The Apostle Paul had a high value for strengthening the health and vitality of the Body of Christ through spiritual gifts. One of the primary ways of strengthening the Church is through the declaration of God’s word. Paul wrote, “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit.On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation” (1 Cor. 14:1-3). Pray with me for the strong and accurate communication of God’s truth in your church.
In 1 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul mentions a number of spiritual gifts – “To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,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 Cor. 8-10). Then Paul writes, “All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills” (vs. 11).
Spirital gifts have been given by God to strengthen and unify the Body of Christ. “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (vs. 7). It is tragic that Satan has used something that God designed for unity to cause division and fragmentation in the Church. Let’s bring this to God in prayer today!
Each believer in Jesus Christ is given spiritually empowered capacities to build up and strengthen the Body of Christ. These capacities are called Spiritual Gifts. Each spiritual gift is actually an manifestation of the Holy Spirit of God through the believer to accomplish God’s purposes for the Church. The Apostle Paul writes, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,10 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.11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills” (1 Cor. 12:7-11).
In order to honor God with the purity of our lives, we need to honor him with our eyes! The bible is ruthlessly practical. In the Old Testament we read from Job, “I have made a covenant with my; how then could I gaze at a virgin? What would be my portion from God above and my heritage from the Almighty on high? Is not calamity for the unrighteous, and disaster for the workers of iniquity? Does not he see my ways and number all my steps? (Job 31:1-4). To strengthen our personal purity we need to daily avert our eyes from those things that would tempt us.
There is to be a healthy “family” dynamic that characterizes our relationships within the Body of Christ and they are all to be marked by purity. “Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers,older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity” (1 Timothy 5:1-2).
We are not to live like the fallen culture around us but as those who know the living God. “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God” (1 Thess. 4:3-5).
Sexual impurity is damaging. The Old Testament book of Proverbs says, “He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself” (Proverbs 6:32). The Apostle Paul writes, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1 Cor. 6:18). Join me as we pray for wisdom and strength to deny temptation and walk in obedience to God.
God’s Word provides remarkable counsel for walking in personal purity. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!” (Psalm 119:9-10). If we are filling our lives with God’s truth, we will be guided and empowered to walk in the ways of purity.
At the heart of the Gospel is a remarkable truth, namely, that the righteousness that God requires, but that we cannot produce, He has made available through faith in His son, Jesus. The basis of our purity is Jesus Christ. The righteousness that qualifies us to stand blameless before a holy God is not our own – it is the righteousness of Jesus credited to our lives as a result of our trusting in Him for our salvation. The Apostle Paul writes, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).