Summary: Message 32 in our exposition of 1 Corinthians. This message explores another questions posed by the Corinthians regarding matters of the Spirit and the function of spiritual gifts.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
“The Matters of the Spirit: the Giver” I Corinthians 12:1-11
I. Reproof for fleshly behavior 1-6
II. Responses to specific inquiries
A. Concerning marriage 7
B. Concerning voluntary limitation of Christian liberty 8-11:1
C. Concerning proper protocol in public worship 11-14
1. Proper decorum in corporate worship 11:2-16
An air of independence has arisen especially among the women.
2. Proper heart and order for observing the Lord’s Supper 11:17-34
An atmosphere of disunity continued to manifest even during communion.
3. Proper understanding of the matters of the Spirit 12-14
An attitude of superiority and selfishness hindered the work of the Spirit among them.
Christianity is about Jesus Christ and those connected to Him by faith and the baptism into His body. As we will see next week, the Holy Spirit places every believer into vital union with Christ and His body. Without the work of the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ there is no power.
Then he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts. Zech. 4:6
He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, Ephes. 3:20
Where is that power that accomplishes far beyond all that we ask or think? Where is the power of the church to effect changes in lives and in the community around us? What is different about the church than any other “service” organization? What can we accomplish that the world can’t accomplish? What does this power of the Holy Spirit, promised to believers, look like? What keeps the church of Jesus Christ (what keeps Chico Alliance Church) from being the agent of change and bearer of good news God designed it to be?
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2 Tim. 3:1-7
“Deny” = to say, “no!” to disown, to refuse. We have replaced power with learning. We have substituted doing with knowing. We have allowed the ambitions of self to crowd out the acts of the Holy Spirit. We even embrace all the trappings of godliness but live powerless lives when it comes to the “matters of the Spirit.” Beginning today I want us to take a fresh look at the genuine work of the Holy Spirit among the body of Christ. It is the work of the Spirit that empowers and energizes the church. It is the work of the Spirit in bringing about truly changed lives that makes the church different than any organization on earth. Only God can change a heart. What does that work look like? In the “matters of the Spirit” we will first explore the issues from the perspective of the giver, the Holy Spirit. Next week we will look at the work of the Holy Spirit in the body from the perspective of the individual.
a) The Operation of the GIVER in the body 12:1-11
Paul lays down four basic truths regarding the work of the Holy Spirit in the church.
(1) Don’t be ignorant about the “matters of the Spirit.” 12:1-3
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware.
Perhaps because of something asked in their letter to Paul, he detected an information deficit among the believers of Corinth regarding the things of the spirit. “Spiritual gifts” is a translation of the Greek word “pneumatikos” which simply means “things or matters of the spirit.” The word “gifts” does not appear in the original. In fact I have come to think that a very narrow view of this aspect of the Spirit’s work in the body of Christ is derived by separating out “spiritual gifts” as some technical operation. “Matters of the Spirit” has to do with the workings or operation of the Holy Spirit among the church of God. This passage then focuses on the operation of the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ which is far more extensive than “spiritual gifts”. The focus then becomes the work that the Spirit does among us rather than some “gift” we receive from Him to make us feel spiritual. I believe such a focus lent to the way Paul addressed the problem of a particular manifestation of the Spirit the way he did.