(1 Corinthians 13:13)
There are a few scriptures in the bible that are so well known that many people, even non-Christians know them or recognise them when they hear them. For example, John 3:16 or Psalm 23. And this verse too is another of those that are well known, especially among Christians.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. – (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Geometrically speaking, the strongest design that can be made is a triangle. And triangles are used to strengthen many building structures so they do not break or fall. Likewise when someone is trying to be located, authorities will triangulate their position to pinpoint exactly where they might be.
So too this triangle of faith, hope and love is powerful and strong, and in this triangle also the way to Christ and the way of God is located.
(1 Corinthians 13:8-12)
Like the circle of a wedding ring, love never ends
Everything pertaining to this world and this life are temporary. Even the earth, sun, stars and the universe are only temporary. Everything we can see, everything we know will not last.
Except for God's love.
Only love is eternal and only God's love never ends. His love goes on forever and ever because God is love and He is eternal.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Of all the questions mankind has asked, from poets to philosophers, academics to artists, this is perhaps the most profound and mysterious of all: what is love?
What is love?
Love is so fundamental to the human condition that it forms part of our DNA. It is part of our nature to seek, hope for and long to love and to be loved.
No man is an island, as some wise man once wrote, and it is true. To be an island is to be separated and held apart from all others, and the most severe of separations is the separation from love.
But the challenge for all mankind is to learn to understand love not as man sees it, but how God sees it. To be separated from ones fellow man is dire indeed, but to be separated from the love of God is catastrophic, for to be in His love is life, but to be separated from His love is death.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
Over my last few posts I have discussed the ministry gifts and spiritual gifts that are given to both individuals and to the church. These gifts are given for the purpose of building up either the individual or the church body as a whole.
The spiritual gifts are very important. They are critical to the growth and maturity of the church when they are operating correctly.
However, spiritual gifts are not the MOST important thing. They are not the be-all and end-all of the walk we have in Jesus Christ. Paul shows this after discussing the gifts in the previous chapter, which he finishes by saying, “And I will show you a still more excellent way.” So let us now look at what could be better and what is “more excellent” even than the gifts of the holy spirit.
(1 Corinthians 12:26-31)
The modern church for the most part has watered down the ministries of the new covenant to the point where most of the gifts of ministry have ceased to exist. This is especially true of the miraculous and spiritual gifts of God that He gave to the church for the express purpose of building up the church so that it could stand in the face of opposition.
Now I am the first to point out that the gifts are not going to bring anyone to salvation. You do not need to be able to perform miracles, walk on water, speak in tongues, prophesy by the spirit, carry out miraculous hearings or cast out demons to be saved. None of these things are necessary for salvation.
However, the gifts have been provided to the church to help us as we walk with Christ. They are meant to provide insight, spiritual help and guidance as we walk in the faith that will bring us to salvation in Jesus Christ. Thus Paul says here in verse 31,
But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. – (1 Corinthians 12:31)
(1 Corinthians 12:12-26)
When the gospel was first preached by Jesus Christ Himself, and subsequently by those who learned it directly from Him, there was only one body. There was one message, one truth and one way that was taught to all the people of the early church.
One body, many parts
But as time went on and those who walked with Christ and spoke with Him passed away the message changed. People who were using Christianity as a means for personal power or gain began twisting the message to suit their own desires. And we even saw the beginnings of this perversion of the truth in the times of the early church as many of the letters of Paul, John, Peter, Jude and James attested.
Look where we are today. Countless denominations, sects, groups and churches that hold many different teachings, some of which do not accord with the truth of the gospel and others that do.
And we Christians are often our own worst enemies. Different groups or ministries arguing with one another over small things. And some of these arguments are even about things that have no bearing on the doctrine at all. This should not be so.
(1 Corinthians 12:8-11)
In my last post I spoke of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit that is given to all people who are born of the spirit and who receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The manifestation of the spirit as spoken of by Paul in verse 7 of this chapter is clearly speaking in tongues.
But now we look at the other gifts of the Holy Spirit that different people may receive. All of the gifts of the spirit are given for specific purposes. But there are two primary reasons why the Lord sees fit to bestow the gifts of the spirit on people, which we will cover here.
But first let us look at getting the gifts. There are many people who would like to have the gifts of the spirit. I mean, who wouldn't want to have the gift of miraculous healing and be able to walk into a hospital and empty it out by healing everyone there? Imagine that! Why can't we do that? Well…let's have a look at this whole matter in some more depth.
(1 Corinthians 12:7)
This single verse presents Christians with a few interesting questions. It says,
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. – (1 Corinthians 12:7)
First, what is the “manifestation” of the Spirit? Second, who is it given to and how do you get it? And finally why is it for the “common good?”
The answers to some of these questions can be seen when looking at the original Greek words from which this verse is translated, but others of these questions require a more extensive search to gain an understanding.
(1 Corinthians 12:4-6)
These verses teach us many things and one of the most important is about the nature of the person of God. There is a foundational truth in these few verses that goes deep into the heart of what we as Christians believe.
Who is God? More specifically who is the God worshipped in Christianity? Is it the god of the trinity that is so strongly held by almost all Christians sects, denominations and faiths or is the true God someone else?
This is an important issue and one that must be discussed and addressed for if we are wrong, we may be worshiping a myth and a lie. If the God we worship is not in fact the God of truth, then who or what are we worshiping?
(1 Corinthians 12:1-3)
Many years ago while my father was still alive he said to me that we need to take note of the “little” words in the Bible. It is often the small words that we can pass over at a glance that convey a depth of meaning we would miss otherwise.
I have repeated this same good advice to others on many occasions, and in this short section of scripture there is a case in point worth looking at to illustrate this point.
It is often in the small, insignificant words that we get the full and true meaning of the text. The particular verse in this section I am referring to is verse 3, which says,
Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit. – (1 Corinthians 12:3)