1 Corinthians 12:1-11
1 Corinthians • Sermon • Submitted • Presented • 55:07
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1 Corinthians 12:1-11
1 Corinthians 12:1-11
This morning we are continuing on through 1 Corinthians in a letter Paul wrote to the church in Corinth. We’re starting a very important section concerning spiritual gifts and we’ll spend a few weeks walking through it together. We’re going to be in the 12th chapter, if you don’t know where that is, it falls right between chapters 11 and 13. Anytime we talk about spiritual gifts, We all come at this from different backgrounds that have caused us to form opinions that we will bring with us into this examination. I want to try to take a step back from all that. I’ve just finished taking a class on Pneumatology, well I will finish tonight at midnight if I finish my final research paper this afternoon. Pneumatology is the study of the Holy Spirit and with that, all the spiritual gifts that we will read about here and elsewhere in the Bible. Studying all of the different theological theories concerning the gifts and the different camps that exist within the church today.
There are those that call themselves cessationists. They primarily believe that most of these gifts ceased during the apostolic age, so when the Apostles died, so did the gifts. God can still do miracles, but he no longer does them through people. So the things that we will read about here, particularly what people call the sign gifts. Tongues, visions, prophecy, healings, gone and passed away. Then there are those in a completely different camp that we might call the continuationists. Continuationists believe that all of the gifts we read about in the Scriptures are still available to us today. Not just available, but needed and necessary for the proper functioning of the church and for power and strength in ministering to one another.
These differences are part of what have formed denominational differences between the churches. But I want to step back from that even. Step back from theology, step back from division and opinion, and just read the Bible as if we were just taking a simple read for the very first time. Like we are out in the middle of the pacific, somewhere where it’s warm, on an uncharted island and we come across a bible for the first time, in our own language and we simply read it. What makes the most sense. So this is not going to be taught from the position of this is what Calvary Chapel doctrine says, so this is how we interpret the Bible. No, I’m a Calvary Chapel Pastor, because when I read the Bible, and look at what it actually says, what it means, and how it applies to us in the church today, the closest fit is Calvary Chapel.
Paul started this letter saying...
4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, 5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge,
6 even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
So this church that was messed up, right? We know this is a corrective letter and right after this he addresses divisions among them, but it says that they came short in no gift. Meaning all of the gifts mentioned here and in different areas in the New Testament were functioning in the church and they weren’t missing a thing! I bring that up because lots of us come to this table thinking that gifts are a sign of spirituality, or a sign of maturity, or maybe even superiority. Well if you have this gift or that gift, you must be something special. Some denominations teach that certain manifestations of the gifts are the proof that you have been baptised with the Holy Spirit. So those without certain gifts feel like they are somehow less spiritual. So we are just going to look at it to see what it says, whether that’s what we grew up believing or not, whether we’re totally comfortable with it or not, or if it fits our personal theology....because we shouldn’t be trying to make the Bible say what we believe, we should believe what the Bible says…even if we don’t really know what to do with it.
In verse 1 he writes...
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:
Lets pray together…Paul writes concerning spirituals, the word gifts in my Bible is in italics which means it was added by the translators, and looking at the language I think it fits, but what he writes is concerning spirituals, brethren, or Christians, brothers and sisters, so he is writing to believers here. And that is important to know.
What Paul is writing here is for Christians. Not church goers, or spiritual people, or people that think of themselves as religious, not friends of Christians, but Christians. Those that can say, I have decided to follow Jesus. Let me take that a step further. Because just deciding you’re going to try to follow the rules is not enough. Those that believe Jesus. That He is God the Son, who came to this earth to be born a man, lived a sinless life, unlike any of us, or anyone you know, and then died on a cross, because your sin and mine had to be paid for because the wages of sin is death, separation from God forever. So believing Jesus means I get that you are Holy and I am not. That in order to be saved by a Holy God, someone has to pay the price because God is a God of Justice. Unlike our court systems today, that even in the best counties in the world can be corrupt, God is Holy, and righteous, so justice says that sin must be paid for.
Believing in Jesus means admitting that I’m a sinner and not good enough to go to Heaven, unless, unless I ask God to forgive me. To accept the perfect sacrifice that Jesus made for my sins instead of judging me based on how I’ve done. And I ask Him to be my Savior and make Him Lord, or the Boss of my life. And I’m trusting in what He did on the cross, paying the price for my sins, and died, and then defeated death and rose on the third day, and is alive in Heaven today and coming back again as he promised. If you have done that, then what Paul is writing here applies to you. If you haven’t done that, and you’ve been coming for a while, or you’ve been checking us out on line, you need to know that perfect attendance is not enough, you have to decide what you are going to do with Jesus.
