define('DISABLE_WP_CRON', true); Pastor Ralph Diehl » 2013 » January

Archive for January, 2013

31
Jan

IGNORANCE

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts

Paul introduced his teaching on spiritual gifts back in 1 Corinthians 12:1 by saying, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant“. Now he concluded this teaching by adding: “But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.” (1 Corinthians 14:38).

Some people are just stubborn. I was ignorant of spiritual gifts for 24 years. I ignored the topic, didn’t understand the topic, and even ridiculed others for their gifts. I was ignorant. We can’t teach an ignorant man/woman anything they don’t want to learn. I was lost in my own darkness and my destiny was bleak.

In January of 1972 I was at a co-workers home after work one evening, my life in shambles and my hope gone. My nerves were shot and I was looking for anything to fill this hunger inside. Two men laid hands on me to receive the Holy Spirit. Emotional release swept over me as I surrendered fully to Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit entered me fully that night and I’ve been passionate about my service to God ever since. I chose not to be ignorant, but it was God who opened my mind to that.

Paul here advises us to not cast our pearls before swine. Invest yourself in those who don’t want to be ignorant, who desire to learn, who want to experience God in a deeper way.

If they choose to be ignorant, let them be ignorant. Its OK to be ignorant.

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30
Jan

FINAL ANSWER

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts

As the Apostle Paul is wrapping up his commentary on spiritual gifts, he qualifies his audience: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37).

When Paul advised the Corinthians earlier regarding marriage and divorce (1 Corinthians 7), he noted that some of the things he was saying were from the Lord, and some of them were his own experienced opinion. We must, like Paul, recognize that some of our opinions and thoughts are of our own preferences and cultural background, while others are straight from the Bible. We should never say “thus saith the Lord” just because that’s the way we think it should be. Prophecy is not a game of coercion.

Paul is speaking here to spiritual people who minister with spiritual gifts. He tells them to consider the advice he has just been giving in 1 Corinthians 12-14 to be prophetic and from God for His church. Carnal (worldly) people just do what feels right with spiritual gifts. But spiritual people exercise spiritual gifts with great fear and reverence for the gift-giver. This is Paul’s final answer on the topic of spiritual gifts.

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29
Jan

NO CORNER ON GOD

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts

What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?” (1 Corinthians 14:36). Paul appears a little surprised that he has go to here with the Corinthians. He asks the question: Did the spiritual gifts originate with you? Of course not; they originated with God. And God can use any method He chooses. In Genesis God spoke to Moses through a burning bush. In Numbers He spoke to Balaam through a donkey. God will use unusual ways to get our attention, but He always gets our attention.

Second rhetorical question he asked was: Are you Corinthians the only people the gifts work through or for? The radical out-pouring of the Holy Spirit upon the church in the early church era had followed the spread of Christianity wherever they took it. So it does today. No one has a corner on God. We need to stop looking for prophetic references to the United States in the Bible. The Bible fits any culture and any political system. God’s grace is always present.

Spiritual gifts should be affluent among believers wherever they practice their faith, including DeKalb County and northeast Indiana in the 21st century. The Holy Spirit should be a major influencer of our culture, not just softly referred to on Sunday morning.

Spiritual gifts emanate from God through believers to a lost world until Jesus comes back.

28
Jan

A SHAME

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts

Continuing his very controversial statements about women keeping silent in the church, Paul explains, “And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church” (1 Corinthians 14:35).

In yesterday’s blog post I shared about Paul’s value of keeping peace in the church in light of the culture. A couple of observations can be made from verse 35. First, the role of spiritual leader is clearly upon the husband in a marriage relationship. In today’s society, many men have abdicated this to the wives and eroded the spiritual impact God intended. Men have not given their wives spiritual security or covering. And many wives will not trust their husbands to lead. Guys, be the leader!

But, what does this say to single women or widows who have no husband at home? At first reading this doesn’t seem to make sense to me or fit into the context.

Then he makes this statement about it being “a shame for women to speak in the church.” Sorry, but understanding grace as Paul described in Romans, and the teaching that Paul has given us about all being a part of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12), I cannot see the scriptural support behind this shame concept.

