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Spiritual Gifts

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
August 3, 2021 8:00 am

Spiritual Gifts

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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August 3, 2021 8:00 am

A church struggles to come to terms with what it means to serve the Lord. But it's not easy. All around are greedy and debauched people. Inevitably some of sinfulness has begun to infiltrate the church. Sound familiar? This scenario is not just our own; the early church of Corinth faced many of the same problems! Dr. Boice's study 1 Corinthians reveals a striking similarity between own battles and the struggles the early church.

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Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet Ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce for more information please contact us by calling toll-free one 804 88 18 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically when we come to the 12 chapter 1st Corinthians, where beginning a section of this book that most people know about because chapters 1213 and 14 deal with this matter of tongues, tongue speaking and in many people's minds. This is the chief question and the book of first Corinthians are a lot of people don't like dogs and that is true. I think in my own confession. A lot of the reformed churches are against it there sometimes in some circles more against it than sin.

They may have a point, what they're concerned about is that if a person claims to be able to speak under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit what they say should carry full authority being the authority of God because the Holy Spirit is God and this would undermine Scripture. Scripture wouldn't be the final authority in the church and instead the authority would be what a particular individual who claims to be speaking by the Holy Spirit might say or do.

And that's a legitimate concern, but I must say I don't share that particular outlook.

I think that restricts God unnecessarily puts God in a box in God. If we know anything about it. We should know is not so restricted and will not be least of all BIOS, and moreover, as I read these chapters I find something quite different. Actually, Paul gives a number of principles for dealing with the practice of time speaking in the church, which are mental regulated but not eliminated this perfectly obvious as it you give statements that are deregulated, you're not banning it a sale think that means that everything that goes by the name of Tom speaking is actually the Holy Spirit. I'm extremely critical of much of what I hear. I think rightly. But it does mean that we mustn't be categorical in the way we handle this. Look at these chapters, especially chapters 12 and 14 you find that the first thing Paul says is that there are counterfeits things that appear to be by the spirit at least the same miraculous type of things but they're not by the spirit of God or by the devil, and he refers to the pagan background of these Christians at Corinth is proof they know things like that in their pagan cultures of the very fact those things are going on in the church is not in itself proof the Holy Spirit is active second thingy says there are many gifts from speaking is just one of them always says don't get the thing out of proportion. First thing he says is that if Tom's really is a gift of the Holy Spirit and he believes it is like the other gifts given for the same reason.

The other gifts are given.

That is for the edification. The growth in the building up of the church. That's way it must function if it functions to build up. That's of the Lord, and if it functions in a divisive way. The tears now that is not of the Lord. So he puts forth that principle he listed gifts because at the very end of this 12 chapter and every time he does that with her that she or elsewhere where he mentioned Tom's though he doesn't say so explicitly always puts tongues of the end of the list just a subtle way of saying what he does say is against the very end of the chapter desire the better gifts. If you're going to get a bee in your bonnet about anything, don't get it in your bonnet about tongues but gives you tons, that's fine.

That's a gift use it. But if your concern for anything. Let your concern be for love. That's what is going to talk about in chapter 13. We also talked in chapter 14 about the dangers that are sometimes present disorder in the church is one lack of intellectual content is another that sometimes happen gets to the very end. What we would call in our contemporary business terminology. The bottom line, he says do not forbid speaking in tongues. So in a nutshell, that's how he handles that in this chapter, I want to say. As we look at chapter 12 is that if we approach these chapters of first Corinthians, and particularly chapter 12. The idea in mind what Paul is dealing with here is chiefly or perhaps exclusively, the matter of speaking in tongues going to do is miss something which really should apply to every one of us because it may be that one here, one there. Perhaps many in another situation, are given this This gift of tongues. But that's a minority.

I would think the minority by the very fact of the multiplicity of the gifts. What we fail to say is what Paul actually is dealing with in these chapters are gifts and, therefore, that includes not just those who speak in tongues, but rather loses all that's where I want to look at it first things Paul deals with here when he's talking about gifts is the fact that there is a multiplicity of gifts, a diversity of gifts in the church and let that correspond most profound way to reality itself and to the nature of God, which is the basis of all reality it's not difficult illustrate that all we have to do is look about at the world in which we live for the universe in which our world is located. If there is anything you learn in scientific disciplines. It is how intricately diverse universe is I was back in high school and college studying chemistry and we began to study the elements the way they were put together.

