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Power From On High

Studies in 1 Cor. 12-15, Power From On High:

Study #2: To Every Man

1 Cor. 12:7: "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal."

We may look and this and say, "Okay God, I'm ready to do this, but what is it talking about?"

One of the necessary keys in understanding the Word of God, the Bible, the way it was meant by God to be understood is by understanding "To Whom" each part of it is addressed to.

The epistle of 1 Corinthians is addressed to the Christian.

1 Cor. 1:1-3: "Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

"Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their's and our's:

"Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ."

See? It is addressed to all who call on the name of Jesus Christ our risen Lord, to the Church of God.

The Church of God does not refer to the denomination by the same name.

It refers to "all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their's and our's."

It refers to us today, since the Church has not been called into the air to meet the Lord.

This book is to us and for us. It will minister to us, as we cling to its message, "grace...and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ."

Toward the end of this book, many people have a hard time understanding this message of grace and peace.

Another important key in understanding Scripture is to see how a context develops.

Keeping this in mind, we will take another look at it, to see how it explains itself.

1 Cor. 12:1: "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant."

If you go back and read the first eleven chapters, you find out that they dealt with the physical details of life.

The right or wrong doctrine taught in Church is spiritual, tied to spiritual realities. This is how the epistle begins correcting error in the Corinthian Church.

But in chapter three, we find out that Paul cannot even discuss spiritual things with them. And so we find him correcting their carnal actions, telling them how to live godly in the flesh.

Thus we are all equal in Christ. The only thing that can differentiate is how we walk in Christ. Chapters three and four point out that our carnal works, whether worldly or godly, will be judged.

Chapters five through seven deal much with sexual matters starting with fornication and ending with marriage, but a sidebar regarding using unbelievers to settle our disputes is thrown in there. All these things are carnal matters.

Chapters eight, nine and ten deal with a myriad of physical details, from how we are to behave among the religiousness of the ungodly to how we are to conduct our own rites, with an edict to care for those who preach the gospel in between.

The end of chapter ten and chapter eleven, you might say, deals with our etiquette to others and among ourselves.

But chapter twelve start discussing the spiritual.

King James, NIV and many other Bibles translate this first verse of chapter twelve as "spiritual gifts."

But the words "spiritual gifts" are both translated from a single Greek word, "pnuematikos," which means "spiritual things."

You see, all these problems the Church of Corinth was having in the previous chapters dealt with our carnal, our physical actions.

But regarding things of the spirit, Paul by revelation would not have us ignorant of.

We are not only supposed to be informed of spiritual gifts, but of all spiritual matters.

You see, spirit is not a physical substance. You might say it is a parallel dimension.

Just like in Star Trek.

Now, every thing pertaining to that realm and every thing pertaining to how it affects the physical realm is a spiritual thing, but not every spiritual thing is a spiritual gift.

The reality of fallen angels, or as we call them today, devils or demons, is a spiritual thing or a spiritual matter, but it is certainly not in any sense a "gift."

Young's Literal translation for 1 Cor. 12:1 reads "And concerning the spiritual things, brethren, I do not wish you to be ignorant."

You see?

In this section of 1 Corinthians, we move from Paul correcting the Corinthian church for wrong doctrine and practice of physical matters to him correcting the Corinthian church for wrong doctrine and practice of spiritual things.

To do right the Corinthians, and all who call on the name of Jesus Christ, need "not to be ignorant of spiritual things."

When we were not Christians, we had no choice.

1 Cor. 12:2: "Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led."

Before we were Christ's, we were dead in trespasses and sin, having no spirit. We were carried to whatever we served, we were led to it.

Whether we worshiped other gods made of wood or metal, or nature, or a philosophy or science, or ourselves, we were led by the world according to our flesh.

1 Cor. 2:14-16: "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

"But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

"For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ."

You see? Now we have a choice.

1 Cor. 12:3: "Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost."

Before we were natural. Now we are spiritual.

This is the first spiritual matter Paul pointed out.

1 Cor. 12:4: "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit."

Some spiritual things ARE gifts. Salvation, the endowment of pnuema hagion, is definitely a gift. God gives life, it is called "the gift of God" because it is the best gift.

The life of Jesus was a gift. "God so loved He gave," right?

Healing is called a gift, because every time it happens it is a personal gift to that person from God.

Ministries are called gifts to those who are helped.

But evey gift of God has the same spiritual force behind it.

They are all done with the same logic, they are all done according to God's Word.

1 Cor. 12:5: "And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord."

What are these "administrations?

“If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

“How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,

“Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) “Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

“That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:” Eph. 3:2-6

The word “dispensation” in verse 2 is the word “oikanomia,” and means “administration. The word is used of the administration of a household most commonly, but also of the rule of provinces of a kingdom.

Like the administration of a governor over his State, this is Paul's part in the ministry of the gospel of grace Paul is referring to. Think of Paul's bailiwick as a “province” in the Kingdom of God, and Paul was an administrator, he administered the gospel of the gift of grace through Jesus Christ in his ministry. And his ministry took place and affected the believers in the period of time, the age, of "the grace of God." We are fortunate he received the greatness of revelation, but his administration was while he was here to administer.

There are diversities, there are many, operations, but God works in all of them.

When the heavens were created, was that the same operation as when a lame man walks or a deaf man hears?

When the fishes and loaves fed the multitude, was that the same operation as when you accepted the risen Savior as your Lord, and God gave you the gift of pnuema hagion, of holy spirit?

Of course not.

Just as it is you whether you take a step, grasp a pen or solve a problem, it is God that works in all His doings but the "muscles" He flexes may be different.

But there are diverse spiritual operations, and we are not to remain ignorant of them. 

1 Cor. 12:7: "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal."

When we speak of gifts, administrations, and operations, there have been in the past many ways God has moved. Gifts, administrations, and operations are all differing concepts, each containing facets which also differ one from another.

But in contrast to these many things, THE manifestation of the spirit is given to EVERY man, and as we have read this is addressing "all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord."

THE manifestation is given to all who have accepted Jesus as their risen Lord.

Every operation of the spirit that is connected to the physical world affects something in the physical world.

When the Spirit of God pushes around the molecular structure of a limb to heal it, it can be felt and perhaps seen.

When a believer is unscathed by an explosion he is in the midst of, that can be seen.

When the spirit gives utterance to our speaking in tongues, it can be heard.

Felt, seen and heard are "manifestations."

"Manifestations" is in the Greek the word "phaineros," which is related to the word we get "light" from.

The manifestation, the evidence or "glowing" of the spirit is given to every man, so that spiritual operations can result in an evident profit.

When this happens, God is glorified, for it is His mighty hand.

But this is given to every man, to every one of us.

Each of us are to use the spirit we are given in order to make manifest the reality of its presence.

Every one of us has this privilege and responsibility.

Each of us, after all, is filled with the measure of faith.

We each are given this fullness of spirit.

And in the next entries to this Blog we will explore these truths.

We will find out what these Scriptures in 1 Corinthians tell us that we can and should do. We will no longer be ignorant, but we will manifest the spirit God gave us to the glory of God.




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