March 6, 2004 – March 12, 2004
“Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.” 1 Corinthians 13:8.
Suggested Reading: Christ’s Object Lessons, 327–333.
“The apostle says, ‘Let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.’ 1 Corinthians 7:24. The businessman may conduct his business in a way that will glorify his Master because of his fidelity. If he is a true follower of Christ he will carry his religion into everything that is done and reveal to men the spirit of Christ. The mechanic may be a diligent and faithful representative of Him who toiled in the lowly walks of life among the hills of Galilee. Everyone who names the name of Christ should so work that others, by seeing his good works, may be led to glorify their Creator and Redeemer.” Steps to Christ, 82.
1 Concerning what are we admonished not to be ignorant? 1 Corinthians 12:1.
note: “Many have excused themselves from rendering their gifts to the service of Christ because others were possessed of superior endowments and advantages. The opinion has prevailed that only those who are especially talented are required to consecrate their abilities to the service of God. It has come to be understood by many that talents are given to only a certain favored class to the exclusion of others who of course are not called upon to share in the toils or the rewards. But it is not so represented in the parable. When the master of the house called his servants, he gave to every man his work. [Matthew 25:14–30.]” Steps to Christ, 82.
2 Where did the Lord place these gifts? 1 Corinthians 12:28.
note: “Solemn are the responsibilities resting upon those who are called to act as leaders in the church of God on earth. In the days of the theocracy, when Moses was endeavoring to carry alone burdens so heavy that he would soon have worn away under them, he was counseled by Jethro to plan for a wise distribution of responsibilities. ‘Be thou for the people to Godward,’ Jethro advised, ‘that thou mayest bring the causes unto God: and thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.’ Jethro further advised that men be appointed to act as ‘rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.’ These were to be ‘able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness.’ They were to ‘judge the people at all seasons,’ thus relieving Moses of the wearing responsibility of giving consideration to many minor matters that could be dealt with wisely by consecrated helpers. [Exodus 18:19–22.]” The Acts of the Apostles, 92, 93.
3 What unity is there in the diversity of these gifts? 1 Corinthians 12:4–6.
note: “The vine has many branches, but though all the branches are different, they do not quarrel. In diversity there is unity. All the branches obtain their nourishment from one source. This is an illustration of the unity that is to exist among Christ’s followers. In their different lines of work they all have but one Head. The same Spirit, in different ways, works through them. There is harmonious action, though the gifts differ. . . . The man who is truly united with Christ will never act as though he were a complete whole in himself. . . .
“The perfection of the church depends not on each member being fashioned exactly alike. God calls for each one to take his proper place, to stand in his lot to do his appointed work according to the ability which has been given him.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1090.
4 Name the gifts of the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:8–10.
note: “The talents that Christ entrusts to His church represent especially the gifts and blessings imparted by the Holy Spirit. [1 Corinthians 12:8–11 quoted.] All men do not receive the same gifts, but to every servant of the Master some gift of the Spirit is promised.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 327.
5 How are the gifts distributed? 1 Corinthians 12:8–10.
note: “To every man God has given ‘according to his several ability.’ The talents are not apportioned capriciously. He who has ability to use five talents receives five. He who can improve but two, receives two. He who can wisely use only one, receives one. None need lament that they have not received larger gifts; for He who has apportioned to every man is equally honored by the improvement of each trust, whether it be great or small. The one to whom five talents have been committed is to render the improvement of five; he who has but one, the improvement of one. God expects returns ‘according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.’ 11 Corinthians 8:12.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 328.
“We cannot all have the same minds nor cherish the same ideas; but one is to be a benefit and blessing to the other, that where one lacks, another may supply what is requisite. You have certain deficiencies of character and natural biases that render it profitable for you to be brought in contact with a mind differently organized, in order to properly balance your own.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 128.
6 To what is the church possessing all these gifts compared? 1 Corinthians 12:22–27.
note: “All minds are not molded alike, and it is well that it is so, for if they were exactly similar, there would be less harmony and natural adaptability to each other than now. But we are all represented as being members of the body, united in Christ. In this body there are various members, and one member cannot perform exactly the same office as another. The eyes are made for seeing, and in no case can they perform the work of the ears, which is that of hearing; neither can the ears take the place of the mouth, nor the mouth perform the office of the nose. Yet all these organs are necessary to the perfect whole and work in beautiful harmony with one another. The hands have their office, and the feet theirs. One is not to say to the other, ‘You are inferior to me;’ the hands are not to say to the feet, ‘We have no need of you;’ but all are united to the body to do their specific work and should be alike respected, as they conduce to the comfort and usefulness of the perfect whole.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 128.
