Thursday, February 3, 2011

Don’t Seek It – Use It!

Non of us intentionally wants to harm a fellow believer, but we can do it by failing to exercise our spiritual gift.

There’s a great ball game on TV tonight, Dave,” yelled Bill across the fence. “Why don’t you come on over and watch it with me?  It’s the seventh deciding game.”

Bill certainly wanted to watch that game.  He even thought about staying home from church to see it.  The family would be together, and isn’t that important in these days of families splitting up?  Now Dave wanted him to watch it at his house. What should he do?  Should he miss church?

Christians face decisions like this all the time.  So many things pull at us to cause us to forget about serving God in order to satisfy ourselves.  For you it may not be a ball game—it may be something else that you enjoy.

We know that we should not miss church for entertainment and personal pleasure because God has instructed us to forsake not “the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is” (Heb. 10:25).  Why is this so important?

There are a number of reasons why we should faithfully attend church.  We need to study God’s Word in order to grow, we need to pray for God’s help, and we need to worship and praise God as a congregation of believers.  There is another important reason however.

If we are going to be responsible Christians, we need to exercise the spiritual gift (or gifts) that God has given us.  And the primary place to do that is in the local church.  This reason for faithfulness to church that is often overlooked or downplayed.  Yet it is thoroughly discussed in the Word of God.

A spiritual gift is a supernatural enabling for service.  It is an ability that God gives to the Christian so he may both serve Him and edify the Body of Christ.

There is a debate today concerning the dispensation teaching about gifts.  Theologians differ about whether all of the gifts of the apostolic days are present today.  Some say that they are present and none were temporary.  Others say that all of the spiritual have ended, and none of them are in the church today. The final view is that some of the apostolic gifts have ceased, but that many others are still being given to the church today.

The third position is correct.
Some of the gifts were temporary according to I Corinthians 13:8: “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away,”
The sign gifts—healing, tongues and knowledge (receiving special new revelation from God)—were given to the church in its infancy, but when the Bible was completed these gifts were unnecessary and were withdrawn.  The Greek word for “cease” in verse 8 means “cease once for all”  or permanently disappear.”

Any gift involving receiving new revelation from God, such as the office of prophet or apostle, or visions and the gift of knowledge (in the sense of extra-biblical knowledge) has ceased permanently.  If this were not the case, it would violate Revelation 22:18.
The other gifts, however, are still in the church today.
Paul made it clear that every Christian has received at least        one gift.  “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal” (1 Cor. 12:7).  Both 1 Corinthians 12:11 and 1 Peter 4:10 support this fact.

 It is proper to say that these gifts came from the Father (see James 1:17). And from the Son (see Eph. 4:8), and from the Holy Spirit (see 1 Cor. 12:11).

There is no room for boasting about the use of these gifts as is so often done.  Paul asked,  “What hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?”  (I Cor. 4:7)

Without the gifts of the Spirit in our churches today, we would never be able to minister effectively.  Without these gifts the church would be confused.

                                                                                            by Ll
yod L S