The Spirit empowers God’s people for ministry to one another.
In 1 Corinthians 12, The chapter on which this lesson is based, Paul says the church is a living organism, the body of Christ. In this chapter, in verses 8-10, is the well-known list of the nine gifts of the Spirit, which many identify as “typical gifts of the Spirit.” These are given to believers in Christ by God for Christ’s sake, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, which is why they are called gifts of the Spirit. The nine gifts listed here are diverse, but they are not in conflict or competition with each other, but complement one another for the benefit of the church. These gifts, when properly exercised, manifest the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the church, edify believers, and promote the unity and spiritual growth of believers.
MANY GIFTS; ONE SOURCE
A. Introduction to the Gifts
1Co 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
…….Remember as we read the scriptures, that they were written as letters of correction and instruction. Paul gives instruction here for the readers to not be ignorant (unlearned, or unaware) about the Spiritual gifts that the Lord desires all believers to be endowed with.
1Co 12:2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.
…….Apparently the Corinthians were still holding on to some of the idols of the past and possibly entertaining certain sinful duties. When we allow our past sins to creep back in we literally become “carried away” by its illusive schemes! This is the importance of being filled with Spiritual gifts, not only to provide strength to over come, but to remove the void and idleness of a new lifestyle.
1Co 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
…….Here is an example of the old saying, “you can’t straddle the fence.” No man can entertain the works of Satan and at the same time the works of the Spirit.
1Co 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
1Co 12:5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
1Co 12:6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
…….It is amazing how the last threes verses that describe the foundation of the gifts shows that in begins with Unity! There are different gifts but no division (vs. 4) There are different administrations (leaderships and oversights) but all fall under the same leader (vs. 5). There are different operations (functions and results) but are all directed by God. No matter who was made for what, or is used in whichever various operation the Lord desires, it is all under and through the control of God almighty! How amazing is it to think that though we are all diversely used, we are still controlled by God almighty! There is not one gift that is overlooked by the rest! It takes everyone and everything!
B. Explanation of the Gifts
1Co 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
…….The Word “manifestation” (an action or object that clearly shows or embodies something) of the Spirit takes the message so much further than the mind can comprehend. Being empowered in such a way that people from the past can’t recognize you as the person who dwelled in the past! “Born Again!” We must let His Spirit manifest itself inside of us!!! When this happens, the work of God has profit, and we are right in the middle of it! Deuteronomy 28:13 And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:
1Co 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
…….Word of wisdom: a spoken word of divine wisdom that comes from God. Word of knowledge: Word of knowledge: a spoken message of knowledge given by God, whether shown by revelation or by a Spiritual experience.
1Co 12:9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
…….Faith: not faith in general but a special dispensation of Faith for specific and difficult accomplishments. A knowing of the outcome because the indwelling of His presence! The Spiritual feeling that something BIG is about to happen! Healing: for divine healings effected by the power of God!
1Co 12:10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
…….Miracles: the God-given power to effect happening for the Glory of God that cannot be explained as natural.
Discerning of spirits: the God given ability to distinguish between what is of God, and what is not. Many people mix this one up with the carnal feelings of doubt and negativity and try to use it out of personal emotions to predict an outcome. We can never mistake our emotions for the actions of the Spirit.
Diverse kinds of tongues: words spoken as the Holy Spirit gives the utterance. Interpretation of Tongues: not a translation, but a companion gift to speaking in tongues. It is the message of the Spirit!
1Co 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
…….Every gift works by being empowered by the Spirit which gives the ability to be used by the Spirit. While it is a command to “walk in the Spirit”, we cannot truly operate as Christians without it!
MANY MEMBERS; ONE BODY
A. Unity of the Body
1Co 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
1Co 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
1Co 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many.
1Co 12:15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
1Co 12:16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
1Co 12:17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
…….While the local Church may see Spiritual accomplishments and growth, it will never experience the full potential without “complete” Unity within itself. Though we are used differently as members of our human body, we cannot function properly without each other in the fullness. We become like a motor misfiring on certain cylinders. Though we may be going somewhere, it is obvious there is something wrong. Not only is there something wrong, it displays signs of a struggle! It is the desire and command of God to see full use and potential, and experience the benefits that come with it!
B. God’s Sovereignty
1Co 12:18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
…….This is the very reason the anointed member never complains about his or her duties. We don’t have to learn to love our calling if we have truly been called. While there may be distractions that come in the way, and at times we become weary within our flesh, the called member will never lose its desire Spiritually! Once a preacher, always a preacher, and that goes for every other gift of God!
1Co 12:19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?
1Co 12:20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
1Co 12:21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
…….God has never and never will carelessly place a member in position. Therefore, every believer in Christ should recognize and except with gratitude what God has done, placing the members in the Body. All the members of the Body are needed in the place and way in which God has ordained each one to serve in the body.
LIVING IN UNITY
A. Value of Each Member
1Co 12:22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
1Co 12:23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
1Co 12:24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
1Co 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
1Co 12:26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
B. Value Each Gift
1Co 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
1Co 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
1Co 12:29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
1Co 12:30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
1Co 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.