Now as I always do, I want to give a little bit of a brief as to how we got to here from the beginning of the book.  You must always keep in the back of your mind that this letter is the second of four corrective letters to the church at Corinth, clearly the one that had the most issues that we read about in the new Testament.  We must not initiate the building of theology from this letter without understanding the greater context of the Scriptures as a whole before using 1 Corinthians to draw any theological conclusions.  You’ll see what I mean when we talk about our second paragraph this study.

In chapter 1, we learned that basically, everyone is some kind of fool, and concluded from our study that if we have to play the fool anyway, we should play the part of God’s fool, because the so-called “foolishness” of our sovereign God will put any of the logic or wisdom of the world to shame.  Come, give your life for a carpenter’s son – for “a madman who died for a dream,” according to Dr. Albert Schweitzer.  But only the foolish can tell of the wonderful grace of God in their own salvation and the wisdom found in His word through His Spirit.

That brought us to chapter 2, where we had opportunity to examine the nature of this heavenly wisdom, that the world calls foolish.  We learned that not only was that true wisdom a spiritual, and nor earthly wisdom, but also that such wisdom could only be revealed to those who are aiming at maturity in Christ by walking “in the Spirit,” where for lack of better words, we obey what the Holy Spirit informs us through the Word of God and the New Nature that Christ gave us to walk in instead of the old nature that we are still very capable of falling into no matter how long you have been a real Christian.

Then in chapter 3, we considered that God’s reality is the reality to which attention must be paid.  We like to manufacture our own at times to avoid responsibility toward God, but believers cannot afford that luxury – all believers are doing a great work, and Paul speaks to the details of that.  Our conclusion is that because we are actually collectively building the naos of God, that is the Sanctuary, where God sits and lives and speaks and works, we must take great care with the construction in terms of the material we use.  There are good and bad choices, and we want to make the best possible choices, because if we are careless, then we will suffer loss.  And that loss is unimaginable, though we will still be saved – “yet so as through the fire, according to Paul.

Then the Apostle presents a choice in chapter 4 – which Paul would you like to face?  The angry disciplinarian that wrote the letter to the Galatians, or the loving, humble, meek servant that wrote Ephesians and Philippians, etc.?  It seems that the dividers were already hard at work trying to separate the sheep from the fold in Corinth, and it had to be explained that although Paul and his fellow servants perhaps appeared to be without honour, instead of discarding them, they should rather be imitated – because the kingdom of God does not exist in eloquent speeches, but in the power of changed lives, and that should be the measure for a preacher.  It seems that we need to obey God and walk in the Spirit at this point, because that is what the Lord is mandating.

That brought us to chapter 5 and an example of the use of church discipline.  We saw that it was to be used seldomly if possible, relying on the Holy Spirit to resolve our minor differences, but in the case of the persistent sin being expressed without any kind of repentance, it should be engaged to remove the covering of protection from an individual so that he may begin to understand through his own wrong choices that brought him into the place where he is so as to make him repent, and even be brought back in as occasion allows.  It is specifically used in cases where a brother or sister WILL not repent, but because most of us want to become more like Christ, it should remain a rare thing.

That brought us to chapter 6 and a consideration about our spiritual choices, because you must remember that Christianity is a faith based on our motivations and choices of heart and mind, not an external religion of liturgy and external ritual, or of refined and well-presented words, but in the demonstration of power that comes from a changed life.  Two things became clear.  1 – if your life is not changed as a result of turning to Christ, something is wrong.  2.  If you ARE His, you are no longer your own, you don’t get to do what you want, you have been bought with a price – His lifeblood.   And if that is true of you, how could you NOT follow Him?  Really, how DARE you not follow Him?

That brings us to the first part of chapter 7, which we will now call 7A. We looked at verses 1-24, where we learned that although there were some things about marriage we needed to pay attention to, that again, Christianity is not a religion of rules, ritual, and rote, but instead is one of heart and attitude.  One thing is very sure – the need to pay attention to the principles of marriage in the New Testament show that God still has His Law in place to be obeyed; so much for unhitching from the Old Testament, Andy. In the next portion of 7, which we called 7B, we learned that Paul was actually applying a biblical principle to a number of issues, and that principle is that anything we do should be done “in the Lord,” as Paul informs the Corinthians believers.  We discovered through this that the principle of walking with the Lord and following His instructions that the Holy Spirit illuminates for us in His word applies to pretty much everything in life and practice.

That brought us to chapter 8, where we considered the defining mark of God’s servants – His agape love.  With all the “stuff” we know here at BereanNation.com, we run a real risk of the arrogance that such knowledge can bring.  Because we know it, it can be a natural thing to just think ourselves smarter than you, and therefore better than you.  My prayer is that such a thing will never be from us.  And when we compare what the world “knows” compared with the heavenly reality that all real believers should be aware of, it becomes clear that those of us who know the truths of God need to be gracious and approach people on the ground of their needs, and not our own – just like Jesus did for us when He came the first time.

This chapter (11) is important to understanding the whole of what has just been said in chapters 8 and 9 about the identifying mark of agape love for biblical Christians (Ch.8) and the subsequent rights and responsibilities of those who really do belong to Christ (Ch.9).  Then we have a list of examples from the Old Testament of how not to be (Ch.10).  We have to be given the list of behaviours to avoid because it is there we see what we need to stay away from – it is not always clear what we are moving towards.

In the first part of chapter 11 (11A) we saw that the Lord does actually have a created order, and that it is very clear to observe.  Those that rage against it from any direction must deliberately confuse themselves and obfuscate the view for others in order to sell their lunacy as it turns out.  This week, we will consider the church Ordinance (some would say Sacrament) of the Lord’s Supper itself as a part of that divine order that we began to consider last week, and see once again that Christianity is NOT a religion of tradition and rote ritual but is instead a living faith of heart and mind and motive and choices made in faith by grace in Christ.  In the second part of chapter 11 (11B) we saw the Lord’s Supper as a specific ordinance and how the “love-feast” had become an add-on to what the Lord told us to do, and for what was happening, the absolute best way to deal with it was to get rid of the add-on and just do what the Lord said in the way He said it.

That brought us to the first part of Chapter 12 (vv.1-13), Where we talked about some mission-critical definitions of some gifts of the Holy Spirit, given as HE wills to each individual believer for the purpose of building up the church, which we discovered is the church’s actual top priority in the worship and Service of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, under the guidance of and with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  We also talked about how this isn’t some special list, and it isn’t an exhaustive list, because there are other lists in other places that have gifts for believers not listed here.

