He, the Holy Spirit, is unavoidable in Holy Scripture.
He certainly should be unavoidable to us. We should be open, should we not, to anything God wants to give us. We should never be afraid. Some people are afraid if they yield to the Spirit they're going to get goofy. Some people actually are goofy and it's not the Holy Spirit's fault. They could use a good dose of the Holy Spirit just to correct that weirdness. So I would say don't be afraid of anything God wants to give you, but the fear for some is that they're going to lose control. Many of us have issues with control.
It's hard to surrender everything to God and trust him. But today on Connect with Skip Heiting, Skip shares how God can work mightily in and through you when you open yourself to the Holy Spirit's control. Before we begin, we want to let you know about a resource that will help you come alongside the hurting in our society even more. The United States fought the devastating civil war to overcome a deeply dividing issue. As followers of Jesus and people who represent his love, we can help one another deal with this topic today.
Here's Skip Heiting and Tony Clark. Speak to white evangelical pastors about how in churches we can create spaces for black and brown voices to be heard in a loving atmosphere, in a concerned atmosphere. This is the church's finest moment because racism is a sin.
It's a sin in the heart. So now it's our job to begin to guide them and to have a biblical mindset and also having sympathy and empathy for those who are trying to live out this Christianity and their skin may be a little bit darker than yours. Cultivate the empathy that comes from gaining a biblical perspective on racism. Get your copy of this conversation between pastors Skip and Tony when you give $20 or more today. We'll also send you Pastor Skip's booklet, The Church and Racism.
Call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. Okay, let's dive into today's teaching. We'll be in 1 Corinthians chapter 14 as Skip Heiting begins the study. I mentioned chapter 12.
I was wrong. Of course, we're in chapter 14, but chapter 12 does begin the section that Paul is writing about concerning these things. He begins chapter 12 in the Greek language by writing, Peridei teis pneumaticus, which is literally concerning or about the spirituals. About those spirituals.
I want to tell you about the spirituals pneumaticus, teis pneumaticus. It's gifts is not in the original language. It's in italics even in your English Bible in chapter 12 verse 1. It's implied because the material following is he talks about the variety that's in the church, the body of Christ, and he illustrates it by saying there's different kinds of gifts. He mentions those gifts.
Then he makes a plea for unity. We exercise those gifts for the purpose as God called us together to bring unity to the body of Christ. Goes on in that chapter to talk about how every single part of the body, the human body and the body of Christ, is vital, is important. Not one is more important than another.
Not one should be put on a pedestal more than another. Then Paul takes a break from spiritual gifts. It seems, though it's all part of the same context, right in the middle between chapter 14 and chapter 12 is chapter 13, which is all about love. He talks about a more excellent way, the fruit of the Spirit, especially the fruit of love and preferring one another.
Though you speak with tongues of men and of angels, but you have not love, you're zip, you're zero, you're zilch, you're nada, you're nothing. And he talks about the manifestation of love. Chapter 14, verse 1, he swings right back with more depth back into the spiritual gifts and their use within the assembly. In particular, Paul is addressing not all of the gifts that he mentioned in chapter 12, but only two of them. By and large, he is focusing in on the gift of tongues and its interpretation and the gift of prophecy. Why a whole chapter and a rather long chapter on those two gifts when he just goes through a list of other gifts in chapter 12? I can only surmise that that was one of the problems with Corinth. They were struggling with this.
They were probably indulging in some of these gifts to the abuse of them. And so Paul, in order to bring a polemic, a corrective, he adds supplemental material and he talks or hashes through how tongues with its interpretation in the public arena and the gift of prophecy, how they are related, how they are different, why one is more preferable than the other. I remember reading years ago something by A.W. Tozer who said, the idea of the Holy Spirit to the average church member is so vague as to be non-existent. And I suppose in some sense he is correct. People talk about the Lord. We talk about Jesus. We even talk about the Holy Spirit. But when it comes to how he operates in our lives in the present circumstance, a lot of believers are vague. We've already talked about how there are two extremes when it comes to the use of the gifts of the Spirit in chapter 12. We said on one end of the spectrum you have the cessationists who believe that the gifts have ceased. They were miraculous manifestations used only by the early church until the Scripture was completed, the New Testament was completed.
