Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Spiritual Things Part 4 – “The Last Part of Part 3”

Last week I got off on one of my soapbox subjects about the current strength and health of the church. You may remember I said:
Do not believe what the world says about the Church.
Life is Spiritual! We are not some scientific or social experiment. We have a Creator and Eternal Judge. He has a plan and His plan will succeed. The world has gone astray from God’s plan. And, believe it or not … it’s not the Church that is at risk but rather the world. I believe that satan fights hardest against the non-believer … he has lost the battle for the believer’s soul … it is the non-believer’s soul which will be satan’s eternal trophy.
Even when faced with the facts the world does not interpolate them correctly or give credit to the truths concerning the Church. The prince of this world wants everyone to believe that Christians are weak and simple minded fanatics with narrow, out dated views which serve only to limit the growth and unity of modern man.
The world refuses to acknowledge historical records detailing the fact that our nation was founded by Christians on Christian values found in the Bible. These principles are unchanging and eternal. Recently I did a simple study of the writings of our first several presidents of the US and found that each one of them claimed a belief in and reliance upon their relationship with Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures. I’m sure if I had have continued I would have found that same trend all through the building and even into the rebuilding of America.
Last Wednesday I stood on this soapbox for a while and unashamedly proclaimed the health of the Church. The following evening, which would have been last Thursday, October 27th, the CBS Evening News reported the results of a National Geographic Magazine research aimed at finding what were the most common characteristics connecting the 7 billion individuals on planet earth today. Their search for the model person who most typified the average among us led them to merge the profiles of current humanity and draw upon our commonalities to compile their most typical person on planet earth.
Their findings: The most typical person in the world is: Male; 28 years old; Chinese; is able to read; does not own a car; lives in a city; works in a service industry; and is a Christian. That’s right … if you want to know one of the links which connects most of the world’s people together and makes up our typical model of humanity it is simply our faith in Jehovah God and His Son Jesus the Christ.
I’d say that should just about prove the point to anyone, however … the world still refuses to acknowledge that Jesus is Lord or that the Church is relevant to today’s societies. Once again let me keep the record straight …
· The Church is strong and healthy
· We should not believe what the world says about the Church
Now … for the continuation of “Spiritual Things”.
1 Corinthians 12
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant.

4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
Tonight we continue our study of Spiritual Things by continuing our discussion regarding:
Verse 5: Differences of Administrations
Previously we have explored:
The Five Fold Ministry; Bishops and Deacons; Helps and Governments … and tonight we will take a look at:
The Greek word translated Elder in the New Testament is “presbuteros” and simply refers to an older, more mature man or woman in the faith.
1 Timothy 5
1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.
There are many elders in the church all of which should be treated with respect and honor, as mothers and fathers in the faith. However, once an elder is recognized and ordained to an official position of ministry, they take on a greater responsibility and officially become an overseer of that duty or responsibility and an officer of the church assisting Jesus to administrate the spiritual things of the church.
I draw this principle from several references in the word but for brevity sake and time considerations will offer in support the passage from:
Titus 1
5 ¶ For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
6 ¶ If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
An ordained Elder is therefore ordained into the Bishopric (office or overseer ship) of a Bishop (overseer). A Bishop is the curator, guardian and superintendant of the ministry or administration to which he is over placed.
1 Peter 5
1 ¶ The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
Verse 2 encourages individual Elders, Presbuteros, to take a personal spiritual responsibility for the families in the Church. The word translated, “oversight” is the Greek word: episkopeo – meaning the work of a bishop.
Don’t let this confuse you … so far we have heard the terms:
· Episcope Which is the office of a Bishop
· Episkopos Which is the Bishop himself
· Episkopeo Which is the work of a Bishop
It is just like our English word variations – nothing to be intimidated about.
· You are a worker
· You work hard
· You accomplish many works
Needless to say, Jesus is busy administrating the building and maintenance of His Church. He calls, gifts, equips and uses different people in different positions to accomplish different parts of the work so that His overall goals are met.
It is not unlike any one of the chemical plants that we have here in Southeast Texas. Different people are hired, trained and put into various positions of work and supervision so that the overall goals of the plant can be met. One person may have a very different job or responsibility than another while some may be responsible for administration of others. There are helps and governments – management and labor – white collar and blue collar workers, but all are working towards the same goals.
And we should never forget, these are not natural but spiritual matters.
Thus far in our study of Spiritual Things we have discoverer Diversities of Gifts, Differences of Administrations and now we continue with:
1 Corinthians 12
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
Verse 6: Diversities of Operations
· Operations – Greek word Energema
· Workings
· Both the Energy and the Energizing Effect
Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
God operates differently in different people … as he wills. For to Peter God gave the ministry to the Jews and to Paul the ministry to the Gentiles. One person God calls here and another there … One He gifts one way another a different way. God moves in various ways to perform His will which no other person can orchestrate. God is both the author and the finisher.
This is further explained by Paul as he begins to describe the body of Christ. God operates everything according to His desired affect … in other words, God has put all things together on purpose for purpose – He has a plan! What is God’s plan? How does God intend to accomplish His purpose?
One Body – A Many-Membered Body
Not merely a multi-membered body, but many separate members joined together as one body. And, might I add here – joined together by that which every joint supplies in accordance with:
Ephesians 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
1 Corinthians 12
12 ¶ For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
Everything spiritual operates by God for His Divine purpose. We are what we have made ourselves from what God gave us. We all possess Divine strengths, weaknesses, limitations and capacities, according to God’s purpose which He designed in us before time began. We were created on purpose for purpose … His purpose.
Only when we are joined together in the Body of Christ, using the gifts given us by the Holy Spirit doing the work of God as He purposed can we completely fulfill the plan of God and be fulfilled in God’s plan. However, God did not just leave His plan at our mercy … He reserves the right to work through us without our permission.
God does not first have to seek our permission before He uses us for His purposes. This is a Spiritual Thing and we need not be ignorant of the fact the God can and does use even a donkey … He uses whom He wills. Perhaps this spiritual truth is best revealed in:
1 Corinthians 12: 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
Verse 7: The Manifestation of the Holy Spirit
· Manifestation – Greek word Phanerosis
· To illuminate or bring to light – to reveal – to make known
1 Corinthians 12
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
Life is Spiritual and God has intended that we not be ignorant of Spiritual Things … how that He has gifted us, called us, equipped us, orchestrates all things to work together in different ways, and manifest Himself through us to a world which should see us as one body, fully functioning as many members, yet one body, working in unity and unison to accomplish the purposes of God, each part set in by God to the place of His will, joined in the Spirit, appreciative and respectful of every other part, seeing each and every one as needed and necessary for the body to be complete and whole, under the Lordship of Christ, being led by the Holy Spirit.
We are spiritual beings with spiritual gifts, subject to the operation of God and capable of being used by Him even without our permission. Yet, God wants us to understand these spiritual things so that we might have greater opportunity to be greater used for His greater plan.