Jack Groblewski is the Senior Pastor of New Covenant Christian Community Church (NC4) in Bethlehem, PA. He also hosts and co-leads the One Voice Pastors’ Network, in which Rabbi Glenn Blank also participates. Jack and NC4 have caught the vision for our building project and have committed to support our project in many practical ways as well as prayer. Now Pastor Jack and Rabbi Glenn have begun a peer coaching relationship.Pastor Jack invited Rabbi Glenn to speak from his pulpit last June, so Rabbi Glenn returned the favor, so that we could get to hear this friend of our congregation. What a wonderful expression of our unity in Messiah!
1 Corinthians 12: 12ff
Like Beit Simcha we at nc4 have always unapologetically called ourselves a charismatic church. And that is saying something these days. Charismatic churches are no longer the fastest growing nor most popular evangelical churches. Most of the mega churches today do not deny the gifts of the Spirit off handedly but they de-emphasize the gifts of the Holy Spirit. And I am not trying to be critical of other expressions of the Body of Christ. I am citing a demo-graphic. When I query friends who lead churches of that ilk. They seem to be saying that the gifts are ok. But to center a church too much on the gifts of the spirit is simply unmanageable.
I of course, disagree with that assessment. And I believe that the New Testament does. Now the church that charismatic churches tend to use as their model of worship more than any of the other churches in the NT is the church at Corinth. One of the reasons we do this is because the letters to the Corinthian church, first and second Corinthians, describe early church worship more extensively than any other books of the bible. Not only is it the best description of how the early church worshipped, when we look at later writings by the church fathers, people like Ignatius, Iraeneus, Tertullian. They tend to confirm the stuff that we see happening in the Corinthian church.
So the next question should be: “Why don’t all churches worship like that?” The answer is this: When you look at the Corinthian church closely you realize that the only thing that the Corinthian church had more than gifts was problems.
Egg. It was pandemonium everybody – had a perspective which was a little bit wrong
But the thing about the Corinthian church is that it’s such a great church. If we look at Acts 18, the whole story is there. Paul arrives there with Silas and Timothy in this center of eastern trade, a city which is also a center of Aphrodite worship. He becomes partners in both ministry and tent making with Aquila and Priscilla.
More obviously than in any of Paul’s other church plants, this place is ripe with possibilities and talents. Apollos is there and ends up in a budding apostolic/teaching ministry. Leaders from the synagogue, Sosthenes and Crispus and Gaius, are converted, Crispus with his whole family. So we have gentiles and jews together. This is a church where the leaders had suffered persecution. Sosthenes was beaten before the judgement seat of Gallio. Corinth, even in its beginnings, has talent and gifts and yet more than in any of the other New Testament churches described in the epistles, it has problems.
The church people seem to incessantly bonk heads with one another. And we have to ask ourselves, “What gives?” Is there a relationship between spiritual activity, even legitimate activity of the Holy Spirit and our propensity to bonk each other over the head and worse? How can churches that have so much of the presence of the Holy Spirit come to the conclusion that we don’t need each other? Where does that come from?
Is there a necessary conflict between charism and community?
My answer and Paul’s answer is decidedly, NO! I’m not specifically going to get into the problems which Paul has to spank the Corinthian church for. Suffice it to say that all of the problems in Corinth are alive and well in the twenty first century church.
Everybody loves to quote chapter 13. But if we want to quote with any kind of honesty Corinthians 13, we had better gain Paul’s perspective of the church described in 1Corintihains 12. I believe that These are decisions that have to be made by which we gain perspective of what the church is.
Read 1Corinthinas 12:12-28.
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.
The Greek word member here is melos or song from which arises the English word melody. The idea is that each tone is a member of the whole song. The idea is a harmony of unity, so also is Christ. That is, we together model Christ, Yeshua as Messiah.
13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized (immersed) into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink imbibe of one Spirit.
Immersed and imbibed – Paul means inside and out we are one.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
It’s a harmonious unity.
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.
Can I point out that the organs that the other organs are jealous of here are the most functionally alike? E.g., the foot and the hand and then the eye and the ear.
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 arranged or ordained or set 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.”
Unlike the eye and the ear in verse 16 these members are functionally more different from one another. Their diversity still makes them interdependent.
22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; the word weaker means vulnerable.
An eye is more vulnerable than a foot.
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
This particular word means to admix – to mix together by pouring out. 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
Or ordained – set in and anointed
in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then fmiracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.