Now that it is, we don't need those things. And they often cite that little verse in chapter 13 we've now uncovered about two or three weeks in a row. We know in part, we prophesy in part, but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part will be done away with.
And we told you that that probably is a reference to the second coming of Christ, not the full revelation of Scripture. When Jesus comes back, the perfect one comes back, then there is no need, because you're in glory, you're in his presence. You won't need any of these helps, any of these gifts. You won't need the gift of discernment. There won't be false prophecy. You won't need the gift of tongues to speak to God.
You'll see him face to face. You won't need a special word of encouragement or exhortation. I mean, come on, you're in heaven.
So it's not like you're going to get the blues and you'll need edification. So that's one end of the spectrum. It's ceased. I don't believe they've ceased. I believe Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
And I believe the Holy Spirit is the same yesterday, today, and forever. On the other end of the spectrum, as we've already noted, there are the sensationalists. Not the cessationists, but the sensationalists. They feel they've been robbed if they go to church and it doesn't get weird. If people don't jump and dance and have a tongue and an interpretation and something that's out of the ordinary and it just has to be off the charts, off base just a little bit.
Oh, I love it. You know, they revel in it. And many times, it's an imbalance.
So I am neither a cessationist and I certainly don't want to be a sensationalist. This I know. About 90 times in the Old Testament, the Spirit or God's Spirit is mentioned or inferred. In the New Testament, 260 times. He, the Holy Spirit, is unavoidable in Holy Scripture.
He certainly should be unavoidable to us. We should be open, should we not, to anything God wants to give us. We should never be afraid. Some people are afraid if they yield to the Spirit, they're going to get goofy. Some people actually are goofy and it's not the Holy Spirit's fault. They could use a good dose of the Holy Spirit just to correct that weirdness. So I would say don't be afraid of anything God wants to give you, but the fear for some is that they're going to lose control. And I do not believe that when you are filled with the Spirit and exercising any gift that you are out of control.
I don't believe the Holy Spirit grabs your jaw and you just start babbling uncontrollably or you're going to say, I never wanted to say this, but here goes. It's not like that at all. It's very, very discriminate. It is to be judged.
It is to be monitored. And it is in the control of the speaker, as we have noted and Paul underscores in this section. I don't ever think you have to be afraid of anything God wants to do for you, in you, through you, to the body of Christ.
So being open is a good thing. Just to sum up a couple of thoughts, because we're going to close chapter 14, that closes this section, that to sum up the work of the Spirit of God in your life, the Holy Spirit comes after us to save us. Then the Holy Spirit comes inside of us to sanctify us. Then the Holy Spirit comes upon us to supercharge us. So He comes after us to save us. The Holy Spirit, Jesus said, will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment of sin, because they do not believe in Me. It is the Spirit's job to convince you, you're a sinner. You need help.
You're not all that you could be. You need to turn your life over to Christ. He is the one. The Spirit of God drives you to the solution for your human solution, your fallenness, and that is Christ. Christ alone, faith in Him alone, the cross. Holy Spirit does that. He comes after us to save us. Once you stop fighting the Spirit and you ask Jesus to be your Savior, then, second, the Holy Spirit comes in you. Jesus said the Holy Spirit will be in the Greek preposition en.
He is with you, para. He is in you, en, and then when He comes in you, He fills you, He baptizes you, as we saw this last weekend, into the body of Christ. By one Spirit you are baptized into one body, chapter 12. But then the Holy Spirit comes upon you, E-P-I, epi, to supercharge you. Jesus said that whoever believes in Him, that out of His innermost being, out of His heart, will flow rivers of living water.
