I Corinthians 12:1-11

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

Text: I Corinthians 12:1-11

SPIRITUAL GIFTS

INTRODUCTION:

In I Corinthians 14:40 we read, "Let all things be done decently and in order." We live in an ordered universe. We must have order in our country, in our local church, in our services, in our businesses, and in our families; or we will have disorder or chaos.

In I Corinthians chapters 11-14, we have a discussion about Christian order. The Corinthians were having trouble in their church with their understanding and practice of proper order. In chapters 12 - 14 we see that their practice of the special spiritual gifts, the nine sign gifts, was disorderly.

In I Corinthians 12:1-11 we see an introduction to the subject of the special spiritual gifts, the sign gifts.

The widespread use of the spiritual gifts led to their abuse. It is to correct the abuse of the spiritual gifts that the Apostle Paul wrote chapters 12-14.

I. TRUE BELIEVERS OPERATE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT - 12:1-3

I Corinthians 12:1-3 - 1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. 3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

In verse 1 Paul changes topics.

Now concerning (i.e. about) spiritual gifts introduces another question about which the Corinthian believers had asked him. It is the question about spiritual gifts, particularly regarding speaking in tongues. Concerning (or about) spiritual gifts has been placed in a position of emphasis in the Greek text. This emphasis has been retained in the King James Bible.

Spiritual gifts are special abilities God the Holy Spirit has given to individuals.

Paul addresses the Corinthian believers as brethren, i.e. as brothers or fellow believers.

I would not have you ignorant is I do not wish (or I do not desire) you Corinthian believers not to know about spiritual gifts.

I Corinthians 12:2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.

Ye know is you (Corinthian believers) know in the sense of you see, you perceive, or you recognize.

What they recognize is that you were (but no longer are) Gentiles, i.e. heathen or pagans.

I Corinthians 10:31-32 - 31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God.

They were pagans who were carried away (i.e. misled) unto these dumb idols (i.e. these voiceless idols, these idols who are not able to speak).

Even as (i.e. as or when) ye were led (or allowed yourselves to be led) - perhaps by parents, custom, etc., but ultimately by Satan and demons.

I Corinthians 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

Wherefore introduces a strong inference, concluded from what was said in verse 2, that, prior to their salvation, the Corinthian believers were Gentiles who were led unto idols which were not able to speak; but the Holy Spirit was not the One Who led them to these idols.

I give you to understand is I make known (or reveal) to you.

What Paul makes known to the Corinthian believers is that no man (i.e. no one or nobody) speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed (i.e. says, Jesus is cursed or, Cursed be Jesus.

God the Holy Spirit will never lead anyone to say that Jesus is accursed, but demons will lead people to say this.

So, if anyone says, Jesus is cursed or, Cursed be Jesus, it is a demon or Satan himself rather than God the Holy Spirit who is leading him to do so.

Likewise, anyone who would take the name of Christ in vain by using it as a swear word is not being led by the Holy Spirit to do this but by some demon.

Who would be expected to say that Jesus is accursed? It might be an unsaved Jew who would claim that Jesus was justly and properly crucified, but also any unsaved person led by a demon or by Satan himself might also do it.

And that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost

An unsaved person will never acknowledge that Jesus is Lord, i.e. that Jesus is Jehovah or God, because he does not possess the Holy Spirit Who enables people to do so. However, no demon will ever lead anyone to say or acknowledge that Jesus is Lord.

The Holy Spirit does lead someone to state or acknowledge that Jesus is Lord.

Just as the Holy Spirit did not lead these believers into idolatry before they were saved, no demon led them out of idolatry to salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ.

This does not mean that someone could not flippantly mouth the words that Jesus is Lord. At this time in history when Paul wrote this, however, if someone were to say that Jesus is Lord rather than that Caesar is Lord, it might cost him his life.

II. SPIRITUAL GIFTS ARE INTENDED TO EDIFY THE LOCAL CHURCH - 12:4-7

I Corinthians 12:4-7 - 4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

There are different spiritual gifts; yet one Holy Spirit gives all of them.

I Corinthians 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

There are diversities of gifts is differences of spiritual gifts exist.

But introduces a mild contrast.

The same Spirit - Although spiritual gifts given may differ from one person to another, it is God the Holy Spirit Who gives all of them. Unity does not come in the local church because all possess the same gift but because all the gifts are given by the one Holy Spirit of God.

In relation to God the Holy Spirit, the spiritual gifts are gifts He has given.

I Corinthians 12:5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.

There are different administrations, but the same Lord - 12:5

There are differences of administrations is diversities of administrations exist.

Administrations are ministries, services, or offices, e.g. apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers.

But the same Lord implies but there is only one Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is in charge of everything.

In relation to God the Son, the spiritual gifts are ministries or services.

I Corinthians 12:6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

There are different operations, but the same God.

There are diversities of operations is differences of operations exist.

Operations is effects, energizings, activities, or supernatueral workings.

But the same God means that there is only one God, God the Father.

Worketh all in all means works all (things) in all (persons or situations).

In relation to God the Father, the spiritual gifts are effects wrought (i.e. worked or produced) by His power.

I Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

But is now.

The manifestation of the Spirit = the spiritual gift. It refers to the way the Holy Spirit manifests Himself or makes Himself known. It refers to the spiritual gift the Holy Spirit gives.

Although the gifts differ from one believer to another, each gift is an evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit Who indwells the individual to whom this gift is given. Similarly, the movement of trees and grasses indicates the presence of the wind.

Is given to every man to profit withal = is being given to every man (i.e. to each one) to benefit the entire congregation.

Spiritual gifts may also be given to females although some, such as apostle and pastor-teachers, have been given exclusively to males.

The Greek text reads literally, Now to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit. It means that no believer is without at least one spiritual gift even though not all believers will receive one or more of the nine sign gifts mentioned in verses 8-10.

