The Essence of Church Membership – 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 – Sermon Notes

The church is God’s work

Union with Christ is a bit like branches on a vine. Other image is marriage. We are living out this reality that we’re not just individuals. We have been joined together with the body of Christ. Each of us are members of that. He did it on the cross.

The church is the Holy Spirit’s work. We are given the one spirit to drink. The church is the Father’s work. He arranges each part of the body as he pleases. The universe staggers at the beauty and wisdom of the church.

God has a glorious vision

God’s vision for the church is glorious. The glory rests upon the unity to the body within diversity. Paul is using our physical bodies. There is to be in Christ this kind of unity. It needs to be reflected in our local churches. The unity is built upon a widespread empathy. Paul says there should be equal concern for the other. It is a high calling for a church of any size. The call to us is to see it multiply to the weaker parts. The whole body responds to each part. Each brother and sister in Christ are family. God has saved people, given them gifts and placed them in the body so that this kind of unity is achieved.

There are two threats to this vision

The problem of inferiority and insignificance (v15-16). The problem of superiority and self sufficiency (v21). Just because you think that way doesn’t make it so. Every part is indeed necessary. God has constructed the church out of diversity and every part is necessary.

Most foundational to our commitment to the church as individuals is a commitment to the whole church. We can’t see home groups as mini churches. It’ll cut off the body. We need to commit ourselves to modelling this empathy. More intentional about rest and noticing people. We want to become the model of this kind of care that’s catching in the congregation.

Practise hospitality. Ask at least one spiritually meaningful question. Come early and leave late so that you can engage with people. Make your main ministry focus people and not programmes. Point people to people. Be patient. Reach and pray. Love and stay.

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