now, I am only thinking out loud. This is an ongoing article that yet
needs more grammatical checking, spelling, word usage, organization,
prayer, and wisdom. Comments and challenges are welcome.
Shepherding, Body Little
The church is the
composed of its many members and all
have gifts. To be a member of Christ is to have a gift -- the gift is
the source of a memberís life giving function to the body. These gifts
are meant for the reciprocal edifying of each other and as a witness to
the world. Each memberís gift is essential to the proper function and healthy
of the Body. One cannot be a member of Christ Body and not have a gift.
It may be an undeveloped gift, a gift that is set aside for a season,
or it may even may be presently unrecognizable by most, but each
members has at least one gift.
Body, The Gifts
head of the Church is Christ, it is not the apostle, the teacher, the
pastor, the prophet, the elder, or the deacon. These are persons who
the body's edification -- which is the same purpose for everyone's
gift. These "leaders" and "shepherds" are simply the ones who are
gifted in particular areas. We must respect the gift of God in those
thus called just as we are to respect the gift of God in each other. As
they use their gifts, they answerable to Christ for the health,
development, and maturity of each believer and his gift --according to
the measure given to them by the Spirit. It is no different for each
member, though the scope of each member's accountability will not be
the same. We are told to examine the gifts of each member as to whether
they be genuine at the time when they are manifested (1 Cor 14:26-34).
It is valid and necessary to question whether the gift was of the
Spirit or not. Once this is done, we are not called to examine whether
we agree or understand, only whether the Spirit truly was speaking. If
the Spirit spoke, then it is settled to the extent that the Spirit has
settled it. If it is a teaching, we have the right and responsibility
to have the teacher support the teaching and answer our questions using
sound biblical evidence. (Acts 17:11)
Each member is
the head, who by His Spirit is represented most often in His members.
Only to the
that each member of His body submits to Him, is Christ able to manifest
Himself to the world and the other members. The one who says
He is only submissive to Christ, Himself, and not to any man has missed
God's chosen design and is in rebellion to God and embracing unbelief.
He is only excusing his rebellion and cloaking it in spiritual
language. Such a man is high minded and is setting himself apart from
God's ordained protection and is unbelieving toward God's ability to
use His body for his direction, and accountability. We all are
commanded to in honor prefer one to another (Romans 12:10), to submit
to one to another (Ephesians 5:21), to minister our gifts one to
another (1 Peter 4:10), and to be subject one to another in all
humility (1 Peter 5:5).
It is also a lie
claim that no one in the body is mature enough, wise enough, discerning
enough, or spiritual enough, or on the same level to give counsel,
insight, rebuke, or enlightenment. First of all, God does not need a
member to be any of those things -- sometime he is pleased to use an
ass as he did with Balaam. It is my observation that with every gift,
God gives a gift of incompleteness. This causes us to be interdependent
on the body. Though the gift may be perfect, and its expression is
unflawed, it is not the full tapestry of life for the church. Others in
the body are needed to make it complete. It is only as each member
provides its own warp and woof (not the same a howling like an animal),
that the tapestry of Life progresses.
His body, though
one. It is only as each
member expresses itself in Christ (not after his own mind or power)
that the body has life. Any member that usurps, disrupts, prevents, or
diminishes either the opportunity or the expression of another member
to function in Christ is usurping, disrupting, preventing, or
diminishing the life of Christ and the church will not be healthy. Each
member is to respect and submit to each other as God energizes that
memberís function. Not submitting to a brother or sister who is
functioning in their capacity within the body is rebellion against God.
There is no one single member or gift that will always have all the
wisdom, all the direction, all the edifying for the members.
do not believe that God created one member to monopolize or dominate
the function of His body. There are gifts which are more regularly in
evidence than others. But even these gifts may be exhibited through
more than one member in a given gathering of the Body. It is His voice,
His Spirit, His authority that is to bring life to the Body. Even
though one may be accepted and recognized as the principal prophet or
pastor in a body, their voice is only as valid as their submission to
God and every word is not automatically to be taken as from the
We can not
complain to God
that we have
been deceived by another. whether they be a prophet, teacher, or
pastor. It is our responsibility to submit to His voice whenever we
hear it, regardless of which member He uses to express himself through.
His Spirit is also within us, that is why He says that "the anointing
which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any
man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth
you of all
things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye
shall abide in him (1 John 2:27) Thereby, God has His two-fold
protection plan in place. The spiritual gifts in the body and the
Spirit within each believer are the 2 facets of His protection and they
will be in agreement. Neglect either and deception will be at
your door. (I know full well there are rebels toward God who
this verse to justify why they do not submit to anyone or any
teaching). Those who are deceived are deceived because either they 1.)
value the gifted person more that the Giver of the Gift; 2.) they
really do not truly seek truth, but experiences, or knowledge, or
power, or reputation, or acceptance by affiliation; 3.) do not intend
to submit to the Spirit within or without
has been a chant of too many. It is as if to say, everything that God
has He has given to you, as an individual as a separate entity. He has
given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. He has given us
the Spirit without measure. It is His good pleasure to give us the
Kingdom. However, He has given us dependency rather than autonomy. He
placed us in His body. It is only His Church, Which is his
body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all
(Eph 1:23). It is not we as individual members who have any authority.
We do not command or direct His power although he may use us to be a
vessel of such power as He sees fit. He does not produce miracles on
demand, does not answer prayer or perform in any way according to "what
seems right in our eyes".
