1 Corinthians 12:12-31 We Are The Body Of Christ


Intro We have noted in our study of 1 Corinthians that one of the pivotal & fundamental problems in the Church at Corinth is that they had taken their eyes off of Jesus Christ -  Lost sight of Christ


A)  RESULTING IN VARIOUS PROBLEMS : Focused on man and not on the Lord  “I’m of…  Caught up in Carnality – Allowing Carnality


B) Majoring on Minors – Issues of Christian Liberty & their abuses

     1)  They were Abusing the Lord’s table



C)  What is interesting is that in his attempt to correct each one of these problems, Paul brings them back to Christ  -  Preach Christ  /  Joining Christ – Body is temple

     1)  And the current problem we are dealing with – abuse of the gifts of the Spirit is no EXCEPTION.


In the middle of this discussion on the gifts of the Holy Spirit & their place & function in the Church – Paul wants them to remember what they are in Christ – A BODY – Body Of Christ




We will look at the first part of this tonight!  The importance of remembering we are the BODY OF CHRIST.  Read Verses 12-31


Now Paul begins making a statement in verse 12 that is going to set up this illustration that he is about to give – how church functions

12  For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.

NLT  12  The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up only one body.  So it is with the body of Christ.


The human body is an amazing Creation – One thing that fascinates me – is the study of Human anatomy.

A)  It is amazing the way that we have been put together / I love statistics like these / in a 24 hr. period your heart beats 103,689 times


B)  Your blood travels 168 million miles / equivalent of 6,720 times around the world ! /

     1) You breathe 23,040 times / You inhale 438 cubic feet of air


     2) You speak 4,800 words / You move 750 muscles / You exercise 7 million brain cells



C)  The body is a masterpiece / Beautifully “engineered,” it is governed by several hundred systems of control -

     1)  each interacting with and affecting the other.


D)  The brain has 10 billion nerve cells to record what a person sees and hears. / His skin has more than 2 million tiny sweat glands

     1) – about 3000 per square inch – all part of the intricate system which keeps the body at an even temperature


d)  Senses smell meat / cookies / perfume / taste Denny’s / touch / hear - music


E)  You could go on and on in talking about the intricate way the human body has been designed ! / work of art / incredible wisdom !


F)  Many parts – various functions – all radically important!!



When I meet someone who denies the existence of God  One thing I like to do is engage them in a conversation about human body

A)  The design definitely points to a designer  (Cars today complicated)

     1)  Don’t even compare to our human bodies!

          Design = Designer


Yes, it is amazing how the Lord has designed our human bodies but what is equally amazing is His design of The Church!

A)      Writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit – Paul declares we in Christ are a body – Body that has many – members & functions / like the human body


B)  Understand the Church is not a building or an organization but a living organism!

     1)  Not just a collection of parts – assembly line / but a body designed formed and fitted together by the Lord Himself!


C)  And within the body there is Unity – Many members in one body - / Christ is the Head / Also Diversity – all members have different Functions / giftings


Now the next thing that Paul does is He Proceeds to tell how we become a part of this body !  Exactly what it means to be a Christian.

A)  13 For by one ‘Spirit we were all baptized into one body; whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free; and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.


B)  Now Paul is speaking here about conversion & what happens when a person gives their life to the Lord – BAPTIZED INTO THE BODY OF….


C)  Now this shouldn’t be confused with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit – although it is used at times as a proof text for those who deny a 2nd work /

     1)  Some say – get it all at once – (True in some cases – Cornelius)

D)  Bible clearly teaches a subsequent works – of Holy Spirit in a person’s life


Jesus made this very clear in John 14:16,17  (Turn & set scene)


Last supper – washed feet – I’m leaving


NLT  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, who will never leave you.

17  He is the Holy Spirit , who leads into all truth.  The world at large cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him.  But you do, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.


Here Jesus uses 2 different words to describe – ministry of the Spirit.  With & IN

A)  He was with them because he was with Jesus / Before saved with us convicting of sin-drawing us to Christ.


B)  Once saved – New relationship – Moves from being – with us to living inside of us – INDWELT BY HOLY SPIRIT.

     1)  This indwelling of the Holy Spirit that Jesus spoke of as a near future event occurred in the lives of the disciples in John 20


C)  Where we read in verse 22 after the resurrection – Saw resurrected Lord – Breathed & said Receive ye Holy Spirit – Jesus says receive you do - CONVERSION


D)  Now when we are born again the Holy Spirit in us / but we are also placed in Christ – meant by phrase – BAPTIZED INTO ONE BODY  à In Christ – part of Body


But there is a 3rd aspect of the ministry of the Holy Spirit that JESUS Spoke of

Acts chapter 1:4  4  And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you heard from Me;

5  “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”


8  “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;  and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”


Now this is where our attention to the terminology is so important

A)  Jesus declares that they were going to baptized with the Spirit / that the Holy Spirit was going to come upon them.  New word


B)  So Note in 1 Corinthians 12:13 speaking of conversion – Paul says we were baptized by the Spirit into the body

     1)  But here in Acts chapter 1 JESUS says they were going to be baptized with the Spirit / the Spirit was going to come upon them to empower them.


C)  The difference is this – important to see – Baptized = immersed by the Spirit into the body of Christ

     1)  But we are Baptized or immersed or filled to overflowing with the Spirit resulting power by Jesus – John the Baptist makes it very clear Matthew 3:11


“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.


