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KNOW, LIVE, BE: LIVE AS THE CHURCH  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  56:16
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Scripture & Reason 1 Corinthians 12-13:2 Matthew 7:22-23 Matthew 24:24 2 Thessalonians 2:9 Acts 20:7-12 Acts 14:8-10 Acts 19:12 I Corinthians 13:2 John 13:35 LOVE

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Scripture & Reason

1 Corinthians 12

Coming to chapters of the Bible for their issues - can cause you to wrongly see / understand a passage. In the church folks tend towards disagreeing over spiritual gifts and so if you want to engage another believer on your belief for spiritual gifts you’ll both open up 1st Corinthians 12 and rip each other to pieces and in so doing, we’ll miss the point - just like over head coverings in 1st Corinthians 11.

Now, that said, lets come freshly to 1st Corinthians12 and let the passage speak for it’s self rather than having the passage speak to our issues. If this is your first time considering this passage - know this; God’s word is illuminated to us as the Holy Sprit of God allows us to know it’s truth - so I pray that you’re heart and mind is opened today, if even for the first time and you come to see the goodness of God in His gifting for the church.

With gifts we often try to pin this stuff down and say binary you a) have gifts of healing or b) don’t have gifts of healing and we oversimplify and we become about our scriptural issue rather than an expression of the love of God - and the have no part in the matter.

What will we talk about in this passage, what points will be made about God / Jesus / Church / Christianity?

1) We’re going to look at this from your angle, but looking to the church. Because we’ll see that this is what gifts are for, the church.

2) We’re going to look at this asking - how do I begin a process of finding my gift.

3) Finally we’re going to carefully study Paul’s statement in chapter 13:2 as a way of understanding all over Chapter 12

Here is why this matters to you, if you’re a believer in God, if Jesus is your ransom for sin before a God who judges sin - you’re gifted by God to do His will in this life for the glory of His name. It’s both your duty and your joy to serve Him and watch His gifting enable your service and if you’re a believer I KNOW you want that.

Just some of us don't know… ‘So what do I do next’? Hang in.

1 Corinthians 12:1-3 (ESV)

Spiritual Gifts

1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed.

Why? Because we’re going to see a double working of gifts, this is God working on us, building our faith as He works through us in building others faith. Watch…

2 You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led.

There are some hints in 1 Corinthians 12 that this is to believers people who’ve been changed by the grace of God, through the work of Christ, indwelled by the Holy Spirit of God. “Concerning spiritual gifts, brothers’ family in the body of the Church, in the Kingdom of God more simply believers. Verse 2, when you were pagans you were… look at that total change, Paul KNOWs exists in the brothers he knows two things – 1) before the grace of God, in the work of Christ, through the filling of the Spirit - you were different you were far from God BUT now because of those things, you’re not near to God.

Church - I want us to be near to God. And understanding gifts here will help us do that.

SO, he says now you’re wholly and radically changed so…

3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.

Now people complicate quite an easy verse here. And will say, hey - if you can say Jesus is Lord than you’re saved. I want you to think about that through both scripture and reason…. First:

Matthew 7:22 (ESV)

22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’

Hmm… so, many will say to Jesus that he’s Lord yet

Matthew 7:23 (ESV)

23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Wait - but Paul said no one can say, “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit. Paul here is not giving a kind of a litmus test for knowing other believers; rather he is speaking corporately to individuals. This is to say going back to the immediate context of this chapter he started saying, “Brothers - I don’t what you to be uninformed.” Then went into each persons internal individual testimony “you were pagans and followed idols” that said, he then is saying, if you in all conviction say that Christ is your lord, and from conviction follow him as Lord - then listen up, because that’s un-natural, super natural and this discussion of spiritual gifts, this is for you.

Church is this for you?

Are gifts yours?

Paul says, if you, having been a pagan following passions of your flesh but now following after Christ’s example, the God’s character, and the Spirits willingness with Jesus as Lord - then this is for you.

1 Corinthians 12:4-7 (ESV)

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;

5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;

6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.

7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

That was packed and thick and heavy - and vastly important.

1 Corinthians 12:4-7 (ESV)

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;

5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;

6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.

