Archive for September, 2020

The Giver of Gifts is Holy and therefore let us reciprocate this great love for the church and look beyond ourselves in love.

September 25, 2020

Now I decided to go over this section again.  I felt that it was important to look at some key words that can help us get deeper into the text.  So, the first thing I will do is just give a word list based on the text below.  Once we have gotten acquainted with the words, we can start to find out what Paul was really trying to say to the Corinthians.  When I do give the list of words don’t fret.  Like in English a word can have several meanings or interpretations.   But I felt it was important for you to see other ways it has been translated in the Bible.

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of  miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the  distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

EnglishGreek
Varieties  3xg1243. διαίρεσις diairesis ; from 1244; a division:–   varieties(3).
Gifts x2g5486. χάρισμα charisma ; from 5483; a gift of grace, a free gift:–
favor(1), free gift(3), gift(5), gifts(7), spiritual gift(1).

Ministriesg1248. διακονία diakonia ; from 1249; service, ministry:–
ministries(1), ministry(19), mission(1), preparations(1), relief(1), serve(1), service(7), serving(2), support(1).
giveng1325. δίδωμι didōmi ; redupl. from the root δο- do-; to give (in various senses lit. or fig.):–
add(1), allow(2), bestowed(4), cause(2), commanded*(1), dealing(1), drew(1), gave(79), give(122), given(117), gives(14), giving(12), grant(15), granted(10), granting(2), leave(1), make(1), offer(2), pass(1), pay(5), permitted(1), pour(1), poured(1), produce(1), produces(1), producing(1), put(6), puts(1), putting(1), show(1), struck*(1), utter(1), venture*(1), yielded(3).

So in verse 4 Paul  says that there  are a varieties of gifts.  It just means that there are various gifts.  The word for gift here is χάρισμα charisma which is to do with grace. In other words a free gift from God that has positive implications and is supposed to benefit the whole church.   I went on to Wikipedia and I found it interesting that this word come from being happy (from χαίρω (khaírō, “I am happy”)) + -μα (-ma).) . 

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%CF%87%CE%AC%CF%81%CE%B9%CF%83%CE%BC%CE%B1

Anyway, we should be happy that God loves us so much that he meets all our needs.  From the point of view of the 21st century however, people can interpret this in a selfish manner.  For example, this is a gift for me.  God wants to bless the whole church and not just the individual although I am not saying that you are not important.  When you are given a gift what do you do with it?  Perhaps you were given some money for some new clothes; Did you spend it on alcohol instead?  The gifts that are given here are by God, so we ought to show them the greatest of respect for we stand on holy ground.  If we stand on holy ground, then the gifts must be holy and must be used in a holy manner and how the Giver intended them to be used.

These gifts whatever they are those mentioned here and elsewhere have been given by the Holy Spirit for the Church.  Not any one person has all the gifts.  They are shared out.  Paul keeps saying ‘to another’ 4 or 5 times. 

The gift that has the most contention I suppose in the 21st century outside of Pentecostal and charismatic circles is tongues. Glossolalia from my point of view ought to be understood as a divine language rather than a foreign language.  Why do I come to this conclusion?  The reason is that as well as Christian glossolalia there were other mystic religions at the time that used it.  It was part of the ancient universal culture of the Middle East at the time. 

This article is interesting even if you don’t agree with it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossolalia

I don’t claim to really understand what is going on in these chapters but I can say that God is bigger than us, his love is bigger than us, and his gifts are bigger than we could imagine or think.  God became a man and died in our place so that we could be in an eternal relationship with the divine.  What a blessing. Let us look beyond the gifts to our great Trinitarian God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Where does wisdom and knowledge in the Church come from?

September 20, 2020

9/20/2020

8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 1 Corinthians 12:8

It is God the Holy Spirit who gives wisdom and knowledge to the Church through its members. Whether we take these words literally depending on our church tradtions; We can agree that the Holy Spirit shares out this wisdom and knowledge so, let us give God the glory and not puff up our own pride.

