Caution Regarding Spiritual Gifts

1 Corinthians 12:14-30

14 For the body is not one part, but many. 15 If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has arranged the parts, each one of them in the body, just as He desired. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 But now there are many parts, but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again, the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those parts of the body which we consider less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor, and our less presentable parts become much more presentable, 24 whereas our more presentable parts have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that part which lacked, 25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same care for one another. 26 And if one part of the body suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if a part is honored, all the parts rejoice with it.

27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, and various kinds of tongues. 29 All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? 30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?

 

Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians addressed several problems in the church, including the misuse of spiritual gifts. The people in that fellowship valued only certain gifts—believers with the “better” ones were elevated above others, while those without the preferred abilities were considered less important.

In teaching about spiritual gifts, Paul warned church members not to think more highly of themselves than they ought (For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Rom. 12:3). The gifts are not given to exalt certain individuals but to benefit the congregation, and no gift is more important than any other. God considers them all necessary for the health of a local church. Each believer receives at least one gift in accordance with the Spirit’s purposes and choosing. It’s God’s business to decide who has which ability.

We must be careful not to assign undue value to certain gifts. Nor should we place unwarranted emphasis on giftedness as a way to assess one’s spiritual maturity or importance in the church. Let’s release any preconceived ideas about the value of spiritual abilities and instead celebrate how God builds each local body of believers. Our omniscient Father places His children where they can minister through their gifts and also be blessed by others doing likewise.

The Gifts of the Spirit

1 Corinthians 12:1-13

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be unaware. You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led. 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.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 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.

12 For just as the body is one and yet has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

 

God has prepared work for us to do, and He’s equipped us with spiritual gifts to do it. Spiritual gifts are special abilities the Lord gives us to serve others in the body of Christ.

These gifts are given to us, but they’re for the benefit of others. Though they come in several varieties, can be used in various ministries, and have a wide range of effects in the church, they all originate from the Holy Spirit. He’s the One who chooses which gift each believer will receive. When all church members serve the body using their particular gifts, everyone benefits spiritually.

The Lord has a specific purpose in mind for each of us, and He’s gifted us accordingly (For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Eph. 2:10). Without our individual contribution, the local church will lack something. Part of living in the power of the Holy Spirit involves employing our divine endowments as God directs. By operating in our area of giftedness, we’ll have the motivation, ability, and confidence needed for effective service. If you don’t know what gift you have, start by volunteering at something of interest, and eventually you’ll discover it.

What Is the Spirit-Filled Life?

Ephesians 5:18-21

18 And do not get drunk with wine, in which there is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your hearts to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to our God and Father; 21 and subject yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ.

God wants all of His children to be filled with the Spirit, but many of us aren’t sure what this means. While every believer is indwelt by God’s Spirit, the extent of His rule is determined by our obedience.

Try thinking of it as a voluntary choice to surrender to the Holy Spirit’s control—to be sensitive to His leadership and guidance, obedient to His promptings, and dependent upon His strength. Those who have surrendered to the Spirit’s leadership are continually being transformed into Christ’s likeness, but the degree of surrender determines the level of transformation.

Even though good works and faithful service come from the Spirit, they’re not automatically signs that we are fully yielded to Him. Remember, the surrender we’re talking about involves character, not simply our actions. Serving in some manner can sometimes be easier than loving the unlovable or being patient with difficult people. But when the Spirit is in charge of our life, He is able to do through us what we can’t do ourselves.

Each believer decides who rules his or her life. Even those who try to avoid the issue by making no choice at all unknowingly opt for self-rule. The fullness of the Spirit and godly character await those who choose God over self.

Another Helper

He will give you another Helper . . . the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him.
John 14:16-17

When asked about our societal issues, Pastor Tony Evans said earlier this year, “Our identity is to be rooted in the Imago Dei, in the image of God. But we’ve gotten so ingrained in the thinking of the culture, that we wind up being parakeets to what the society is saying, rather than taking a solid, loving but clear stance on what God is saying.”[1]
Isn’t that the truth! Our current culture can be deceiving. Instead of sharing biblical truth, society spreads falsehoods. It practices duplicity; it does not glorify God. Instead, it has begun glorifying dishonesty and a lack of morality.