That brings us this evening to a study of the rest of chapter 12, now in our naming system, 12B, where I saw the following paragraph divisions:

KV27:  You are Christ’s body collectively, and individually members of it

27:  “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.”

14-20:  You don’t get to exclude yourself because you aren’t “one of the chosen” as it were

21-26:  Your brothers and sisters cannot disqualify you based on clique mentality either

27-31:  Important:  Not all gifts are given to all believers!  Read that again and think!

In opening, I want to bring you back to our last paragraph of study last time.  We talked about how the “body of Christ,” the church, is to be a self-correcting, self-healing, self-sustaining body.  While all that is happening, it is to be controlled by the head, which is our Lord Jesus Christ, and be so directed to giving glory to God the Father through all of our actions here on earth.  In summary of what this book study has been about, we have so far concluded that we as Christians and members of that body of Christ are in fact no longer our own, even though we have been set free from the penalty and power of sin (and someday its presence in our lives also), and are thus free, what we have been set free for is to joyfully serve Christ however He has called us (and I think that has something to do with those gifts and the proportions of them we get at justification, totally unknown to us most of the time).  It is true that we have been set free, and we could literally do anything we want – but Paul certainly didn’t just go on the way he was going.  No, he referred to himself as doulos, the Greek word for slave.  He viewed himself as the slave of Christ, and so should we if God has indeed saved us.  We don’t have to, but there will be unimaginable penalties, though we shall be saved, as per chapter 3.  Why go there?  Rather, let us see how we are to serve Him – and ther3e is the beginning of a hint here, but we’re going to see it in the next chapter, so I’ll not blow all my thunder here.  Let’s look at the chapter.

KV27:  You are Christ’s body collectively, and individually members of it

27:  “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.”

As members of the church, we are literally chosen by God to be a member of His people.  The image given to explain the relationships within the church is that of the body.  It is a gathering into an identifiable bundle of bits, as it were, with hands, feet, eyes, ears, legs, fingers, toes, hair, like that.  The actual Greek word for Church is eklessia, and is used in regular Greek culture to refer to groups of people.  The Athenians in ancient times used it to describe their democratically selected political assembly of citizens.  This is a not dissimilar concept, but the election (choosing) of the individuals, we have already seen in a number of places was done by God the Father before time here ever began, for reasons all His own which He did not share with us.  I should add that we here at BereanNation.com see the Scriptures teaching that God the Father is NOT “look down the proverbial corridors of time to see who would respond in a positive fashion.”  That would be a less-than-omniscient God, who has never had a day where He had to learn something.  No, He has predetermined things, in a way that will give Him all the glory, and we have no right to question that, at least none we have ever found in Scripture.

This gathering is in this text compared to a body and its component parts.  We are looking at more than just the mechanical working of the church here as well, because the Apostle identifies some of the common things that people say to themselves to excuse themselves from serving Christ or serving others in the context of the church.  We’re going to look at the first of those now.

14-20:  You don’t get to exclude yourself because you aren’t “one of the chosen” as it were

You know, I became a real Christian (my parents told me I already was one because I was born in a Christian country) when I was 18, about 35 years ago now.  (For you math mavens, that indeed does make me 53, and I have no reason to hide that.)  In that whole time, regardless of what denomination or organization I have been a part of in the work and service of the Saviour, there seems to have been and still is this attitude of “I can’t serve the Lord, I’m not a pastor or a singer or a [fill in the blank].”  I have always been confused by that mentality to a degree, because according to my bible (and yours if you’re reading this chapter with us) you don’t have to even wait for an invitation, there is always something to do, even if it is to decorate the church seasonally or sweep the floor after a meeting, put away chairs, like that.  And even if that’s all taken care of, pitch in, volunteers are always welcome, in my experience.

So what is this?  Well, I believe it to be one of a few things, and some of it is just basic human shyness.  They don’t know how or who to speak to, so they stand there longing to help and yet internally haven’t given themselves permission to act.  Actually, I get the paralysis that comes from that.  I have been there, but that kind goes away with an invitation to help, making it the easiest to deal with.  Some of it is natural human laziness, and I know that personally all to well, because I am a lazy guy.  This is dealt with best by an encouragement to help, but if needed, can be turned into a reproof at not helping and an encouragement to change.  At least that works with me and my friends.  However, there is another kind that seems to be a real issue, and it has to be dealt with compassionately and gently in my opinion.  This kind really thinks they don’t belong to the body, because some where along the line, they did some mental math (sometimes without help, but more often WITH the help of a spiritually abusive person) that ran their faith off into the ditch and they honestly believe they are somehow not “worthy” of being able to help.  I’ve seen that more than once, and when it occurs with help, it always angers me at the lack of these narcissists that according to Jude verse 4, “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand  marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”  I don’t think I need to say much more, because Jude pretty much said it all.  These people look like Christians until you start to look very closely.  They sit in the pews with us, and are often in positions of leadership over us, and if we begin to unravel their camouflage, they will go after us!  This is by far the hardest kind of this thinking to remedy, because it will almost always involve that church discipline we looked at in chapter 5.

In any of those events, it is the job of the entire congregation of the local representation of God’s people (the “church” identified by its building or locale) to deal with it.  Let’s jump into the text here and see how Paul deals with this.

14:  For the body is not one member, but many.

  • For those that would take to themselves the responsibility of every office and every exercise in the body of Christ, from the organizing of the preaching schedule to the repair and maintenance of the building, including who gets what keys to what doors, and everything in between and outside of that, you need to hear what Paul just declared.  The body of Christ is not a one-man show!  There are only a few reasons that would be happening – first, you don’t know any better, and that’s possible, especially for newbies in the faith.  Or you might just have a small organization, and that happens too.  But there is another reason – you’re one of those narcissists I was talking about a moment ago.  In a case like that, you need to repent and believe the Lord died in your place on the cross, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead.  Otherwise you deserve what’s coming.
  • Why?  Well, because the church is not and should never BE a one-man-show.  Remember from last week how we read that God saves and gifts according to His good pleasure.  If you have a one-man-show going on, either repent, ask for help, or pray.  And wherever God is working, He will provide the resources necessary to bring Him glory!  That’s HIS glory, not yours, and those resources aren’t always more people to help.  Sometimes, it is the fortitude to stick it out.  Here at BereanNation.com, we know a bit about that.