The way some
teachers talk, one would think that God is like some super refueling
station. Go to Him, get filled with the Spirit and His power, then go
out and use it until empty, then come back for a refill. Absolutely
wrong! To continue the analogy, it is more like we run on solar
batteries with no reserves. While He is supplying truth and light, one
can be responsive. If we get out of direct and intimate contact with
Him, we disconnect our source of truth, life, and power.
remains God, He has not delegated that to anyone. He has chosen to use
His body and its various members, the Church, as vessels through which
He may exercise mercy, help, judgments, miracles, signs and wonders,
compassion, judgments, and more in this world. But such exercises will
always originate in the Mind of God and not with the vessel. There are
many today who twist the scriptures in order to attempt to usurp Godís
place -- such are the tactics and character of satan who seeks to
usurp. Even in the hereafter, we will never become as God, we will
simply partake of His essence, never own it as our own. It is satanís
oldest lie. He told it to Eve concerning the tree of the knowledge of
good and evil and he is trying to make us believe the same line in
regards to the Tree of Life, Jesus Christ.
is amazing that people fall for his line, "If you partake of Christ,
you shall become as gods". No! If you partake of Christ, you partake of
Life, you die, you give up your right to your natural life that flows
out of the old Adam. It is His Life that sets you free and gives you a
new life within His body. You are never independent again. You are one
who, like Jesus, can do nothing but what the Father does through Him.
Being saved does not give you power or authority. It only allows you to
participate in the power and authority that is solely retained and
maintained by God Almighty.
Many today are
like Eve they
the fruit is good
and misinterpret the benefits. Although Eve ate and learned the
knowledge of evil, she experienced death. (She already had all the
access she needed to good in the presence of God). Do not be tempted by
the power, the signs, the wonders, the promise of divinity. It is not
there for your use (as Simon the Sorcerer thought) and will be the
death of you. Partaking of Christ does not enable you to take part of
Him, it enables Him to take all of you.
do not decide on which verse "to claim", we do not hold God hostage to
His promise (what a ridiculous abomination!). God is not subject to His
promise, He gives us His promises and laws to guide us and to reveal
Himself, not to guide Himself. Many scriptures are merely examples of
what He did in specific situations for specific persons in the past.
Each promise has displayed His character and wisdom for that
He is no
He has done
He will do for you (as the song goes). He will
give you promises and work for your good. Although He will probably not
give you the same promise, He will give you promises tailor- made for
your situation. He does not give promises to one and withhold promises
to others. He gives promises to all. The promise he gave to Abraham
probably does not fit our situation well. If we complain that He is
unfair in His bestowal of promises, we are saying He is not wise, He is
not good, and that we know better than He does regarding our needs.
There are indeed "universal" promises that are available to each
believer. God wants you to "claimí these, to grow into them and to live
in them. These are the promises regarding becoming one with Him and
fully yielding to Him as He causes you to carry His life to others.
It is true that There
neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither
male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus
(Galatians 3:28). God makes no distinction or favoritism in His
calling. He does, however, make distinctions in His giftings.
Unfortunately, we do not see the gifts for what they truly are -- they
are the means by which God gives us accountability toward other members
and not so we can enjoy some power or emotional surge.
who neglect, misuse, and abuse their gifts will give answer to God on
the last day. Therefore, we do not presume to have a gift we do not
have. We do not presume to have more authority than another has. Our
gift(s) are meant to be the tool God uses to express His will, His
direction, His word. We dare not add to it or take anything away from
it. Godís expression through the gift carries its own authority and
does not need the position, reputation, or power of the member to
non-issue has caused division in the church and grieved the Spirit
much. Charismatic see the nons as devoid of the Spirit and lacking the
gifts and lifeless. Nons see the Charismatics as more filled with the
life of the flesh than the Spirit and presumptuous toward the gifts of
First of all, it
impossible for the
nons to be part of the body of Christ and not have a gift -- His word
proclaims that each member has a gift. To be a member of Christ is to
have a gift -- the gift is the source of the members life- giving
function to the body. It is also not necessary for a member to be
consciously aware of his gift in order for it to operate. Because a
gift does not express itself in a "charismatic" way, does not negate
its existence. It is also impossible that a person can be a Christian
apart from the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4). We are all baptized into
the same Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13). Unfortunately, charismatics have
re-defined the baptism of the Spirit as something other than Christ
does. Some even erroneously teach that tongues are the proof of the
baptism. Yet Paul says that not all speak with tongues (1 Corinthians
12:30). Why can't we remain within the bounds of scripture?
pray that the sick will recover, that the needy will be supplied, and
that God will comfort the comfortless. Because they may not do it in a
manner like a charismatic does not invalidate their faith. The nons and
charismatics are both believing that God can -- they are both trusting
in His sovereignty and grace. Nons comfort one another, help one
another, and do other things which prove that the gifts are in
It is arrogant
consider it more spiritual for a member to say a valid "thus saith the
Lord" than for a non-charismatic to share a portion of scripture that
has been "laid on his heart" by the Spirit.
difference between the nons and charismatics are the ways that each
sees the parameters in which they perceive God to move and the types of
gifts God gives to them. And we should not differentiate ourselves
based on gifts that we had no merit in obtaining.
nons missing some potential blessing by denying the verbal gifts?
Probably. Are charismatics missing something by assuming that most
emotional spiritual leadings and experiences are from God? Probably.
Can either group be deceived by its excesses and its imposed
limitations (both groups do exhibit both conditions)? Probably. Is
there any advantage or disadvantage of being part of one and not the
other? Only if God wants you to be part of the one you are not a part
of. I think there are charismatics that God would have be nons and nons
that God would have be charismatics. Charismatics can confuse happiness
and excitement with joy. Nons can confuse sobriety with holiness and
In any event, the
diminished by this antipathy. But Christ is not divided. If nons and
charismatics continue to reject the life that is found in each
position, they are denying the very life that Christ means them to have.