Why Spiritual Gifts?
In a world of natural religious formalism spiritual gifting is more important than ever.
However, these are not to be confused with our natural abilities. As Paul was writing this letter to the Corinthians, these spiritual gifts were given to the church in the first century to establish and protect it with authority and confirmation from God. The gifts listed below gave the first Christians knowledge of true doctrine, correct application of that doctrine, true faith to let God glorify himself among the church by supernatural healings and real miracles as was needed to validate the message (as well as meet real need), and God gave them the ability to speak in and interpret other real languages which were present at the time. You will note that God’s completed written word was not available to them as it is to us. Thus until such time as every believer had opportunity to hold a portion of authoritative Cannon in his or her hands it was necessary for the gifts to play a special role in the church at that time. Is this to say that the gifts are not necessary today? We first need to realize why God gave the gifts. Back then, anyone who spoke on behalf of God had to prove his authority by these very same miraculous spiritual gifts. Now that the Word of God is complete, The Bible is the only authority we need to validate our message. This is not to say that we do not need the spiritual gifts today, for his work is done in this world by his spirit through us because of his gifting. But generally speaking, the sign gifts are not used (or abused) today in the same way as they were back then as Paul discusses later in Ch 14.
1 Cor 12: 4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
As we ponder God’s character from the above passage, I wonder if God would answer our signature question below in the following way…
Who are you Lord?
I AM the supernatural God of the church and determine the spiritual gifting to each of my children by my Spirit for the maturing of my church. I possess all wisdom and knowledge. I am the God of life and health. I AM the beginning and the end, thus I see the future and the past simultaneously. I made all the languages thus I know how all men think. It is my prerogative by my wisdom to choose which gifting will go to which of my instruments for my glory. It is not up to you which gift I have for you, but it is up to you to use it for my glory and others benefit. It is not up to you which gifts that I give to others, but it is up to you to work in harmony together with them in unity. As I abide in you, let my gifting flow through you like water through a pipe to refresh those around you.
God’s Work is supernatural
Religion tends to try to do God’s work through natural means. Even in genuine Christianity, church leadership can often times be based on those men with more sound business capability, people who are naturally charismatic can be hired to be the Master of Ceremony and gifted production technicians can create a spectacular show each Sunday. They draw many into the religious experience to the point that it is even televised. I do not want to limit God, but how much of “Church” becomes a production to draw the crowd instead of his working through each member to exercise the gifting of the Spirit to meet the real needs of the congregation instead of entertain and placate? Any Genuine church’s prayer is that the attracted crowd really finds salvation, and joins into some sort of spiritual ministry as they grow in the Word as it is correctly proclaimed. But too many times, natural ability is all that is required; production and sound business practices not to mention lack of faith can hamstring a church’s vision for what the Lord wants to do through them.
More to come,