Sean Scott's Blog

www.preachingjesuschrist.com

Spiritual Gifts and Brotherly Love

with 8 comments

This is my fist blog post in a long time.  I’m really not much of a writer but sometimes there are topics I want to speak on or passages from the Word I’d like to share that don’t really have anything to do with our ministry updates.  So hopefully this will be a format where I can share these things.   I’m hoping the Lord will use some of what I share to encourage and exhort others and to help me grow in the Lord as well.  Frankly, I’m not much of a writer so I’m counting on the grace of God to help me communicate my thoughts effectively. 

Over the last couple of years I’ve had the opportunity to travel quite a bit.  We’ve lived in Mexico, India, and traveled probably over 8,000 miles in the U.S since this past Feb visiting different brethren.  I’ve been able to interact and fellowship with believers from all walks of life and different cultures.  And aside from just this past two years I’ve also had the opportunity to visit and minister in about ten other countries as well.  So I’ve been able to see glimpses of the body of Christ in different place.  However, having been able to live and minister in a couple places for an extended period of time really helps one to see the strengths and weaknesses in the body of Christ in that area.  Through my interaction with other believers here in the US I’ve come to see that for most they do not allow the commands and call of Christ to permeate every facet of their life nor do they really want what they say they see in the Word as it pertains to fellowship with brethren.  It’s easy to say we want fellowship, that we love the brethren, or that we want the Spirit of God to move in our midst…ect.  But when put to the test most really don’t want what they say they want.   While I don’t want to go into too much detail I would like to share some of my experiences since being back in the U.S.that  have served to hightlight what I’ve just said.   I normally don’t share more personal things like this but I think they are very telling of some of the hinderances in the body of Christ. 

Recently the Lord revealed something to my wife and me about another believer and something going on in their family.  In fact, the Lord wanted us to go and speak to them regarding what He had shown us.  The Lord not only showed us what was going on but that the meeting would not end well.  We didn’t have the money to go but prayed about it to the Lord.  That night the Lord gave my wife a dream that we would have the money to make the trip.  Sure enough once we set our hearts to go we had the funds to get there.  Now this wasn’t just any brother.  This is a brother who I know serves the Lord and I’ve ministered with on many occasions.  In fact, I considered him a dear friend and one whom I’ve learned so much from.  He’s a brother I’d been so thankful the Lord had put me together with.  So, the Lord had us go and share what He had shown us.  Unfortunately this brother and his family took much offense to what was shared and said they could not fellowship with us any longer.  The sad part was God had testified to everything we shared and it is was undeniable to both me and this brother.  And indeed it ended just like God had shown us.  Because of being offended they began to question the gift of prophecy and whether God would speak to people through dreams or not (even though this had just come to pass)..or whether God would show someone else’s sins to another member of the body of Christ.  They failed to see that the whole thing was of God and that this came about because God cares for them and see’s what’s going on in their life.  It certainly was difficult for me to lose a good friend and a brother who had taught me so much.  But what are you to do?  If God show’s you something or wants you to speak something you have to do what the Lord says no matter the cost.  Even if for a time you lose the fellowship of those you considered friends.  But aside from the grief of losing a friend, for me the greater grief is seeing people shun the Spirit of God by rejecting the gifts that God gives by His Spirit.  The gift that seems to be especially shunned is the gift of prophecy – which I would say includes “words of Knowledge (along the same line).  Everyone is ok with gifts of healing or miracles..ect but when the someone beings to operate in a true prophetic gift or true word’s of knowledge they get shut out today almost as much as the old testament prophets did in times past.  So today you have two main ways in which believers deal with the gift of prophecy so that the Spirit of God cannot operate in a fellowship as He would have.  One, you have a large segment of Christianity that has reduced prophecy to nothing more than “preaching the word of God”.   Somehow they twist the scriptures to silence the prophetic gift from operating in their fellowships and regulated all the prophetic gifting to be in pastors who preach from the bible.  Many try to support their unbiblical doctrine by using the verses out of  1 Cor 13:8-10.

 8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.  11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

