Series: This Thing Called Church
Sermon: The Body of Christ
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:1-31
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. . . . For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. . . . Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 12-13, 27)
Monday May 28 — 1 Corinthians 1:1-17
The apostle Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth contains some of the most beautiful and familiar words in the entire Bible. (See 1 Corinthians 13 for example.) But the beauty of Paul’s writing does not negate the serious message of the letter. The Corinthian Church has some problems that Paul needs to address. Namely: the church is divided. Some of the Corinthians think they are better than others, which leads to arrogance, boasting, and condescension. What can you do to foster unity in God’s Church and help others grow closer to Jesus?
- Prayer: God of humility, forgive my arrogance, boasting, and condescension. Remind me of my need for your grace. Make me more gracious.
Tuesday May 29 — 1 Corinthians 3:1-23
Paul reprimands the Corinthians for their spiritual immaturity. He says that they are not ready for solid food because they are still “of the flesh” (1 Corinthians 3:3). For Paul, giving allegiance to a human (like Apollos or Paul himself) and not to Jesus is a sign of being “of the flesh.” He goes on to say that every servant of Christ plays a role in God’s work, but that “only God . . . gives the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:7). How would you describe your current level of spiritual maturity (as a follower of Jesus)? Are you still in diapers? Or have you matured in your faith? Are you ready for the solid food of Christian discipleship?
- Prayer: God of wisdom, help me to continue growing in my trust and obedience. Feed me solid food, so that I will grow as a disciple of Jesus.
Wednesday May 30 — 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
Evidently, the Corinthians believed and acted as if certain spiritual gifts were a sign of preferred status in God’s Kingdom. So Paul reminds the Corinthians that the Holy Spirit is the source of all gifts, services, and activities, and that every gift, service, and activity comes from God for the common good—the ministry of God’s Church. What gifts, service, or activity have you received from God? How are you using your gifts for the common good?
- Prayer: God of Grace, thank you for pouring out your Holy Spirit and providing gifts, services, and activities for the Church’s ministry.
Thursday May 31 — 1 Corinthians 12:12-26
God’s Church, Paul says, is like a human body. It is made up of many different kinds of members. The members each have their own purpose and every one of the members is essential for the health of the body. Just as the many different members of the human body are supposed to work together, the different members of the Church are supposed to work together to accomplish God’s mission in the world. As a follower of Jesus, do you see yourself as a member of a body, someone with special gifts that the body needs to accomplish its mission and purpose? If not, why not?
- Prayer: Merciful God, forgive me when I diminish the importance of my work within the Church. Use me and empower me to accomplish your mission.
Friday June 1 — 1 Corinthians 12:27-31
Picking up where he left off, Paul tells the Corinthians that they are the “body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:27). This means that the Church is the human “body” that is empowered by the Holy Spirit to accomplish God’s purposes in the world, by continuing the earthly ministry of Jesus: preaching, teaching, helping, and healing. How are you connected to other followers of Jesus? In what ways, do you work with other followers of Jesus to continue the earthly ministry of Jesus? How is God empowering you to accomplish God’s purposes in the world? How fully are you engaged in God’s work?
- Prayer: Holy God, fill me with your Holy Spirit today. Connect me to the body of Christ, so that we can continue Jesus’ ministry together.
Saturday June 2 — 1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13
The gifts of preaching, teaching, helping, and healing are vitally important, but according to Paul, there are “greater gifts” and a “more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31). What Paul is referring to, is the gift of love. Without love, the other gifts are worth nothing. He says that faith, hope, and love are the primary virtues of Christian life, but “the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). How do you keep love at the center of your relationship with God and your relationships with others? Are you growing up in love?
- Prayer: Loving God, thank you for Jesus, the greatest gift of love. Help me to love you and love others. Help me to love the way Jesus loves.