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BUILDING UP THE BODY OF CHRIST

 

Spirit Life in the Many Member BodyOf Christ Expressing God's Image

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of Administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestations of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” I Corinthians 12:4-7

 

 

 

The Body of Christ is the expression of God as Christ is the expressed image of God. Romans 8:29, Paul and other writers made it clear how much the Body of Christ resembles the Son who is the expression of God. In His role expressing God, Christ identified Himself to Thomas and the other disciples as the speaking of the Father and the workings of the Father dwelling in Him. Christ made it plain, “...he that hath seen me hath seen the Father;” John 14:6-10  Christ embodies all God is. Christ declared Himself the way, the truth and the life. Like Christ, we His Body are His expression of the way, the truth and the life. In identifying His expression of God He refers to:

A. God’s speaking

B.  God’s works

 

Christ desires most that His disciples believe that He was in the Father and the Father was in Him. In so doing He extends to His disciples the ability to do greater works as they abide in Him and keep His commandments. Thus the Body of Christ expresses God both in Speaking and in Serving. “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; If any man minister let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise, and dominion for ever and ever. A-men.” I Peter 4:11 Therefore God has given to the body of Christ:

Speaking Gifts - Prophecy, Teaching, Exhortation, Word of Knowledge and Word of Wisdom and

Serving Gifts - Discerning of Spirits, Giving, Ruling and Showing Mercy.

 

These gifts are further expressed by those members who are Gifts to the Body. In Ephesians 4, gifts were given unto men to perfect the saints, to do the work of the church, for the edifying and building up of itself to the full maturity of Christ. Ultimate expression: “... But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” These gifts are more specifically demonstrated by those members who are Gifts of the Body. In I Corinthians 12:4-10 God meets the needs in the Body by Diversity of Gifts working together to build up itself in love as the expression of His Kingship - man created in the image of God is committed with God’s Dominion to rule over all created things and as the expression of His Priesthood - man expressing God’s Image: Glory - Holiness, Righteousness and Love -Ministering the Bread and Wine of God’s Grace from the Throne of Grace in the Holy of Holies where Christ sits as our Great Apostle and High Priest of our Confessions.   Paul emphasizes in I Corinthians 12 the importance of knowlege of spiritual gifts saying “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant... But the manifestation of the Spirit is given every man to profit with all.” verses 1-7 Thus spiritual gifts are given every man to profit in all things! To profess Christ and have no knowledge of our spiritual gift is like a thirsty man carrying an empty glass not knowing what and how to drink. In I Corinthians 12:1, Paul begins a detail discussion of gifts, operations and manifestations. In I Corinthians 13, Paul focused our attention on the most important motivation of the gifts - love . .  The ultimate expression of the Body of Christ is God’s love!

 

Paul not only points out how worthless the gifts are without love, he defines what love is and expresses the superiority of love above all gifts and grace. “And now abideth faith, hope, and charity (love) these three; but the greatest of these is charity (love).” I Corinthians 13:13  So in I Corinthians 14 Paul concludes “Follow after charity (love), and desire spiritual gifts...” The gifts working in the Body have diversities of expressions as the Spirit wills. Every one in the Body of Christ has been given the measure of faith to express our vital portion of Christ needed to edify and build up the rest of the Body. In His Body, we are most powerful to influence the dominion of the kingdom in the world we live. The following are most of the gifts given in the Body. God would not have us ignorant to our identity in the Body. The more we know who we are in Christ, the greater will be our expression. Paul told Timothy “... stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.” II Timothy 1:6

A. PROPHECY The gift of prophecy is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to receive and communicate an immediate message of God to His people through a divine - anointed utterance. I Corinthians 12:10, 28; Romans 12:6; Ephesians 4:11, Acts 15:32; Acts 21:9-11; Luke 7:26

 B. PASTOR The gift of the pastor is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to assume a long-term personal responsibility for the spiritual welfare of a group of believers. Ephesians 4:11; I Timothy 3:1-7; John 10:1-18, I Peter 5:1-3

C. TEACHING The gift of teaching is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to communicate information in such a way that others will learn. I Corinthians 12:28; Romans 12:7; Ephsians 4:11-14; Acts 18:24-28; Acts 20:20-21

 

D. WISDOM  The gift of wisdom is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to know the mind of the Holy Spirit in such a way as to receive insight into how given knowledge may best be applied to specific needs arising in the Body of Christ. I Corinthians 12:8; Acts 6:3-10; II Peter 3:15; I Corinthians 2:1-13; James 1:5-6

E.  KNOWLEDGE  The gift of knowledge is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to discover, accumulate, analyze and clarify information and ideas which are pertinent to the growth and well-being of the Body. I Corinthians 12:8; Acts 5:1-11; I Corinthians 2:14; Colossians 2:2-3

F. EXHORTATION  The gift of exhortation is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to minister words of comfort, consolation, encouragement, and counsel to other members of the Body in such a way, they feel helped and healed. Romans 12:8; I Timothy 4:13; Hebrews 10:25; Acts 14:22