This leads me to conclude that Paul is clearing referring to a cultural norm of it being shameful for women to take any place in the church. And I do not see a scriptural mandate for church leadership to be “only male”. Wives do, however, still fit under the spiritual principle of being in subjection to their own husbands. If a woman won’t be in submission at home, she’ll never be in submission to spiritual authorities in the church, either.

Agree or disagree?

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26
Jan

WOMEN KEEP SILENCE

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts

As Paul goes through some rules for ministering spiritual gifts in the assembly of the saints, he steps on troublesome territory in the next verse: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted for them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also says the law” (1 Corinthians 14:34).

Now, in the 21st century this is indeed controversial. Some teach that this is to be taken literally and only men should be speaking in the church. Others say that it had to do with Jewish and cultural traditions that no longer apply. But, this is the word of God, and it is the great Apostle Paul speaking. Therefore, we have to take this seriously. Many younger folks have walked away from the faith because they believe this is one of the verses that prove the Bible is really out of touch with the world today and not relevant to their lives. What do we say to all this?

Dr. Paul E. Paino, one of my faith heroes, used to say that whenever we have two opposite opinions in the church world, the truth is usually somewhere in the middle. When Paul said, “it is not permitted“, he doesn’t tell us whether it was God, church leaders, or the culture that made this rule. Because he also says, “as also says the law“, we know that there is a cultural perspective in his teaching, because Jesus fulfilled the law (Matthew 5:17). He also says women are “to be under obedience“. A better translation for the Greek word translated ‘obedience’ is ‘submission’.

What I speak now is my opinion of what Paul was saying. The cultural norm within the Jewish and Gentile culture was for women to be in subjection to their husbands. It would be a stumbling block for many if that cultural norm was violated. Therefore, the Christian women should follow the rules of their local assembly so there will be no confusion and there will be peace (v. 33). This does not disqualify them from speaking a prophetic word individually or in small groups. This interpretation fits with the context of surrounding verses.

I do not believe Paul is teaching here that Christian women are somehow inferior in the church setting. As a matter of fact, thank God for the many women who are spiritual leaders at New Hope. What would we do without them?

OK. This is your opportunity to comment and give me your honest opinion of what Paul means in this verse.

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25
Jan

AUTHOR…OF PEACE

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts

Paul had just stated that the spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet (v. 32). He continues, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:33).

Whether your gift is prophecy, encouragement, prayer, or whatever, you must bring your gifts and talents under your own control. We laugh when someone says, “The devil made me do it”. But its just as ridiculous to say, “The Lord told me to do that,” just to justify our own actions. If I’m going to teach something, I’m responsible to have studied that out before I teach it.

God is not the author of confusion, so if what I do, or the timing of what I do, brings confusion, it didn’t come from God. God has never originated a church split! That confusion originates within humans who got out of line or couldn’t wait upon God’s timing. There must be order in His church.

Not only is God not the author of confusion, but He is the originator of peace. In human relationships, there will rarely be peace without Christ. Its our human nature to be competitive and manipulative. We hurt people routinely. But God has given us His Spirit, a Spirit of Love (reread 1 Corinthians 13). And that love always brings peace out of confusion.

This is to be the case “in all churches of the saints“, which includes New Hope. How does Agape Love treat those we disagree with? What kind of patient orderliness does God bring through love? As a new Christian, back in my hippie days, we used to sing chorus with the words: “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love”. What are people seeing from us?

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24
Jan

SPIRIT OF THE PROPHET

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts

Paul had just said that we should be patient with one another and let others speak words of prophecy. Then he adds, “And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets” (1 Corinthians 14:32).

In other words, prophets should be in control of their gift. There is a time to share your words and a time to shut up. I often feel God is impressing me to say words to someone, and I say to the Lord, “Lord, if this is what You are saying, confirm it by…”. If God opens the door, I know its Him; if God closes the door, I know it was just me, or I know the timing isn’t right.

Once, I felt God had revealed a word of knowledge from Himself to the church during the worship service. I contemplated stepping up after that song and sharing it. As the senior pastor, I can do that. However, there wasn’t a convenient opportunity in the flow of worship to do that, so I waited.

As I had invited people to the altar following my message, the lord brought to my mind that word of knowledge. I knew then it was for someone who had responded to the altar, and not those who did not. I had to learn to be patient and wait upon God.

If you have a Word from God, he’ll open the door for you. Wait.

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