One Body + Many Parts = Jesus Christ to the World

If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, then you’re a child of the Living and Only God. As I shared last week in
Rolling out the Red Carpet for God’s Children,” The Lord has lavished many incredible gifts upon you, including the Holy Spirit as the down payment of your inheritance. In the Spirit is a whole set of other gifts you are given in order to mature in the likeness of Jesus, and to be His light to those around you.

There are gifts that every child of God receives. These are known as the Fruits of the Spirit as described in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…”

There are even more presents which are specifically chosen for each person that not everyone receives equally. These are commonly referred to as “spiritual gifts.” These giftings are fascinating in that when each member of the family of God uses them, we make up the whole image of Jesus Christ to the world, and the power of His work is lived out among us all. Many feel like they have a hard time understanding with which gift(s) the Holy Spirit has equipped them. Scripture says it’s important for us to know so we must pay attention to this and figure out for ourselves the answers personally.

“Now concerning spiritual gifts: brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be unaware. You know that when you were pagans, you used to be enticed and led astray by mute idols. Therefore I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:1-3

The language we use is a beginning clue into who has received the Spirit and His giftings. Anyone who speaks against or denies Jesus is not part of His family. It is the ones who testify to the reality of Jesus and His Lordship over them which are His; these are your fellow citizens of heaven, and brothers and sisters in Christ.

“Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different activities, but the same God works all of them in each person. A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good:” 1 Corinthians 12:4-7

Ephesians 4:4-6 says, “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” These two passages are saying that because there is one God, we are one family under Him, and therefore have one, united mission for all of us. However, there are various giftings, ministries, and activities to fulfill this mission in order to execute it fully through Christ.

What are these giftings?

“…To one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit, to another, a message of knowledge by the same Spirit, to another, faith by the same Spirit, to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another, the performing of miracles, to another, prophecy, to another, distinguishing between spirits, to another, different kinds of tongues, to another, interpretation of tongues. One and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as he wills.” 1 Corinthians 12:8-11

Over and over it is reiterated that all of these gifts are given by Holy Spirit alone! It is not done by you or I, or any other power except almighty God. 1 Corinthians does not give a comprehensive list of these giftings either. Here’s a few more:

Romans 12:76-8

  • Service
  • Teaching
  • Exhortation
  • Giving with Generosity
  • Leading with diligence
  • Showing mercy with cheerfulness

Ephesians 4:11

  • Apostles
  • Evangelists
  • Pastors/Shepherds

1 Corinthians 12:8-11 (recap to be seen in list format like the others)

  • Wisdom
  • Knowledge
  • Faith
  • Healing
  • Miracles
  • Prophecy
  • Discernment/Distinguishing between spirits
  • Tongues
  • Interpretation of tongues

“For just as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all given one Spirit to drink.” (1 Corinthians:12-14) Why do you think Paul reiterated this aspect of many members of one body/family are one in Christ? It is to keep our focus on being united together in Him, rather than getting caught up in our own life and beginning to cause division and envy between one another. These giftings were not given to us to cause competition; they were given in order that we may work together as one unit, using the giftings we’ve been given to show the whole picture of Jesus to the world. I would hazard a guess that God orchestrates each church to have all of His gifts represented within it, so we can share the gospel and properly minister to those in need.

“Indeed, the body is not one part but many. If the foot should say, “Because I’m not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,” it is not for that reason any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I’m not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,” it is not for that reason any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God has arranged each one of the parts in the body just as he wanted. And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” Or again, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that are weaker are indispensable. And those parts of the body that we consider less honorable, we clothe these with greater honor, and our unrespectable parts are treated with greater respect, which our respectable parts do not need.

Instead, God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the less honorable, so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, next miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, leading, various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all do miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But desire the greater gifts. And I will show you an even better way.” 1 Corinthians 12:15-31

Every family member of God and each gift given to them are considered an asset to the fulfillment of our King’s plans. You and I are not to boast in our gifts, nor are we to envy or diminish others’. They were each given by God’s sovereignty and should be honoured.

According to 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, none of these gifts matter if they are not administered in love. This is truly the power of the Spirit at work in them. So, I admonish you today to study the gifts with which the Lord has graciously endowed you. Look at your brothers and sisters in the church. Which gifts has God given them, and how can you link your gifts together to share the gospel in your community and minister to those in need? Whatever you do, even the smallest of opportunities are honoured by your King and He rejoices!

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