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The Body of Christ - Part 7

Good Morning My Beloved,

I am so glad you're here today
Thank you all for joining us.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You always for Your Word
Thank You for again teaching us through Your Word and Spirit 
the principles that are essential to Your church
for the health of the body of Christ
Lord, I pray that each of us, will grow in knowledge and understanding 
and in the energy of the Spirit, Your Spirit, so that we might better use
and operate our gifts and that do so, not in the flesh, but in the Spirit 
that we would all be used, according to Your purposes and plans
to make the body of Christ one in love and witness, 
and in our own individual lives, that our testimony might be bold and clear 
that we would more like Jesus Christ
So in His name we pray, 

"For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. So the body is not one part but many. If the foot should say, “Because I’m not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,” in spite of this it still belongs to the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I’m not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,” in spite of this it still belongs to the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed each one of the parts in one body just as He wanted. And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? Now there are many parts, yet one body. So the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” Or again, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” But even more, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are necessary. And those parts of the body that we think to be less honorable, we clothe these with greater honor, and our unpresentable parts have a better presentation. But our presentable parts have no need of clothing. Instead, God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the less honorable, so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it."
I Corinthians 12:12-27

Today's Message: The Body of Christ - Part 7

Well, as you can see, the Holy Spirit, was not yet finished with the message in I Corinthians 12,
But that's OK, but it's not my will, but God's will be done. Amen? Amen!

That said, today, we continue in our study on the gifts of the Spirit. The gifts of the body of Christ.

Jesus Christ revealed Himself to us, first in a human body, through which all His attributes were manifest. And today, He has a new body, a new body, and so since His human body has gone into glory, His new body is the Church, a spiritual body. Those of us who know Jesus Christ, we are that body, and every single Christian, who has come to Christ, is a vital member of the body. And just the parts of our human body, must work together and totally in order for us to be healthy, it is also that we, as His body must function in interdependence upon each other in order to be one body united in Christ. That's crucial. So, we must all understand the importance of the body, and how essential each vital part of the body is to the overall functionality of the body.

And so, God has set forth in order, a plan, in order for the orderly function of the body. That plan is this: Each believer has specific, unique gifts of grace, or charismata or pneumatika, that is certain spiritual gifts. These are gifts that the Holy Spirit gives a believer and then ministers through that gift to the rest of the body, so that your gifts are not so much for you, the individual as they are for the other members, the totality of the body of Christ. And through these gifts, the Holy Spirit ministers to the other members of the body, and this spiritual network of intermutual ministry, it then strengthens every individual part and allows the whole body to grow stronger and healthier.

Now, as we discussed last time, the apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 12:1, "Now concerning what comes from the Spirit: brothers, I do not want you to be unaware." That is a phrase that Paul uses only four other times, the Holy Spirit uses only four other times in the New Testament. And every other time it deals with one of the cardinal aspects of salvation.

And by that, in terms of importance, the spiritual gifts concept is right up there with the doctrines of basic salvation, because it is, it is therefore important for each of us to understand. It is the life and death issue, regarding the health of the body of Christ. So, you can see, it's importance.

Now, we know, the Holy Spirit is the source of these gifts of grace. They are not sought. You cannot seek them. You cannot earn them. You cannot chase after them. You cannot request them. They must be given to you. The next principle, principle number two, is we know and understand, that the Holy Spirit is the source of these gifts. God grants the Holy Spirit these gifts, which the Holy Spirit then
distributes these gifts to each believer, as He sees fitting for the benefit of the body.

And as we concluded the last time we gathered together, we discussed principle number three, that these gifts are not of our own natural abilities. They are then, sovereignly bestowed manifestations of the Spirit’s power through divine enablement. And as I said previously, the Holy Spirit may elect to use a man in the area of his natural ability and give him a gift in that area or He may choose not to do so. So, sometimes our natural aptitude, our natural ability is used and sometimes it is not. The point is the Holy Spirit gives these gifts sovereignly.

That brings us to principal number four, principal number four. All gifts of grace are equally important, therefore equally necessary, and equally honored. That is there is no hierarchy in these gifts.

