I Corinthians 12-14
by Lois E. Gibson
The gifts of the Spirit are an area I love to study and discuss. I believe this to be an issue that is often misunderstood or neglected in many churches and for different reasons. I believe the overemphasis on speaking in tongues in Pentecostal churches is just as wrong as those who proclaim all gifts have ceased.
This section has been added to provide readers with some food for thought. Often in Pentecostal churches one can hear so much about speaking in tongues, yet very little on the other giftings mentioned by Paul and other writers. Many times the issue of the body of Christ is overlooked when thinking about the gifts. Paul intricately ties in the fact that we are the body of Christ with the giftings of the Holy Spirit. Chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians isn't just a nice chapter about love that we can put on cards and mention in weddings, but is also an intricate part of the teaching on the gifts of the Spirit.
In the beginning of my ministry during my time in the UPC, I wanted to see the gifts of the Spirit in action just like we read about in the book of Acts. I wanted so much to see miracles, healings, signs and wonders because I knew that God hadn't changed and was the same then as he was hundreds of years ago.
However, over time I changed as God was able to speak to me. I saw that some things were more important than seeing the gifts of the Spirit in operation. I no longer am concerned if I see the gifts of the Spirit in action as we do in the Bible or not. Making a difference in someone's life and seeing a person come to God and be transformed is what mattered most. These things were lasting. Gifts often were not lasting and many times did not change those who witnessed them. We are often impressed and go by emotions and picturing the gifts of the Spirit in operation is an exciting thought to many of us. But we must remember that despite all the miracles, signs and wonders that Jesus performed, many did not follow him. In fact, Jesus spoke against people seeking after signs and wonders.
Our focus should never be on signs and wonders, exciting and faith building as they may be. Our focus should be on people turning to Christ. Let God handle how He wishes to confirm His Word. A person can be miraculously healed and yet never turn from their sin and follow God. Yet a person who has seen their need for God and gives their heart to Him, will be forever changed. That is lasting and that is an eternal thing.
So, through these studies on the gifts of the Spirit, let us keep things in focus. May God help us all to see what Paul was teaching the believers at Corinth. Let us always remember we have been baptized into the body of Christ, that the Holy Spirit gifts us as He pleases, and we are to use these giftings in an orderly fashion and to benefit the entire body.
1 Corinthians 12:27-31 Part Seven
Sometime in the future I hope to add additonal studies on chapters 13 and 14.
You may write Lois at the email address displayed in the image. No correspondence that seeks to debate will be answered as I have no desire to debate. Understand that due to the volume of mail, not every email may be acknowledged.
Posted November 4, 2004 - Updated May 15, 2005
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