Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Spiritual Gifts and the Church (part 6): 1 Cor 12:7

"But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good." (1 Corinthians 12:7)
Notice Paul does not say to a few, to the mature, or to the specially anointed; rather he says that the manifestation of the Sprite has been given to each one. Each of us has been given favor from God by which we may manifest His Spirit. Not to some of us but to all of us. "But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift." (Ephesians 4:7) We do no all have the same gift, but we each have a gift and grace according to that gift. The gift is different, but it is the same favor of God that empowers us and uses us to manifest the Spirit through the gifts we have received.

Peter further concurs with Paul when he says, "As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." (1 Peter 4:10) We each have a special gift from God, a gift that is as unique as God's grace in our lives, and we are called to use that gift in serving others. As we do this, we are manifesting God's manifold grace to each other and the world around us. God is a god of infinite nature and character and it takes many people, each exercising their gift, to fully disclose and manifest the fullness of God. None of us can do it ourselves, it takes all of us to properly manifest the Spirit.

Each of us not only has the privilege of manifesting the Spirit, but it is also our responsibility as members of Christ's body.
"What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification." (1 Corinthians 14:26)
God's plan is that, in our gatherings, each of us would use our gifts to manifest the Spirit so that all "so that all may learn and all may be exhorted." (1 Corinthians 14:31) God never planned that, in our gatherings, most if us would be silent spectators while the professional clergy perform the work of ministry. Our gatherings were never suppose to be "services" where some serve and others are served. They were intended to be times when each of us would give what we have received from God; each of us manifesting the Spirit according to the grace and favor given to us by God.

How great has been the loss in the church that we have gone from "each one" has to "only one" or  "only a few" has? Not only has this weakened the Body in that no longer does "every joint supplies" (Ephesians 4:16) but our view of God has become limited in that we are missing out on the fullness of the manifestation of the Spirit that has been silenced in our midst.

This change has been for our loss and not our gain. Somehow we must find our way back to what the church was meant to be. Somehow we must restore the full participation of the Body to our gatherings. Somehow we must once again release the manifold manifestations of His Spirit within our midst.

More to come... David

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