Why Should I Be Involved In Church?
I Need the Church
1 Corinthians 12:29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? :30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?
When the apostle asks if every believer has the same gift—whether apostle, prophet, teacher, miracles, healings, helps, governments, tongues, interpretations of tongues—the grammar in the original shows that he expects and requires a “No” answer.
Therefore any suggestion, expressed or implied, that everyone should have the gift of tongues, is contrary to the word of God and is foreign to the whole concept of the body with its many different members, each with its own function.
If, as stated here, not everyone has the gift of tongues, then it is wrong to teach that tongues are the sign of the baptism of the Spirit. For, in that case, not everyone could expect that baptism. But the truth is that every believer has already been baptized by the Spirit (v. 13).
1 Corinthians 12:31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
When Paul says: “But earnestly desire the best gifts,” he is speaking to the Corinthians as a local church, not as individuals. We know this because the verb is plural in the original. He is saying that as an assembly they should desire to have in their midst a good selection of gifts that edify.
The best gifts are those that are most useful rather than those that are spectacular. All gifts are given by the Holy Spirit and none should be despised.
Yet the fact is that some are of greater benefit to the body than others. These are the ones that every local fellowship should ask the Lord to raise up in the assembly.
And yet I show you a more excellent way. With these words Paul introduces the Love Chapter (1 Cor. 13). What he is saying is that the mere possession of gifts is not as important as the exercise of these gifts in love.
Love thinks of others, not of self. It is wonderful to see a man who is unusually gifted by the Holy Spirit, but it is still more wonderful when that man uses that gift to build up others in the faith rather than to attract attention to himself.
People tend to divorce chapter 13 from its context. They think it is a parenthesis, designed to relieve the tension over tongues in chapters 12 and 14. But that is not the case. It is a vital and continuing part of Paul’s argument.
The abuse of tongues had apparently caused strife in the assembly. Using their gifts for self-display, self-edification, and self-gratification, the “charismatics” were not acting in love.
They received satisfaction out of speaking publicly in a language they had never learned, but it was a real hardship on others to have to sit and listen to something they did not understand. Paul insists that all gifts must be exercised in a spirit of love. The aim of love is to help others and not to please self.
And perhaps the “non-charismatics” had overreacted in acts of unlove. They might even have gone so far as to say that all tongues are of the devil. Their Greek tongues might have been worse than the “charismatic” tongues! Their lovelessness might have been worse than the abuse of tongues itself.
So Paul wisely reminds them all that love is needed on both sides. If they would act in love toward one another, the problem would be largely solved. It is not a problem that calls for excommunication or division; it calls for love.
Christ Brings New Life - The Gifts In Action
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Serious and devout consideration of the mercies of God, as they have been set forth in chapters 1– 11, leads to only one conclusion—we should present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God. Our bodies stand for all our members and, by extension, our entire lives.
Total commitment is our reasonable service.
It is our reasonable service in this sense: if the Son of God has died for me, then the least I can do is live for Him.
“If Jesus Christ be God and died for me,” said the great British athlete C. T. Studd, “then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for him.”
Isaac Watts’ great hymn says the same thing: “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my heart, my life, my all.”
Reasonable service may also be translated “spiritual worship.” As believer-priests, we do not come to God with the bodies of slain animals but with the spiritual sacrifice of yielded lives. We also offer to Him our service (Rom. 15:16), our praise (Heb. 13:15), and our possessions (Heb. 13:16).
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Secondly, Paul urges us not to be conformed to this world, or as Phillips paraphrases it: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold.” When we come to the kingdom of God, we should abandon the thought-patterns and lifestyles of the world. What are your thoughts?
The world (literally age) as used here means the society or system that man has built in order to make himself happy without God. It is a kingdom that is antagonistic to God.
The god and prince of this world is Satan (2 Cor. 4:4; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). All unconverted people are his subjects. He seeks to attract and hold people through the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life (1 Jn. 2:16).
The world has its own politics, art, music, religion, amusements, thought-patterns, and lifestyles, and it seeks to get everyone to conform to its culture and customs. It hates nonconformists—like Christ and His followers.
Christ died to deliver us from this world. The world is crucified to us, and we are crucified to the world. It would be absolute disloyalty to the Lord for believers to love the world. Anyone who loves the world is an enemy of God.
Believers are not of the world any more than Christ is of the world. However, they are sent into the world to testify that its works are evil and that salvation is available to all who put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
We should not only be separated from the world; we should be transformed by the renewing of our mind, which means that we should think the way God thinks, as revealed in the Bible. Then we can experience the direct guidance of God in our lives. And we will find that, instead of being distasteful and hard, His will is good and acceptable and perfect.
Here, then, are three keys for knowing God’s will. The first is a yielded body, the second a separated life, and the third a transformed mind.
Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
Paul speaks here through the grace that was given to him as an apostle of the Lord Jesus. He is going to deal with various forms of straight and crooked thinking.
Macdonald, Farstad Grady Scott, Hindson, E.E.