OceanSide church of Christ
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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS (52)
Victor M. Eskew
A. What is a question?
1. An unknown piece of information
2. A seed that can blossom if watered well
3. A smart person’s way of learning
4. A mark of courage
5. A safe that is about to be unlocked
B. Tonight is our Q&A Night. Someone submitted several questions to me recently about spiritual gifts found in I Corinthians 12. We will be looking at several of those questions this evening.
C. A brief background.
1. In I Corinthians 12-14 Paul has a lengthy section about spiritual gifts (I Cor. 12:1).
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
2. There were nine (9) of these gifts that had been given to members of the church (I Cor. 12:8-10): the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, the gifts of healing, the working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, divers kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.
3. These gifts were all miraculous in nature.
4. These gifts all came from the same place: “the same Spirit” (I Cor. 12:4), “the same Lord,” (I Cor. 12:5), and “the same God” (I Cor. 12:6).
5. Two major problems that Paul wrote to correct.
a. The church at Corinth was divided over these gifts. Some believed that their gift was better than the gift given to others.
b. Too, these gifts were being misused, especially in the worship assembly.
I. QUESTION #1: Spiritual Gifts Compared to the Physical Body
A. Stated: How does the analogy of the human body help explain spiritual gifts? (I Cor. 12:12-17)
B. There is a lengthy section in I Corinthians 12:12-27 wherein Paul compares the body of Christ to a physical body (I Cor. 12:12)
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.
C. Remember, the church at Corinth was divided.
1. This was not as it should have been.
2. They were “the body of Christ” (I Cor. 12:27).
Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
3. Instead of being divided, they should have been working in harmony with one another just as the physical body does.
a. An interesting question (I Cor. 12:19)
And if they were all one member, where were the body?
1) If they were all eyes, there would be no body, just one big eye.
2) If they were all noses, there would be no body, just one big ear.
3) “But now are they many members, yet but one body” (I Cor. 12:20).
b. All the members of necessary(I Cor. 12:21-22)
And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary.
D. The point: Just as the physical body has many members and works together, the church is a body and should work together. The diversity of gifts was like the different members of the physical body (I Cor. 12:25).
That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
II. QUESTION #2: The Misuse of Spiritual Gifts
A. Question: How can spiritual gifts be misused or abused?
1. One way is to try to exalt one gift over another.
a. Some thought that the gift of tongues was better than all of the other gifts.
b. This creates arguments, strives, and divisions among members.
c. Paul addressed three things in this regard.
1) All gifts are necessary.
2) Love is the better way (I Cor. 13).
3) We can be deceived about the importance of our gift (Ex., tongues were not better than other gifts, see I Cor. 14:2, 4, 19, 23, esp. v. 19).
Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.
2. Gifts could be used in the wrong manner, by the wrong people, at the wrong place.
a. Speaking without an interpreter (I Cor. 14:28)
If there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
b. Two or three speaking at the same time (I Cor. 14:31)
For ye may all prophecy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
c. Women speaking in the assembly (I Cor. 14:34)
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
III. QUESTION #3: SATAN AND SPRITUAL GIFTS
A. Stated: How does Satan counterfeit spiritual gifts?
1. Spiritual gifts were a powerful witness to the truth and to the divine establishment of the church.
a. The miracles were diverse.
b. The miracles were powerful.
c. The miracles were difficult to deny.
2. It is not surprising that Satan sought to counterfeit these miracles if possible. It seems that he did a good job of that in the first century (Eph. 4:14).
That we be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.
a. Sleight of men
1) Strong (2940): a cube, a die for playing, gambling, fraud
2) Thayer: deception of men because dice players sometimes cheated and defrauded their fellow players
b. Cunning craftiness
1) Strong (3834): trickery or sophistry
2) Thayer: craftiness, cunning
3. In the first century, there were some who were “magicians” or “illusionists” and they could perform feats that seem to resemble miracles. These individuals could claim to have a revelation from God, then “confirm” it with the sleight of men. This would enable the false teachers to lead individuals astray.
4. Paul longed for the day when this type of thing could no longer transpire.
IV. QUESTION #4: Finding One’s Spiritual Gift
A. Stated: How can I find my spiritual gift?
1. You will never find one of the spiritual gifts Paul mentions in I Corinthians 12.
a. They were miraculous.
b. The age of miracles has ceased.
1) This was the reason for Paul’s discussion about love in I Corinthians 13.
2) One day miracles would cease. When this happened, the Corinthians would have to rely on their love for one another.
3) In I Corinthians 13:10, he told them that when that which is perfect is come, the full revelation of God to man, then, that which is in part, miraculous gifts, would be done away.
4) In Ephesians 4:13, Paul made the same case with slightly different words.
a) He said that miraculous gifts would last “till” we all came in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God.”
b) The faith is the system of faith, the complete New Testament.
c) Once it was revealed, miracles would cease. At such time, individuals would no longer be deceived by the sleight of man and by cunning craftiness.
2. Even though spiritual gifts are no longer available, we do have to discover and use our talents in the kingdom.
a. Matthew 25:15 reveals that God has given all of us at least one talent. Most of us have more than one.
b. As Christians is mandatory that we put our talents to use. If we do not, we will be condemned just as the one talent man was condemned (Matt. 25:28, 30).
c. In order to discover how you can best use your talents, it is essential to get involved in everything the church does. Eventually, two or three things will really interest you and you will excel in them.
d. NOTE: The Lord rejoices and rewards those who use their talents (Matt. 25:20-21).
And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliverest unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
A. All of these questions were posed by one person. They originated from doing personal Bible study.
B. These questions, as stated in our introduction, became the seeds of additional knowledge. Had they never been asked, addition information would not have been given.
C. Some wish that miraculous gifts still existed today.
1. Paul did not wish for that time to remain.
2. He knew it was a period of infancy in the church.
3. He also knew it was a dangerous period because so many could be led astray.
4. Now, we have the complete revelation from God to man in hand. We can give a book, chapter, and verse answer for all we believe.