I want to say a few more words on a more general topic concerning chapters 12 through to chapter 14. For a lot of teachers of the Bible it causes them problems because they don’t know what to do with the spiritual gifts so they are denied. We cannot escape the fact that they are found in every Bible and it is God’s word. So are there any keys in the text itself to help us interpet these things. I think Paul really helps us here and let us not forget how 1 Corinthians actually started. There were different groups in the Church and this caused a lot of confusion for the church. Paul is laying down ground rules for the edification of the Church. Tongues was not a problem in the first century as it was practiced all over the ancient world especially in the temples, Roman and Greek. It is only natural for this culture to also be found in the Church among the believers as a mirror of society. This was not a problem; The problem was that their was a lack of discipline.

The Holy Spirit likes order as the text says and Paul lays this out. For me, my opinion; 1 Corinthians was an introduction to the spritual gifts and how they are used in the Church. Chapter 13 is the glue that gives cohesian to everything. Let us not forget chapter 11 in all of this as the launch pad for the rest of 1 Corinthians is Holy Communion. Be aware though that tongues was usually the last in the list of spiritual gifts unless there was an interpretor

Whatever our view on these verses as Christians we ought to love one another as a reality in our lives. We will continue on these verses.

Just a short note; I have decided to slow down on my blogs as I am studying and working at the moment. However I will attempt to still write two or three times a Week. Thanks a lot for following my blogs and feel free to leave mesages or even follow.

God the Holy Spirit manifests Himself in the believers for the good of all in the Church.

September 19, 2020

9/19/2020

7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 1 Corinthians 12:7

We ought to remember the Holy Spirit gives these manifestations for the common good in the Church.  We do not force the Holy Spirit.  The problem I have in a lot of this is that some pastor somewhere comes up with some ‘new gift’ and he says that this is for the 21 century.   Test everything by Scripture and prayer with humility. There are too many false prophets out there claiming this and that.

The same God who works all things in all!

September 18, 2020

9/18/2020

6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 1 Corinthians 12:6

I like this verse.  The reason I like it is that the Holy Spirit works how he wills.  Who is to say that because these spiritual gifts are not practiced that this effect may be what the Holy Spirit wants or that where these gifts are practiced that that may be what the Holy Spirit wants? It is that as human beings we all think our way is the best way.  Let us stop and remember that it is the Holy Spirit that works in the church and so we ought to put are false humility aside.

There is but one Lord!

September 17, 2020

9/17/2020

5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 1 Corinthians 12:5

There is one Lord.  It is interesting that Jesus said whoever is the first will be the last and whoever is the last will be the first.  We ought to practice this in our congregations.  A ministry is a service whatever the service might be.  It could be making a cup of tea for someone in the church or buying a burger for a homeless person because they haven’t had anything to eat.  

There are many gifts which God the Holy Spirit shares out as He wills

September 16, 2020

9/16/2020

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:4

When we talk about the gifts, let us be aware that it is God the Holy Spirit that gives these gifts. There is no evidence in the Bible that these gifts died out as some segments of the Church says.  God does not Change; He is the Same yesterday, today and forever. In Corinth there were many false gifts in these cultic religions but not the real thing. The Church is different. We need to search our hearts and make sure it is in the appropriate place. If we are from a charismatic background do, we emphasis the ‘power’ and get some type of emotional kick out of it and offer false worship to God and live a lie. We think more about the gift that the Giver.  This is a real danger and if you have done this repent and get your life aligned how it ought to be.

We might be on the other spectrum and say that the gifts are dead and gone.  I would say; What are you afraid of? Are you scared that the outer appearance of church discipline will break the church? Perhaps you as a church are being too disciplinarian and stifling the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God and you are not the giver of these gifts.  Be careful that you don’t stand in Gods way.  Although as Christians let us always remember the Lords table that we humble ourselves.  It is no accident that the greatest gift to the world and the church is the death of Christ and everything should point us to Christ and what he accomplished.

In all of this let us remember that there is no such thing as the perfect Christian and when discussing let us show true humility in these things. Whatever side of the Church you are from.  For there is only one church, not three hundred or four hundred.

