Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode 578 · 5 months ago

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

1 Corinthians 12:4-31

If you're able to remain standing with me, please do and let's turn in God's Word to First Corinthians chapter twelve. First Corinthians Chapter Twelve, last week we focused on verses one through four. I'll read the whole chapter this time, but will be focusing on all the other verses. So last week one through four, this week four through thirty one. Let's give our attention to God's word. Now, concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to mute idols. However, you were led. Therefore, I want you to understand that no one speaking in the spirit of God ever says Jesus is accursed, and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except the Holy Spirit. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same spirit, and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord, and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the spirit for the common good, for to one is given through the spirit the utterance of wisdom and to another the utterance of knowledge. According to the same spirit to another, faith by the same spirit to another, gifts of healing by the one spirit to another, the working of miracles to another, prophecy to another, the ability to distinguish between spirits to another, various kinds of tongues to another, the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ, for in one spirit, we were all baptized into one body. Jews or Greeks, slaves, are free, and all were made to drink of one spirit. For the body does not consist of one member, but of many. If the foot should say, because I'm not a hand, I do not belong to the body, that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, because I'm not an eye, I don't belong to the body, that would not make it any less part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where the sense? Where with the sense? Where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell. But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be as it is? There are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you, nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together. If one member is honored, all rejoiced together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it, and God has appointed in the Church First Apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles and gifts of healing, helping, Ad Ministry, administrating and various kinds of tongues. Are All...

...apostles? Are All prophets? Are All teachers? Do All Work Miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret, but earnestly desire the higher gifts, and I will show you still a more excellent way. You may be seated. was passage is so rich that I can guarantee you that if you were listening today, even if you have heard and read through this passage hundreds of times, there was probably something you noticed new, something that came out, something that perhaps was a little bit different, and that's that's really good and a common experience with God's word. It's good because it reminds us that as we come to God's word, we often come maybe I'm I'll just speak for myself. Sometimes I come thinking that I know what it's already about and I have all the right questions to ask of it, but that is pretty much never true. Usually there's lots of things to still think and consider on, there's opinions that need revising and sometimes even the questions that we come to a passage are not the right questions. So, with that in mind and coming to this passage, I want to be a little excited with you because today we get to hear and on the next chapters, good and clear teaching about the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit God, the Holy Spirit third person of the Trinity, and the Holy Spirit as he records and inspires these words, as they are spoken in Christ by the father. They are here for us and for our benefit, and that is such a good thing and really, in a lot of ways, one of the main things this passage is about is the Holy Spirit, and I don't want you to forget that, because a lot of times this passage and others like it get approached in a very man centered way. Not that there isn't a lot of discussion about who we are. It's a lot about what the passage is, but what is it grounded in, or who is it grounded in? The Holy Spirit and in Christ, whom the spirit unites us with? When we are only thinking about the gifts and what ones I have or what one someone else has or arguments that we might have about them, we're thinking in a very man centered way. It's not that those questions are bad, but I thought's all we're asking. We're missing quite a lot and that's important. To note up front. This would be kind of like inheriting some beautiful jewelry from, let's say, your grandmother, and then you never think about your grandmother when you wear the jewelry. She gave it to you as an expression of her love and her her yeah, her love for you. And if you all you ever do is think about how many carrots are in this piece and how shiny that piece is. Kind of missed the point. Similarly, if we think about the gifts of the Holy Spirit without a connection with the Holy Spirit, we've missed the point. We don't want to do that. So, as we come to this, what we want to start with is the bigger point that Jesus wants us to see, and it's this. He wants us to see ourselves as individual members, as part of a body, and it is his body. We are, the body...

