Original date: 10-19-97 – Classic Christianity Part 3 (2-6-19)
Bob George discusses insights from God’s word. In part two, Bob addressed where true godly enthusiasm comes from, from God in contrast to worldly knowledge or fleshly zeal and the proud heart. He discusses the church, the people of God, who have been strengthened from God to do the work of the ministry, so in all things God will be praised. So God gives people as gifts to the church so that all will grow in maturity in Christ, to the unity in the faith, to the knowledge of the Son of God, and to the full measure of Christ, to know Him, to grasp how great is His love for you. Through God at work within the church, abiding in Christ, the fruit of the Spirit is made manifest. Bob continues teaching from Ephesians concerning the immature church, being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine and deceitful scheming of men. Bob shares about the proper operation of spiritual gifts in the church for building the church up to maturity in Christ. Bob provides examples of such teaching and scheming in today’s church while emphasizing the importance of the church in helping them grow to maturity in Christ. In today’s world, as well as in the early Corinthian church, experience has trumped truth and biblical discernment. Let us speak truthfully in love to one another and serve with the gift God has given to help each other grow.
Continuing around minute 14 in the audio, Bob shares insights from the passage in Ephesians.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.
Is there any of that going on today, the scheming? People are teaching experience instead of truth, telling what is happening whether it is biblical or not. People are being slain in the spirit and people see nothing wrong with that! God did not come to slay people but to lift you up. So all that is scheming.
People are being tossed to and from, from every wind of doctrine. People go from conference to conference. One person said to Bob that he has two favorite teachers, Bob George and Robert Schuller. What! There are those who have no biblical discernment. Bob teaches something about Jesus, about speaking truthfully, and Bob Schuller teaches positive thinking, so their teaching is diametrically opposed.
There are babes in Christ who are not growing up in Him. They are growing in experience but not in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Maturity is getting to know Jesus. So people out there with every wind of teaching and deceitful scheming. So let us grow up into Him who is the head, Jesus Christ.
15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
So then, there is work to do for the body of Christ, to speak the truth in love, and for each member to serve one in another love in accordance with the gift God has given. What are those spiritual gifts to build the body up in Christ? Let us look at Paul speaking truthfully, and in love, to the immature church in Corinth.
1 Corinthians 12:1-2
Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols.
The Corinthians were immature believers, for he addressed them as brothers and sisters, but had come out of a very sensual culture, full of idols. They were full of themselves and needed their minds renewed and needed correction. They were totally feeling-oriented people, full of sensuality. They came out of sensuality from their gods in their former life, and were still living in that fleshly behavior when they came to Christ. They were looking for new sensuality from their new God. Paul said he wanted to remind them that when you were pagan you were led astray by mute, dumb idols. In essence Paul is saying to them, “You are stupid then and you still have the potential.”
1 Corinthians 12:3-4
3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. 4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
You may have heard someone say, “If you do not have the gift of tongues, then you are not filled with the Spirit”. That is a wind of teaching not from God. If that were the case, how can you call someone a noisy gong?
1 Corinthians 13:1
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
No gift has anything to do with being filled with the Spirit. A spiritual gift is a spiritual gift, it is given to you. You are born again. You are spiritual.
18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,
When talking about being filled or controlled by the Spirit, that is a moment by moment, ongoing process. If you got drunk on wine, would you be filled with the Spirit? No. If you are born again, you certainly have the Spirit of God in you, but you are not being controlled by the Spirit of God acting like that, and certainly do not give evidence of the Spirit at work in you. To be filled with the love of God is ongoing. Do you wake up just loving all day long? So you have never been irritated by a friend or a spouse? So what spirit were you controlled by when you were harsh to your spouse?
Someone called Bob once and said he was reading from a “Spirit-filled bible”. What wind of teaching is that? It is amazing what people say! You can imitate every gift but you cannot imitate fruit. There are different kinds of gifts but the same Spirit. Nothing to do with how spiritual you are. You have a gift and you have service gifts. There are service gifts. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
1 Corinthians 12:7-11
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
What is the purpose of a gift? The purpose is to serve the body for the common good. Can a gift be given that is good for me but not for you? No, because a gift is for the common good of the entire body. To each one the manifestation of the Spirit has been given for the common good of each other. And everyone has a spiritual gift as God determined.
1 Corinthians 12:8-11
8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.
Through the Spirit, God has given someone a message of wisdom. So God gives the gift of wisdom to people, and we, the church, certainly need wisdom. To another, a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit. To another faith, and to another, gifts of healing, and all by one Spirit. To another is given miraculous powers, and to another prophecy and to another the distinguishing between spirits. Bob explains this ability to distinguish a false spirit. So if someone says he is born again, the one with the gift of spiritual discernment can discern he is not.
Now this matter of tongues, what is a tongue? A tongue is a language, not gibberish. It is a language not learned by the speaker but understandable by the hearer (Acts 2). Scripture explains that. 1 Corinthians 14 and Acts 2 goes into greater detail on this subject than Bob felt led to go into. Bob summarized what is revealed in the scriptures.
There are all kinds of language and if the language cannot be understand, what good is it? The Apostle Paul spoke in a multitude of languages but to the church he would speak what they could understand so they would be edified and built up.
1 Corinthians 14:18
18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
To still another was given the gift of interpretation. Paul later goes on to say if someone speaks in a tongue you do not understand, you must have an interpreter.
1 Corinthians 14:26b-28
Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two — or at the most three — should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.
If you do not have an interpreter, you should not speak. One time a man stood up before the church and spoke the Lord’s prayer in Hebrew, and all kinds of people were saying what he said, claiming to interpret what he had said. He stood up and told him he had said the Lord’s prayer in Hebrew. He was kicked out of the church. Was that the true church, the Ecclesia? Makes you wonder, does it not?
If I can speak English and Russian, then why speak Russian to people who only understand English? Speak English to edify and build up the church for they cannot understand Russian. Gifts are for the common good. What good is it to speak Russian when no one there can understand what you are saying? That would certainly not be for the common good, would it? Now if someone there who only knew Russian, but not English, would it not be good to speak, in turn, Russian, for his sake? And if you did not know German, and there were those who only knew German, and as you stood up, you started speaking German, a language you had never learned or known, would that not be like what happened in the account in Acts, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, to build up the new church.
1 Corinthians 12:11-21
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body — whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free — and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The church has been led astray by every wind of doctrine and the scheming of men. Gifts have been made up, this slaying of the spirit, for example, and many have started worshiping at the foot of the gift, bragging about their presumed gift of tongues, for example, and forgot the giver. Gifts are strictly for the purpose of serving the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit has given to each one of us, who are born again, gifts to build one another up in love, for the common good. You and I, who are born again, are indwelt by the divine nature that lives within us.