As we approached 12pm this past Sunday I skipped the final point in a sermon on 1 Corinthians 12. Here's what I had prepared to say,...
"What follows in v.27-30 connects Paul's point here, his detour in the next chapter, and his conclusion in Ch 14. It is our final point and it is this – the same God who gives gifts calls us to desire more gifts so that we can build his church and reach the lost.
In this section he mentions selective offices ranked with the word-based at the top and then those which support the ministry of the Word. This is worth a sermon in itself, but the reason Paul feels the need to take just a few select gifts and rank gifts of word ministry first and supporting gifts like tongues last is because the church’s witness depends on people understanding the gospel and the Word of God. The spoken, read and proclaimed word is God’ primary means of building the church and reaching the lost,….and the Corinthians were obsessed with speaking in languages nobody understood. So when he says, “But earnestly desires the higher gifts” he’s telling them to, in my words, "cut it out and aspire for gifts that build up the body.”
There’s so much more we can say, but I will end here.
Are you part of the body of the Christ? If you do not yet know Him as Savior and King, not only is there forgiveness, peace, joy, righteousness and eternal life being held out to you this morning, but the Holy Spirit is ready, willing, and able to lavish gifts on you. Maybe it’s a talent or ability that turns from being focused on yourself to focused on glorifying God,…maybe it’s a talent or ability you’ve never once had I your life,…either way He’s ready to give you the gift of eternal life and then make you a gift to us.
If you are part of the body of Christ? Be thankful for how God has gifted you, uniquely, and wonderfully and tailor made for us,…but don’t rest in that. Desire to cultivate what he’s given. Desire, for all the right reasons, even more gifts that build the church and reach the lost."