I hope you’ve been enjoying my posts lately. I thought I might do something different today and rustle up a few bits of info from around the WWW. These are some of the news items and blog posts that have been popular over the last few weeks. Leave me your thoughts.
Best published scoops – Faith. 15What is Your Passion? 14Daily Devotional: There's A New Kid In Town; 14Enjoying The Sweet Presence Of The Lord; 13Lessons From The Gospel Of John: Go Tell Someone! 13Christian Leaders Must be Readers …
Almost a century later, and much of the Southern Christian Gospel has not changed. While his popularity has died at mid-century, the couple, Bill and Gloria Gaither has a lot to do in the early 90's again by a massive national tour. …
Traveling for the holidays? TAKE US WITH YOU! Airport. Bus. Train. Vehicle. ~GospelRhythms Is Mobile~. The Party goes where you go! Bring a friend and Party Hard! Share. Powered by Max Banner Ads. Powered by Max Banner Ads …
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God’s grand plan unfolds through the exercise of the ordinary means of grace — Word and Sacrament — in the midst of His people who make use of their God-ordained gifts, and are intended to bring blessing to us and glory to God through ordinary living. In verse 31 Paul alludes to “higher gifts.” Gifts (charisma) is in the plural. So there actually are some higher or better gifts. These higher gifts are the simple gifts of love and service. They are the gifts of Christian leadership that Jesus taught to His disciples. “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all” (Mark 10:42-44). The higher gifts are the very mundane gifts of love and service exercised in the midst of ordinary life.
I think that Paul had two such gifts in mind. The first higher or better gift is the unique gift(s) that God has given to each of His people, those various skills, abilities and personality quirks that makes each of us unique. These are the gifts of the diversity of the body of Christ.
The second better or higher gift that Paul has in mind is a gift that is more valuable than all the others he has so far mentioned, more valuable than apostles, more valuable than prophets, more valuable than teachers, more valuable than miracles, more valuable than gifts of healing, more valuable than helping, more valuable than administrating, more valuable than various kinds of tongues, and more valuable than the interpretation of tongues. This gift is the gift of Christian love. God’s love is the gift of grace He has given us. Love is both root and fruit, seed and flower. It is a gift given to us by God Himself, and a gift that we are to pass along to others (Genesis 12:2).
This second higher gift of Christian love is more spiritual than the others. It is more a function of the Holy Spirit, more a manifestation of the Spirit, more an expression of the Spirit. And as such it is a gift of the unity of the Spirit. It is different than the other gifts mentioned because its central characteristic is unity rather than diversity. It issues out of unity. It creates unity. And it celebrates unity. As such it is a gift that is shared by all Christians. All of Christ’s people have this gift (to varying degrees), and those who don’t have it, aren’t Christ’s people. It is an identifying mark of God’s people, the body of Christ, the church. It is what holds the body of Christ together. It is the glue of Christian fellowship. And it goes hand-in-hand with the first gift, the unique and personal gift(s) that make us all different from one another.
The gift Christians share in common provides the context for the blossoming of the different gifts that make us unique. And conversely, our unique differences provide the context for the common glue that holds us together. The diversity requires the unity in order to function. Our different gifts must work together toward or with a common purpose. Without the unity the diversity is just chaos.
And without the diversity the unity produces death. If all of the parts of the body tried to be eyes or ears or hands or feet, the body would die because the body needs the different parts to function as God created them to function. The unity needs the diversity, and the diversity needs the unity. Paul has been speaking about the diversity in chapter twelve. In chapter thirteen, he turns his attention to the unity, the greatest gift that God has given to His people, the gift that cannot be seen apart from the eyes of faith and cannot be exercised apart from the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.
About The Author
Phillip A. Ross, a pastor for over 25 years, founded http://www.Pilgrim-Platform.org which is loaded with information about historic Christianity. He published a exposition First Corinthians In 2008 that demonstrates the Apostle Paul’s opposition to worldly Christianity. Ross recounts how Paul turned the world upside down in his book, Arsy Varsy — Reclaiming the Gospel in First Corinthians.