Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 | October 10, 2021
I. We serve the church with a diversity of gifts.
A. The Apostle Paul, the writer of 1 Corinthians, begins to speak about the diversity of gifts within the church in vs. 8. But before he speaks about our different areas of gifting as Christians, he grounds our diversity of gifts in the character of God Himself (vs. 4-6). The doctrine of the Trinity teaches that we Christians worship one God in three persons. God Himself is a picture of unity in diversity. And God’s unity in diversity demonstrates itself to the church by the Holy Spirit giving different gifts to the different people in the church for the common good.
B. We learn in verse 7 that every person in the church has a gift given to him or her by the Holy Spirit. Each Christian has been given a gift by the Holy Spirit by which the Holy Spirit is made visibly evident in their midst. Other Christians can see God in you as you use your gifts. Your gift has been given you by God for the good of the other people in the church, not primarily for the good of you. The list in vs. 8-10 is not a complete list of gifts given by the Holy Spirit. There are also behind the scenes gifts that are given to people that the church desperately needs.
II. We serve the church for the unity of the body.
A. Paul goes back and forth between words related to diversity and unity in 1 Corinthians 12. Just because there is diversity in a group of people that does not mean that there must be disunity. If we keep our focus on using our gifts for God’s glory rather than for our own glory, then we can maintain our unity. It takes love to maintain unity in a church. 1 Corinthians 13:2: “And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
Gifts are important, but without love gifts are worthless. God gives you gifts to help the rest of the people in the church grow in their love for Christ and in looking like Christ. And as we all use our gifts in love for one another that produces a unity within our diverse church. Our Christian faith is a personal thing. But we cannot forget that our Christian faith is also corporate. Our faith is also about living together in unity with other Christians. The Christian faith is not just about me and Jesus. The Christian faith is also about we and Jesus. And if you forget about the importance of we and Jesus, you have forgotten the teaching of 1 Corinthians 12:7. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
Sermon Discussion Questions
- Who is responsible for giving different gifts to different people in the church? How important then is diversity within the church?
- Do you have any of the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12? If not, what gifts do you think the Holy Spirit has given to you?
- What makes it possible for us to maintain unity in the church even though we have a diversity of gifts? Do you agree that Christianity is not only about me and Jesus but also about we and Jesus? If so, why?