CHRIST’S WORK ON EARTH THROUGH HIS SPIRITUAL GIFTS…


Spiritual Blog - Gifts

1 Corinthians 12:27-31- “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. 29 All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? 30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? 31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.” NASU

Ephesians 4:11-16 – “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” NASU

I personally cannot fathom life, in any dimension in which there was the absence of the direction of the Lord.  That life would not be effective or effectual.  Jesus and the writers of the New Testament continually referred to the Great Body of Believers as “The Body of Christ” and thereby identified particular functions for each of the many members or organs within that body (as in the human body).  Jesus established and identified a plan to function through His Body (made up of multitudes of believers) in numerous passages, the two above or just examples.

We have A LIFE and that LIFE involves the spiritual, mental, physical, relational, political, and practical.  We are not cats we do not have “nine lives” nor “compartmentalized lives” we have A LIFE!  It is the sum total of what we are and who we are.  It is the expression of our relationship with Him and the world around us.  He is the basis, the foundation, and the guide for all our decisions, moral foundation, political ideology, and spiritual relationship.  To assume anything else flies in the face of Scripture.

Not to address every individual gift ministry in this short devotion but suffice it to say that His purpose in giving those gifts, functions, and/or ministries was to “equip”, “train”, “unify”, and “mature” the Church to become a fully functional manifestation of Him in this present world.  These gifts/ministries were to last UNTIL we all come to the UNITY OF THE FAITH.  Since it is quite clear we are not there, then one can conclude without fear of contradiction that they are valid today.  Are there abuses?  Of course!  Are there misunderstanding and misinterpretations of their role, authority, and function?  Of course!  Does that invalidate them?  Absolutely not!

The ministry of the New Testament Prophet is one largely of being a confirming or correcting voice.  The prophet is not the rudder of the Ship of Zion, Jesus and His Word are.  He/She are not the psychic to eliminate the need to seek God’s face for ourselves they are directional – pointing us to Him who is our foundation.  The prophet “warns” us when we are making wrong decisions.  He/she “encourages” us when we are under stress and duress and need to be encouraged to stay the course.  Likewise, this ministry/function is vital to keep us on course identifying spirits at work, help develop plans of action and empower the Church to “fight the good fight of faith” with foreknowledge and even revelation.  He is called a “seer” in the Old Testament for good reason – – He/she “SEES” into the Realm of the Spirit and comprehends things that the human mind misses or ignores.  We need the Prophet today and the prophet must be held accountable to the strict guidelines and parameters of Scripture.  He/she MUST be men/women of impeccable integrity.  They do not speak of their own but declare the very Words of the Lord to the situation, at the time, for the purpose at hand.

I have no idea why anyone would desire that be eliminated from daily life, the church body as a whole and the oversight of the nation?  We need to hear God in every aspect and dimension of life not as a State Run or State Controlled Religion but as a fresh unrestricted expression of the mind of God I all matters.  The “true prophet’s” ministry is often a lonely one and often he is the source of ridicule and scorn but to dares declare “thus says the Lord” and places himself directly between God and man and face the most severe consequences of God if spoken out of personal bias, prejudice, doctrinal interpretation, or preference rather than the actual speaking of God to that situation.  A history of accuracy lends authenticity to the voice of the prophet and will demonstrate a growing humility in the speaker, knowing that God has spoken through them not because they were special but because they were a willing vessel and obedient to Him.

EVERYTHING is to be “tested” through the Word of God!   EVERYTHING!  When confirmed it is the Word of God for the moment it is to be heeded implicitly with gladness as well as “fear and trembling”.  We need each member, gift, function, and ministry as we need EVERY ORGAN in the natural body to function to perfection as is God’s expressed desire for His Church!  Treasure the gifts and allow God to cultivate them and demonstrate them in your lives and local congregations.

May God bless you as you reach an even higher plane in the Kingdom in your pursuit of excellence in the Spirit!

