I Corinthians 12:12-13

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Text: I Corinthians 12:12-13

Aim: To show the relationship between spiritual gifts and the body of Christ



In our last message we saw in:

I Corinthians 12:1-3 that true believers operate in accordance with the Holy Spirit.

I Corinthians 12:4-7 that spiritual gifts are intended to edify the local church.

I Corinthians 12:8-10 the listing of nine special spiritual gifts which divide themselves into three groups containing 2 gifts in group 1, 5 gifts in group 2, and 2 gifts in group 3.

I Corinthians 12:11 that spiritual gifts are distributed according to God the Holy Spirit's will.

In 12:12-31 we see the relationship of the spiritual gifts and the body of Christ.

I. THE BODY IS ONE - 12:12-13

I Corinthians 12:12-13 - 12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 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.

1. The body is Christ

Christ implies the body of Christ and refers to the local church. In this verse the head is used to represent the body, i.e. the Christ is used to represent the local church, the body of Christ. Just as the parts of the human body need to work together harmoniously, so the believers who comprise the local church should work together harmoniously as a congregation.

I Corinthians 12:13 13 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.

2. We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body

What does this mean?

A very common view teaches that at the instant of your salvation God the Holy Spirit baptized you into the universal body of Christ. It teaches that this was a spiritual baptism performed by the Holy Spirit into the invisible body of Christ, which is described as the true church. This view is popularized by the Scofield Reference Bible and others including the Ryrie Study Bible. It has been taught in many Bible institutes and Bible colleges. In fact, this view is so common that someone who teaches that it is not Scriptural, like I am about to do, will be regarded with suspicion.

Consider that this thought of the Holy Spirit baptizing people into an invisible body of believers is nowhere else taught in the Scriptures, and consider that this idea forms the basis of interdenominational thought. It makes the Holy Spirit the baptizer, it makes baptism spiritual rather than physical, and it makes the church universal rather than local.

The idea of a universal church existing today comes out of Roman Catholicism.

Consider Ephesians 5:22-23 - 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Some wish you to believe that the statement in verse 23 - Christ is the head of the church - refers to the invisible, universal church. It cannot refer to something which does not exist. A universal church will one day exist in heaven, when believers assemble with Christ, but it has no existence until after the rapture. Today God's program is the local church.

No universal church sends out missionaries, baptizes believers, receives tithes and offerings, pays the bills for the local church including the pastor's salary, cleans the church building, etc.

Consider the first statement in verse 23 - The husband is the head of the wife. Is the wife invisible and universal? Absolutely not. Neither is the church of which Christ is the head. Just as husband and wife are used in a generic sense, i.e. what is true of the husband and the wife is true of all husbands and of all wives, so the church is used in a generic sense. What is true of the husband and the wife in this passage is true of my wife and me and of you and of your wife. What is true of the local church is true of all local churches. It is true of the Central Baptist Church in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

It was stated that Christ would baptize believers with the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 3:11 - I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.

Mark 1:8 - I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

Luke 3:16 - John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.

John 1:33 - And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

Acts 1:5 - For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Who is the One Who baptizes with the Holy Ghost?

Christ is the One Who baptizes with the Holy Ghost

Christ baptizing with the Holy Spirit is referring to what occurred on the day of Pentecost when the local church at Jerusalem was baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Was this ever repeated?

Probably in Acts 8:14-16 and again in Acts 10:44-45 , but never after that.

Acts 8:14-16 - 14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)

Acts 10:44-45 - 44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

In Matthew 28:19-20 Christ gave the great commission. It was not given to the universal church but was given to the apostles as representatives of the church which He had established.

Matthew 28:18-20 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

The non-existent invisible, universal church does not go anywhere, it does not make disciples of all nations, it does not baptize anyone, and it does not teach all things Christ commanded; but the local church does all of these things.

Yet, Ephesians 4:5 says that there is only one baptism. So the question is, Which one?

Ephesians 4:1-6 - 1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

One baptism - Which one? the command for believer's baptism has never been rescinded; and it is still in effect. Therefore, I Corinthians 12:13 must refer to believer's baptism as commanded in the Great Commission. It cannot be made to refer to some other baptism because none existed after Acts 10 .

What does it mean that we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body?

It cannot mean that the Holy Spirit baptizes believers into the mystical body of Christ at the instant of their salvation. It is true, however, that the Holy Spirit places believers in the family of God at the instant of salvation.

Rather than the Holy Spirit performing this baptism as some believe, the Holy Spirit directed believers to be baptized by immersion in water following their salvation as a public testimony of what they had done in receiving Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord of their lives.

It is the Holy Spirit rather a disposition of mind or way of thinking because the entire context in I Corinthians 12 has to do with the Holy Spirit.

Into one body refers to the local church as it did in the previous verse, and there is no reason to conclude that it refers to an invisible universal church in this verse. In believer's baptism all have been identified with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. By baptism all have acknowledged that they are dead and buried to the old way of life they had been living prior to their salvation and that they are going to live for the Lord from then on.

The fact that we are all baptized indicates that it was normal for all believers to be baptized upon the profession of their faith and not to wait months or years after salvation to be baptized.

It also indicates that believer's baptism was necessary for membership in the local church. It was an honor to be identified with Christ in believer's baptism as well as an honor to be part of a local church.

One's social status does not matter in salvation or in the local church. All believers have been baptized by immersion into the membership of the local church, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free.

3. We have been all made to drink into one Spirit, i.e. "imbued with" or "saturated with." He dwells within us.

Made to drink into one Spirit implies to partake of the Holy Spirit. He indwelled them all and worked in all their lives, not only as individuals, but also in and through the local church.