Saturday 3rd Dec 2022Lighthouse

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I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you— so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you should be in agreement and that there should be no divisions among you, but that you should be united in the same mind and the same purpose.

 

1 Corinthians 1:4-10 NRSV

 

Introduction 

 

This morning I’m speaking about never lacking in the spiritual.

 

We began last week, with this scripture from Paul's letter to the Corinthians 

 

I spoke about last week how in much of Paul's letters, he speaks to the church in the light of their end goal, which in this case he calls the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the day Jesus spoke about when the inauguration and installation of the kingdom of God and He will appear.  This is the ‘revelation’ or the revealing of Christ. 

 

In the meantime, we are to be waiting with expectation and hope and faithfully serving God, with this end in mind. Faithfulness or faith is the key to playing our part in the here and now.  This dual focus of the life of faith is key in our understanding of the purpose of God. 

 

This future goal sets us on a path, where we follow Christ, we set ourselves in the right direction and walk with purpose towards the end goal.

 

Three points in his series, the second of which I shall look at today from this scripture.

 

  1. Grace has enriched you
  2. Not lacking in the Spiritual
  3. United as the body of Christ.

 

As I mentioned Grace is a Spiritual gift, it is not all that the Spirit offers. 

 

Paul addresses Corinth to encourage them, that while we wait for the end, we should not be lacking.

 

Paul also says we should desire spiritual gifts and not grieve the Spirit. 

 

Pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts, and especially that you may prophesy.

1 Corinthians 14:1 NRSVA

 

And again 

 

So with yourselves; since you are eager for spiritual gifts, strive to excel in them for building up the church.

1 Corinthians 14:12 NRSVA

 

The encouragement is to walk in the Spirit not just by our carnal mind, to engage with what God has for us by sowing to the Spirit, not to the flesh. (see Romans 8)

 

Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

Ephesians 4:29-32 NRSVA

 

Again reminding them of the day of redemption, not to grieve the Spirit by acting out of their flesh.

 

So today, a few quick points

 

First, the Spirit was promised by Christ. Second, this is a gift from God and is no respecter of persons, third, we should never lack in our understanding of the Holy Spirit. Finally that we should be blameless.

 

1. The promise 

 

Jesus spoke to his disciples in the gospel of John that the Spirit would remain with them, and in them, teaching them and empowering them. This helper would remind them of Jesus' words, the helper, is also the one who will keep them till the end.

 

Jesus said (recorded by Luke in 24) that his disciples would be fully equipped.

 

“Listen carefully: I am sending the Promise of My Father [the Holy Spirit] upon you, but you are to remain in the city [of Jerusalem] until you are clothed (fully equipped) with power from on high.”

Luke 24:49 AMP

 

We were never meant to live without the Spirit. God breathed his Spirit into humans and made them into living beings.

 

God calls and God equips, Christ looked not at the wise but to the willing.

 

This power from on high Jesus spoke about is here for us today.

 

I believe that in our understanding God wants us to go a bit deeper. Searching by the Spirit into the depth of God. As in Him are hidden all the rich treasures of wisdom and understanding.  The Spirit of God gives us insight and the wisdom of God, Paul writes he didn’t come with words of human wisdom but with the wisdom of God that the Spirit supplies.

 

This promise Peter said was given way before Jesus walked on earth, the prophet Joel said the Spirit would be poured out on all people young old rich-poor male-female on everyone. This promise was for anyone who believes. (see Acts 2)

 

2. The gift 

 

As Paul writes, in chapter 12. That the church should not be ignorant of the spiritual. Then he goes on to say that the gift has different manifestations but it is the same Spirit, 

 

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. Each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

1 Corinthians 12:4-7 NRSA

 

Gifts are given to the church, Paul writes these are for the edification of the body as a whole until we come to unity.

 

The unity of the body, which will come next week is so important for Paul in his writings.

 

We, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.

Romans 12:5-8

  • NRSV

 

 

3. Not lacking as we are waiting 

 

Many today are feeling a sense of lacking in life, perhaps that is why we fill our lives with things that do not make us feel fulfilled 

 

Modern philosophy can make us feel empty. A life without hope for the end.

 

Last week we spoke about speech and knowledge, these are indeed the gifts of the Spirit Paul mentions later in the book.  Speech in the sense of Spirit-inspired prophecy and the gift of tongues and knowledge understanding the mysteries of God and wisdom.  These gifts are not therefore to be lacking while we wait for Christ’s appearance.  We are meant to operate in the gifts of the Spirit daily. In our speech, prayers and our dealings with others. As Paul writes 

 

For those who speak in a tongue do not speak to other people but God; for nobody understands them, since they are speaking mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, those who prophesy speak to other people for their building up and encouragement and consolation.

1 Corinthians 14:2-3 NRSVA

 

 

 

My final point is 

 

 

4. Blameless until the end

 

Here Paul is recommending that the life of the new creation is such that others can't find fault. It doesn't mean as far as God's standard that they are perfect, but the testimony or witness (Greek word martyr) is always on their minds. 

 

Paul reminded them of the strength of the witness of Christ and that we never forget what Christ has done.  This is true for those Israelites, the exodus story, and their rescue were a constant reminder.  Paul does this too, he reminds them, that “you were once slaves to sin and headed for death” 

 

Coupled with the grace that God supplies in abundance. For the witness of Christ to be strengthened, means that we have to always keep in mind what Christ has done for us.  That we have been saved from a life of sin and a destructive end and given a place in God’s kingdom to rule and reign with Christ.

 

Close with this, as it is where we started.

 

Just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you— so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him, you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

What is important to Paul is that while we are waiting we are faithfully serving God, with this end in mind. Faithfulness or faith is the key to playing our part in the here and now. 

 

We need, like the Corinthians, to be reminded of the Spirit of God in our lives and the gifts he has for us.  We are not meant to have a form of religion that denies the Spirit of God.  We embrace the giftings as they enhance our walk with God

 

Remember, the Spirit was promised by Christ. And it is a gift from God and is no respecter of persons, and that we should never lack in our understanding and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Finally that we should be blameless till the end.

 

 

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