Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “1 Corinthians 12”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters this week with 1 Corinthians 12.

Paul begins talking about the different Spiritual gifts God bestows upon His children.

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, 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, 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. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

v. 1-11 (NASB)

God has given us different gifts by the same Spirit to accomplish His will. We have been entrusted with a special treasure that is not to be hidden, as Jesus explained in Matthew 25 with the parable of the talents:

“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.

“The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.

 “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money.

…“Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate.

I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’

…Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.

Matthew 25:14-19; 24-25; 28-29 (NLT)

God is helping me use the gifts He’s given me, but I often question if the gifts are making a difference. Do you feel the same? Do you often feel like your gifts are not really needed? Paul encourages us with the answer in the following verses:

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 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.

For the body is not one member, but many. 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 the less a part of the body. 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 the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. 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.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.

v. 12-27 (NASB)

Every gift is needed, and every believer is valuable to the body as a whole. Those who are regarded as less honorable are given more honor to remind us that we need one another and we need to walk in unity.

Paul closes explaining the order of authority God’s set in place and encourages us to desire the greater gifts.

And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. 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? All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? But earnestly desire the greater gifts.

And I show you a still more excellent way.

v. 28-31 (NASB)

The Greek word translated “gifts” is “charisma” which means: “a gift of grace, a free gift.” We are to earnestly desire God’s grace to be greater in us as a testimony to lead others to salvation. God testifies of His salvation through His grace displayed in us.

We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Hebrews 2:1-4 (NIV)

 

Heavenly Father,

We praise You that we are each precious and valuable to You. Every gift You’ve given us is important and needed to accomplish Your will. Help us to walk in unity by remembering that we are all part of the same body and we need one another. We pray that Your grace would be multiplied unto us through the knowledge of You and Jesus our Lord (2 Peter 1:2).

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

 

 

*This series will continue next week as we study 1 Corinthians 13.


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Monday’s Blog: Sin Series “Pride”

This is the fourth message in my series on the bondage of sin that is weighing down the body of Christ today. Last week, I talked about tolerating sin by allowing the world to be our teachers instead of Jesus.

James 4:4-10 warns:

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

The world is full of pride. It cannot submit to God’s authority. When we fall into pride we also can’t submit to His authority. The verse above exhorts: “purify your hearts, you double-minded.” To be double-minded means we believe in God but then we doubt His wisdom and authority.

James 1:5-8 explains:

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. 

The reason we fall into doubt is because we submit too often to our carnal mind. Our carnal mind is defiled with unbelief. When we submit to it, it leads us in opposition to God’s will.

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Romans 8:7, KJV

Our Spiritual mind is purified in Christ. When we submit to it, it leads us into God’s will.

For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16, KJV

How many times do we seek God for His will on a matter, but then our minds start rolling through our own ideas of how to handle it?  If we don’t cast down those carnal thoughts, and submit our minds to trust God’s authority, we will walk in opposition to His will.

I had a situation come up recently. I went to God with the matter, and I felt Him speak to me in my Spirit that I was to leave it in His hands and do nothing. Whenever God tells me to do nothing about something, I know right away it’s going to be a challenge for me. After submitting the situation to God, while waiting on Him to move, my mind continued to think about what I could do to help. Instead of casting down those thoughts, and praising God for coming to my defense and handling it, I submitted to my carnal mind and took the matter into my own hands. By the evening, the situation had spiraled into a huge mess. God humbled me and showed me how much grief could’ve been avoided had I listened to Him in the first place.

To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have understanding and power.

Proverbs 8:13-14

God has all the understanding and power. We don’t. So why would we not want to seek and accept His wisdom and His authority over our own? When the church operates in its own wisdom, it operates in opposition to God. God opposes the proud. Pride is what led to Satan’s destruction. Satan knows if he can tempt us to submit to our carnal mind, he can lead us to follow him to his destruction. I read a message recently that said “Satan promotes pride; it makes you like him (misery loves company).”

God gives grace (power, strength and wisdom) to the humble. If we want to see change in the church we must humble ourselves before God. We as a body must be in unity of the spirit by each of us doing our part and operating in the mind of Christ. In everything we should seek and accept God’s wisdom over our own.

Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Romans 12:16, KJV

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:5-6

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

1 Corinthians 1:10

Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

2 Corinthians 13:11

Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

Philippians 1:27, NASB

Fulfill you my joy, that you be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Philippians 2:2, KJV

I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.