I want to move on with our chapter this morning, but some of you have held out long enough. Will you all bow your heads with me for just a minute? I am going to lead you in a very simple prayer. If you have not yet asked Jesus to be your Savior, you can pray the words that I pray quietly at your seat or pray them in your head, it’s between you and God. These words or use your own. “Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Right now, I turn away from my sins and turn to you. Please forgive me, save me, come into my heart and life. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank You for saving me. In Jesus name, Amen.”
If you did that with us this morning please let me know, or someone else, after the service, we want to serve you and help you grow in your faith.
What happens in us when we do that? When we confess Jesus as our Lord? The Bible tells us, Jesus tells us, that the Holy Spirit comes inside of us. In John 14 Jesus says...
15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
Earlier in the Gospel of John Jesus said....
37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
If you’ve been with us on Wednesday nights, we’ve talked about in the Old Testament God was among his people in the Tabernacle, in the New Testament, Jesus came, was born of a virgin, and grew to be a man, and was among the people, today, the presence of God is with us, and in us Christians, you are the temple of the Holy Spirit. This is what was prophesied about in the Old Testament book of Joel…where God said...
28 “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.
These are the things that were going on in the Corinthian church and these are the things that Paul says he doesn’t want us to be ignorant of. He doesn’t want us to not know about it, to not understand spiritual gifts. There are only a few things that Paul says that about, back in chapter 10 he said...
1 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea,
I don’t want you to be unaware or ignorant of the Old Testament testimonies, the lessons, the typologies, the prophecies.
13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.
In the context of that passage, I don’t want you guys to be ignorant concerning the rapture of the church. The rapture, is that that second coming of Christ, which one comes first, are they the same thing???
11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.
We are told to put on the full armor of God, to resist the devil so we won’t be ignorant, or not know about his devices, and one more
25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
I don’t want you to be ignorant about God’s future plan for Israel. That Israel has not been replaced by the church, God is not done with them as a people.
So, The devices of the devil, God’s plan for Israel, the rapture of the church, the Old Testament testimonies and typologies, and Spiritual gifts, don’t be ignorant of these things. What are the things that the church today is the most ignorant of and the most divided over, these things! So out of obedience Christians, lets dig in and get rid of our excuses, get rid of our ignorance or our not knowing, and learn together…This is 25 years past Pentecost. Paul doesn’t say knock that stuff off, he says learn what you should know, so you’re doing it right.
2 You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
Now when Paul says dumb idols, that’s not dumb dumbs, or idiot idols, it’s back before you were Christians, you believed all kinds of garbage. You followed pagan Gods, that were dumb, mute, because they were dead wood made by human hands, that’s why they could go eat the cheap meat at the pagan taco truck. Even Apollos who was thought to have inspired utterances during pagan worship was a nothing false idol. But Paul is acknowledging, hey you’re coming into these spiritual gifts with a messed up background and bringing that into the church, so there’s some problems here.
You’ll see when we get to chapter 13 he tells them that love is way more important than any of these other gifts that you guys may have. Way more important than if you prophecy, pray in an unknown tongue, or have a gift of healing. Any of those gifts exercised or manifest without love are worthless! In chapter 14 he then reigns them in and sets up some boundaries on how the gifts should be used when they gather together. So, it doesn’t matter how you used to do some of these things in the pagan temple, here’s what it’s supposed to look like in the church.
In verse 3, I think he’s responding to a rumor that started back then that hasn’t gone away. Something like, oh, I heard about this guy that was speaking in tongues, No my Aunt Myrtle was in a church in Saskatchewan with my Uncle Fred visiting my third cousin Bub, and a guy started speaking on tongues during the worship time, and there was no one there to interpret, but my Aunt Myrtle speaks perfect pig Latin, and that what this guy was speaking and he was saying the most wicked and vile things about Jesus that it was just disgusting evil coming out of his mouth. Paul’s saying, yeah, I don’t think so…no one speaking by the Spirit of God is going to curse Jesus...
and no one can say that Jesus is Lord, and mean it except by the Holy Spirit. For by grace you have been saved through faith, even that faith was a gift of the Holy Spirit for you to be able to confess that Jesus is Lord. So in verse 3 Paul gives us sort of a litmus test to see if something is ligit of the Holy Spirit or not. Jesus told us...
