, the word different in the NIV, there are different, different, different, see 4, 5 and 6, and then this sense of he gives them to each one as he determines. The word different gives a sense of allotment, a sense of an allotment or something that's measured out to you and handed to you. This is your area, your arrangement, your assignment let's say.
I know that some of you are studying in Sunday school the book of Joshua and you know that the second half of the book of Joshua, what goes on in the second half of Joshua? After the conquest, what goes on in the second half?
Yeah, they divide up the Promised Land. And how do they do that? By lots, right? They roll out the lots and the allotment... that's really where you get the sense of allotment... based on that allotment that's where you would live. And they believed that God was sovereignly overseeing that division or that dividing purpose. That, I think, is what David meant when he said in Psalm 16:6, "The lot has fallen for me in pleasant places, surely I have a delightful inheritance." He's speaking in that old language of, “Hey, I've got a nice piece of land. I've got a hill and I got a river running through it and I'm pretty happy with what I've got. I'm delighted. I'm happy with my life.” How would you characterize David's attitude in Psalm 16:6? What is that, “I'm delighted,” what is he feeling? Contentment. That's a rare thing these days, isn't it? There's a book that I've read and thought about before by Jeremiah Burrows, he was a Puritan writer, entitled The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment. And I think what Paul's getting at in 1 Corinthians is he wants you to be content with the gifts that you've been given. Be delighted with them, and not only yours but to be delighted with everybody's gifts. Be happy about it, be content, because it's the Holy Spirit that's done it. And he's very wise in what he does. He knows what he's doing. Be happy; be content with what you're doing.
Now as we look, you're going to see how this theme comes out. But first I want to finish developing this. If you take a minute, go back and look at 1 Corinthians 3:5. 1 Corinthians 3:5, actually, let's go back a little further beginning at verse 1, "Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly, mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk not solid food for you are not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly, for since there is," now here look what he says, "there is jealousy and quarreling among you." Jealousy. What is jealousy? Isn't it looking out over somebody else's stuff and saying, "I want that"? The root of jealousy is discontent, isn't it? You're not satisfied with what God has portioned out to you. You want something else and so you're jealous. And so there's jealousy and jealousy leads to quarreling. "Jealousy and quarreling among you. Are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? For when one says, ‘I follow Paul’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not mere men?" It's stunning how the assumption behind that is you shouldn't be mere men, you should be spiritual, you should be different than the natural man. You should be different. You should be supernatural in your life. And then he goes on from there in verse 5 and says, "What, after all, is a Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants through whom you came to believe as the Lord has assigned to each his task." Isn't that beautiful? God is given to each person his assigned task. Each person gets an assigned task. Do you know what yours are? Do you know what God has assigned to you? We are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God laid out in advance that we should walk in them. He's assigned some tasks for you to do. But there's jealousy and quarreling and they're elevating one over the other. They're thinking of one more highly than the other and that's the root of what he's going to get at here in 1 Corinthians 12.
Look at 1 Corinthians 7:17, a few chapters over, a little bit different context but the same idea. He's talking here about marriage and remarriage after widowhood if you become a widow or widower, and he's giving his advice about that. We're not going to get into that but just look at the verbiage he uses in verse 17, "Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord has assigned to him and to which God has called him." A very interesting idea here: the sense of being content at where you're at in your life. Content with what God has given you and whatever he's assigned to you. And then he says, if you could look over at 2 Corinthians 10:13, he talks about similar things there. 2 Corinthians 10, beginning at verse 12-13, he says, "We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves they are not wise." That's the problem. There's this sense of comparing yourself with someone else and you're either on the upside or you're on the downside. Isn't that what happens? You either come up on top or you come up short. If you come up on top, what are you tempted to do? Boast, right, and brag. If you come up on the bottom side you tend to do what? Feel yourself inferior and perhaps be jealous. And Paul is saying we've got to get rid of that whole way of thinking. All of this has been laid out the way God assigned it. In verse 13 he says, "We however, will not boast beyond proper limits but will confine our boasting to the field that God has assigned to us, a field that reaches even to you." Isn't that remarkable? God has given to each one of us an assigned field that we're supposed to work. And that makes it kind of clear cut, doesn't it? Because if that assigned field has weeds growing up all over it, it's pretty clear what's going on. And God will look at your field on judgment day. He'll look and see how well it's been tended. Did you work the field that was assigned to you? And so our hearts and our focus and our scope should be on the whole world through prayer. We can touch the world through prayer, but we should work the field that God has assigned to us. And Paul says, “By the way, you're included in my field that's why I'm writing to you. That's why I'm ministering to you."
Okay, back in 1 Corinthians 12, you see this sense of assignment, the sense that each one of these gifts has been given as the Spirit apportioned or assigned or moved. And by the way, you could write this verse down, this is so important, James 3:16. It says in James 3:16, "For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice." Wow, what is disorder? Is it not the opposite of this thing that God has set up in the body of Christ? And what is the roots of disturbances and disorder? Is it not jealousy and envy which leads to quarreling and leads to division? Is that not happening in our church right now? And should we not pray against it? Should we not ask that God would grant us the maturity to grow up out of that kind of behavior? Should we not ask that we stop being carnal and fleshly and rather be content with what God has assigned to us and work that field with joy and be delighted in the work of others as a manifestation of the same Holy Spirit that's in us? I think so. And so I'm challenging you to pray for that because that's a good thing to pray for. Jesus prayed that we would be one, “that the world may know that you sent me,” he said. And when the body behaves like that, it doesn't look good to the world does it? It looks like what's going on over there. So I think we should be content with the field that God has assigned to us and we should work it diligently and we should be delighted in what God has assigned to others and watch them work theirs diligently, and pray that they would, and see good fruit come from it all because the Holy Spirit is delighted to arrange it this way. James 3:16, "You find disorder and every evil practice coming up out of jealousy."