15:  If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.

  • Now we begin to deal a little with the actual excuse as opposed to the cause.  People think that because they don’t have a certain position or usefulness in the church, they have no role to play other than to sit in the pew and listen hopefully, or daydream involuntarily at times.  Paul gives an analogy that is frankly impossible to deal with when you have this mindset.
  • Paul says if the foot says that because it is not the hand, it is not a part of the body is akin to someone saying, “Because I am not the pastor, I have no practical service in the church.”  Now for those of us that have been around for a while, we know that doesn’t make sense.  But work through the analogy.  We have a body.  It has both a foot and a hand (and likely more than one of each).  If the foot thinks that because it is not the hand, it is not part of the body, is it correct?  Of course not.  So if a person thinks that the pastor is the only one that can participate in the life of the church, are they correct?  Same answer.  Of course not.  And yet, this seems to be the prevalent attitude in every congregation I have ever been a part of, at every point in my walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.  I don’t know what that even means.
  • As far as the analogy goes, the foot moves the whole body, and the hand only grasps things typically.  I am sure I would rather be the less visible foot because when it has an effect, it REALLY has an effect.

16:  And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.

  • This is a continuation with a couple of different body parts.  If the ear says “I am not the eye, therefore I do not belong to the body,” it’s still very mistaken, is it not?  The ear hears, and the eye sees.  What that could mean by analogy is not important – what is important is that there are members of the church congregation that because they don’t have the right job, feel like they are not making a contribution.  And nothing could be further from the truth.
  • In fact, this is usually because a few people want to have all the authority and power at their whim, and for no one else to have that power.  Today, church councils are stacked with these individuals it seems.  And yet, when King David (that forerunner to the King of kings and Lord of lords) pursued those invaders that had raided his city and took away their sons and daughters and possessions, he declared that those that were too exhausted to pursue the invaders to their city and rescue the captives but stayed behind with the baggage had equal share in the spoils of that battle.  See what it says in 1 Samuel 30:21-24:
    • When David came to the two hundred men who were too exhausted to follow David, who had also been left at the brook Besor, and they went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him, then David approached the people and greeted them. Then all the wicked and worthless men among those who went with David said, “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away and depart.” Then David said, “You must not do so, my brothers, with what the Lord has given us, who has kept us and delivered into our hand the band that came against us. And who will listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down to the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike.”
  • Did you catch what the Scriptures called those guys that wouldn’t share the spoils?  It called the “wicked and worthless men” among those that were with David (the King).  Beloved, I think this is the same group of people that Jude was referring to – they look like us, they sound like us, and unchallenged, they work evil in our midst because they cannot help themselves.  They do the deeds of their father, the Devil.  If you know who they are, you can sometimes insulate them from things, but more often than not, they have to be dealt with through Matt. 18 discipline.  They don’t share, they don’t play nice, and just try messing with their camouflage.  You WILL be hit back, just know it.  Like I said, same bunch of wolves disguised as sheep.  And beloved, they are really good at telling people that they need to shut up and stay where they are.  But their logic doesn’t make sense to the discerning Christian. 

17:  If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?

  • Paul pretty easily refutes the logic of passivity in the name of Christ, or inaction in the name of religion.  If everyone were doing the job you think is the required one, how would we do the one YOU do?  Because at last check, we were supposed to have BOTH!  And if everyone tried to do what you would do, how would others be able to add their own distinct gifting and personalities to the church?  This has been said by many others, but God created diversity.  He appreciates it, and if it was not so, we would all look the same, and there wouldn’t be nearly the number of species of beetles (or other insects or life for that matter) that there already is.  It just wouldn’t have happened – but it DID.  And we ARE!  Why should we hide or suppress that?

18:  But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.

  • And you are where you are FOR A REASON – God put you there Himself!  He didn’t put you anywhere else, He put you EXACTLY where He wants you, right where you always are.  See what this verse is saying?  God put the members, EACH ONE OF THEM, that includes you, Christian, in the body JUST AS HE DESIRED!  He loves you, and He has put YOU where He wants YOU to be, so you need to stick around until He moves you!  And He will confirm that to you in one way or another.
  • I should also mention that this relates to the doctrine of grace known as Sovereign Election (the Unconditional Election of the TULIP acrostic).  If you can remember our study of Romans 8, vv.29-30 talk about that golden chain of salvation, where it says that those whom God foreknew, He predestined to belong to His Son, and those whom He predestined He also called (we say irresistibly because of that), and those He called He also justified (or acquitted of sin against Himself) before Himself (because of the finished work of Christ on the Cross), and those whom He justified, He also glorified.  It is no accident that God chose (elected) you and then placed you exactly where He wants you to be.  Our Sovereign God sovereignly chose for His own sovereign reasons, and then made it all happen because He wanted it to happen the way it is happening for you.  Anything you are suffering now is what God wants you to experience, and you are not to argue or question it.  Like Job did.  I know it worked out okay, but it’s for the same reasons, so why question or argue?

19:  If they were all one member, where would the body be?

  • And He made all His sons and daughters differently according to what He wanted.  Can you imagine, following Paul’s analogy of a body, if God had just made everyone part of the big toe?  Paul’s question is appropriate – where would the body be?  Such a bod, just a big lump of toe, would not be able to accomplish anything for the others at all.  But instead, there are people that can discern for defensive reasons.  There are people that can go on the offensive (we call them evangelists) so that we can grow in number.  There are people that can help us stay organized.  There are people that can clean up and bind wounds that can occur from battle (some thing this is where apologists fit).  Then there are some who can praise the Lord by singing and/or playing musical instruments.  All through Scripture, the Lord had people who had that as a JOB in the OT.  But if we were all the same?  Where would be the self-care?  The self-healing (repair)?  The self-correction (in terms of doctrine, but not just that)?  It would be very different.

20:  But now there are many members, but one body.

  • But you see what God has done?  He created in each new believer a unique set of giftings that belong to THAT individual, and for the purpose of building up, or EDIFYING, the rest of the body of Christ, the church, all under control of the Head, which is Christ.  Do you see the absolute genius of it?  Beloved, the church isn’t an organization so much as a living organism!  And I’m not the only one to see this biological parallelism.  Paul is using, it, and there are other theologians I have read or heard pick up similar lines of thought.  R. C. Sproul was one, but so was Martin Luther.  I didn’t take the time to look up references, I’m sorry.  This is what you get when your pastor has to work 6 days a week to support his own household.  Don’t get me wrong, I love serving God like this – I’m just thankful that I have one job where I can just sit and prepare for this for about 6 hours on that day.  Unless it gets busy, then about 4 hours total.  It’s actually kind of cool, but it does make editing tight.

