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1 Corinthians 12:12, 27

1 Corinthians 12:12, 27


Series: The Church
Sermon: The Body of Christ
Bible Passage: 1 Corinthians 12:12, 27

I. What prompted Paul to write this passage?

1. The congregation that consisted of Jews, non-Jews, slaves, and free did not maintain a healthy congregational relationship
2.  The Roman class system was most likely brought into the church
3. Some people claimed superiority over others because of their social status and spiritual gifts
4. The Corinthian Church was a dysfunctional church (handicapped church

In verse 27, Apostle Paul calls the local church at Corinth “Christ’s body” and the believers “members of Christ’s body”

II. Apostle Paul starts the body metaphor in verse 12 with an analogy

1. The analogy: human body vs Christ
2. By way of comparison, Apostle Paul calls the church “Christ” (was he intentional in calling the church “Christ”?)

a. A body has many parts
b. Many parts make up a body
c. Christ is one
d. Many members constitute Christ

3. The church is the means whereby Christ reveals Himself on earth
4. Christ continues to become incarnate in the world through His Spirit
5. Through this analogy, Apostle Paul develops a Christological focus in the church

a. Just as the human body unifies the plurality of its members, Christ unifies the church which has members from diverse background
b. In Christ, unity dominates diversity and Christ makes diversity meaningful and beautiful

6. Paul could have possibly developed this analogy “church as Christ” from his Damascus Road experience (Acts 9:4-5)
7. Relationship among Christ-followers in a local church is Christ-centered

III. The local church is a divinely constructed union (verse 13)

1. It’s not the choosing of the members
2. It’s the work of the Holy Spirit
3. Because the local church is a divinely constructed unity, the believers must transcend their pre-conversion statuses—social, economic, male, female, and political

a. Paul seems to emphasize unity in diversity—unity is not uniformity
b. If it is divinely constructed unity, the members must not avoid their role
c. If they did, they are contempt of God’s body

IV. Function of every believer in a local church is to live in relation to others—no option (verses14-27)

1. No place for groupism or elitism in this body (verses 14-17)

a. Because all are equally important
b. Survival of one person is dependent on the rest of the body

2. Each member has a role to play in this body (cf. verse 18-23)
3. There needs to be mutuality and inter dependability
4. Because each one has a unique role, all are necessary despite their difference
5. The difference in the body is God ordained and each one is assigned specific role(s) (cf. verse 24-27)

V. Contextual Reflection

1. No member of the faith family can stay unconnected to the rest of the family
2. Their membership is not just for their benefit alone (in other words, they cannot be purely consumers)
3. Each member has a contribution to make to the rest of the faith family
4. Some of you may have a visible contribution to make, but others may have contributions that are not visible to everyone
5. Just because you are making a visible contribution to the body does not mean that you need to claim superiority
6. You can make the church healthy or keep it handicapped—our congregation appears to be handicapped because some of you are playing your role
7. Your work in an organization outside may not be equated to your contribution to your local body (you have a specific role to play at the faith family)
8. There is no pick and choose with regard to who you relate to in the family of faith—all should benefit from you and all must benefit you

Take Away: 

1. Perform the assigned function within this body
2. Renounce polarizing moves and practices
3. Transcend the differences and strive to become part of the organic unity

Speaker: William J. Subash

Born and raised in south India, William J. Subash became a follower of Jesus Christ in 1983 at the age of nineteen. After a brief career in a tea and coffee plantation, Subash decided to spend rest of his life to preach about Jesus and his life-transforming message of God, which is popularly known as “the Gospel.” Subash teaches New Testament Studies at two institutions: SAIACS in India and Liberty University Online, VA, USA. Currently, Subash serves as the chief point person for GROW Gospel Initiatives and the Lead Pastor of the Crossroad Church, Bangalore. Write to him at