3/7/21 Essential Doctrines # 19 1 Cor. 13:1-13
(5th Study). “Spiritual Gifts” (My Review).
In the 31st verse of 1 Cor. 12, Paul instructs the early Corinthian saints: “But covet (desire) earnestly (sincerely) the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way.” God is in the process of replacing all spiritual gifts with “a more excellent way,” the complete written revelation of the word of God.
1. And we find Satan, still counterfeiting spiritual gifts as he had done in Israel’s TP program. And Satan, the adversary of God, is still counterfeiting SG during this dispensation of Gentile grace now in effect. But How? Through spiritual phenomena (or jaw dropping, fake spiritual events). And along with this, came seducing spirits, the doctrines of Devils, false apostles, deceitful workers, speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; counterfeiting the power of God (1 Tim. 4:1-3). And these deceitful workers were proclaiming: “another Jesus,” “another gospel,” & “another spirit.”
2. However, there were some changes being made. “The more excellent way” has arrived on the scene, through our Apostle, Apostle Paul. Now, ALL spiritual gifts were about to be done away with. But the SPOE’s counterfeiting remained. So, Paul is writing to the early saints in the CBOC & also to us today, warning of Satan’s counterfeiting devices. And for good reason, for believers were then, and still are today, being duped, hoodwinked, bamboozled, and led astray by Satan’s counterfeiting spiritual gifts! That is why Paul says, “now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, we cannot afford to be ignorant.” (1 Cor. 12:1).
3. But before we embark on our review of Ch 13, we should remember that Paul shared with us a 5-fold operational breakdown of the 8 spiritual gifts, recorded in vs 28. Spiritual gifts have ceased, but the operations will remain, and they will be accomplished by the more excellent way – the complete written word of God.
Operation 1. Communication gifts (best gifts) = 1. “Apostles 2. Prophets 3. Teachers.” Operation 2. “Working of Miracles” = Confirmation of God dealing with Gentiles,” outside of the local assembly.
Operation 3. “Hallmark Gifts of healings” = Confirmation that God was turning FROM Israel & giving the healing gifts TO Gentiles, to provoke Israel to jealousy. Operation 4. “Local assembly order” consisted of = Helps (interpreters of tongues) & Governments (which accepted or rejected certain spiritual powers). Operation 5. “Gifts of tongues” = a Final sign TO unbelieving Israel: of God’s displeasure with Israel = now the “tongues” were given to the Gentiles.
4. God was indeed accomplishing His operations via spiritual gifts, BEFORE the completed written revelation of word of God. The more excellent way was on the horizon! The written word was an extension of God Himself! Paul says, “I’m going to show you a more excellent way.” The Saints then, & you and I today, would become possessors, the beneficiaries, of the more excellent way. (And we are beneficiaries today! The more excellent would supersede spiritual gifts.
VSS. 1-7 deal with the most excellent ministry of the Holy Spirit.
1. The Corinthians thought that the ministry of spiritual gifts was the MOST excellent point of contact With God, The Holy Spirit. But Paul again corrects them, and shows them the most excellent ministry of the Holy Spirit is NOT spiritual gifts. Paul explains to these believers that there is a ministry of the Holy Ghost that supersedes all these gifts put together. *What is this most excellent ministry of the Holy Ghost, Paul? CHARITY! Charity is a Greek word for: “Agape love.” Paul will prove that if they/we are not constrained by Agape
2. Charity means: love. But it is more than that! When we talk about the “love of God,” we are really talking about Agape love. “Agape” is a Greek word referring to unconditional love. The highest form of love is (Agape Love). Unconditional, selfless, sacrificial love that only can come from God. Why? “God is love” (1 Jn 4:7-8). Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God.
3. A perfect picture of Agape love is found in Romans chapter 5 verse 8, “But God commendeth his (Agape) love toward us, in that, when we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”, **WELL, somebody said, “It wasn’t the nails that held Him to the Cross. No! No! He could have come down, but world would still be lost! “It wasn’t the nails that held Him to the Cross, but it was LOVE, AGAPE LOVE, unconditional love, selfless love, sacrificial love, that held Him to the cross.”