The point is here is that each individual is exactly where God wants them to be, and God is teaching me where He wants ME to be also.  It can be a bit of a task trying to get it all done, but God is faithful to make my study times fruitful, and help comes sometimes unexpectedly, and sometimes from places that you didn’t expect, and sometimes, it has to be the Lord that is supplying the energy, because I only have so much, and when it’s gone it’s gone.  I can’t seem to work myself to death, and I can’t justify that someone else will do what God has called me to do.

Now, neither can you!  Beloved, there is no subgroup of specially chosen individuals that will carry the work and the church forward into the world and into battle with the enemy for the souls of humankind.  The only specially chosen group of people that we read of in the entire Bible are the elect (chosen) of God.  ALL of them are saved by the sacrifice of the Messiah of the OT prophets, and atoned for by Jesus Christ, the anointed one of God who IS that Messiah.  You are as much a part of this as we are, and you are not able by any means to disqualify yourself from being His elect if you are truly His.  You don’t get to opt out or just sit on the bench unless that is where God placed you – and if He had done that, EVERYONE would know that, and every real Christian would be okay with that.

21-26:  Your brothers and sisters cannot disqualify you based on clique mentality either

Now that we have dealt with all the excuses one can use to try to sideline themselves, and some of the places those reasons come from, more of the same, but it is a specific thing about how your brothers and sisters in Christ can form exclusive cliques, and that’s not allowed in the house of God.  That is a form or partiality, based on whatever the clique was formed around.  And be careful Beloved, that can even be doctrine.  I have seen it happen in another place I used to fellowship.  We are frequently called “Calvinists” and lumped in with people who do that because of our adherence to the doctrines of grace and our belief that they should energize the real Christian to live like it matters and follow Jesus Christ.  We of all people should understand this cliquishness that is very easy to fall into, and we should also for that very reason be on guard against it.

However, what is apparent in this paragraph of thought is that your so-called brothers and sisters are not able to qualify or disqualify you from the body of Christ by means of partiality.  Having said that, there are reasons you could be disqualified from the body of Christ, but we talked about that in chapter 5.  The only sin that can legitimately get you tossed out of the house of God is a lack of repentance of a known sin.  I chapter 5, it was a guy who was bragging about his liberty in Christ by sleeping with his stepmother (or possibly mom, we don’t actually know).  Unrepentant and willful sin will get you disqualified through the process of discipline seen in Matthew 18.  However, you can’t disqualify yourself (if you can, you weren’t really in the body in the first place), and others can’t disqualify you based on what is talked about in this section.  Let’s see what that is.

21:  And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

  • Because a part of the body decides it does not like another part of the body, it cannot just reject it.  Paul’s example here is that the eye figures because it can see everything, it doesn’t need help from the hand, and thus rejects it because it is the hand and not of the eye.  Head and foot, same thing.  What is that talking about?  Well, go back to chapter 1.  I am of Apollos.  Because I am of Apollos, I do not need your Pauline garbage.  I reject it and you for teaching it.  Is that not the same thing?
  • Now I need to be VERY clear here.  I am not talking about standing for truth over error.  When someone presents error in the name of God, that error needs to be addressed, lest it offend the young believers, the gentle lambs of the flock or remove them from following the Great Shepherd, Jesus Himself.  This is the field of theology called Polemics, and it takes what people are saying in the name of God and comparing it to the Word of God to show what is true and what is not.  I am also not talking about standing for what is right in practice over wrong procedure.  Some opponents will doubtless call this legalism, because things need to be done in a certain way.  Nothing could be further from the point.  Things need to happen for the RIGHT reasons, and in the right WAY, or it is all wrong.  Can something like that have redeeming value?  Perhaps, but it would still be limited, would it not be?
  • The point I am trying to make is that just because you don’t like a person that is not gifted in the same areas that you are, and just because they don’t use the same words or like the same books, or pursue the same hobbies that you do, does not mean that you can exclude them from the body of Christ.  There is room for differences of opinion on things that are not mission critical for the church.  An example of this is peoples’ understanding of the harpzo event.  Latin, rapio.  We get our word “rapture” from that.  Some think that this will occur before the final 7 years of earth history.  Some fell it will happen about halfway through that period.  Some feel it will happen just before the end of that period.  Some feel that it will not happen at all, because it was an allegory.  Some are what we would call “pan-tribulation” rapturists because God is in charge and it will all pan out in the end.  Beloved, this is at best a secondary issue ( I say at least tertiary), and we shouldn’t be arguing over it, or writing a particular version of it into our doctrinal statements of faith.  What is critical in ALL cases is that we walk in a worthy manner, to use Paul’s phrase from the letter to the Ephesians.  If it never happens because it was allegory, it is still incumbent on us to walk in a worthy manner.  If it happens at all, the “when” of it pales in comparison to this – are you walking in a worthy manner?  Or do you think that if you’re sitting in a theater watching a dirty movie and fantasizing that is you and that’s when this rapture occurs, that you will be taken?  No Beloved, we saw that in 1 Thessalonians – sanctification is a prerequisite for any kind of rapture.  What does that mean?  Say it with me, Beloved:  That we walk in a worthy manner!
  • What does walking in a worthy manner mean?  Well, sure it means personal holiness, but that is only seen and practiced in relationship with others, that is the body of Christ the Church!  You cannot practice holiness if there is no one there to challenge you, at least not at present.  Sanctification is a necessity for the Christian to grow.  We cannot reject others just because we don’t like them for whatever reason.

