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Archive for December, 2012

31
Dec

ZEALOUS OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts

Even so you, forasmuch as you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that you may excel to the edifying of the church” (1 Corinthians 14:12). ‘Zeal’ is a seldom used word today. It means vigor, energy, or passion. One who is zealous of spiritual gifts might be called a fanatic for spiritual gifts, like some people are fanatics for history, a sports team, or an ideology. These Corinthians were eagerly pursuing spiritual gifts. Can we take seeking spiritual gifts too far? Apparently they had and Paul was bringing correction.

I think when a sports fanatic ignores his loved ones’ needs while he travels off to the big game has gone too far. I think a NASCAR fan who bankrupts his family to purchase memorabilia has gone too far. And I believe those who are fanatics for spiritual gifts but ignore the hurting people around them those gifts were meant to alleviate have gone too far.

Paul told us earlier to “covet earnestly the best gifts” (1 Cor. 12:31), so we know that being a fanatic after spiritual gifts is not a bad thing. Passion is the inner fire that keeps our spiritual fire ablaze. But to possess a gift but not understand its purpose is like playing with a loaded gun without understanding the dangers involved. The purpose of these spiritual gifts is to minister to people both inside and outside the organized church. Did Jesus perform more miracles out in the streets or in the Temple/synagog?

Spiritual gifts were not given for our enjoyment together, but as outreach tools to the lost world. What are you doing with your spiritual gifts? Are you passionate with them? Outside the church? Inside the church? Are you a fan of anything? Let’s rekindle the fire we once had.

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29
Dec

BARBARIAN

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts

Still making his point about speaking in plain language so people can benefit, Paul continues, “There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaks a barbarian, and he that speaks shall be a barbarian to me” (1 Corinthians 14: 10-11).

I have traveled outside this country and found it a little troubling when announcements in an airport or train station are made and I can’t understand a word they are saying. Is this a message that refers to my ride? I can’t tell what they are trying to say. They should be speaking in plain English (lol). That’s the very point Paul is making. In the church world, we should be speaking in a language others can understand.

He is spending enough time talking about this subject that it apparently was a problem in the Corinthian Church. Perhaps they had people all speaking in their prayer language all day and not winning anyone to the Lord or helping to disciple anyone. Whatever the issue, Paul clearly explains the solution: speak in the language of who is listening.

No one knows exactly how many languages or dialects are spoken in the world today. And how many have become extinct over the centuries? And what of angelic languages? We can only communicate within our language group.

Paul said in 1 Cor. 13:1, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not [agape love], I am become as a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal“. We must learn what it means to love people by caring about them enough to speak to them straight up in a language they can understand. I speak in tongues to God; I speak to my brothers and sisters in a language they can understand.

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28
Dec

EASY TO BE UNDERSTOOD

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts, Uncategorized

Paul had been addressing the importance of clear communication by using the illustration of war musicians using a drum or trumpet to sound signals in the din of battle. He then applies this illustration to us in the church: “So likewise you, except you utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for you shall speak into the air” (1 Corinthians 14:9).

Unless you spend a lot of time talking to yourself (and many do), you usually have someone you’re speaking to. You are directing your message to someone in particular. Grunts and groans may get people’s attention, but they really don’t clearly communicate what we’re thinking.

One of the common problems in marriage is a breakdown in communication. That’s when we keep talking but don’t listen. Our minds are always racing ahead to what we’re going to say in response. We fail to hear what our partner is trying to say because we’re competing to be heard ourselves. Listening to the others’ views can help us see new perspectives. Unless we’re control-freaks and don’t want to learn.

Therefore, the scripture is telling us that we should be clear in our communication with one another in the church. Speaking in tongues is communication directed toward God. When our communication is directed toward people, we should pray for the interpretation and speak it clearly in English, so the church can be built up, encouraged, and comforted (v. 3).

Life is too brief to be wasted with mere small talk. Let’s let our communication count.

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27
Dec

USING YOUR GIFTS

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts

Now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine” (1 Corinthians 14:6). Speaking in tongues in the presence of others does no benefit to anyone, because your inner spirit is speaking to God’s Spirit. It means nothing to others around you. But, then he gives us four types of prophetic messages that do bring benefit to the church. These are what we should be speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:

1. “by revelation“. The root word here is ‘reveal’. There are things that are hidden that need revealed. A couple of days ago I was counseling with a couple that had difficulties in their relationship. They were both trying to make each other jealous (unhealthy). So I probed a little deeper to find that the woman had a history of being used sexually since age 4 and abandoned by those she loved. In her mid-life she is craving for some kind of security and love in her life, always fearful what she has won’t last. These patterns are typical so it didn’t take me long to figure them out. But, when I put into words why she was feeling this, tears flowed from her eyes, her husband reached out his hand to conform her, and the healing had begun. She needed that revelation by the inspiration of God.

