The true gauge of spirituality is the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, gentleness. Jesus spoke about true prophets and false prophets. You will know them, He said, by their fruit. Not you will know them by their power, or you will know them by their gifts.
You will know them by their fruit. God gifts us with important skills and talents, but we must be careful to not let it make us proud. Well, today on Connect with Skip Heiting, Skip brings the gifts of the Spirit into perspective, sharing how your life and gifts can be fueled by love. But before we begin, we want to let you know about a resource that will inspire you to build even more unity with others in the church. The most recent U.S. Census revealed that our population is much more diverse than ever before. In fact, over the past 10 years, our multiracial population increased 276 percent, which presents new challenges.
Here's Skip Heitzig. To say that this nation is divided would be a gross understatement, but I am not going to take sides politically. I am going to take sides morally and spiritually and biblically. I'm going to raise the conversation to a different level, to a higher level, to a biblical level, because the issue, as I see it, is not a skin issue as much as it's a sin issue. We want to help you understand this divisive issue from a divine perspective. When you give $20 or more today to this Bible teaching ministry, we'll send you Pastor Skip's booklet, The Church and Racism, plus his teaching featuring a conversation with Pastor Tony Clark.
Get these relevant resources today when you give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Now we're in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 as Skip Heitzig gets into today's message. You are the body of Christ and members individually, and God has appointed these in the church. First apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, gifts of healings, helps, administration, varieties of tongues. Interesting list, because first what Paul puts first is not what some of us might put first. We might say, first of all miracles and healing.
That's way down the list for Paul. It's the apostles, those church planters who go out, and then those teachers who bring maturity to the body of Christ. And then way below that, healings, administration, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles?
Now these are rhetorical questions. Are all apostles? Is everyone here an apostle? No. Are all prophets? No.
Are all teachers? No. Are all workers of miracles? Nope. Do all have gifts of healings? Nope. Do all speak with tongues? The context is in the congregation. Nope. Do all interpret?
Of course not. But earnestly desire the best gifts, and I will show you a more excellent way. So it's not about superiority, and it's not about inferiority. It's about variety, and it's about unity, and it's about equality. It's about finding our part and doing our part, being part of the church, the body of Christ. Now I love how it closes. He said, but earnestly desire the best gifts.
Which brings up a question. Okay, which gifts are the best gifts? My answer is, it all depends.
It all depends what work needs to be done. Certainly the best gifts you could have are the ones that God has ordained that you have. The best gift for you isn't the gift that I have. The best gift for me isn't the gift that you have. It's the gift or the gift mix and variety of expression and administration just for me, just for you.
So earnestly desire the best gifts. That's like saying, earnestly desire the best tool. If you were to say, Skip, which tool in your toolbox, in your garage, is the best tool?
I would say it depends what you want to do. Well, I need a saw. What's your best saw? Again, it depends what you want to cut. If you're trying to cut a pipe, I'm not going to give you my skill saw. I'm not going to give you a tree saw. I'm going to give you a hacksaw. But if you want to cut holes in wood, I wouldn't give you a hacksaw. I wouldn't give you a skill saw. I'd give you a jigsaw. It all depends on what work needs to be done.
What is the best tool? What is the best gift? Depends on what God needs to do. Then he gets the people with those gifts and applies that to that need, and it gets done.
That's how the body works. That's how the church is to work. Earnestly desire the best gifts, and yet I will show you a more excellent way. Now, right in the middle, as we've noted before, chapter 12 and chapter 14 is about the use of gifts in the church. And in this case, the abuse of gifts in the Corinthian church sandwiched in between these two chapters about gifts of the Spirit is chapter 13, which is about something more important than even gifts, and that is love or fruit. So in chapter 13, verse 1, though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but I have not love, I am become a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. One of the things you need to know to make sense out of this verse, and really this chapter, but especially this verse, is the kind of worship that was going on in the pagan temples in Corinth. In Corinth, in the whole Greco-Roman era, there was a kind of worship in the whole Greco-Roman world. The temples were filled with worshipers that would drink alcohol, come in and work themselves into a frenzy, sort of a semi-conscious state, and start speaking with ecstatic speech, kind of wild, crazy, ecstatic speech, whatever the mind came up with, because they believed that such speech in that semi-conscious state was the most effective way to communicate with the god or goddess that was being worshipped in that temple.
Some of that ideology and practice had spilled out into the Corinthian church. That's why chapters 12 and 14 are all about how to do it right and what not to do, what they've been doing wrong. So though I speak with the tongue of men and angels, so there are, we talked a little bit about the gift of tongues last time and what its purpose was, but if I could speak with both the tongues of men and of angels, but I have not love, then I have become a sounding brass or a clanging symbol. And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, though I have all faith, I've never met a person that had all of those things, but let's say you could and you did.
So that I could remove mountains but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. The pathway of love is far more important than the pathway of power. The gauge of true spirituality is never the gifts of the Spirit. The true gauge of spirituality is the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, gentleness.
