Monday, October 19, 2015

Believers' Question of Spiritual Gifts in the Church

Not all, but quite a few churches, appear to be divided by godless ideas concerning spiritual gifts. Namely, how do we know who is prophesying in the name of the Lord and who is not, who is performing miracles and healing in the name of the Lord and who is not? Who is really speaking in tongues and who is not??? The godless idea in some churches is that no one can do these things in fear of misrepresentation of the Holy Spirit or misdirection ...but is it a godless idea to question? What do they have a problem with? The troubling question is who really has such gifts and from whom are they given since we know that Satan works in this world. They ask, "how we could know if this is the Holy Spirit"?

That is a good question. Yet, we should know that Paul said to those in Corinth that we all have spiritual gifts as such gifts as they are from the Holy Spirit and we should use our spiritual gifts and not neglect them. One can suppose that perhaps such fear stems from another aspect of that same message from Paul as he states that one of these spiritual gifts is the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit ~ 1 COR 12:10. Again, who decides.

Earlier in 1 COR 2:11 we read about discerning God's Spirit and that no one can know a person's thoughts except that person's own spirit and no one can know God's thoughts except God's own Spirit. And yet...
we have received God's Spirit so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. How to know who is of the Spirit of God and who is not? Paul says that we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead we speak words given to us by The Spirit using the Spirit's words to explain spiritual truths ~ 1 COR 2:13. However, this is not pointing speaking in tongues as such is a gift for the person who speaks in tongues, it strengthened personally. But, one who speaks a word of prophecy strengthens the entire church ~ 1 COR 14: 4. Hence, someone who comes speaking in tongues is not necessarily helpful... we should seek abilities that will strengthen the whole church ~ 1 COR 14: 12. Paul tells us to speak wisdom with words that benefit the entire church - we as believers can understand; this we can read in ~ 1 COR 14: 15. Speaking in tongues is for non-believers.

Given that, when trying to understand spiritual gifts in the church, we must be mindful that people who aren't spiritual can't receive these truths from God's Spirit... for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others ~ 1 COR 2:14- 15.  Is what Paul said here then later connected with his letter to Timothy when Paul states, "Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you"~ 1 Timothy 4: 14-16.

Even so, we can see how the church or some churches as we are one body in many parts of the same body can be either confused or fearful that they cannot discern who actually has gifts from the Holy Spirit; so they simple avoid such things as spiritual gifts. If this is a problem in your church, in this difficulty, we as believers should remember that "God has united us/you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made Him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God, he made us pure and holy and he freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, "If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord" ~ 1 COR 1:30-31. For this is what we as believers can all understand.  Boast not that you have healed, boast not that you have prophesied, boast not that you have spoken in tongues, but the Lord! As we believers know "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him" ~ 1 COR 2:9.

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