They take this passage to mean that once the bible was complete (the “perfect” in verse 12) prophecy, tongues, and knowledge, would be done away with.  Yet they fail to read just a few more verses to see when this would take place.  It will take place when we finally see Jesus face to face as it says in verse 12.  I highly doubt these people have seen Jesus face to face therefore meeting the biblical requirement for these things to cease.  But those who hold to this view have even greater problems when they regulate prophecy to just preaching.  If prophecy has been done away with then so has their preaching!  If indeed preaching is prophesying!  Yet somehow they continue to preach week after week.  Not only that Paul says in chapter 14 that He wishes the whole church would prophesy (verse 5).  And in verse 31 Paul says that everyone can prophesy one by one.  So by their understanding everyone should be able to take turns preaching.  But I guarantee you that you won’t find that practiced in any church that holds the position that preaching in prophesying.  So the truth is they are not even faithful to what they say they believe.  But it’s all built on a faulty assumption of what prophesy is anyway.  No wonder it’s a mess!  At least we can see from scripture that because we have not seen Jesus face to face that prophesy has not been done away with.  Now there are certainly times where prophecy does include Spirit inspired preaching.  Preaching that preaches the heart of God to any specific situation can be included in prophesy.  But prophesy is much broader than that.  Not only does it include forth telling but it also includes foretelling.  Just as Agabus in Acts 11:28 prophesied of a coming famine or as he prophesied of Paul being bound in Acts 21:11.  Agabus was foretelling the future.  I would even say that having word’s of Knowledge are also included in prophesy or is at least in the same vein.  Why?  Because if God gives you a word of knowledge about someone it is something that often exposes the secrets of their heart (which prophesying does).  I remember a time years ago that girl came over to our house because she wanted to talk about certain issues she was having and sin’s she was dealing with.  But she would never tell us what the issue or sin was.  She wasn’t wanting to be honest and expose herself.  However, during out time together the Lord quickened to both Lisa and I what the sin was.  It was a certain sexual sin that this person did not want to reveal.  Lisa met with this girl the next time alone and shared with her what God had shown us and it was just was God had shown us.  God had given us a word of knowledge about this girl and exposed her heart.  And the purpose of God exposing this ladies heart was for repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation.   God’s purposes are always to bring about good in these situations.  But what about those who say the gifts of the Spirit haven’t passed away?  I find that many who will say that the gifts of the Spirit haven’t passed away will say that they want to see them operate but once they do they forbid it to happen during fellowship. Why?  Because when someone prophesies or speaks a word of knowledge many times it’s something that exposes the heart.  Of course that doesn’t always feel good and it is often taken as negativity.  And even if they agree with the word spoken many will often say “it’s not the word but the “tone” or “the way you said it”.  When in all reality it really is a coming against the word spoken.  So they do exactly what Paul tells them not to do!  Paul say sin 1 Corth 14:39-40:  “39 Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. 40 Let all things be done decently and in order.”

They quench the Spirit keeping people from desiring to prophesy and forbid people to speak in tongues.  And all this while professing they want a new testament church with apostolic power.  As long as people are afraid of gifts of the Spirit truly operating as they should they will never see their fellowship truly resemble they type of fellowship God desires.  The truth is many times when someone prophesies or shares a word of knowledge to someone in reality is something the person they are sharing with already knows.  Sometimes they just don’t deal with the issue or are in denial.  Thankfully the Lord continues to find ways to exhort us in the faith and help us to be further conformed to Christ.  So let me ask you..do you despise certain gifts of the Spirit?  If you do then you despise God Himself since He’s the one who gives them.  Let us see that all of God’s gifts serve to benefit the body of Christ and to help us Glorify God. 

Now after my disappointment with this brother God burdened me to speak to another brother on the same issue.  I certainly wasn’t looking forward to it after my last experience.  And after seeing a brother I thought I was close to cut off fellowship with me I was thinking this could go either way.  So I shared with this brother some things out of concern and love.  This brother though received it in meekness and love and actually said it was perfect timing.  God had been speaking to their family about the same things.  I was so relieved.  I was expecting the worst but it turned out good.  They saw what I shared as concern for them in love and not a personal attack.    If we look at 2 Cor 7:12 (KJV) we can see what is most likely the heart of those who come to us with exhortations and corrections.  In 1 Cor Paul rebukes the Corinthian church for allowing a man who has committed a perverted sexual sin to remain in fellowship. Not only that but Paul corrects them for quite a few things.  Then in 2 Cor Paul gives his reason for his exhortation and correction.  He says:  “Therefore , although I wrote to you, I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong, nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you”.    Hopefully that is how each of us will receive exhortations or corrections from brethren in Christ. 

WHAT ABOUT OFFENSES?

