Holy Spirit Manifestation – Part 2

1 Corinthians 12:12-31
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.
13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.
16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.
17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?
18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
19 If they were all one part, where would the body be?
20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”
22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,
23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,
24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it,
25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.
29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?
30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?
31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way.

Notice the role of the Holy Spirit in this passage. The Holy Spirit is the connection which unifies and operates within the body of Christ; the church. Because we are all partakers of the same Spirit, we are all connected, yet, separate. We all need one another because we are all uniquely gifted. We all have something we can do and something we can contribute to Christ’s church. No one is insignificant and indispensible. And on the flip side, no one is indispensible and supremely essential.

The Holy Spirit binds us together and enables us to work together in unity. We may do what Max Lucado describes as clustering, “Oh, how we tend to cluster.”

We like to form tribes of like-minded Christ followers. We call these tribes churches and denominations. They are vehicles for expressing our understanding of the scriptures and for clustering together with people who are like us. We may express our identity by how we worship, how we dress, what rules govern our behavior, and so on, but mostly we are opting for style over substance. We often vote (by where we choose to worship) according to our personal preferences, not necessarily according to our deeply held convictions. That’s not to say we don’t hold certain beliefs to be nonnegotiable, it just means that beyond a certain threshold we exercise tolerance.

It’s okay for us to have these differences. Paul tells us that we are all individual and unique. When we fail to conform to the Holy Spirit’s control and influence, however, the Body of Christ becomes fractured and antagonistic. This is what Paul warns us about because it has no place in Christ’s Kingdom.

Then he concludes the passage by reminding us that the most excellent expression of the church is for us to love one another. We may like our distinctions but our controlling influence in the church must be to love one another and to love our neighbors. The combination of genuine love and surrender/obedience to the Holy Spirit makes the church unstoppable.

When we work together in love and unity with the Holy Spirit we will change the world.

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