And the gifts are no sign or guarantee of ones spirituality. Some people have the idea that if you have a specific gift, you’re automatically spiritual. And some, those who are full of pride, have the idea then, they are more spiritual than others, who then think to have a 'lesser gift.' That is just not biblical. It's not biblical. All believers possess gifts, yes, even carnal ones. And these gifts can be counterfeited and thus operated in the energy of the flesh. Having a particular gift is no guarantee at all that you are spiritual. It is also not a guarantee that you’re always right. And there is certainly no biblical evidence that substantiates ones gift is more valuable than another's gift. You won't find that in Scripture.

We learned in I Corinthians 14, that even those who were prophets had to bring their minds together, and you had to hear the word of two or three of them before you could make a decision. Just because you have a gift does not mean you’re always right. Gifts can be counterfeited. Gifts can be misused.

The greatest living example of that was the problem, in Corinth. They were in the midst of misusing their gifts, so we can see that the possession of a gift doesn’t guarantee spirituality or insure the infallibility of the one who exercises it. So for those of you who may have gotten the idea, that's because you have been given a certain gift, you are always correct. You may want to jot this down, you're wrong... (smiling.) And for the record, that also includes anyone standing in the pulpit. Might I just add, that Hell, is going to filled with angry believers. Those who are essentially legalists, and were not exactly filled with the Spirit. Those who are Pharisaical in their beliefs. The reality is that there is only One Authority. One. There will be many who will be in utter shock to discover, it's not them. That attitude, is of a different spirit.

The next principal, principle number six, is that the gifts, when rightly exercised in the Spirit, have the promise of divine energy. When we really operate our Spirit given gift in the energy of the Spirit, we find that there is power as a result of it. And there are a number of biblical references of that. And when the gift is wrongly used, I Corinthians 14:32-33, verses 32-33, will show us want happened. When you exercise your gift wrongly, it says, "And the prophets’ spirits are under the control of the prophets, since God is not a God of disorder but of peace."

To put it another way, when you misuse your gift or exercise it in the flesh, it doesn’t bring about unity; it brings about disorder and confusion. Because when ones gift is rightly exercised in the Spirit, they have the promise of divine energy. That’s why in I Peter chapter 4:10-11, Peter says "Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God. If anyone speaks, it should be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, it should be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen."

In other words, exercise your Spirit given gift in the energy of the Spirit. That's pretty basic. A basic principle, don't you agree

Now we come to principle number seven, when the gifts are used, the body profits. The body of Christ must be one, for the sake of edification and resultant testimony. The only way we will ever be a healthy body and build up, is if we profit together, as one. And the way we profit is in the exercise of these gifts. Both the one who exercises his gift profits, and the rest of the body, to whom the gift is ministered profits. As I minister to you, you’re being built up, as you minister to me, I’m being built up. Therefore, becoming one strong, healthy body.

Principle number eight, the gifts of the Spirit are distinct from the fruit of the Spirit. Now, I know we didn’t get into that last time. But in Galatians 5:22-23, there is an important catalog of the fruit of the Spirit. It says this, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law." And so we can see, that is something all together, different. That's different than Spiritual gifts. Those are characteristics of a Spirit-walk believer. Gifts are the service of that believer. And while you’re serving, those gifts should also, at the same time, be manifest.

Now, principle number nine, you can have a gift and not be using it. In a great, theological statement, most Christians are in this situation. And that’s why Paul, in talking to Timothy, is giving us an example, where he said, in II Timothy chapter 1, verses 6-7, "Therefore, I remind you to keep ablaze the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment." So we are to stir up the gift, because you can have a gift and may not be using it.

Then we come to principle number ten, spiritual grace gifts come in combinations. It is my belief that most Christians have more gifts than they think they have. For example, just look at the apostle Paul, and I can’t figure out any gift he didn’t have, quite frankly. If you look over there in Paul’s writing to Timothy, who was, in a sense, a lesser light in terms of popularity than Paul. And in 2 Timothy chapter 4 Paul says this, "I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and because of His appearing and His kingdom: Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching."
Paul obviously had the gift of prophesy, "persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage", he had the gift of exhortation, "with great patience and teaching." He also had the gift of teaching. "For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new."
Then in verse 5, "But as for you, be serious about everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." He also had the office of evangelism. There seemed to be no gift that Paul wasn't accomplished in. Timothy evidently had a combination of many things, and that’s simply an illustration of them.

And there we have ten basic principles regarding spiritual gifts. I’m going to leave it at that, and I’m going to let you look up those verses; let the Spirit of God be your teacher.

