Summary: The Spirit, God's Plan, Gifts
ONE CHURCH - One Spirit
1 Corinthians 12:1-11 (p. 799) June 19, 2016
What kind of bond would unite an anarchist, a government tax agent, a doctor, blue collar workers, lawyers, and professors of religion?
I mean come on!!! If you put these folks in the same room and they started talking about politics and religion…there’s no telling how long it would take before the arguments escalated into bloodshed.
But think about it, Simon was a Zealot (an anarchist committed to overthrowing Rome with any means). Levi, called Matthew, was a tax collector for that Roman government. Luke was a doctor, James and John, Peter and Andrew were blue collar fishermen…from a family of fishermen. Paul was a Pharisee of Pharisees. He studied the Mosaic law and taught others this law. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea were wealthy. Mary Magdalene was demon possessed…Nathaniel was a skeptic.
It would make an exciting dinner party to put this group together…but not many of us would think to put them on the same team. They’re just too different. That’s never gonna work!
But there was an even greater divide than anarchist and government worker in existence in the early church. All the Apostle’s were Jews…Jesus was a Jew. The earliest believers on the day of Pentecost were God fearing Jews from every nation.
The Apostle Paul…you guessed it…Jewish!!! But God sets him apart to be “an instrument to proclaim Jesus’ name to the Gentiles and their Kings and to the people of Isaiah.” (Acts 9:15)
Whoa! How in the world are these two groups going to be made into one? God’s Covenant people and pagans…becoming part of the same family. How can that happen?
I. THE HOLY SPIRIT PROVIDES A NEW BIRTH AND A NEW LIFE
Jewish people had the history. They had God’s plan…and His Word through the law of Moses…and through the prophets. Every Jew understood that there was a promised “Messiah” who would come. This King would be even greater than “King David.” His throne would last “forever.” One of the saddest comments in the New Testament is where John the Apostle writes…“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not recognize Him.” (John 1:11)
Gentiles, on the other hand had no such history…no precursor to predict a coming Messiah…“Paul writes in our text: “You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols.”
As Jesus told the woman at the well…a Samaritan…half Jewish, half Gentile…probably more hated by the Jews than even pagans.
JOHN 4:22-24 (p. 742)
Jesus is saying…”God’s plan for salvation came through the Jews…His Word pointed toward a Messiah through Abraham’s seed…but this plan isn’t just for Jews in Jerusalem or Samaritans on this mountain…God’s seeking “true worshipers.” And the only way people can really worship Him is in the Spirit and truth.
Whether you have a heritage that involves God or one with ignorance of who God really is…Jew or Gentile there is no difference when it comes to salvation…Both require “a new birth and a spiritual transformation.”
Let me give you a personal example…
[I grew up always going to church…I grew up with a mom and dad that believed in Jesus, the Bible and the importance of church. I had advantages spiritually that many did not…I knew the stories of David and Goliath, Noah and the flood, and Jesus dying on the cross and resurrecting. But I chose a life which ignored all this information and knowledge…I’d say I even believed in God…but that belief didn’t change my heart or my lifestyle. My idols were “mute” but I worshipped them anyway…I had more advantages than the Jewish people of Jesus’ day when it came to scripture and God’s plan, but was soooooo lost.
…Until God came seeking. His Holy Spirit began to reveal Jesus to me…and the consequences of my sin…the Father began to pull me towards His Son…I believe He does that for everyone. Peter tells us “that God doesn’t want anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
I repented and was baptized into Christ…All that information meant nothing until I accepted God’s grace through faith and was born again spiritually. How could you tell if it was real? Well the same Holy Spirit who brought me to the cross…led me from it with a resurrected life…Immediately He began to work within me…and thankfully He still is.
When the Apostle Paul writes “Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed.” And no one can say, “Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Cor. 12:3)