I called this message: “Holy Desperados.” It is tongue and cheek. A Desperado is someone who is isolated and is desperate for something or someone. I believe that the Body of Christ needs to know that it has needs. I want to mention our God ordained needs as the Body of Christ.
We need to need each other!
One of the ways that we insulate ourselves from others and we rob the church of its power is that we simply build an attitude or frame of reference where we see another as useless to us personally. Paul says that such a mindset is sin.
Vs. 18 – gk. – set – ordained – God has a desired design for us.
- 24 – combined NIV – to mix together by pouring out.
12:18 – Every church body has its own anatomy. It is God who chooses the anatomy of any church! Our differences are divinely ordained and therefore really important to God’s purpose for that particular group of people.
Vs. 15 – It’s interesting that the way that Paul is characterizing the argument; it is not the body excluding a part of the body. It is not the body being exclusivisitic. It is the part excluding itself from the body. It would appear as if the foot and the ear are excluding themselves because of some misunderstanding or jealousy.
The foot and the ear in comparing themselves to one part of the body and finding a difference that, for whatever reason they can’t cope with, they then exclude themselves from the whole.
E.g. Tanya and the big fight.
E.g. Charismatic Gnosticism. Denny Cramer’s story about national conferences.
We need to honor each other!
Once we begin to realize that it is God that has forged us as a people, THAT THE CHUCH THAT I BELONG TO IS God’s idea. The next step is to ask ourselves why with these particular people? What effect am I to have on their lives and what effect are they to have on mine.
Vs. 12 – “members” – the Greek word means organic limbs or organs. The parts of our body do not compete. They do not covet each others functions. They network to make us healthy and ward off disease.
It’s interesting that the foot feels that it’s difficult to relate to the hand. And it is the ear that has a hard time with the eye. Each has the toughest time with the part closest to them in function. – The individuals with whom we have the greatest problems are often the individuals with whom we have the most in common.
E.g. Pentecostals and charismatics. Bossy people have real problems with other bossy people. Outspoken people have real problems with other outspoken people. Prophetic people are notorious loners.
For Paul, it is the responsibility of every part of the body to compensate for another and contributes to a balance whereby the whole body is healthy and makes the Christ visible to a lost world. – INTERDEPENDENCE!
Vss. 22 and 23 – the whole Greek idea of honor is a gift that we render. It is not a pure response to something someone has done.
E.g. Romans – “Render honor to all men.” Jesus – “Honor your father and mother.” – CM. – victim of sexual abuse.
Gk. Timeov – in the Greek world, the best part of honor was that portion above which one deserves. This is not something someone only earns. This is a portion of love that Jesus commands us to give.
E.g. Honorarium – you honor a ministry by giving to it.
Biblical honor is unidirectional. I cannot demand it of others or maintain an expectation of it from others. It is, however, something I need to be diligent of rendering to others.
We need to empathize with one another!
In Corinth any sense of mutual concern has broken down. Paul says that the church can’t stand that. And Paul says, apostolically, I won’t stand for it.
In verse 26, the “suffering “or “pain” being described is not a “suffering” of insecurity or isolation? It is not Eyor suffering.
THE WORD SUFFERING IN GREEK IS THE SAME WORD THAT DESCRIBES YESHUA SUFFERING ON THE CROSS! – Suffering under persecution.
- 25 – is phrased in such a way that the part of the body which is hurting cannot demand sympathy as a right. On the other hand, it is phrased in such a way that those who are not suffering are obligated by love to sympathize with the sufferers.
We need to submit to each other!
- 27 – “part” NIV – “member” KJV – an organic limb or organ. The idea is that each person has an indispensable part to play. The part that I play is not indispensable for God’s purposes to be accomplished, but it is indispensable to my own growth.
In the body of Christ, whenever we think in terms of my relative importance, we are in big jeopardy.
Vs. 27 – God has ordained a limited hierarchy of roles and functions. But this is not a pecking order of spiritual status in the eyes of God!
E.g. me as a person with a gift of leadership.
We need our togetherness to be the fluent expression of Jesus Himself into our community.
Paul begins his thoughts in this chapter with a statement that seems thoroughly unrelated to the rest of this chapter. He initiates his thoughts in verse 1 by saying, “When you guys were pagan worshippers, you were led around by mute idols. Paul is saying, on one hand, that the idols can’t speak. Who the church is in unity should speak to a lost world. We together are the voice of God to a lost world to our communities, to our jobs, to our universities, to our media.
E.g. Us (Beit Simcha and New Covenant Christian Community Church) together in Macungie.
– Pastor Jack