22:  On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary;

  • Have you ever thought about this phrase?  I mean really thought about it?  Why are those that appear to be weaker so necessary to the body?  Beloved, it is because they show the glory of God like this:  The whole body together will regulate, supply, and fuel their growth.  And that is how God designed it.  Self-healing, self-correcting in nature, it takes care of itself.  We, the Church, the very body of Christ, are to behave in the same fashion.  When we see a weaker brother or sister, we are to supply them what they need to heal and grow.  And sometimes that involves pruning, and sometimes that involves support.  That would be situationally dependent, would it not?
  • The point?  Well, those that seem weaker are actually those that are practicing their sanctification!  Think about it.  If they were not practicing, would they have so many struggles?  Would they have near as much anguish?  I personally do not think so, speaking as a fellow that has gone through suffering myself.  And those sufferings are difficult and heart-wrenching.  But they DO have purpose if you allow them to have it.  There is an excellent book by Paul Billheimer I once read titled Destined for the Throne and it talks about how the focus of our sufferings is to teach us and purify us before God.  He even wrote a sequel which I found just as good, Don’t Waste Your Sorrows.  Save your money on the third one titled Destined to Overcome unless you want a treatise on Charismatic prayer practices.  But back to the point – those who appear weaker are actually maturing in Jesus!  And that’s part of how God designed this corporate body of believers, which needs to function exactly as God designed it.  That means we need to meet, regardless of what diseases may be around out there.  Martin Luther actually assisted in the care of bubonic plague victims in Germany in the 1500s.  We have COVID-19, and it has proved by CDC numbers to be less fatal than a regular flu, though it is easier to catch.  Come on, let’s figure out ways we can be of service to the public, guys!  Martin Luther wasn’t afraid to die practicing Christianity!  Why are we?  I tell you, if that fear prevents you from meeting with God’s people, YOU are the weak one, my friend.

23:  and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable,

  • And see here, it isn’t just about the “weaker brothers.”  It is also about those church members that you think of as less honourable.  Now the Greek word there is the comparative form of atimos, atimoteros.  It means those who have less honour, not those without honour.  These are still honourable people, they just have not attained the level of some others.  Maybe new believers.  Maybe those who live quiet lives.  Still good, dedicated Christians.  This is no partiality unless you make it so by considering them less worthy.  We looked at what King David said about that, let that be the end of that discussion.  “They also serve who only stand and wait.”
  • How do we solve this issue (I deliberately do not use the word “problem” here)?  Well, we give these still-honourable, but having attained less, MORE honour!  Or at least give them more opportunities for it.  Brother, you’ve been around for a few years now.  We happen to need a deacon for church council.  Would you consider serving?  In doing this, through this process, we make these less distinguished members more distinguished, which is exactly what I think this verse is saying.  And it ends in a comma, Paul isn’t finished his thought.

24:  whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked,

  • Why would we do this?  Well, the more distinguished or “presentable” as Paul says don’t really NEED it.  They are capable, and they will continue to be so.  That word “presentable” is the Greek word euschemon, meaning “an elegant figure, well-formed, graceful.”  We could say “practiced.”  Why practiced?  Does anyone remember about 100-150 years back, they had schools of etiquette?  They practiced things like posture, proper walking, handwriting, things like that, and the more you practiced the things they taught, the smoother you became at them.  Can you hear this conversation with a young believer that had never preached the gospel, about to approach his first person with the Good News?  “But, I can’t preach the gospel!  What if they ask me something I don’t know the answer to?”  Let me tell you – I was that young man in 1987.  I said those very words to our brother Hugh McNeil!  And He said this:  “That’s why I’m here.  If you get stuck, just toss it over to me.”  By the way, the guy did, and I realized very quickly I was in over my head, and with a simple look at my brother Hugh, he salvaged the whole gospel opportunity.  The Guy did not become a Christian, but at least he didn’t think we were insane.  Well, maybe he did, but it was a friendly kind of insane, right?  Contrast that with the day I went witnessing several years later at Britannia Park with a sister named Andree.  We still talk, she’s still amazing, and she was the first babysitter my first child ever had.  The weekend I proposed to my wife, my wife stayed at her apartment.  And Andree knew I was going to pop the question, and she never let on to Susan.  We were and are very good friends.  We had been paired together for witnessing before, and we liked it, and worked well together.  The day I’m thinking of, five people prayed prayers of salvation.  The Lord knows if they were really saved, or if we were just that persuasive, but we were out for 40 minutes, Beloved.  The leader of the crew that was down at the site with us, kind of the coordinator, my good friend and brother Paul, knew before we got there that someone had been saved by the way we were animated.  When we told him 5 names from 3 conversations, HE was over the moon WITH us!  How did this happen?
  • It happened frankly because I was given the opportunity.  That member of the body that had not attained the amount of honour was given the opportunity to gain more, and as the growth of the body dictated, that member grew from that supply.  And it didn’t just happen to me, either – it happened to everyone there I was in fellowship with, to a person.  If you lack that level of honour that you need, seek opportunity to grow.  Talk to church leadership.  And Paul still isn’t done, this verse ALSO ends with a comma.

25:  so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

  • Again, why go through all of this?  The suffering, and the growth, and the growing pains in the body?  Paul says it plainly – so that there are no schisms in the body.  And so that all the members of the body can have the same kind of care FOR EACH OTHER.  Beloved, that rules some things out.  Condescension towards brothers and sisters in Christ should not be heard in our midst.  Personal grudges should be eliminated.  If they are held, I will also speak plainly like Paul – they are SIN.  Any ridicule or mistreatment, verbally or otherwise, are not to be entertained – and when they occur (and by my experience they will) – they need to be dealt with properly by church leadership.  Otherwise the “leadership” shouldn’t be in leadership, because that goes with the territory.  Think about how this should work.