Jesus spoke about true prophets and false prophets. You will know them, He said, by their fruit. Not you will know them by their power, or you will know them by their gifts.
You will know them by their fruit. So first on the list is love as being preeminent. Dwight L. Moody put it this way, a person can be a good doctor without loving his or her patients.
He or she can be a good lawyer without loving his or her clients. You can be a good geologist without loving rocks or science, but you cannot be a good Christian without love. Love is preeminent. By this shall all men know you're my disciples. By the love you have one for another. John in 1 John chapter 3, this is how we know we have passed from death into life because we love the brethren.
Very next chapter, God is love, and He circles through that a few times. So I can have all these gifts, but if I have not love, what good is it? It'd be like a Christmas tree. When you look at a Christmas tree, it looks beautiful. If it's decorated, it's got lights on, it's got tinsel on, it's got gifts under it. People love to look at a Christmas tree, but you know that Christmas tree, as beautiful as it might appear with its gifts and lights and tinsel, might be deader than a doornail. You go up to it and touch it and the little leaf crumble, fall off.
So they give it to you, it's spray-painted green, but it's dead. There's no life to it. Some Christians are like Christmas trees, glitter and tinsel and gifts, but no life. And you know there's life when there's fruit.
That's the real evidence. So you can have gifts that He mentions, that He enumerates, that we explained in chapter 12. But if you don't have love, that preeminent fruit of the Spirit, He said, you are nothing.
It's nothing. And then He describes it. Verse 4, love suffers long. Love is kind. Love does not envy. Love does not parade itself, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil.
We could spend a week on each of those little phrases. Love suffers long. Long-suffering.
Macro-thumia in Greek. It's somebody who has a long fuse. Somebody who puts up with stuff again and again and again and again. Somebody who just hangs in there and hangs in there and hangs in there and is very patient.
Long-suffering. You forgive a person once. They do it again. You forgive them again. They do it again. Now in America, we're so used to baseball, we think, okay, you've done it three times.
Three strikes, dude, you're out. Peter was sort of this way with Jesus. He said, how many times should I forgive my brother if he does the same thing? And then he was really generous.
He was far above our three. Seven times? Thinking that Jesus would go, Peter, that's so generous and magnanimous of you.
Jesus said, Peter, 70 times seven. Figuring, you put up with something after several times, you'll lose count. But that's love.
Love bears up. Love puts up. Love doesn't call it quits.
It suffers long. Is kind, winsome, warm, welcoming. Love doesn't envy. Love doesn't parade itself.
Is not puffed up. Doesn't make it all about me. Doesn't behave rudely. Doesn't seek its own.
Is not provoked. Does not rejoice in iniquity. Rejoices in the truth. Bears all things. Believes all things.
Hopes all things. Endures all things. Love never fails. This part of Paul's epistle is so rich and so sublime, it's almost like we should just let it soak in without much commentary.
It's just so good. But wouldn't you agree in what we just read in this description of love that this sounds exactly like the character of God? God is love.
1 John 4 8. God is love. This is a perfect description of God. In fact, this is a perfect description of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus suffers long and is kind.
Jesus does not envy. He doesn't parade himself. He's not puffed up. He doesn't behave rudely. He doesn't seek his own.
He's not provoked. He thinks no evil. He does not rejoice in iniquity.
But Jesus rejoices in truth. He bears all things. Believes all things. Hopes all things. Endures all things. Jesus never fails.
It's a perfect picture of Jesus. Now here's a little test for you. Insert your name. See how far you can get down the list without throwing up. I mean, it gets ridiculous after a while.
I'll try it. Skip suffers long and is kind. Skip does not envy. He does not parade himself. He's not puffed up. He doesn't behave rudely.
You haven't seen me drive. He doesn't seek his own. So often I do. He's not provoked. Too often I am.
He thinks no evil. I haven't had a day where that has happened. But and then you get down to verse 8.
Skip never fails. You're laughing, but put your name there. Doesn't work with us. You put Jesus' name there. Flows, man.
Perfectly. So now we know by doing that little taste test, that little comparison, how far we have to grow to be Christ-like and how much work he has yet to do on us. But verse 8, whether there are prophecies, yet to do on us. But verse 8, whether there are prophecies, they will fail. Whether there are tongues, they will cease. Whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part, we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. We spoke several weeks ago when we began our study in chapter 12.
We made note of this. We went ahead and looked at this and we explained that there are a group of Christians in the church, church generally, who are cessationists. They don't believe in the perpetuity of gifts. They don't believe the gifts of the Spirit are for today.
They believe they passed away with the early church. And they will often cite this verse and interpret this verse to mean that which is perfect means when the Scripture has finally been all written, then we don't need to rely on that little band-aid approach of spiritual gifts. Now that we have the Bible, the full revelation of God, that is a reference to that which is perfect.
