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Summary: An introduction to 1 Corinthians 12 and a series on Gifts of the Spirit. Spiritual things: how to discern whether they are from the Lord or not.

Gifts of the Spirit 1: Spiritual dynamics and Jesus being Lord

1 Cor 12:1-3. WBC 5/9/4am


Interestingly, the equiv of ‘Spiritual gifts’ does not appear anywhere in NT

- sorry to distress you!

- The word ‘Gifts’, spec ‘gifts of grace’ (Charismata, v4) does

o More from Robin, tonight

- But that’s not the word used here. (Nor is it ‘spiritual gifts’)

“So what”, you ask

- actually: so a lot

- the problem with using that term is that people immediately assume that God’s gifts are the, seemingly, more ‘dynamic’ and spiritual ones. So I prefer to use term ‘Gifts of Spirit’ not ‘spiritual gifts’)

o Illustr: certain Pentecostal streams where believe there are only 9 gifts. The ‘dynamic’ ones. The ones mentioned v7-11

 = WOW, WOK, faith, healings, miracles, discernment of sprits, tongues, interpretation

 Only saw these ones as appear more ‘spiritual’

 Missed v27: admin, helping

 Roms 12: serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leadership, mercy

 1 Cor 7: 7 – singleness

 Phil 1:29: suffering! (for it has been ‘gifted’ to you to suffer)

Do you see? That term means you miss out on the breadth of God’s gifts. (So I prefer to use term ‘Gifts of Spirit’ not ‘spiritual gifts’)

- will show: the measure of whether something is a gift or not is not whether it ‘seems’ spiritual

o but whether it exalts Jesus as Lord and builds up the church

You see: these lists of gifts are not ‘spiritual’ nor ‘exhaustive’

- They are ‘representative’ of

o The diversity of gifts the Spirit gives

o The variety of ways He builds His Kingdom & ch

o YOU! You are in here! Your gifts are!

 You have a part to play.

 Use what God has given you, under His anointing and direction, for Jesus’ glory… for the common good

So- what is the word here, and why the big deal?

- it’s a word ‘pneumatikon’ (= not a tyre curry!)

- you do understand something of this word:

o pneumatic: breath filled, spirit filled, of the Spirit

- = lit ‘spirituals’. “Now concerning spirituals” says Paul

- word = of indeterminate gender so could mean

o spiritual things

o spiritual people

- could be either:

o contrasts 2 people: the one who curses Jesus and the one who says He’s Lord

o the spiritual things that were happening among them

- result is much the same:

Paul is saying: “now, concerning spiritual things, what makes a person spiritual, spiritual dynamics”

- he’s talking about the stuff that was going on in their services etc

- he’s going to give them some sound advice as to what is spiritual, what was from God and what wasn’t


So- what was going on? What is the context into which Paul’s speaking? What had these folks been up to?

The lead is given in ‘led astray to mute idols’

- these idols couldn’t speak, but something LED them astray

Basically, prior to becoming Xians they had been involved in Greek mystery religions

- full of spiritual experiences

o in fact: if there wasn’t one, weren’t ‘blasted’, you hadn’t had your spiritual encounter

- moved to states of ecstasy, trance, involuntary action

o all around a pagan idol

- such manifestations were expected, and accepted unquestioningly

That’s why they are into ‘spiritual things’, now

- that’s why Paul deals mainly, directly, with the more ‘overtly spiritual’ things of God

o because that was what they were into

A few observations

- Paul doesn’t criticise them for being into spiritual dynamics

o He wants them to be! In the right way

- Someone seeking ‘spiritual things’ may be seeking God more than we think

o Illustr: ?wrongly have seen ‘new agers’ as the opposition/enemy. Maybe they should be our target?

o Illustr: those seeking ‘spirituals’ don’t look in the church!

 Ask Robin. We should show them the real thing!

- Often those most ‘against’ in one sense become the most ‘for’

o Here: these guys are moving I n the power of God!

o Simply expected it. CF Africa: they’ve seen occult power. See God’s power

o Some ‘most anointed’ learnt their openness (and other things) in the enemy’s camp!

- Paul doesn’t waste time saying ‘now you’re a Xian there are no ecstatic experiences, trances etc etc’

o He says: I’ll teach you to discern where something is coming from

o And here’s what you’re looking for: what exalts Jesus

So- here’s the big question: “how do you know if something is from God or not?” “How do you know?!”

- because, prior to becoming Xians, these folks had thought they were freely following their noses as they played with things spiritual

o but in fact they were LED. Led astray

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