26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.
So the Holy Spirit isn’t going to curse Jesus, He’s going to testify of Jesus, confirm Jesus.
14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
The Holy Spirit will bring glory to Jesus and sound like Jesus. So is what we are seeing something that was taught by Jesus, or modeled by Jesus, was it taught or modeled by the early church in the book of Acts, How about in the Epistles, do we see it there? Verse 4...
4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.
There are all kinds of different gifts, Paul lays out a list of I think 9 here, there are other lists, which I think is indicative that these lists are a sampling, rather than conclusive. The lists in the different parts of the New Testament are not all the same, and aren’t in the same orders, remember, Paul was not doing a top to bottom teaching on the subject, he was addressing something that was active, and not at all lacking among this church and it’s members. But needed to be put in order. We will get to these as we get deeper into the specific gifts, but there is a listing here in verses 1-11, if you look down at verse 28 there is an additional list, Romans 12:6-8, Eph. 4:11, and I include those in 1 Peter 4:11
Paul is saying there are a bunch of different gifts, but they all come from the Holy Spirit, it’s not like when you were gentiles worshiping dumb idols with the spirit of this and the spirit of that. Lot’s of gifts but they are all of the Holy Spirit. Verse 5 says there are differences of ministries…but of the same Lord, notice how Paul also kinda subtly works the Trinity in here as well. Different gifts, but the same Spirit, different ministries but the same Lord, and verse 6, diversities of activities but the same God.
Different gifts and he’s going to list those out for us, but they are of the same spirit, and then our gifts determine our ministries. And he says there are different ones of those, here probably speaking of those offices or ministries within the church, such as apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers, that are listed elsewhere, and then activities, some of the gifts are operational in the church like administrations, and some are miraculous manifestations, maybe a one time even in this particular circumstance like healing, but all of the gifts are from the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit working together in and through you. Verse 7
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:
This is huge! Manifestation is an action, an event, the showing or making obvious of something right. SO we already said that the Holy Spirit is present, or indwelling in every single Christian. Biblically, there is no such thing as a Christian that does not have the Holy Spirit in them. As we go through this we’ll talk about what the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is, or the coming upon or epi in the Greek, if there is anything like a second filling, but for today,... it says the the manifestation of the Sprit is given to each one. Every Christ has the Holy Spirit …but the manifestation, the action, or the showing of it, given to each one is for the benefit of the church, for the profit of all, and He’s talking to Christians here. So, when the Holy Spirit is manifest or made more obvious through the gifts it is for the benefit of building up, strengthening, encouraging the church. When the Holy Spirit is manifest, you don’t have more of the Spirit.
If I take my Bible and put it behind the pulpit here, is my Bible still here. Of Course, but if I put it out here, where it is seen, made more obvious, it is manifest. So Christians, you are filled with the Holy Spirit, each of you has received a gift, at least one, that is supposed to be manifest for the good of the church, and if you’re not exercising your gift, then we are missing out. So don’t hold out on me, I want the blessing of your gift, but not right now, verse 8...
8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,
Word of wisdom, supernatural ability to speak for the wisdom of God. Jesus, should we render taxes unto Caesar? Trick question right? If He says Yes, the Jews who were being oppressed by the Romans no longer see Him as their coming King, if He says no, He is seen as a threat to the Roman kingdom, an insurrectionist and possibly taken into custody before His time. Bring me a coin He tells them and asks who’s image does it bare? Caesars. Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars and unto God the things that are God’s. A word of Knowledge, lots of times these two get confused, theologians fight about it a lot. But a word of Knowledge is having God reveal something to you that there is no possible way you could have otherwise known.
Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman, Go get your husband, and she says I have not husband, and Jesus tells her, you’ve responded rightly, you’ve had 5 husbands and the guy that you’re living with right now, isn’t your husband. How did He know that. I know He’s Jesus, but he was here as man, operating empowered by the Holy Spirit.
When they brought the woman caught in adultery to Him and He tells them he who is without sin cast the first stone and began writing in the sand, whatever was written was a word of knowledge. Often times they can work together the Lord gives you a word of knowledge, you know something that you could not otherwise know. That woman in the grocery store is going through the biggest crises of her life, you don’t know her, you’ve never seen her before, she’s not balling her eyes out, the Lord simply reveals it to you.
