Understanding Spiritual Gifts

Faith Church October 19, 2002 1 Corinthians 0:

Introduction:
- Today we're going to move into the next phase of our study on Discovering and Using Your Spiritual Gifts.
- Remind them of the resources mentioned last week:
1.  John MacArthur's commentary on I Corinthians
2.  Robert L. Thomas - Understanding Spiritual Gifts
- Last week we talked about . . .
I.  The Importance of Biblical Love
II.  The Description of Biblical Love
III.  The Relationship of Biblical Love
- We’re going to focus on our time of study on the end of 1 Corinthians 13
-  One of our primary questions we need to answer in this study is:  Are all the gifts for today? –  We want to answer that question!
[READ I Cor. 13:8-13]
- Remember the context of this passage: Paul has been presenting the permanence of love and making the point that love is the ‘more excellent way’ than the ‘greatest gifts’ (1 Cor. 12:31)
-The church at Corinth had gotten its eyes off the permanent and on the TEMPORAL – instead of being ‘salt and light’ – they were being influenced by the culture around them!
“Instead of penetrating Corinth with a spirit of godliness, Corinth’s spirit of ungodliness had penetrated the church. Instead of being obedient to God’s Spirit and controlled by the fruit He gives, they were infected by materialism, pride, antagonism, selfishness, compromise, indulgence, hatred, sexual immorality, jealousy, and virtually every other sin imaginable. They were called to be light, but they did deeds of darkness. They were called to be righteous, but lived in sin. Instead of Corinth being Christianized, the church was being paganized.”
- It’s no wonder that they were struggling with understanding and demonstrating godly love (agapa – self sacrificial love – the exact opposite of what they were demonstrating)
- Finish this sentence:  If it can happen to the church at Corinth . . .  [it can happen at FBC!!]
- If our ministry here, or your ministry in your situation is going to ENDURE, genuine godly love is the necessary ingredient!
- Because love endure, it is God’s greatest gift – when you compare the permanence of love to spiritual gifts, the spiritual gifts are temporary, partial, and elementary!
Point:  You can be the most gifted person in our church, but if you don’t have the love of 1 Corinthians 13, you’re like what Paul described in 13:1-4!


