Spiritual Gifts – Body of Christ

Spiritual Gifts – Body of Christ

 

Cal Poulsen

Scripture Insights

04-02-15

 

The appointment of Bezaleel and Aholiab were called to be “Superintendents of the Work,” that needed to be done.  Though, in some real sense even though Moses had "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians," still Moses was probably lacking the technical knowledge requirement to be a Superintendent on this present occasion.

At any rate, his other duties required that he (Moses) should decline to undertake this position, in addition to his existing office. And God had told him whom it would be best for him to give the work to (Exodus 31:1-6).

Accordingly, he now made known to the people that the construction of the tabernacle would be committed to two men, Bezaleel, the son of Uri, as principal, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, as his assistant.  They would "teach" those under them what they were to do (ver. 34).

Exodus 35:29 

The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the LORD, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the LORD had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses.

Exodus 35:30 

And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the LORD hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah;

Exodus 35:31 

And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship;

Here is the Divine appointment of the master-workmen, that there might be no strife for the office, and that all who were employed in the work might take direction from, and give account to them.

Those whom God called by name to his service, he filled with the Spirit of God. Skill, even in worldly employments, is God's gift, and comes from above. But many are ready to hand out work for other people, and can tell these men what they should do. But the burdens they are able to bind on others, they themselves will not touch.

Ecclesiastes 9:10                    

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Such will fall under the character of slothful servants. These men were not only to advise and to work themselves, but they were to teach others. Those that rule should teach; and those to whom God has given knowledge, should be willing to make it known for the benefit of others.

Exodus 35:32 

And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,

Exodus 35:33 

And in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work.

Exodus 35:34 

And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.

Exodus 35:35 

Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.

The above scripture specifically outlines the types of workers that were required. As noted in Ecclesiastes 9:10 we are to do our work that is set before us “with all our might.” The apostle Paul specifically encourages us to work diligently because our work will be tried by fire and will someday be known. We will be judged by our work and if pleasing to the Lord we will receive a reward. If not we shall suffer loss but we will be saved.

1 Corinthians 3:13 

Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

1 Corinthians 3:14 

If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

1 Corinthians 3:15 

If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Christ will evaluate each person’s contribution to the life of the church, and the judgment day will reveal the sincerity of each person’s work. God will determine whether or not each person has been faithful to Jesus’ instructions. Good work will be rewarded; unfaithful or inferior work will be burned up.

1 Corinthians 12:1

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

1 Corinthians 12:2 

Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.

To contrast the work of the Holy Spirit, Paul reminded the believers of the influence of evil spirits (1 Corinthians 10:20-21). When they were pagans (non-Christians), they had been led astray and swept along in worshiping speechless idols.

Evil spirits had done the “influencing.” Evidently, in the cult religions, evil spirits “spoke” through their followers in what was called “ecstatic” or “inspired” speech. Evil forces were at work in the world, and the Corinthians would need to understand that what they had experienced as “tongues” or “inspired speech” in their pagan religion, was completely different from the “speaking in tongues” that the believers might experience through the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 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.

1 Corinthians 12:4 

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:5 

And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.

Paul was concerned that the Corinthian’s focus on any particular gift, such as “tongues,” or ecstatic speech, would tear them apart. While the specific question is unknown, Paul clearly wanted the believers to understand that tongues had their place but should not be sought by everyone.

In the broad context of spiritual gifts, the gift of tongues was just one gift. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, different kinds of service in the church, and different ways God works in our lives. God’s people receive many kinds of gifts, and no one gift is better than another. All the gifts come from one source and are to be used for one purpose, the building up of the Body of Christ.

These gifts are just that, gifts. They are not earned. They are not given to believers asking for a specific one. They are not chosen by people. God alone administers the gifts among his people. God, not believers, controls the gifts. Each believer, then, is responsible to seek God’s guidance in discovering his or her particular gift(s) and then discovering how best to use them for God’s purposes.

