Paul’s Footsteps #130

Footsteps #130

British preacher Charles Spurgeon once visited a woman who lived in a London poorhouse.  He noticed, hanging on the wall of her shack, a framed document.  He asked about the certificate and the woman told him that it had been given to her by an aged and invalid gentleman for whom she had cared.  In appreciation for her care, the man had scribbled on the paper and presented it to her.  She framed the piece and hung it on her wall.  After considerable persuasion, Spurgeon was finally able to take the document to the local bank.  The manager exclaimed, “We’ve been wondering to whom the old gentleman left his money!”   Living in poverty, she held deed to a fortune.  Could the same be true of us?  Has the Spirit gifted you treasures that lie unknown and unused?

There is no text that says we should ask for a particular gift, rather we are told the Holy Spirit decides who gets what gift (12:11). In the 5 lists in the NT only three contain languages and it is always at the bottom, and can only be found in the Corinthian lists. Why did Paul leave it out of all the other lists? Corinth was a cosmopolitan port and the church would have been the same – so this gift of communication would have been an asset for the church. In dealing with the problem of public display of the gifts Paul, on purpose, put it last, because some were putting it at the top of the list and making it the most important. The implication is obvious – why should the gift Paul puts at the bottom suddenly become the top and most sort after gift?  In the list of 12:28 the NLT says “Those who speak in unknown languages.” The plural is obvious, this is not just one “heavenly language” as some maintain, rather, it indicates that this is identical to Acts 2:6 where “everyone heard them speaking in their own language.” Because being able to communicate with people in an unlearned language was spectacular, those who had the gift were flaunting it. This is what Paul is addressing in these 3 chapters.

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