26:  And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

  • If a member of the body suffers, all of the members here are suffering with it.  That actually works in the analogy of the body.  Think about a broken bone.  Let’s say the arm.  The entire body reacts to the pain the break and if that pain is bad enough, it can render the entire body temporarily immobile and ineffective.  Now in a corporate body, because we are physically separate units, the physical pain won’t be that bad, but I can remember what happened in the house of God when a member of the body was murdered.  We were decidedly rendered immobile and ineffective for a short time.  That wasn’t a broken arm, that was amputation, and those of you who know me know I was right at ground zero.  Before we knew that she had indeed been killed, a large number of us went to Carleton University and in coordination with the campus cops, we searched every room, nook, and cranny of where she might have been holed up waiting out the March blizzard that had shut down public transportation the night before.  I was paired with her dad.  We searched the Loeb building room by room with pictures of her.  At the end, we sat to rest for about 15 minutes, and then we went our separate ways.  One of my saddest memories about all of that was watching her dad standing beside his car in the Unicentre parking lot looking so lost.  I had activities that were planned for months to get to, and I needed to eat (badly), so I went to a favorite restaurant for lunch.  We found out later that evening she had been murdered for sure when I and my then housemate Hugh were asked to speak to detectives down that the Ottawa Police station.  It was one of the longest days I had ever put in, because it actually started at about noon when I got out of bed to get to work for 2:30 p.m. the day before.  I was a receiver (I lifted heavy boxes for a living) at a drug store, and the crew I was on worked HARD.  Then all of this happened, and I don’t think I got to bed until after midnight the day after.  Folks, we were not designed to put in 36-hour days very often.  We all mourned with Angela’s family.  Her father actually became a believer because of her murder, and her demise was HUGE local news.  The whole city was talking about this young linguistics student that had been murdered by a guy that had worked in a Bells Corners butcher shop.  And her funeral was broadcast LIVE over CFRA News-Talk radio.  I thought that was way cool.  Here’s why – at her funeral, as a tribute to who she was, they played an interview the Carleton Radio station CKCU had done with her as the then-President of the Bible Study Club at Carleton.  And the interviewer asked her to explain what she believed.  Beloved, it was the clearest gospel I think I have heard in many years, until just recently actually.  And about half of the city heard it while they were in a condition to really and actually listen.  Precious in His sight is the death of His godly ones, as it says in Psalm 116:15.
  • That’s an example of all the members suffering with a member that suffered death.  Some of us still can, although God is good to help us remember the happy memories instead, and to deal with the sheer tragedy of a life cut short.
  • I’ve seen an example of the rejoicing with a member who gains honour as well.  Some of you might have heard of a gent named Dustin Benge.  I was a friend on Twitter before he had more than 100 followers, I think.  I can remember messaging him asking some advice on how to face a clear Arminian as my Systematic Theology professor because Dustin and I are both adherents to the Doctrines of Grace.  Well, not too long after that, he earned his Ph.D. from SBTS, and after about a year or so was hired as President of a British Baptist Seminary in Wales (I can’t remember the name).  Dustin now has over 10,000 twitter followers, incidentally.  I can remember Ken and myself sharing his profile page all over the place to help get him exposure as a part of the campaign to get his name out there so he could be hired by a theological school.  And now he has been, and I have to say he forms a pretty large part of my twitter feed these days.  We all celebrated when he graduated, and when he was hired in Wales.  That’s an example of that.
  • But that is how it is supposed to work.  We are supposed to all be one big and joyful if not happy family.  We are supposed to supply each other with what we need to grow and be spiritually healthy individual members.  When the body is hurt, when we get over the initial shock, we need to be helpers of the injured party or parties.  When a member is celebrating we should celebrate with them!  We are all a part of the same body, all controlled by the head, who is Christ.  And we cannot get that wrong, Beloved.  We go where the head wills, and anyone trying to run off in a different direction…well, will have some problems, varying in degree of seriousness depending on their individual reasonings.

What we have seen here is that in a body, we are supposed to be connected, directly or indirectly, to all other parts of the body.  This provides the nourishment for the member of the body to flourish and grow, and when injury occurs, for healing and repair.  So also is the church.  Though it is not a physical body per se, it is a corporate body, and not an dead organization but a living organism, and should respond like one in the varying situations described here.  When it does NOT, you are not part of an actual church, a local representation of the body of Christ, and that’s all there is to that.  But if it does happen like that, you ARE a part of the church, the elect of God, those chosen from the foundation of the world to inherit eternal life.  Having said all that, there is some important information still to cover.

27-31:  Important:  Not all gifts are given to all believers!  Read that again and think!

This point is something that Paul will address again in chapter 14, but it is of such critical importance that I will address it both times.  I will say it again.  NOT ALL GIFTS ARE GIVEN TO ALL BELIEVERS!  The so-called prophets in the Charismatic swamp as it were BADLY abuse this particular passage, and are so inconsistent in their application of meaning that their theology is broken to begin with.  They appeal to the Scriptures for their authority, but it is nothing more than something some guy made up and called “New Thought.”  (Incidentally, that guy was Phineas Quimby, who believed he was a mystic and healer.  He died in 1866, for context here.  His ideas were mixed with another fellow named Emmanuel Swedenborg’s ideas, another guy named Warren Felt Evans, and of course the well-known Mary Baker Eddy, and they were actually put together by a then young man known as Kenneth Hagin, the Grandfather of the Charismatic movement.)

This point cannot be stated strongly enough.  A teaching of many in the Charismatic movement and related organizations like The Way International (anyone remember them from the 1970s and 80s?) is that IF you cannot “speak in tongues,” (note the scare quotes, the phrase is most decidedly NOT being used normally) then YOU are not SAVED.  And THAT.  IS.  WRONG.  Now  This officehere in Scripture will you EVER find that as a requirement for justification by faith, or even of sanctification, and the Charismaniacs barely know the difference and confuse these things all the time.  It leads to some really strange doctrines, like that Christians can lose their salvation.  My friends, the Scripture bears out that if you “lost” it, you never had it to begin with.  Beloved, this is where that organ inside your head has to begin to be engaged.  Apply things like the rules of logic.  Apply Occam’s Razor to things.  Seek the solution that makes sense as opposed to hand-waving explanations that leave your intelligence with more questions than  anything else.  In other words, USE YOUR BRAIN for something besides sitting on and READ the Scriptures!  They make plain, solid sense here.  Let’s look.

27:  Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.

  • Paul is simply confirming again what he has already been talking about.  WE, as real believers in the person and work of Christ at Calvary, are Christ body, with ALL OTHERS that have the same persuasion (faith).  We are in fact individual members of it.  And I like that.  We are NOT the Borg, you do not ever have to give your individuality up, in fact God gave that to you and it bears His image, and you should develop it in sanctification so that it will remain when all our imperfections are burned up.  For those that are walking with the Lord, that will make them even more beautiful.

28:  And God has  appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then  miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.

