Great expectations



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GREAT EXPECTATIONS

1 Cor. 12:12-14


It is not uncommon for people to come to me and ask, “What do I have to do to join your church?" or they may simply say, “I want to join your church.”

  • Some of you have probably been asked this same thing...and that causes a little difficulty.

  • It's not really a matter of joining the church like you would some civic organization…it’s not a matter of being voted in or being approved by the membership here.

  • It is not up to us as a congregation to say who can join and who can’t.

Let me show you… look at verse 13 again. In verse 13 Paul says: "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body."



  • We know from John 14: 26 and John 16:13; and from 1 Cor. 2: 10-12 and Eph. 3: 1-4 that this (Bible) is the Holy Spirit given word of God.

  • And when you study this…and learn from this…the Holy Spirit is going to direct you to be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins.

  • And Paul says here that at baptism you are “baptized into one body.”

  • If someone refuses to be baptized…they are refusing to do what the Holy Spirit directs and they are not part of the “one body.”

  • So Paul says, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.”

Now, notice whose body it is in verse 27: "Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it!"



  • It is “Christ’s body!”

And look now at verse 28 Paul says, “And God has appointed in the church…”



  • In this verse the apostle Paul uses the word "church" synonymously with the "body of Christ."

  • The “church” and the “body of Christ” are one and the same.

  • The way you get “into” the “one body” or “the church” is at baptism.

When some one asks me if they can join my church…or when someone asks you if they can join your church…they need to understand that it is not my church and it is not your church.



  • It is “Christ’s church”…He sets the standards…He has all authority…and He is the one who sets the requirements for what must be done to “join” His church or to become a member of His body…and that requirement is the Holy Spirit leading one…teaching one…convicting one of their need to be baptized.

  • And when they are baptized…they become a part of the body or a member of His church.

  • And that's the only way you become a member.

Look at this from Acts 2 starting in verse 38.



And Peter said to them, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

  • Now verse 40 and 41: And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation!" 41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

  • What were they “added” to?

  • Since, according to 1 Cor. 12:13, you are baptized into the body of Christ…or Christ’s church…when these people were baptized they were added to the body of Christ.

And notice who does the adding; look at vs. 47: “And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”


When someone comes and wants to “join the church” their "joining" is not up to me…it does not require my approval or the approval of the members of this congregation.

  • It is the Lord's church and He is the one who sets up the criteria.

  • And it is at baptism and only at baptism that anyone becomes a member of the Lord’s body or church.

Now any one can attend here…the doors are open to all.



  • But to "become a member of the church…a member of the Lord's body"…the only way you do that is through baptism.

Now, sometimes you will see people who have already been "baptized" into the body and they will come here to this place and want to "place their membership with this congregation"…to be under the oversight of our elders.



  • But they are not "joining" the body of Christ……they were added to the body when they were baptized.

  • They are simply expressing their desire to be recognized as a member of this body of God's people or congregation.

Some groups require you to be baptized to join their fellowship…and if you move to another place, they might require you to be baptized again to be a part of that fellowship.



  • A person could be baptized 6 or 7 times and never be baptized into the body of Christ only into a particular fellowship.

Christ doesn't require you to be baptized into a local fellowship…and He doesn't require you to be baptized 6 or 7 times.



  • According to scripture, a person is baptized into Christ…into the body of Christ…one time…and it doesn't matter if he moves his membership across town….or to another city…he is still a member of the Lord's body…or church…and it is not necessary for him to be baptized again.

  • In Romans 6: 1-6 baptism is spoken of as a burial…a burial of the old man of sin.

  • You only bury a person once.

  • And so it is with baptism.

  • Once you are baptized into Christ…baptized into the body or church…baptized for the remission of your sins…there is no need for you to be baptized again.

So, when according to the directions of the Holy Spirit, you are baptized…you are baptized into Christ’s body…or His church.


Now, here in 1 Cor. 12, God through the apostle Paul, is going to tell you some things that are expected of you.

  • A lot of times people are baptized into Christ…and they become a member of His body and they say, "What do I do now? What's expected of me now?"

Well God does have some expectations for you as a member of His body.



  • But not just for those who are new to the body of Christ…but for each one of us.

  • No one is exempt. He has expectations for all of us and here in chapter 12 He tells us what they are.

  • Look what he says.

The first thing that God expects of us is He expects each one of us to do our part. Look at verses 14-18:



For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot should say, "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 should say, "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.

  • God has a purpose for this body…and each one of us are an important part of the body...and God wants us to each one do our part.

When this physical body has a task to perform…doesn't matter what it is the whole body shares the load.



  • If I have to pick up this plant over here every member of my body is going to do its part.

  • The back muscles, the skeleton, the hands, the eyes, the lungs, the feet…each member will have do their part for the body to do what it needs to do.

