1 1Crinthians 12A We nw launch int the next majr sectin f Paul s letter and a new tpic Paul is ready t tackle the next questin he received frm the Crinthian church as delivered by Chle s delegatin The new tpic is spiritual gifts in the bdy Paul is ging t use the next three chapters t cver this issue in depth, s we ll be discussing gifts fr a few weeks This tpic is prbably the mst cntrversial f any f the issues Paul raises in this letter It was cntrversial in Paul s day And it s still cntrversial tday But it hasn t always been cntrversial In fact, Paul s letter largely settled all questins n the purpse and peratin f spiritual gifts in the bdy And thse issues remained settled fr nearly 1,900 years Until the cntrversy returned at the beginning f the twentieth century We ll lk at that histry in the curse f studying the next three chapters But fr nw, let s see hw Paul intrduces this next tpic, beginning in the pening verses f chapter 12 1Cr. 12:1 Nw cncerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I d nt want yu t be unaware. 1Cr. 12:2 Yu knw that when yu were pagans, yu were led astray t the mute idls, hwever yu were led. 1Cr. 12:3 Therefre I make knwn t yu that n ne speaking by the Spirit f Gd says, Jesus is accursed ; and n ne can say, Jesus is Lrd, except by the Hly Spirit. The chapter begins with Ne cncerning, which is the tell-tale sign that Paul has entered int a new tpic We ve left behind the subject f Christian liberty and mved int a new area f discussin 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
2 1Crinthians 12A 2 f 11 But Paul desn t annunce the new tpic until her reaches v.4 Instead, in vs.1-3 he first establishes a fundamentally imprtant principle f Christian experience that we must understand t appreciate spiritual gifts prperly It s n exaggeratin t say that if a student desn t understand Paul s pint in these first three verses, that student is dmed t misunderstand the rest f Paul s teaching Paul ends v.1 saying he desn t want the church t be unaware f smething... The better translatin wuld be I dn t want yu t be ignrant That phrase was Paul s plite way f telling the church they were ignrant There was a fundamental fact f Christian thelgy that had escaped their understanding And if they had any hpe t appreciate spiritual gifts in the bdy prperly, they needed t knw this ne missing fact S in v.2, Paul mves t explaining what they were missing Prir t cming t faith, unbelievers are led astray in a variety f ways Ntice Paul ends v.2 saying hwever yu were led Unbelievers are prmpted t say and d many things thrugh the influence f a wide variety f frces and desires and temptatins But these frces universally lead them away frm the truth In particular, in the area f religius wrship, all unbelievers are astray Unbelievers chase after s-called gds and mute idls, giving them their allegiance and wrship, and ding s in full cnvictin and sincerity Unbelievers are cnvinced f the reality f false gds and false beliefs Despite their sincerity and cnvictin, in the end they are devte fllwers f lies 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
3 1Crinthians 12A 3 f 11 Even atheists are devted t a false idea, t the idea that the creatin lacks a Creatr, which is a faith in itself This is the cnditin f every single unbeliever n earth Paul s pint is that religius fervr and zeal cannt be by itself a prf f Gd wrking r f spiritual truth Even unbelievers can put n a cnvincing display f spiritual cmmitment and devtin We knw these displays lack any real spiritual pwer, because they are wrshipping things that dn t exist They may wrship demns indirectly, as Paul said earlier, but it s nt as thugh unbelievers are cnstantly under the cntrl f demns Fr the mst part, they are led astray by self-deceptin, prpelled by fleshly desires with hearts set against Gd Therefre, when we see smene displaying religius zeal, we can t autmatically assume we are witnessing a wrk f the Lrd Paul pints ut the Crinthians nce wrshipped mute idls that they nw understand were never really there That was evidence t this church that spiritual truth is nt a matter f persnal experience r feelings Our feelings lie t us Persnal experiences are nt prf f anything We can be led astray by emtin and experiences and false displays But there is a truth t be fund, and there is a specific way in which it is fund As we cme t faith in Jesus Christ, we mve ut f the spiritual wilderness and cme int a true knwledge f Gd by the Spirit Paul makes that pint in v.3 He says therefre I make knwn t yu... This pening phrase is a mild frm f crrectin 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