It doesn’t matter how close brethren are or where a particular fellowship is in their walk with the Lord together at some time or another offenses are going to come.  Whether they are real offenses or something that is taken wrong and considered offensive it’s going to happen.  The question is what do we do about them?  I’ve seen brethren (and experienced it myself) divide and disfellowship each other over disagreements and offenses in which there is no biblical basis for a separation.  There are clearly situations specified in the word where disfellowship and divisions are called for. (There is no biblical basis for unity at all cost.)  As far as I can see they include those preaching heresy, those who intentionally cause division, and those who persist in willful unrepentant sin.  There are also case where those with doctrinal differences might not be able to minister together in certain settings but they should be able to still fellowship together in love and worship of the Lord.  But we live in a day and age in which the culture that seems to say “our feelings and our rights” come first.  Unfortunately, that mentality whether people realize it or not, often carries over into the church.  And because of this, even among those who claim the name of Christ, people are quick to divide or disfellowship over issues which should be worked out in love.  It is clear from scripture that one of the principle fruits of those in the faith is their love for the brethren.  1 John 2:10 says:  “He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him”.    If one truly has love for the brethren and an offense come they will seek to work it out in love.  Knowing that they are dealing with one that Christ has redeemed and one who is an actual member of the body of Christ.  Not only that we are commanded to forgive just as God in Christ has forgiven us.  When we disfellowshp a believer in Christ for unbiblical reason it is a very serious thing.  In 1 Cor 8 Paul talks about how a believer is to act towards eating food that has been scarified to idols.  Paul goes on to talk about our liberty in Christ as long as we don’t offend the conscience of a weaker brother.  Paul then makes a very strong statement in verse 12:  “But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ”.  That’s really severe.  If you sin against a brothers weak conscience in the matter of foods sacrificed to idols you actual sin against Christ!  Why?  Because the one you sin against is one that Christ has bought with His own blood and one in whom Christ lives by the Spirit.  How much more sever is it to cut off a member of the body of Christ for something Christ has not said to disfellowship over?  It certainly goes against everything God says regarding the love that should be manifested within the body of Christ.  And no matter how much someone reads their bible, prays, or minister if they persist in a state of unresolved sin against a brother their sin remains before God.  So how are we to treat offenses when they come?  They should be opportunities for us to show the grace of God and forgive the one who offended us especially if they seek reconciliation.  Or if we have offended others by some wrong they are opportunities to humble ourselves admit our wrong and seek forgiveness.  The love of Christ will compel true reconciliation.  The greater issue in all of this, even more than the individual reconciliation, is the glory of God…..the testimony we show to the brethren and the world around us.  Everything we do is to be done for the glory of God.  Christ said in John 17 that the world would know us by our love one for another.  When we divide over unbiblical issues we destroy the glory of God that should be projected and manifested to those around us.  However, when we dwell in biblical love and biblical unity (founded on the Truth – God’s Word) we project the glory of God that can only be manifested through the love of the brethren.  The fact is there are some things that can only be learned by working through offenses and disagreement with brethren.  As for me personally, I’ve often found that when and offense has come between me and a brother, and it’s worked out in love, most of the time our relationship and bond in the Lord actually become stronger.   So what about you?  Have you offended a believer or been offended?  Are there unresolved issues in your life?  Now is the time to seek to resolve them in Christ.  Not only for yours and your brethren in Christ relationship but also for the glory of God.  Remember, everything we do is to manifest God’s glory and goodness to each other and to those who are outside the body of Christ.  Ultimately, if our doctrine does not affect the way we live our lives towards each other then our doctrine is worthless. 

Well, I have more to say but I’ll save that for another post.    I thought I’d end this post with a song from a home fellowship in Canada.  The song is called Christ our Life:

http://www.christourlife.ca/Worship/Christ%20Our%20Life.mp3

May you be blessed as you meditate on your life being hidden in Christ and exhorted to put on love.

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Written by Sean Scott

December 2, 2009 at 2:39 am

8 Responses

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  1. Brother, I’m edified and challenged. Thanks. I could exhort for the use of gifts more than I do.

    God gave them for a reason. What an offense to Him when people challenge HIS wisdom and even reject it?

    ian vincent

    December 11, 2009 at 12:38 pm

  2. Brother, very good article. And you say you are not much of a writer, but you are! This blessed me in so many ways. I saw myself on both sides and it was something I needed to hear. Thank you for sharing and may the Word you spoke go out to many others like myself who needed to hear it. God give the increase. So be it Lord. Especially in me.

    May God use you greatly in the weeks and months to come in reaching many with His truth!

    Thanks to ian who led me to this!

    redeemedhippiesplace

    December 12, 2009 at 2:55 am

  3. Very good. Foundational. Balanced accounting of the truth revealed in Jesus Christ through the power of the Spirit’s witness.

    Peace be unto you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,

    Mark

    Mark and Vicki Finger

    December 12, 2009 at 3:23 am

  4. Thank you both for the encouragement. I know much of what I wrote is like what Mark said, basic and foundational. But it’s amazing at just how much basic and foundational teaching (and practice) is lacking in much of the church today. Also, if you like the music by “Christ our life” you can download many more songs from their site for free at:

    http://www.christourlife.ca click on the “free worship”

    Sean

    December 13, 2009 at 7:49 pm

  5. Hi.
    Ian sent this article to me too and I’ve been wanting to comment.

    It is a great work in perfect timing, and very much appreciated as it made me think on different issues, some new, some old, but either way – needed!

    Hope to hear more from you soon.

    Blessings to you. 🙂

    mkayla

    December 19, 2009 at 12:36 am

  6. God Bless for a well written, timely exhortation! There are many things here that speak to me regarding how God exposes sin in the body. Having recently experienced this in dealing with another brother. As well as our expectations and lack thereof in regards to the gifts of the Spirit. There are a myriad of reasons why gifts aren’t more prevalent in the body. Above all, perhaps too many seek His hand more than His face. Maybe the gifts would then be more prevalent when we Trust Him through fellowship with Him. I’ve been meditating on the parable of the 10 virgins for sometime. It’s apparent that the virgins without oil have no relationship with the Bridegroom, or else they would not have been shut out.

    Al

    December 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm

  7. This post is such blessing. It confirmed what I feel in my spirit.
    Peace and grace from the Lord!

    Natasa

    December 23, 2009 at 6:37 am


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