This He spoke of the Holy Spirit, which was not yet given. I love when the Holy Spirit comes on a person so much that not only is he or she satisfied and sanctified, but they overflow so that others get the blessing. They get the splashback of the overflow.
They get wet. You bump into them, you get wet with the Spirit because the Spirit of God, like rivers of living water, is flowing from you. So how do we get that? Well, ask. It's that simple. Well, do I have to work myself into a certain state and go back and forth like I see the Jews do at the Wailing Wall, kind of back and forth like this, and you're going to get in the zone, get in the mood, or with the worship music in the background? No, you just say, Lord, fill me with your Spirit, afresh. Jesus said, if you being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask?
It's that simple. You ask. Ask in faith. Nothing wavering, James says, and you'll receive it. Now, we did see at the end of chapter 12, I know I keep going back to chapter 12 and I should be in chapter 14.
I plan to get there. End of chapter 12, Paul says, earnestly desire the best gifts. Now, he's going to only focus on two tonight, as I mentioned, but he said, earnestly desire the best gifts. And we left off, I think, with that last time, what is the best gift? Well, that's like saying, what's the best pair of shoes?
My answer, depends what you want to do. If you want to really look stylish, there's lots of stylish shoes you can wear, but you don't want to take that stylish pair of shoes you're wearing, gentlemen, or those high heels women, and do the La Luz Trail. That would not be the best shoe for that work. So the best gift of the Spirit, like the best pair of shoes, it depends on what is needed. If somebody needs God's comfort, the gift of prophecy. If somebody needs God's wisdom, the word of wisdom. If you need to communicate with God uninterruptedly in a way that supersedes your command of language, you're feeling something deeply and you're worshiping and prayer experience to the Lord, the gift of tongues would be the best gift. So earnestly desire the best gift. So the best gift, number one, is the gift God has for you, and number two, depends on what the situation is. That's why living life under the movement and the supervision of the Holy Spirit is so fun, because you encounter situations every day that demand different things at different times for different people, and isn't it great to just say, Lord, make me a vessel so that I can be a blessing to others.
I can overflow into others lives with a variety of different gifts. So we ask. That takes us to chapter 14, verse 1, pursue love. Speaking to what he just finished in chapter 13, pursue love. Run after it. Chase it down.
Go for it. Be a loving person and desire spiritual gifts. It's not either or, it's both and. It's not like, well, is it going to be the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, or is it going to be the gifts of the Spirit, which is all that power stuff.
How about both? How about go after love and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you might prophesy. Now you remember how Peter stood up on the day of Pentecost when what happened in the upper room spilled out into the temple courts, and as the detractors were saying, what is this? Peter, being logical, said this is that, which was spoken of by the prophet Joel, who said, in the last day, says the Lord, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy. In the early church, there were even designated prophets.
We've told you about Agabus. He was called a prophet. In chapter 11, the church was in Antioch. Agabus, a prophet, was in that meeting, in that church. And Agabus, it says, through the Holy Spirit, prophesied that there would be a famine in the land, in the world, which happened, and the times are given of when that famine happened. And because he prophesied there's going to be a famine, that was enough for Paul the Apostle to say, I better take up a collection from the Gentile congregations for the poor people in Jerusalem who have lost their temple-related jobs because of the persecution of the Sadducees against the church. That's the work of prophecy. He was foretelling the future. Another time he was foretelling the future was in Acts chapter 21, when Paul the Apostle is coming back from his journey on the way to Jerusalem, stops in Caesarea. A few of us will be there in a few days in Caesarea by the sea. And Agabus was in Caesarea.
The guy gets around. And Agabus took Paul's belt and wrapped himself in it and says, whoever owns this belt is going to be bound like this in Jerusalem. Well, it was Paul's belt. Everybody knew it. Paul knew it. They saw Agabus make this prophetic declaration.
And so they begged him. They said, Paul, please, don't go to Jerusalem. The prophet has spoken.