  I.  Some Spiritual Gifts Were Temporary


• 1 Corinthians 13:8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
A.  Three spiritual gifts, prophecy, tongues, and knowledge are temporal.
1.  Prophecy = the prophetic office, the prophetic gift (ability to prophesy), spoken in the NT of the peculiar charisma or spiritual gift imparted to the early teachers of the church (Rom. 12:6; 1 Cor. 12:10; 13:2, 8; 14:22).
-  a discourse emanating from divine inspiration and declaring the purposes of God, whether by reproving and admonishing the wicked, or comforting the afflicted, or revealing things hidden; esp. by foretelling future events.
- this includes, but is not limited to, the foretelling of future events – it also includes the public proclamation of the word!
2.  Knowledge = the gift to correctly understand and properly exhibit the truths revealed by the apostles and prophets (Hodge) – Gabelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, p. 269
- The nature of each would include revelation from God, but not be limited to that
-  Although Paul tells the Corinthians that all three gifts would someday cease to exist, two different verbs are used to point out the fact that they would STOP:
- Prophecy and knowledge will be ‘done away’ – tongues will ‘cease’
• ‘done away’ = to reduce to inactivity
(future passive) from render ineffective, nullify, cancel; destroy, abolish, do away with  (pass. pass away, cease); use up (Lk 13.7); pass. withbe released  from (Ro 7.2, 6); be cut off from (Gal 5.4)  
Note:  The fact that both verbs in v. 8 and v. 10 (done away) are passive – indicating that something or someone will cause them to stop – we’ll discuss this in just a minute, but the cause is the coming of ‘the perfect’ (v. 10)
Robert Thomas: “Since the cause of the cessation in these two cases is outside the gifts themselves, it accurately describes the termination of revelational activity by God (though the text does not explicitly identify Him as the one doing away with the gifts).” – p. 78
     [could use Jay’s quote on p. 23 -- #2 “Clearly, as the language indicates . . . “
3.  Tongues = the language or dialect used by a particular people distinct from that of other nations.
Point:  Known languages!
Illustrate:  The gift of tongues would be to speak in English to a Russian audience and they would understand you completely though they had never heard English before!
- Paul said that this gift was temporal . . . tongues would cease.
• ‘cease’ = to stop or come to an end
(future middle) from stop, keep from (1 Peter 3.10); middle – stop, cease; cease from, be done with
Thomas:  “The form lends itself to the thought of the gift’s passing out of existence ‘under its own power,’ as it were.  This appropriately describes the cessation of a sign gift after it had served its purpose.” 
-  The purpose of the sign gift being to validate the message of the Gospel by the Apostles
-  The following quote by John MacArthur, helps us to understand not only the distinction, but the importance of the distinction of these two verbs:
“This verb is here used in the Greek middle voice, which, when used of persons, indicates intentional, voluntary action upon oneself. Used of inanimate objects it indicates reflexive, self-causing action. The cause comes from within; it is built in. God gave the gift of tongues a built-in stopping place. “That gift will stop by itself,” Paul says. Like a battery, it had a limited energy supply and a limited life-span. When its limits were reached, its activity automatically ended. Prophecy and knowledge will be stopped by something outside themselves, but the gift of tongues will stop by itself. This distinction in terms is unarguable”
- But you might still be asking the question:  When and how do these gifts end?
Input:  When does Paul say that prophecy and knowledge will end?
[v. 9-10 – when the perfect comes – Note: Define ‘the perfect’ later]
- The time when tongues stop is not mentioned in relation to the coming of the perfect. 
- They will have ceased at an earlier time – that is why they (tongues) are not stopped by the same thing that stops the other two gifts (prophecy & knowledge).
- The other question then is , “When and how do tongues cease?”
B.  The gift of tongues ended with the apostolic age.
- Here are a few reasons why we believe that:  [taken from 1 Corinthians – John MacArthur)
1)  Tongues was a sign gift.
- In the first place, tongues was a sign gift and, as with the gifts of healing and miracles, it ceased to operate when the New Testament was completed.
2)  The purpose of tongues as a judicial sign of Israel’s judgment ceased to apply at that time.
- This had to do with Isaiah’s prophecy (Isa. 28:11-12) regarding Israel not listening to or believing God when He spoke to them in clear languages.
- As a result, the day would come when He would speak to them in languages the could not understand – this was a reminder to them of their rejection of Him!
- Paul didn’t want that day to come, but he knew it was coming!
3)  Tongues ceased because they were an inferior means of edification.
- Paul deals with this in chp. 14, but clearly states that tongues were an inferior means of communication (14:1-12), praise (14:13-19), evangelism (14:20-25).
- The gift of prophecy is far superior in every way (14:1,3-6,24,29,31,39)
• 1 Corinthians 14:19 however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind, that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.
4)  Tongues ceased because its purpose as a confirming sign of apostolic authority and doctrine ended when the NT was completed.
“Genuine tongues–speaking involved direct revelation of God to the speaker, though it was veiled revelation that always needed translation or interpretation, often even to the speaker himself (1 Cor. 14:27–28).” 
Point: What tongues was given to confirm, no longer needed confirmation – the revelation of God was complete, and John wrote that nothing was to be added to it or taken from it (Revelation 22:18-19)!
5)  The use of tongues have ceased because their use is mentioned only in the earlier NT books.
- Paul mentions it only in 1 Corinthians – Luke never mentions it after Acts 19:6 – James, Peter, Jude, and John exclude it all together!
- While the argument from ‘silence’ is not always a strong one, in this case, and given the original nature of the spiritual gift of tongues, the argument is a strong one.
6)  Tongues has evidently ceased because since the apostolic age, it has reappeared only spasmodically and questionably (i.e. was it really tongues as the NT described it) throughout nineteen centuries of church history.
[see MacArthur’s comments on p. 361-362]


