Defining What The Spiritual Gifts Are. CHRISTIAN VALUES ALL CHRISTIANS MUST LIVE BY(Exposition Study On Romans 12) #5 (Romans 12:6-8)

As we come into this study we are really taking a deeper look at the very same verses that we learned about last time. In the last study we look at the usefulness of the gifts that God so graciously gives to us and the point that we need to be using these gifts. As I was coming to the end of our last study I thought that it would be good to really take a deeper look at the gifts that God gives to us not only here in Romans 12 but also in the other passages of Scripture that we noted last time. The importance of this study comes from the fact that to many people lack real understanding of what these gifts are. Many denominations falsify gifts that are not even mentioned in Scripture. We in no way will be able to cover in this study every detail that is needed to help us all understand what these gifts are and why some of these gifts are not used in our time but was only used for a specific time for a specific purpose. I hope that as we look at these gifts we can have an open mind to what the Scripture actually says and turn away from our pre-conceived ideas of what these gifts are that have been taught to us wrong in so many ways.

As we begin let’s remember that there are now just 2 categories of gifts which we really see 1 Peter 4:10-11 says As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

We see the 2 categories of gifts that are listed as speaking and serving gifts. But there is another category that we don’t see here because even at this time in the Apostolic age these other sign gifts were of no use anymore. It is with this category that I want to start for this study.

1.What are sign gifts?
I want to point out that there are no sign gifts listed in the list that we see in Romans 12:6-8. I think this is a good indication just like in 1 Peter that these gifts are not being used or promoted for use in the church during this time. The timing of the writing of Romans is somewhere around 57 AD then 1 Peter and Ephesians was written somewhere around 64 AD. If you go back just a few years before this in 54 AD you see that Paul mentions a somewhat different list of gifts to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians. It is in 1 Corinthians which is one of the earliest writings of Paul that we go back to and find the list that has the gifts that we place in the category of “sign gifts.” So let’s look at this in 1 Corinthians 12:7-10 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

Now we classified these in the 2 categories of speaking and serving but as we will see, the ones that we are going to list are considered sign gifts because they were used only for a sign for a specific time and purpose. These are gifts of healing, working of miracles, various kinds of tongues and the interpretation of tongues. All 4 of these gifts were used by the Apostles to show that they were associated with the ministry of Jesus. Each one of these gifts had a purpose for a specific time. Let’s take the gifts of healing for instance. Jesus had the power to heal because He is God and He gave those that followed Him this same power to show the people in that region that they were apart of the ministry of Jesus. This act of healing was to validate that Jesus was indeed alive and working in these Apostles. If they had the gifts of healing all of their life then why at times do we see even the Apostles themselves sick. Even in one of the earliest writings of Paul, he says in Galatians 4:13-14 You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, 14 and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus.

Later in 63 AD he tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:23 (No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.)

Then in 67 AD in Paul’s last letter he says this in 2 Timothy 4:20 Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus.

Did you hear that, he left Trophimus ill at Miletus. He did not heal him, he did not call for elders of the church to anoint him but left him. He did not do this out of having no compassion but we simply see that as the age of the church went on, the gift of healing was no longer in use. Every reference to this gift of healing in the Bible and in historical documents outside of the Bible places that these gifts no longer were used as they were the first 15 to 20 years after Christ ascended. Now we don’t have the time to go through the rest of the sign gifts but just know that each of these gifts have a similar timeline. Often people will ask, do you not believe that God still heals? And of course my answer is yes, but God does not use this gift of healing just like He does not use the gifts of tongues like He did for that special time in history.

Tongues and the interpretation of tongues were known languages that were used to proclaim the message of the Gospel to people with a different language in the region to bring the church together for that time since their were so many different dialects in that region. But no matter how much data you give people that believe that the tongues that are practiced in the church today is not the same gift they will not believe you. In fact the history of the tongues you see today in churches started back in the early 1900’s because it had ceased to be used from the Apostolic age until then. Then the fact that the tongues of today are not the same gift of known languages should be obvious but again people fail to want to listen. I encourage you to do your own research into these sign gifts that we have seen and see for yourself that these gifts are no longer in operation but were used for a specific time and for a specific purpose. Let’s move on now to our next point.

