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Different for a Reason

We’re continuing to look at the spiritual aspects of serving the Lord from First Corinthians.  We know that the Holy Spirit wants to speak through the church.  How He does that is different in each of us.

Paul brings this out using four important words.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:4

The first thing we’re told is that the same Holy Spirit gives different gifts.  It’s important that we understand what this means.

There are two words in the New Testament that are translated as gift.  The first is the Greek word doron.  This one is more in line with the way we give presents in our society.  It’s a gift that once given, you can do with it what you want.  You can use it, sell it, give it away, or take it back to a store for a refund.

That’s not the word in this verse.  This Greek word is charismata.  This is a gift that the giver still has some strings attached.  The giver tells you how it will be used.

“I’m giving you this money, but it’s only to buy that new suit you wanted.”

So the Holy Spirit has different gifts that He gives the instructions on how they’ll be used.  Nobody can just do as they please in the Spirit.  We must all be Spirit led.

There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
1 Corinthians 12:5

The next group of differences concerns our service.  There are different kinds of servanthood, but we all bow to the same Lord.

We need to see that we’re not all called to serve in the same way.  How I serve Christ may be very different than the way you serve Him.  Because of this, I can’t judge you because you’re not just like me.

There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
1 Corinthians 12:6

Next, we’re told that there are different ways that God works in and through us.  The Greek word used here is where we get our English word, energy.

In the natural, there are different forms of energy.  They’re always active in the world around us, whether we realize it or not.

It’s the same with God.  The verse literally says that He works all in all.  God is not a respecter of persons.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a new Christian or have been walking with The Lord for many years.  He wants to work powerfully through your life.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
1 Corinthians 12:7

The final word Paul uses is the bottom line of our walk in the spirit.  The Holy Spirit wants to manifest in each of us.

Unfortunately, the word, manifestation, has become a part of our church vocabulary.  We rarely use it in normal talking.

The Scriptural word means to appear.  It also means to be bright.  It’s like a flashing neon sign that catches your attention as you’re driving by it.

The Holy Spirit in us wants to be like a sign, flashing His presence in our lives.  He wants it to be evident to all those around that He’s actively working through you.

These four things, in combination, make each of us a very unique individual in Christ.  As we come together in agreement and unity, the Spirit is able to do mighty things through His church.

Question: What makes you unique in the Lord?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on June 12, 2019 in Ministry, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

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Leaders and Followers

I’ve been looking at Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonian church.  As one of the first New Testament Scriptures written, it has a lot of foundational principles for us.  One of these has to do with church leadership.

Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.  Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.  Live in peace with each other.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

The word translated respect in this verse means to know by seeing, watching and observing.  We are to focus upon those who we know are our leaders in the Lord.  In this way, we can observe the direction we’re to be heading.

This verse is important for us to hear.  It tells us some of the jobs that God expects His leaders to perform.

The verse tells us that our leaders are to admonish us.  That literally means that they’re to put things into our minds.  By observing them, we learn what we’re to be accomplishing for Christ.  We also learn what to be careful for.

Too often we don’t want to be led.  We want to make our own choices without anybody else’s input. Then we get in trouble because we miss out on the insight that only comes through experience.

But how exactly do we focus on each other so that we all keep in step with what God’s doing?  We see a great example of this in Scripture, when Paul was first saved and he met with the Apostles in Jerusalem.

James, Peter, and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me.  They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews.
Galatians 2:9

This is an interesting verse.  When they met together, the Apostles understood how the Lord works.  They didn’t expect Paul to operate exactly the way they did.

It says that they recognized the grace that Paul had been given.  This is a spiritual perception that comes from time with the Holy Spirit.

Too often we take a “cookie-cutter” approach to ministry.  We find what God is calling us to do and we run with it.  But, because it works well for us, we make the assumption that everybody should be ministering the same way that we do.

That’s foolish.  We’re all different.  Not only that, but we’re all called to reach different people.  What you do in your ministry will never work to reach those I’m called to deal with.

It’s the Holy Spirit who organizes what we do.  That’s why it’s so important to let Him take the lead in showing us how to minister.

I must be able to watch what you’re doing for Christ and recognize the grace that’s operating through you.  Then, even seeing the differences, we can still march together in unity.

Unity and fellowship are all about knowing our place in the body of Christ.  It not only means that I recognize those marching next to me.  I need to see those who are marching in front of me, leading me. I also need to recognize the ones behind me, who are following my example.

Only then can we accomplish all that the Lord has for us to do.

Questions: Who are the leaders you are following?  Who are those that are following you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2017 in Leadership, Ministry, The Church

 

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