7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

So, of those people who live with Jesus as Lord - who do all to the Glory of God, for whom their daily walk, their profession in life, their free/spare time, their money - are all oriented on the glory of God in the Lordship of Jesus to them are given gifts by the Spirit of God.

Paul wants us to know the source of these gifts.


Have you ever heard someone say - so and so would have wanted it that way? Imagine an inheritance of money from someone who was a deeply convicted Christian - as someone who received that inheritance you’d be disingenuous if you were to squander all that inheritance in working to stop the gospel message of Christ and so and so wouldn’t have wanted you to use the money in that way.

Now if God, the Holy Spirit of God is the giver of these spiritual gifts, are they simply to advance your cause, this is where Paul is going. If you are indwelled by the spirit of God, filled with His presence and given gifts from the spirit of God, those are for God’s use to His glorification.

Why - well let me stretch some here. As people see the gifts of the spirit of God working out through people who were pagan, who used to follow idols, they’ll see the power of God to salvation, the Glory of God in this life, they’ll see His character visible in a broken world then as faithful servants of God preach the gospel they’ll be moved to salvation, and a momentum builds, a kingdom on earth momentum that brings MANY to God.

1 Corinthians 12:8-12 (ESV)

8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,

9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,

10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

One Body with Many Members

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

Now - many people would argue that some of these gifts, healing and tongues, are/were limited to the initial days of the church. 7-10 does not seem limited to the Apostles. So it’s difficult to argue that only the apostles’ have/had these gifts verse 7 specifically makes that difficult

1 Corinthians 12:7 (ESV)

7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

It’s difficult for me to move from “to each is given” into a limitation to the Apostles. Moreover, it’s difficult to argue that healing and tongues would be the litmus test for their authentication, again scripture and reason, consider:

Matthew 24:24 (ESV)

24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.

2 Thessalonians 2:9 (ESV)

9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,

Healing - that’s a focal one, and I want to think through this in scripture and reason, I think most people would argue/recognize that Paul had a gift of healing (Acts 20:7-12, Acts 14:8-10, Acts 19:12)

However, this guy Paul, today we’d sell tickets to him at the Giant center, we’d send his TV ministry money, but Paul’s “gift” was given by the spirit, as the spirit wills, when Paul had a thorn, it would not be removed, when Timothy had a stomach problem, Paul recommended a natural cure, God moves through the church with His gifts giving them as He wills to the praise of His name. Are these gifts limited, yes and no, are they’re not for our glorification; they’re not for showmanship.

I pray that we’ll feel less that we need to fit into a package of secessionism versus charismatic belief and rather that’d we’d be convinced by scripture and reason.

Now - Paul shows how the gifts work together in the church, in a local manifestation of the Kingdom of God:

1 Corinthians 12:14 (ESV)

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many.

He shows how the members/gifts are all interrelated. Why:

1 Corinthians 12:25-26 (ESV)

25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

And so these gifts, and gifting aren’t so someone can look powerful and specifically “Christian” rather so that the body would be loving and impressive as they work together all in the context of Love!

1 Corinthians 13:2 (ESV)

2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

This all happens in the context of love.

John 13:35 (ESV)

35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

When we have a deep loving care one for the other, guys we’ll see gifts flow. Love is the desire, not gifts.

Transformation and Christian living, Jesus as lord is the aim, and God will work among us in huge ways when we’re after love.

Church - do we have love, that’s the question that precedes the answer “so what do I do next”…

We’re headed down to our fellowship hall, where we’ll carve out some more of Sunday to work on building up the love we have one for another - want to see God work miraculous ways? Lets work on our love.

When we live like this people will recognize our Love, they’ll know our Lordship, they’ll know something is different among us and because we’re faithful we’ll tell them, it’s God at work, and they’ll see God working and they’ll come to know His son; God’s kingdom is great and in it He is at work for His glory.

Lets Go after love, and God will give the gifts how and when he sees fit - lets just be available - then gifts become just that something that we’re surprised to receive, rather than taking a test and grasping as we step back and pretend to be surprised that God’s gifts for us are simple things we’re already drawn towards and that we already like.

It’s like his cartoon on online quizzes, want to see God move, be less concerned with Gifts and fill you life with prayer and a quest for Love, desire that Jesus be Lord, and work to serve him and you’ll see God work.


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