D)  Paul’s life is also example subsequent work (2nd work) – saved on the road to Damascus – Baptized in water & with Spirit - Ananias

     1)  Acts 19 have you received Spirit since you believed?


E)  Further insight – Ephesians 5:18  Be continually being filled….



So there in 1 Corinthians 12:13 Paul is referring to what happens at Conversion – we are baptized into the body of Christ by the Spirit / One body ….

A)  That is what the church is,  It is not just a group of religious people gathered together to enjoy certain functions.


B)  It is a group of people who share the same life, who belong to the same Lord, who are filled with the same Spirit, & given gifts by that same Spirit !!!!

     1) and who are intended to function together to change the world by the Spirit’s power!!  That is the work of the church.


C)  The apostle goes on in the next few verses to make this crystal clear by explaining to us just how this works.


D)      He describes how the body functions, & in doing so he deals with 3 major problems, 3 mental attitudes that often come up in the Church.












E)  He describes how the body functions, and in doing so he deals with 3 major problems,  3 mental attitudes that often come up in the Church.



The first one is the feeling of insignificance.

A) I wonder how many people here have said to themselves or felt at one time,  “I love to come to church but I don’t feel there is anything I can do.  I can’t contribute to the work of the church because I don’t have any abilities.  Others know so much more than I.”


B)  Paul deals with that very attitude here !!  Verses 14-20


C)  Paul says that if the foot were to say – I can’t do what the hand can do – I can’t wiggle my toes like the hand does the fingers

1)                  Therefore I don’t belong to the body


D)  Not True – couldn’t walk or stand -


Thumb – short & pudgy – not like other fingers –

A)  Couldn’t grab things / write etc


B)  There is no insignificant part of the body – [Big toe] – couldn’t stand


C)  So too there is no insignificant part of the Body of Christ




A)  We have the wrong idea of what work of the church is, and this is why people begin to feel this way.


B)  There are many today who have the concept that the real work of the church is getting together and having a great meeting on Sundays / Wednesday.

     1)  where we come together and enjoy learning from the Scriptures and fellowshipping with one another. – Work of Church – Function of Body


C)  And, as this concept goes, people who lead these meetings have certain gifts.  They are the Ministers

     !)  They have to keep everything in order etc.  So others in the congregation look at them and say,  “That is the work of the church.  I can’t do any of those things, therefore I really have no part to play in the church.”


D)  The reality is that what we do here on Sunday & Wednesday is just a small part of what the Church is all about..

See, the Church is made up of many members with different Gifts & functions and callings – The Lord wants to use us in the WORLD!!! – Team Evangelism Prayer:



E)  So what we do here is merely to be an encouraging & equipping time for this body to be effective as Salt & Light in the World.

     1)  This is merely part of the training program.


F)  Now if that is your mindset, there is definitely something – for everyone /





A)  All different / gifted differently by Design – what if all an EYE – no hearing - Gross

     1)  When you are fulfilling your role – Lord is pleased!!


B)  Youth Pastor – Football – Eyeball - gross


C)  Imagine all Preachers – Chaos / or all worship leaders / helps -



Now the 2nd problem Paul deals with that surfaces in a church, is an INDEPENDENT SPIRIT  verse 21

A)  Eye can’t say …….


A)   No Lone Rangers in the Body – One dimensional – You remove yourself – We are affected!!-  (Hebrews 10:24,25  Don’t forsake the assembling..)




A)  Our Problem – we esteem gifts – that are the most out in the open / Think those presentable as the ones that are the most important


B)  The ones that are less visible as less important – note those which seem weaker – that is our problem

     1)  Not weaker but seem weaker à  emphasis is on what we can see -



     1)  I could live without an Arm / Leg / Finger / eye / all presentable parts


D)  But not a Heart  /  not a brain  -  (Same true in body of Christ)



In the Body of Christ – Heart – Prayer warriors  /  Brain – gift of Govt. Nerves - Helps

A)  We would be nowhere without those gifts


B)  So the focus is not the gifts but the Body – Christ is the Head!!! – functioning properly so that Christ is exalted & magnified



Now Paul finishes up this section by giving us some final thoughts & insights into how we are a body

26      And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.


A)     Notice that he does not say all “should” suffer with it, or all “should” be honored together.  He says they actually are.


a)  Whether you realize it or not part of the body suffers – other part affected – lose hand – affects rest of me.


B)  Say Christian in the Limelight – is found to be in Sin – guess what we all suffer – we grieve / also affects our witness

     1)  It affects our witness & Testimony -


C)  That is why I say – living in sin / bad witness / lousy worker / don’t even call yourself a Christian - / affects me


A)  But if a Christian is honored – makes the rest of us look good too!  We benefit   Billy Graham:  Jimmy Swaggart


Verses 27-31

26      Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.

27      And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.

28      Are all apostles?  Are all prophets?  Are all teachers?  Are all workers of miracles?

29      Do all have gifts of healings?  Do all speak in tongues?  So all interpret?  (Rhetorical Question & the Indication here is – No )

30      But earnestly desire the best gifts.  And yet I show you a more excellent way



THREE final thoughts

A) 1st  Best gifts?  Which ones?  What ever the need is at that moment




C)  Given by the Spirit at specific time & need – (Moved in all of them)

     1) Romans 12 more permanent in nature