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Last week I opened up the topic of hearing God’s Voice and I gave you the list of ways in which God had spoken to our Jakarta based Cell Group over th...

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Bible Gem 310 - Gifts and other things (1 Cor 1:4-9)

April 7, 2019

 

I always thank my God for you because of the grace of God given you in Christ Jesus. 

For in him you have become rich in every way-in speech and knowledge of every kind. 

In this way, our testimony about Christ has been confirmed among you. 

Therefore, you don't lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 

He will keep you strong until the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Faithful is the God by whom you were called into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.  (1 Cor 1:4-9)  

 

 

Paul doesn’t just say “I always thank God for you”. He says “I always thank my God for you”. Is God your God or is God just God? For Paul God is intensely personal. I think it is that fact which makes Paul so passionate about all the people he meets. Remember the comment Paul made to the Romans (Bible Gemz 138) about God being his witness how much he prayed for the Romans. Here he is doing it again. 

 

Remember this is the Epistle with the focus on the gifts of the Spirit. Right at the beginning Paul mentions the gifts God has given them twice in this opening section. The Corinthians are clearly set apart in terms of the degree to which the gifts were functioning in their midst. As Paul says you don’t lack any spiritual gift. Some translations read “you are second to none”.  The gifts are all there present and practised. The Corinthians were a church which had all the gifts operating. Paul goes on to say “rich in every way – in speech and knowledge of every kind”. These two gifts are particularly useful in demonstrating “the testimony of Christ” – the witness of the power of God, especially prophecy and the word of knowledge. It is manifestly evident God is in their midst and Paul rejoices. The word used here χάρισμα [charisma] does not refer solely to extraordinary and miraculous endowments, but includes also all the kindnesses of God toward them. 

 

They were founded on the power and love of Christ, and the faithfulness of God. The One who had begun a good work in them, and carried it thus far, would not leave it unfinished. “Blameless on the day . . .” what does that mean? The day refers to the day when the Lord will appear and all will be judged before His throne. How can we humans be blameless? Only if our sin is covered by His grace. Only if we are found in Him and because we are covered by His sacrifice God sees us as righteous. We dealt with this concept in Romans. This is why it is so foundational to Christian thought and Paul’s theology. 

 

What is interesting is how Paul starts this letter. It is a letter in which Paul takes the Corinthians to task over a number of issues. I am sure he knew he would talk about the gifts. It was one of those matters about which they wrote. Interestingly Paul starts by commending them on the gifts in their midst. “Yes you Corinthians are rich in the gifts.” Later knowing that he must bring balance as he addresses the matters  they wrote about. It is like many of us who have to address a hard matter but look for the things we can praise before the hard matter is addressed. 

 

 

The power of prayer does not depend on the one who says the prayer but the One who hears the prayer. Max Lucado

 

Your part is prayer and gratitude. God's part? Peace and protection. Max Lucado

 

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