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Everyone Matters

"12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now there are many members, but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, 24 whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. 29 All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? 30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? 31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts.

And I show you a still more excellent way."
I Corinthians 12:12-31

Good Morning Beloved,

Welcome to worship!
We're so glad you're here
Terry Flanagan weigh-in gallery - Manchester Evening News

Many of us struggle, we battle over things every day. Sometimes we fight because of a lack of information and other times we kick people simply because we want to or because we feel we have a right. Our culture is changing, it is becoming more and more diverse. Many do not speak English.
Diversity forces us to embrace cultures and customs that may be foreign to us. It challenges the customs and traditions we are accustomed to. It is much easier to remain in cozy, in our familiar circles rather than to interact with people who are culturally different from us. But, beloved, change is inevitable. And, to resist change, is a resistance to grow, it is to remain in isolation from a world that is full of opportunities and creativity, filled with people who have unique gifts, talents and knowledge to share with us.

I believe it is time that we settle this issue once and for all. I mean we have talked about it and visited this conversation many times before, it the subject of nearly every social media post, every media outlet and newscast. Its high time we clear the air once and for all and move on.

Everybody and I do mean positively, absolutely every one matters!
And no one matters more, or less, than anyone else. Jesus settled that 2000 years ago, when He died on the cross for ALL.

Today's Message: Everyone Matters

First let's bow our heads in prayer.

Heavenly Father,

Lord, we need you. We desperately need You to be sensitive to the needs of others, to encourage others, to love others. Father, I need you. Help us to come together, work together in spiritual harmony, caring for each other as one. That’s what Christ prayed for, that's what Christ prayed for and we the body want that for His glory.

We pray that You will embed these truths in our hearts, that they might become a part of who we are, who we ought to be in Your Son, Jesus Christ. So that we might indeed be one body with many members. Lord, teach us to be one. Soften our hard hearts and make us one in mind, body and Spirit. O' Lord, merciful Lord, we pray this in Your precious and Holy name

As we’ve been learning in our study of I Corinthians, most of us default to our selfish former ways rather than seeking ways to put others first. We discussed checking our motives, preparing for problems, putting the needs of others first, and following the example of Christ. We learned that we must surrender our bodies, minds, and wills to God. That we must have a proper estimate of ourselves before we can effectively serve Him.

Last, we learned of spiritual gifts has been a battleground for some Christians, for many years, going as far back as the church at Corinth. We've learned that tensions can result from an overemphasis on certain spiritual gifts, or it can come because we engage in arguments with those who are "wired differently" than we are.

Before we delve into our text in I Corinthians 12, let’s set the context. The Corinthian church was facing many problems and difficulties. The church was filled with division, arguments, lawsuits, and immorality. On top of that, there was confusion about marriage, food sacrificed to idols, worship, the Lord’s Supper, the Resurrection, giving, and spiritual gifts. In particular, some people thought they were more important than others because they had some pretty spectacular gifts. When Paul wrote this letter to the church he specifically addressed these issues.

In Chapter 12, Paul gives us six directives to help us defrost our spiritual assets. The first is, to ­ "Be Informed About Spiritual Gifts."

We see in I Corinthians 12-14, that Paul wanted to make sure that they had a proper understanding about spiritual gifts. The church at Corinth desperately needed instruction, and if we are being honest with one another and ourselves, so do we. So do we. You may remember that in verse 1 of chapter 12, Paul said "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware."
The Difference Between "Natural Talents" and "Spiritual Gifts" | Cold Case  Christianity

We learned there are differences between spiritual gifts and natural abilities. Spiritual gifts are divine abilities distributed by the Holy Spirit to every believer according to God’s delineation and grace for the common good of the body of Christ. As we've previously discussed, it’s important to recognize that a spiritual gift is given by the Holy Spirit at conversion, whereas a natural talent is something we’re born with. While we must yield our talents and abilities to the Lord’s work, we must pay particular attention to unleashing our spiritual gifts, and encouraging the gifts in others, all for the good of the body of Christ.

Galatians 5:22-23 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."

There are three distinct categories of spiritual gifts, with two primary areas, based upon I Peter 4:11 which says, "Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."

The two categories are:
Speaking Gifts: Word of wisdom, prophecy, evangelism, pastor-teacher, and teaching
Service Gifts: Administration, exhortation, faith, giving, helps, serving, and mercy

The third category, the gift of signs, are more of a temporary nature were given to the apostles, and were critical to the church in its embryonic stage. These Sign Gifts: Distinguishing of spirits, miracles, healings, tongues, interpretation, which II Corinthians 12:12 says, "The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles."

These gifts were especially important in the first century, before the cannon of Scripture was put together. I Corinthians 13:8, which says, "Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away."

This verse suggests, that many of these kinds of gifts will cease to function. If we were to add up all the distinct spiritual gifts, you’d come up with about 20. Since each of the lists does not appear to be exhaustive, there may even be more. These gifts are found in four books of the New Testament: Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4 and I Peter 4.

Philippians 2:13 reminds us: "for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." Beloved, because God is at work within us, we can accomplish His purposes. The Corinthians had elevated the more spectacular gifts and were giving more attention to the "spiritual superstars." The apostle Paul challenges them, and us, to incorporate diversity in our understanding. 
Hate in the Pulpit • EBONY

We minister differently because we’ve been gifted differently. The same God is at work in us, but He customizes His work through us for His ultimate glory and the strength of the church. We have all been gifted differently and so we act differently and we serve differently. Friends, this church has every gift that is needed in order to function as a biblical community.

