2000-06-07 - Spiritual Gifts
Spiritual Gifts, Part 6
God's order in evaluating Various Official positions and Spiritual Gifts Addressing these believers at Corinth, who were prone to carnality and dissatisfied with their spiritual status:
As little children wanting something they should not have-Paul says, "Now ye are the body of Christ, and severally members thereof. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles..." (verses 27,28). Jesus selected and commissioned certain disciples to accompany Him for three years of training to prepare them for full-time service. These twelve were called apostles (Matthew 10:2-4) An apostleship was a temporary office. The apostles and prophets were those who laid the foundations of the church. (Ephesians 2:20) The Apostles were eyewitnesses to the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. From the time of His baptism by John to His ascension into heaven. (Acts 1:21-22). "Secondly [in God's order of gifts] prophets..." (1 Corinthians 12:28). There were New Testament prophets who brought to remembrance events which occurred in the past, interpreted things present and foretold those things which were yet in the future. "Thirdly teachers, those who gave themselves to teaching knowledge, wisdom, etc. (Acts 13:1) Then miracles, then gifts of healings [not gift of healing] helps, governments, diverse kinds of tongues" (verse 28). Special attention should be given to the fact that in the early church, the gift of tongues was mentioned last. Paul's evaluation was so given that the Corinthians might see the fallacy in elevating the gift of speaking in tongues (foreign languages) above it's proper place in the church.
The Greater Gifts"But desire earnestly the greater gifts..." (1 Corinthians 12:31) Some in the church were magnifying the gift of tongues above Gods intended use of it. Certain gifts of the Spirit are greater than others. Paul volunteered to show them "a most excellent way." That most excellent way is the way of love. Unfortunately the King James Version renders the Greek word agape as "charity," whereas the American Standard Version (1901) more accurately renders it "love."
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 introduces us to this most excellent way: "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing."
The kind of love Paul is discussing is not merely sentimental love. This love is dynamic - a spiritual force; it is a spiritual power that manifests itself in sixteen different ways in the life of a yielded Christian. "Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh no account of evil; rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away." (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
The apostle Paul (Colossians 3:12-15) explains love as being the very "bond of perfectness," that perfection which produces sixteen manifestations of love in the life possessing it.
In these three passages the apostle Paul speaks of love as being a spiritual force that effects one's life, lifting one from the low level of fleshly living to the high plane of spiritual life and power.
Sixteen Manifestations Of LoveVerses 4-8 provides a wonderful spiritual mirror in which to look at.
To be continued.
In His Service,