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The Journal

Spiritual Gifts

REV DAVID O'MARA

Dear Friends,

Today we are looking at spiritual gifts from 1 Corinthians 12:1-11. In 12:1 Paul says “Now about the gifts of the Spirit.” Paul has used this introductory phrase in 7:1 “Now about the matters you wrote about., 7:25 “Now about virgins” and 8:1 “Now about food sacrificed to idols.” Paul is responding to a letter from the Corinthian church in which they raised matters of concern. He has also received infor-mation which has been conveyed to him personally 1:11. Commentators have discerned 5 themes con-nected with congregational conduct and they are: church leaders (1:10-4:21), lawsuits (6:1-11), the Lord’s Supper (11:17-34), spiritual gifts (12-14) & Stephanas & Apollos (16:12-18).

There are also issues where Christians have compromised with the surrounding culture - incest (5), sexual immorality (6), marriage (7), the unmarried (7), dining in pagan temples (8-11), head coverings (11) and resurrection (15). In chapters 12-14 it is evident that the Corinthians had a preoccupation with the gift of tongues. It is very interesting how Paul deals with this conflict:- some of the church members were giving prominence to the gift of tongues and minimizing prophecy 14:39. Paul reminds them that it is God who determines who receives the gifts of the Spirit and these gifts are given for the common good of the church 12:7 and given to every-one and each gift is important -12:4-5,21. Given the divisions evident in the church Paul is reminding them that the gifts are given to build up others not to promote themselves or their particular group. In effect Paul is showing that just as our God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit is united so that conversion to Christ unites us to Jesus and to each other. Earlier in 1:10-17 Paul had explained that the Gospel of Christ unites us. Just as Jesus is not divided so we should be united. In fact the great work of the Spirit is that we will confess that Jesus is Lord 12:2. Paul is not deluded that all we do is say Jesus is Lord. To confess that Jesus is Lord is to allow Jesus to be the centre of every aspect of our lives. For Churches to grow we need to understand that we are on the same team and that other church members are assets not liabilities and that God has a role for each of us to do. For All Souls to grow we are going to need all the gifts of the spirit to function well and this includes the upfront gifts such as the message of wisdom and knowledge as well as the miraculous gifts such as healing and discernment as well as other gifts such as faith. The list of gifts given in the NT is not exhaustive but the emphasis is on the fact that churches need everyone involved and serving to grow in maturity and win people for Christ. The model teaches us that effective out-reach is a product of healthy body life within the church. Good outreach flows from a healthy church life. God’s Blessing .

Rev David O’Mara

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