Summary: What I learned at men’s retreat is a reflection on the spiritual gift survey we did at a recent retreat.

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Apparently there was something mentioned at Men’s Retreat last weekend about “What happens at Men’s Retreat stays at Men’s Retreat.” I, however, never agreed to such a covenant and am willing to share this morning.

One of the things I learned at Men’s Retreat was that Keith does not snore. He does however, not sleep silently. Other emanations from Keith serve to disturb the peace of the community in that room.

Another thing I learned is that Glen does not believe in sleeping bags. He came without one. Glen zipped up his jacket, covered his head with his hoodie and curled up fully clothed on his bunk. That is, until Keith couldn’t stand it and found him a blanket and pillow, which Glen refused to use.

I also found that Darren is a light sleeper and that he left the room at 5:00 in the morning. Apparently someone was snoring too loud for him to sleep. I can’t imagine who.

Kyle, the perfect gentleman, never complained about any of this, even when wrongly attacked with a hockey stick for supposedly snoring too loud.

All in all, I learned that you should not miss Men’s Retreat.

On the serious side of this Retreat we had some very good sessions with Pastor Pete on discovering our spiritual gifts. It just so happens that our passage today addresses the matter of spiritual gifts. This is no coincidence. I believe the Spirit brings these things together to reinforce his truth. And for the next four Sundays we will see what Paul has to say about these gifts of the Spirit.

We learned some time back that when Paul wrote the words “Now about…” that he was addressing a concern that the Corinthians had written about in their letter to him. It is sometimes wrongly thought that if the church had every spiritual gift it would be a dynamo and growing church in the community. Here was a church, the Corinthian church, that had every spiritual gift you could think of, even the ecstatic gifts like tongues and prophecy, and they were still messed up. For this reason, the Apostle Paul addresses this body and tells them the truth about gifts. Today we will look at three of these necessary lessons on gifts.

1. The Focus is ALWAYS Jesus

Just because a church has all the gifts does not mean that they understand all things spiritual. That seems an odd thing to say but Paul agrees: “Now about spiritual gifts brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant” (v. 1).

The word “gifts” is an add-on, for what Paul wants to address is all things spiritual. This is what we would call spirituality. While the Corinthians thought that they were super-spiritual, Paul pricks their pride by saying “I don’t want you to be dumb concerning spiritual things.”

The first lesson Paul gives them concerns the genuine nature of spirituality. Idols are nothing spiritual he reminds them again, and then says this: “Therefore I tell you 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” (v. 3).

It is uncertain what Paul meant here. If Christians were being persecuted, it could be assumed that he means this confession to be uttered under pressure. It’s hard to know. But we do know this about the Holy Spirit:

a) The Holy Spirit always focuses attention on Jesus Christ. Whatever inspiration or confession or gift is given by the Holy Spirit, we can know it is credible if it points to Jesus. That is the work of the Holy Spirit.

b) The Holy Spirit’s main goal is to glorify Jesus Christ and to secure His Lordship in our lives. This is the Spirit’s work in our lives – to make it possible for Jesus to be Lord of our lives.

c) The confession of Jesus as Lord distinguishes believers from unbelievers. It is through a genuine confession of Jesus as your Lord that you receive your salvation and a gift or gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The focus is always Jesus when it comes to spiritual things in the Christian life.

2. All Gifts have ONE Source

One of the Corinthian problems was to give prestige to certain gifts over others and ultimately to rank members of the church based on their giftedness. We will see more of this in future sermons. For now Paul teaches a second lesson on the source of these gifts:

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men” (Vv. 4-6).

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