That is why our Heavenly Father gave us a Helper in the Holy Spirit. When we encounter deceit—knowingly or unknowingly—our Helper points us to the Truth—God’s Word.

If you are feeling confused by all the “truth” in our world, call upon the Helper today for support; the real Truth will be revealed to you.

God has given us the Holy Spirit to illuminate our minds. He is eyes and understanding to us.
A. W. Tozer

  • David Jeremiah

A Helper for All Occasions

You never have to face any situation alone.

John 14:16-18

16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, so that He may be with you forever; 17 the Helper is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him; but you know Him because He remains with you and will be in you.

18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you.

 

Did you ever wish for an emergency telephone line that rang in heaven? The truth is that we have something much better. The Holy Spirit lives inside us to be our helper in every situation.

The night before His crucifixion, Jesus warned the disciples that He was about to depart. The news confused and frightened them, even though it wasn’t the first time He’d spoken of His death. But the Lord offered His followers assurance that He would send them another Helper.

In this passage, the Greek word for “another” means “one of the same kind,” signifying that the new Helper would be like the Son of God—a divine being. As promised, God’s Spirit came to dwell in Christ’s followers at Pentecost (When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a noise like a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And tongues that looked like fire appeared to them, distributing themselves, and a tongue rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with different tongues, as the Spirit was giving them the ability to speak out. Acts 2:1-4).

Without the Holy Spirit, we’d never be able to live the Christian life. That’s why Jesus told the disciples to delay spreading the gospel until after the Holy Spirit’s arrival. Our Helper not only empowers obedience but also teaches, guides, intercedes, comforts, transforms, and gifts us for service. Whenever we’re beset by tough times or temptations, He provides strength, endurance, hope, and encouragement. We’re so privileged to have a divine Helper who is personally assisting us every minute of every day.

The transforming power of the Spirit!

(J.C. Ryle, “The Lord’s Garden“)
“To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints.” Romans 1:7

Believers are separated from the world by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit calls them out from the world, and separates them as effectually as if a wall were built between them and it. He puts in them . . .
new hearts,
new minds,
new tastes,
new desires,
new sorrows,
new joys,
new wishes,
new pleasures,
new longings.

He gives them . . .
new eyes,
new ears,
new affections,
new opinions.

He makes them new creatures. They are born again–and with a new birth they begin a new existence. Mighty indeed is the transforming power of the Spirit!

The Spirit’s Work

Anyone who acknowledges Jesus as Savior has access to His divine power through the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:38-39

38 Peter said to them, “Be sorry for your sins and turn from them and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and your sins will be forgiven. You will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is to you and your children. It is to all people everywhere. It is to as many as the Lord our God will call.”

We all fail. Many of us don’t always live as Scripture teaches—and we miss out on the joy and peace that Jesus promised. The reason? We don’t recognize the need to live in the Spirit, so we try to live each day in our own strength. On Pentecost, God’s Spirit came to indwell believers. He is a gift, blessing us in many ways. Let’s consider some of the work He does. The Holy Spirit …

Convicts us of sin so that we can repent (When the Helper comes, He will show the world the truth about sin. He will show the world about being right with God. And He will show the world what it is to be guilty. John 16:8).

Regenerates us. As believers, we’re new beings, alive in Christ (For if a man belongs to Christ, he is a new person. The old life is gone. New life has begun. 2 Cor. 5:17).

Seals us forever as a child of the Almighty (The truth is the Good News. When you heard the truth, you put your trust in Christ. Then God marked you by giving you His Holy Spirit as a promise. Eph. 1:13). 

Teaches, guides, and empowers us for the rest of our life (The Helper is the Holy Spirit. The Father will send Him in My place. He will teach you everything and help you remember everything I have told you. John 14:26). 

Gifts and enables us to do the work God has planned for us (For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.  Eph. 2:10; for a list of spiritual gifts, see also 1 Cor. 12:1-31).

