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February 24, 2020  

(Discovering God’s Will Together; #12)

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!” 22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. (1 Corinthians 12:21-26)

A. The Corinthian Church was a place of controlled chaos

1. Paul notes its membership: Jewish merchants, gypsies, Greeks,

prostitutes, and pagan idolaters

2. Paul notes their battles with schism, incest, greed, and the Lord’s Supper

B. Paul struggles with a basic question: “What is the Church?”

C. I wonder what metaphors Paul might use if he were writing today

1. The metaphor of the body has taken on additional depth and meaning:

our bodies are incredible; all systems work together as a unit

2. Alcoholics Anonymous involves compassionate listening, warm

responses, and hugs; participants are honest and transparent;

they are there for each other

3. At the Secretary of State’s Office, we’re forced to step outside our

small circle and realize there is a big world out there

4. Like a med-station, the Church should be open long hours, convenient

to find, willing to meet the needs of those who drop in because

life happens, and provide healing


A. If you begin reading in Genesis, you begin reading the history of families

1. History records the rise and fall of civilizations

2. The news reports the rise and fall of institutions

3. The Bible chronicles the rise and fall of families

B. Families work from a different paradigm

1. A family has the same Father - he gives the family its name and identity

2. Our “status” in God’s family: we are born (lit. adopted) into the family

a. An undeserving or underachieving child is not kicked out of the family

“There is no Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave nor free” (cf. 1 Cor. 12:13)

b. Distinctions melt under the Son of God’s grace

3. Families are built on love and acceptance

“Families teach us how love exists in a realm beyond liking and disliking, co-existing with indifference, rivalry, and even antipathy.” (John Updike)

C. Imagine the Body of Christ as a family gathered around the dinner table

1. This extended family contains some successful individuals, some average

ones, and some who have failed to meet any of their potential

“Family is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” (Robert Frost)

2. God designed the nuclear family to prepare us to relate to others:

a. The family is the one institution we don’t get to choose

b. In the family, we’ll find people we like and who are unlikeable

“To dwell in love with saints above, Why, that will be glory. To dwell below with saints I know, well, that’s a different story.” (Anonymous)

“Community is a place where the person you least want to live with always lives.” (Henry Nouwen)

c. Families work best, not when they focus on differences, but celebrate them!

d. Families build up their weakest, smallest, and youngest members

“Which one of my children do I love the best, I love the sick one until he is well, the one away from home until she’s back.” (John Wesley’s mother)

3. To discern God’s will together, we need to listen together, live together,

love together, and listen together - so we can serve and glorify God together


A. Question: “Are we a community of Christ embracing those who come here?”

B. Question: “Are we a community of Christ embracing those who

live in this neighborhood?”

C. Question: “Are we Christ’s community? Is he living among us?”

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