Thoughts on Spiritual Gifts
and the Body of Christ

I Corinthians 12:7-11 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these work that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will.

The Holy Spirit is the means by which these gifts come. They are given to every man as the Lord wills, according to His purpose for each individual in the Body of Christ. Their ministry determines the gifts needed. The reason they are given is stated in verse seven: The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. A spiritual gift is given to an individual, but its purpose is for the benefit of all.

The gifts of the Spirit do not just happen. Even though the Lord gives them to whom He will, there is a responsibility upon those who receive the gifts. They are given to those who earnestly desire them. The apostle Paul told the Corinthians to “desire spiritual gifts” (I Corinthians 14:1). God always demands an intensity of heart. For example, He expects our love for Him to be total. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. Mark 12:30. And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13. The one that “seeks Him with the whole heart is blessed” (Psalm 119:2). The one that “hungers and thirsts after righteousness shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). Half-heartedness will not receive from the Lord.

Do you have a revelation of the ministry in which you are to function? God has a plan for your life. No one is saved accidentally. He has called you for a particular reason. You were not redeemed just to miss hell and go to heaven. He has a work for you to accomplish. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10. That being the case, the gifts of the Spirit are needed. You will not be able to accomplish what God has for you without them.

Many Christians have a negative attitude toward the gifts of the Spirit. Some say that they are not for today. Others, while not openly rejecting them, just don’t seem to have a desire for them. It’s okay for others, but they are not interested. What arrogance! The gifts of the Spirit are gifts that God has for His people. The very idea of rejecting a gift from God is acutely arrogant. Every gift from God carries some of Himself. So to reject what He wants to give you is to reject Him.

Another common mistake is to equate the gifts of the Spirit with natural abilities. Natural wisdom, natural knowledge, or some special ability or talent are not gifts of the Spirit. The gifts of the Spirit are divine abilities that convey God’s nature. They enable us to function in the realm of spirit in a way that a Christian without them cannot function.

Let’s not forget that these gifts are from God. He gives them! And He wants us to have them so we can function as the Body of Christ and His will can be accomplished. Let’s not despise them. Let’s not think negatively about them. Rather, let’s do as Paul said, “Covet earnestly the best gifts” (I Corinthians 12:31). What an honor that God would willingly bestow upon us some of His divine abilities!

I Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

Normally one thinks of Christ merely as an individual, Jesus the Nazarene. But when Jesus ascended He sent the Holy Spirit, thus creating the Body of Christ. Now the Church is supposed to function as the Christ in the earth. Jesus relinquished His ministry of Christ as an individual to incorporate us. So the Church is now the Body, and Jesus is the Head of the Body, making Him and the Church together Christ. (God) has put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the Church, which is His Body, the fulness of Him that fills all in all. Ephesians 1:22-23. And He is the Head of the Body, the Church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. Colossians 1:18.

This means that the Church is to be the continuation of His ministry. We are to be the functioning Christ, with Jesus as our Head. The word “Christ” means “anointed one.” On the Day of Pentecost the Lord laid His mantle, His anointing, upon the 120 in the upper room. That anointing was not to leave but to remain upon the Church so that the Church could function as Christ. In other words, the Church became the channel through which Jesus could continue His ministry. That is why Jesus told His disciples, “He that believes on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father” (John 14:12). He was saying, “I’ve done many great things, but I’m going to do a lot more when I can manifest Myself through a many-membered Body and not be limited to ministering through one individual as Jesus the Nazarene.” So we should now think of Christ as a many-membered Body and Jesus as the Lord of that Body.

II Corinthians 5:16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more.

It is now our responsibility to know the Lord spiritually. We must be able to discern His presence; that is, to discern the Spirit of Christ. We must also learn to know one another after the spirit, not after the flesh. To know a brother or sister in Christ is to have a revelation of him or her as God has placed them in the Body. What we are yet in the flesh is not the issue; it is what we are becoming in the Lord that counts. For example, a wife must have a revelation of her husband. She must know what God has called him to be and relate to him as that until that is what he becomes. In that way she becomes a co-creator with God in bringing him forth according to God’s plan for him. And the same is true for the husband in regard to his wife. By having a revelation of what the other is to be in God and relating to one another in that way speeds up the process of becoming. This is what Paul meant when he said, “Submit yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:21). We must be submissive to God’s will for our brothers and sisters in the Lord. In this way we know one another after the spirit and not after the flesh.

I Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one Body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

We must understand what it means to become a member of the Body of Christ; that is, to be baptized by the Spirit into the one Body. This is not talking about water baptism or the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. This is being baptized into His Body. Being baptized into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit is to become a functioning member of Christ in the earth. It is one thing to become a Christian; it is quite another thing to be a member of the functioning Christ. And that is what Paul is talking about. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one Body.

Have you been baptized into the Body of Christ? I’m not asking if you have been saved. I’m not asking if you have received the Holy Spirit or even some of the gifts of the Spirit. I’m asking if you have been baptized into the Body of Christ? Are you a functioning member of the Body of Christ? Many Christians do not know why the Lord has called them. They do not know their ministry, their sphere of functioning. They do not know the purpose God has for them, the will of God for their lives. It is impossible to function in the Body of Christ without knowing these things. When you are a member of the Body of Christ you no longer relate to the Lord solely as an individual, but you relate as a functioning member of His Body. You are no longer focused on self, always expecting Him to bless you. Instead you are “seeking first the Kingdom” (His Kingdom, not yours, or the kingdom of your church). The drive of your life is centered upon Him and His will for the establishing of His Kingdom.

I Corinthians 12:14,18 For the Body is not one member, but many.
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the Body, as it hath pleased Him.

The Body of Christ is not under a democratic government. The Lord God Himself governs it. He gives the gifts severally to every man as He will, and He sets the members in the Body as it pleases Him. Therefore our ministry and function is not something we choose. We do not decide what ministry would seem glorious to us and endeavor to move in that. The key to ministry is a submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and He places us in the Body as He wants us to function, according to His will.

Many church organizations operate under a democratic government, but not so in the Body of Christ. The true Church is under the Headship of the Lord Jesus Christ; He is the Governor of His Body. A democracy is a government in which the people hold the ruling power. In a democratic church organization the laity holds the ruling power. That is one of the things the Lord told the church at Pergamos to repent of. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Revelation 2:15.

The Body of Christ is in total submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. That submission to His Lordship is characteristic of each member of His Body. What a precious thing it is to submit yourself totally to Him, saying, “Lord, I have no preconceived ideas of how I’m to function in the Body, or of the purpose for my life. Instead I allow You to choose the course of my life. I allow You to set me in the Body as You please, and I submit myself to function in the manner that You would have me to function, according to Your will.”

I Corinthians 12:19-24 And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
21 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.
22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
23 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.
24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.

There is no member in the Body of Christ without importance or significance. Each one is unique. They are one in spirit, yet diverse. Every member cannot be the eye. What kind of Body would it be if it were all eyes? or all hands? or all feet? There is diversity in ministry. Every member does not do the same thing. There are many facets of Christ. So if the Body is going to function as Christ in the earth, then there will have to be a diversity of ministry among the members.

The manner in which the Lord would move through you would probably be quite different from the way He ministers through someone else. But as He ministers through each member they complement one another. Each member in the Body of Christ functioning in the particular way the Lord has chosen is the means by which the fullness of the Lord is ministered in the earth.

I Corinthians 12:27 Now you are the Body of Christ, and members in particular.

It is amazing how many Christians feel that God’s ultimate plan is for man to go to heaven and that their main function in the meantime is to witness to others that they might make heaven their home, too. They are expecting Jesus to return and rapture them to heaven, keeping them safe while He wars against Satan and his kingdom on earth. After He has this planet all cleaned up then they will return to earth and reap the rewards of His Kingdom, Can you imagine the Body of Christ in heaven while the Head is warring on earth?

The Church Age began on the Day of Pentecost. On that day the Body of Christ was formed. Jesus continued His ministry in the Book of Acts through the Body of Christ. It was the channel through which the Lord continued to minister in the earth. The true Church is still His means of ministry. As was the beginning of the Church Age so will be the consummation of the Church Age. Jesus Christ is the Head of the many-membered Body of Christ, and He is not going to break away from that Body in establishing His Kingdom. The whole earth is going to submit to His Lordship. At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow…and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:10,11. The ministry of the rod of iron shall cause every knee to bow. The Lord shall send the rod of Thy strength out of Zion: rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies. Psalm 110:2. Zion is the Old Testament terminology for the Body of Christ. Jesus Christ will minister the rod of iron and rule through the Body of Christ. They are called overcomers in the Book of Revelation, because they are involved in the victories of the Lord, not sitting around in heaven while Jesus does all the work by Himself. And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he (this “he” is a singular-plural; it is the Body of Christ) shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of My Father. Revelation 2:26-27.

Copyright © 1998 by Henry DuBose

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