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TOPIC: FOUR BASIC PRINCIPLES OF CHURCH EDIFICATION
TEXT: 1Cor 14: 1 – 6. Part 2
“…Since you are so eager and ambitious to possess spiritual endowments and manifestations of the (Holy) Spirit, (concentrate on) striving to excel and to abound (in them) in ways that will build up the Church” 1Cor 14: 12 AMP.
“Since you are so anxious to have special gifts from the Holy Spirit, ask Him for the very best, for those that will be of help to the whole Church” TLB.
It is a fact that one of the very evidences of the presence of God in a fellowship is the presence of the gifts (Rom 12, 1cor 12 14, Eph 4: 11). Therefore it is of utmost importance that all genuine gifts of the Spirit be encouraged within the body of Christ. The Spirit rightly admonished when He said “Quench not the spirit (1Thes 5: 19) which is in direct connection to the operations of the Holy Spirit in the bestowal of the spiritual gifts as in 1Cor 12: 4 – 11. People of God, there is no gift that is done away with until the entire body of Christ come to the fullness of the measure of the stature of Christ (Eph 4: 13) when all gifts shall cease, for then no man shall teach his neighbor know the Lord, for then all shall know Him from the least to the greatest (Heb 8: 10 – 11). And this is to be achieved through the operations of the gifts and callings. Therefore we stand to encourage them. What I think the Spirit is against is abuse of the gifts and functions in our callings.
SOME CONSIDERATIONS IN MANIFESTING GIFTS AND CALLINGS
1. In 1Cor 14: 12 we read of the Spirit asking us to seek “the best of the gifts. So which ones are the best of the gifts? From verses 2 – 3 we can see that the best of the gifts are those that create understanding in the heart of the people for proper response both to change and a movement Godward: “For one who speaks in a tongue speak not to men but to God; for no one UNDERSTANDS him, but he utters mysteries in the spirit. On the other hand, he who prophesies speaks to men for their up building and encouragement and consolation” (RSV). So here we see that the gifts that produce comfort and consolation are termed the best because they are geared towards the church – the people and not self. This should be our first consideration.
2. The second consideration we should have is the manner of presentation. Apostle Paul said in functioning in our callings (Eph 4: 11 – 13)) even in the five fold ministry in order to cause men not to be tossed to and fro by every sleight of men, we should present our message with Love. “But Speaking the truth IN LOVE, may grow up into Him in all things which is the head even Christ” (v – 15). Declaring “fire and brimstone” everyday does not necessarily make you a good warrior for truth as you may only succeed in making people do relate to God out of fear and not out of love, with a manifestation of artificial outward holiness. Therefore “... Let us consider and give attentive continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities” (Heb 10: 24 AMP). All in response to what Christ has done for us.
3. Understand that you are human, only performing a duty for the one that called you. “Now a high priest is a man chosen to represent other human beings in their dealings with God; he presents their gifts to God and offers their sacrifices for sins. And because he is human, he is able to deal GENTLY with the people, though THEY ARE IGNORANT and WAYWARD. For he is subject to the same weakness they have. That is why he has to offer sacrifices, both for their sins and for his own sins (Prayer of forgiveness). And no one can become a high priest simply because he wants such an honour. He has to be called by God for this work, just as Aaron was. That is why Christ did not exalt himself to become High Priest, No, he was chosen by God…” Heb 5: 1 - 5. The fact is Christ could relate and minister on our behalf because He took on the nature of man, showing that until you take the pains and level of the people, you cannot minister to them in Love. The fact that you can still pray for yourself and for forgiveness shows that you are still human even if you pretend to have attained to “the Melchizedek Priesthood”. You can still minister out of love and compassion to those “who are still ignorant and wayward” for the purpose of their edification. Therefore our Language as ministers and gifts operators is very important. Let us not Labour in vain and be a cast away at the end (1Cor 9: 27); rather “…Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit but the profit of many, that they may be saved” (1cor 10: 33) as Paul said.
SO HOW DO WE EDIFY THE CHURCH?
“Dear brothers and sisters if I should come to you talking in an unknown Language, how would that help you? But if I bring you some REVELATION or some SPECIAL KNOWLEDGE or SOME PROPHECY or SOME TEACHING – that is what will help you” 1Cor 14: 6 TLB. So we found that the four basic principles that will help the Church are:
(1) Revelation (2) Knowledge (3) Prophecy (4) Doctrine- Teaching
By Revelation from the Grk (apokalopsis), from the root (apokabupto) we mean a disclosure, i.e. to take off the cover, to disclose, reveal. It means appearing, coming, lighten, manifestation, be real. In other words, it is a disclosure of that which is hidden from view by removing the covering that the hidden object might be brought to light. So to come to someone by revelation is to cause that individual to see what is hidden either around or within him or her; and the ultimate thing God wants us to reveal through our callings and giftings is Christ. Revelation therefore is not just a matter of teaching or speaking mysteries but a making known the person of the Christ that is lost amongst mankind. What John the Baptist did through his Baptismal ministry was a revelation: “And I know Him not but that He should be made manifest to Israel therefore am I come baptizing with Water…Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, the same is he … And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (Jn 1: 31 - 34).
THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS HIMSELF
And so in Math 11: 27 we read: “All things are delivered unto me of my Father, and no man KNOWETH THE SON but the FATHER; neither knoweth any man the father save THE SON; and He to whomsoever the son will REVEAL HIM”. First of the entire phrase “No man knoweth (oudeis) expressing full and direct negation, independently and absolutely, not depending on any condition expressed or implied. In other words, God is not depending on anything or person to know the son.
“…neither knoweth (Oi da) any man the Father save the son”: To know here means that which is intuitive, without effort; to understand, which is a subjective knowledge unlike that which is objective knowledge (Ginosko) through experience - getting to know. In other words, you can’t get to know the Father in your subconscious mind without the help of the Son or the Son without the help of the Father, hence the Father teaches us (Jn 6: 45), which is His intended will (Thelema) to reveal the Son to and in us.
PETER’S EXPERIENCE AND PAUL’S TESTIMONY
In Mark 16: 15 - 17 when Peter said: “Thou art the Christ, the son of the Living God”, the Lord said “… Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven”. Understand as well that the phrase “The Son of God” expresses the relation of the Son to the Father and all those who are begotten of God. This is different from the son of man which relates to his dominion upon earth.
So what is our ministry and callings supposed to do? It is to minister the revelation of the “Son of God” unto the church that will produce in them a divine relationship of a father and son. This is what the revelation of the Christ will do in the life of a people. And so Paul would say: “…when it pleased God to reveal His Son in me that I might preach Him among the heathen, immediately I conferred not with Flesh and blood”. Now the Greek word “son” here is Huios which speaks of a son or male, having reference to origin or nature including that of relationship to the Father. It talks of Maturity. In other words divine revelation will cause the church to come to maturity in God. Are we revealing Christ or self?
TO BE CONTINUED OGAGA O. DAVID