  • If they don't then it is going to make the task of picking that tree up a little more difficult.

And it's the same with the body of God's people.



  • God expects each member of His spiritual body to do their part.

In so, so, so many churches, just a hand full of people actually do anything.



  • The rest are basically just spectators.

  • Someone once said that in most churches "20% of the members do 80% of the work and 80% of the members only do 20% of the work."

  • What would happen if I tried to pick up that plant and only 20% of the members of my body decided to do the work?

  • I probably wouldn't get that plant moved would I?

  • But fortunately, the members of my physical body don't choose when they will or won't work...they just automatically jump in and help…or at least try to help.

For the body of Christ to function like God wants it to…for the body of Christ to do what God wants done…each member of the body must do its part…automatically.



  • God wants this body to "go and make disciples of all nations".

  • He wants this body to "make known the manifold wisdom of God to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places."

  • God wants us to take the gospel to a lost and dying world.

  • He wants us to encourage one another…to visit the widows and orphans

  • As a body how good of a job are we doing at that?

  • Why do you suppose its that way…is it the elder’s fault…the preacher’s fault…or could it be that only a few members of the body are doing what they are supposed to be doing?

Every time one of us chooses not to do our part…we cut down on the effectiveness of this body to do what God wants done.


I recently heard someone say that they "liked being a part of a large congregation."

  • I thought, man that is great.

  • Then I heard them say, "That way I can get lost in the crowd and not have to do anything."

  • That's not at all what God wants or expects from us.

  • God expects all of us to do our part…to work together to do what He wants done.

The second thing that God expects of us is He expects us to appreciate our different abilities, as well as the abilities of others, without over appreciating ourselves.


Look at chapter 12:4-11.
Do you know what God is telling these people here in these verses? God is telling these people that they are different. As members of his body….they were different.

  • They didn't all have the same gifts and abilities.

But look what they were doing! Look at verse 15-16.



"But if the foot should say, "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. And if the ear should say, "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."
Look at verse 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…"

  • These people weren't appreciating their gifts or the gifts of others.

  • Apparently some of these people were saying, "I have this gift…but it's not as good as another’s…it's not that important." I don't belong.

  • They weren't appreciating their gift…their place and purpose in the body.

And others were apparently saying, "Your gift isn't that important…there are others more important than you are…we don't need you!"



  • They weren't appreciating the gifts and the purpose that others had.

How many of us do the same thing?



  • "Well I'm not that important…I don't have much to offer…They really don't need me!"

Or, "About all she does is take care of the nursery….all he does is just make a few visits every week. They really aren't that important."


Don't some of us fail to appreciate the gift that God has given to us…we just don't think our gift is very important and needed?

  • And don't we sometimes fail to appreciate the gift that someone else has been given…we think their gift isn't that important…or we think that they should be like we are and have an important gift like we have.

  • And sometimes don't we forget where the gifts came from and appreciate ourselves too much.

Look at verse 17-18.



"If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired."
God expects us to be diversified.

  • He doesn't want us to all be the same.

  • He never intended for us to all have the same gifts and purposes.

  • We are all different by God's design.

And because it is God's design that we be different, and because the gifts are from God, He expects us to appreciate and accept those differences.



  • And to appreciate and accept the gifts that we have as well as the gifts that others have.

No gift given by God to any individual in His body is insignificant.



  • And some of us have got to quit thinking that our God given gift is unimportant.

  • And some of us have got to appreciate the gifts that others have.

  • And some of us have got to quit thinking that the gift we have is of our own making.

And finally God expects us to act as a unit…to be united. Look at verse 24-25.


"But God has {so} composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that {member} which lacked, that there should be no division in the body, but {that} the members should have the same care for one another."

God intends for us to be diversified…and yet he doesn't want us to be divided.


Look at verse 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."
What are each one of these supposed to do? Look at verse 7.

"But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good."



  • They are to work for the "common good."

  • Even though each is different…each has a different gift…we are to work for the common good.

I remember years ago as a fire fighter trying to move 2 1/2 inch fire hose full of water. It's pretty heavy. We could have 4 men on a hose trying to move it and if only one man decided to pull the other way he could stop the other three of us from moving that hose. But united…all working together, we could move that hose and do it in a hurry.


God wants us working together...united.

  • Our purpose is to evangelize the lost…reach out to the lost and dying…and to encourage the faint hearted.

  • But a few pulling in the wrong direction….a few refusing to help….a few causing problems….can keep us from doing what we need to do.

  • God wants us united…working together…with no divisions.

3 Great expectations. Do your part…Accept our gifts and the gifts of others...and be united.


As a member of the body of Christ…these are some things that are expected of you. God help us to be what he expects us to be.


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