To profit withal implies for the profit, benefit, or advantage of the local church rather than for the profit, benefit, or advantage of the individual to whom the gift has been given.

The mention of God the Holy Spirit, God the Son, and God the Father take the Trinity for granted. Paul is not attempting to prove its existence. It is a fact that he talks about. The normal order for speaking of the Triune God is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The order in this passage is the Holy Spirit, the Son, and the Father. In other places in the New Testament the Son is mentioned first. This demonstrates the equality of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

III. A LISTING OF THE SPECIAL SPIRITUAL GIFTS - 12:8-10

I Corinthians 12:8-10 - 8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 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.

These are temporary sign gifts given in the infancy of the New Testament church until the Scriptures were completed. There are three groupings of these nine spiritual gifts. The three groups consist of the first two spiritual gifts, the next five spiritual gifts, and the last two spiritual gifts.

1. Group One - 12:8

To one suggests that the various spiritual gifts are given individually.

Is given is the same word used in verse 7 which means is being given. It is something which was still going on at the time Paul was writing I Corinthians. As more and more people were being saved, the gifts were continuing to be given.

By the Spirit is through the Spirit and pictures the Holy Spirit as the intermediate agent in giving these gifts. This means that God the Father is the direct agent in giving them. God the Father is responsible for the gifts being given and the Holy Spirit gives them.

The word (i.e. proclamation, instruction, teaching, or message) of wisdom may mean is wise or is characterized by wisdom; or it may suggest that what is proclaimed is wisdom. Both are true.

The word (i.e. proclamation, instruction, teaching, or message) of knowledge (or of understanding) is understood in the sense of a knowledgeable (or an understanding) word or in the sense of the content of the proclamation, instruction, teaching, or message as being knowledge or understanding.

2. Group Two

I Corinthians 12:8-10 a - 9 To another (of a different kind) faith by the same Spirit; to another (of the same kind) the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another (of the same kind) the working of miracles; to another (of the same kind) prophecy; to another (of the same kind) discerning of spirits. . . .

Faith (i.e. belief or trust) refers to a higher measure than saving faith - faith to move mountains.

I Corinthians 13:2 - And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

The gifts of healing, i.e. physical healing

The working of miracles

Prophecy (or prophesying) means that God revealed things directly to this person, who in turn, communicated these things to others as God's spokesman or mouthpiece.

Prophecy is often divided into foretelling and forthtelling, both of which require receiving divine revelation.

Foretelling has to do with revealing things which are yet future, and forthtelling has to do with truths that are not future. Although some attempt to equate forthtelling with preaching, they are not the same because the preacher of today is not receiving divine revelation directly from God and then communicating it to the people. Instead, a Bible preacher is receiving God's revelation indirectly through the Scriptures, which God has previously revealed to the Scriptural writers.

Discerning of Spirits - Both Paul and John warned that demons would sometimes give messages to people who would then pass them on to those who would listen. In I Timothy 4:1 Paul warned Timothy of seducing spirits and teachings which have their source in demons,

(1) Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.

John likewise wrote in I John 4:1 ,

(1) Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

The false prophets were the mouthpieces for the spirits or demons. If their messages did not harmonize with what God had revealed in the Scriptures or through the apostles, it would be clear that their messages were not from God. Thus, inasmuch as prophecy or prophesying was a gift of God and there would be prophecies given in the local churches by various people, the gift of discerning of spirits was given to establish that the prophecies were really from God and not from some demonic source. Discerning speaks of the ability to distinguish and evaluate and is understood in the sense of distinguishing or differentiation.

3. Group three

I Corinthians 12:10 b - 10b . . . To another (of a different kind) divers kinds of tongues; to another (of the same kind) the interpretation of tongues.

Divers kinds of tongues = Foreign languages

Divers is understood in the sense of various and, as indicated by the italics, has been supplied by the translators.

Kinds is classes.

Of tongues is of languages. Tongues speaks of a body of words and systems that makes up a distinctive language.

The gift of tongues was the ability to speak a foreign language without having previously studied it.

The interpretation (i.e. translation) of tongues is the ability to understand a foreign language without having previously studied it.

IV. SPIRITUAL GIFTS ARE DISTRIBUTED ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT'S WILL - 12:11

I Corinthians 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit

But is the same word often translated now, signaling a slight change in direction and should be understood in this sense here.

All these is all these things and refers to the spiritual gifts mentioned in verses 8-10.

Worketh is the same word used in verse 6 meaning brings things about through the use of capability, works, produces, or effects. Its tense indicates that this was always the case as long as the gifts were being given.

That one and the selfsame Spirit is the one and the same Spirit and refers to the Holy Spirit.

That one indicates that there is one and only one Holy Spirit.

The selfsame Spirit indicates that He is the same One Who gave the gifts to various individuals in verses 8-10. There were not several different Holy Spirits Who might have different ways of distributing spiritual gifts or Who might do things differently.

Dividing (i.e. by dividing, by distributing, or by apportioning) to every man severally (i.e. to each one his own or individually) as he will

The fact that the Holy Spirit has a will demonstrates that He is a person and not some impersonal force.

It is the Holy Spirit Who determines which gift each believer is to receive, and He gives this believer his own gift, i.e. the gift specifically intended for him to use in his service for the Lord.

It is also not necessarily limited to one gift. Some believers may have more than one gift.

The gift (or gifts) is/are not chosen by the individual but by the Holy Spirit and should be accepted by the individual as God's will for his life; accordingly, he should not be whining or complaining about what the Holy Spirit has given him or wishing he had a different one. He should be well satisfied with God's choice for him and use it for God's glory.

CONCLUSION:

Now, having introduced the subject of the special sign gifts, we will go on with more next time.