2.What are the speaking gifts?
Let’s first take the speaking gifts we see in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10. In this passage we see in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 we see utterance of wisdom, utterance of knowledge, various kinds of tongues and the interpretation of tongues. Now we mentioned last study that even though the tongues gift and interpretation of tongues are among those in the speaking gifts that they are sign gifts that are not used in our time. So with that we will focus on the 2 listed before that. As we look at these we need to know that we may see the word utterance before both wisdom and knowledge which makes it sound like something that is supernatural or that is something that is higher than normal speech. But the word here for utterance in the Greek is the word logos which means a word, speech, divine utterance, analogy. It carries the idea of the art of speaking to the purpose about things pertaining to wisdom or knowledge. So this is not some supernatural language or wisdom but is rather the words that come from a thought about something. This wisdom and knowledge that is spoken by the one with the gift listed here is a word or a speech about Christ and the Gospel.

It is this message of the Gospel of Christ that is spoken, taught and preached throughout the church’s history and it is this very gift of speaking that was used to bring together people that needed to be saved. Paul says in Romans 10:14-15 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

It is with this thought that we will look at our other gifts of speaking listed in Romans 12:6-8. We see the gifts of prophecy, teaching and exhortation. The Greek word for prophecy is the word prophéteia which is the gift of communicating and enforcing revealed truth. So often this word gets twisted into meaning only someone being able to tell you something about your future. But the meaning indicates that there is truth revealed by what is clarified beforehand; prophecy which involves divinely-empowered forthtelling (asserting the mind of God) or foretelling (prediction). This gift is used often by charismatic preachers that assert that they have some divine knowledge about a situation when in fact if you look at those claims, you will see the utter failure of those so-called predictions. This gift is the gift of proclaiming God’s divine truth and this is done in our time by the only divine word we have called the Bible.

Both of the gifts of teaching and exhortation are used in a sense to first of all teach the truth from Scripture to bring the listeners to being able to apply what they have learned. Then the exhorting part of this refers to believers offering up evidence that stands up in God’s court. In other words the one that is exhorting is showing real truth found in the Scripture to show God’s verdict in a manner. I say it like this all of the time when speaking about certain sin: God made the judgement on what sin is and I am just explaining what that sin is. I do not make judgements on sin but God has spoken in His Word about sin and it is the preacher/teachers job to convey that to his listeners.

To close out this point I want to mention that in 1 Corinthians 12:28 and Ephesians 4:11 we see the positions or offices that hold the people that have these gifts like apostles, prophets, teachers, various kinds of tongues, evangelists and shepherds. It is these people that have been given these gifts that we have seen here as speaking gifts. Let’s now move on briefly to our last point.

3.What are serving gifts?
In Romans 12:6-8 we see service, the one who contributes, the one who leads and the one who does acts of mercy that all fall into this serving category. Then in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 we see faith, gifts of healing working of miracles and the ability to distinguish between spirits(even though the last 3 of these are in the area of sign gifts as well) are associated with some kind of serving for the edification of others. Just like I said last time I want to make clear that if you have a speaking gift that does not mean that you can’t have a serving gift and vice versa. This lists starts with the Greek word diakonia for the word service. This word is closely related to the Greek word diakonos which is the word used when speaking of the minister that serves as a deacon. The word we see here is not the office of a deacon but the ministry of serving. Even though these are very close in definition we see that God will give some of these gifts to lay people and not just to those in positions in the church. This applies for these serving gifts and for the speaking gives as well.

As we move along we clearly see that people can have gifts that are pointed toward personal service to others like contributing, leading and doing acts of mercy. These all have the idea of doing things to people to help them in whatever situation they may be in. I do want to point out though that anytime you see these gifts used in the Scripture you will always see that the people that are ministering will also be making sure to preach the truth of the salvation that comes from the Lord Jesus Christ.