He just prophesied. He said, don't go. You're going to be arrested and bound.
And Paul said, what do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? I'm ready not only to be bound, but to die for Jesus. You're not going to stop me. I'm going for it.
I love that kind of tenacity. I'm like, oh, there's a report of trouble in Jerusalem. I won't go. When I first told my mother in 1978 that I was going to move to Israel, I was going to move to Israel. She begged me that I wouldn't go.
It's so foolish. There's violence over there. And I started thinking about it. Now, that's 1978. There's always been something going on over in the Middle East, right?
But then I got to thinking beyond 1978, way back, there's always been something going on over there, all the way back to the very beginning. So I said, yeah, there probably is, but just pray for me, and I'm good. And I want to see what the Lord has for me. So Paul, a prophet told him, you're going to get into trouble if you go.
He goes, I'm going. And if it means death, I'm going for it. But that was the act of a prophet in the church. However, we told you, and Paul will explain now, prophecy in the New Testament is far more than just foretelling the future. Oftentimes, like the prophets of the Old Testament, it is just forthtelling truth. You're just speaking forth something from the Lord, like the prophets would speak to Judah, the word of the Lord, that wasn't necessarily about their future all the time. It was just, this is the will of God. This is what God wants for you.
It was a special declaration for a special time. So pursue love, desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. Now, he's going to tell you why prophecy is more preferable than tongues. For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God.
For no one understands him. However, in the Spirit, he speaks mysteries. In the second chapter of the book of Acts on the day of Pentecost, when they were speaking in that initial manifestation of tongues in Jerusalem, which is a bit different than the manifestation of the Corinthian tongue, still the the essence of it was the same. They in Jerusalem said, how is it that we hear, each in our own native language, them declaring the wonderful works of God? They were worshiping God. They were praising God. In the 10th chapter of the book of Acts, when the Holy Spirit came upon the Gentiles in Antioch, it says that the Holy Spirit came upon them and they magnified the Lord.
Again, it's worship. So what Paul is going to do in this chapter is show us the difference between the gift of prophecy, which is preferable, and the gift of tongues, which is acceptable and desirable, but in the church not preferable. In the church, intelligent language is preferable.
Non-intelligent language or language you don't understand is not preferable. So he's going to show us the difference. First of all, the difference in direction. Tongues is directed upward to God. Prophecy is not. Prophecy is directed downward to the church, to man, from God. Prophecy is God speaking to man. Tongues is man speaking to God.
So there's a difference in direction. Also there's a difference in intelligibility. When you speak in a tongue, you don't know what you're saying unless you have a corresponding gift of interpretation or somebody else has that gift and tells you what you just said. When you speak in a word of prophecy in your language, you understand it.
You get it. Also there's a difference in edification. When you speak in a tongue, you don't edify anybody you don't edify anybody else around you.
It doesn't help anybody around you. You only edify yourself. When you speak prophecy, you edify everybody else who's listening to it. They understand it. They get it.
It's beautiful. So he who speaks in a tongue hears the direction, does not speak to men, but to God. That wraps up Skip Heitzig's message from the series Expound First Corinthians. Now here's Skip to tell you about how you can keep encouraging messages like this one coming your way as you help connect others to the good news of Jesus. God gave us the Holy Spirit to help us live out our faith. And we want to help you live a Spirit-empowered life.
That's why it's our priority to share these biblical teachings with friends like you. And you can join us in helping connect even more people to God's Word through your gift today. Here's how you can do that. You can give online at connectwithskip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Or call 800-922-1888.
800-922-1888. Thank you. Tomorrow, Skip Heitzig shares about the purpose of prophetic gifts and how you can know if they're being used properly. Whoever prophesies is going to say something, a word from the Lord, a message from the Lord that will build up, stir up, or cheer up. And it's from God to men. He who speaks in a tongue, here it is, edifies himself. But he who prophesies edifies the church. It's self-explanatory. It's axiomatic. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications. Connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever-changing times.
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