Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord

1Cor. 12:1-11 NLT  
   1 Now, dear brothers and sisters, regarding your question about the special abilities the Spirit gives us. I don’t want you to misunderstand this. 2 You know that when you were still pagans, you were led astray and swept along in worshiping speechless idols. 3 So I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse Jesus, and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit. 
   4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. 5 There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. 6 God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. 
   7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.  8 To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge.  9 The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing.  10 He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said.  11 It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.

Early on in the history of the Christian church the enemy attack at the junction of pride and arrogance was launched and that battle has been waging across the past two thousand years. Among churches there are disputes about non biblical or extra biblical traditions. At the base of it all the only existing reason for the tradition is that it will permit attention to be focused upon the individual promoting it. Instead of saying that living is all about Christ, the person promoting his or her own special gift is saying 'its all about me-- look at me, I have a great gift greater than yours.'  Now no one would ever admit this but that is the effect of the disputes over the gift of tongues for example.  That is the impact over the promotion of 'the word of prophesy.'  That is the result over the ongoing dispute by any group insisting its baptisms are the only ones among other christian baptisms that are valid.

Paul was very clear in his minimization of the phenomenon of glossolalia (speaking in unknown unintelligible speech, supposedly under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit). It was relegated to the backwater of anything spiritual yet for that past two centuries churches have promoted this one thing to distinguish themselves from other Christian groups and to promote every individual's unique speciality. No matter if they could not heal, they could utter unintelligible phrases and think they are being considered 'spiritual' by those who hear. Paul told them to keep it between themselves and God to avoid this very problem. But the divides yet exist.

Then there are the divides over a belief of whether it is possible to lose salvation. Instead of promoting full salvation and holiness with everyone, mentoring those who are weak, there are some who persist in beating up on others in their speaking and condemning them. It is not for us to condemn one another but to work together and serve Christ. God will take care of the condemnation of  others we don't need to worry about that. Verse seven said that the spiritual gifts were given so that we might help one another not demean others or promote ourselves as superior to them.  We all have different and unique gifts and they are for service not for self adulation or public recognition. Why don't we all who name the name of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior simply agree that we all are to just serve Him?  why not start today?

Your servant in Christ's love

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