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Unity and Diversity
in the Body


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 honourable we treat with special honour. 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 honour 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 honoured, 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.
Love Is Indispensable.
And yet I will show you the most excellent way.
 
1 Corinthians 12 v 12-31

This is such an important teaching for all Christians but I would say even more so for us at Cornerstone since we have many different traditions and denominations attending. We have many different issues, addictions, mental health issues, financial situations. 

 

Cornerstone was meant for this passage or more likely this passage was meant for Cornerstone.


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.

Do we acknowledge we are the same?


We must acknowledge we are one people, chosen by the Holy Spirit and held together by it. Anglican, Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, New Frontiers… All potentially divisions if we let them be.

Some have talents in teaching, some serving, some in singing, some in logistics, some in listening, some in loving. Again all potentially areas of jealousy, they cause division by one feeling there work is greater, or one feeling their work is less important but God decided that he was going to build a strong community here in Cornerstone, that these differences were not enough for us to learn from.

Even in our issues we have potential division; alcoholics, drug addicts, sex addicts, gambling addicts. Nearly everyone at Cornerstone has some form of mental illness. Nearly all of us have been criminals, some of us having been in prison. Some of our crimes petty, some more serious.

Unity is crucial! It is central to this teaching although it might not seem so at first.

Why do I say potential division? I say potential because there is no reason for any division, none at all.

Why do I say honesty is important to unity? For if we are being honest we know we are no different. 


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.

The fact is we are not here by accident, no one has stumbled into Cornerstone.

You are here because you are supposed to be, let that sink in for a moment because this is where it gets hard for us.

Have you ever thought to yourself I may be an alcoholic but at least I’m not mentally ill, or I may be ill but at least I’ve never touched heroin, ever thought I like the group but I just don’t want to mix with those type of people?

I have, but when God gives me a message to deliver he is speaking to me also.

This is Cornerstone! Look around, this is the body you are called to. This is where God has placed you.

Still think you are better or worse than someone here? Everyone of us has a unique story, a unique suffering that has brought us here, why? So we can build an understanding community, one that has no borders or barriers.

What is wrong with you doesn’t matter, what you’ve done doesn’t matter. It’s what you choose to do now and from now on that matters.

  • Maybe you think you have nothing to offer? 
  • Maybe you feel you don’t really belong because you have nothing to give? 
  • Maybe you feel that others have nothing to teach you about God? 

Take some time read that verse again:

The body cannot function without every part playing its part


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 honourable we treat with special honour. 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 honour 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 honoured, every part rejoices with it.

Look at these verses; every one of us, myself included should be building up the very least of us.  

There is only one time a Christian should be looking down at some one; that is when you are picking them up.

We should celebrate with love, the most vulnerable; those that are struggling most should be lifted the highest, given the most. How can any of us think that is wrong?

God is calling on us anew, have we forgotten who we serve? Have we forgotten that the last shall be first.. 

In our service here at Cornerstone who is most important? My name is down as the leader of this group but I am not the head of it, Christ is! I make decisions but not on my own, I have a team around me and when they need my final say, Jesus shapes my choices.

All leaders must be mindful to put God first. 

When I put God first when I make a decision, am I the most important in cornerstone?

Imagine Tuesday nights without helpers, those who prepare hot drinks, worship music, tables and chairs, IT for the presentation. 

If all the parts of this body were not working together the evening would fail. If we do not remain united by the word, not regardless of our skills talents, situations, addictions, mental health issues but because of them; this community will fail.


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[d]? Do all interpret?
31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.
Love Is Indispensable.
And yet I will show you the most excellent way.

We are all the body of Christ, In all of you we will find apostles.

 

An apostle is sent to deliver or spread those teachings to others. The word "apostle" has two meanings, the larger meaning of a messenger and the narrow meaning to denote the twelve people directly linked to Jesus Christ. We can say that all apostles were disciples but all disciples are not apostles.

 

Prophets, teachers; look what comes first in this list. After these three we have the miracles? Strange, a lot of modern churches chase after these things like they are most important, yet Paul is pointing out yes they are important but not more than the others.

 

In the same way this whole teaching is pointing to us all being important but not one of us more important than the other.

 

When we start functioning as one body; no jealousy, no looking down on a brother or sister, no putting yourself below anyone. When we start doing this as well as believing, then we will see all these gifts in the body of Christ here at Cornerstone.

 

All of us will be who we are supposed to be as God values each one of us.

 

Has this message spoke to you? God gave it for us to hear. Do not be deaf to it.

 

Cornerstone is a community, all of you were called to be part of that community. If you leave we are lessened by your leaving.

 

However if you cant align yourself to Jesus’ teaching that we are all the same in Christ; that not one of us is better or worse than the other. Than please don’t sit quietly with it. Either ask for prayer or pray quietly, because there is no other way.

 

Do not isolate yourself from your brothers and sisters in Christ. Do not form a group shut off from the community. There is no place for that in cornerstone and no place for that in the kingdom of God.

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