Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Gifts of the Holy Spirit 2/10/2013
Dear congregation,

At times in our lives, we may wonder as to what spiritual gifts we possess. In our time together today, we are going to hear teaching which the Lord gave to the Corinthian church in Corinth through Apostle Paul in letter form. Within that church there were divisions and contentions (1:10-11) and they were in need of instruction in righteousness as they had become separated into different groups through following different men and their gifts. As Paul wrote previously in this letter, (4:6) And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. 7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? They needed to be brought back to the truth that they were united in Christ through the Holy Spirit before they were instructed concerning gifts in the church.

This body of Christ or the church could be likened unto an orchestra in which there are many instruments that ddistributed to the members of the orchestra, which are given according to their innate ability, which are then played bythem as individuals to bring forth one unified sound. Each one has their own particular instrument and each one participates at their appointed time so as to create one harmonic sound.

This letter is written in response to a particular need that the Holy Spirit through Apostle Paul wished to address within the Corinthian congregation. May we who are members of this congregation hear what the Spirit has to say to us today through His Word. May we be given grace to receive application into our hearts of this timeless teaching from the Word of the Lord.

KJV 1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb (voiceless) idols, even as ye were led.
3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

He begins by saying that he wants them to know about the spiritual gifts that are distributed about in their congregation, telling them that previously as pagans they were led by self/others unto idols who were not able to speak at all. He contrast this by pointing out that which the Spirit of God brings forth in a person in whom dwells the Spirit of God/Holy Ghost. We remember that in chapter two this was written concerning the Holy Spirit:

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (2:12-14)

What is being said here is that just as when one is in union with a voiceless idol, one can only speak what a voiceless idol speaks, (which is nothing),, when one is in union with the Holy Spirit one will not call Jesus accursed and will call Him Lord.

4 Now there are diversities (divisions) of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

Paul first establishes to them that they are united in the Spirit (which means that they are in union with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, these three are always in agreement) before beginning to explain to them about the different gifts that are given. He breaks them down into three divisions, being gifts (charisma), administrations (diakonia) and operations (energema), and making the important point that they are all of the same Spirit, the same Lord and the same God which works all in all.

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.(for the common good)
Manifestation: sign: an indication that something is present, real, or exists
1 Corinthians 12:7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church.

8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
ESV 1 Corinthians 12:11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

Each person is given the gift for the purpose of helping the church. There are other gifts that are described elsewhere, but here he lists a number of them. The question comes to us: Are these in order of importance or are they merely listed randomly? For example, the gift of knowledge (of God) and the gift of wisdom (of) are listed first. Everything starts with God, continues with God and ends with God and all must be according to His Word. We will leave it at that.. In verse 11, he writes that all of these gifts are worked and empowered by the one and same Spirit, who deals out to each one as He sees fit.

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 (joined) 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.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.

The body of Christ is one,(but made up of many members) being in union (baptism) with Him by the one Spirit, with no separation between Jews and pagans or between slave and master, and all are made to drink into one Spirit. Does this refer to water baptism or is it referring to the Holy Spirit baptism which all believers experience and which water baptism points to? Are the baptisms of Moses and Jesus being contrasted here? Previously Paul had written:

KJV 1 Corinthians 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

There is a lot to sort through here, but the main emphasis seems to be that just as the Israelites were united with Moses on that phyical journey to the promised land in the cloud and the sea, we likewise spiritually are one with Christ, yet possessing our unique giftedness for the benefit of the larger group. As the Israelites each had their own gifts given to them by Moses for and during the 40 year journey for the purpose of the group's benefit, it is the same for us in the body of Christ today. Even though they may have not realized that they were doing so, as they journeyed and worshipped their God, they were eating and drinking of Christ, even as we are doing today.

15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

There is a tendency for us to depreciate the gift that God has given us, so that we look at another's giftedness and desire to have their gift. All parts of the body are members and one is not to try to be something that they have not been given to be. For how would the body work if people chose their own gifts according to their desires rather accept that which the Lord has apportioned to them? It would be chaos.

21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

On the opposite side, one should never look at what one would consider a lesser gift in a arrogant and proud manner. God has made the human body as He saw fit to do so. In the same manner He has created the church to have the members that it has and desires that they would work individually for the benefit of the common group. Paul uses the words seem and think to point out that we are to be careful that our own thoughts and opinions do not override that which God has given and ordained to be parts of the body, both physical and spiritual. There are various interpretations and understandings on verses 22-25, but the key thought seems to be that due to the Corinthians tendency to elevate certain gifts, caution is given here to not yield to the temptation of giving the more visible gifts more honor than the less visible gifts. For example, those who minister publicly already get enough honor while the kitchen ladies labor largely unnoticed and without much public honor.

27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

He returns to the that which he has said before: We are part of a larger body, but yet have individual giftedness.

28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracltes, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. {diversities: or, kinds}
29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

He closes the chapter by listing some gifts, but here he clearly puts them in the order of importance in the body as he applies that which he has explained in this chapter by way of teaching and illustration. He has written that it is the Spirit who apportions the gifts that are to be exercised individually for the edification of the corporate body. He then used the human body to illustrate this, and has more than once said that we are one, but members individually. Now he applies the teaching to the Corinthian church, asking them in particular, "are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? do all have the gifts of healling? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

The hearers would, of course, have their answer ready: No way that all have all the gifts, for they had just heard Paul say that gifts are given individually for the collective benefit and had also heard him use the human body as an illustration of that teaching.

Paul then calls upon them to covet, or desire the best gifts; and then gives them the clue that he is not done teaching on this topic yet by saying; and yet I show unto you a more excellent way.

What are the best gifts? Are they the ones that he listed first? Or is he leading into the continuing discussion of this subject that, Lord-willing, we will take up next week? I am not sure at this point, but we will wait on the Lord.

Let us close this in application to our selves, summarizing what we heard the Lord say to us.

We are joined together by and in the Holy Spirit with God through His Son Jesus Christ.
Being in this union, we speak those things of God that the Spirit reveals to us from the Word.
The Holy Spirit gives unto each individual giftedness for the purpose of the body.
We are to recognize that there are greater gifts that are given according to the purposes of the Lord which are to be used to benefit the larger body.
As a result of different gifts given and received, there is to be a appreciation for other's giftedness through helping them to nurture, develop and use their gifts for the benefit of the larger body.
There is to be no divisions in the body due to the minimization of one's own giftedness or due to the minimization of another's giftedness.

To repeat what was written by this writer in the beginning of this writing....

This body of Christ or the church could be likened unto an orchestra in which there are many instruments that are distributed amongst the members of the orchestra, which are given according to their innate ability, which are then played by them as individuals to bring forth one unified sound. Each one has their own particular instrument and each one participates at their appointed time so as to create one harmonic sound.

In addition, a basketball team is made up of players who have certain abilities which have been given to them, talents which have been nurtured and improved, and who are placed by the coach in the positions which create a team that will work together for the purposes and goals of the team.

May the Lord give us his grace to hear what He says unto us, by allowing the Spirit to evaluate our attitudes and actions that we have in the body of believers that we are a part of and to seek His help in making those adjustments that may need to be made by ourselves in order to be that which He has called us to be and do in the body that we are a part of.

Together in Him,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 10 Feb 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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The Temptation of Jesus
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The Lawry Kilpela family as they grieve but yet rejoice in Lawry's being called home.