The More Excellent WayBro. David Chancellor
2/12/2006 11:00 AM
1 Corinthians 12:13-23, 28-31
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary; And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
“…and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way…” Paul wrote to these of being members of one body, each having a different function. All parts of the body are needed. Every part of the body has a place and usefulness. The important thing isn’t position and role, but to be a part of the body. Position, title, and role don’t make you part of the body. There’s a better way than this. We’re not validated by our position, role or title.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge: and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
The more excellent way is what we have received within that has changed us. What you have become on the inside is more important than your title. If your only title is saint, it is a good title to have. When you carry the title of saint, your life is of value and worth to the body of Christ. God has validated you by putting his love in your heart. What we do is less important than what we are. When people receive within themselves the love and grace of God, they will find their lives have value. Their lives have meaning, purpose and value because it is God’s life. You may not make waves in other ways, but if the presence of God is in your life, you can make a difference by just living. The validation that matters is found in God’s acceptance. Good works can be a trap for some people, because they look to that to validate their souls. We need the love and grace of God in us. These will only be there as God is there.
Be glad to walk with God and do things as he shows you to do them. The wonderful thing is to be able to say, “I’m a saint,” no matter what else you may do. Is your focus on titles and positions, or is it on God? God in us is what makes us what we are. This is where our assurance and confidence is found.
1 Corinthians 14:1-5, 26
Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. I would that ye all speak with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. … How is it then, brethren? When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
“But rather that ye may…” edify. “Speaking with tongues” is quite prevalent today, but not in the way that the Bible speaks of it. If the sermon was preached in a language that no one spoke, what good would it do? Desiring spiritual gifts is good when you desire what will be a help to others. Desiring a gift to lift up and draw attention to self is not profitable to the body. Love motivates to edify others, and this makes it the more excellent way. Our desire should be to help and benefit others. Love will cause you to look for ways to edify others. Paul wanted them to go and look for a way to help. He was trying to show them the unprofitability of pursuing the wrong things or doing things with the wrong motivation.
Don’t go or do to be seen and heard. Go with a motivation to edify, instead. These were going to church to promote self rather than to promote God. All that we do should be motivated by love and by a desire to be a benefit to someone else. What we should do is come to do our part to edify. We should desire to encourage and help. People can be encouraged by the spirit we bring in with us. We should find out value and worth in what God has put into our souls. We should be ready and willing to let God use us however he sees fit, in the way that will lift him up.
God gave us talents and abilities that could be misused. Let God work on you to be used to edify in some way. God can most use the heart that is submitted to him. Putting on a show or trying to draw attention to self detracts from the work of God. Our desire should be just to give a little back. Even if the job doesn’t seem like much, do it and let God work through it. Do whatever you can through the motivation to help and benefit others. Desire to build up the others. Seek to let God use you to meet whatever needs are around you. Stay submitted to God and keep a heart of love. Seek the useful, not the glamorous, gifts. Look for the gifts that will help and benefit others. Ask for what is needed to meet the need. The need should be our concern. Ask God to make you a tool to help those around you. Ask God to use you however he sees fit.