“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.” (I Corinthians 12:1).
Please note verse one the word “spiritual” is a little “s”, which is the opposite of the “physical.” It does not necessarily mean to the extent of soul winning and so on. It means in essence the opposite of physical. These gifts are given of God and passed on to others. They are spiritual gifts to us and through us to other people.
“For to you is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit. To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit.” (I Corinthians 12:8-9).
When we read verses twenty-seven and twenty-eight, we are given a second list. “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.”
In the first list the local church is not mentioned. The first list spoke of spiritual gifts. In verse twenty-eight, it is speaking about the local church. Five of these mentioned in this list are duties and responsibilities. Not a one in the first list is a duty or a responsibility.
The first list tells us about faith, knowledge, and wisdom. Then the second list speaks about pastors, apostles, prophets, teachers, government, and helps.
If God came to us and spoke to us today He would say I have given to each one of you a gift and there are two types of gifts. There are personal gifts and there are office gifts.
The first list deals with what we are and what we ought to be. The second list deals with what we ought to do.
In chapter thirteen and verse eight God then excludes two things from both lists once the Scriptures are completed. Supernatural foretelling ceases. Supernatural word of knowledge ceases.
God has given a gift or abilities too musicians. Mrs. Jennifer Petticoffer was my music coordinator for almost 30 years at Longview Baptist Temple of Longview, Texas, and is still the music coordinator.
That gift is on the second list. That is an office! God has also given Mrs. Petticoffer gifts or abilities of something to do in Longview Baptist Temple, Longview, TX. A gift of what she is and what she is to be!
God has a list of gifts of offices and a list of personality gifts. God has a list of gifts of what we ought to be and God has a list of gifts of what we are and ought to be.
There is only one pastor of the local church. There is only one music coordinator of the local church. There is only one congregational song leader of the local church. There is only one Principal of the Christian school of the local church and that is found in the second list of gifts.
On the other hand just as God had given to the late Dr. Paul Duckett Jr. the responsibility of LBT’s Temple Choir, congregational music, and assistant pastor duties; God likewise had given to him a unique personality.
He could comfort better than anyone He was in charge of all hospital visitation. Not only did his work blend in with all the other works in LBT, but also he as an individual blended in with all of the other personalities of LBT.
Spiritual with a Little “s”
As I have pointed out the word “spiritual” is with a little “s” and it reflects being the opposite of the word “physical”. The bus director of a local church is an example. He works with the bus ministry and that is a spiritual work in the sense of a capital “S.”
The buses are spiritual, but the buses also can be driven, touched, seen, and wrecked. So, God has given to the bus director a spiritual gift that is unique to that man in that local church. Only one bus director!
If a person thinks a lot, meditates a lot, loves deeply that is a spiritual work. Not godly spiritual but the opposite of the physical. An unsaved man cannot be a capital “S” spiritual, but he can be a small “s” spiritual, because he has a personality. He can think, philosophize, and live for something other than the physical.
Thus, God said He had given to every member of the local church a physical gift of the spirit or a church office. He set these in the local churches.
A properly functioning church is where each of the members has a physical job of a unique and particular gift. Some vacuum the carpets, some type out the checks, some work in the P. A. booth, some drive the buses, and some usher.
God blends a local church together with unique works. At Longview Baptist Temple we had the Spanish ministry, the bus ministry, The Baptist Magazine, IBWM missions, Texas Baptist College, Longview Baptist Academy for bus children, Sunshine ministry for the special needs people, the deaf ministry, Longview Christian Academy, and many other ministries. Each had been set there in the church by God.
God blends together in the local church different personalities. There are no two staff men or women with the same personality. God blends within the local church different offices as well as diversity of personalities to make the local church operate.
God is saying, “I have a local church I want to operate and function well. So, I will give different offices as gifts and I will also give spiritual gifts, or a little “s”. This is so they cannot only work together mechanically, but also work together in harmony. Thus, each contributes their unique spirit to their local church.
The second list says, “…set in the church…” In the first list there is no mentioning of Apostles, of prophets, teachers, helps, or government for those are the non-personality helps, non-personality unique spirit or small “s”, and non-personality helps.
There cannot exist a harmonious local church without everyone contributing their physical part; neither can there exits a harmonious local church without everyone contributing their unique spirit or personality. The first group is what you are and should be and the second group is what you do.
The Great Orchestra
God needs for each of us to do something in their local church. It may be bus ministry, jail ministry, Sunday school class, bus driver, or soul winner, but something must be done by each of us.
Also, everyone needs to contribute his or her unique spirit, or personality, to their local church so all of the members can be helped.
Each member has different jobs that help each of us and ultimately all of us, but also each member has a different spirit. Each member has a different personality to help each other and ultimately all of the members.
When I pastored, I had a unique spirit that no one else possessed to offer LBT, but so did every other member of LBT. No one could contribute my personality, but me. I have a unique spirit, humor, love, and a unique praise and all are unique to each member also. The local church is a great orchestra with each offering up their own sound.
Our God is a God of harmony. This is the proper blend of diversity. A good local church is a diversity of people. A local church needs older people, young people, rich, poor, bus kids, special needs people, deaf, blind, and even Yankees.
The local church ought to be a great orchestra and all of the instruments must play their part in order for there to be harmony of all!
When each in the local church desire to be the same whether physical or spiritual you will discover that unison is not harmony. Unison is when each sings the same part, while harmony is when each plays their own part. Unison is not harmony. Diversity is the secret to harmony via all blending together in the local church.
People who ride the buses to church are just as important to the local church as the drive in members with each doing what they are supposed to do and being what each are supposed to be.
Hebrews 10:25, “Not forsaking the ASSEMBLING of ourselves together…”. “Assembling” not “assembly.” Each of us bring diversity of what we are to do an how we are to do it. Both are necessary.