Sunday School Material 5-17-15: One Body Many Members

(I Cor. 12:12-31)

Introduction:A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that Paul urges the readers to work together, as many parts on the same body. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to find and use our gifts together, as one body of Christ.

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Read I Corinthians 12:12-14

I. Unity Stated. Paul talks about how a human body with many parts is a way of thinking about how believers should relate to one another. In our Sunday School material Paul talks about being baptized into the one body. Jews and Gentiles as well as slave and free have equal status in the body.

Applications –

- In Christ together. Notice in vss. 12-14 of our Sunday School material that being in Christ is compared to how the parts of a human body relate to one another. This bond is stronger than the cultural division of being a Jew or Gentile or being a free person or a slave.

First, to be in Christ has both vertical and horizontal ramifications. The vertical connection to Christ and God are rather obvious. However, to be in Christ also includes the horizontal relationship with the others who are in Christ. Your right hand is not simply in relationship with the wrist nor the head, but the entire body.

Second, our being in “Christ” should be more important to us than cultural categories. Today, race and socio-economic status may be more on our minds than being a Jew or being a slave.

The deep racial segregation of our churches and class segregation within the same race of churches will be an issue that we have to answer for at judgment. Let’s work on living by the implications of being in Christ together.

- Baptisms. Notice in vs. 13 that there is what seems to be a spiritual baptism. The Pastor and others read this text to mean that when we accept Christ as our savior (i.e., get saved), we also experience spiritual baptism – the Holy Spirit’s putting us into the universal body of Christ/Church.

The Sunday School material commentator sees the text more related to water baptism. Both are important. Let’s live up to the symbolism of water baptism and our being spiritually baptized into the body of Christ.

Such living should be known for loving God and others, as we love ourselves.

Read I Corinthians 12:15-26

II. Unity Illustrated. Paul talks about how parts are not disassociated with the body because they say they are. He goes on to talk about in our Sunday School material the need to have diversity in the body, so the body can do what it was designed to do.

Each part needs the other. God has placed the parts in the body. All of the parts are important and should care for one another.

Applications –

- Disobedience, not disassociation. Notice in vss. 15-16 that believers are in the body of Christ, in spite of their declaration of being disassociated with the body. In other words, all believers are in the body – period.

There is no disassociation, just disobedience. The left baby toe doesn’t cease being a part of the body, because it feels that its job is not as important or appreciated as the right eye.

If it chooses to stop functioning, it simply calls for the rest of the body to figure out how to compensate.

Thus, no matter how ungifted or unappreciated we may feel, we are still in the body. Let’s work on finding and doing the work that God is calling us to do, as members of the church body/family.

- Diversity for God’s glory, not division. Notice in vss. 17-20 that God is the author of the diversity in the body/church. It is no accident that we are different in the church. It was God’s intention that we be diverse. However, the diversity is not for our division.

The diversity is so we can be all that God is calling us to be in this diverse world. Let’s use our diversity for God’s glory, not our division.

- Sharing each other’s suffering. Notice in vss. 21-26 that God expects the parts to be so connected that when one suffers, the others suffer as well. The Sunday School material has a nice discussion about the less honorable parts of the body being honored with cloths.

The point of the text is that no matter what our gifts may be, we should love and work with one another. This should be so much the case that when one suffers, all suffer. Think about how you can have one tooth that is aching and your whole body is impacted.

Think about how when one member of the church suffers death in their family, the entire church should at least pray for the member, in their time of grief.  Let’s work on loving and working with one another, so much that we feel each other’s joys and challenges.

Read I Corinthians 12:27-31

III. Unity Practiced. Paul goes on to talk about how his readers are the body of Christ. They have various gifts, instead of everyone having the same gift. He closes the Sunday School material by suggesting that there is a greater way than those mentioned.

Applications –

- Work together. Notice in vss. 27-31 that there are various gifts, which means we do not all have the same gifts. This is a somewhat redundant point in this lesson. However, it is important enough to underline several times.

We are different but yet connected for the glory of God. Let’s live like we understand this redundant point. Such living should be known for our discovering and using our God given abilities together, as one body, instead of as independent bodies. 

Conclusion: Let’s work on finding and using our gifts together, as one body of Christ. God has much for those who obey His will.

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