As we close this study for this time I want to encourage you to first off see what gift that God has given to you and use those gifts. Many people ask how do I know what gift I have? Some may suggest taking a spiritual gift test like I have before. Even though those test may be somewhat accurate I think the best way to really know what your gift is comes by getting involved in ministries through your local church. Yes you can use any or all of these gifts outside of the church walls but the idea is get involved with something. You may start in a ministry and see that this area isn’t where you need to be and then you may move to another. Sometimes it will be obvious exactly what God has designed you to do and other times it might be through trial and error to really expose what that giftedness really is. I just encourage you to get out there in the church and in everyday life and use the gifts that God has given to you so that the Gospel message will reach the people that God has intended for it to reach.

Bible Passage For The Day 3-26-2023

John 10:7-10

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 

Podcast for….Jesus Is The Cornerstone Of The Church. EXPOSITION ON THE BOOK OF EPHESIANS study #12 (Ephesians 2:18-22)

Jesus Is The Cornerstone Of The Church. EXPOSITION ON THE BOOK OF EPHESIANS study #12 (Ephesians 2:18-22) Disciple's Direction

Discussion Episode #14 What’s Wrong With?….Mormonism or Also known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Discussion Episode #14 What's Wrong With?….Mormonism or Also known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Disciple's Direction

Jesus Is The Cornerstone Of The Church. EXPOSITION ON THE BOOK OF EPHESIANS study #12 (Ephesians 2:18-22)

As we approach the final section in chapter 2 we have really began to see how Paul is expressing to the Ephesian believers that they are not excluded from the plan of redemption as some may suggest. What I mean is that there was a group of Jews that would go behind Paul nearly everywhere he went to try and discredit his ministry and to distort the Gospel message. They would go into these Gentile nations proclaiming that the Gentiles would have to be circumcised and would have to keep with Jewish ceremonial laws in order to be included in the blessings of God. But contrary to that teaching Paul shows the Gentiles that they are as much a part of the church as the Jewish believers are. Paul began this letter with the doctrine of God’s sovereignty in salvation that points to the fact that no person can claim a right to salvation without God first initiating that salvation. This has really been clear as we have studied up to this point in the study. In our last 2 studies we have seen Paul begin to show how it is that God included the Gentiles into this redemption and how it was in the plan of God to bring both Jew and Gentile together as one unified church.

As we move along in this study and into chapter 3 we will see this reality as Paul unfolds more and more the plan that God brought about as the Gentile church is included into the same church as the Jew. With this this in mind let’s get now into our final section of chapter 2 with our first point for this study.

1.Gentile and Jew are fellow citizens of salvation.
Look with me at Ephesians 2:18-19 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. We see again a very familiar phrase and it is that every aspect of our redemption is through him. This of course is speaking of our Lord Jesus Christ. The fact is that there is no salvation apart from our Lord and there is no salvation without God. Now we see that through our Lord there is now access to the Holy Spirit which shows us as we have seen before from Ephesians 1:13 that we have the Holy Spirit as a seal of our salvation in which He lives in every believer. The fact is that every believer has the Holy Spirit and it is in this explanation to the Ephesian believers that Paul shows them that just as God has included them in salvation they too have access in one Spirit to the Father.

Look at what Paul says about this as he explains this well in 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

The term Greeks here is used often by Paul to relate to Gentiles. So we see here that Paul expresses the same idea as we see in Ephesians which shows us that the Gentiles are not just some second rate class of believers but have the same access as the Jews. In fact Jesus talks about this in His exhortation of Himself being the Good Shepard in John 10. Look at what Jesus says in John 10:14-16 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

So we see here that Jesus says that there will be one fold or one church as we know it to be. They will be of a different fold Jesus says which indicates to us that they are not from the descent of Israel. Jesus is speaking of the other fold which is the Gentiles. Now I want to be clear here that the Gentiles did not take the place of the promises that were given to the Jews. I say this because there are people that believe that the church is now the recipients of the promises that were given to Israel but this is not true. There are many promises that were given to Israel that are also given to the church in relation to salvation but many promises are directly for the Jewish nation. But understand that even for the Jewish nation to receive the promises they must be truly converted and followers of Jesus. They will not receive salvation nor any promise because of their ethnicity.

