10-13-19 Spiritual Gifts: Participation and Particulars

kthomasCommunity Study

Overarching theme:  Living a year in God’s presence through the practice of following Jesus.

Instructions: When using this material as teacher, feel free to pick and choose the point you want to emphasis in the lesson. The format of the curriculum is designed to have an abundance of information in which to refer as desired.

Core PointTo teach and learn that everyone in the community of Faith at FUMC, Coppell has a place of ministry and has been endowed with certain spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit that work together with other believers in the broader faith community to promote unity, common good, and the love of God through Christ Jesus

Start point: The scripture focus is found in the Letter of 1 Corinthians.  Paul is acknowledged as the author 1 Corinthians, as found in 1:1-2 and 16:21 and then affirmed by the early church fathers.  The letter was written approximately 55 A.D. towards the end of Paul’s three-year residency in Ephesus.  The city of Corinth was heavily influenced by the Greek culture with most of the church population being of gentile descent. The city was a highly travelled shipping port filled with a variety of cultures and beliefs.

“The epistles to the Corinthians were written to the church that resided in Corinth of Achaia. The city resides on the isthmus that connects the Peloponnesus to the rest of Greece. While an unavoidable passage for the land-born, north-south trade, Corinth’s location also made east-west trade common because ships that traveled from the Adriatic Sea to the Aegean Sea would cut through this isthmus to save hundreds of miles of dangerous sea travel. The method of crossing the isthmus involved putting the ships on rollers and transporting them across the four-mile stretch of earth that connect the two land masses (a canal was not constructed in Corinth until the late nineteenth century). Corinth was both the political and the commercial capital of Achaia. The city was well-trafficked with travelers; and so, the population of about 600,000 people [1] was quite diverse. Some of the outcomes of this diversity were the prosperity of both religious syncretism [2] and immorality. Corinth had a reputation for its depravity, and the temple prostitutes of Aphrodite did not help in saving the city’s bad name. There was even a Greek word, korinthiazomai (Corinthianize), which meant “to practice fornication.” — Blue Letter Bible: Intros to the Bible, The Epistles to the Corinthians

So Paul writes to this church in Corinth to instruct them on how to practice their faith with in the context of the church worship and the community around them.  The letter to the Corinthians was to teach them about the use of all gifts and not just their emphasis on the ecstatic gifts, tongues and miracles.  Actually, Love is the best practice.

Reflect on this Scripture:

1 Corinthians 12: 12-31

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 14 Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; 24 whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, 25 that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.

Questions to Ponder:

What jumps out at you from this passage?

How do you interpret this analogy of the body of Christ on earth?

Why do you think Paul would use this analogy?

What is the primary message in verses 12-25?

What are the list of gifts in 27-31?

What do you think the author is meaning in the statement, “Strive for the greater gifts?”

Commentary:

Every Christian is blessed with spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit for the glorification of the activity of God and the promotion of the redemptive activity of Christ Jesus.  You can identify your gifts through learning what the gifts are and then what you notice about yourself in the daily activity of your faith.  You can also learn by what others see exhibited by you. Don’t think you will exhibit every gift.  Spiritual gifts given to Christians by the Holy Spirit are for a specific reason and goal that you may not realize at first.  People may exhibit several gifts in their life time.  Everyone in a community of faith does not have the same gifts, however, a community of faith may exhibit every gift.  So, we need each other and our various gifts to collectively complete the list of gifts in building up the community.  Follow the analogy found in 1 Cor 12:12-26, the physical human body has many parts to make it complete: ears, eyes, feet, hands, fingers, and etc.  When a part is missing, the physical body may not be considered whole.  The community of faith, the church, developed by God through the people who comprise it, each fulfill a different role and exhibit different gifts, so that the community is joined together for the common good and being witnesses of the power of God.  Think of the puzzle pieces used in the worship service last week.  The puzzle piece you laid at the Lord’s Table was a piece that when laid in the proper place of the other 499 puzzle pieces forms a clear picture.  You and the spiritual gifts given you come together with the other spiritual gifts used by the collective whole to form a picture of the work of God in the community.  This is by God’s design. We need one another.

Next:

Describe and talk about the gifts in this scripture passage.

Gifts in focus: Use the definitions found in Serving from the Heart, chapter two.

Apostleship
Prophecy
Evangelism
Pastor Teacher/Teacher
Teacher
Work of Miracles
Gifts of Healing
Tongues
Assistance/Helps/Serving/Ministry
Administration/Guidance

Questions to Ponder for accountability in the group:

What do you think your spiritual gifts are?

In your group, what spiritual gifts have you seen exhibited by the participants and describe the way you saw the gift exhibited?  What was the result?

What do you understand about the spiritual gifts learned today?

What gifts do you think would be most helpful for our community of faith?

What gifts would you like to have?

 

Activity of for the life of a disciple:

1. Commit to pondering or reviewing the definitions of the spiritual gifts.

2. Ask God to show you your spiritual gifts and how they can be used.

3. Focus on more resources for spiritual gifts:

https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/new-church-starts/spiritual-gifts

http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/exploring-your-spiritual-gifts

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_gift