Thursday, January 13, 2011

Spiritual Gifts for today?

1Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:

This is the first of only 2 times in ALL of Paul's letters where he uses the phrase, "I do not want you to be ignorant".  It is interesting that even though Paul warns us not to be ignorant, this is one topic that seems to cause much division among the brethren.  Maybe not division in the way of breaking fellowship, but certainly disagreement.  I don't understand why there is disagreement reagarding spiritual gifts since Paul seems very clear in 1 Corinthians 12; and there is no indication in The Word that those gifts have been done away with.

1Co 12:4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

Here's how the ESV puts it:

1Co 12:4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;

Our spiritual gifts may be different, but the Spirit makes known our gifts, for  the the benfit of us all:

God distributes these gifts as He sees fit:

1Co 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

Let's take a look at the list Paul gives us in this chapter; but before we do, remember, unless you can demonstrate through the Word that these gifts have been done away with, they still apply today.  There are still those in the Body of Christ that have these gifts.

1) Word of  Wisdom
2) Word of Knowledge
3) Faith
4) Works of healing
5) Works of miracles
6) Prophecy
7) Discerning of spirits
8) Speaking in tongues
9) Interpretting tongues

Just as the human body has different functions, so it is with the Body of Christ. The ear is not any less a part of the body because it can't smell; obviously that is silly.  If you recognize that to be silly, it does not take much of an effort for you to recognize the silliness of someone saying, "if you don't speak in tongues you aren't saved."  That might seemed like a strange statement to some of you, but there is a group of believers out there that will make this claim.  We don't all have the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues, or prophecy or healing, etc,. but that doesn't make us any less in and of the Body of Christ; if we have surrendered our life to Him.

On the other side of the coin, there are believers that will not recognize a brother or sister's gift.  For example, many Christians will say that there is no such thing as the spiritual gift of healing.  I simply ask, chapter and verse please?  Show me, in the Word, where ANY spiritual gifts have been done away with.

Isn't it amazing how God knew what kind of division spiritual gifting would cause.  First, Paul tells us not to be ignorant; then follows up his argument about the function of The Body with verse 25.  Read it again and then read the definition of schism:

SCHISM, n. sizm. [L. schisma; Gr. to divide, L. scindo.]
1. In a general sense, division or separation; but appropriately, a division or separation in a church or denomination of christians, occasioned by diversity of opinions; breach of unity among people of the same religious faith.

It is interesting that I was studying this tonight thinking, "I want more spiritual gifts, I am going to pray for more spiritual gifts"...then I read verse 31:

1Co 12:31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.

ESV states it this way:

1Co 12:31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.

Do you desire spiritual gifts?  Do you desire more spiritual gifts?  God's Word commands us to EARNESTLY DESIRE spiritual gifts!
 1Co 12:25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.
1Co 12:25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.
1Co 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:

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