4 1Crinthians 12A 4 f 11 Paul is saying essentially, I want yu crrect yur thinking n this pint d yu will knw the truth Paul says n ne wh is speaking under the influence f the Spirit f Gd can say Jesus is accursed And n ne can prfess Jesus is Lrd except by the pwer f the Hly Spirit Paul is making tw imprtant pints related t the tpic f spiritual gifts First, lking at the secnd half f the statement, Paul says every believer is indwelled and under the cntrl r influence f the Hly Spirit As the time f ur salvatin, we receive the Hly Spirit as a permanent indwelling f Gd We receive the Hly Spirit in the mment f ur belief in Christ In fact, in Rmans Paul teaches that it is the indwelling f the Hly Spirit is the defining characteristic f a Christian Rm. 8:14 Fr all wh are being led by the Spirit f Gd, these are sns f Gd. In ther wrds, the indwelling f Gd s Spirit is bth the cause and cnsequence f saving faith Gd s Spirit living in a persn defines wh is truly saved And the Spirit s presence in us frever separates us frm the wrld and frm the persn we used t be Furthermre, in 2Cr Paul calls the indwelling f the Spirit a pledge r dwn payment n Gd s prmise t resurrect us and grant us an inheritance with Christ 2Cr. 1:21 Nw He wh establishes us with yu in Christ and aninted us is Gd, 2Cr. 1:22 wh als sealed us and gave us the Spirit in ur hearts as a pledge. It s critically imprtant t nte that Paul says in v.3 that the very wrds f ur cnfessin f faith must be prmpted by the Spirit f Gd We believe and cnfess Christ because f the Spirit 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
5 1Crinthians 12A 5 f 11 S until the Spirit is in us, wrking t prmpt faith, we are incapable f a making true cnfessin f Christ This fact refutes any teaching that suggests the Spirit desn t cme upn a believer until sme time after cming t faith The Spirit is with us frm the mment f ur cnfessin, Paul says At this pint, yu think back t examples in Acts where believers receive dthe indwelling f the Hly Spirit at a pint after cming t faith Specifically, there are three, very imprtant and very limited exceptins in the time f Acts when the Spirit acted in this unusual way t fulfill His prphecy We cvered the reasn behind thse three exceptins in ur Acts study I encurage yu t listen t that study t find ut why these three exceptins happened in the early church and why they have never happened since Mving back t ur text, Paul says nly by the Spirit can smene cnfess Christ, but Paul desn t mean it s literally impssible fr an unbeliever t speak the wrds Jesus is Lrd Of curse, any human muth can frm thse wrds and make that statement, physically speaking But that s nt the issue The issue is whether a persn can make that cnfessin truly agreeing with the statement in their heart Paul says apart frm the wrk f the Spirit in their heart, it s impssible Jesus said the same thing t the disciples in Jhn 6: Jhn 6:63 It is the Spirit wh gives life; the flesh prfits nthing; the wrds that I have spken t yu are spirit and are life. Jhn 6:64 But there are sme f yu wh d nt believe. Fr Jesus knew frm the beginning wh they were wh did nt believe, and wh it was that wuld betray Him. Jhn 6:65 And He was saying, Fr this reasn I have said t yu, that n ne can cme t Me unless it has been granted him frm the Father Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
6 1Crinthians 12A 6 f 11 The Spirit is the One Wh gives a persn eternal life thrugh a faith in Jesus The flesh prfits us nthing, Jesus says, because apart frm the Spirit, n man can knw the truth S Jesus says that unless the Father grants us grace t knw Christ, we can t and wn t cme t knw Him Secndly, lking back at the first half f that statement, Paul says that n ne wh has cme t knw the Lrd truly can ever cease being a Christ fllwer We can never return t a pint where we say that Jesus is accursed r damned with true cnvictin Once we have been made a child f Gd, we ve becme a new creature, and the ld us is gne frever We are like the butterfly that s emerged frm the ccn There s n way t return t