Monthly Archives: April 2023

1 Corinthians 14- Desire Spiritual Gifts

Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.  1 Corinthians 14:1-4

 I love how Paul begins this teaching here , he says “Follow after Love and Desire Spiritual Gifts” When it comes to the controversy of Spiritual Gifts, it almost seems like some Christians don’t want any spiritual gifts! As we talked about previously the Holy Spirit is continually active in every believer’s life. You can’t be saved without the Holy Spirit, you can’t be Born Again without the Holy Spirit, you can’t confess Jesus Christ is Lord without the Holy Spirit.

So when it comes to the topic of spiritual gifts, I don’t understand why it would be hard to believe that some Christians can speak in unknown tongues or still make prophecies. I think the KJV translation brings a little more clarity to this teaching as it states “For he that speaks in an unknown tongue, speaks not to man but to God” Now I think this clarifies things here a little bit, because the word “tongues” basically just means languages. So to speak in tongues basically just means to prophecy in a different language. Now this is effective if there is a Christian there who can interpret the prophecy in their own language. This is precisely how the gospel message got spread to the entire world so rapidly

So in my opinion , there is nothing “strange fire” about people speaking in “tongues” if its an actual language, Paul goes on to say there are some tongues that are unknown to people speaking to God. Now the problem with our modern day Christianity is we have alot of false prophets who fake speaking in tongues. We have all seen and experienced this probably at one point in our Christian walk, however that doesn’t mean that everyone who speaks in an unknown tongue is false, because Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit said it would happen. 

It’s like the gift of healing, I believe God still heals today, even though they are many false prophets who perform fake healings. Does that mean all healings are not valid, of course not. This is the same with tongues and prophecy, just because some people abuse the Holy Spirit, doesn’t mean the Holy Spirit isn’t still alive and working today. 

The Apostle Paul says “He that prophecies speak unto men for edification” Now again , because the cannon of the Bible is closed, many believe prophecy is over. Why? The purpose of prophecy is not just to foretell the future but as Paul says here for edification. When you look at the original Greek word for Prophecy “prophēteuōn” it also means to “speak under inspiration” or “divine” Just because you are “prophesying” doesn’t mean you are adding to the revelation of God, it’s just guidance from God in our daily lives

Going back to Paul’s original statement “Desire Spiritual Gifts”, do you desire the gifts of the Holy Spirit or are you quenching the Holy Spirit? Sometimes we need to step out of our box of theological understanding and trust the Holy Spirit , Amen!

1 Corinthians 13- Love Is Forever

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 1 Corinthians 13:11-13

Me and my wife got married on the shore of Jamaica over 18 years ago, one of the greatest days of my life I remember it like yesterday. One thing that I really remember are these words spoken in this Chapter, the Pastor who married us read this entire Chapter as part of our ceremony. And even though I wasn’t yet saved at the time, these words really spoke to me, I still can recall hearing the preaching saying them

This is such a perfect teaching for a marriage, when I was a child, I acted like a child. And that’s what most people don’t understand when you’re getting married, when you join a covenant with your spouse, you are becoming a husband or wife. You are no longer a kid, you no longer just belong to yourself, the two become One flesh and are joined together so let nobody separate. Essentially it’s time to grow up! It’s time to stop acting like a kid and be responsible and trustworthy

Unfortunately the sacredness of marriage has become so watered down in our society, nobody even realizes the significance of the vows you are taking. In fact most people don’t even get married at all today, Marriage is a covenant between a husband and wife with God

As Paul says here “but when I became a man, I put away childish things” Society is crumbling all around us, what is the core of the issue? Men refusing to be Men, in todays society we have men who believe they are women, or if they are men , they spend the majority of their time drinking and looking for entertainment. Where are the real men of God? Where are the Godly Husbands? Where are the Godly Fathers? Where are the Godly Preachers in the Pulpit? They are few and far between, this is why you have many social issues, the world wants God removed from our life, and this is the end result

The world will tell you, nothing lasts forever, however this is not true. As Paul says here , there are three things that remain forever , faith , hope, and love. No matter what is going in the world, Love is forever, Hope is forever, Faith is Forever, and Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever Amen!

1 Corinthians 13- Love Never Fails

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. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  1 Corinthians 13:8-10

Love never fails! What a powerful statement by Paul with inspiration from the Holy Spirit. How many times in our lives have things failed? Have many times have people failed us? But true Love will never fail, you might say that sounds good but where is the proof. If you want evidence of Love never failing just look at the cross! God demonstrated his love towards us, even when we were still sinners , Christ died for You ! (Romans 5:8)

And even though we may fail Christ, Christ will never fail us! God said “I will never leave or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5) God can’t fail you and never will, what a guarantee we can rely upon, Love never fails! As a human it’s hard to even fathom such a perfect love, this kind of love could never exist, right? Well this love exists because it’s the love of God demonstrated through Jesus Christ

Now for those who believe the gifts of the Holy Spirit has ceased, could these be scriptures to support their case? The Apostle Paul says “whether there be prophecies, they shall fail, whether there be tongues, they shall cease ” So what does this all mean? Well let’s keep things in context, we currently live in a fallen world, and even though this fallen world will fail us, God will never fail us! That’s what I believe is the main message!