Then He tells you what to do with that word of knowledge and that can be a word of Wisdom. Or you share with a friend, that you believe the Lord just showed you this or gave you a Word of Knowledge and God gives them a Word of Wisdom and they go over and offer to pay for her groceries and that was her struggle, or your friend goes over and introduces themselves and lets her know they work at a safe house for victims of domestic abuse, or at a crisis pregnancy center, or they simply pray for her and she gets saved. Word of wisdom/word of knowledge. Verse 9
The gift of faith. I already said we are all saved by grace, through faith, so we all have been given that kind of faith, and that is a gift to be given that, but here Paul is talking about a supernatural gift of faith, like mountain moving faith. Peter and John at the Temple in Acts 3, when they come across the lame man, a guy who could not walk since birth, Peter tells the man to look at him, and says "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk."" - Acts 3:6 NKJV And he doesn’t just say it, but reaches down, takes his hand and lifts him up and he is healed. Don’t ever do that unless God gives you a supernatural gift of faith to do it. Lots of times that kind of faith goes hand and hand with healing. The person being healed may or may not have any faith, they might not even be saved.
Notice it says gifts of healings. God can use use in healing others and God and bless you with receiving a gift of healing.
10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
Miracles this translates literally acts of power, don’t confuse it with feats of strength, but rather, God uses you in some way that defies the natural laws of natures, it can be in conjunction with other gifts like healing.
Prophecy - We will talk about this in much greater length, but think of it as telling forth the Word or message of God. Not limited to preaching, and not always predictive, like telling something before it happens. But it is God talking to man.
Discerning of spirits - this is sometimes described as having a check in your spirit about something or someone. It is supernaturally, being able to tell the difference between truth and a lie, Truth and false doctrine, that doesn’t sound right, what that pastor said, I need to check that out further. I want to believe this guy, because what he’s selling me sounds like the answer to my prayers, but God shows you he is a deceiver. In 2 Corinthians we read that Satan appears as an angel of light, he is the deceiver. This pastor is funny and entertaining, but God shows you that he is really a false prophet, that’s discerning of spirits.
Different kinds of tongues - super controversial gift today, so we are going to go over it in lots of depth. For today, it is one of the gifts of the Spirit. It is not thee gift of the spirit, or the evidence that you have received the baptism of the Holy spirit. You are not more spiritual if you have it or less if you don’t. One of the huge misunderstandings and abuses of this gift come from being ignorant in what Paul teaches in these few chapters. When someone is exercising this gift they are communicating to God, not to man. It is not man talking to man in an unknown language and then someone deciphers the message and gives us a message from God. Most often it is a private prayer language between you and God.
When one speaks in a tongue they don’t speak to men, they speak to God. Lots of Continuationists, even within Calvary Chapels teach that this is a gift ever Christian can have if they ask for it. Again, just a simple reading of the Scriptures, without any outside influence, just you and God on that warm Pacific Island, I don’t think you come to that conclusion, if you read vs. 30 you don’t come to that conclusion, but much, much, more on that later.
Interpretation of tongues - Tongues, primary purpose and use in the personal devotional life of the believer. If you have never ever felt like you were at a loss of words in praising God, praying to God, making appeal to God and you just didn’t know what to say. If you’ve never been in that spot of limitation. You’ve always been able to communicate perfectly with God in word you know and understand, then you would have no need to pursue this gift. When you are in a time of desperation, or overwhelmed with gratitude and praise for God and in your worship you want to ask the Holy Spirit to help you express it, perfect place and opportunity to pursue that gift.
Verse 11, I’ll almost end with this..
As He wills NOT as we wills. Right He decides what gift goes where. Not me. So if I don’t get a particular gift, it’s not that I’m not spiritual enough, or not mature enough, look at the scriptural qualifications and elders, it doesn’t say there that they have to have at least 7 gifts, that they would be mature, be men of integrity. So it’s not as we will it is His will and I’ll remind you of one more thing, just in case you do pray in tongues, or you’ve got a bakers dozen of gifts, that too doesn’t mean you’re any better than me or anyone else in the body…Paul told us back in chapter 4...
7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
Gifts are distributed as the Holy Spirit wills, lets pray...