We thought we'd understood all about the element I made it all had to do with how many neutrons how many protons and how many electrons the thing that and if you could mop balance amount. I do anything that's just the way you distinguish between gold uranium and copper anything else it might be and yet, as we well know as this particular discipline has unfolded.

Even within my own relatively short lifetime.

The intricacy of the atom is become so complex that nobody today is willing to say that we know all of the particles that are to be found as the basic building blocks of matter things happen in such minute quantities of time that you can even see what's happening.

We can only figure it out from the effects.

And you have to build magnificent huge expensive machines, even to get that to happen.

Diversity my goodness there is more diversity in a grain of salt.

You and I are ever going to understand and yet it all holds together people who explore this sort of thing say it is interesting incident that the same kind of forces the same kind of laws that govern the movement of these minute particles within identical with the forces and the laws that control the moving of the planets throughout all the vast universe. As a matter fact in the textbooks when they try to explain what an atom is like a quite often comparatively solar system, the sun, and the distances which are comparable in relative terms is a great diversity and yet a magnificent unity was.

I say that's because that's what God is like we see in reality reflects the character of God, which is the basis of all reality.

If you and I were sitting out to talk about what God is like. We produce something apart from the revelation of God was like the Greeks. Either we would see God entirely in human terms, and we begin to write about the kind of Greek gods and goddesses that were the popular religion of the time or we would like the philosophers reason to some perfect unitary distance in mobile ideal and say well that's what God is like yet is God speaks to us in the pages Lord to reveal what is likely revealed certainly as the Scriptures attest from beginning and the God is one, is one God.

Christians affirm that together with the Jew and yet the same time God is three is the father is the son is Holy Spirit. Somebody says explain that we can explain that that's the nature of God, but it corresponds to what we observe in life, unity and diversity.

At the same time.

That's a basis for what Paul is going to say about spiritual gifts.

You see, one of the problems we have the spiritual gifts is that when we have a spiritual gift, we naturally think that our spiritual gift is where it's at and get famous writing a book about your spiritual gift preachers do it all the time I get something going in their church that flows from their ministry something. The goddess taught them to write a book about it.

They say every church to be like this. And then all across America and sometimes across the world are frustrated congregations and frustrated preachers. Sometimes preachers with the congregations more often congregations with the preachers and they say will maybe that's the answer and so they try to use that for a while and it doesn't work real well doesn't fit and there's another preacher that's writing a book about his spiritual gift and how is church functions and they say will maybe that's the what Paul is saying Paul is saying he gives different gifts to different people in the essence of the thing is that somehow in the providence of God, those barriers gifts work together to produce a healthy whole which is the church of Jesus Christ. You can divide that up with all sorts of ways you can divide that up in some little group Sunday school class. For example, the Bible study you can say people here are functioning at different ways as we study the text somebody has a special gift for logical analysis they really can exegete that text and somebody else as a gift for application as they read it. They say yes and that is what we ought to do in this particular situation and somebody else has a gift for compassion and help when they can say yes is what we ought to do, but we don't do it. Somebody is hurting because they know they don't and you see all of that within a small little group. That's one thing that makes small group dynamics of good because God brings to different gifts together and within that you get a wholeness that you just don't get if you're off there trying to do it separately see the same thing within a church church such as this church like this wouldn't function if it weren't for a wide variety of gifts.

That's why the church must function as the church why everyone was function because of you that a situation in which one or two people, or worse yet, just the minister is all and you have an unhealthy church have a one-sided church. Every church that isn't going to thrive. Sometimes that's a minister's body says I sometimes is the people small. They say the minister you know it. Why should we do it both cases are wrong where God is working effectively in the church, you have the kind of thing that I believe we see here that denominations people denominations have different gifts, different churches have unique ministries and they need to be balanced off against others, and I sent you needed between countries because of things happening in the church of Africa that we need to learn about things happening in the church in South America, Central America. We need to learn about and vice versa say that's all Paul is saying when he talks about these different gifts he saying all there are many many gifts and they are all necessary gifts are there but I don't know Paul has two lists here in chapter 12 is one list in verses seven through 11, 711, the Scripture and you can remember their nine gifts and then at the end. Verses 27 through 30.

