ICEL People Who Leave Why do people stop attending church? Don ’ t like the music. Aren ’ t being “ fed ” by the preaching. Another church has a better program.
ICEL Church Shoppers In the United States we have a consumer culture. Many people become church shoppers. They go to the church that meets their needs. They don ’ t go to serve; they go to consume.
ICEL Why People Leave I believe that one of the main reasons why people leave a local church is that they come as consumers, rather than as servants.
ICEL Why Do You Attend Church? Do you come to church For encouragement? To worship? To learn about God? For a “ spiritual boost ” to get through the week? These are good reasons – but incomplete. We also come to church to serve. We serve God by serving each other.
ICEL The Church at Corinth The Corinthians had questions about spiritual gifts (or spiritual people). So they wrote a letter to Paul with questions. Paul answers their questions in 1 Cor. 12-14. This is an “ inside conversation ” for Christians.
ICEL Scripture text: 1Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. 2You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to dumb idols. 3Therefore 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. 1 Corinthians 12:1-3
ICEL Ignorance Paul does not want the Corinthian believers to remain ignorant regarding spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are not like pagan religious experiences. People are not carried away by pagan deities. Lucian ’ s Paris says of the power of love, “ A sort of god (daemon) carries us away wherever he wills, and it is impossible to resist him. ” (Dialogi Mortuorum xix. I)
ICEL The Source Needs to Be Tested Ecstatic utterance can have several sources The Holy Spirit; the person themselves; demons. Paul, therefore, evaluates ecstatic speech. Inspiration must come from the Holy Spirit.
ICEL Scripture text: 4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. 7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (1)
ICEL Scripture text: of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another the ability to speak in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (2)
ICEL Unity and Diversity There are different kinds of Gifts – but the same Spirit Service – but the same Lord (Jesus) Working – but the same God (Father) Works all of them in all men. Here is a link between gifts and the Trinity.
ICEL Gifts Distributed Every Christian receives at least one gift (7). Gifts are given “ for the common good ” (7). The Spirit of God determines what each believer receives (11). The different manifestations of the gifts “ are the work of one and the same Spirit ” (11).
ICEL Different Gifts Message of wisdom – a practical discourse involving ethics and exhortation. Word of knowledge – Christian truth. Faith – extraordinary ability to believe for “ moving mountains ” (1 Cor 13:2) Gifts of healing – comes and goes? Or different gifts for different needs?
ICEL Different Gifts (2) Prophecy – proclaiming God ’ s truth; foretelling; leading to “ strengthening, encouragement and comfort ” (14:3) Distinguishing of spirits – to discern the source Tongues – ability to speak in different kinds of languages Interpretation of Tongues – ability to make indistinguishable speech useful for the Church
ICEL More Gifts! This isn ’ t an exhaustive list. Other gifts are mentioned in Scripture. Evangelism, Exhortation, Shepherding Music (Eph. 5:18-19), Craftsmanship (Ex 31:1-5) Service, Giving, Martyrdom, etc. These gifts are linked together in the Body of Christ
ICEL Scripture text: 12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free — and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, “ Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body. 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 (1)
ICEL Scripture text: 16And if the ear should say, “ Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body, ” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 (2)
ICEL Scripture text: 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21The eye cannot say to the hand, “ I don ’ t need you! ” And the head cannot say to the feet, “ I don ’ t need you! ” 22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 (3)
ICEL Scripture text: that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 (4)
ICEL Unity Among Diversity All the parts form one body. No part is unnecessary; every gift is important. No one gift is given to every believer. Otherwise, we would all be eyes. We couldn ’ t hear or smell. Without all the parts (i.e. gifts) we wouldn ’ t have a body.
ICEL Unity Among Diversity (2) God arranges the parts “ as he wanted them to be ” (18). He made the quieter gifts (e.g. intercession, helps, giving) to be “ indispensable ” (22). He gave special honor to those parts that we think are less honorable (23)
ICEL Unity Among Diversity (3) God has combined the members (i.e. gifts) so that there is no division in the body. the members have “ equal concern for each other. ” Diversity can cause friction in the Church. But diversity is a powerful witness to the world.
ICEL Scripture text: 27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 1 Corinthians 12:27-31 (1)
ICEL Scripture text: 30Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way… 1 Corinthians 12:27-31 (2)
ICEL Making This Practical God have given each of us different spiritual gifts. There is no one gift that every Christian must have (e.g. tongues, evangelism, miracles) Paul makes that clear with the series of questions in verses 29 and 30, where he uses the Greek particle me rather than ou. This implies that the answer to each question is “ No. ”
ICEL The Better Way Love “ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud …” (1 Cor 13:4) Love is mentioned in the context of spiritual gifts in the New Testament (Rom 12:4-13; Eph 4:1-16; 1 Peter 4:7-11). Each member cares for the other member; suffers with them; rejoices with them.
ICEL Assessing Your Gifts Are they effective? If a teacher is consistently wrong or a healer can ’ t consistently heal, then you should question if they have those gifts. Do they promote unity in the body? Do you receive joy while exercising that gift?
ICEL Why Do You Come to Church? Is your focus on receiving? Are you just a consumer? Or do you come to see what you can give or do for others? Have you come to serve today?
ICEL Scripture text: 28 “… just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28
ICEL Remember If you are a follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit lives in you. the Spirit has given you at least one gift. Look for opportunities to serve. Joy in the Christian life comes from serving others.