Sermon: Core Values – Diversity within unity in Christ
Reading: John 17:20-26; 1 Corinthians 12:11-26; Colossians 1:18
Sermon Date: January 21, 2018
Have you ever seen a team work very well together? Why were they so good?
Please read John 17:20-26
1. Can you share anything you remember about the sermon you heard on Sunday?
In this series we have started looking at the core values in our development to full maturity in Christ. Our first two studies were universal in their application, “Mature Discipleship” and “Biblical Teaching”. Today we will be thinking about how different we are and yet how we are united in Christ under the title ”Diversity within unity in Christ”
2. Ask each person in the home group to list the gifts they see in the others (include any gifts not just those in this chapter!)! (paper and pencils might be useful)
3. Exchange views on which of these gifts have helped you to grow spiritually.
The gifts are different and we are all different but we are not isolated individuals
See 1Corinthians 12 v 11. Where does our unity come from? What are the implications of this unity?
Paul sees this rich variety of gifts as the work of the Spirit who is one and He determines who is given which gifts. This produces a unified work under His sole control. The gifts are not given for our aggrandisement or simply for our pleasure but to fulfil His purposes and the glory of God the Father.
We now turn to the passage used in the Sermon this week
Please read 1 Corinthians 12:12-26
Paul uses an “illustration” of the body.
4. What enables the body to operate? How does it grow?
5. Why does it consist of many different members?
6. Can any member operate on its own effectively?
7. What does Paul deduce from the relationship of the body and its several members?
Following the “illustration” the body represents the church and individual Christians are the members. Think through the parallel observations you have just made on the body. What lessons can we learn as members of the church? Though we are different we each can know we belong to the body and this variety is essential for the vitality of the whole.
This approach using the body as an “illustration” is all right as far as it goes and we can learn much from it. But if Paul had wanted to use the approach he would have said: “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 the church.” But he doesn’t!
Instead he says: “So it is with Christ”
The body is not just an illustrative idea but a real person!
Jesus became incarnate to live and die for us. Now he comes again in human form in us! In us he has a corporate identity. Does this wonderful truth add new life and meaning to our study so far? Paul holds Christ and his church, (or body) closely together.
8. How do we join this body? (v 13)
We are baptised by the Spirit - that is - we are immersed in the Spirit and we are also filled by him. It becomes more wonderful as we read on. We become members of Christ’s body by the work of the Spirit who nourishes us and holds the whole body as one.
9. Who is the head of the body?
10. Please read Colossians 1:18. What implications does this have for the members?
As we are all members of the same body how can we help the whole body to be nurtured? What help can you give to help each other grow spiritually?
Final item for glorious praise. Beasley- Murray puts it succinctly:
“The believer is engrafted into the body because he is united with Christ in his saving work by the Spirit.”
Howard Gracey, 03/01/2018