I had planned  to look at the gifts specifically, however, in following the leading of the Spirit, we've taken just a few detours along the way. So before we finish up for today, I'd like to continue to address what I can. I'm trying to cover a lot of territory here, and so because of this, we're kind of bypassing a long, and lengthy review, and for that, I apologize. So if you're just joining us, and you'd like to catch up, you're able to review the previous lessons on your own, as they are posted on the website.

It is my hope and prayer, that by the end of the series, you might understand what your gifts are in order that you might operate your gifts in the energy of the Spirit, that the body might become stronger, healthier and that our witness might be that much more effective.

There are two kinds of gifts: permanent, edifying gifts, and temporary, confirming sign gifts.
First of all, there are the permanent gifts which edify or build up the body. They are gifts which do not cease, which began in the early Church and still continue on even today.

The first one there is the gift of prophecy. Let's turn back to I Corinthians 12,
"to one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit, to another, a message of knowledge
by the same Spirit, to another, faith by the same Spirit, to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 
to another, the performing of miracles, to another, prophecy, to another, distinguishing between spirits, to another, different kinds of languages, to another, interpretation of languages."

Then in Romans 12:6-8, "According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts: If prophecy, use it according to the standard of one’s faith; if service, in service; if teaching, in teaching; if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness."

The gift of prophecy. That simply means preaching, you know, foretelling the future. It does not mean reading the crystal ball or some sort of fortune telling. It is simply the gift of preaching. It means to tell forth. That’s exactly what it means: to tell forth, to declare. It is the gift of preaching. Now, here comes something very important, and we’re going to be interjecting some things in along here that we are able to tie this all together at the end. But I really want you to get this, because this is critical to understand, and interpretive issue.

There is a gift called the gift of prophecy, and there is a ministry called a prophet. The gift of prophecy and the man who is a prophet are two different things. And I want you to hang onto this for just a minute. The gift of prophecy is not to be confused with the office of a prophet.

Let's turn back to I Corinthians 12, verses 27-31: This will help to demonstrate what I mean.
"Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it. And God has placed these in the church:
first apostles, second prophets,
third teachers, next miracles,
then gifts of healing, helping,
managing, various kinds of languages. 
Are all apostles? Are all prophets?
Are all teachers? Do all do miracles? 
Do all have gifts of healing?
Do all speak in other languages?
Do all interpret?
But desire the greater gifts. And I will show you an even better way."

Now, pay attention here, let's look at verse 28 more closely. "And God has placed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers." Do you see that? Those are not gifts, those are men. Now the distinction, "next miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, managing, various kinds of languages." See that? After miracles. "then gifts of..." The gifts are made distinct by the little phrase, "next miracles, then gifts of." 

God established certain men in the Church, and on top of that, He gave certain gifts. Can you see the point I’m getting at? The gift of prophecy is distinct from the office of a prophet. And I’m not talking about an Old Testament prophet, what I’m talking about is a Church prophet, an early Church prophet.

Now let's go quickly to the book of Ephesians. Ephesians chapter 4. Verses 11-13, "And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness." These are not gifts in Ephesians 4:11-13. they are men. God has not only given every member of the body of Christ certain gifts, but he’s given the Church in total certain gifted men. And a prophet and a gift of prophecy are thus distinct.

That a prophet, the New Testament prophets, the early prophets belonged to a special call, listen to this, for a special time in history. They belonged to the first century Church, the apostolic era. There are no, quote, prophets today anymore than there are apostles today. There are neither of those today. They undoubtedly had, as one of their gifts, the gift of prophecy. Right? If they were prophets, they undoubtedly had that gift. But they were a special breed for the beginning years of the Church, and they have ceased to exist.

Now, we'll need to wrap this up for today, and it looks as though we'll revisit I Corinthians 12, yet again. 

In Closing.....

Though the prophets have ceased and I’ll show you why next time we gather, the gift of prophecy or preaching still goes on, doesn’t it? I hope it does. The gift is still going on. The office of prophet has ceased. And the Greek word, as I said, for prophesy simply means a fore-teller or a preacher.
There's still a lot left yet to cover.

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Copyright © 2019-2020 All Rights Reserved
Brian Monzon Ministries

The Brian Monzon Ministries



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