And I mentioned that I totally disagree with that. Because in the Greek, it's just when the perfect has come or when perfection comes. Or as Ryrie translates it, who is a conservative Dallas grad scholar, when he who is perfect comes. It's not a reference to the coming of the full revelation of New Testament Scripture. It's a prediction of the coming, the second coming of Jesus Christ.
And how do I know this? Well, I know this for a couple of reasons. The prophecy in the book of Joel quoted by Peter in Acts chapter 2, this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel who said, in the last days I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. That's a gift of prophecy. And then he says the sun will go dark, the moon will turn to blood before that great and terrible day of the Lord. Those are tribulation signs and wonders.
That's the last days, the last of the last days. So it shows me that the gift of prophecy will be in operation all the way up until that time. Also, I know that it is not referring to the Scripture, but it's to Jesus coming because in verse 12 he says, we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. When are we going to see God face to face? Not when we have the Bible fully written, which is now. We don't see his face. We see his face when he comes, when we are in his presence.
When Jesus comes back, we see him face to face. So it can't refer to when we have the when we have the full revelation of New Testament writ, the Holy Scripture intact. Now we don't need to use the spiritual gifts. That was only for the infant church.
It is not a reference to that. It is a reference to the second coming of Christ. When he who is perfect, when that which is when the perfect comes, then that which is in part will be done away. We don't need any of the spiritual gifts in the presence of God. We don't need a word of wisdom or a word of knowledge or a gift of prophecy or teaching or anything else.
We're face to face. When I was a child, I spoke as a child. I understood as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things. When we grow, when we grow up, when we mature, our values change. When you grow older, when you grow more mature, what you thought was important at one time is no longer important. It was important at a certain age to look a certain way and to be cool and to write, but now you look at the old pictures of yourself and you're embarrassed. You go, I can't believe I wore that haircut.
That is so geeky. Yeah, but then it was cool, and it was important to you that it was cool and that you were perceived as cool. That's childish. Kids, children are all about themselves and selfishness and self-love, and as we mature, we start understanding true love, sacrificial love. It's one of the things that marks maturity from childhood.
Children are all about my bottle, my toys, my stuff, but when you grow, real love comes into play. You adjust to sacrifice for other people, to bless other people. So when I become mature, become a man, I put away childish things, and this is especially germane to the church at Corinth because they were all about exercising spiritual gifts to get noticed. So they would speak in an ecstatic utterance publicly in the church so that people would look at them or give a word, and it was confusion.
It was a melee of bedlam and confusion in the public assembly, and I believe Paul the apostle would agree with whoever came up with whoever came up with this great statement. It's not how high you jump. It's how straight you walk when you hit the ground, and some people are all about jumping high in worship, but they don't walk it.
They don't live it when they hit the ground, so it's not about how high you jump. It's about how straight you walk when you hit the ground, and part of maturity is to sacrifice and show real love in the body of Christ for others. That's the context of all this, the ability to truly love. For now we see in a mirror dimly and then face to face. Just you should know that Corinth was famous for its manufacture of mirrors. In antiquity mirrors were not what we have today. The amount of silver that we were able to put into glass to make the first modern mirror vastly different from polished metal in antiquity.
So it worked. You could see a reflection, but it was a dim reflection. It wasn't an accurate reflection. There were lots of flaws, so we are seeing the image of God reflected in the church dimly, and in the Corinthian case really dimly.
It wasn't a really strong, accurate, beautiful reflection. One day we'll see him up close, face to face, eye to eye. Now I know in part, but then I will know just as I am known. Now abide faith, hope, and love, these three, but the greatest of these is love.
Now in that verse that happens to be a nutshell version of the Christian life, of your life, the Christian life. Faith, hope, and love. It's what we call the irreducible minimum. It's boiling things down to its irreducible minimum.
You can't go any less than those three components. Faith, it's what began your Christian life. You entered a relationship with God by faith. Hope is what carries you on in your earthly journey toward heaven, but love is the only thing that is eternal. Once you get to heaven, you won't need to live by faith because you'll be in his presence.
You won't need to have hope because all your hopes will be realized in his presence, but love that begins now will be perfected in heaven. So there abides three, faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these, because it is eternal, because it reflects the nature and character of God who is love, the greatest of these is love. That's Skip Heitzig with a message from his series Expound First Corinthians. Now here's Skip to tell you about how you can keep encouraging messages like this coming your way as you help connect others to God's love. The world highly values self-satisfaction and instant gratification, but God calls us to a different way of life, one that focuses on loving and serving others. That's why we freely share these biblical messages to encourage and strengthen you to live the life God has called you to. But we need your help to keep these messages coming to you and others. Right now, you can give a gift to connect others to God's Word.
Here's how you can do that. Messages from the comfort of your home with your Roku device or Apple TV. Just search for the Skip Heitzig channel and watch thousands of powerful Bible teachings and live services. Find more information on the broadcast page at connectwithskip.com. Join us next Monday as Skip Heitzig shares how God can work mightily in and through you when you open yourself to the Holy Spirit's control. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-15 11:23:11 / 2023-01-15 11:32:12 / 9