A More Excellent Way – Agape Love –

 1 Corinthians 12:31b And I show you a still more excellent way.

At the conclusion of his instruction about spiritual gifts in chapter 12, Paul added: “And I show you a still more excellent way”. In chapter 13 he described agape love; Jesus said people will know His followers because they love one another [John 13:34-35].

There are three kinds of love in the Bible: Agape, Phileo and Eros.

Agape [noun] or Agapao [verb] Love: We talk about Agape but we live out Agapao. This term represents the love of the Father for Jesus and human beings.  Jesus showed this love for His Father in heaven and for humanity. Agape is the love that Jesus commanded all believers to have for everyone whether a believer or not. Agape is used in all of 1 Corinthians 13 and agapao in John 3:16. Agape appears in 106 verses of the New Testament [for list click here] and Agapao in 110 verses [for list click here].

Phileo Love refers to loving one another just like your brother or sister.

Agapao and Phileo love are both used in John 21:15 “So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love [agapao] Me more than these?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love [phileo] You.”” Jesus wanted Peter to acknowledge agapao love for Him, but Peter just a few days after denying Jesus 3 times, did not trust himself to use agapao love. Jesus asks the question as agapao two times, but the 3rd time said phileo love. Peter responded with phileo love all three times.

Eros is a Greek term which actually means desire and longing. Also referred to as erotic love, this can be a selfish kind of love instead of pure romantic love. The Greek word Eros is not in the Bible. The New Testament never directly addresses the topic of passionate, romantic love. However, in the Old Testament Eros love is illustrated in the Song of Solomon. Examples include Song of Solomon 1:2-4, 7:6-8

Jesus loves believers with agape love. He commands His Disciples to love with agape love.

Henry Luke 4/24/2018

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

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God’s provision of spiritual gifts in the church is intentional

 1 Corinthians 12:24b, 25-26..24 God has so composed the body,…25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

Paul presented an analogy of the human body [vv.21-26] to strengthen his case for the unity of the church. No division or problem in the physical body or church is possible without pain or trouble. The various parts are to exhibit a mutual concern for each other. All parts are interdependent, many yet one; one yet many. Every Disciple matters in the life of the church at large and to other believers individually.

Do you know what it feels like to hit your thumb with a hammer? Although only your thumb was hurt, your whole body is shot through with pain. I broke my little toe one time and I hurt beyond my toe. My doctor just laughed at me and said tape it to the next toe and it will heal—it did. Most divisions or problems in the church are not fixed this easily.

If one member—of the human body or of the church—suffers, all the members suffer with it. Similarly, if one member is honored, then the others share in the honor. Every Disciple matters in the life of the church at large—and to other believers individually. Because we are all united to Jesus, what happens to one affects the others, whether it involves joy or suffering.

How can I increase my joy for the diversity of gifts in our church while maintaining unity and comforting those who suffer?

Henry Luke 4/22/2018

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

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Spiritual Gifts 19-25 out of 25

Spiritual Gifts Ephesians 4:

[19] v.11 Evangelism is to be a messenger of the good news of the gospel of Jesus one person at a time or to groups.

[20] v.11 Pastor is to be responsible for the spiritual care, protection, guidance and spiritual feeding of a group of Disciples assigned to his care.

Spiritual Gifts Miscellaneous Passages:

 [21] Celibacy is to remain single without regret and with the ability to restrain sexual impulses. This is an important spiritual gift for believing women today because there are far less believing men than woman.  1 Corinthians 7:7-8

 [22] Martyrdom is to give one’s life for suffering or death for the cause of Jesus. This is a real danger for at least 1/2 of the world’s population and may be expanding further unless the church becomes serious about training believers to be Disciple-makers.1 Corinthians 13:3

[23] Voluntary poverty is to purposefully live an impoverished lifestyle to serve and aid others. Today most Disciples in the USA could easily increase their giving % without reducing their lifestyle to this level. 1 Corinthians 13:3

 [24] Missionary’s are sent to minister in another culture. Ephesians 3:6-8

 [25] Hospitality is to warmly welcome people, even strangers, into your home or church as a means of serving others in need. An example today is the number of believing couples who are opening their home to children in need of foster care and/or adoption. 1 Peter 4:9-10

Henry Luke 4/20/2018

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

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Summary/application 1 Corinthians 12:

 

  1. Are you using your spiritual gifts to serve God and others?
  2. Have you been concentrating on serving with your gifts while neglecting obedience to the commands of Jesus and will of God?
  3. There is power in the Word of God to change lives.
  4. How can I increase my joy for the diversity of gifts in our church while maintaining unity and comforting those who suffer?
  5. When was the last time you did something outside your comfort zone?
  6. Scripture memory 1 Corinthians 12:27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.

Acts 2:24  But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. [John 3:16 oves]

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There should be unity and diversity in the church.