Now back to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, do we truly believe the Holy Spirit is dead in our lives? The reality is none of us would be saved without the Holy Spirit, you can’t be Born Again without the Holy Spirit. You can’t be drawn to Christ, repent of your sin, or declare Jesus is Lord without the Holy Spirit. So it’s clear the Holy Spirit is still active and working in our lives!

With all that said, I believe the canon of scripture is closed, the 66 books are the inspired Word of God, there is no further revelation needed. However, do I believe we can have a “prophecy” about our personal lives or someone else’s, yes of course we do! So has prophecy ceased, not in a scriptural  sense. Do I believe the speaking of tongues has ceased? I know Born Again Christians who have or spoken in tongues, do I fully understand the purpose, no but I’m not the Holy Spirit.  

The Apostle Paul makes another strong statement “But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away” I believe Paul is talking about God’s Kingdom when we are in our glorified bodies with The Lord, all things will be perfect. Currently we live in a fallen world, so many things will fail us, however true Love will never fail us, because God is Love in Jesus Christ, Amen!

1 Corinthians 13- Love Is…

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

We established from my earlier post that Love (Agape) is an action not just an emotion or feeling. Now Paul goes into further detail, what is the actions of Love. We got used to reading other English translations of this Chapter, sometimes it’s good to look at another translation like KJV, to get more context. 

Again we see the original Greek word Agape translated as Charity instead of the commonly translated Love, to demonstrate an action. Love is patient has become as popular as any bumper sticker, how about Charity suffereth long. Doesn’t sound as catchy, however gives some deeper context. Patience can be difficult, sometimes even suffering. Do we have the patience of Christ? 

When we see Paul describing Love here, as not envious, not puffed up, not proud, we get the message conveyed here, Love is self sacrificial, that’s a true understanding of Agape. Denying yourself for the greater good, where does that sound familiar? Oh yes that’s the gospel, the Love Christ has demonstrated to us on the cross (Romans 5:8)

And true Love seeks righteousness, rejoices not in iniquity, thinking not of evil, but rejoices in truth. The world has no true understanding of Love by these definitions. The world tells you Love is Love, but rejoices in its own iniquity, the world’s love thinks and celebrates its evil. The world’s love is self seeking and puffed up with pride. Satan’s Love is a false and deceptive Love, it’s not really Love at all, just perception

The Apostle Paul gives us a clear view and definition of what Love is by God’s standards. The world could never know or understand this love without the Holy Spirit, as God is Love. The world offers a false Love that is self worshiping and destructive.

True Love bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things!  True Love is only found through our Lord Jesus Christ, who demonstrated His Love for us on the cross, Amen!

1 Corinthians 13- Love or Nothing

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

This Chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, is known as the “Love Chapter”. Now looking at the King James Version, you might say , well the word love doesn’t even appear here, let’s take a look at the original Greek. The Greek word is Agape that is typically translated as love and here in KJV as Charity, so which is right? Well they both are right, as Agape is a very deep and action, not just an emotion.

Here is commentary from about the word Agape:

The Greek word agape is often translated “love” in the New Testament. How is “agape love” different from other types of love? The essence of agape love is goodwill, benevolence, and willful delight in the object of love. Unlike our English word love, agape is not used in the New Testament to refer to romantic or sexual love. Nor does it refer to close friendship or brotherly love, for which the Greek word philia is used. Agape love involves faithfulness, commitment, and an act of the will. It is distinguished from the other types of love by its lofty moral nature and strong character. Agape love is beautifully described in 1 Corinthians 13.

 It’s believed the KJV translated the word Agape to Charity, to demonstrate that Agape is not just a mere feeling but its a love with action. The English word Love today has become very watered down and cliche. People will tell each other they love them, sometimes just as a greeting. However Agape is a deep sacrificial love, it’s not just words spoken but also with action.

So going back to our scriptures today, I’m going to paraphrase what Paul says here “ Even if I speak with great words from people or angels, if I have no love , I am just creating loud noise” We see and know a lot of Christians who have good intentions preaching on the street or even sharing scriptures on social media, however they come across hostile or aggressive. Therefore nobody is hearing their message, as brother Fred said “We are not the Holy Spirit” , we can’t beat people over the head with the Bible and expect them to become saved. We need to connect with people, not just preach to them. This requires more work, which many don’t want to do.

