Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., Pastor, Grace Bible Church of Costa Mesa, California

Copyright 1995-2014 Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., All Rights Reserved


The Balance of Spiritual Gift Function

The same thought is seen in Romans 12:3. The concept here is that we should never have a superiority, or inferiority complex because of spiritual gifts. We are all saved by grace through faith plus nothing. We all have been graced out, haven't we? Salvation is by grace. Spirituality is by grace. All we have to do is assure our filling of the Holy Spirit by naming our known sins to God the Father plus nothing and growing in grace by means of the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, through Bible teaching. Paul, a mature believer, exploited the grace of God more than any other Christian who has ever lived. He knew what he was talking about when he said not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think. We are to think with grace orientation to life and doctrinal orientation to reality. We are not to think based on arrogance, but in meekness and humility. This is so important and applies in so many areas.

For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3)

Some leadership spiritual gifts carry more authority and, in turn, carry greater responsibility. The apostle James said in James 3:1 that not many of us should be motivated to be teachers because teachers will receive a greater degree of divine discipline when they step out of line. It is an awesome responsibility to handle the Word of truth. When a pastor is out of line, he's going to get clobbered by the Lord. It’s a tremendous privilege and opportunity, but it carries a fantastic responsibility. That's why the teacher or anyone with a communication spiritual gift must realize his responsibility before the Lord and his accountability before God's people. This is why a pastor of a local church who is perpetually out of line either doctrinally or personally can be and should be removed from that position.

Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. (James 3:1)

This idea that pastors are only responsible as under shepherds to the great Shepherd of the sheep is not a New Testament principle at all. We all have a responsibility before the Lord. We can come under very severe judgment from God. We can be hammered by the Lord as leaders in the church, if we abuse that leadership privilege. None of us should think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. We have different gifts. Some are leadership gifts, some are not, but they are of equal importance. What would a pastor be able to do unless there were people behind the scenes who plan and execute the work in the local church by way of administration and organization? There must be a lot of hard work by people in the background so he can stand up and teach. You should pray for your pastor that he might have that wonderful freedom and liberty in declaring the Word of God and might really emphasize and get across the exact message God wants him to relate.

Personal Relationships and Spiritual Gift Function

Each of us, in grace orientation and humility, must not think of himself more highly than he ought to think. Some who take in doctrine regularly tend to think they are superior people and that they are the elite of Christendom because they have learned much from the Word of God. They are the royal family of God and as such, should act as royalty. It can become the basis for smugness. It can become the basis for snobbery rather than humility and grace orientation. We have been privileged to live in the Church Age or the age of royalty. Jesus Christ is our King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It shouldn't cause us to rise up on some self-righteous high-horse of doctrinal superiority. It should humble us and cause us to realize that we have this high and holy calling, not because of who we are, but because of who the Lord is and what He has provided.

We should all seek others who are on a higher spiritual plane than ourselves in our personal relationships, whether friendship or romance. You shouldn't think of dating, courtship, or engagement with the opposite sex, unless you feel they are superior in some wonderful way. This doesn't mean that you should not get involved in friendship or romance unless your choice is much more doctrinal or grace-oriented than you are. It means that you should seek out those that are on a higher spiritual level rather than those at a lower spiritual level than you. It’s important that the relationship be based on mutual spiritual growth and consistent intake and application of the Word of God to your lives. Remember that friendships or even marriage is not the source of happiness. Sex is not the source of happiness. Children are not the source of happiness. Happiness does not lie in any of these personal relationships. Happiness comes from advance in our spiritual lives in the power of the Holy Spirit. It comes with your relationship with the Lord and your ability to have unconditional love toward every member of the human race. On that basis of virtue love, you get married as a team.

You are not to think of your wife or husband as superior to you. In marriage, it's a team effort. John Calvin said that when you have a man and woman coming togther and becoming one in thought and feeling and purpose, that is true marriage. That's the important thing in marriage. It is not waiting for that knight in shining armor or your Cinderella to awaken. You must realize that God has for you a right kind of person for a relationship with you.

