God’s Spiritual Gifts to Believers at the Beginning of the Church Age
1 Corinthians 12:1-11
A. Now we get to a very strong gift in the early Church – it was the gift that lead to the writing of the New Testament (Eph 2:19-22) – through prophets and apostles (2Pet 1:21).
B. Critical note – no book of Scripture is given by any woman, or by anyone other than a Jew (Rom 3:1,2)
C. We need believers to both know their gifts, and use them in this church
D. But they need to make sure that the gifts they have are not talents, and not natural abilities (no matter how special), but they are actually gifts that God said He would give His Church
E. In other words, Not for Christians to convince themselves that they have a set of gifts that just don’t exists today
F. 1Cor 12:1-10 lists Sign Gifts – special Holy-Spirit given gifts to people for the purpose of winning the Jews and starting the Church
1. Word of wisdom
2. Word of knowledge
5. Working of miracles
7. Discerning of spirits
9. Interpretation of tongues
G. These have passed away (1Cor 13:8-10)
H. But there is much to learn from these gifts, and to always remember that our God is a supernatural God!
I. Christianity is based on the certainty of God's Word, the Bible. It is the only religion in which prophecy plays such an important role. If God's prophets were not 100% true, then the Bible itself is not true. The attacks on the Bible over the past hundred years have all side-stepped the issue of prophecy. The fact stands, that God has built into the Bible a sure way of knowing whether it is true or not - which simply is its ability without fail to tell us the future.
J. A general definition of prophecy is, "A message from God, supernaturally delivered by a person, that reveals a future event, and is 100% always accurate."
1. Many people make prophecies - politicians, religious leaders, astrologers, etc - but none are 100% accurate.
2. Only God has that ability, and He has limited it to only the words and warnings of the Bible.
K. If we neglect the Bible, then we are opening our-selves up to one of the most powerful deceptions of all time that is currently at work - the deception that Jesus never came to begin with, and that the world's "true saviour" will soon arise bringing world peace and justice through something called "a new world order."
L. "Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many." (Matthew 24:5,6,11)
II. Message - Prophecy – vs. 10
A. There are two types of Prophecy used in The New Testament. Fore-telling, and Forth-telling
1. Fore-telling – which is a passing gift - This gift of prophecy had to do with foretelling future events never before revealed in the Scriptures. (Acts 11:27,28; 21:10,11)
a. The first mention of prophecy is found in Genesis - Genesis 15:1 (Notice that the vision was to reveal “the word of the LORD.”)
b. The words vision or visions is used 79 times in the O.T. while found only 15 times in the transitional books of Matthew through Acts and only twice in the remainder of the Bible: 2 Corinthians 12:1 which deals with revelations given to the Apostle Paul and in the Book of the Revelation, chapter 9.
c. The words dream or dreamed are found 79 times in the O.T. while found only 7 times in the transitional books of Matthew through Acts and only one time in the remainder of the Bible in Jude dealing with “filthy dreamers.”
d. This form of prophecy was a passing gift (1Cor 13:8; Jam 4:13,14) – passing away in both Paul’s and James’ day
2. Forth-telling – which is a permanent gift - There are some aspects of prophecy still in use during the church age. Each believer has "the spirit of prophecy." Prophecy in this sense is the means of speaking unto men to “edification, and exhortation, and comfort.” (1Cor 14:3-5) Rom 12:6 is dealing with preaching what God has already said – that’s what I do every time I am behind this pulpit, and every time I witness!
B. The Exactness of Prophecy (fore-telling) (Dt 13:1-5; 18:22)
1. Isa 8:20 – all words that claim to be from heaven have to match and fit in with the words already spoken and written down – none of the previous words are ever done away (Mt 5:17)
a. The Law - Pentateuch – sets the standard
b. The Psalms
c. The Prophets
d. The Gospels
e. The Epistles
f. The Revelation
2. Each had to match what had previously been written down – prophecy was never a stab in the dark, but an exact science, and if ever wrong it disqualified the prophet forever, and should have resulted in his death!
Bible Baptist Church
Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland