SermonsDiscover the Joy of Leaving Laodicea Behind
When we look at the gifts given us by the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12, we are drawn to the fact that some of these gifts are verbal (word of wisdom and knowledge, prophecy, discerning of spirits, different kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues) and some are non-verbal (faith, gifts of healings, working of miracles). And within the verbal gifts, we find certain pair that are closely associated with each other. For example, we have the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge. Then those who possess the gift of tongues and those who are gifted to interpret tongues. And the gift of prophecy and those who are able to discern the spirit behind the prophecy. It seems one gift is closely related to another.
But a more careful study will show that two of these gifts are directly related to one another, they’re literally different sides of the same coin. “What two gifts?” you ask. Prophecy and tongues. “How can that be?” Keep listening to find out more.
Have you ever wondered why we don’t see the healings and miracles today like they did in the times of the New Testament? Has it left you longing for what obviously the early church had that we, somehow, seem to have lost? Or could it be something else?
We have listened to a litany of theologians try to sell us on the fact that God doesn’t do the cool stuff anymore because we have the completed New Testament in our hands. Or He only did the stuff back then to authenticate the apostles’ preaching and, for some strange reason, our preaching today doesn’t need authenticating. Really? Could’ve fooled me.
But what if the Bible truly means what it says? What if God still does today what He proudly and publicly did back then? What if miracles really happen today, but they are just hiding from us, waiting for us to seek them out? What if the difference between the church in 2017 and the church in the book of Acts is not the way God moves, but the way we believe? What if things could be different?
Are you interested in finding out where miracles hide? Good. Then keep listening.
When we have the desire to know more about the gifts given each of us by the Holy Spirit, and our responsibility in exercising those gifts, we are faced with a couple of questions. Especially when we see that the purpose of those gifts is to give the Holy Spirit the opportunity to manifest or express Himself to others. Consider the following:
1 Corinthians 12:7 – But the manifestation (expression) of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.
How does the Holy Spirit manifest or express Himself in the world today?
Does the Holy Spirit give His gifts to everyone that belongs to Christ?
Does that include you?
What gift or gifts has He given you?
And why did He give you His gifts?
So He could express Himself to others through each of us.
Do you realize the reason the Holy Spirit gives us His gifts is to manifest Himself to others through us? Let that sink in for a moment.
Many of us make resolutions this time of year. It just seems natural. Maybe we want to lose weight, get out of debt, or finish a long neglected project around the house. But as a Christian, we want to somehow make our resolutions more spiritual. That also seems natural. So we often resolve something like this:
“I want to read my Bible more.”
“I want to pray more.”
“I want to share my faith more.”
“I want to love more, forgive more, worship more.”
“I want to live more like a Christian.”
“I want to know more of God and have myself conformed to the image of His Son.”
But the key to discovering the “abundant life” (John 10:10) Jesus spoke about is not in keeping resolutions, no matter how good they may be. It’s living a life of holiness. It’s practicing sanctification. It’s being set apart or consecrated unto God. After all, we belong to Him.
But sanctification never takes place unless we first understand the way God’s if / then promises work. The promise comes after the condition. The then follows the if. Consider the following:
When we read the reason God gave each of us spiritual gifts, we find they are an expression or representation of the Holy Spirit to a lost world in dire need of Him. Think about it, the Holy Spirit lives in each of us as a deposit or guarantee of our future inheritance in Him (Eph. 1:14). In essence, no Holy Spirit, no salvation. And because the Holy Spirit now lives in each of us, He also graciously gives us certain gifts that come from Him. Some of these gifts we readily embrace. Others we feel less than excited about. But regardless of our personal feelings about what the Holy Spirit has blessed us with, we are given these gifts for the benefit of others. They are to be used for others as a clear expression of Him who now lives in us.
Consider the following:
1 Corinthians 12:7 – But the manifestation (expression, to make visible or observable) of the Spirit (Holy Spirit) is given (to bestow, to give freely of one’s own accord and with goodwill) to each one (to each and every one separately and individually) for the profit (benefit, advantage, usefulness, help, to bring together for the benefit of another) of all.
Does this also apply to the “gifts of healings” and the “working of miracles” in the verses that follow? What about tongues and the interpretation of tongues? How about the gift of discerning of spirits? Now it gets a little squirrely, doesn’t it? Do you have questions about these gifts? Are you wondering how your experience lines up with the Scriptural teaching about spiritual gifts? Do you feel confused and somewhat in the dark when it comes to these controversial gifts? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Most of the church feels the same way. Want some answers? Then keep listening.