the caterpillar we nce were, Hallelujah! As with the earlier statement, Paul desn t mean it s impssible fr a Christian t say the phrase Jesus is accursed I just did! Speaking the wrds are nt the issue again In fact, sme believers rebel against Christ s authrity t the pint that they live lives indistinguishable frm an unbeliever s And sme f them even declare that they n lnger believer in Jesus But Paul says that n brn again believer is ever capable f truly rejecting their belief that Christ is Gd and Savir They can never returning t a belief that Jesus was just a man wh died accursed n a crss Despite their prtests and bad behavir, the Hly Spirit is still with them as a pledge and seal fr their salvatin And because the Hly Spirit is indwelling the believer, the Lrd cannt turn His back n us despite ur disbedience 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
7 1Crinthians 12A 7 f 11 2Tim. 2:11 It is a trustwrthy statement: Fr if we died with Him, we will als live with Him; 2Tim. 2:12 If we endure, we will als reign with Him; If we deny Him, He als will deny us; 2Tim. 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, fr He cannt deny Himself. Paul says it s a trustwrthy statement: if we died with Christ by faith, then we will live with Him Once we have becme brn again thrugh faith, we are frever linked with Christ Just as He rse frm the dead and lived a life t the Father, s will we Salvatin is based n faith alne, nt by gd wrks Furthermre, if we endure hardship n His behalf, then we will be reward in the Kingdm We will reign with Him, which means we will receive reward in Heaven in the frm f authrity and privilege But if we deny Him ur endurance and service, then the Lrd will deny us eternal reward Finally, Paul says even if ur disbedience shuld rise t the pint f faithlessness, nevertheless we knw the Lrd will remain faithful t us We may lse eternal reward, but we can never be separated frm Gd Because He cannt deny Himself, that is He can t turn His back n His wn Spirit living in us S the presence f the Hly Spirit living in each f us is ur prf that Gd will cmplete the gd wrk He began in each f us S the tw fundamental truths Paul teaches in vs.2-3 is that cming t Christ is a wrk f the Spirit alne, and nce we have been saved by the Spirit, we remain Christ s frever Nw Paul is ging t draw an imprtant and inevitable cnclusin frm these truths n the matter f spirit gifts in the bdy That cnclusin is that there are nt levels f the Spirit r degrees f the Spirit separating believers 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
8 1Crinthians 12A 8 f 11 1Cr. 12:4 Nw there are varieties f gifts, but the same Spirit. 1Cr. 12:5 And there are varieties f ministries, and the same Lrd. 1Cr. 12:6 There are varieties f effects, but the same Gd wh wrks all things in all persns. 1Cr. 12:7 But t each ne is given the manifestatin f the Spirit fr the cmmn gd. Paul begins his teaching n gifts with a series f cntrasts There are a variety f gifts in the bdy f Christ But all these gifts are the prduct f the same Spirit When Paul says the same Spirit, he desn t mean that believers in Crinth were ging arund claiming there were different spirits f Gd Instead, Paul means everyne has the same degree r measure f the Spirit Just because yu and I exhibit different spiritual gifts desn t mean we each share in different prtins r aspects f the Spirit f Gd Paul has already established we all have the same Spirit Mrever, we all have all f the Spirit Yu can t have 50% f the Spirit It s all r nne, as Paul established in vs.2-3 One Christian might be mre submitted t the Spirit than anther Christian, but bth Christians have the same Spirit Bth in nature and degree Furthermre, the bdy f Christ will display a variety f ministries - r wrks f service But every wrk f service in the Bdy is directed fr and by the Lrd thrugh His Spirit Just because I serve the bdy in ne kind f ministry while ther Christians wrk in different ways desn t mean we serve different gds 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