CHRIST’S ASCENSION GIFTS…


spiritual-blog-gifts

Ephesians 4:4-8 – “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”  NASU

             We will get to verses 9-16 momentarily but this lays the foundation for our consideration of the “Gifts” He gave to men.  I believe it is obvious from a study of God’s Word that the Plan of God was and is for His followers to ‘have’ spiritual gifts and to ‘operate’ in them in today’s world both inside and outside the four walls of the church meeting place.  The Plan has not changed although the participants change from generation to generation.  This Plan involves and includes the Church and by that, I mean the “Ecclesia” the Body of Called out Ones.  I mean the Body of Christ which embodies All Believers who have received Jesus. It is not Jewish nor is it Gentile it is Christ’s Body.  The Church began with Jews by natural birth and by a sovereign and supernatural act of the Holy Spirit became Universal.

The Early Church had and recognized all the “Ascension Gifts” of Jesus.  They recognized that there was ONE BODY, not multiplied thousands of small body parts scattered over the face of the globe.  Christ Jesus was the recognized head, not some human potentate or overseer, and from His headship, He gave many and varied gifts and ministries to the Church to help fulfill its mission and mission and to develop into MATURE SPIRITUAL PERSONS.

In John 17, Jesus prayed for the UNITY of the Body and here in Ephesians 4:4-6, Paul brings that same thought to the forefront of our minds.  He unequivocally affirms that there is ONE BODY.  That is a needed reminder in our divided world of Christendom where, too often, we allow ourselves to be fragmented and splinter into groups, sects, cliques, or camps.  We tend to forget that no group, sect, clique, or camp has a corner on truth and holds ALL TRUTH.  We tend to forget that we see through a darkened glass and see “in part” thus needing the other parts to complete our view and understanding.  The analogy of the Body in 1 Corinthians 12 is powerful and appropriate and something we should regularly remind ourselves of.  Each part of the Body is important, has function and purpose.

In the Church or Religious World, we seem to have gravitated toward and evolved into a structure or mode of operation the Holy Spirit has little direct control.  We have man-made rules, doctrines, by-laws, and job descriptions that are arbitrary rules rather than tools or vehicles to help us move into the fullness of God’s Purposes.  Too many have relegated to history, the ministries, gifts, and functions that Jesus gave, and have moved into democratic or papal systems that have no true foundation in scripture and often severely hinder the work of the Holy Spirit in today’s church and the world.

I believe that if we, with ‘honest and open heart’ really read and study the Book of Acts we will realize that The Church of Acts and the Church of today can only be described as remotely resembling each other.  We are not the same in structure, mode of operation, manifestation, ministry, or government to name a few differences.  This cannot be explained by arguing that they lived nearer the time of Christ’s physical presence on earth or to get the church established.  I must ask, “Does the Power of Christ grow weaker the farther we get (in time) from when He walked this earth?”  NO?  Then the lapse or passage of time cannot be the reason we do not have what they had and do not operate as they operated.  What is preventing us from being THAT CHURCH today?

I find it worthy of note that the apostle Paul was concerned enough that he felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to include a most interesting statement in v.7 which follows the discussion of unity and oneness in the preceding verses.  God has ‘graced’ us with gifts and ‘graced’ us for unity.  GRACE is not simply ‘unmerited favor’ it is ‘divine enablement.’  Through God’s Grace we receive the Gifts and through His Divine Enablement, we function in them for the Glory of God.

That leads us to the Ascension Gifts of our Lord Jesus, that He gave to the Church and is still giving to the Church today because His Purpose and Mission has not changed.  According to the Bible, the Church is to operate according to GIFTS, not by-laws or the man-made job descriptions of traditional views.  In v.10 we notice that Jesus ascended to heaven for a specific purpose, “That He might fill (complete) all things.”  A part of this is found in v.11, where we find that He gave (He is the same yesterday, today, and forever) to the Church certain Gifts.  The word GAVE means gave, is giving, and will continue to give.  The remaining verses validate this as a continuing happening.  He gave, is giving, and will continue to give GIFTS to His Church for Purpose.

That lays the foundation for a further discussion on the Gifts He Gave and Is Giving to the church.  We will examine them more closely in the next devotional.  May the Lord richly bless you as you embark on His purposes this day!