When we think of the cost of Christmas, most of us think about how much it is going to cost us and how long before we pay our credit cards off. But that’s the horizontal cost. The cost of presents that feel good for the moment but have very little lasting value.
There’s also a vertical cost to Christmas. And that cost was paid by the Son of God who “emptied Himself and took on the form of a slave” (Phi.2:7), the lowest of men.
What did Christmas cost Jesus? You’d be shocked, surprised and humbled to know. He exchanged the praise and adoration of angels for the spittle of men.
In 1 Corinthians 12:9, in the beginning of the second group of spiritual gifts, it says one of the gifts is faith.
“To another faith by the same Spirit” – 1 Corinthians 12:9a.
But what kind of faith are we talking about? Is this saving faith? The faith God gives to those chosen by Him from the foundation of the world? (Eph. 1:4). Or is it something else? And, if so, what exactly is this kind of faith?
Is it faith like Abraham had when he left his home to travel to a land the Lord would show him? (Gen. 12:1). Is it faith like Moses had when he approached Pharaoh with a staff and a simple message from the Lord, “Let My people go!”? (Ex. 8:1). Or is it faith like Peter had when he asked Jesus to let Him step out of the boat and walk on water to Him? (Matt. 14:28). Or again, is it something else?
And is this faith really a gift from God to reveal the Holy Spirit to others like the Scriptures say? (1 Cor. 12:7). Could this gift be for you and me today? Or was this gift only given to others who lived long ago in a land far, far away?
So many questions. Do you want some answers? Then keep listening.
Often we are confused concerning the gifts of the Spirit, especially the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10. Questions still linger: Are all the gifts for today? Or, were some of them only for the time of the apostles? And, if they are for today, what does the exercise of these gifts look like? How are they manifested in the church today?
In order to understand the truth behind these questions, we must begin with a simple, seven letter word: another. There are two Greek words translated “another” in this passage. The first is allos, which means “another of the same kind.” And then there is heteros, which means “another of a different kind.” Now, look at the passage in question:
1 Corinthians 12:8-10 – For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another (allos) the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another (heteros) faith by the same Spirit, to another (allos) gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another (allos) the working of miracles, to another (allos) prophecy, to another (allos) discerning of spirits, to another (heteros) different kinds of tongues, to another (allos) the interpretation of tongues.
Now we have three groups of gifts each divided by the word heteros – or “another of a different kind.”
Word of wisdom
Word of Knowledge
Gifts of Healings
Working of Miracles
Discerning of Spirits
Different kinds of tongues
Interpretation of tongues
Do you see how logically the Lord has presented this confusing passage about the gifts of the Spirit? Do you see what He is trying to teach us? If you want to know more, then keep listening.
When we look at the warnings from the Lord found in the first chapter of Proverbs, we are naturally drawn to the almost prophetic words of Forrest Gump.
“Stupid is as stupid does.”
To put it in the words of Solomon:
“How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?” – Proverbs 1:22.
Or, “How long, you simple (foolish, simpleminded, stupid, naive, moronic) ones, will you love simplicity (what is foolish, simpleminded, stupid, naive, moronic)?”
Great question. But what is the object of this question? What exactly are the stupid ones loving stupidly? What can we learn about the wisdom of God from what is being said here? If you want to know more, then keep listening.
In our study on Spiritual gifts, the question before us is this: Why does the Holy Spirit give us His gifts? What’s the point? How does giving us gifts, that we don’t believe we have, benefit Him?
The answer is found in 1 Corinthians 12:7. Here it says: But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.
Got that. But what does this verse really mean?
The word manifestation means “expression, to make visible or observable.” Think about that. The “expression” of the Holy Spirit, or the way the Holy Spirit expresses Himself is “given to each one for the profit of all.” Or, the way the Holy Spirit makes Himself “visible or observable” is by the gifts He gives to “each one for the profit of all.”
Do you see how important these gifts actually are? And what specific gifts are we talking about?
To continue in context: for to one is given the (1) word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the (2) word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another (3) faith by the same Spirit, to another (4) gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the (5) working of miracles, to another (6) prophecy, to another (7) discerning of spirits, to another (8) different kinds of tongues, to another the (9) interpretation of tongues – 1 Cor. 12:8-10.
And this is only the beginning. There is so much more to learn. Are you interested? Then keep listening.