There are nine gifts but guess what, they're not the same nine some of them are the same about all of them are saintly variances where saying is get three other passages in Scripture, but also list gifts in a formal way. Ephesians 411 Sunburst dimensions five or six Romans 12 628 and first Peter 411. As I put those all together and I put them into a chart once in their one of the books I published in a varsity printed. I found 19 gifts altogether, but not one of the list is identical with the other list. Sometimes the gifts are inverted sometimes you since the different languages being used to describe the same thing just a way of saying there are many many gifts. So if you're concerned about your gift thinking about it place to start is with these lists say why have the gift of wisdom gift of knowledge gift of healing, whatever it may be, but find your gift there. It's all right but only God is limited 19 even the biblical symbolism I don't know anything significant about the number 19 is pray as God what your gift is an as he shows it recognize we need it we needed in the church we needed in this church in particular. Now, in the next part of this blog is a great illustration of this unity with diversity and his illustration is the illustration of the body and its many parts.

I was already said that. It's as if he already preached a sermon and I was going to give the illustration and give the illustration a great length my Bible where this falls in the paragraphs or two paragraphs, and perhaps a shorter one if it begins with verse 12 lease three good paragraphs before he gets on the name gifts again. He really develops us length.

The reason I think is this point in the context of this illustration. He introduces an idea which wasn't quite so obvious in the first part of the chapter 1st part of the chapter. He talked about there being many gifts and yet one spirit and as we think about that. We recognize that the Holy Spirit is the giver of the gifts away. Thank him for it, and so forth.

The gifts are counted down here on this level and God is on that level. When he talks about Bonnie having many parts he's talking on this level because with the parts but we remember that in Pauline theology did you find it very strongly in the book of Ephesians the Bonnie. He says that here as well is not simply the church as if it were our body collectively considered, but the body of Jesus Christ and that imagery, the head of the body is Christ.

So by the images he gets away from what we may of thought in the first part of the chapter as being a bifurcation God appear us down here working with our gifts, but links altogether, which is a marvelous way of saying the kind of thing he saying all along varsity and a magnificent unity that includes not just the great diversity of the church of Jesus Christ. But the whole spiritual thing wrapped up together. I think he would say you know if you're worried about what you want to be doing in the church with your uncertain about whether you have any role or if when you exercise your wall what you do is worth anything or makes a difference. He says just think what it is you belong to belong to. Just a little organization belong to just a little Bible study or just a little local church or even just a little denomination, or even just a big denomination. You belong to the body of Christ is Christ body. Therefore, how you function in a certain sense affects the body of Christ. Christ himself as he operates on earth through his people. I don't think I need to spell out the obvious points that the illustration makes the first one quite obvious is that all of these parts have different functions.

The ICs, but it doesn't walk the foot walks but it doesn't handle the hand handles. But it doesn't think all the parts of the body of different functions, and so do we.

And that's not a failure. That's not to say all this, all I can do is know and I can't do that. I wish I could do that failure that's why God made is what God wants and wants us to recognize that that's the first point.

Secondly, and equally obvious necessary while saying you say what kind of the body would be if you didn't have feet. Sometimes that happens, people lose limbs because of an accident or a disease that is a sad thing the person is handicap. When that's the case, one of the body to do now minds in the body to do and then hang those parts are necessary. Paul says so don't say well I only have this gift to gift maybe doesn't really matter matters why because God gave it to you but you within the church of Jesus Christ by the new birth and therefore the function without gift within the body to the health of the body, which is the body of Christ works and then 1/3 point, equally obvious, isn't Paul says it here in clear words is often the case that the least attractive part is most necessary know what's the most attractive part well it depends whether you're a woman looking at a man or a man looking at a woman generally we say the face, but you know you can have a terribly disfigured face and you can function very very well you do anything that anybody else can do except, perhaps, be in the movies but take away something that is very unattractive and see what happens on me tell you about the most unattractive body part I ever saw. I explained first that it is in the human body part. My wife and I were in France years ago and it was one of our first visits been there few days we had been there very long. We were in Paris we wanted to eat dinner and so we found a little restaurant someplace. We went in the restaurant order dinner and the menu was presented.

