ESOCS Devotional 22 April 2023
MEMORY VERSE: “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” 1 Corinthians 12:11
TEXT: 1 CORINTHIANS 12:1-31
Now about the spiritual gifts (the special endowments of supernatural energy), brethren, I do not want you to be misinformed.
2 You know that when you were heathen, you were led off after idols that could not speak [habitually] as impulse directed andwhenever the occasion might arise.
3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking under the power and influence of the [Holy] Spirit of God can [ever] say, Jesus be cursed! And no one can [really] say, Jesus is [my] Lord, except by and under the power and influence of the Holy Spirit.
4 Now there are distinctive varieties and distributions of endowments (gifts, extraordinary powers distinguishing certain Christians, due to the power of divine grace operating in their souls by the Holy Spirit) and they vary, but the [Holy] Spirit remains the same.
5 And there are distinctive varieties of service and ministration, but it is the same Lord [Who is served].
6 And there are distinctive varieties of operation [of working to accomplish things], but it is the same God Who inspires andenergizes them all in all.
7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the [Holy] Spirit [the evidence, the spiritual illumination of the Spirit] for good and profit.
8 To one is given in and through the [Holy] Spirit [the power to speak] a message of wisdom, and to another [the power to express] a word of knowledge and understanding according to the same [Holy] Spirit;
9 To another [wonder-working] faith by the same [Holy] Spirit, to another the extraordinary powers of healing by the one Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles, to another prophetic insight (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose); to another the ability to discern and distinguish between [the utterances of true] spirits [and false ones], to another various kinds of [unknown] tongues, to another the ability to interpret [such] tongues.
11 All these [gifts, achievements, abilities] are inspired and brought to pass by one and the same [Holy] Spirit, Who apportions to each person individually [exactly] as He chooses.
12 For just as the body is a unity and yet has many parts, and all the parts, though many, form [only] one body, so it is with Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
13 For by [means of the personal agency of] one [Holy] Spirit we were all, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, baptized [and by baptism united together] into one body, and all made to drink of one [Holy] Spirit.
14 For the body does not consist of one limb or organ but of many.
15 If the foot should say, Because I am not the hand, I do not belong to the body, would it be therefore not [a part] of the body?
16 If the ear should say, Because I am not the eye, I do not belong to the body, would it be therefore not [a part] of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where [would be the sense of] hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where [would be the sense of] smell?
18 But as it is, God has placed and arranged the limbs and organs in the body, each [particular one] of them, just as He wished andsaw fit and with the best adaptation.
19 But if [the whole] were all a single organ, where would the body be?
20 And now there are [certainly] many limbs and organs, but a single body.
21 And the eye is not able to say to the hand, I have no need of you, nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
22 But instead, there is [absolute] necessity for the parts of the body that are considered the more weak.
23 And those [parts] of the body which we consider rather ignoble are [the very parts] which we invest with additional honor, and our unseemly parts and those unsuitable for exposure are treated with seemliness (modesty and decorum),
24 Which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so adjusted (mingled, harmonized, and subtly proportioned the parts of) the whole body, giving the greater honor and richer endowment to the inferior parts which lack [apparent importance],
25 So that there should be no division or discord or lack of adaptation [of the parts of the body to each other], but the members all alike should have a mutual interest in and care for one another.
26 And if one member suffers, all the parts [share] the suffering; if one member is honored, all the members [share in] the enjoyment of it.
27 Now you [collectively] are Christ’s body and [individually] you are members of it, each part severally and distinct [each with his own place and function].
28 So God has appointed some in the church [for His own use]: first apostles (special messengers); second prophets (inspired preachers and expounders); third teachers; then wonder-workers; then those with ability to heal the sick; helpers; administrators; [speakers in] different (unknown) tongues.
29 Are all apostles (special messengers)? Are all prophets (inspired interpreters of the will and purposes of God)? Are all teachers? Do all have the power of performing miracles?
30 Do all possess extraordinary powers of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?
31 But earnestly desire and zealously cultivate the greatest andbest gifts and graces (the higher gifts and the choicest graces). And yet I will show you a still more excellent way [one that is better by far and the highest of them all—love].
One of the problems that face churches today is the issue of spiritual gifts and the spirits in operation. Spiritual gifts and its use is a matter that has become controversial and confusing to many, with all kinds of operations and practices which many times do not agree one with another. How can one know among this several manifestations which Spirit is of God?
An important fact that stands out in this lesson is that the Holy Spirit is one. His manifestation as gifts in men comes in different ways and operations. These different manifestations do not point to different sources of power or different spirits but they are all manifestations of one spirit, which is the Holy Spirit. This fact is clear. The implication of this is that the different manifestations will be one in purpose, speak the same language, and be in total agreement; otherwise, there is a contrary spirit in operation.
On the basis for knowing the Spirit and operations that is of God, St Paul tells us two things; he says, no one speaking by the spirit of God says “Jesus be cursed”; and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. In other words, the testimony of any spirit about Jesus Christ as seen in its words or action is the basis to determine the spirit that is of God (Holy Spirit) or not of God. The Holy Spirit is consistent in His testimony about who Jesus is, His mission, His death on the cross, His resurrection and ascension to the right hand of God and its implication for man (the gospel). He upholds this and does not in any way contravene it. But the spirit that is not of God does not and cannot. This is how you know the spirit or operation that is of God. However, this is not easy for the unbeliever. You will need to be born again, grow in intimacy with the Lord, and know the gospel experientially for you to be able to judge correctly.
- Can you think of any prophecy or spiritual directions you have heard that was not of God?
- Why do you think so?
- Lord, we pray for your abiding presence in our lives. Purify our lives and purify our hearts. Keep us, O Lord, from deceitful spirits that we may not be led astray. Amen.
FURTHER READING: Genesis 7:11-18; Job 19:21-27; Mark 15:42-end; 1 Peter 3:17-20
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ESOCS Devotional 21 April 2023