The Use of Spiritual Gifts

September 15, 2020

9/15/2020

1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. 2 You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:1-3

If we have learned anything from the previous chapter, it is this; Christ gave Himself for us in the sacrifice.  It is also very interesting that in the Gospels Christ said that the first will be last and the last will be first.  We need this mindset when we come to 1 Corinthians 12 and leave all selfishness outside the church door.  So here at the beginning of chapter 12 Pauls sets out some base rules for Chrsitians.  Spiritual gifts are given by the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity so let us walk in humilty when talking about these things.  The spiritual gifts do exist and they exist for the building up of the church.   So, Paul starts with ‘I do not want you to be unaware… you were led astray by mute idols and then he reinforces it ‘howver you were led astray.’

My question at this point is; If the Corinthians were led astray in the first place, could this going in the wrong direction happen in the Church.  Yes, you already know the answer; We can be led astray.

Paul here at the very beginning of his talk puts down some base rules…

He says that ‘no one by the Holy Spirit can say Jesus is accursed’Then he continues Except by the Holy Spirit no one can say Jesus is Lord.

This is a very fundamental saying Paul Makes and it should hit us to the core of our lives… How do we walk in this world.  Is Jesus indeed our Lord? Do we love our neighbour and our enemies?  Do we desire only the will of the Lord… For to call someone Lord means being obedient to that Lord.  As the Corinthians already knew they used to worship idols. The idols were their gods.   Have you really repented of your sins? Have you genuinely made Jesus your Lord.   Humility is a prereuisite for anything spiritual so if a persons seeks out of selfish motives for some type of emotional power kick then there is something seriously wrong.

The Lords Supper. A reflection

September 14, 2020

9/14/2020

The Lord’s Supper

23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. 30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. 31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.

33 So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgment. The remaining matters I will arrange when I come. 1 Corinthians 11:23-34 NASB

Holy Communion is a Sacrament in the main line churches, so we shouldn’t come to it with selfish and greedy motives.  The Lord Jesus commanded us to celebrate and remember Him in this meal.  The Old Testament pointed to the great hope of Gods salvation work through the Messiah, Jesus Christ.  From the time of His death and resurrection we look to this moment when God who became a man paid a great price for the whole of mankind, the world, the universe.  Every believer must stop and ‘remember’ what great an act for our salvation was made.  We are brought into a new covenant.  Any covenant one makes is serious.  This covenant is more serious than all the other covenants because we are brought into the divine presence of the Holy Trinity.  If we truly understand what Christ did for us at the cross and the pure unselfish love he poured out in his love for us.  If we come with gratitude to our Lord Jesus Christ bow down and worship him by the Holy Spirit we are brought into the very presence of God the father and in Christ, The Father could say; ‘You are my beloved children’ or something like that.  As we come into chapter 12 it is the most natural place to be with the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to his Church.  We must leave selfish motives outside God’s presence other wise we will indeed suffer judgement or discipline or both.

The remaining matters I will arrange when I come…!

September 13, 2020

9/13/2020

34 If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgment. The remaining matters I will arrange when I come. 1 Corinthians 11:34

What is judgement? From a natural point of view, there are law courts. When someone does a crime there has to be a response. The worse the crime, the worst the pay back. In the world a person might get away with crimes not so with God. God sees everything and nothing can be hidden from his sight. It is a terrifying thing to fall into judgement.  Paul mentioned the mistakes of Israel.  Let us not make the same mistakes then as they did!

Eating together in Harmony!

September 12, 2020

9/12/2020

33 So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 1 Corinthians 11:33 nasb

Let us not be hedonists ready to binge until we throw up.  This is despicable.  Let us care for the poorest and the most needy in our gatherings.  If we cannot do this then we are not Christians. We ought to show love to our brothers and sisters in Christ, Love to family members and love to those who do not love us. Waiting is an important skill in life. Waiting is an important skill at the Table of the Lord too as it shows genuine trust and respect.