There were number things on the menu and go. I studied French by new French and here in the menu was something I went by the name of Sir Bell's Danielle I know what Daniel was slam and I thought hey that's great lamb French cook lamb very well. I said to my wife Linda let's have lamb she said all right, so the waiter came and we said will have some Danielle and he said you want some so well and we said yeah that's it right there and he said all right he went away and he came back with these things each of our plates had two of the they were about the size of half a tennis ball and they were gray, they look like slightly dirty milk and they were convoluted and they were sitting side-by-side and my wife and I deep down in the pit of my stomach knew what they were, but we were going to say we looked at those things and we took a deep breath. We started to eat them and each bite was better than the next, and after about. After about three bites. We decided that we were eating on the side of very delicious salad and we left things you know that was such an unpleasant experience that we didn't name what those things were until years afterward and in a private conversation years afterward.

We said you know I don't think we're ever going to order brains again far as I know I'm speaking personally in my opinion the least attractive part of the whole body is the brain try taking the brain out and see what's left is a Paul is saying, no matter how unattractive you think your gift may be how insignificant no matter how unattractive you might think you are or how insignificant you may feel yourself to be your necessary for the body of Christ, we lose you. Your gift doesn't function the church of Jesus Christ is poorer for that loss I make three applications number one be content with what you've been given. Not content. What are you telling God.

You're telling God that you know better than God. Whatever is given your you be content with that because God gave it to Nino's best number two don't exalt one of God's servants over another saying were guilty of in the church of Jesus Christ is that preachers of course get a lot. At least if there any good at their job.

People say all my how he speaks. I've heard people well I been standing around with other preachers and somebody has said to them, all you had so much to say.

There was so much wisdom in that and they say to me. I just love your voice. Well, that's humbling. Don't exalt one gift over another. Don't exalt one Christian over another is what we been given. If God gives us talents that put us in a place where people see it, it's all from God and of God gives us talents that put us in a job where nobody sees us back to us from God is God's doing. That means doing it wisely.

So it's not exalt one Christian over another is not say all that wonderful leader all listen to that wonderful speaker all look at that person who is so good at doing that generally thing we wish we could do but in doing that we fail to exercise our own gift. Let's not do that in the final thing the most obvious of all is be conscientious. Use your gift will be like a manner where the talent buried it and who in his Lord came back and ask him what he had done with the talent of the left and with that old Lord, I knew you were a hard man, gathering where you didn't solve. And so I took your talent tonight buried in the ground and here it is.

You can have it back again Lord said about that servant that he was wicked and slothful wicked because he ascribed evil to his master, which is master did not have an slothful because his problem wasn't a misunderstanding of what his master wanted, but the fact that he was too lazy to use what God had given let's not be slothful.

It's not be wicked but use what God has given.

Look forward to that day when we will stand before the throne of Jesus Christ and by his grace. Hopefully hear them say well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord's prayer father bless this passage to our hearts blessed to our lives to what we do, day by day grant. We pray that these rates sayings. These writings please crew from the hand of the apostle Paul by your spirit so fasten themselves upon our hearts and minds that we might be different from this hour for an account ourselves worthy servant of Christ for his you're listening to Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Reich, God's living word with pastor, the Rev. Richard Phillips and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution. Please call toll-free 1-800-488-1888. Again, that's 1-800-488-1888. You can also write the alliance at Box 2000, Philadelphia PA 19103 or you can visit us for Canadian gifts mail those 2237 Rouge Hills Dr., Scarborough, ON M1C 2Y9 ask for your free resource catalog featuring books, audio commentaries, booklets, videos, and a wealth of other materials from outstanding reformed teachers and theologians.

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