II.  Some spiritual gifts were described as being incomplete.


A.  Knowledge and prophecy are incomplete
[See Jay’s comments – p. 24 – 2nd full paragraph]

B.  When ‘the perfect’ comes we will have no more need of knowledge
- * A word of caution about this passage (from John Calvin): 
“In the first place, I should wish to admonish pious readers, not to harass themselves more than is meet in the investigation of these things. Let them rather seek the way by which the kingdom of God is arrived at, than curiously inquire, what is to be our condition there; for the Lord himself has, by his silence, called us back from such curiosity. I now return to the question. So far as I can conjecture, and am able even to gather in part from this passage — inasmuch as learning knowledge of languages, and similar gifts are subservient to the necessity of this life, I do not think that there will be any of them then remaining.”
* There are many possible interpretations of ‘the perfect’:  [1 Corinthians – MacArthur]
1) The completion of the Scriptures – [Jay’s position]
[See Jay’s comment – p. 26 – 1st full paragraph – explains his position well]
- However, in order to hold this position, ‘prophecy’ would have to be narrowly interpreted as . . . “referring to direct, inspired revelatory communication from the Holy Spirit or possibly to some special aid given by the Spirit to understand and present truth already revealed, as given in the written Scriptures” – Gabelein, p. 269 (quoting Hodge)
- Since it is clear that the use of this term is NOT restricted specifically to that, then there are other possible interpretations of what the ‘perfect’ means
2)  The rapture
- this is not best because the gifts could not be resumed – but they appear to be operative during the Tribulation and millennial Kingdom
3)  The maturity of the church
- that won’t happen until the rapture, so see the argument above – 2)
4)  The 2nd coming of Christ
- but ‘perfect’ is neuter in the original, eliminating the possibility that it relates to a person – and besides, the millennial kingdom will be full of preachers and teachers
• Isaiah 11:9 They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.
• Isaiah 29:18 And on that day the deaf shall hear words of a book, .  ..
5)  The eternal state
“The eternal state allows for the neuter form of the perfect and allows for the continuation of knowledge and prophecy during the church age, the Tribulation, and the Kingdom. It fits the context of Paul’s emphasis on the permanence of love. It also fits his mention of our then seeing “face to face,” which will come about only with our glorification, when we will be illumined by the very glory of God Himself (Rev. 21:23). Finally, only in heaven will we “know fully just as [we] also have been fully known” (1 Cor. 13:12).
Point: The Scriptures are not really clear on this issue!
-  While there are some grounds for the ‘perfect’ being the completion of the Scriptures, we don’t want to base our belief on the cessation of special revelation on the obscurity of the issue in this passage!


III.  Love is Eternal


- Faith will be sight and hope a reality when we get to heaven – so they are not equal to love!
- Love is eternal – and it’s superior to the others
- Think about this: God doesn’t have faith and doesn’t need hope – but John says that “God is love’ (1 John 4:8) – if we are going to be like Him, and His Son, we must have love.
Adult Bible Fellowship
Discovering and Using Your Spiritual Gifts
1 Cor. 13:8-13 – Understanding Spiritual Gifts

Introduction:
1.  Are all the gifts for today?
2.  Remember the context of this passage.
3.  The church at Corinth had gotten its eyes off the PERMANENT and on the TEMPORAL!
“Instead of penetrating Corinth with a spirit of godliness, Corinth’s spirit of ungodliness had penetrated the church. Instead of being obedient to God’s Spirit and controlled by the fruit He gives, they were infected by materialism, pride, antagonism, selfishness, compromise, indulgence, hatred, sexual immorality, jealousy, and virtually every other sin imaginable. They were called to be light, but they did deeds of darkness. They were called to be righteous, but lived in sin. Instead of Corinth being Christianized, the church was being paganized.”
I.  Some Spiritual Gifts Were __________
• 1 Corinthians 13:8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
A.  Three spiritual gifts, prophecy, tongues, and knowledge are __________.
1.  Prophecy = the prophetic office, the prophetic gift (ability to prophesy) and includes the __________ __________ of the Word
2.  Knowledge = the gift to correctly __________ and properly exhibit the truths revealed by the apostles and prophets
• ‘done away’ = to reduce to inactivity
Robert Thomas: “Since the cause of the cessation in these two cases is outside the gifts themselves, it accurately describes the termination of revelational activity by God (though the text does not explicitly identify Him as the one doing away with the gifts).” – p. 78
3.  Tongues = the __________ or __________ used by a particular people distinct from that of other nations.
•  ‘cease’ = to stop or come to an end
Robert Thomas:  “The form lends itself to the thought of the gift’s passing out of existence ‘under its own power,’ as it were.  This appropriately describes the cessation of a sign gift after it had served its purpose.” 
Input:  When does Paul say that prophecy and knowledge will end?
- The other question then is , “When and how do tongues cease?”

