Archive for November, 2012



   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts

Paul is addressing the topic of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12-14. He had just declared that although we together comprise the body of Christ, you are “members in particular” (v. 27b). Then he continues, “And God has set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:28). The “members in particular” have roles based upon their giftings in the body of Christ.

Observe first that we are told “God has set” these ministry gifts (people) in their positions. These are not elected positions. How do we know who God has called to what position? The gifts will support their calling. Just because someone wants to be an apostle doesn’t make them one. The rest of the body will recognize that ministry gift. In the church world, ordination is simply a public acknowledgment of what God has done.

I once was interviewing a lady pastor from Toledo who desired to become a member of our Fellowship of churches. Someone asked the question, “Do you think it is scriptural for a woman to be called into the ministry?” She wisely replied, “My ministry speaks for itself”. She was correct. She had started and built The People’s Church and had several hundred people attending. We ordained her.

Observe also that there is a sequence to these gifts. Apostle was in first place. Diversities of tongues was in last place. All gifts are important in the body, but there must be a head to the body which all other parts yield to.

Also note that God has set these ministry gifts “in the church“. Outside the church watching it on TV is not where God places these gifts. The individual gifts have their authority and miraculous power when they function together in harmony.

Where are you on the ministry gift list? Where would you like to be?

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   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts

The Apostle Paul summarized all that he had just said about the body of Christ in verse 27: “Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (1 Corinthians 12). Here he is applying all that he had just said about the body of Christ in general, and makes it personal to the readers: that is, to you and me.

In the original Greek the word you is plural. We are all together the body of Christ when we function as God has called us. We are His hands and feet. We are the ones carrying out the direction of the head, Jesus Christ. The will of God doesn’t get done unless we do it. We no more act on our own behalf, but we act on God’s behalf.

But then he adds, “and members in particular“. So, the body of Christ is comprised of us all with all our various gifts. But each of us as individuals are essential in making up the whole. Each piece adds to the whole. The body is not whole without all the pieces.

The church of Christ has weakened itself by dividing into ever smaller and predictable groups. What would happen if the whole church, all the parts and all the denominations, saw each other as vital parts of the body? I think we would seek each other out a little more.

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   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts

Paul had just said, “The members should have the same care one for another” (v. 25), meaning that there should be no favoritism in the body of Christ (the church).

He continues that thought: “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26). He sees the various people that make up the body of Christ being so tightly woven together that we become dependent upon one another. If someone in the church is hurting, everyone should share the hurt. And if another receives a promotion or acclaim, we all share in the good news.

We saw this happen this year when Becky Young had her accident, and when Diane Vance’s nephew was killed right in the middle of re-roofing Nate and Diane’s house, and when Janett Brunger’s husband, Ron, passed away. You all stepped in and brought relief to their grief. That’s what the church is all about.

But, I wonder if others were ignored in their grief because we hadn’t made room for them in the body. What if we went out of our way to heal hurts in people we hardly know? What if we saw ourselves as Paul saw us, so connected to one another that we never became jealous of someone else’s success? What if our purpose in the church was to strengthen those weaker than ourselves?

I think that would make the church look a whole lot more desirable to the lost than they currently see us. Think about this today.

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   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts

Paul has been discussing spiritual gifts in light of the body of Christ (local church). He has just said that it is important that the stronger parts of the body strengthen the weaker so that the whole body be stronger and healthier.

That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another” (1 Corinthians 12:25). ‘Schism’ means division. Paul is saying that if we don’t have equal care for all parts of the body, the church will naturally divide between the haves and the have-nots. This is not acceptable. If our goal was to make everyone equal we would never look down upon anyone and exclude them. Oh, if the individual members of the body of Christ would get a hold of this principle!

How do we give “the same care one for another”? We do so by intentionally looking out for our weaker brothers and sisters. This is what Barnabas did for Paul in his early years when the apostles were afraid of him (Acts 9:26-27). We should all strive diligently to make sure there is no class structure at New Hope. We value everyone and help them grow. We don’t pay special attention to the rich people when they come dressed up, nor do we ignore the worldly person when they come with tattoos and piercings and wild clothing styles. Each of them is seeking spiritual truth.

Let’s work hard to identify the parts of the body that need greater care and make them feel connected. That’s honoring them.


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   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts

And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God has tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked” (1 Corinthians 12:23-24).

Last Thursday Anita and I hosted our family for Thanksgiving. We all ate well, but we pretty much ignored everyone but the youngest grandchildren. We gave special favor and assistance to them, because they can’t take care of themselves. We gave them special honor and attention.

That’s what Paul is talking about in the body. We give special honor and favor to those who can’t take care of themselves. That would include the children in our church, the aged in our church, and the spiritually immature. When someone in the church becomes vulnerable due to an attack, a death, a failure, or anything else that makes them weak, those members of the body that are stronger need to step up to the plate.

Jealousy and competitiveness in the church just doesn’t lend itself to spiritual gifts. Those of us who feel better than another must use those strengths to strengthen the weaker. Strengthening the weaker brother/sister strengthens the whole body. The church of Jesus Christ just looks better all around.

What part of the body at New Hope has a need? Go after that need and watch your spiritual gifts come alive!

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   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts

And the eye cannot say unto the hand, ‘I have no need of you’: nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you’. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary” (1 Corinthians 12:21-22).

Paul makes it clear in these verses that every part of the body is needed for the whole body to be effective. No part can say that the body would be better off without another part. The older cannot say the younger aren’t needed. Nor can the men say the women aren’t needed. The successful cannot say the poor are not needed. And the healthy cannot say the handicapped are not needed. All these diverse parts make up the body of Christ. This is the way Christ designed our local body.

But then Paul goes farther by saying “much more” the weaker, seemingly non-beneficial parts, are more necessary to the body than those very gifted parts. Why is that? Those weaker parts provide a ministry opportunity for those of us who want to use our gifts for the Kingdom’s sake.

Who would you identify as the ‘weaker’ members of New Hope? How are you using your gifts to minister to them? How are you personally bettering their lives? These verses provide guidance for how each of us are to invest our spiritual gifts in others for the benefit of the whole body.

How will you practice this verse this weekend when you come to worship?

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   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts, Uncategorized

And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet one body” (1 Corinthians 12:19-20). Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, we can return to our study of spiritual gifts. Paul is connecting logic to this teaching about spiritual things that are not logical. If each one in the body were all alike, there would be no body where parts work together. But, as anyone can see in reality, the church is one body with many members that should be functioning together.

He is referring back to his main point back in verse 12: “For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

Herein is a paradox: we are many individuals and yet we are one body. Only through the Spirit of God can these many individual gifts function together like a football team on the field, achieving a common goal. So the rich work together with the poor, the educated with the uneducated, the white with the black, and the old with the young. We’re all one body!

The greater the diversity, the more powerful the unity. This is the working of spiritual gifts in its greatest potential. Let’s stop trying to get everyone to be more uniform, and permit everyone to following their own diversity in unity. And let’s win the game for Jesus!

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