I Cor 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
Verse four, of First Corinthians chapter twelve, tells us that God has given to the church a diversity of spiritual gifts. Verse five describes for us that God has likewise given a variety of ministries and offices to Christians. Verse six tells us that God administers His gifts and ministries in a multitude of ways, according to the person whom He works through, and the circumstances in which He releases these gifts and ministries in. Verse seven tells us that God’s spiritual gifts and or ministries have been given to every Christian; none is exempt! No one has the luxury of being a pew sitter forever more, and no one has the right to prohibit the manifestation of the Spirit through another believer.
Verse seven goes on to tell us that the function of spiritual gifts and ministries is simply to the manifest the Holy Spirit.
What is so important about manifesting the Holy Spirit? Look with me now at John 15:26.
John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
The role of the Holy Spirit is to “testify of Jesus”. As we have already discussed before, the process of testifying to the Lord Jesus has to do with the bringing forth of evidence in support of the facts of whom God is. As believers, we have the grave responsibility of displaying the ministry of the Holy Spirit through our lives through the use of spiritual gifts and ministries. To the extent that we allow the Holy Spirit to work within our churches, will be to the extent that the Holy Spirit will be allowed to” testify of the Lord Jesus”, and bring forth the fullness of God.
Ephesians 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
Ephesians 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
Now let us look at verses above, both of them in the book of Ephesians. The word “fitly framed together” pertains to the building up of the church through the use of spiritual gifts, ministries, offices, and callings.
The Apostle Paul in Ephesians four and sixteen has marvelously described the whole operation of the New Testament church in one single verse. What he in fact says is the following.
A local assembly increases, and grows, as each parishioner within the local body supplies his or her part in accordance to the gifts and ministries, which the Lord has given to each of them. This is what Paul means in verse sixteen when he employs the term “every joint supplieth.”
Many of our churches do not follow the model described in verse sixteen. Too many churches have too few ministers; there is too much control by leaders whom prohibit the exercise of spiritual gifts and ministries.
Likewise there are too many complacent pew sitters who do not grow in their spiritual gifts and ministries, and consequently do not “carry their burden” of testifying to Jesus.
The end result is always the same. Only part of the Lord’s fullness is evident, only part of His glory is manifested, and much of the revival that should have taken place, sadly does not come about.
·Paul adds furthermore another the phrase; “According to the effectual working in the measure of every part” . Here, he tells us, that “EVERY” parishioner has the responsibility to work within a congregation at his or her “PEAK LEVEL OF SPIRIT LED PERFORMANCE”. This requires uncompromising obedience to God, and dedication to the local body. All of this must be done in line with the giftings, callings, and ministries deposited within each of member of the local body by the Lord.
·I am of the belief that the church must be more of a school, college, and graduate school than anything else. Time today, does not allow us to address the issue of the five-fold ministry found in Ephesians chapter four. Suffice it to say that it is my belief that the senior pastor is the dean of this school. The apostles, prophets, associate pastors, teachers, and evangelists are the professors. The aim is to assist each parishioner become free from demonic oppression, sins, and the hurts from the past.
The second phase will be to help each parishioner in discovering his or her spiritual gifts and ministries. The leadership must raise them up in accordance to these gifts as readiness is shown. Then through the leading of the Holy Spirit, they must be released within the church to operate in their giftings and ministries. This is one way to commence bringing forth the fullness of Christ into a local assembly.
Having said all of this, I would like to conclude today’s study by discussing with you some of the great hurts that we are bringing upon our own churches.
Countless believers today serve the Lord in the chains of past hurts, bondages, and demonic oppression. Their service is of limited benefit to the Lord. I believe that part of the problem lies in that we are not bringing forth the fullness and the presence of God into our local bodies. Our current church models, as we discussed earlier, are set up to discourage and limit the glory of God.
As we know, one of the Lord’s primary victories was to defeat Satan and destroy once and forevermore his works. Every time that the Lord’s glory is revealed, we shall see Him at work destroying the works of the enemy and setting people free.
2Thess 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
The brightness of the Lord’s coming is defined as the manifestation or the appearance of the Lord’s presence. “To destroy” is to render something useless, idle, and non-operational, because it has been broken down and no longer works.
The more therefore, that the fullness of the Lord resides in the corporate life of the church, the greater shall be the degree of the Evil One’s works becoming useless and of no effect.
1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
In First John three eight, we find the word “destroy” once again. Its definition is just a bit different here. Instead of making the whole gamut of Satan’s works useless by breaking them down, here the Lord causes them to become undone. But the end product is just the same.
The important thing for us to realize is that the undoing or the breaking down of sins, hurts, and bondages are always proportionally related to the fullness of the Person of Christ as manifested in our local assemblies.
Our church model of “pew sitting” molds believers that never press on to discover and mature in their spiritual gifts and ministries. Our churches are full of people that are not contributing their part of bringing in the fullness of God. Because the church is one body made of up of many members, fellow brethren will never get the benefit of the fullness of God that should had been manifested through passive pew sitters.
Every believer has a unique way to manifest the Lord that can be never be replaced by anyone else. It is an eternal loss for God and His body.
In the same light, we leaders propagate equal damage, when we operate our churches as either “one man shows” or give the liberty of ministry to just a few. We are restricting the fullness of God as we do so.
As pastors and ministers we mentor, raise up, and release the ministers and their ministries, and watch and guide. We are the musical directors of the Lord’s symphony orchestra, the church. Our role is to conduct all of the instruments as the play through the ministries and giftings of the body, finally crescendoing into the marvelous music of the Lord’s fullness and glory.
1 Timothy 1:18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
Ezra 6:14 And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia
· In the above two scriptures, 1Timothy, and Ezra, we see two functions of prophets. Through its relationship to prophecies and words from God, a church in part acquires the vision that is necessary for its warfare, direction, progress, and growth. A church will never succeed in executing and completing all that God has for it, if it limits or prohibits prophets and prophecies. Our job is not to prohibit or limit, but to discern and distinguish between correct and incorrect prophecies.
I Cor 12:10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
In this same light, those that have the gift of the “discernment of spirits” never come forth into their utilization of them. We know already that discernment of spirits is used to primarily cast out of demons.
I would like to also propose the following. The Lord also utilizes the gift of discernment of spirits to expose false prophets within a congregation and to catch developing patterns of sin and error before it festers and hurts many. With our current church models in place, those that operate within this spiritual realm either remain silent, or never mature spiritually to a point that they recognize that God has called them into this ministry. Our churches many times are consequently not aware that they are traveling a course contrary to that of the Spirit of God.
Let us study, and start building “ according to the pattern shown to us in the mount” of the glory of the Lord.