B.  The gift of tongues ended with the __________ __________.
1)  Tongues was a __________ __________.
2)  The purpose of tongues as a __________ sign of Israel’s judgment ceased to apply at that time.
3)  Tongues ceased because they were an __________ means of edification.
• 1 Corinthians 14:19 however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind, that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.
4)  Tongues ceased because its purpose as a confirming sign of __________ __________ and doctrine ended when the NT was completed.
5)  The use of tongues have ceased because their use is mentioned only in the earlier NT books.
6)  Tongues has evidently ceased because since the apostolic age, it has reappeared only __________ and __________ throughout nineteen centuries of church history.
II.  Some spiritual gifts were described as being __________.
A.  __________ and __________ are incomplete
B.  When ‘the perfect’ comes we will have no more need of knowledge
* There are many possible interpretations of ‘the perfect’:
1.  The __________ of the __________
2.  The __________
3.  The __________ of the church
4.  The _____________ of Christ
• Isaiah 11:9 They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.
• Isaiah 29:18 And on that day the deaf shall hear words of a book, .  ..
5.  The ___________ state
“The eternal state allows for the neuter form of the perfect and allows for the continuation of knowledge and prophecy during the church age, the Tribulation, and the Kingdom. It fits the context of Paul’s emphasis on the permanence of love. It also fits his mention of our then seeing “face to face,” which will come about only with our glorification, when we will be illumined by the very glory of God Himself (Rev. 21:23). Finally, only in heaven will we “know fully just as [we] also have been fully known”
(1 Cor. 13:12).
III.  Love is _____________

Adult Bible Fellowship
Discovering and Using Your Spiritual Gifts
1 Cor. 13:8-13 – Understanding Spiritual Gifts
Introduction:
1.  Are all the gifts for today?
2.  Remember the context of this passage.
3.  The church at Corinth had gotten its eyes off the PERMANENT and on the TEMPORAL!
“Instead of penetrating Corinth with a spirit of godliness, Corinth’s spirit of ungodliness had penetrated the church. Instead of being obedient to God’s Spirit and controlled by the fruit He gives, they were infected by materialism, pride, antagonism, selfishness, compromise, indulgence, hatred, sexual immorality, jealousy, and virtually every other sin imaginable. They were called to be light, but they did deeds of darkness. They were called to be righteous, but lived in sin. Instead of Corinth being Christianized, the church was being paganized.”



I.  Some Spiritual Gifts Were Temporary
• 1 Corinthians 13:8
A.  Three spiritual gifts, prophecy, tongues, and knowledge are temporal.
1.  Prophecy = the prophetic office, the prophetic gift (ability to prophesy) and includes the public proclamation of the Word
2.  Knowledge = the gift to correctly understand and properly exhibit the truths revealed by the apostles and prophets
• ‘done away’ = to reduce to inactivity
Robert Thomas: “Since the cause of the cessation in these two cases is outside the gifts themselves, it accurately describes the termination of revelational activity by God (though the text does not explicitly identify Him as the one doing away with the gifts).”


3.  Tongues = the language or dialect used by a particular people distinct from that of other nations.
• ‘cease’ = to stop or come to an end
Robert Thomas:  “The form lends itself to the thought of the gift’s passing out of existence ‘under its own power,’ as it were.  This appropriately describes the cessation of a sign gift after it had served its purpose.” 
Input:  When does Paul say that prophecy and knowledge will end?
B.  The gift of tongues ended with the apostolic age.
1.  Tongues was a sign gift.
2.  The purpose of tongues as a judicial sign of Israel’s judgment ceased to apply at that time.
3.  Tongues ceased because they were an inferior means of edification.
• 1 Corinthians 14:19
4.  Tongues ceased because its purpose as a confirming sign of apostolic authority and doctrine ended when the NT was completed.
5.  The use of tongues have ceased because their use is mentioned only in the earlier NT books.
6.  Tongues has evidently ceased because since the apostolic age, it has reappeared only spasmodically and questionably throughout nineteen centuries of church history.
II.  Some spiritual gifts were described as being incomplete.
A.  Knowledge and prophecy are incomplete
B.  When ‘the perfect’ comes we will have no more need of knowledge
* There are many possible interpretations of ‘the perfect’:
1. The completion of the Scriptures
2.  The rapture
3.  The maturity of the church
4.  The 2nd coming of Christ
• Isaiah 11:9
• Isaiah 29:18
5.  The eternal state


“The eternal state allows for the neuter form of the perfect and allows for the continuation of knowledge and prophecy during the church age, the Tribulation, and the Kingdom. It fits the context of Paul’s emphasis on the permanence of love. It also fits his mention of our then seeing “face to face,” which will come about only with our glorification, when we will be illumined by the very glory of God Himself (Rev. 21:23). Finally, only in heaven will we “know fully just as [we] also have been fully known” (1 Cor. 13:12).
III.  Love is Eternal

Faith Church