The Gifts Part 74
The church at Corinth had started to practice what is still being practiced by some today, they had started focusing exclusively on one or two gifts of the Holy Spirit, wielding them absent the love required of every servant of God. It is only when love is present within a congregation that it can be united as one body, with one purpose, and one goal. When love is lacking or altogether absent, there is an overwhelming tendency to separate the body into two classes. The ruling class, those who would lord over the fellowship and in their own eyes can do no wrong, and the rest, who are responsible for keeping the ruling class living the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.
We see this in many churches today, regardless of denomination, wherein ‘the bishop, the elder, the prophet’, or whatever new titles they are claiming nowadays live lives Middle Eastern oil sheiks would be envious of, while their congregants, barely subsisting, are repeatedly warned that if they don’t continue to finance the mansions, and the jets and the ridiculously overpriced cars, God will punish them and remove His favor. Although shameless greed might be the symptom in such men, the underlying cause is absence of love for the brethren. If I truly love someone, I will not attempt to fleece them, I will not attempt to increase my net worth or the number of cars I own at their expense. If I truly love someone, I will sacrifice of myself, lay aside my own needs in order to see theirs met, and live my life in such a way wherein the world will know that we not only speak of the kingdom to come, but believe with all our hearts that it is on its way. It’s strange how some men preach on heaven, yet by their actions and conduct one concludes that they have no desire to go there any time soon.
Let’s face it, God never promised us vacation homes, second and third residences, or ski lodges when we get to heaven, He promised us one home with Him, so most evangelists and famous preachers would actually have to downsize drastically. Maybe that’s why so many are intent on focusing on this spinning rock with such laser like focus, maybe that’s why they’re preaching on the material world rather than the Kingdom so passionately. They’ve built their kingdoms here on earth, they’ve amassed and hoarded all that they could and now they are hesitant to leave it all behind.
Do I believe in giving to ministry and to the work of God? Yes, of course I do! It is love that compels us to give, it is love that compels us to reach out to the hungry and the hurting and hopeless, but don’t confuse helping an individual acquire a new private jet with the true and undefiled worship of caring for the widow and the orphan.
Since the word of God tells us that He is love, we are more readily able to perceive Paul’s meaning when he says that love never fails. All things pass away, all things fail but love cannot for God is love and He is eternal.
1 Corinthians 13:9, “For we know in part and we prophesy in part.”
We know in part; a simple yet profound truth. Because we know in part we prophesy in part, and no matter how hard we try, no matter how exalted an opinion we might have of ourselves, while we are still in these bodies of flesh we will forever be limited in our understanding. Man in general would be a humbler creature if he would keep the knowledge that he is limited, or that he knows only in part, close to his heart.
Whenever we get the urge to glory in our knowledge, whenever we get the urge to glory in our understanding, may we remember that our knowledge and understanding, no matter how vast they might be, are still in part when compared with the knowledge and understanding of God.
The fact that we know in part does not mean that what we know is wrong or misleading, because that which we have been given to know was given by the Holy Spirit of God, and the Holy Spirit of God would never lead us astray, or direct us down a wrong path. God does not lead us to deception, for He has revealed the Christ to us, who is the way, the truth and the life. It is also God who promised us that when we see Him face to face, we will see Him as He is, for we will be like Him.
Although we know in part and prophesy in part, we have complete assurance in the truth of God’s holy word, we have complete assurance in the Lord Jesus Christ, and we have complete assurance in the work of the Holy Spirit. The mind might attempt to lead us astray, as might the heart, the enemy of our souls even more so, but the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit will never lead us astray.
It is when we discount the words and teachings of Christ, and it is when we discount the urging of the Holy Spirit, giving heed to our own flesh and to our own hearts instead, that we are led astray and caused to wander in the spiritual desert. With partial knowledge we attempt to reason out the whole, with partial prophecy we attempt to ascertain and conclude that which was not given us to know. It is a dangerous thing to desire to know more than was given us to know, and in our frustration attempt to draw conclusions that God has not drawn. Some things will remain a mystery until we see Him face to face, and we must make our peace with this truth.
Trust Jesus completely, for He desires your sanctification, He desires your transformation and all that He does has this end in mind.
Though we may know only in part, by faith we have all of Jesus in us, and as such we have life. We live because He lives, for He is our life, and in Him we move and have our being.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
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