His Body: Gifts

This morning, we’re going to continue our message series where we take a look at an analogy given to us by the Apostle Paul in how the church (us) is the body of Christ.

In it’s most simplistic form, the concept of the body of Christ is: all believers working together in unity as each one performs their specific role all under the direction of Christ (the head of the body) to be Christ’s physical presence here on Earth. It’s not just about one local church or denomination, but about all believers working together and serving their role.

This concept is found in 1 Corinthians 12.
1 Corinthians 12:12-27
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

So we see that each of us is a part within the body of Christ.  We are unique and have different functions and roles to play within the body – yet we all make up one part and work together for one common goal.
Let’s take a look again in what makes us a part of the body of the body of Christ and what keeps us working together in unity.
1 Corinthians 12:12-13
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
What we see here is that it is His Spirit that He has placed within us that ties us all together as one body.  It is His Spirit which is the unifying force amongst His whole body and how we become a part of it.  The greek word that we translate into the English phrase “to drink” or “made to drink” is the word “potizo (pot-id’-zo)”, which has the actual meaning to irrigate or to furnish a drink.  When we accept Christ’s salvation, He deposits within us His Holy Spirit who dwells within us.  It’s sort of like we open a gate in our lives to allow Him to enter.  Let’s take a quick look at a video from the Glen Canyon Dam in northern Arizona of the power released when its gates are opened.
*video*
The same thing that happened when the gates where opened to that dam in the natural happens in the spiritual with us.  When we lay down our gate, His power rushes into our lives; washes us clean, fills us, and transforms us!  When we choose to let down the things in our lives that are standing in His way and invite Him – He is able to come rushing in and do His work within us!
Acts 1:4-8
4 On one occasion, while he (Jesus) was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The Holy Spirit within us not only unites us as His body, but also gives us an equipping power (greek word dunamis) which enables us to do His work and to be overcomers in life and witnesses for Him.  In fact, in Acts 2 when the Holy  Spirit was poured out onto the believers, it was described as the sound of a violent wind – similar to the sound heard in our video earlier of the gate being opened.
That equipping power also provides us with a wide variety of tools in order to do His work – the gifts of the Spirit!
In the same chapter where we find the revelation in how we are the body of Christ, we find a description of some of these tools.
1 Corinthians 12:1-11
1 Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

Romans 12:4-8
4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
So we see here that there are several different supernatural giftings that the Spirit gives us all for a common good.  Going back to what we discussed earlier, we see again here, the concept of irrigation in that it is the Holy Spirit whom distributes them to us by His grace.  He has given us these gifts so that His body would be complete and lacking nothing and also that His work can continue here.  All of these gifts serve different functions, but they all work together so that His body can fulfill its overall purpose.
John 14:12
(Jesus said:) Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
The same miracles and works that we saw Christ doing during His ministry on Earth, we should still be seeing today and even greater things!
Who is it that has been entrusted to continue His work?  Us – those who believe in Him!
Who is it that has the choice to step out in faith and move in His power or to keep their gates closed and shut down the work of Him?  Us – those who believe in Him!
*Video – Casting Crowns – Can Anybody Hear Her?*
Casting Crowns also wrote a song entitled ‘If we are the body’ which poses these questions in regard to the video which we just saw.  It asks:
If we are the body,

Why aren’t His arms reaching?
Why aren’t His hands healing?
Why aren’t His words teaching?

And if we are the body,
Why aren’t His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?

The answer is easy to see, but a difficult reality to face: it’s because we’re choosing not to do it.  It’s because we stay so wrapped up in ourselves and our own lives that we don’t even notice those hurting and longing for the hope within us who surround us everyday.  The apostle Paul stated this powerful truth so simply in His letters to the Colossians:
Colossians 4:5
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.

God’s desire is that everyone would come to know Him – that everyone would let down their gates and let the King of glory come in.  It’s grieves Him to see those hurting without Him, however, it grieves Him even more when it is us – His Body – who are doing the hurting and not the healing that He created us to do.
He paid far too high a price and deposited within us something far too valuable for us to live our lives and take it for granted.  He has placed us within His body and given us His Holy Spirit so that we might do as he did – abandon ourselves and reach out to those in need.  We are to use His power and His gifts to free people from their bondage and brokenness and to give them hope, healing, and purpose.  Everyday of our lives, we miss opportunities to do just that.  It’s not about going out on a missions trip to some third world country – it’s about being His body and using His gifts every day of our lives and realizing the mission to which he has called each of us.
This evening, I’m meeting with the ministry leaders of New Hope.  Together, we are going to plan and prepare the ministries of New Hope to receive those who are ready to rise up and take their place within His body.  If you are no longer satisfied to just maintain the status quo and are ready to see the power of God work through you and to reach out to those who are so in need of what He has placed within you – there is no better place to start than right here in our local body.  There are so many lost and hurting right here in our backyard – let’s prepare the way for them to meet the one who can take away all of their tears and fears and is waiting with open arms to receive them.
Over the next several weeks, we’ll be making known various areas of ministry opportunities.  Please don’t hesitate!  Pray about where He desires you to be within His body and boldly rise up and take your place!