13th September 2020

…And That End is Love 

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
1 Corinthians 12:4-7 (ESV)

Most of Paul’s writings address issues raised in the churches he planted. In the Corinthian letters his dialogue is with a fledgling church in a complex, cosmopolitan city. Paul many times addresses the phenomenon of tongues, in Greek glossolalia. The important history here is that glossolalia—at least speaking a semi-coherent language in worship—was common in the surrounding cults in the area.

Those who had this experience were considered the elite. One of Paul’s major issues was dealing with one-upmanship and the ego wars which resulted with people bumping up their social status. But Paul is writing about the many gifts given—everything from administration to healing to tongues. And he gives the same reason, the one purpose, for them all: the common good. In the next section of this letter, Chapter 13, Paul writes ‘The Love Chapter’—“Love is patient, love is kind…” These words work for weddings, but they weren’t written about romantic love. The gifts are to be used in love—and all for the good of the church community.

Many like to focus on individual gifts, but God calls us out of ourselves and into relationship, a deeper and richer life in Christian community. We naturally pair off. An odd number makes for the old cliché of the “third wheel.” We start in-crowding and excluding and cliquing up—the more people, the worse it gets. Yet God is three in one! The centre of reality is a trinity! This miraculous relationship is the nucleus of everything and is fundamental as to who God is. The church in Corinth, like the church today, was distracted by the gifts of the Spirit which were given as a means to an end. And that end is love.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, may we dedicate all that we are, and any gifts given to us, to your service and to the greater service of those with whom we come into contact. In Jesus’ name.
Amen 

Presented by Greg Williams

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About the Presenter:
The Day by Day each Sunday is taken from ‘Speaking of Life,’ (https://www.gci.org/videos/media-speaking-of-life/), a public resource video on the USA website of Grace Communion International. Greg Williams is President of Grace Communion International and lives in North Carolina, USA.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland.  For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Contact:
Email:  admin@daybyday.org.uk

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