G. DISCERNING OF SPIRITS The gift of discerning of spirits is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to know with assurance whether certain behavior purported to be of God is in reality, divine, human or satanic. I Corinthians 12:10; Acts 16:16-18; I John 4:1-6

H. GIVING The gift of giving is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to contribute their material resources to the work of the Lord with liberality and cheerfulness. Romans 12:8; II Corinthians 8:1-7; II Corinthians 9:2, 6-8

 

I. HELPS The gift of helps is the special ability that God gives certain members of the Body of Christ to invest the talents they have in the life and ministry of other members of the body, thus enabling them to increase the effectiveness of their own spiritual gifts. I Corinthians 12:28; Romans 16:1-2; Acts 9:36

J. MERCY The gift of mercy is the special ability that God gives certain members of the Body of Christ to feel genuine empathy and compassion for individuals, both believers and non-believers who suffer distressing physical, mental or emotional problems, and to translate that compassion into cheerfully works of kindness which reflect Christ’s love and alleviate the suffering. Romans 12:8; Acts 16:33-34; Luke 10:33-35; Mark 9:41

K. MISSIONARY  The gift of missionary is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of  Christ to minister whatever other spiritual gifts they have to in a second culture. I Corinthians 9:19-23; Acts 22:21; Acts 13:2-3; Acts 8:4

L. EVANGELIST The gift of evangelist is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to share the gospel with unbelievers in such a way that men and women become disciples of Jesus and responsible members of the Body of Christ. Ephesians 4:11; Acts 8:5-6; Acts 8:26-40; II Timothy 4:5; Acts 21:8; Acts 14:21

M. HOSPITALITY The gift of hospitality is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to provide open house and warm welcome for those in need of food and lodging. Romans 12:9-13; Hebrews 13:1-2; Acts 16:15; Romans 16:23

N. FAITH The gift of faith is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to discern with extraordinary confidence the will and purpose of God for the future of his work. I Corinthians 12:9; Acts 27:21-25; Acts 11:22-24; Romans 4:18-21; Hebrews 11

 

O. LEADERSHIP The gift of faith is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to set goals in accordance with God’s purpose for the future and to communicate these goals to others in such a way that they voluntarily and harmoniously work together to accomplish those goals for the glory of God. Romans 12:8; Acts 15:7-11; I Timothy 5:17; Acts 7:10; Hebrews 13:17

P. ADMINISTRATION  The gift of administration is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to understand clearly the immediate and long-range goals of a particular unit of the Body of Christ and to devise and execute effective plans for the accomplishment of those goals. I Corinthians 12:28; Acts 27:11; Acts 6:1-7

Q. MIRACLES The gift of miracles is the special ability that God gives to certain members for the Body of Christ to serve as human intermediaries through whom it pleases God to perform powerful acts that are perceived by observers to have altered the ordinary course of nature. I Corinthians 12:10, 28; Acts 19:11-20; Romans 15:18-19; Acts 9:36-42

R. HEALING  The gift of healing is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to serve as human intermediaries through whom it pleases God to cure illness and restore health apart from the use of natural means. I Corinthians 12:9, 28; Acts 3:1-10; Acts 5:12-16; Acts 9:32-35

S.  TONGUES  The gift of tongues is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to (a) speak to God in a language they have never learned and / or (b) receive and communicate an immediate message of God to His people through a divinely - anointed utterance in a language they have never learned. I Corinthians 12:10, 28; I Corinthians 14:13-19; Acts 2:1-13; Acts 19:1-7; Acts 10:44-46

 

T. INTERPRETATION The gift of interpretation is the special gift that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to make known in the vernacular, the message of one who speaks in tongues. I Corinthians 12:10, 30; I Corinthians 14:13

U. APOSTLE The gift of apostle is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to assume and exercise general leadership over a number of churches with extraordinary authority in spiritual matters which is spontaneously recognized and appreciated by those churches. I Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11 II Corinthians 12:12;  Ephesians 3:1-9

V. CELIBACY The gift of celibacy is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to remain single and enjoy it; to be unmarried and not suffer undue sexual temptations. I Corinthians 7:7-8; Matthew 19:10-12

W. INTERCESSION The gift of intercession is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to pray for extended periods of time on a regular basis and see frequent and special answer to their prayers to a degree much greater than that which is expected of the average believer. James 5:14-16; I Timothy 2:1-2; Colossians 1:9-12

X. MARTYRDOM The gift of martyrdom is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to undergo suffering for the faith, even to the point of death, while consistently displaying a joyous and victorious attitude which brings glory to God. I Corinthians 13:3; Acts 7:54-60; Acts 12:1-5; Acts 8:1-4

Y. SERVICE The gift of service is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to identify the unmet needs involved in a task related to God’s work and to make use of available resources to meet those needs and accomplish the goals. Romans 12 goals.goRomans 12:7; Acts 6:1-7; II Timothy 1:16-18

 

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