_______ October 27, 2016 ________

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This is the chapter on Spiritual Gifts.  Having said…?  I’m not going to cover the spiritual gifts.  Bear with me, here.

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. vs. 1

Obviously not, since there are FOUR lists of the spiritual gifts in the New Testament… and two of those lists are here in 1 Corinthians.  It’s a seriously interesting and in-depth topic.  << Reason #1 that I’m not doing it in this Bible Study.  It’s just too much.  It needs a separate week of it’s own, if it were to be really looked at.  So my goal today is to look at the stuff in this chapter that is not specifically addressing the Spiritual Gifts.

Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.  vs. 2

Okay, admittedly?  This blew my mind.  First of all, it says ‘ye were carried away’, but then it says ‘even as ye were led’.  ‘Carried away’ and ‘led are two seriously different things.  Carried away is not of your will.  But being led indicates that you were following.  Which is interesting.  More interesting is this verse in the CJB:  “You know that when you were pagans, no matter how you felt you were being led, you were being led astray to idols, which can’t speak at all.”  I can see what Stern is trying to say there.  He’s comparing it to what’s happening in the churches, today – writing from a specific slant (someone who’s come out of that).  But it doesn’t really fit what’s being said.  I have to think some more on this… because I don’t see it as a perception thing, but rather as a persuasion thing… going from being ‘carried’ to being ‘led’.  And how does that actually work?  I’m intrigued.

Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Yeshua accursed: and that no man can say that Yeshua is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.  vs 3

You may have noticed I left the space by verse three blank in my notebook.  This is because I have issues with this verse, and have to think more on this, too.  What’s the problem?  Well, Satan called Yeshua the Lord.  In James, it’s written that ‘even the demons believe’.  Demon possessed people all thru the Gospels declared Yeshua to be the Lord.  We were watching a(n absolutely horrible) movie a couple of weeks ago called  ‘Central Intelligence’, and there was a character who had been seriously mean to him, who knelt down beside him and said that he’d come to a saving knowledge of Jesus and repented of the behaviors that he’d done to Stone/The Rock when he was younger, and asked for forgiveness…  JUST KIDDING, Sucka!!!   People do this all the time.  So how can people ‘psyche’ people out with false testimony of Jesus, give mocking ‘testimony’ or whatever… but this verse says they can’t?  Obviously they can.  But scripture cannot contradict itself…

[Which forces me to go the ‘christians aren’t actually saying Yeshua is Lord, they’re saying Jesus – the Westernized false version of Messiah – is Lord, in which case it’s not from the Holy Spirit, and isn’t even a real declaration’ way.  Which tends to piss people off, but that’s where I’m headed with this.  Which is why I left that one blank.  That’s… hard.]

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.  And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.  And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.  vs. 4-7

Breakin’ it down… Paul says first there are the (nine) gifts.  Then there are different ways these gifts can be used.  Then there are different ways that people can work while using the gift.  And then it gets even more individualized than that – the Spirit works in every person differently, giving them promptings pertinent to only them.  So these people who think they can tell you how the gifts are used or will be manifested?  They have NO right, NO clue what Ha’Shem has in mind.  It’s all very specialized, and tailored to exactly the desire of the Lord.

Churches peeve me.  They make you take this test, and then determine what your gift is, and tell you how you should use it.  It frustrates me to death.  I remember going to churches where they said if you don’t speak in tongues (cluck like a chicken or some such), you don’t have the Holy Spirit in you.  My girlfriend was actually clicking her tongue and rolling her eyes back… and alls I could think was, “What are you doing…??  And where’s the interpreter, because I’m darn sure scripture says never to talk in tongues without an interpreter… IF that’s what she’s doing..!!”  Christians really mess up the spiritual gift thing.

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;  To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;  To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:  But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. vs. 8-11

There’s the first list of spiritual gifts in this chapter.  The second of the four is found in verse 28, and in that instance, Paul puts them in order of importance.  So then what is the point of this?  Just to list them?  I don’t believe that.  I’ve written about the gifts extensively (and if you’re doing this as a Bible Study, I suggest you break after this chapter for a week and do a study of this post, next).

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.  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.  For the body is not one member, but many.  If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  vs. 12 –

Torah-obedient people who have Messiah as their Savior  (Gah, I’m sick of clarifying) are part of a spiritual organization, if you will.  We’re part of a machine, whose parts work together… only with life to it.  Hence, the comparison to the human body.

If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.  And if they were all one member, where were the body?   But now are they many members, yet but one body.  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.  vs. xx – 21

We all have different jobs, different destinies set before us, if you will.  ‘Cookie-cutter christians’ are a problem, because then we have seventy of the same body part.  Mostly in churches, you’ll find that people don’t have spiritual gifts.  There are reasons for this that I won’t get into (offensive ones), but the classic fall-back is that the people are almost all ‘servants’, or have the gift of ‘service/serving’.  In other words, ‘I am pastor, you are peon who must do as I say and bow when I tell you to, and close your eyes when told.’  Or if you prefer, ‘I am shepherd, you are sheep.  Get in the fence and know your place’.  It’s awesome.  I digress.

I’ll be honest – my experience with spiritual gifts has not been good.  My primary gifts (according to the ‘test’) are a three-way of prophecy, discernment, and teaching.  Let me tell you right now that NO minister will *EVER* tolerate a person with prophecy, because they’re a threat to them.  It flies in the face of these verses, a body part saying to another ‘I fear you, so I don’t want you fricking up my groove’… I can’t even go there.  And because of discernment, the situation is obvious and discouraging.  Let’s move on.

Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:  And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.   For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.  vs. 22-24

The parts that look good?  These are typically the less useful parts, have you noticed this?  Long nails keep a woman from doing pretty much anything.  Long hair… nice, but useful?  Not so much.  Long eyelashes, clear complexions…  Exactly how do these contribute to running the body?  They really mostly don’t.  Paul’s reminding that we need to be careful of what we admire… what we’re looking for in a person.  Showier specimens are usually not the one’s with their sleeves rolled up, doing the actual work.

That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.  And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.  vs 25-27

Ah, but I’ve never seen in this in action.  So pardon my cynicism.  Thirty years immersed in ‘the church’, and I’ve just come to the mind that this doesn’t exist… mostly because the True church barely exists, and ‘the church’ as everyone accepts it to be is just a big delusion.  Have I mentioned there might be some cynicism, here?

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.  vs. 28

Here’s the second list.  This time, Paul puts it in order by importance.  If you read my ‘Spiritual Gifts’ post, (among other things) you’ll see how I see the earlier list as a progression, or a ‘ladder of achievement’.  It’s actually amazingly interesting, when you look at it.  Which again… I’ve done already, in another post, so let’s not go there, here.

Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?  Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?  vs 29-30

I used to use this verse to counter the ‘you aren’t a believer and/or don’t have the Holy Spirit if you don’t speak in tongues’ people.  And yes, it does actually come down to having to point these verses out.  Not everyone has reached the same place.  If I’m right about it being a ‘ladder of achievement’, then it’s apt to say not everyone has earned the same gifts… if you look at it from a ‘parable of the talents’ kind of view.  Which… by the way, fits.  The closer you draw to Him, the more obedient you are, the more He will endow you with.  What else would be the point of that parable, but to show how obedience, diligence, and love for the Master matter?

But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.  vs 31

And to prove my point?  This verse.  Paul would not encourage us to ‘covet earnestly’ the best gifts, if they weren’t attainable.  But really, is it about having ‘gifts’?  Or is it about having a relationship that’s close and intimate with the Redeemer?  Do you serve Him for the crowns, or for the fact that – in spite of the fact that you’re just a little peon nobody tending chickens and kidlets in a small house in the woods, with NO real value of your own – that He died for you, regardless… because you mean so much to Him?

Just askin.  We’ll get to the ‘more excellent way’ Paul’s going to show us next time.

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