Posted by Brad Quiring on September 15, 2017
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
When we are together as followers of Jesus this is called “The Church”. Christ has brought us together and wants us to be together in unity. To function properly, then, we must have the right attitude. So Paul takes us to our hearts and minds, first.
Paul says we must not think more highly of ourselves than we ought, but rather with sober judgment. This means that we aren’t to think that we are better than anyone else, that we have more worth than anyone else and that we are entitled to something that someone else is not entitled to. Rather, literally, we are to think of ourselves with a sound mind, sanely. We are to have full self-awareness and self-control. This is called HUMILITY.
This humility is based on God’s grace, which is a free gift and undeserved blessing from God. With humility in mind, Paul goes on:
4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
Paul illustrates his point by comparing The Church (all those who believe in Jesus) to a physical body. Our physical bodies are made up of very distinct parts with their own, specific function. So, too, IN CHRIST, there are many individuals, with own talents, personalities and abilities. We are brought together, IN CHRIST, into one body, still as individuals with our own talents, personalities and abilities. And, we are united, IN CHRIST, for the benefit of each other.
The point is that each member functions to serve the body, not the body to serve the members. The local congregation, a smaller gathering of The Church, does not exist to give benefits to individual members. Rather, all the members are together for the collective benefit. All are blessed by one another.
So, how does this work itself out?
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Paul gives some practical advice now, based on the divine reality of grace from God through faith in Jesus Christ.
We have different gifts, special divine abilities from God. We are expected to used these gifts from God for the benefit of all, (Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 1 Corinthians 12:7 (NIV2011)
So….USE THE GIFT!!
Prophesy: Proclamation of God’s word with clarity and boldness, especially with a warning tone. Proclaim with the faith you have and are growing into.
Serving: Providing practical care and help. When there is a need…take care of it.
Teaching: Explaining the meaning behind the concepts of the Bible in a clear way and then helping the learner put them into practice in everyday life.
Encourage: Literally means doing the work of the Holy Spirit to give courage and comfort to those who are weak. Encourage freely and with initiative, not expecting a reward.
Giving: practical giving of resources, especially money and goods, to help others in need. Give generously, liberally, freely, without expectation of a reward.
Lead: provide leadership, vision, direction and organization to an organization, group or project. Lead with dedication and care, always aiming for the goals of the group and the good of those who are part of it.
Mercy: To have compassion, acceptance and care toward those who are in trouble, marginalized or rejected. Show mercy in a happy, cheerful way.
Notice how all this works together IN CHRIST. Jesus is the key. He is the one who equips and He is our motivation.
Notice, too, that one person does not have all these gifts. They are distributed according to God’s plan to individuals who, in turn, use them TOGETHER with others.
Some love to give and help, but are not that great in teaching, and vice versa. The giver should then give and the teacher teach, so that all areas are covered. Others are great at prophesying, especially giving warnings to those who are in sin. The teacher and the encourager then come alongside the person who was warned to bring them back onto a path of strong living in Christ. The leaders make sure everything is organized so that those who show mercy and serve need only do their work without sweating calendars, schedules and costs.
We put all of this together and we have the true church. SERVING IN CHRIST TOGETHER!