2. “by knowledge“. As described in 1 Corinthians 12:8, a word of knowledge is when God reveals a fact to us about someone or something that we could not have already known. This insight must be confirmed, but is one of the revelation gifts that sets people free.

3. “by prophesying”. Prophecy is speaking to someone else the word of the Lord. Each of these four ways of ministering God’s delivering power to others can overlap a bit with others. Each is distinct, however. Prophecy to the body of Christ is God speaking through another and always requires edification, exhortation, and comfort (1 Corinthians 14: 3).

4. by doctrine. A doctrine is a statement of position held by the body. In other words, it states what the church believes about something: the doctrine of the Cross, the doctrine of the resurrection, etc. This teaching that clarifies fuzzy areas of belief is needed in the church and is an inspired gift to the body. What is your doctrine of abortion? or your doctrine of racial equality? These are areas of belief that need addressed by godly men and women or the church will be divided on petty issues not related to the gospel.

These are four areas that I think are examples, not a conclusive list. Speaking these truths by inspiration of the Holy Spirit have more value in the body of Christ than one person speaking in tongues all day.

By all means, pray with your prayer language, but let’s invest words in others that build up and strengthen the body of Christ. Have a Merry Christmas!

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26
Dec

RING TONES

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts

Back to our study of spiritual gifts from 1 Corinthians 12-14. Paul had been addressing the topic of keeping your personal prayer language to yourself but speaking out with spiritual gifts that benefit others in the body. He illustrates this point in the next two verses: “And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to battle” (1 Corinthians 14:7-8).

I went to a local restaurant today to pick up a carry-out salad. While I was waiting, my cell phone rang. I reached down to answer it, supposing Anita wanted to reach me. To my surprise no one was calling. Then it rang again and I realized that the sound of the restaurant telephone ring was just like my cell phone ringer. I couldn’t tell one from the other. That’s why people these days have different ring tone sounds for different callers. They want to identify who’s calling.

There was a time when, in the noise and heat of battle, the only way to identify the commands of your officers was the rhythm of the drummer or the tune on the trumpet. Those sounds could be heard above the din of battle and everyone could follow the signals. So it is with languages. To get any benefit from what is being said, we must be able to clearly understand the messenger. Praying in tongues does nothing for anyone else. But speaking the truth in love, using the language of the hearer, communicates a message.

Now, let me say that there is a place when believers worshiping and praying together all talk to God at the same time: that’s unity in worship. But it doesn’t communicate to anyone else. Paul is trying to help us determine when to use my prayer language (tongues) and when not. He, by no means, is telling us not to use our prayer language when we come together. He’s talking about ministry to others.

Ever heard an orchestra warming up? What do you think an unbeliever hears when he/she hears us speak in tongues when they don’t understand? Let’s use wisdom with our gifts.

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25
Dec

THE HINGE OF HISTORY

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Christmas

Someone once said, “The hinge of history is found on the door of a Bethlehem stable”. Good point. As you celebrate Christmas this year, what do you think that means?

Have a Merry Christmas!

24
Dec

SWEET LITTLE JESUS BOY

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Christmas

Let’s take a couple of day break from our spiritual gifts study to discuss Christmas. On Christmas Eve 1932, Robert McGimsey attended a midnight church service in New York City and then headed back to his one-room apartment. As he walked the final blocks, he passed the open doors of private clubs where people were shouting and swearing and singing. Others were so drunk they has passed out on the sidewalk.

That night McGimsey wrote his thoughts on the back of an envelope. These words, which were written luike the spirituals he had loved growing up in the southern United States, flowed out of his heart:

Sweet little Jesus Boy,
They made You be born in a manger.
Sweet little Holy Child, didn’t know who You was.
Didn’t know You’d come to save us, Lord,
To take our sins away.
Our eyes was blind, we couldn’t see,
We didn’t know who You was.

The song is an apology for those who celebrate Christmas no recognizing what the holy day really signifies. Let’s not make that same mistake.

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