By Sam Greer Senior
Pastor, Red Bank Baptist Church, Chattanooga
Focal Passage: 1 Corinthians 12:4-12, 21-26
The three smallest bones in the human body are found in the middle ear ossicles, more commonly known as the hammer, anvil and stirrup. Although these bones work in obscurity, totally invisible to the outside world, they are essential to our ability to hear. Without these small bones, only 0.1 percent of the sound energy that hits the eardrum would be transferred to the inner ear. God, however, designed these tiny parts in such a way that their leverage is maximized which allows them to produce a sonic effect far beyond their size.
No part of the human body is too small or insignificant. Likewise, no member of the body of Christ is too small or unimportant. Every member of the body of Christ has a sphere of influence whether large or small, whether visible or invisible. Every single follower of Christ plays a vital role in God’s plan of restoring a broken world. We may be hidden like the bones in the inner ear, but each follower of Christ is essential.
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul addressed the subject of unity through diversity. He wanted each member of the body of Christ to understand that every member had received a spiritual gift from the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, the gifts of the Spirit are given by the Spirit as God wills and for the good of the whole body. Every member of the body of Christ matters. No member gets an exemption from serving. Even the greatest member of the body is not greater than the body of Christ. Two undeniable truths surface from this week’s text in 1 Corinthians 12.
First, God’s variety has gospel unity. In 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, Paul wrote about the variety of gifts, service and activities given by the Spirit. Paul maintained that although these all vary, there is one Spirit, one Lord, and one God. God is the Creator who created creation. As Creator, our God is so creative that He created creativity!
God’s creativity can be seen in the variety of gifts mentioned: utterance of wisdom, utterance of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working of miralces, prophecy, discernment, various kinds of tongues and interpretation of tongues (vv. 7-11). God shares His variety of gifts with us so we can together share His gospel. Every gift is important and no gift is insignificant. We are gifted by God to have gospel conversations for God.
Second, God’s unity has good variety. Paul argued that one part of the human body is unable to say to another part that it is not needed (v. 21). The eye of the body needs the hand and vice versa. When one part of the body is affected the whole body is affected. Although each of the members of the body of Christ are diversified, they are also unified (vv. 22-26).
One of my favorite definitions of preaching is “Truth through personality” (Phillips Brooks). One part of this definition never changes while the other is never the same. “Truth” never changes. Although it tries, the world can’t change the fact that two plus two equals four. “Personality” is never the same. Our God has never created two people with the exact same personality. Personalities are always different, but truth is always the same.
Brooks’ definition also applies to personal evangelism. Whatever your personality, you are gifted by God to share the truth of the gospel. Stop trying to be who God has not created you to be. Rest in the grace of God and use your giftedness to share the gospel of God.