...of Christ that comes up several times in this passage, and as members of that body, united to him our life, I are everything. He wants us to understand that through the Holy Spirit, each of us has been apportioned various things, which makes us distinct and separate, which makes us different from one another and yet all working together. What does he say for the common good. That's the reason these things are given for the common good, so that we are not and I and ear, but a body. And I always find Paul's arguments here kind of funny in a way. Right you. I like picturing a giant eye because, like, is that a body? The answers no, it's not. Why? Because a body is, by definition, made of many parts. It's also not a very useful thing, justin I it's also it's also it is very dependent on the other parts. The head, as he says. Can't say to the feet I don't need you. Right, it's just there's like a silliness to it, a ridiculousness about it, and in a similar way, we should let that hit our hearts a little bit, hit our consciences and recognize that it's kind of ridiculous in this in almost the same way, but except in in a very egregious way, when we say to this member or that member, I don't need you, or, the flip side of that coin, you don't need me. We all need each other. Sitting around us in this room are people who have been filled with the Holy Spirit, who have been given exactly what God wants to give them. For your benefit, and likewise he is given you exactly what you need so that you can benefit others for the common good. This is the body that he has designed. The Holy Spirit is the one who is equipped you, and so we've got to begin there, and let's do that by looking at some of these specific things, things in this text as we start here. So the first thing I want to draw your attention to is in verse seven, as I've mentioned here, and we'll see it to each is given the manifestation of the spirit for the common good. That's why we have whatever we have from the Holy Spirit. We have it for the common good. If you have your bibles open and want to flip over to chapter fourteen, you'll see in a similar to way he says in verse twelve. So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the spirit, strive to excel in building up the church. That's the point, that's what it's for. He's given us these things. Let's dive in a little bit more to what he says as the church, he says we are those. This is how we want to understand ourselves. We are those who have been baptized in the spirit. The same spirit. Though we have different gifts from the spirit, different activities, different services, we are well baptized in the same spirit. Without that baptism, in other words, there is no church. That is what defines us. We are defined by the washing and the cleansing into which this life, into this life that we have entered, and we do this through the Holy Spirit. And this is no small thing when you consider what Paul says about the Holy Spirit, our Lord and the giver of Life. In Verse Twelve, he is identified, the Holy Spirit is identified as one who empowers you see, for just as the one...

...for just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. And now look at verse six and there are varieties of activities, their varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all. In everyone. Who is this one? Who is the God that is empowering us? It is the Holy Spirit. These references then, to spirit, Lord and God. All read that in verses for and following. Now there are a variety of gifts, with the same spirit. There are varieties of service, but the same Lord. There are varieties of activities, but the same God. This may be a reference to all three persons of the Trinity, but more likely all three references are specifically to the Holy Spirit, who is Lord, who is God. One reason to think that is because that's what this whole passage is about. All of these references unto the spirit and the activities that we see him acting in, in powering in I said twelve, in verse eleven, apportioning also in verse eleven, according to His will, verse eleven. On these things, these things a teach us that the Holy Spirit is not some abstract force, he's not a state of mind, he's not a desire or a wish. He is the third person of the Trinity who deserves our worship, our prayer are praises. We put our faith in him, we trust him, we love him, we worship him, even as we do so to Christ and to God the father. When we are baptized into the same spirit. It doesn't mean that we share the same interests, like sports or music or whatever, or if even theological interests. It means that the God who hovered over the waters at the beginning of creation and the God who hovered over Mary's womb to bring forth the incarnation is the same God who is establishing and powering enabling us according to his will. That's a big deal. We are not just a random collection of people. We are the creation of the Lord, the giver of Life. The second thing to notice as we go through this passage is that he says, especially here at the beginning, we are baptized into the same body. Our baptism mocks not only our individual cleansing in our relationship to Christ, but it marks our entrance into a people, into a temple, a body. That means that, through the Holy Spirit, we are united to Christ and to one another. If you even if you've gotten a little bit far in school, you've probably learned pretty quickly about systems. Right Ecosystems, maybe, how the rain, the clouds right drop rain down on the ground, which feeds the plants, which the animals eat, and and so on and so forth, and the whole cycle right. There's a system that God made, all the parts working together for the common good. What God does in the church is he creates a spiritual system. That's what we are. We Are we're like a body, where, like an ecosystem, we are all of these individual parts knit together. How what's the mechanism? What's the function, the power that holds us together, the Holy Spirit. That is amazing. We...

...when I look at you and you look at me and we look at each other, we're not just looking at someone who is similar to us or another human that shares similar characteristics. When we are interacting with, and praying with and and being and fellishing, being with and worshiping with brothers and sisters in Christ, we are a part of this spiritual ecosystem in which the Holy Spirit is working in amazing ways. It's truly astounding. And as the spirit does this work, we read in the scripture that one of the things he's doing is he's manifesting himself in that work. So in the same way that God says we can look on the things that he has created, the mountains and the trees and all of that world, and say there's evidence of God, there's reason to worship God. You can look at the Church and see the evidence of God in the work of the spirit. You can see, he says, the manifestations of the spirit. He is making himself known, he is making Christ known, he's making the father known. God makes himself known as he apportions US these different gifts and activities and services and then knits us together into a body. Now one of the things, the next thing we want to note is that these manifestations of the spirit are different from each other, and that means we ought to expect diversity within the body. He says there are varieties of gifts, varieties of service and varieties of activities, but they have the same source and strength. A lot of times people boil down this passage to just the gifts of the Holy Spirit. But what about the other two? What about service or activity? What do these things mean? Well, gifts could properly describe all of these things, as both the service and the activities are given to us. But the other two words are important too, in that they describe the kinds of things that we are given. We are given gifts of service, we are given gifts of activities to benefit the whole church and to manifest the work of God. So to some of what we've talked about so far, we know two things. We know that God the Holy Spirit Unites Us together in Christ through himself, and we know that God the Holy Spirit reveals himself and US one by giving each member a different manifestation of the spirit and too, using that for the common good. And as that do happens, as he does that, as he does that in his body, despite our sinfulness, despite our all the ways in which we wage war against that, even in ourselves, he wins that battle and he makes himself manifest in the world. So now, this point we ought to be wondering, well, what kinds of things does Paul have in mind? What do gifts and activities and spirits or I'm services, have to do with one another? So let's go through the list briefly. Here are the things that he mentions. The examples he gives are the utterance of wisdom, the utterance of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophecy, ability to distinguish spirits, various kinds of tongues and interpretation of tongues. That's the list that he first gives. Later, at the end of...