There is a right kind man or right kind woman for everyone. It goes without saying that for Miss Average Woman and Mr. Average Man with virtue, there will be some areas of rapport of personality and compatibility. You will discover these traits as you date and court, but you should emphasize friendship first. When you have the friendship that lines up with virtue, it's safe to fall in love. Never fall in love until you have a stabilized mentality from the Word of God that emphasizes virtue first. Rapport and compatibility will follow, but it must be based on the status of your soul. You must have meekness and humility as seen in Romans 12:3-4. This is doctrinal orientation to reality. You should be meek and humble. This means you are to be eternally grateful for everything God has given you. In the context here, you are to be grateful for your spiritual gift. It is the means for you to fulfill your position on the team of the Body of Christ.

For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, (Romans 12:3-4)

We are all on the same team. We should be concentrating on the same goal of building up of the Body of Christ. We should be achieving the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God which is found in the fulness of Christ. This is our goal. Nothing else. We are on the same team and are not alone. This principle was what John Donne, the great literary giant of the 18th century England, was talking about when he wrote, presumably, to his wife:

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

The same thing applies to Christianity. We are all members of God's royal family in these differing spiritual gifts. Under the operation teamwork, we possess each other. You need me. I need you. I belong to you and you belong to me. If we only realize that under this banner of unity, we use our spiritual gift in the power of the Spirit to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. We have to have virtue love toward one another as we function within the framework of our own spiritual gift. If we do not have virtue love, there will not be the unity of operation teamwork.

All Spiritual Gifts Require the Filling of the Holy Spirit

We should all understand that all spiritual gifts can only be completely effective under the conditions of the filling of the Holy Spirit. This is 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 again, which informs us that although faith and hope and love always abide, the greatest of these is love. We must use our spiritual gift within the framework of virtue love. Speaking of the power of spiritual gifts, God the Holy Spirit guided the person in the use of the gift of tongues. This is the doctrine of divine guidance as it relates to spiritual gifts.

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

Remember, whether it was on the day of Pentecost, or in other areas of public evangelism, the gift of tongues was always used to give the Gospel to an unbeliever. In the church of Corinth, which had a very large Jewish population, there were a lot of unsaved religious Jews. So, if one of these Jews came into the congregation, God the Holy Spirit knew that person was an unbeliever. The Holy Spirit would lead a Christian with the gift of tongues to stand up and give the Gospel in that Jew’s language. He would hear the Gospel and could receive Jesus Christ as Savior. In a limitation to the correct use of the gift of tongues, Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 14:27-28, that if someone prior to 70 A.D. was led by the Holy Spirit to speak in tongues, but someone was not present with the gift of interpretation of tongues, they were to keep silent. Also, no more than two other people could speak in tongues in the same gathering with at least one other interpreting. This is what 1 Corinthians 14:27-28 is emphasizing. If there was no interpreter of the gift of tongues, the speaker was to keep quiet and speak only to God. The principle here is divine guidance in the correct use of tongues where the filling of the Holy Spirit was required for its proper use.

If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and let one interpret; but if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God. (1 Corinthians 14:27-28)

What about the use of tongues in the Post-canon period of the Church Age? We are dealing here with the problem of misconceptions, abuses, and even perversions of the proper use of spiritual gifts. The gift of tongues must not be confused with the baptism of the Holy Spirit just because both occurred on the same Day of Pentecost. 1 Corinthians 12:13-14 says that we all have been baptized by one Spirit into one body. Baptism first took place on the Day of Pentecost. After that, it happened at the moment of salvation for all believers in the Church Age. We were all made to drink of that one Spirit. Every Christian’s body is indwelt by God the Holy Spirit so that he can be controlled by the Holy Spirit in his soul. This is how we become spirituality enabled by the power of the Holy Spirit who allows us all to best use what God has so graciously given to each of us at salvation.

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. (1 Corinthians 12:13-14)

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