Rev. Dr. Lester A. McCorn
Pennsylvania Avenue A.M.E. Zion Church
Biblical Relevance: 1 Corinthians 12:12-26
12 Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
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[c] 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 honorable we treat with special honor. 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 honor 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 honored, every part rejoices with it.
Excerpts from the Lesson:
It is probable that we all experience personal, corporate, physical, and community transformation. There is a process of change that happens in us. It is what God's ideal standards are for us. God has a divine design for the church that includes each of us. It is for the betterment for the body. We are a part of an operational full function body. In the book of Revelations it contends, “he that has an ear, let him hear” what the word says to the church. In Romans 12, we are informed that we must not conform to this world but instead be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We have an animated self - a sign of God's energy in us. Over time we can become spiritually lethargic. We also have an assimilated self. There is a spiritual assimilation of what needs to happen to us. There are two ways you can go, become your antiquated self or your authenticated self. Authentic has to do with being real. Be yourself. Be who God called you to be. We are gifted with all our unique selves. The authenticated self is where we receive the stamp of approval. God puts his stamp of approval on us. They will know we are Christians by our love.
There is an opportunity for a corporate transformation in the Church. The church goes through cycles or seasons. These seasons are necessary. There has to be some pruning. There is a corporate transformation. God sees power and potential in us. We have to get a better sense of what the Church is to be. It is important for us to go through this season. We have to see where the disease is in our Church body. America isn't healed. Many people are in denial about the disease of racism. We are going through a period where the disease is brought to the forefront so that God can work on it. Just like our physical body and the world as a body, the Church body has to go through the process to see where our weaknesses are, and expose them so we can heal and move forward. As an illustration, your hand can be affected by an illness in your foot. We have to be vigilant about our health and our wellbeing - emotional, physical, mental, etc. We can be healed and get infected all over again. The good thing about pain is that you are alive and the body can help compensate for the pain you feel. You are wonderfully made. If you ignore the signs you lose feeling in that area of the body. God has a way of giving us what we need to bring healing to the body, to the Church body. We have an opportunity for transformation. Three (3) key points to remember:
1. A healthy process of corporate transformation in the Church involves an interconnected purpose. There can be no division in the house. Even though we live in a society where there is a lack of equality, there must be decency and order in the Church. No one is better than another. You have to call concerns out and deal with the reality. We all have interconnected purpose. Be encouraged and read the entire chapter of 2 Corinthians 12. God’s word will help us to embrace that we are all in this together. We all have an interconnected purpose. Everything we do is connected. Our job is to make disciples. Our purpose is interconnected.
2. A healthy process of corporate transformation in the Church involves an Interceding prayer(s). We live and breathe together because we are feeding each other through prayer. We need each other to survive. We are nothing without each other. “I need you, you need me, we’re all a part of God’s family. Stand with me, agree with me, we are a part of God’s family. It is his will that every need be supplied, you are important to me, I need you to survive.” Thank you Kirk Franklin for sharing this message with us. When you get in trouble you need to run to the Church. We must be touching and agreeing with people who will pray for us. We need somebody (the Church family) to tell us to get back out there and give it all that we have.
3. A healthy process of corporate transformation in the Church involves, realizing that we are called as a body to intercept pain. These past few months, the pain we have experienced travels with us. Slavery travels with us through our lives. America has yet to apologize to African Americans for what happened to us. We feel the pain in our body, our neighborhoods, and urban cities. Our job as a Church body is to intercept this pain. We must stand in the gap. Neuropathy leads to destruction. We must have care and concern for our people. We have to make sure that all of us feel the pain when one of us is suffering. We must be spiritually identical twins.
True Story: Recently in the news, a little boy named Zion recently shared with reporters that his mom loved him unconditionally. He commented that his mom gave up one of her kidneys so he could live. Zion also needed a hand transplant. In order for Zion to have a hand transplant, someone had to die and donate what was needed so that Zion could have a hand.
God is telling us something. We have to be willing to sacrifice something to help others. We must not compete with each other and pull down one another. It begins with us, the Church. Transformation can happen with us. We must have a new sense. What are we willing to sacrifice now?
The story is told that a boy was swimming in lake in Florida when he started screaming. A gator had got to him. The mom was pulling the boy and gator was pulling him too. A man came out and shot his gun. The boy was saved. Following this event, the boy was interviewed and asked about the scars he incurred. The boy said his mom fought for him and he does not mind the scars because his mom loved him unconditionally and was not going to allow the gator to take his life.
Jesus Christ gave is life for us and now we can have eternal life. Thank you God for teaching us about corporate transformation. Amen.