Bears fruit through us (22 But the fruit that comes from having the Holy Spirit in our lives is: love, joy, peace, not giving up, being kind, being good, having faith, 23 being gentle, and being the boss over our own desires. The Law is not against these things. Gal. 5:22-23).

As we are obedient to what God calls us to do, we get to watch Him work in mighty ways. All these benefits are available to everyone who follows Jesus, but we can miss out by attempting to live in our own meager strength.

Remember, the Christian life is this: Christ living His life in and through us by the power of God’s indwelling Holy Spirit.

Our Teacher

Though we’ll always struggle with sin, we have the Holy Spirit within, guiding us according to God’s will.

1 Corinthians 2:12-16

12 We have not received the spirit of the world. God has given us His Holy Spirit that we may know about the things given to us by Him. 13 We speak about these things also. We do not use words of man’s wisdom. We use words given to us by the Holy Spirit. We use these words to tell what the Holy Spirit wants to say to those who put their trust in Him. 14 But the person who is not a Christian does not understand these words from the Holy Spirit. He thinks they are foolish. He cannot understand them because he does not have the Holy Spirit to help him understand. 15 The full-grown Christian understands all things, and yet he is not understood. 16 For who has the thoughts of the Lord? Who can tell Him what to do? But we have the thoughts of Christ.

Because human beings have a fallen nature and a finite mind, there are many facets of God’s greatness that we can’t fully grasp. In fact, the only way to understand divine truths is through the Holy Spirit, the all-knowing Teacher sent to live within believers. He interprets the things of God for us and helps us in many other ways.

No one can come to Jesus Christ apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. He convicts us of sin, makes us aware of our need for a Savior, and gives us the faith to believe in Jesus and thereby be saved.

Once we have surrendered our life to the Lord, the Spirit begins the process of sanctification. This transformation into the image of Christ is a lifelong process of continual growth through the Word of God.

All along the way, the Spirit faithfully empowers us to spread the good news of salvation. He does this by guiding our words, giving us courage, and opening hearts so that hearers can believe.

Thank God today for His indwelling Holy Spirit, who is actively working to lead you on an exciting walk of faith.

The Forgotten Third: Developing a Biblical Relationship with God the Holy Spirit

Friends: I’ve been working on this manuscript for quite a while. And I now have a contract to get it finished! Here’s a sample of what I’m putting together for this book:

Jesus says the Holy Spirit would be “another paraclete” to His disciples. Would the term “comfort” be the first to come to mind when we think of how Jesus was to His disciples? He rebukes them for their unbelief, for their sleeping, for having no faith. He defends them when they are accused of violating sacred rules of ceremonial washing or ignoring Sabbath observance. He “comes alongside” them when their faith is too weak to exorcize a demon-possessed boy.

“Comfort” seems to imply bringing solace to one who is weeping. The disciples (during the earthly ministry of the Lord) did not know enough to weep. He does not “comfort” them – He challenges, chastises, corrects, and even cajoles them. “Comfort” is far too weak a term. And sometimes the last thing the believer needs is a sympathetic companion who wipes away his tears. We need One who is fully divine to come alongside of us and put His finger on our sins and remind our hearts, “You belong to Your Heavenly Father.” We require One who will motivate and empower us to take risks for the Kingdom of God, One who will not be satisfied with one-seventh of our week, with the leftovers of our hours and days. We need One who will be “called alongside of” us even when we ourselves don’t have enough wisdom to invite His intrusive presence.

Read more: https://larrydixon.wordpress.com/2021/12/28/the-forgotten-third-developing-a-biblical-relationship-with-god-the-holy-spirit/

10 Reasons to Study the Holy Spirit

Joel R. Beeke, Paul M. Smalley

It is sufficient that God’s word speaks much of the Spirit, for the only warrant we need to study a truth is that God teaches it in his word. However, to strengthen our motivation to study this topic deeply, let us consider reasons why it is crucial that we study the Holy Spirit.

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