O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Spiritual Gifts for Edification of Church
(Partially taken From Forerunner Commentary)
I thought it was appropriate to talk about “gifts” with Christmas around the corner. Today we are talking about spiritual gifts, and next week we will discuss in detail the gift of Salvation; the greatest gift man has ever known. As a lot of us know, spiritual gifts are a source of contention for some. Why? Because some folks have chosen to believe what their denomination has told them about a certain topic rather than seek the truth on their own. 1 Corinthians 2:10 says, “these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.”
IF and I mean IF, you are truly seeking the Lord, HE will reveal ALL truth to you as you read your Bible. You MUST devote yourself to reading your Bible or you will be subjected to being tossed around in the wind as Ephesians 4:14 says, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.”
I am so sad how the Word has been contorted in places to fit what mere mortal man has to say about it. If you have any questions about the gifts of the Spirit, PLEASE go to your Bible. The Lord is faithful, and He will answer ALL of your questions by showing you scripture. When Martin Luther translated the Bible ALL people could read it, even the field workers. God did not write the Bible in ANY secret code with only a few having the ability to understand what it says. NO WAY, ALL human beings can understand the Bible IF (and this is a big IF) you are seeking the Lord with ALL of your heart! Your Bible is your lifeline; without it you will fail. I cannot emphasize the importance of daily Bible reading, and those who never seem to find the time are those needlessly subjecting themselves to spiritual danger. If you don’t believe me, try going without food or water for several days, weeks, months and see where it gets you. Enough of that for now anyway
The main point of this study is to get you to think about what gifts the Lord has given you to help edify the Body of Christ because ALL Believers have at least one. Did you know “giving” is a gift? Did you ever stop to consider showing mercy to someone or encouraging a brother or sister in the Lord is a gift? Please understand that NO church denomination can assign gifts, tell you what gifts you should have, NOR can any denomination tell you certain gifts are just not attainable anymore. We MUST stay within the boundaries of the Word, resisting temptation to spread heresy that fits more along denominational lines, rather than the TRUTH which is in the Word; Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life, and NO man comes to the Father except through ME.”
Romans 12:6-8 (NIV)
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
1 Corinthians 12 (NIV)
Concerning Spiritual Gifts
12 Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
Unity and Diversity in the Body
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues[d]? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts (which Paul continues addressing in 1 Corinthians Ch 13 if you care to read this on your own)
1 Corinthians 3:6-8
6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.
When we are doing God's will and yielding to Him in obedience, God adds a miraculous element to produce spiritual growth. Verse 8 adds that, even though we have different functions, we are united in submission to God, but we will be rewarded individually. This proves that God is watching each person's conduct. To Him, we are not a faceless blob in a sea of church members. How could we be rewarded accordingly if our labors were not being individually noted?
God's work involves many individuals with a variety of gifts. To God there are no superstars, only team members called and placed to perform their own special role for which He has prepared them. When we fail to do our part, a slow separation begins, and because a part is not functioning as it should, the body suffers. Paul begins this epistle asking, "Is Christ divided?" (I Corinthians 1:13), and proceeds to discuss a variety of sins that produce division. Later, he teaches the application of the body analogy to the church, and in chapter 13 he stresses the main function of every member: to love.
1 Corinthians 12:7 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. Every part of the body is given a gift or gifts "to profit withal," that is, "for the common good." It is good for the person to whom the gift is given, as well as for the entire church. God expects us to use the gift not only for our own good, but also for everybody else's good too; the good of the whole body.
Asking for the gift of discernment or any other spiritual gift should not be to give us a more special or holier status than our brother or sister in Christ, but instead, to promote the common good for the entire body of Christ. If we think of it this way, it should deter us from corrosive pride, as we realize that each gift has a specific use, and one gift is not any better or inferior to any other.
However, suppose that one gift did contain more value or status than another. Did we do anything to deserve this status or recognition? Of course not! God Almighty distributes these gifts to each member specifically and individually as He wills, as we see in I Corinthians 12:11: "But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills."
We must also realize that all these gifts are meant to interact; no one individual, except for Jesus Christ, has all these gifts. Thus, we need other members of the Body of Christ, with their unique gifts, to complement our own God-given gifts. Christ's Body is meant to work together.
1 Corinthians 15:10
Not only is our calling a gift of God, but God also abundantly bestows other gifts beyond that to enable us to carry out our responsibilities in the church. God has distributed such gifts to every member of the body (I Corinthians 12:7-11).
Every Christian has received some gift in trust from God to be held and used for the benefit of the whole church. The gifts may vary widely, but the ministry or the service of each is to be according to the character of the gift. As in Paul's body analogy, the finger does not do the same job as the toe, but the fingers are a gift to the body so that the body can function. However, the toes are also a gift to the body so it can function better in another area. It contributes its part to the well being of the body, but it does not have the same characteristics as a finger does—or the nose, ears, eyes, or mouth.
Everybody has been given gifts by God, and He has given them to the person so that he can serve the Body, allowing the Body to function better than it would have otherwise if it did not have that part, or that gift. We are to do this as a steward, and above all things, a steward must be faithful. One cannot be faithful unless he has faith. This is where faithfulness begins—with faith, with a belief. Then we carry through. As we minister the gift to the Body of Christ, we become faithful—reliable, trustworthy, responsible—in carrying it out. Thus, each Christian is responsible to follow through faithfully in his service to the brethren.
I Peter 4:10 KJV As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
William Barclay's translation reads:
As each has received a gift from God, so let all use such gifts in the service of one another, like good stewards of the grace of God. The Greek word translated "minister" is diakonos, which is sometimes translated "deacon." It is most frequently rendered either "minister" or "servant."
A good steward is a faithful steward. A good steward, or a good servant, is one who follows through with his responsibility. Being a faithful steward of God's gifts can at least appear to be a discouraging responsibility, given our knowledge of how weak we are, but we will never be faithful if our beliefs are or remain mere preferences. We must be convicted of the rightness of what we believe, or we will never be faithful.
So to conclude, this topic is vitally important because it shows us how God keeps the Church Body running smoothly. Our focus always needs to be, "How do I edify my brother or sister in the Lord today?" If you are sincerely seeking to do this your gifts will naturally be revealed because folks contrary to what you may have heard at your church denomination's annual convention, the gifts are simply intended to build up and strengthen one another! AMEN
Morning Bible Studies are held every Wednesday morning @ 11:00 am ET. Those studies will be posted her for those that missed the live study.
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