  • Remember last week that I said that list of gifts of the Holy Spirit wasn’t exhaustive?  Here is another list that proves it.  Some have attempted to say the first was a list of gifts to individuals and that these are for the church, but that doesn’t track, because some of the gifts are the same gifts, and they are gifts that can’t really have a corporate exercise, like helps, or healings.  That would be mass assistance or mass healings.  There is nothing in the history of…well, HISTORY that confirms that anywhere.
  • However, it is a list, and we should examine it with the same diligence we always do.
    • Apostles.  The Greek has the meaning of a messenger with a mission.  Beloved, that was Paul without a doubt from what we read of him in the NT.  I should mention that there are some today that falsely attempt to claim the title of Apostle, but most of these individuals are flaming charismatics that have no real walk with Christ.  There were 13 original Apostles.  The 12 including Matthias, who replaced Judas Iscariot, and then Paul.  Other men were referred to as apostles in the NT, and the work of the apostle (we call it church planting sometimes, though there is more to it) goes on.  The office died with the Apostle John, the last of the 13.
    • Prophets.  A good lexicon will tell you that this individual is a forth-teller of the truth of God.  You speak what God speaks, and tell His people.  OT Prophets did exactly that.  In the NT times, and under the New Covenant, that task now falls largely to the pastor, who speaks forth from the Word of God.  The only stuff we can know for sure God said is in scripture.  I do not believe that there are prophets in the OT sense any longer.
    • Teachers.  Didaskelos.  One who gives instruction in doctrine, in Christian circles at any rate.  Again, this is the job of the pastor today.  In fact, in a list very similar to this in Ephesians, the jobs of Pastor and Teacher are combined into one position.  This is a part of the qualification of church Leadership – the ability to teach. 
    • Miracles.  The dunamis of God to effect things that are outside normal human capabilities for the benefit of others.  I can’t personally say that this doesn’t exist today, because salvation is a miracle of God.  I am alive because of a miracle of God after my heart attack, and beloved, make no mistake, that was the power of God!  But it isn’t what people think it is, and it never has to do with things like getting money when I demand it, or healing on demand, or things like that that are centered around the will and benefit of man instead of the will and glory of God.
    • Healings.  God healed you of a condition or disease?  That’s great – but give the glory to God.  And be sure that God did it, not the fellow who claims to be a divine healer.
    • Helps.  The Greek word is antilempsis, and it is a compound word.  Anti indicates a sort of exchange or substitution in this case, and the other word is lambano, so hold (as a support).  This is to render assistance to the church.  We have an example of this in chapter 16, in the household of Stephanas (1 Cor. 16:15).  They were real servants.
    • Administrations.  The Greek word kubernesis literally means to govern, with the idea being taken from steering or piloting the ship.  The special note about this passage in Vine’s says, “those who act as guide in a local church.”
    • Various kinds of tongues.  This is not the heavenly language of angels, beloved.  Whenever we come across a speaking angel in Scripture, they are always speaking an understood human language.  And this one is talking about various kinds of them.  These are human languages, Beloved.  And we have already seen how they were used in Acts 2, and I’m not sure they exist today where we have the completed scriptures in modern languages.  I’ve never heard of a verifiable case, anyway.
  • This list of things is part of a theological debate over whether at least some of these things still continue to be in practice today.  I am more of a cessationist, but not completely.  God can still do whatever He wants.  Continuationists tend to be Charismatics, incidentally, because the continuation of these gifts of the Holy Spirit is critical for their doctrines to exist.  Knowing what I now know about the Charismatic movement, and how filled with these false prophets it is, with no discipline ever enacted (we don’t stone false prophets under the NT, we mark and avoid them, and we kick them out of the church), I think the whole continuationist movement is suspect, and really needs to be carefully considered if one is going to go down that road.  This is a friendly debate I have with a quietly Charismatic Baptist pastor.  You heard that properly, Charismatic Baptist.  Yeesh.  So here is a BAPTIST MINISTER that prays in a “private angelic prayer language” and believes in a second “baptism of the Holy Spirit” (both of which are not scriptural), and is willing to debate anyone on the topic, I might add.  We had a fairly cordial debate at lunch in a seminar he was giving for the theology students in my graduating class on pastoral care.  Many Charismatics suffer from the illusion that things like miles and pounds and kilometers and kilograms don’t apply to angels, so neither do they have the same languages.  Bad news:  Scripture actually says otherwise.    The Apostle records for us in Rev. 21:17, “And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements.”  Their standards are the same, which makes sense, because they were set by the same standard maker, God.  Now apply this to languages.  Why would angel-kind have their own language?  There is no reason for it, and every time we find one in Scripture, he is speaking the language of the person in the passage.  There is no real logic to their application of Scripture other than superficial “but it says that” type of logic.  This is why I am always continually saying that we have to understand what the passage is saying and to whom, and in context of the culture, the history, the kind of language being used, like that.  Otherwise, you can make the Scriptures say anything you want, and that’s what the Charismatics seem to do.

29:  All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they?

  • One of those things that they careless Charismatic readers of Scripture do is to assume that all of these gifts are given to all Christians.  Perhaps you have heard this poem:  “Every promise in the Book is min; Every chapter, every verse, every line; Every chapter in the Book is mine.”  Beloved, there is a sense in which that is true, but it is only in Christ, and does not extend to each of us individually.  Take Abraham for example.  God said to Him, “I will bless you and make you a great nation.”  Does that mean that each individual person will have that extended to be true of them?  I doubt that.  The sense in which it is true is that it is fulfilled in Christ, and we are doubtless a part of that great nation, the Israel of God, but can we say that God said that to us?  The answer is a resounding no.  God spoke that promise about 4000 years ago to a man named Abram, not to us in present day time, and those implications were all resolved in and by Christ in his office of Messiah, or Christ, or Anointed One of God.
  • With that in mind, read through this verse with me.  All are not apostles, are they?  All are not prophets, are they?  All are not teachers, are they?  All are not workers of miracles, are they?  Clearly, the Apostle Paul in the context of correcting the believers, that is the church, in Corinth, is asking a rhetorical question (gee, he hasn’t done that before, has he?  Yes, yes he has…), that is, he is stating the answer in the form of a question that does not require an answer!  He is flat-out saying in his own unique style that we have observed and commented on before, that not all believers ARE apostles, or prophets, or teachers, or workers of miracles.  And wait for the next verse, because this will become VERY germane, and INCREDIBLY appropriate.

30:  All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?

