Word Up!

Greetings In the Name of the Lord:

1 Corinthians 12:8 (NLT)
To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge.

It is my firm belief that if people really understood the gifts of the Holy Spirit they wouldn’t be nearly as freaked out by them. So let’s take a look at some of them, and let’s start where Paul starts with what has traditionally been called the word of wisdom. According to my friend Bible scholar Stanley Horton, “This is a proclamation or a declaration of wisdom given to meet the need of some particular occasion or problem. It is not dependent on human ability or natural wisdom but is a revelation of divine counsel. Through this gift supernatural insight into both the need and into God’s Word bring the practical application of that Word to the need or problem at hand” (Horton, What the Bible Says about the Holy Spirit, 271). Are you hearing the practical nature of it? It is wise counsel to meet a specific need based on insights and applications from the Scripture. Is it supernatural? Yes it is. Is it super-freaky? No, it just God using someone to speak into the life of someone in need based on illuminations of God’s already inspired Word. Dr. Horton goes on to explain “Because it is a “message” of wisdom, it is clear that only enough is given for the need. This gift does not raise us to a new level of wisdom, nor does it make it impossible for us to make mistakes. It just lets us draw on God’s unlimited storehouse (Romans 11:33).” Again, the gifts are supernatural in nature, but practical in act and deed. The question is are we willing to let God use us in this gift, and are we willing to take the step of faith to use it?

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

 

 

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With A Little Help From My Friends

Greetings In the Name of the Lord:

1 Corinthians 12:7 (NLT)
A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.

Here I think is a very true statement: nobody likes a phony! People don’t want you to pretend to be something your not just to convince them of something or to win their approval. This leads me to an important question, isn’t that what we are doing in the church today? The church world, at least in America, has bought it to the idea that in order to get people to come to Christ or to our little corner of the church we have to pretend to be something we are not so we don’t scare anybody off. We behave under the assumption that if people really see what we’re like they go running for the hills. Please don’t take me wrong, I fully subscribed to the concept that we should make church a welcoming and accepting place. When people visit New Life I want them to feel as though they are part of the family. On the other hand, however, I have no intention of hiding who we are or act as if we are something we are not. In other words, if you’re Pentecostal act like it. We shouldn’t try to hide the fact that we are people of the Spirit because we are afraid if people find out who we really are they will run away. That is what Paul is saying in this verse. According to bible scholar Gordon Fee, what Paul is talking about here is not the fact that everyone has a spiritual gift, but rather that the gifts are “manifestations” of the Spirit’s presence among. He concludes that if Paul intended to say that everyone has a spiritual gift he would have said “every single one.” He also states that Paul emphasis here is not on the gifts themselves, but the One who gives the gifts (see v. 4) (Fee, God’s Empowering Presence, 163-164). So perhaps we should look at the gifts not as something to shy away from because they might freak out a visitor to our church, but rather they should be embraced and celebrated as tangible evidence that the Holy Spirit is in or midst. Personally, I think people don’t want a concept of God, on the contrary, they want to experience Him first hand. Let’s not be afraid to let people experience God’s presence.

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

Greetings In the Name of the Lord:

1 Corinthians 12:1 (NLT)
Now, dear brothers and sisters, regarding your question about the special abilities the Spirit gives us. I don’t want you to misunderstand this.

One of the greatest tragedies of the modern church is that there is such a poor understanding of spiritual gifts. On the non-Pentecostal/Charismatic side of the fence there is either total ignorance or even worse the false assumption that they no longer exist. On the Pentecostal/Charismatic side we seem to concern ourselves with tongues, thus assuming that is all there is, and therefore we don’t need to know about the others. So we are either totally ignorant or disinterested. What a tragedy! As we will see, according to Paul (and the Holy Spirit), we need to educate ourselves on the things of the Spirit. He wanted the Corinthian church to not only have a firm grasp on what the gifts are, but also how they are to be used. What he doesn’t want us to misunderstand are “Spiritual gifts,” which is one word in the Greek pneumatikon, a word used for the totality of the spiritual gifts. This emphasizes two things: 1) the gifts are supernatural in their essence, and 2) they emanate from the Holy Spirit (Horton, I and II Corinthians). What Paul is trying to stress to them, and therefore us, is that because they are supernatural and from the Spirit we must hold them in the highest esteem. We must not use them in a way that is contrary to the purpose for which they were intended, and we must not use them to draw attention to ourselves (which was a major problem for the Corinthians). The Holy Spirit always wants to honor Jesus and draw our attention away from ourselves and onto Him. Furthermore, since they are supernatural, from the Spirit, and intended to point us to Jesus, we must not be ignorant or misinformed about them. We must study them, understand them, and most of all, use them to their fullest extent. What a slap in the face it must be to both the Holy Spirit and Jesus that we either ignore the gifts they have for us, or show a total lack of concern about them. What are the gifts of the Spirit? How should we use them? What is their purpose? Don’t you think it’s time to find out?

In Christ,

Pastor Mark