Within the Corinthian church, there was confusion and controversy, misunderstanding and abuse regarding spiritual gifts. And there remains confusion and controversy, misunderstanding and abuse regarding spiritual gifts in 21st century Everett. No other area of Christian doctrine has been subjected to so much confusion and debate. This week we will examine the Apostle Paul's teaching regarding spiritual gifts. Paul beautifully unpacks the reason for the diversity of spiritual gifts and their function in the church.
We continue this morning in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthians and the present issue being addressed is that some of the Corinthians were claiming to be spiritually elite. Within the church there was a fascination with tongues and a superiority complex by those who used them. The Corinthians had a hard time learning to live in unity while being diverse in their giftings. Again, many felt superior to others. And so Paul takes up this metaphor of the body to help them, to help us, see the importance and the practicality of Christian unity.
We live in a culture that places a high value on individualism. But as followers of Christ we are called to live in community with each other. In 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 Paul gives use the illustration of the human body to describe how we are to live as the church.
Last week we saw that love is like a diamond. Every diamond has dozens of facets. Facets are the windows through which you observe the exquisite beauty of a diamond. Through every facet you’ll see a different beautiful mosaic of light and color. Similarly, love is multifaceted and possesses an unsurpassing beauty making it supreme above all. Last week, we examined 1 Corinthians 13 and studied various facets or characteristics of love. And because this text and topic is worthy of more attention than what we could give it in one week, we will focus on it again. Our focus this morning is on the supremacy of love over all other works and giftings of the Spirit in us. In our text this morning we will see 3 reasons love is supreme.
And after affirming the value and necessity of all spiritual gifts, Paul turns his attention to instructing the Corinthians on how to use their spiritual gifts. Paul does not question the legitimacy of speaking in tongues. He believes it is a legitimate activity of the Spirit. But he stresses that this activity is useless, indeed worthless if love is missing. If our spiritual gifts are not carried on by, motivated by love and the common good of the body of Christ, Paul says then your speaking in tongues is just meaningless noise.
As we’ve read and studied for the past few weeks, the Corinthian church was dysfunctional when it gathered together. The Corinthian worship services were chaotic and random, disordered and formless. They were messy and noisy as everyone was talking at once, drowning each other out, talking over one another. Paul’s antidote is to offer guidelines that create orderliness, promote self-control and keep in mind a concern for others. Paul has previously said the goal of the gathered assembly is to worship the Lord in an edifying and intelligible way. Therefore, Paul gives guidelines for 3 types of speech as it relates to promoting order and edification.
The cross and the empty tomb stand at the center of the Christian faith and therefore, Christ’s resurrection is central to everything in the Christian life. By raising Jesus from the dead, God set in motion the final overthrow of death itself. The resurrection of Jesus is the promise of the resurrection from the dead for every one who trusts in His Name. Because He lives, we shall also live.
Some truths more important than others. Paul writes to the Corinthian Church with urgency about the truths that are “of first importance.” Indeed, all revealed truth is invaluable, but certain truths are of highest importance, and that's the language Paul uses. And what is of first importance? “That Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,” and “that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” The cross and the empty tomb stand at the center of the Christian faith and therefore, Christ’s resurrection is central to everything in the Christian life. It is the ultimate eschatological event. By raising Jesus from the dead, God set in motion the final overthrow of death itself. Think clock ticking. Hour glass sands falling, and its just a matter of time. The resurrection of Jesus is the promise of our resurrection from the dead. Because He lives, we shall also live.
Summary: This week we are delighted to welcome Pastor Randy Loveless as our preacher. Pastor Randy is the Executive Pastor of Damascus Road Church in Marysville. This week, Pastor Randy continues to expound the glories of the resurrection of Christ as revealed in 1 Corinthians 15.