1 Corinthians 12:1-11
Someone said that a camel is how a horse would
turn out if it were designed by a church committee. We could even
look at our text and say, “An idol is what a god would look like if
it were designed by a committee of humans.” In that sense, we can
praise God that the form and function of the body of Christ is not
determined by majority rule of a committee.
In this text, Paul helps us understand some key truths about the church.
I. The Church is directed by God’s will
There is no hint of majority rule, or even
personal preference, in our text. Paul writes in emphatic terms and
states unequivocally that not only is the body of Christ determined
by divine authority, but the task assigned to each member is
determined solely by God.
For this we can be thankful. Using the analogy of
the church as a body, can you imagine how the body would look if each
member, in our finiteness and self-centeredness, decided our own
functions? We would undoubtedly have 90 percent heads and two percent
hands. We would certainly do a lot of advising but perform little
It is as if Christ is saying, “Some of you are
feet, some of you are hands, and some of you are brains. But I am the
one who decides who is which. I know why I have put you here on earth
and what I have designed you to do. So seek to know my purpose rather
than trying to let your self-interest force on you what you will try
to be and want to do.”
Like the Apostles James and John, we would all
want the positions of prominence, and none of us would want what we
consider the less desirable roles.
II. The Church is unified by the Holy Spirit
If every spiritual gift for ministry comes from
the Holy Spirit, how could we say any gift is unimportant or even
less important than another? Again referring to the human body as an
illustration, if a single function of any body part is absent, the
entire body suffers.
Only eternity will reveal how important each
believer’s function is in God’s grand plan for His Kingdom. It is
fascinating that in Jesus’ dealing with people during His earthly
ministry, He constantly drew positive attention to those who were
performing the functions God gave them, although they may appear
unimportant to worldly thinking. Consider the widow who gave her
mite, or the person who simply gave a cup of cold water in His name.
Neither would bring notoriety from the world, but they drew the
special notice of Jesus.
III. The Church is moved forward by our obedience
God provides the ability to perform certain
ministries, and He gives tasks in accordance with the abilities He
has invested in each person. The matter of how the body of Christ is
to function on earth, and the role that each member is to play, is
too vital to leave to mere mortals. Too much is at stake to make this a
matter of simple human judgment or personal preference.
Usually, a church has a committee that is given
the responsibility of filling every position on the church’s
organizational chart. This is an awesome and often thankless task. At
the committee’s first meeting, the minister hands out a list of all
the committees and boards with blanks where new members are to be
If the committee approaches its job as it would
approach a like job in some other organization, it makes a sad
mistake. The committee is wise to seek earnestly leadership and
guidance from the Holy Spirit who is the one who has gifted each
member for ministry. And, the committee also shows wisdom in asking
each member, “What is it you feel the Holy Spirit has gifted you to
Only when the committee is submissive to the
leadership of the Holy Spirit, and the members are submissive to His
leadership, is the church best equipped to fulfill its purpose. Such
standards may seem idealistic, but isn’t the church to seek a higher
standard than other organizations? After all, if the church does not
seek a higher way, then how is it different from any other charitable
We must never forget that a church is the body of
Christ. No other organization is given that position. No other
organization has that claim. Doesn’t this call for greater efforts to
be submission to our Lord, His purpose, and His empowerment?
Sermon brief provided by: Lynn
Clayton, Pastor of New Life Baptist Church, DeRidder, Louisiana