Read 1 Corinthians 12 and answer the following questions:
According to verses 4-6, what three differences should be allowed in the church?
From verses 7-10 and 28-30, list some of the different gifts and functions which might be distributed throughout the church. (Note: There are other lists elsewhere with additional gifts. We will look at those later in the study.)
What other kinds of differences are mentioned in verse 13?
Who decides which members are bestowed various gifts and where each member “fits” among us? (vv. 11, 18)
What familiar image of the church is used in this chapter? The ________ of __________
Romans 12:4, which also speaks of the body of Christ, says the members of the body do not all have the same ______________________.
What different gifts are listed in Romans 12:6-8?
Notice that verse 8 lists encouraging as a special gift that is given only to some people. Does this mean that only those with the gift of encouragement should strive to be encouragers? To think on this question, consider that serving, giving of finances or material things, and showing mercy are also listed as special gifts. Yet, when Paul is taking up a special offering to help one particular group of Christians (2 Corinthians 8–9), he speaks to the need for all church members to give generously. In 2 Corinthians 9:5-7 he even addresses the fact that some of us might have to overcome our reluctance in this area and not give grudgingly. (In other words, we may not have that gift, so it might not come as easily to us.) We could find similar passages to show that we are all expected to be merciful, to serve, and to encourage one another. So, if we are all supposed to encourage one another, how do you think it might be different for someone who has the gift of encouragement?
What was Paul’s conclusion on the matter in 8:8 and 10:31?
Can you think of a modern example of a similar issue – something that some Christians think is sinful while others do not, or a rule that some churches have which others do not?
Fill in the blanks below to show things we need to consider when exercising our freedom to choose/disagree in some areas of conduct:
1 Corinthians 8:9 – Be careful, however, that the exercise of your _______________ does not become a __________________ ________________ to the ______________.
1 Corinthians 10:23 – Though we may have the right to do many things, we are warned that “not everything is _______________________ or _________________________.”
1 Corinthians 10:29 – For why should my _______________ be judged by another’s _________________________?
Read Romans 14. Besides the issue of what to eat and drink, what other issue does Paul mention (v. 5)?
Fill in the blanks from Romans 14 for other rules for handling disputable matters and exercising our freedom:
- v. 3 We must not ___________ ____________ _______ those who disagree.
- vv. 5,23 We should be fully ___________________ in our own ____________ and not do something just because someone else says it’s okay.
- vv. 10-12 We should remember that we are ultimately accountable to _________ for these decisions.
- v. 15 We must act in ___________ and choose not to do something if it might _________ or __________________ a brother.
- v. 16 Do not allow what you consider ____________ to be spoken of as __________. In other words, guard your reputation.
- vv. 19,20 Being at _______________ with each other and not __________________ the work of God should be more important than anything we might want to do.
- v. 22 Keep what you believe about these things between yourself and __________.
And one more rule from Galatians 5:13: “You, my brothers, were called to be ________. But do not use your _________________ to indulge the ______________ nature; rather, serve one another in love.”
The last thing on the list of rules from Romans 14:22 was “keep what you believe about these things between yourself and God.” Why do you think this is important?
The rest of Romans 14:22 says, “Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.” We might condemn ourselves by making wrong choices. Or we might also condemn ourselves by having a wrong attitude (such as selfishness or judgementalism) even though we may be right about the issue in question. Reflect on this and pray the Lord would reveal to you areas of wrong choices or wrong attitudes.
Think also about your fellow Christians and how the differences we see in the body are by God’s design. Give thanks for other members of the body and perhaps repent if you have been unappreciative or intolerant of others who are not like you.
Think about what gift(s) God has given you. List them here. If you are unsure, write down the possibilities. (And perhaps have a discussion with a friend to see what gifts they have seen manifested in your life.)
At this point, you may only have an inkling of what your gift(s) may be. Or you may have realized your gift(s) and calling a long time ago, and perhaps even have been effective in using your gift(s) in the past, but are now experiencing a sense of burnout, dwindling enthusiasm, or even discouragement. In any case, read 2 Timothy 1:6, write it down, and meditate on what it might mean for you now.
Go through the suggestions at the end of the devotional and note any that you might want to do.
Is there an area of conduct which you disagree with other Christians on where to draw the line? Have you applied all of the Scriptural guidelines when deciding how you handle those issues? Are there any you may need to apply to either your lifestyle choices or your judgement of those who think differently from you?
What do you specifically want to do in response to this month’s devotion?