Today’s reading: Num 29:1–40, 1 Cor 11:17–12:11, Ps 24:1–10
Today’s theme: Gifted to serve
The spiritual gifts given to us by God the Holy Spirit, are not to build up or to serve ourselves, every gift has been given so that we can serve others with them, this way we build the body and bring glory to God. We should not use our gifts to show off or to compete with each other. We also see the messianic meaning of the feasts.
The meaning of the feasts
“These you shall offer to the LORD at your appointed feasts, in addition to your vow offerings and your freewill offerings, for your burnt offerings, and for your grain offerings, and for your drink offerings, and for your peace offerings.” Numbers 29:39 (ESV)
All the Feasts point to spiritual realities in the New Testament, the following is adapted from the New Bible commentary: 21st century edition… “Passover points to Jesus’ crucifixion. The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (firstfruits) points to the sending of the Holy Spirit and the firstfruits of the gospel harvest (Acts 2). The Feast of Tabernacles points to Christ’s second coming at the close of the age, marking the end of the harvest.
The time between the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles was a busy period when Israel laboured for the harvest. Similarly, between Pentecost and the second coming labourers are sent to reap the harvest among the Gentiles (Mt 9:37–38; 13:30–39; Lk. 10:2; Jn. 4:35). At the end of the age, the harvest will be gathered in and the weeds thrown into the fire (Mt. 13:39; Mk. 4:29; Rev. 14:15)”.
1 Corinthians 11:17–12:11
God created order for men and women
But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 1 Corinthians 11:3 (ESV)
This first half of 1 Corinthians 11, is a part of the New Testament that is the subject of much debate among biblical scholars. One thing we can certainly see in the issues dealt with before and after this section, is that Paul is concerned with proper Christian conduct within the church.
The point Paul is driving home is that there is order, rank and authority in God’s created order and even in the relationship between the Father and the Son. This should be reflected in creation and most clearly in the church.
A pressing point for Paul was to address the Corinthians’ tendency to allow male and female distinctions to become blurred (under the influence of the secular world around them at the time) – we have the same issues in today’s culture which is trying to make sexuality and creation roles so androgynous, so as to lose the distinction all together.
We must uphold the image of God within the church, men must dress and act as men and women as women, not in competition with each other but complementing one another.
God’s purpose in division
for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. 1 Corinthians 11:19 (ESV)
The divisions in the Corinthian church were sometimes along social lines and betrayed the message of the Gospel, by giving preference to the rich. Paul summarises this activity as unbiblical and points to the divisions as a tool that God would use to weed out the church and to distinguish between those who were genuine and those in the flesh.
In Church history, division in the church has given rise to the firmer definition of our doctrines, creed and confessions, just like germs in a body give rise to antibodies making the body stronger.
Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 1 Corinthians 11:28 (ESV)
We are reminded of this at every Lord’s Supper and must take the command seriously, we really need to examine our hearts towards God and our fellow believers and if we have not been walking as we ought to, then we should refrain from taking the Lord’s supper until we have made things right. Self examination should be a daily Christian discipline.
A variety of gifts
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 1 Corinthians 12:4–6 (ESV)
This is such a wonderful passage, God has given a diverse variety of gifts to the Church through the members of the Church, we do not all have the same gift, all our gifts and callings are different. Another amazing thing about this passage is that the entire Trinity is involved in the distribution of the varied gifts to the Church. The Spirit, The Lord Jesus and God the Father.
Gifted to serve others
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 1 Corinthians 12:7 (ESV)
Our gifts are not for us but for the common good of our fellow believers, we are not supposed to use our gifts to build ourselves up or for our own advantage, but to lovingly serve the body of Christ.
Not everyone gets the same gifts
to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 1 Corinthians 12:10 (ESV)
Tongues and the interpretation of tongues, is a gift of the Spirit given to some rather than to all believers.
Some today say that a believer does not have the Holy Spirit unless they speak in tongues but this is a mistake as speaking in tongues is one of the list of possible gifts given to individuals, alongside prophecy, healing, words of wisdom etc.
As the final verse states, we cannot decide or dictate which gifts we are given, the Holy Spirit apportions to each person individually, according to His own will.
The King of Glory
Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! Psalm 24:8 (ESV)
Hallelujah, Jesus is the King of Glory!
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
Desiring God on 1 Corinthians 12