Strive to Build Up the Church

1 Corinthians 14:12

In thinking of how to illustrate this week’s memory verse, I must surely have been influenced by my three year old son. He loves legos and building all sorts of things with them. So when it came to this passage about building up the church what better than legos?

Paul’s instruction to strive after building up fits well with these chapters, as his concern is not for pointless manifestations of the Spirit. Instead the Spirit gifts us for a reason. We ought to desire the gifts not to boast and brag. These gifts aren’t about drawing attention to ourselves. We strive after them so that the church may be built up.

What is the opposite of love, based off 1 Corinthians 13

I came across the post back in June on The Gospel Coalition and it takes this great section on love and flips it around, instead defining hate. So instead of love is patient and love is kind you get, “Impatience and unkindness is hatred.”

Read the whole article to see the full treatment. My favorite part is this good news, “but hatred ends…”

Love Bears All Things–Even the Cross

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

It wasn’t that hard to choose a memory verse for this week. It’s not an unfamiliar one but it is a powerful one. Paul wants the church to turn from all that has divided them and caused them turmoil and turn to love. In this short chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, he lays out what that means.

In putting together a visual, I wanted to keep it simple and remind us that we wouldn’t really know love if not for the love that we see in Jesus Christ.

Memory Verse for 1 Cor 13.4-7

How would you define love?

If you’ve already read through 1 Corinthians 13, well done. If you haven’t, that’s fine and maybe you’d want to do a little exercise. This is a chapter on love. It’s a very famous chapter on love. Paul helps us to better understand what it is. But there are many other people in the world today that would want to do that job for us. Things like music, movies, and even greeting cards compete with one another to tell us what love is.

With all those definitions floating around it’d be good to know what you think. So, before you read and study this week’s passage, try sitting down and reflecting on how you’d define love. What is it? What’s love look like?

Then after you do that, see how well your understanding lines up with what we see in 1 Corinthians.

Why is the foot jealous of the hand?

You’ve most likely read or heard about Paul’s illustration of how the church is the body of Christ. We are the body which, while made up of many parts, is one. While it is one, it has many members. The problem that Paul sees in the church is that some parts are thinking of themselves as lesser than others (or being made to feel as though they are less). Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

His illustration makes sense to us without any further cultural insights, but his point is even stronger when we learn how certain body parts were viewed. His example of a foot is not chosen randomly. The foot, being the very bottom of the body, was (and still is in some cultures in the Middle East) seen as dishonorable. It would be offensive to show the sole of your foot to someone if you were to travel to certain countries. So what Paul is doing here is picking the part of the body that would most likely be seen as a lesser part and using it as the example of that which should be kept in high esteem.

But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

Using the foot Paul makes his point that even those that may be seen as the lowest should be valued in the church body. There is no exception. The body is one and should live with unity, not stratification or divisions.

The Unity of the Body and Diversity of Gifts

This chapter is on the diversity of the gifts the church is given by the Spirit, but while it highlights diversity, it does so in the context of the oneness of the body of Christ. Whatever differences there are, we aren’t to esteem some higher than others. We are brought together into one body that is to work together, weep together, and mourn together. These varied gifted all share the same source, the Holy Spirit, and are all to work for the common good. The one Spirit unites us, and this is a gracious work that only God can do.

Memory Verse for 1 Cor 12.12-13

Our memory verse for this week seeks to lift up and remind us of this unity that we have as a people all baptized into the same Spirit and who daily must drink of the one Spirit.

Memory Verse for 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 for iPhone

Jacques Cousteau and Spiritual Gifts

“When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.”

-Jacques Cousteau

Or tweaked for our purposes, in light of a passage like 1 Corinthians 12:

When the members of the body of Christ, because they are dearly loved by God, are given gifts of the Spirit, they have no right to keep those gifts to themselves.