Thursday, April 20, 2017

Gifts Of The Spirit III

In the previous post we saw that the Holy Spirit does not give everyone the same spiritual gifts, but gives each person the gifts he chooses for the benefit of the entire church.  It is crucial we understand this point or we may well begin to believe, like many do that a person is not really saved and doesn’t have the Holy Spirit unless they have a certain gift such as speaking in tongues.  Paul explains why not everyone gets the same gifts. 

“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.  For by one Spirit are we all baptized 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.  For the body is not one member, but many.” (I Corinthians 12:12-14)

The church is the body of Christ, and like the human body, there are numerous parts, each performing a certain function.    In order to perform the different functions they have different abilities or gifts.  For example the heart pumps the blood that carries the nutrients throughout the body, and removes the waste from the cells.  Since it is inside the body it has no need for the ability to see, but has a special ability to keep pumping continuously for a lifetime.  The cells necessary to see would interfere with its ability to pump the blood.  Similarly, if the eye had muscles like the heart muscle that constantly contract, it would be very hard to see things.  In the same way, Gifts that person doesn’t need to perform his function in the church may prove to be distraction and interfere with his ability to do his job, so the Holy Spirit does not give them. 

Sometimes in the church, people get jealous because they want to do a different job and feel like they are not part of the church.    I Corinthians 12:15-21 addresses this problem.   “If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  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?  If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.  And if they were all one member, where were the body?  But now are they many members, yet but one body.   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.

Just imagine what would happen if a person’s foot decided that if it couldn’t be his hand instead, it just wouldn’t do anything or act as part of his body, or if the ear decided to not to be part unless it was given the job of seeing.  While a person can learn to do almost everything with his feet that he can do with his hands, everything is much more difficult, and some are almost impossible, and since the foot refuses to be part the person will be unable to walk normally.  Even if it got the job, the ear could never do the eye’s job because it doesn’t have the necessary abilities, but by refusing to do its proper job it would leave the person deaf.    

Without a heart to pump blood to it. a digestive system to get the nourishment from the food, or feet to carry it to where food is available an eye could not survive and the ability to see would be worthless.  In the same way, a church where everyone had the same gifts or are competing to do the same jobs cannot function as a church and will probably not survive very long.  God has put each person in the church where he wanted them, giving them the gifts they need to do the job he has given them.   They need to focus on doing that job to the best of their ability instead of looking to obtain a more prestigious job or expand their ministry. 

At the same time, those in the more prestigious jobs need to understand they could not do their job without the others doing their job any more than an eye could survive or function without The efforts of those who do the less visible and prestigious jobs.  God has placed every person in the church as it has pleased him and we have no right or authority to dismiss them or eject them from the church just because they don’t go along with the way we want them.    

Many of the attitudes and actions we see in modern churches are clear indications of a carnal, unspiritual state.  The constant focus by many to attain a more prestigious position or pastorate.   Efforts to drive out or eliminate those who resist change or don’t care for particular style of music or service indicate the same thing.  Insisting that everyone must have the gift of speaking in tongues indicates an ignorance about the Holy Spirit’s working., as does insisting that other groups are wrong for having a different organizational structure or way of doing things.  

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