9 1Crinthians 12A 9 f 11 It s simply a reflectin that the Lrd has a lt f wrk t get dne in the wrld, and he equips and calls individual believers t play different rles in that wrk We can t expect that all Christians will serve in the same way And therefre, we can t expect the Lrd t gift all believers with the same set f gifts Just as wuldn t expect cnstructin wrkers t arrive at a cmplex cnstructin site all carrying exactly the same tl Likewise, we shuldn t expect that the Lrd will give every believer the same spiritual gifts t perfrm the variety f ministries the Lrd desires T sum up this pint, Paul says in v.6 that there are a variety f effects (r peratins) in the bdy f Christ, but they all riginate frm the same Gd I may have ne kind f spiritual gift, and I put it t use in a particular ministry Yu may have a cmpletely different kind f gift, and yu will put it t use in a very different ministry But these differences are nt t be cnsidered a prblem t be fixed They are the natural cnsequence f ne Gd wrking t accmplish many things On the ther hand, these gifts and ministries d share ne imprtant thing in cmmn: they exist fr the gd f the Bdy f Christ Paul says in v.7 that the purpse f Gd equipping all believers in the bdy with gifts is t effect gd things within the bdy Every believer receives ne r mre spiritual talents r abilities at the pint they becme a believer These new abilities are the cnsequence f the indwelling f the Spirit They are nt natural abilities amplified r simply put t new use They are literally new abilities we didn t have prir t the indwelling f the Spirit 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
10 1Crinthians 12A 10 f 11 That is why we call them spiritual gifts They are the wrk f Gd thrugh us These are behavirs enabled by the Hly Spirit, s that as we accmplish a wrk f ministry in ur spiritual gift, the Lrd receives the credit fr the fruit it prduces Yu will knw a spiritual gift when yu see it, because yu ll say t yurself I culd never expect t get the results that persn is getting Fr example, I dn t have the gift f evangelism S when I see smene perating with that gift, I m always amazed at their ability t cnvert I might present the Gspel t a persn, and get n respnse at all But then a persn with the gift f evangelism culd speak exactly the same wrds t the same persn, and that persn falls t their knee in repentance What was the difference between me and them? The Spirit The nly way we can explain the difference is t recgnize that Gd was wrking differently in ne f us, hence the spiritual gift On the ther hand, the absence f a particular spiritual gift desn t relieve me frm the participating in that ministry t best f my abilities I may nt have the spiritual gift f prayer, but I m still expected t pray I may nt have the spiritual gift f evangelism, but I still share my faith I may nt have a spiritual gift f teaching, but I still endeavr t teach thers Gd s wrd, if nly my children In the end, the Lrd has equipped every gathering f believers with a variety f spiritual gifts and a variety f ministries t accmmdate the array f spiritual needs in that bdy These gifts are fr ur benefit and serve t build us up spiritually They are nt magic tricks 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
11 1Crinthians 12A 11 f 11 They dn t exist t make us feel prud r special Furthermre, the differences between varius spiritual gifts are nt measures f spiritual maturity They are nt distinctins that reflect Gd s pleasure r suggest imprtance r authrity They are nt cause fr assigning special recgnitin t ne grup ver anther They are intended t unite the bdy, nt divide it S whatever else we may learn abut spiritual gifts in the weeks t cme, we must return ver and and ver again t these fundamental principles All believers pssess an equal degree f the ne and nly Spirit The Spirit made us a part f the bdy and hlds us t the bdy eternally The Spirit equips us all in ne way r anther, leading t a variety f gifts and ministries within the bdy Furthermre, the differences between spiritual gifts are a necessity given the variety f wrks the Lrd intends t accmplish in His bdy We need nt wrry that we aren t all ding exactly the same things with exactly the same spirit gifts Rather, we shuld be thankful fr the wisdm f Gd t ensure a unique and necessary rle fr each f us in serving the bdy and the Kingdm In the end, the unin f ur individual spiritual gifts creates the symphny f ministry that ensure a cmmn gd N mre than we wuld wish fr a symphny made up f a single instrument shuld we want a bdy expressing the same gift 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.