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  • Gifts of the Spirit

    Now I want to tell you about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, so you can better understand why they are important.

    When you were pagans, you prayed to and even cursed your idols, because you didn't know any better, and they weren't real gods at all.

    But you have accepted the Lord as your savior, and I tell you now the Holy Spirit will guide you if you let Him. No one who is of the Spirit will curse the Son of God.

    The Holy Spirit confers gifts upon us all, and while each one of us receives the gifts differently, they are from the one Spirit. Some gifts are given for special occasions, while others are for life. We all receive the gifts as they are needed.

    For some, the Spirit gives wisdom, for others He gives knowledge. For some, great Faith is their gift, while for others is the gift of healing. Some are able to perform miracles, while others are given the gift of prophecy.

    Some of us can discern the nature of spirits, while others speak in tongues, and still others interpret the messages that are revealed when they speak.

    But all these gifts come from the Holy Spirit, who distributes them to men to serve the Lord's purpose.

    For we are one body, one church, diverse and filled with many nations and families, but united in our faith in Jesus Christ. By one Spirit we are baptized into this body, no matter if we were Jews or Gentiles, no matter if we were slaves or free men. We have all been reborn into the body of Christ.

    Now if we are a body, what good would it do if we were all alike? Can a body have only a foot and still be able to talk? Can an eye say because I am not an ear, I don't belong to the body? If the body had only an eye, we couldn't hear, we couldn't touch, we couldn't smell.

    God has made the body of believers like the bodies we occupy here. We are one body with many parts, but we are one body. And even the weakest part of us serves a purpose.

    In every church, there are those who lead and those who follow; those who speak and those who listen. Some will give prophecy, while others will serve. We are all witnesses for Christ, but not every witness is the same.

    We are not clones or roots, we aren't supposed to be carbon copies of one another. We all have gifts from God, from the apostles to the prophets to the teachers, all have a purpose to fulfill. No one of us is unnecessary.

    I know you all want to have the best gifts, and if you listen to me, I will tell you how to get them.

    The Prelude to the Best Gifts

    The next chapter is probably one of the most quoted chapters in the Bible, but you rarely hear anyone preach about chapter twelve. That's interesting to me, because this chapter says more about diversity of people in the faith that many other chapters.

    You see, Paul knew he was working with a very diverse group of people when he went upon his missionary journeys. Everyone wants to feel like they are individual, like they stand out from the crowd. So the worship services in Corinth adopted rituals from the pagan temples they had know before Christ. They modeled their ceremonies after things familiar to them, and this led to competitions among them. Everyone wanted to be important.

    Paul speaks to the Corinthians here as a lead in to the next chapter. He's telling them it's okay to be different, it's okay to have different gifts, because they are all important. Teachers and apostles and other leadership positions I get. Choir director I get. But prophet? Hmm. I'd have to seriously consider being a prophet.

    Oh, here we go with the language thing again. You see, these days, people equate a prophet with a seer or fortune teller, someone who can tell you the future, like the psychics on those California Hotlines you see advertised on television. That's not the case with a biblical prophet.

    Quite the contrary, as a matter of fact. Biblical prophets are correctly identified as the Voice of God, and while that may sound good, it isn't always a voice you want to hear. Nine times out of ten, when God sent a prophet in the Old Testament, it was to tell the people they were screwing up.

    Israel starts to fall away and worship idols, God sends a prophet. Ninevah is falling into sin and filth, God sends a prophet. And the prophet is not received well, because nobody wants to hear how badly they are screwing up. One thing prophets were not known for was tact and diplomacy.

    But here Paul has learned a thing or two from the Old Testament, because he has been acting as a prophet for twelve chapters now. In chapter thirteen, often referred to as the Love chapter, he lets them know how to solve their problems.

    I hope you are all having a blessed and glorious day.

    Fred
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