All right, now, let's read beginning at 1 Corinthians 12:12 and see how Paul deals with this problem.
The body is a unit though it is made up of many parts and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free, and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be 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 cease to be 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 arranged the parts of 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. 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 honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor 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 honored, every part rejoices with it.
Stop there. Do you see how Paul is addressing this? In the first section, verse 12-13, he talks about the body as a whole and says it's a unit and it's brought together in a marvelous unity by one Spirit, right? We'll talk about that more in detail in a moment. But then in verse 14-20 he deals with parts of the body that are saying because I'm not a hand I don't belong. It could be that here is a sense of inferiority. Now some commentators don't agree with this, but I think that that may be. You're looking over to another part and saying, “Well, I'm not like that so I'm not included” or, “The things that I do are not important.” That could stimulate feelings of inferiority and also feelings of jealousy. We're very prideful beings and we're not going to stand for that for long. So we might begin to chafe against it and murmur against it and that's the kind of thing that causes disunity. But what Paul is saying is just because you look over and you see that you're not something else doesn't mean for that reason that you're not part of the body. You are what God made you to be. And you are most certainly part of the body because you have the indwelling Spirit; we all have the same Spirit to drink. And what you do is indispensable to the body of Christ, indispensable. We need you; we need all of you. As each part does its work, the body grows up to full maturity. So he's dealing with the inferiority side, I believe, on the first half.
"We all have the same Spirit to drink. And what you do is indispensable to the body of Christ, indispensable. We need you; we need all of you. As each part does its work, the body grows up to full maturity."
Then in the second half, the head is saying to the feet, “I don't need you.” Or the eye is saying to the hand or the hand to the eye, “I don't need you.” Here you're dealing with the superiority side in which you feel because I have this gift or this honorable or presentable, he uses that language later, role in the body that I have no need for you or you or you. That's a feeling of superiority. And it's interesting how this is exactly what Paul deals with in Romans 12. Christie was talking to me earlier, she said, "Well, you need to tell us how to discover what our gifts are." And we will get there. I'm going to talk about it, but I think it's good to understand what they are and how they function first. But Romans 12 is the handbook on how to discover what your gifts are. That's what it's all about. Romans 12:1-2 says, “You should present your body as a living sacrifice as holy and pleasing to God.” You should renew your mind, I believe by the washing with water through the Word, just as you're renewing your mind. Then, what? You'll be able to test and approve what God's will is for you personally and also for the whole body of Christ. "For by the grace given to me, I say to every one of you: Don't think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment in accordance with the measure of faith that God has given." He's using spiritual gift language there isn't he? And he's saying think of yourself rightly in proportion to the whole body. You are well apportioned in the body of Christ. Be content with what God has done in you. Don't think of yourself too highly. He doesn't say it there, but neither in this case think of yourself too lowly, but rather with right judgment as far as your importance in the body of Christ. That's what he's saying. So that's kind of the lay of the land in 1 Corinthians 12. He's saying we are all one body because we have this indwelling Spirit. You shouldn't think of yourself in an inferior sense, neither should you think of yourself in a superior sense, but think of yourself with a sober judgment feeling that you and every other single member of the body is utterly vital to the full maturity of the church.
So that's the big picture. I want to say one more thing just because it's so wonderful and we'll finish and, God willing, we'll resume it next time. It says in verse 13, it says, "For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free, and we were all given the one Spirit to drink." Oh, that is so wonderful and I want to talk more about it next time. But the fact is it's the Holy Spirit that's brought you into the body of Christ, it's not the water baptism. We know that. We talked about that in Romans 6. It's not the water that brings you into the body of Christ, but it's that immersion in the Spirit of God, and you are given the Spirit to drink. And I'm thinking immediately of the woman at the well. Remember the Samaritan woman? Jesus said, "Whoever drinks of the water that I give him will never thirst, but the water that I give him will become for him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." Isn't that beautiful? “As often as your thirsty drink from me,” that's what he's saying. And then in John 7:38-39, "On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out in a loud voice, 'If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’ By this he meant the Spirit whom those who believed in Jesus were later to receive.” You have it. You have the gift of the Spirit, drink. Don't go to worldly things or anything else for your satisfaction, but go to the Lord and allow Him to minister to you. Drink of the Spirit. We are all baptized by the same Spirit. And by the way, all of us who are Christians here, we're all drinking from the same Spirit. It's the same Holy Spirit who's ministering one to another, and we should desire him to minister to each one, as we are needy, as we're thirsty. We should want our brother or sister to be totally satisfied by the Spirit.
Well, overall, what we're saying here is that there is one body and there's a remarkable diversity and each one of you has an indispensable function in the body of Christ. So do your gifts this week, be busy, be energetic, do the good works that God has in store for you and you'll build the body of Christ. Why don't we close with prayer and then we're going to have a closing hymn and a benediction.