Agape is an action love, it’s not just saying we love people, it’s actually demonstrating we love people. Just as Paul said “God demonstrated his own love towards us, while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8) We can have all the knowledge of the Bible, but if we don’t demonstrate the fruit of the Holy Spirit Love (Galatians 5), it’s all meaningless.

Paul goes on to say, I can have the gift of prophecy, understand all the mysteries and have all knowledge, I can even move mountains, however without love, I am nothing! Think about this! Before we puff ourselves up and pat ourselves on the back, are you doing the will of God? Did you show and demonstrate the grace and mercy that has been given to you by Jesus Christ? Remember we were all lost at one time, don’t be a stumbling block, be a vessel for the Holy Spirit!

Don’t be a noisy gong, connect with people through Love, then share the gospel message with them! Amen!

1 Corinthians 12- We Are The Church

Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.  1 Corinthians 12:27-31

I think the opening statement here by Paul , sums up most of his teaching on the Church. Paul said “Now You Are The Body of Christ” You Are The Church! We as Christians waste so much time debating who is the correct denomination or raising money for buildings, the simple understanding is you are the Church, as a Born Again believer in Christ, the Holy Spirit lives inside of you, you are now the Temple of God, there is no denomination in the Kingdom of God, everywhere you go, there is the Church! Think about that!

Most of you know I live in Pennsylvania, and Penn State football is huge in our area. I’ve been to a few games at Beaver Stadium where they can seat over 100,000 people, tied for the largest stadiums in the country. And during the games they chant “We Are” and then the crowd roars “Penn State” this is obviously a pretty cool experience hearing that many people chanting the same thing.

Now what if we were as excited to be part of The Church? Do you get excited to assemble with our brothers and sisters, or is it a dread or a box to check off for the week? Imagine all Christians united chanting “We Are The Church” But unfortunately many Christians refuse to worship together, some even communicate with each other, over man-made interpretation of traditions. As Jesus said “They honor me with their lips , but their hearts are far from me” (Matthew 15:8)

Again Paul here is emphasizing , we all have different gifts and different roles of the Holy Spirit, this should not be a reason to divide or be envious of your brothers and sisters, we are all on the same team! Right? Jesus is our Lord, we are his hands and feet , fulfilling the Great Commision and building God’s Kingdom, why would you be angry if a brethren demonstrates a gift of the Holy Spirit? Going back to the football analogy, is everyone the Quarterback? Is everyone the Head Coach? Is everyone a lineman? Of course the answer is no , we all play different roles and functions, but everyone is important, this is the same with the Church!

The Apostle Paul finishes with a strong message “But covet earnestly or desire greatly , the best gifts, yet show I unto you a more excellent way” Just imagined if everyone actually followed the will of God, used their gifts given to them by the Holy Spirit, and worked in unison with each other? The gates of Hell would not prevail against this Church as Christ said, this is the excellent way, be obedient to God and love your brothers and sisters because We Are the Church, Amen!

1 Corinthians 12- The Body of Christ Part 3

And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. 1 Corinthians 12:21-26

We know that the Church, the Body of Christ, has alot of issues today, just as it had alot of issues at the Church of Corinth, just as Israel had alot of issues forever, why? Because we are all fallen people, anytime you have people involved in something, its going to get messed up. I only say this, because alot of people have this misperception that the Church should be perfect, that every Church is going to have the perfect Pastor, and the perfect Youth group, and the perfect leaders, but the reality is no Church is perfect. Why? Because we are the Church, and while we are filled with the Holy Spirit, and being sanctified daily, we are still going to make mistakes and fall short from time to time

The Apostle Paul says here “the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you” Part of our issue of being human, is we have an issue with pride and ego, we puff ourselves up and compare ourselves to other Christians, rather than just working together. But as Paul is saying One Christian can’t say to another Christian, there is no need for you in the Church, remember we are all called by Jesus Christ, we are his sheep, Christ has chosen us before the foundation of the world. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like your brother or sister, Christ has chosen them , and Christ is our Lord

The scripture says “There is no schism or division in the body (Church), but that the members (Christians) should have the same care for one another. Remember what Jesus said “The first will be last, and the last will be first” (Matthew 20:16) Sometimes it seems like Church has become a competition among Christians to see who is the greatest, doesn’t that sound familiar with the Apostles? (Matthew 18)

But we should all honor each other equally, and the weakest of faith in Body should be cared for the most. I know reading some of these words probably makes some of you cringe, I understand, I’ve dealt with my share of difficult members , however we love them because Christ loves us first! 

This is part of being a family, we didn’t pick who our brother, sister , or cousin was, right? We don’t pick who God has called to be our family either, we learn to love and embrace our differences and talents. Being part of a Church, is part of sanctification, you will really see who has the fruit of the Holy Spirit, when your involved with a group of different people

I love what Paul says here “if one member suffers, we all suffer, if one member be honored, we all rejoice” We the Church are in this together as a team, as a family, as the Body of Christ Amen!