First Foundation Stone: Unity
1 Corinthians 12:1-31)
In order for all the gifts of the Holy Spirit to operate successfully within the church, the church must walk in unity and in love with one another and for one another.
“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”
- ‘All in one accord’ – the believers were together in unity!
- ‘When the Day of Pentecost had fully come’
- The church was born in unity!
1 Corinthians 12:1-31 (whole chapter)
- It took the whole chapter 12 for the apostle Paul to emphasise the importance of unity.
- God is very much ‘body conscious’ – He sees us continuously as one body – the Body of Christ.
- Only in unity will the nine spiritual gifts function properly, effectively, powerfully!
- Therefore the Body of Christ must learn to flow together in unity.
- we must not be ‘ignorant’ of the Holy Spirit’s gifts. Gifts for His church.
- We must leave our past behind with all its ‘dumb idols’ that used to hold us in bondage.
- Let us instead obey the Spirit of God who always points us to Jesus.
- We cannot say aloud – ‘Jesus is Lord unless the Holy Spirit enables us’
“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:”
- ‘There are diversities of gifts’ – ‘diversities’ refers to all nine different gifts of the Holy Spirit.
- but here is the most important factor:
- ‘but the same Spirit’ – same Holy Spirit, same God, same Lord which is repeated several times in this chapter.
- They remind that behind all these gifts is One Holy Spirit functioning in them all.
- Therefore, there is no competition about which gift is better than the other.
- The nine spiritual gifts – a word of wisdom, a word of knowledge, faith, healings, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues.
- These gifts are ‘spiritual’ in origin – they are not human based and therefore cannot be manufactured.
- These gifts are given only to born-again Christians. Unbelievers cannot receive spiritual gifts. I’ll elaborate on these nine gifts in November 2021
“But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”
- ‘works all these things’ – all these gifts, the nine spiritual gifts.
- ‘Distributing to each one individually as He wills’ – the Holy Spirit is the One who distributes or gives out His gifts to each person.
- You can have more than one spiritual gift. You can have as many gifts as you desire of the Holy Spirit.
- The rest of the chapter zeroes in on ‘many parts, one body’ which is at the heart of UNITY – the unity of the Body of Christ!
“For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink [g]into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many.”
(1Cor. 12:12-14, NKJV)
- Whichever part of the body you belong to make sure to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit to serve and help your brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s a body ministry working together in unity.
“And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.”
(1Cor. 12:28, NKJV)
- ‘And God has appointed these in the church:’ – plural / public gifts and offices in the church.
- These gifts are to be operated during a public church service.
- Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?
- Of course not! Not in a public setting (see 1Cor. 14:40 – have everything decently and in order)
- If there are apostles, prophets, demonstrations of healings, speaking in tongues, etc…..there should be one person at a time.
- It’s all about flowing together in Unity while exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The gifts of the Spirit flow perfectly well when there is Unity in the Church, in the Body of Christ!
Second Foundation Stone: LOVE
1 Corinthians 13
- The gifts of the Holy Spirit will flow powerfully when there is love!
- The New Testament books originally did not have chapters and verses.
- The gifts of the Spirit are addressed in 1 Corinthians chapters 12,13 and 14.
- Chapter 13 is a continuation concerning the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
- Without love none of the gifts of the Spirit functions properly.
“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.”
(1 Cor. 13, NLT)
- The gifts of speaking in tongues, prophesying, giving words of knowledge, moving in great faith are all meaningless if we do not have love, God’s love in our hearts.
- You can give all you have to the poor and even offer your body to be burned but, if you do not have love, all those good works mean nothing to God.
- What love is – what God’s loves look like
- is not envious of what others have
- does not blow its own trumpet
- does not entertain evil thoughts
- does not rejoice in sinning
- but rejoices in God’s truth!
- Love bears all things (very patient and thinking about others first)
- Believes all things – has a firm trust in God
- Hopes all things – God is her hope, always
- Endures all things – puts up with a lot of……because it can see into the heart of God and all is well!
- Three attributes that last for all of eternity: faith, hope, love.
- But the greatest of these is Love
The Holy Spirit’s gifts are given to the Body of Christ. These heavenly, spiritual, powerful gifts are most effective and useful when the Body of Christ walks and lives in unity and love for God Himself is love. Jesus wants His Church, His Bride, to be like Him. To be united and walking in love even as He (Jesus), Holy Spirit and the Father are one (Unity) and the essence of Love!