7 For what did the apostle Paul fervently thank the Lord? 1 Corinthians 1:4–6.
note: “The apostle’s great love for the Corinthian believers was revealed in his tender greeting to the church. He referred to their experience in turning from idolatry to the worship and service of the true God. He reminded them of the gifts of the Holy Spirit which they had received, and showed that it was their privilege to make continual advancement in the Christian life until they should attain to the purity and holiness of Christ. ‘In everything ye are enriched by Him,’ he wrote, ‘in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ [1 Corinthians 1:5–8.]” The Acts of the Apostles, 301, 302.
8 How long will the gifts of the Spirit be required? 1 Corinthians 13:8.
note: “Peter exhorts his brethren to ‘grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.’ 11 Peter 3:18. When the people of God are growing in grace, they will be constantly obtaining a clearer understanding of His word. They will discern new light and beauty in its sacred truths. This has been true in the history of the church in all ages, and thus it will continue to the end. ‘The path of the righteous is as the light of dawn, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.’ Proverbs 4:18, R.V., margin.” Steps to Christ, 112.
9 Why will the gifts not then be required? 1 Corinthians 13:9, 10.
note: “So long as the Holy Spirit strives with men, the gifts of the Spirit will be seen to a greater or less degree. God placed these gifts in the church ‘for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.’ And they will remain there during the militant period of the church.” Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, CA, 1912, 35.
“The gift of prophecy was provided by God for the guidance of the church through the ages (see Psalm 77:20; Hosea 12:13; Revelation 12:17; 19:10). When the need for such guidance no longer exists—that is, when the people of God reach their heavenly home—prophecies will cease. . . . Paul is setting forth the superiority of love over various spiritual gifts that were useful in building up the church, but which, with the church triumphant in the kingdom of glory, will no longer be needed.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 783, 784.
10 What distinction does the Bible recognize in these gifts? 1 Corinthians 12:31.
note: “Spiritual gifts are imparted by the Holy Spirit for the building up of the church to a state of perfection and unity in Christ (see Ephesians 4:12, 13). Doubtless those [gifts] that deal directly with the main purpose of the church, namely, the preaching of the gospel, and that contribute most to general edification (see 1 Corinthians 14:1) are considered to be of primary importance.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 777.
11 What gift is mentioned as one of these “best gifts”? 1 Corinthians 14:1, 39, first part.
note: “Paul reaffirms the priority given to prophecy [in 1 Corinthians 14:1], where he pointed to the gift of prophecy as the most desirable spiritual endowment Christians could seek. It is highly desirable that one be able to speak under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in such a way that the church will be edified.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 794.
12 What gift was not to be forbidden? 1 Corinthians 14:39, last part. What caution is given regarding this gift? 1 Corinthians 14:27–29.
note: “ ‘And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.’ [Acts 2:1–4.] The Holy Ghost assuming the form of tongues of fire divided at the tips, and resting upon those assembled, was an emblem of the gift which was bestowed upon them of speaking with fluency several different languages, with which they had formerly been unacquainted. And the appearance of fire signified the fervent zeal with which they would labor, and the power which would attend their words.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 265.
“Some of these persons have exercises which they call gifts and say that the Lord has placed them in the church. They have an unmeaning gibberish which they call the unknown tongue, which is unknown not only by man but by the Lord and all heaven. Such gifts are manufactured by men and women, aided by the great deceiver. Fanaticism, false excitement, false talking in tongues, and noisy exercises have been considered gifts which God has placed in the church. Some have been deceived here. The fruits of all this have not been good. ‘Ye shall know them by their fruits.’ [Matthew 7:16.] Fanaticism and noise have been considered special evidences of faith. Some are not satisfied with a meeting unless they have a powerful and happy time. They work for this and get up an excitement of feeling. But the influence of such meetings is not beneficial. When the happy flight of feeling is gone, they sink lower than before the meeting because their happiness did not come from the right source. The most profitable meetings for spiritual advancement are those which are characterized with solemnity and deep searching of heart; each seeking to know himself, and earnestly, and in deep humility, seeking to learn of Christ.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 412.