The Gifts and The Gifted

1 Corinthians 12:1,4-7,11 ESV

“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed… Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good… All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.”

Regarding spiritual gifts, they are not of our own doing. We can certainly seek after the gifts, but it is God who decides which gifts we get. And it is the Holy Spirit who apportions the gifts to each one individually as he wills, not as we will. And these gifts are empowered of the Holy Spirit, not of the flesh, and so they must be in keeping with the Spirit and with the fruit of the Spirit and with the teachings of the Scriptures. So we can’t conjure up a spiritual gift by anything that we do in our flesh. We can’t make it happen.

Also, the purpose of the gifts is for the common good, that we might build one another up in the faith and encourage one another and help one another to grow to maturity in Jesus Christ. They are not for ourselves, for our own glorification. If they are, then they are not of God. Also, since they are of the Spirit, they should produce the fruit of the Spirit, and one aspect of that fruit is self-control. So if you are doing what is out of control, that is not of the Holy Spirit, but it could possibly be of a demonic spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:14-20 ESV

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

Now with regard specifically to spiritual gifts, not one of us is to consider ourselves better than or worse than another. We should have neither inflated egos nor deflated egos which can result in self-abasement, i.e. in the belittling or humiliation of oneself. Either one of these is of the flesh, not of God, for they are both centered in self and in self-evaluation, and they are not according to God’s evaluation. And they both draw attention to self, and not to the Spirit, and not to God’s righteousness and holiness.

And sometimes (or often) Christians will belittle themselves as an excuse to not obey the Lord, and as an excuse to keep them from having to exercise their spiritual gifts, usually because they are resisting the Spirit’s calling on their lives because they know what it is going to cost them if they answer the call with “Yes!” And they would rather be liked by other humans than to obey the Lord and to most likely face persecution and rejection, for that often does go along with the exercising of Spiritual gifts, in the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:21-26 ESV

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

In a similar respect, we are not to reject other parts of the body of Christ based on human reasoning and thinking or based on marketing schemes and goals and plans. Now we should use biblical and spiritual guidelines in this, for if a believer in Jesus is not walking according to the Spirit, but has fallen back into sin, and is now walking according to the flesh, then we must first of all restore him to a right relationship with the Lord, if he is willing, before we put him in positions of spiritual influence over others within the body of Christ. For the flesh cannot give birth to the Spirit.

But we are not to exclude believers who are walking according to the Spirit from participating within the body of Christ in using the gifts of the Spirit they have been given from God for the mutual edification and maturing of the body in their walks of faith in Jesus Christ. But so much of what is called “church” today has gone the way of the world and of the flesh of man, and they are following after business plans and goals and marketing schemes for attracting the people of the world to their gatherings, and so the gifts of the Spirit are being neglected, and those gifted of the Spirit are being cast aside.

And it is because the “body life” doesn’t fit in with humans’ marketing schemes and goals. And so truly the Holy Spirit himself is being cast aside in favor of men’s methods and in order to grow earthly kingdoms of the flesh which are not of God. And so the gatherings of what is called “church” often operate more like human-based businesses rather than as the body of Christ, for their focus is not on the spiritual maturity of believers in Jesus nor on the true salvation of the lost, but on attracting the world to their gatherings.

So the body of Christ is suffering, and so many Christians are accepting a man-made and altered gospel message in place of the truth of the gospel, and sermons are often being mass produced by those who are pushing the whole market-driven church theme. And so they are often led, not of the Spirit, but of the flesh. And they are also often teaching the same man-made gospel message, for it comes out in their sermons, which you can pick up on if you have listened to enough of them from various people.

So, where so much of “the church” is casting aside the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts and those who are truly gifted of God, God is still receiving those of us who are his true followers and who are willing to be used of him in using the gifts he has given to us to use for the spiritual growth and maturity of the body of Christ and for the salvation of human souls. And so some of us he has placed on the internet where God has been using us in the gifted areas to which he has called us, for he gives greater honor to those who lack it and who have been told, “We have no need of you.”

Gifts of the Spirit; body life in the Spirit: [Matt 5:13-16; Matt 28:18-20; Jn 4:31-38; Jn 13:13-17; Jn 14:12; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:42-47; Acts 26:18; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Rom 10:14-15; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 3:17; 1 Co 5:1-13; 1 Co 6:19-20; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 1:4,22; Eph 2:19-22; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-30; Col 1:18-22; Col 2:19; Col 3:12-16; 2 Tim 1:9; 2 Tim 2:21; Heb 3:13; Heb 10:23-31; Titus 2:11-14; 1 Pet 1:13-16; 1 Pet. 2:4-9,21]

Near the Cross

Hymn lyrics by Fanny J. Crosby, 1869
Music by William H. Doane, 1869

Jesus, keep me near the cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.

Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me.

Near the cross I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river.

In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

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