Philippians 4:2, KJV

Finally, be all of one mind, having compassion one with another, love as brethren, be tender hearted, be courteous:

1 Peter 3:8, KJV

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for giving us the mind of Christ that we may know You and understanding Your will. As these verses above clearly show us, it is Your will that we operate in the mind of the Spirit. Help us keep our thoughts on You and cast down everything that is in opposition to Your will. We humble ourselves before You, and lay down our wisdom in exchange for Your wisdom, Your power, and Your authority. In Jesus name, we submit to You. Amen!

 

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*Come back next Monday as the “Sin Series” continues.

*All Bible verses are taken from the NIV, unless otherwise noted.

*If you’ve never accepted Christ as your Savior, please click on the “SALVATION” tab at the top of the website. Don’t wait another day!

 

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Monday’s Blog: Sin Series “Slandering The Church”

Last week, I started this series on the bondage of sin that is weighing down the body of Christ today. I want to clarify that this series is not meant to criticize or condemn the body of Christ. The Lord is leading me to warn and inform of the dangers of sin, and open the door for His Holy Spirit to convict where necessary. Condemnation is from the devil to pull us deeper into sin. Conviction is from God to turn us to Him so He can lift us out of sin.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.

Revelation 3:19

This week, I want to focus on slander. There is so much slander going on in the church today, particularly toward our own brothers and sisters in Christ.  Have you noticed whenever a well-known preacher messes us, we are the first ones in line to throw a stone at them?

Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

James 4:11-12

God humbled me once when I joined in on an online discussion to criticize a famous preacher for saying something unbiblical on National television. God humbled me by directing me to King David when Saul was pursuing to kill him. Even though Saul was clearly not obedient to God, David wouldn’t lift his hand or mouth against him because he was God’s anointed.

He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the LORD.” With these words David rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul …

1 Samuel 24:6-7

God has the power to bring down the disobedient. Our criticism doesn’t humble them. God has to humble them.

But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.

Psalm 75:7

I was once introduced to a woman who ran an online ministry. Shortly after following her ministry, it became apparent that her focus was to hatefully slander the body of Christ. During one of her hateful remarks toward the church, I felt led to humbly confront her. She responded harshly that she was called to rebuke the church and criticized me for not doing the same.

Criticism is not one of the gifts of the Spirit. In fact, 2 Timothy 2:16 warns us to “shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness” (KJV).

My husband and I once left our church that we had belonged to since we started following Christ twelve years ago. We left because of the slander we heard from others toward several in leadership positions. After years of hearing about the ungodliness and worldliness in our church, it started to embitter our hearts.

We were gone for almost two years and then God called us to humbly return. During our time away, God worked in our hearts and helped us focus on the sin in our lives. As God was purifying my heart, I began to feel sympathy and love for my church. Once God removed the plank in my eyes, I was able to see how much the Lord was working in my church, and that many were obedient to God and filled with the Spirit, especially our Pastor. As I allowed God to work in me, I was able to sincerely love and help my brothers and sisters who were in bondage to sin, instead of feeling bitter toward them and abandoning them.

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.

1 Peter 1:22

As we continue to allow God to purify our hearts, and remove the sin in our lives, we can see clearly to help our brothers and sisters who are caught in sin. Criticizing and abandoning our brothers and sisters only causes more division in the body of Christ and pushes the world further away from Christ. Change in the body of Christ starts with you and me. We are responsible to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us so that He can work through us to bring unity and restoration in the church.

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

Galatians 6:1

Heavenly Father,

We praise You that You do not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities (Psalm 103:10). Your compassions never fail. They are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Help us to have the same compassion for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are deceived and caught in Satan’s trap of sin. Cleanse our hearts and mouths so that we can speak Your truth in love to help set Satan’s captives free (2 Timothy 2:25-26). In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman.

Proverbs 15:1-3

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Kerry Johnson is sharing on her blog today Chapter Seven: Love Is Not Self-Seeking from my book “The LOVE Walk.” Follow this link to read it.

*Come back next Monday as the “Sin Series” continues.

*All Bible verses are taken from the NIV, unless otherwise noted.

*If you’ve never accepted Christ as your Savior, please click on the “SALVATION” tab at the top of the website. Don’t wait another day!

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