1 Corinthians 12:6 

And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

1 Corinthians 12:7 

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

1 Corinthians 12:8 

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

People may think they have all kinds of wisdom and knowledge, which leads to pride, but true wisdom and knowledge are found in Christ alone. But to some people the Spirit gives extraordinary knowledge. This could mean a special knowledge of spiritual realities (1 Corinthians 13:2; 1 Corinthians 13:8-12; 1 Corinthians 14:6) or knowledge given to teachers who are training others in Christian truth.

1 Corinthians 12:9

To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

All Christians have faith because the faith that brings a person to salvation is the work of the Holy Spirit. Some people, however, have the spiritual gift of faith, which is an unusual measure of trust in the Holy Spirit’s power. This kind of faith is a supernatural trust in God’s miraculous power.

1 Corinthians 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:

1 Corinthians 12:11 

But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

The Holy Spirit distributes these gifts, and they are to be used for God’s divine purpose. Because the Holy Spirit alone decides which gift each person should have, there is no place for rivalry, jealousy, or pride among believers regarding their gifts. God, through his Spirit, gives to every person in the community of believers exactly the right gifts for him or her to provide the needed services for the church.

1 Corinthians 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.

1 Corinthians 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.

What gives believers their unity is the one Spirit. The very same Spirit who also gives their diversity through the many and varied gifts. As believers live out their diversity through the gifts, they must never forget the basic fact that unites them. They have all received the same Spirit. All believers receive the same Holy Spirit at the time of their conversion. This distinguishes them from nonbelievers and unites them with one another.

1 Corinthians 12:14 

For the body is not one member, but many.

 

The Gift of Speaking in Tongues:

1 Corinthians 14:1

Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

The gift of prophecy should be desired more than the gift of tongues because the ability to speak in tongues does not help other people since they won’t be able to understand you. The “tongues” mentioned are not earthly languages (such as the gift described in Acts 2:4-12). Instead, this refers to a heavenly language, unknown to the speaker or to anyone else. Through this special gift, the believer talks to God but not to people; talking to God primarily involves prayer and praise. Because “tongues” is a true spiritual gift, the speaker is speaking by the power of the Spirit, but the words are mysterious.

As wonderful as this gift is, Paul wanted the Corinthian believers, in particular, to stop overemphasizing it. They needed to keep its value in perspective. Paul’s goal, as always, was the unity and edification of all the believers. In light of this, Paul made several points about the gift of speaking in tongues:

  •      The gift of speaking in tongues is a spiritual gift from the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:28; 1 Corinthians 14:2; 1 Corinthians 14:39).
  •      Speaking in tongues is a desirable gift, but it is not a requirement of salvation or of being filled with the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:30-31).
  •      The gift of tongues is less important than prophecy and teaching (1 Corinthians 14:4).
  •      The gift of tongues must be accompanied by some rules regarding its best use in public settings (1 Corinthians 14:26-28).

     

    Although Paul himself spoke in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:18), he stressed prophecy because it benefits the whole church. In context, speaking in tongues primarily benefits the speaker. Public worship must be understandable and edifying to the whole church. The purpose of “prophecy” is helping others grow in the Lord, encouraging and comforting them, and the one who speaks a word of prophecy strengthens the entire church. Through prophecy, believers are taught more about the Lord and their faith so they can grow as a body.

    The person who speaks in tongues, however, is strengthened personally in the Lord. Such personal edification is truly a blessing for the one who has received this gift, but a person who prays in a tongue for personal edification should not be doing so in public worship because, while it strengthens him or her, it does not strengthen anyone else.

    1 Corinthians 14:12

    Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

    The church is of utmost priority to every one of us. This is what Paul is saying to the Corinthians and to us. Do not work for the sake of working, but work to edify and praise our God.

     

    Your questions and comments are always appreciated.

    Scripture Insights

    2015 – 2016

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