Interdependent, Not Independent

1 Corinthians 12:12-26

The human body is a good illustration of unity and diversity. The body is one and yet it has many parts, which work together for the body to function properly. The Apostle Paul used the image of a body to explain Christ’s relationship with the believers (v.12).

In the spiritual body, the Church is one unit. No matter what our race, nationality or social status, we are all one in the body of Christ. Although all believers are different and perform different functions, they all work together to make one functioning unit: the Body of Christ.

For the human body to function well, there must be many members, each one different from the others, working in obedience to the head and in co-operation with the others. By seeing how important diversity is to a normal, healthy body, we will understand the importance of the diversity of the members in the Body of Christ. The Body of believers is called:

1. The Church (Acts 2:47)
2. The Bride of Christ (Eph. 5:30)
3. The Temple of God (Eph. 2:21-22)
4. The Body of Christ (Eph. 5:30)
The Spiritual gifts and functions given to the members are for the benefit of the whole Body, the Church, and not for private enjoyment of the individual Christian. When the members of the Body of Christ function well and have right attitudes, God is pleased.

There is individuality in the Body (vs. 11-17)

First, what we have in common:

1. All are baptized by one Spirit (regenerated by the Holy Spirit at the time of our conversion). “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.” (1 Corinthians 12:13)

2. All are baptized into one body. When one turns to Christ and believes in Him, he or she is born again and is made a part of the Body of Christ.

3. All are given the one Spirit to drink. All believers receive the Holy Spirit as an indwelling Person and the benefits of His ministry in their lives.

Second, what makes us individuals:

1. We still have our nature.

2. We still have our personalities.

3. We do not become building blocks, but, rather, living stones. In 1 Peter 2:5 we read: “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

Don’t be eager or desire to be someone else. You must accept yourself as God has made you.

There is no inferiority in the Body (vs. 18-22)

Verse 18 is a verse to remember and comforted by. But in fact, God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.

No matter what we were like before we accepted Christ, we become part of one body in Christ.

We are members of the Body and we are gifted as it pleases Him! We must accept ourselves and others in the Body of Christ. We need each other. We are not all the same but we complement each other and by serving together we please our Lord.

The weak members are needed, too (vs. 22-24). All members must be honoured and respected.

There is to be intimate fellowship in the Body (vs. 25-26)

There should be no divisions in the Body. We are to care for one another. We are to love on another. We suffer when another member suffers. We rejoice when another member is honoured.

Let’s not forget that what effects one member affects all. This is a well-known fact in the human body. When one part of the body is sick, the whole body is affected. This is also true in the spiritual body: If one suffers, we all suffer; if one member gets strong, we all receive help.

We cannot be Christians outside the body of Christ and yet claim that Christ is the head. We are not independent from each other; we are interdependent as members of the body of Christ.

What happens when we function as a Body? We become like the first century church: Thousands were converted, churches were established.

Acts 2:41 says, “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”

Acts 4:4 “But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.”

Acts 9:31 “Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened: and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.”

It happened there, then – Why not here? Why not now?

Pastor Joseph Hovsepian