  • Paul is continuing to state the truth.  Note it is not “HIS truth,” it is THE truth, and in an objective sense.  Sometimes, Charismatics, who have no consistency at all in making logic arguments, will attempt to apply relativism to invalidate what you are saying.  CALL THEM ON THIS, although we must do it as gently as the situation allows.  This is an objective statement by the Apostle Paul, FROM 1 Corinthians, IN context, asked in his characteristic rhetorical style, in order to present the objective truth.  Just saying.
  • Now – let’s continue reading this verse like we did the last one.  There are some NECESSARY truths about to be revealed by Paul.  Not all have the gifts of healings, do they?  And here is another question – if they don’t can they “learn” this gift of the Holy Spirit?  For money?  Oh my.  The last fellow that asked that question was Simon Magus, and Peter pronounced condemnation on him.  YOU CANNOT BUY WHAT GOD HAS NOT GIFTED YOU.  And if He has not gifted you, learn to be content with what He HAS gifted you with, because if you are truly His, He HAS gifted you with something.  I wonder what that says about a “school” that offers to teach this kind of thing for money and calls itself “Christian?”  And what does it really mean to take the name of the Lord in vain?  Moving on…
  • All do not speak with tongues, do they?  Apparently they do NOT!  So why do Charismatics try to “teach” this to others?  In his recent book, God, Greed, and the (Prosperity) Gospel, Costi Hinn describes an experience he had while preaching in his own father’s prosperity gospel Charismatic church.  He had been regenerated at this point if I’m remembering the context right, or he had certainly been awakened to the truth of the Gospel, and one of the leaders asked him to lead the “speaking in tongues” class for the young adults.  He couldn’t do it, and in frustration, the lady (interesting how it always seems to be the lady that drives this, and no it is NOT a sexist comment, it is a real observation) took over trying to teach the kids how to speak in tongues.  Can you imagine poor brother Costi at that point?  By the way, I highly recommend his book, it’s a quick read, and it gives his entire testimony for those that might be interested.
  • You have to understand that “tongues” is a BIG deal to the Charismatics.  Occasionally, in the middle of a normal sentence, they break out into this nonsense, non-language, and then tell you that this is an angelic language.  Remember how we talked about that a little earlier?  Why would they need a non-human language?  God did not confuse their language like He did ours.  And they can speak all of them on demand (at least the ones who serve God can).  God had them use the same system of measurements as humans, why not the same set of languages?  Or they claim it as a “private prayer language,” but they don’t understand it themselves.  What possible use is that except for self-edification instead of edifying the whole church to the glory of God?  Rather, this is a strong and terrible REBELLION against Him.
  • Now recall that many (I don’t know if they now form the majority of Charismatics, but it wasn’t this way when I was in the Charismatic movement, this was then a fringe opinion) modern Charismatics hold the opinion that you are only saved if you can speak in tongues.  What kind of gospel is THAT?  It is ANOTHER gospel, right up on the level of the kind that angered Paul in his letter to the churches of Galatia.  No, Beloved, preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not the Charismatic gospel of works and gifts.  All do NOT speak in tongues.
  • And all do not interpret [tongues], do they?  Apparently not.  Further, as I said earlier, this gift not being universal means that tongues should be used sparingly if one is trying to build up the church and not the self.  That’s the main point of ALL gifts given by God to the members of the body.  Moving on.

31:  But earnestly desire the greater gifts.  And I show you a still more excellent way.

  • Paul here is going back to those greater gifts.  And notice he never calls for people to be healed.  He never calls for people to display miracles.  He never calls for people to speak in tongues.  He never attempts to recruit new apostles.  What does he say instead?  He says this phrase – earnestly desire the greater gifts.  He ahs already indicated that these are the gifts that edify the church (edify is the word that means “build up” the church).  What gifts are those?  Those that show forth the word of God so that people can understand what to do and how to live and have their lives transformed.  That forms a smaller group of gifts, and I think that list is actually in Ephesians 4:11:  “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers…”  All of these men have a part in declaring and instructing with the Word of God.  These are the gifts of the Holy Spirit that the church SHOULD be paying attention to, but are too often neglected today.  Men who know the Word and can plant churches, apply the word of God to people, preach the good news of Christ’s death, burial, and subsequent resurrection, care for souls, and instruct men and women in righteousness!  Never mind your silly so-called miracles, or healing aunt Martha’s big toe, or speaking your fictional “angelic” language.  Build up the church with the Word of God, instead of drawing attention to yourself with all of these demonstrations of power!  Stop being like Simon Magus, who was only interested in those displays of power.  Did you know Simon Magus, tradition tells us, did not end well?  Remember how the Devil took Jesus to the peak of the temple and then basically dared him to cast Himself off to prove that God wouldn’t allow injury to His Son?  Well, Simon Magus actually stepped off the roof. He did not end well.  Stop that.
  • No, says Paul.  There is a better way – and that way is MOST EXCELLENT!

I spent about an hour one morning this week watching a video made by Christ Rosebrough (who is a Lutheran Pastor, and the guy that runs Pirate Christian Media with his son).  The title of that video is, “It’s Time to Drain the Charismatic Swamp.”  I have never so strongly agreed with a premise ever.  Beloved, there are a lot of good people in the more extreme Pentecostal churches, and in the more extreme Charismatic movements that are being deceived by these false teachers that plague those movements.  His whole video was dedicated to showing how 2020 has been in large part, the Lord God showing that these so-called “prophets” are really FALSE prophets.  First, they never saw this global “pandemic” situation coming.  Then when it was here, they all decreed and declared and demanded and decried and de-whatever else they de-did, and not a single one of them could do ANY good about it.  Kenneth Copeland declared it was done.  ALL of them said it would gone by 2020 Passover (about Easter, clearly in the Spring).  THAT didn’t happen.  Then they all prophesied that Trump would be re-elected in a clear majority, with many saying “landslide.”  THAT hasn’t happened, and their time has expired on their prophetic timelines.  If we were playing baseball, they are out with three strikes.  And maybe that’s what the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches have to do.  Beloved, it’s time to get rid of these false prophets.  Kick them out of the church!  Let’s make the church Christian again!  How do you do that?  You use chapter 5 church discipline to kick out all the pretenders until they repent!  Wouldn’t that be something to see!  And if they won’t repent, then let the Lord deal with them as He sees fit.  Not a position I would want to be in.

That’s what I saw in the chapter, Beloved.  That more excellent way is found in 1 Corinthians 13 – the way of Love – God’s agape love.  But we’re not going to get to that before our winter break.  Normally, we break for the month of December because we are all active members of a busy church that is always busy for the season.  This year, it has more to do with a job commitment I have starting next week.  I will have to work Thursday evenings up until Christmas, and then we will be free to resume with 1 Corinthians 13.  I should probably mention that will go for our R. C. Sproul Fridays as well, but My family and I have to eat.  Welcome to bi-vocational ministry at times.

Having said all that, God bless everyone that has watched the study this evening, and we will resume at the end of December.  Let’s close in prayer.

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