We were created to serve!
Heroes come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life. There is an overwhelming theme when someone does a heroic act. They say some variation of these words; “I don't think I am a hero, I just wanted to help.” I wonder what it would look like if the church became a group of heroes looking for a place to help?
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS (Ephesians 2:8-10, 1 Corinthians 12:12-27)
1. Who is your favorite super hero? Why?
2. What reasons do we give to not serve?
3. There is a huge eternal aspect to salvation but along with this according to
Ephesians 2:10 why were we saved?
4. Why do you think Paul chose the “body” imagery to describe the church? Do you think this is an effective metaphor? Why or why not?
5. It’s easy to identify how different parts of the body function differently. What are some unique and different gifts you have recognized in our group or in our church body as a whole?
6. How can these different functions in a church create unity?
Considering what you know about your gifts and the works God has prepared in advance for you to do, are there any roles you feel you could do a better job of fulfilling as a part of our body?
What are some ways we can, together, serve in a way that pleases God without being asked by someone?
2:8-9 It’s too often typical for us humans to suppose that our actions can help earn our eternal life. Paul wrote that this is never true. But then he went on to explain the role that good works have in the life of those who are saved. Trusting wholly in God’s provision is the opposite of trusting in one’s own contribution to salvation.
The whole of our redemption—past, present, and future—is God’s gift, by His initiative. Neither religious rituals, nor great kindness to others, nor living morally counts as anything in terms of meriting God’s salvation. For this reason, no one can boast about a personal contribution to salvation. Heaven will be filled with the praises of Christ’s glory and His works. No human display of works can compare to the riches of God’s grace toward those who once were dead in their sins but now are alive with Christ.
2:10 One of the goals of salvation for us is the fruit of Christlike character and of good deeds. Grace can be compared to the power grid that extends to someone’s house; faith is having the switch turned on to connect with the power; and good works are like all the helpful equipment that springs to life when connected to the power supply with the switch turned on.
In eternity past God prepared ahead of time that His redeemed people would do these good works as evidence of His grace. Here is His power not only in giving us new life but also in helping us to walk in good works throughout this life and into eternity. We cannot do anything to earn salvation. Yet God means for us who have received salvation to produce good works. If we have been given new life, raised with Christ, and seated with Him, we will certainly do good works as evidence that we have received this great salvation.
1 Corinthians 12:14-27
12:14-17. The dispute of the Corinthian church appears to have been directed towards individuals who were seen as less gifted members of the church. In order to address the importance of proper regard for all parts of Christ’s body Paul turned to the human body for his illustration. Encouragement is given to those who might have thought that their gifts were not as needed as the spectacular, public, attention-garnering gifts. The respective functions of the differing body parts (foot, hand, eyes, and ears) are detailed by Paul in such a way as to show the needed contrasts. Functions of hands, feet, eyes, and ears each play an assigned role in the human body. Indeed, the human body would collapse into dysfunction without coordination of the body parts. The eye needs the hands to accomplish its objective, and the head needs the feet to reach its destination. Each part of the body is integral to the whole, for a human body cannot fully function as God originally designed without even the weakest member.
12:18. That God placed the parts of the body where He wanted them emphasizes why all believers are important to the church, whatever their spiritual gifts. To elevate one Christian over another because of gifts is to call into question God’s design and decision. This verse reflects the same emphasis as in verse 11.
12:19-20. Paul’s final application calls attention to the importance of the diversity of gifts. The body needs all its different parts to function at maximum effectiveness. Therefore, each part is important. The same applies to the church and its members. All are needed. It is a sign of spiritual maturity in a church when it honors all contributions and does not seek to spotlight certain members who manifest particular gifts.
12:21-24. Paul moved from the inescapable diversity of members within the body (12:12-20) to the inescapable interdependence of members of the body (12:21-26). Stating the obvious, Paul asserted that those parts of the body which are considered weaker are necessary. The weaker members of the body, whether they be external parts we generally cover or inward organs (heart, lungs, kidneys, stomach, etc.), are regarded here as unpresentable but yet are shown a special modesty and greater honor. Although the weaker parts are not visible they are intimately vital for the human body. Likewise, those in the body of Christ who may be deceptively ordinary or unimpressive in their giftedness are as necessary as the most prestigiously gifted member in the congregation. Within the church all members are crucially important to God no matter what others may think, and should be to one another as well. The Christian community at Corinth was charged to care for its own individuals within the body.
12:25-27. In contrast to the Corinthian behavior of exclusivity, Paul noted that God has put the body together. Here Paul used the language of combining or blending of elements, colors, hues, or composing a musical melody in order to create a harmonious whole Clearly divisions such as jealousy, scorn, or strife have no place within the community of Christ. Paul was clear that God has structured the body in such as way that the members have the same attentiveness for one another as for themselves. Naturally, members would have the same concern for each other, so that if one part of the body hurts every member suffers with the stricken one. However, the converse is also true of the body of believers, if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. The gift which God has given to the church is a mutual dependence on Him as well as on our fellow congregants. When we honor those members of body with the weaker or unpresentable gifts, we have the opportunity to practice the love of Christ!