Paul makes a strong argument on this point in Romans 9-11. It is here that we see that God did include the Gentiles into this salvation as well. Paul starts off this explanation in Romans 9 but what I want us to see is in Romans 11:1-6 I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

So God has not thrown away Israel but has a remnant of people that He has chosen by grace. He further speaks on this when he mentions that the Gentiles were grafted in the the olive tree that the Jews were broken from because of their unbelief. This is in reference to the Gentiles being included in salvation, chosen by God by the plan of redemption. He goes on to teach that the Jews will be grafted into this olive tree as well as they begin to believe and follow Christ. This all points us back to what Paul is speaking of in our Ephesians study here. It is for this reason that Paul says in Ephesians 2:19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.

The Gentiles who were once strangers and aliens in the realm of salvation from God, those that did not have hope in God to have this eternal life has now become fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. All of this brings us to the point we will look at next and our final 3 verses for this chapter.

2.Jesus is the Cornerstone of the church.
Look with me at Ephesians 2:20-22 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. The church that God has established was not built upon the Jewish customs or ceremonies but was built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets Paul says here.

We know that the foundation of the church was in fact engaged in the teachings that the Apostles of Jesus. In Acts 2:42 we see this: And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

The fact is though is that this foundation was not something they came up with on their own but was founded in the teachings of our Lord Jesus who is the cornerstone. Peter says this in Acts 4:11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.

Peter goes on even further to explain this in his letter we know as 1 Peter. In a quote from Isaiah 28:16 Peter proclaims this in 1 Peter 2:6 For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Then he goes on in his teaching about this rejection of Jesus as he quotes Psalm 118:22 in 1 Peter 2:7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”

Then to conclude his teaching Peter goes back to Isaiah where he then quotes Isaiah 8:14 in 1 Peter 2:8 and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

All of what we see in 1 Peter points to what Paul is explaining here in Ephesians and that fact is that Jesus is the cornerstone of the church. What we need to understand is the importance of Jesus being this cornerstone and what that means for us that follow Christ today. A cornerstone in ancient times was used as the primary stone of the construction of a building or structure. This stone would guide the builders to make the building or structure so to build a structure that will be in alignment and sturdy. This piece was carefully placed and really serves as the foundation of the buildings structure. If the cornerstone is taken away the building will lose it’s stability and crumble.

So I think we get the point here that Jesus is the cornerstone of the church for both the Jew and the Gentile. This unified church of believers are founded on the teachings and salvation that comes through our Lord Jesus. This is what Paul further explains in Ephesians 2:21 where he says: in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.

We see this in 1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

Then again in 2 Corinthians 6:16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

As followers of our Lord Jesus we are induvial temples of God as the Holy Spirit lives in us but we are also a part of the whole body of believers that is the church that our Lord has established. Paul makes sure to let the Gentile believers know that they are included in this as well as he says in Ephesians 2:22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

If we go back to 1 Peter before the teaching that we looked at in relation to Jesus being the Cornerstone, we see that Peter makes this same conclusion considering believers in 1 Peter 2:4-5 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

I think the point Paul and Peter makes is very clear. We are God’s chosen people set out to do the work of our Lord, who is the cornerstone. So as we close I must get our focus to something that I think we all need to think about. If Jesus is the Cornerstone and we know that is true, then are you living your life in that way?

Are you living your life lined up with the teachings of the Cornerstone? Or do you find your life just somehow attached to the name of Jesus? Maybe by association with a church, maybe through some profession of faith you once made or maybe by your own good deeds of service that you feel gives you the right to salvation.

Whatever you find in your life we need to be sure that what we know of Jesus is founded in the teachings of the foundation of the apostles and prophets that are in line with the Cornerstone of the church Jesus Christ.

This brings me now to ask if the church you attend is doing this as well? I’m not asking if they mention Jesus or do things in Jesus name but rather are they lining up with the teachings of our Lord which is found in the entire Bible? We as the Church of the Lord Jesus must individually and together as unified believers in the Lord Jesus follow the teachings founded in our Cornerstone who is our Lord Jesus Christ.

Bible Passage For The Day 3-23-2023

1 John 2:3-6

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

Podcast for….The Power Of Jesus Over All Things. EXPOSITION ON THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE study #40 (Luke 5:1-7)

The Power Of Jesus Over All Things. EXPOSITION ON THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE study #40 (Luke 5:1-7) Disciple's Direction

Bible Passage For The Day 3-22-2023

John 10:25-30

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”