 1 Corinthians 12:11-12.. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. 12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.

Three elements of vv.11-12.

1st All spiritual gifts come from the same Spirit. If the Spirit has given gifts, then they are all important. He always acts with intention to glorify Jesus and achieve God’s purpose in individual lives and the church.

2nd Each person in the church has received a gift or gifts. Therefore, each person has a ministry in the life of the church.

3rd It’s the Spirit who distributes gifts as He wills. We do not get to pick our own spiritual gifts, any more than we picked our own natural talents. This means that no one should feel superior (or inferior) because he or she has (or does not have) any particular demonstration of the Spirit.

Paul compared the church to a human body by making two assertions that set up his analogy. 1st, the human body is one. There is a unity to the human body even though it has a diversity of parts. 2nd, in the same way there should be unity and diversity in the church, just as there is in the human body.

Henry Luke 4/21/2018

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

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Spiritual Gifts 11-18 out of 25

1 Corinthians 12:

[11] v.28 Teaching is instructing Disciples on-on-one and in groups the truths and doctrines of God’s word. This is to build up, unify, and mature the Disciple in obedience to the 3rd part of the Great Commission [Matthew 28:19-20] and create Disciple-makers.

[12] v.28 Helps – Helping and serving others. People with this gift recognize practical needs of others and give assistance with joy and love for Jesus. This may lead you outside your comfort zone as you follow God’s will.

[13] v.28 Administration enables the church to organize to fulfill God’s purposes and long term goal; This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come [Matthew 24:14]. People with this gift lead by guiding others to stay focused on their task(s) in the big picture while keeping all His commandments out of love for Jesus.

Spiritual Gifts: Romans 12:

[14] v.7 Service is to personally identify undone tasks in God’s work, however menial, and voluntarily help to get the job done.

[15] v.8 Exhortation is to come along side someone with words of encouragement, comfort, consolation, and counsel to help them be conformed to the image of Jesus.

[16] v.8 Giving is sharing the material resources God has given a person to steward with liberality and joy without any thought of return.

[17] v.8 Leadership is providing direction to Disciples that will stimulate and focus them to fulfill the New Testament commandments out of a heart of love and joy.

[18] v.8 Mercy is to be sensitive toward those who are suffering, whether physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. To feel genuine sympathy with their misery and  speaking words of compassion, but also caring for them with deeds of love and Biblical guidance to help alleviate their distress.

Henry Luke 4/20/2018

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

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Spiritual Gifts 7-10 out of 25

1 Corinthians 12:

[7] Distinguishing between spirits 10b and to another the distinguishing of spirits,

There are true prophets of God and there are false prophets; which the Old Testament Israelites experienced. Moses provided instructions about discerning true prophets [Deuteronomy 18:20-22]. In the New Testament churches, some believers were gifted with supernatural ability to distinguish between persons truly inspired by the Holy Spirit and those led astray by other spirits [1 John 4:1, 2 Peter 2:1].

We should test ever statement made by anyone by comparison with the Word of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Another test of a prophet is whether their prophecy comes true [Deuteronomy 18:22].

[8] Tongues 10c to another various kinds of tongues,

This gift is to speak in a language not previously learned so unbelievers can hear the gospel of Jesus in their own language. This occurred at Pentecost; They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? [Acts 2:5-12] This would be like sending our missionary’s to a people with a different language and they could instantly communicate in the native language. This would be great, but today our missionary’s have to spend months in intensive language training before going on the mission field. Tongues passed off the scene during the 1st century. [See statement from Warren Wiersbe in #5 Miracles]

 [9] Interpretation of tongues 10d and to another the interpretation of tongues.

Apparently the church at Corinth had a problem with many people speaking in ecstatic languages that no one understood. Paul said about the church; 23 Therefore if the whole church assembles together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad? [1 Corinthians 14:23]. And he followed, that in public worship this must be limited to  two or three people who spoke in such ecstatic languages, each in turn, and then only if a translation or interpretation was provided [1 Corinthians14:23,27-28]. [See statement from Warren Wiersbe in #5 Miracles]

We see examples of interpreters at the UN or when we provide our church services with interpretation in several languages. I experienced this in Curacao in 1999 when the people where speaking in Papiamento in a public meeting with several hundred people present. I had 2 interpreters one for my English to Papiamento and the other the reverse for me. It was very difficult. Interpretation of languages is indeed a skill or gift.

[10] v.28 Apostles Jesus used this term to indicate the twelve disciples He had chosen [Luke 6:13]. Paul used the word like it was already a term designating a specific group of men, including Paul, per­forming functions in the church with authority [1 Thessalonians 2:6, 1 Corinthians 4:9,9:1-2]. “We may assume apostles were no longer needed when the foundation of the church was completed in the 1st century AD.” [Warren Wiersbe, see note on #6 Prophets].

Henry Luke 4/19/2018

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

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