**Vs. 1. We can only display this kind of (Agape love, unconditional, selfless, sacrificial) love, with Christ dwelling in us richly!Paul says without the
ministry of the Holy Spirit, you can have all the gifts in the world, but without love, you are sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. Paul’s point is, the ministry of the Holy Spirit supersedes all the spiritual gifts put together. What is the most excellent ministry of the Holy Ghost? Charity, the love of God. Agape love!
4. Agape love is a mental attitude: valuing and esteeming other body members. Thinking like God, doing things like God the Son, and Co laboring with God the Holy Spirit in what God is doing in this dispensation of grace. That is Agape love.
5. Vs. 2. Paul told these saints what Charity, Agape love looks like, & then told them, “you are not looking like it!” Though you may have the gift of prophecy & knowledge, without Agape love, understanding all of God’s mysteries has no eternal value, it profits you nothing! You are but an empty noise, w/o Love!
6. Vs.3. And, if you give all you have to feed the poor, even if you give all you have including your life, without Christ working effectually in you, without agape love it profits you nothing. Your still an empty noise, w/o Love!
7. Vs. 4. Here is where the rubber meets the road for most of us! Charity, Agape Love, is longsuffering (patient), kind, w/o envy, it does not exalt itself, & is not prideful. Agape Love is not puffed up or displays an air of self-importance. Agape Love (the most excellent ministry of God, the Holy Spirit) rises above petty quarrels. Agape Love is generous in the way it treats others. It is easy to love the lovable, but how difficult it is to love those who have injured or attacked us. Paul said, “being reviled, we bless, being persecuted, we suffer it.” (Romans 4 and 12).
8. Envy is a terrible sin! Cain envied his brother and murdered him. There is no room for envy in the CBOC. There is much work that needs to be done in these last days of the dispensation of grace. Jesus said: “The harvest is great and the laborers a few. Paul put it this way, I have planted, apollos watered; but Agape gave the increase. and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor. (1 Cor. 3:6-8). *We know what the will of God is for: “all men to be saved & to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4). Agape Love! Paul says: Agape Love is “knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our Salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light . *At this late hour in the dispensation of grace, it is all hands on deck. Agape Love should have us so busy about our own ministry of Redeeming the Time, that we do not have time to criticize someone else’s ministry. I am talking about Agape Love! (Do you see yourself yet?)
Vs 5. Agape Love does not behave itself improperly, it is not self -centered, does not seek its own way, but esteems others above themselves. Agape Love is not easily provoked, does not get angry easily, not suspicious, is not accusatory, or paranoid.
Vs 6. Agape Love, doesn’t rejoice in wickedness, finds no joy in evil, but rejoices in truth. Vs 7. Agape Love, beareth all things (carries the burden of others), believeth all things, Agape Love believes that it is possible for anyone to be saved, and come to the knowledge of truth, the word rightly divided), Agape Love hopeth all things, (rejoice in the hope of glory) endures all things without complaining. Agape Love bears the fruit of the Spirit, (which is) love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance/moderation.
8-13. Finally, Paul goes on to say, the most excellent ministry of the Holy Spirit, charity (Agape Love) will never be done away with. But, spiritual gifts assoc. w/ prophecies, gifts assoc. w/ tongues, & gifts assoc. w/ knowledge shall fail, cease, and vanish away. But Agape Love will NEVER fail throughout the disp. of grace! WHY? Vs.9, Paul says: “We know (understand) in part” (the spiritual gifts were still active). So, “we prophesy (communicate) in part.“ Paul is saying:
1. We have “partial knowledge”(like a child understands) of what God wants the BOC to know, & we prophesy (like a child speaks w/tongues based on that partial knowledge w/ limited info). The Holy Spirit was giving gifts because the word of God was INCOMPLETE! 2. But “when perfection comes, the completed written revelation of the Word. We will have Complete Knowledge. Paul says: For now do I see through a glass darkly: but then FACE to FACE, but then shall I know even also as I am known.” FACE TO FACE, WE NOW HAVE THE MOST EXCELLENT MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, AGAPE LOVE! FACE TO FACE WE NOW HAVE THE COMPLETE WRITTEN REVELATION OF WORD OF GOD!