'' Evangelizing The GOSPEL Throughout The World'' 


''With A Heart For The World''

1 Corinthians 12:1-31
There are several references,  by Jesus or others, to his physical body
 (John 19:38; Acts 2:31; 1 Corinthians 11:24; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 3:18). Once Jesus compared his body to the ''temple'', presumably became it was God's special dwelling place while he was on earth (John 2:19-21). The bread at the Lord's Supper is also portrayed as Christ's body. As well, the image of Christ's ''body''  is Paul's favorite way of talking about the people of God. It appears serveal times and receives extended treatment in four of he letters. In the earlist passages he focuses upon believers' relationship with one another in Christ, in the later passages on the relationship of the church as a whole with Christ. Referring to a group of people as a body was not new, Serveral ancient writes pictured their society this way. Paul borrowed this image from the surrounding culture, but used it in a more novel fashion. He was the first to apply it to a smaller group within society, the local church, and the first to use it of people's personal rather than civic responsibilities. He saw believers joined both to Christ ( 1 Corinthians 6:15) and to one another (1 Corinthians 10:17). This was accomplished by the Spirit the moment they were baptized (1 Corinthians 12:13). Membership in church was not something you signed up for, nor was it in an instiution. It was to Christ, and to a specific group of people, that were joined when you became a believer. In his earlier letter to the Corinthians and to the Romans, Paul's description of the church as body has several features:
1. A church is the body- that is, the full expression- of Christ in a particular place (1 Corinthians12:27),not just part, or a partial  expressionof, some wilder denominational body of Christ.Though belonging to a network of churches is a part of Paul's vision, he does not use body language to describe this.
2.Since it is made up of people of different genders, races, and classes, the local church is quite diverse. Yet, just as the different organs in the body make up a unity, so it is with the church ( 1Corinthians 12:12-13).
3. As they come to eat the Lord's Supper together, believers are to express their unity by welcoming and serving one another. Otherwise it is not the giving of Christ's body they are celebrating and receiving in the meal ( 1 Corinthians 10:17: 11:29).
4. The Spirit distributes a diverse range of gifts to individual members of the body to share with one another 
( 1 Corinthians 12:4-11). None of these should be disregarded or overvalued in the church's meetings. Only when all gifts are present is the church made fully whole ( Romans 12: 4-6; 1 Corinthians 12: 14-21).
5. Each member of the church should have a realistic understanding of the gifts they do and do not possess ( Romans 12:3), otherwise they misunderstand their function in the body. Also, they should only exercise gifts to the degree they have been given them ( Romans 12:3, 6-8).
6. It is often the least prominent contributors to the life of the congregation who should be given greatest respect, just as mant of the body's most important parts are hidden, so are many of the most significant functions in the church ( 1 Corinthians 12: 22-25).
7. So close is the link between members that what affects one necessarily affects all. It is as if each local body of believers had a common nerve placed in them by and connected with Christ ( 1 Corinthians 12: 26). In these early uses of the image of the local church as a body, Christ appears to be present in and through the whole body ( Romans 12: 5; 1 Corinthians 12:12). In the later passages in Ephesians and Colossians Paul's vision expands and Christ is represented as the head of the body
 ( Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18,24; 2:19-20; 3:15), Which is a heavenly entity made up of all believers, alive and dead, Such an idea is difficult for us to grasp. We have to think of our living two dimensions-here on earth inhabited by the Spirit who draw us into a concrete Christian community, and the same time in heaven with Christ along with all the saints. As Paul says; '' (God) raised us up with Christ and gave us a seat with him in the heavens'' 
( Ephesians 2:6).