I Corinthians 1:7, says "so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ."

This verse is written to the entire church at Corinth. Even with all its problems, this community of faith did not lack any spiritual gift. It makes me wonder what needs God is going to meet by bringing you here to this church!

I’d love to lose the clergy/laity distinction that is way too common in churches today. According to I Peter 2:9, we’re all ministers and priests. "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;"

Though I may be your pastor, the priesthood is for all believers, that includes you too. In fact, according to Ephesians 4:12 ,our job is "for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ."

I will serve faithfully in my area of giftedness, fulfilling my responsibilities and I pray, that each of you will serve to the best of your ability in yours. We’re to be informed about spiritual gifts, be influenced by the Holy Spirit, and incorporate diversity in our understanding. Then, we’re to identify our spiritual gifts.

While it’s important to identify our gifts, that’s simply not enough. Gifts are given for the purpose of being used. Verses 12-30, describe how the church is like the human body, with each part playing a critical role in the functioning of the body. You’ve been given gifts and a key role to play in this church. Until each of us implement our gifts, our church will not reach its full maturity in faith. Just look at verses 14-17: "For the body is not one member, but many. The foot needs the hand, and the ear needs the eye. Likewise, we all need each other. If you’re hoarding your gifts and not using them, the entire body is handicapped"

The church at Corinth had elevated some of the sign gifts and had relegated the "lesser" gifts to second-class status. If Paul were to write a letter to us today, I believe that he would say something like this: "Brothers and sisters, if one of you owned a set of tools. Would you spend all your time counting them, naming them, organizing them, polishing them, and putting them on display? Would you not simply use them? So it is with the gifts of the Spirit: these are tools not to be admired, but to be used for the common good of the body. They are not medals to be won, or trophies to be displayed, or treasures to be guarded. They are gifts from the Holy Spirit, to use, to share, all for the glory of God! It is as you serve that God by His spirit will reveal the gifts He has given unto you."

Now, of course, these are my words, not Paul's, but I believe his letter to us would go something along those lines.

I Peter 4:10 says, "As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."

Paul’s concern for young Timothy was that he not only be able to identify his gift, but that he would implement it. In I Timothy 4:14 he says, "Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery."

And in II Timothy 1:6, "For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands."

Beloved, do you need the Holy Spirit to fan your gift into full blazing flame? Are you burning brightly for God, or are you barely a flickering flame, smoldering?  

Who Is the Holy Spirit? – 5 Things You Need to KnowI just want to let each of you know something right now, you are needed here in this ministry. God has gifted you and now He wants to use you. I believe that you are here for a purpose, God's purpose. So, don’t allow anyone to tell you don’t matter. Don't allow yourself for one moment to think your unique gifts aren't good enough or not an asset to this ministry. No one is a nobody in the body of Christ. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something!

That said, I'd also like to point out that having spiritual gifts does not necessarily make you spiritual. It’s possible for a church to have all the spiritual gifts that are needed, and for every believer to know what their gift is, and still miss the mark. In fact, in the last verse of I Corinthians 12:31, we’re reminded that there is something far greater than even our divine abilities. 

"But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way."

I believe, that I Corinthians 13, is without doubt the best explanation of love ever written, we do a disservice to Paul’s intention when we only read it at weddings. This love chapter is sandwiched between a discussion of spiritual gifts in chapter 12 and chapter 14. Paul recognizes the dangers of defrosting our spiritual assets when they are divorced from love.

I'd like to direct your attention to the gifts that are listed in verses 1-3: "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing."

After elevating the supremacy of love over every spiritual gift, Paul then describes how love should be the marinade that provides the distinctive flavor in our serving: "Love is patient, love is kind…"

Then, beginning in verse 8, Paul contrasts the cessation of prophecies, tongues and knowledge with the never-failing aspect of love. Love will never fail or cease to exist. "Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away." Love never fails. Wow, what a beautiful, incredibly powerful statement.

In Closing...

I believe that ignorance related to spiritual gifts is not our basic problem. It is my belief, that more basic is the problem of not desiring to strengthen other people’s faith by being patient and kind, by refusing to boast, by not being easily angered and by keeping no record of wrongs

I Corinthians 13:4-6, "Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;"
The deadlock of “human nature” in politics – Aegletes Coelispex

Let's be honest, our human nature is more prone to tearing others down, rather than it is to build up. We’d rather kick people who are stumbling rather than to labor in love with them and for them.
We have just enough religion to make us hate, and not nearly enough to cause us to love one another.

According to verse 7, a servant who loves "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." In other words, as we begin to focus on living out the Great Commandment by intensifying our love for God and for others, then we will want to look for ways to use our spiritual gifts to serve others. Spiritual gifts, no matter how exciting and wonderful, are useless and can even self-destructive, if they are not unleashed in love. Love is the key.

I’m so grateful for the different gifts that the Holy Spirit has given to me. I’ve put some things in a box that remind me that I am responsible to use what gifts I have been given. Each of these represent a unique gift that I’ve received and serves as a reminder to me.

Beloved, what’s in your spiritual gift box? Do you know? If so, are you using them for the common good of the body of Christ? If you have not yet discovered your spiritual gifts, I encourage to pray, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal them to you. Then use what you’ve been given.

Is it time for you to think outside the box? Allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life and lead you into some exciting new serving opportunities! Not only will you be blessed, but the entire body of Christ will also be richly blessed, all for the purposes and glory of God.
May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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