Wednesday, February 2, 2011
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Now, I'm not in the business of advertising any particular ice cream spot, but let's face it, it's kind of fun to go to Baskin Robbins. You know, they have all those flavors they advertise. Now, you can write to me and tell me that maybe you like another place better, but listen, I know you like to go where there's a lot of flavors. And you know what? It takes me an hour to decide sometimes which one I want. Well, not really, but seems like an hour to the person whose waiting on me. But the variety is a lot of fun. Now, can you imagine an ice cream store that offered only vanilla? Yeah, uh-huh...boring! After a while you get tired of the same old flavor. Can you imagine a person who said, "I only eat vanilla. I never tried anything else." I'd say to them, "Man, look at the list! You're missing so many flavors. You can have ice cream so many different ways." How boring to think that all ice cream has to be the one flavor you like.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "So Many Flavors."
Our word for today from the Word of God is found in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. And we go, in a sense, to God's ice cream parlor if you want to put it that way. And it's called the church - the body of Christ. Listen to all the flavors. "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men." Verse 12 of 1 Corinthians 12 - "The body is a unit, though, that is made up of many parts, and though all of its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ."
Okay, now, if there's one message we could get from these wonderful verses it would be this. Variety is God's plan for His body. He's not interested in cookie cutter Christians. He wants many styles, many flavors of Christians. God likes variety. Guess what we like? Uniformity. We want everybody to be like us - like our group. So as a consequence, generally speaking, Baptist Christians only know Baptist Christians, and Assembly of God Christians only know Assembly of God Christians, and Methodist Christians only know Methodist Christians, and Presbyterian, Presbyterians, etc. The list is infinite.
But, you see, none of us has all of Him. But all of us together have all of Him. Don't cut yourself off from all the other flavors; don't just be a vanilla Christian. See, we disagree only in about say ten percent. Ninety percent of about Christ, and sin, and salvation, and Christ's return, and the Bible: we tend to agree on those. We need each other. Those different styles and different emphases in the body of Christ are not only God's will, but they make you rich.
One group of Christians may teach you how to pray and get a hold of God. Another group may really have a vision for missions, and they'll help you care about a lost world. Others will really get you into personal evangelism. There's another group of Christians who might really help you learn about God's sovereign control over things. And then there's a group over there that may be strong in loving and caring and accepting. And this group over here, they'll teach you a lot about worship. And this one, oh you'll learn a lot about careful Bible study. Hey, listen. We will be together forever. All the labels we have here on earth won't make it past the gate of heaven. Why don't we get together now?
You're on God's side when you're against whatever divides His body. It's not all vanilla. Its lots of flavors. It's all ice cream; but it's lots of flavors, and that's what counts. We're all the church.
So, celebrate the variety in God's family. There are so many flavors.