...the passage, he adds a few more, and will come to that in a little bit. Healing, or rather helping and administrating. Now notice something here. Notice how the little language of gifts and activities and service kind of weave in and out in this list. Right, you don't have like part one, the gifts, part two, the service, part three, the activity. Right, you have we don't have these clear groups, a defined we have gifts that are mentioned. I'm sorry, the only time gifts are mentioned in this list are with gifts of healing, and I'm inclined to think that he what he means. There is not the gift of healing, but rather the gifts of healing that we give to others. We also have these words like working, working of miracles or the exercising of power, also the ability to distinguish between spirits. These words indicate that the gifts that we are given, well, they are for the common good. Right, these are gifts that to sit with us. They are activities and meant to be so. They are services. Then at the end of the chapter, as I mentioned, Paul says this and God appointed in the church. First Apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administering in various kinds of tongues. So here we have reminders of things that are in the first list he gives, plus the addition of some official offices, plus two new items, helping and administrating, administering that these two things are added later on, I'm not mentioned earlier on, is helpful of notice. For this reason it points to the fact that when Paul gives this list here, he's not trying to be exhaustive. He's not trying to tell us every single thing that the spirit does and catalog it and categorize it in every way. That's not his point. His goal is not to mention every gift that the Lord gives or might gives or to make tight and come tight separations from one another. So, for example, you wouldn't want to conclude, this would be bad application, that love is not a gift of the Holy Spirit because it's not in this list right. Nor would you want to conclude that gifts of healing are not really an aspect of helping, because Paul separates those two things. So here, what is Paul trying to do? If he's not merely are if he's not cataloging and categorizing things, how are we supposed to read it? Well, I think one of the ways we can read this is like somebody who takes you up to a high point and then, as you look out at a landscape. I'm if you've ever been to the Desert Museum. There's a place you can go and you look out across the valley. Or if you've ever been up on the MOGIAN RIM right, you go up and you you go up to one of those edges and you hike out and you just look down and you see and you just wow. Right, and maybe, if you're worth it there with somebody who knows the terrain really well, they might point me out some things. Look at that tree, look at that flower, that's we're so and so traveled when such and such a thing happened, and then list things that are trying to be exhaustive. They're just experiencing with you and giving you a sense of awe and wonder at what it is you're seeing. I think something like that's going on here. God takes us to this high point and he has US look at the church from his perspective. Will here, look here, look here, look at all these things that I'm doing. Isn't an amazing now, there are, of course, good questions to ask about. Well, how do I serve and how do I fit into the part of the whole?...

But it's important to, just as I mentioned the beginning, stand back and wonder at it for a little while feel the awe of it. This is not a grocery list of things to sort of pick and choose from. It's not a scavenger hunt for us to find this or that thing. If anything, IT'S A it's a resume or a catalog or a list of the things of the work of God, just for us to marvel at and praise God that we're a part of and maybe stop fighting each other and being really arrogant to to see this work that he's doing, to see that and understand here a part of a whole in what it means that Jesus died to make this happen. It helps us to look around at the people around us, as I mentioned earlier, and just be thankful to God. I think what I'm going to do is stop there. I tend to try to pack it all in. I don't think I'm going to do that this time and we'll talk more next time about some of these specific gifts and the Christ that I want to make when we get there. Is this that sometimes, when we look at this list, another problem we enter into is we want to divide the list into things that are extraordinary and ordinary things that once were and things that continue to be, and we have to bitterment debates about that and there's there are some good things to think about there. But the case I'm going to make next time is that all of these lists are, all of these gifts and others that are mentioned in scripture have both extraordinary and ordinary elements to them. I'd encourage you to think about that and will will reflect on that more next time. For now, brothers and sisters, let's just marvel, stand in aught the grace of God, be filled with gratitude for all that Christ is done for us and smile at our brothers and sisters for who they are and what God is doing in them. Let's pray.

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