Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: Synergism: Opening The Door to God’s Indwelling Power

Friday, January 16, 2009

Synergism: Opening The Door to God’s Indwelling Power

Chapter Two
Concerning Spirituals Brethren

As we said in the last chapter, the baptism with the Holy Spirit puts the believer into a new existence and a new position in the “body of Christ” (I Corinthians 12:13). This is not the same as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The baptism with the Holy Spirit is instantaneous and synchronous with a decision to trust in Christ. The baptism with the Holy Spirit provides the potential for all that is involved in the life of Jesus Christ; “11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (I John 5:11-12).

Although this eternal life “in Christ” is already our possession, the power of this eternal life lies in the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. The power of this eternal life is the Holy Spirit. When the believer is “filled” with Holy Spirit through practical sanctification, consecration, and yielding his will to God’s will, the eternal life that is in us in the Person of the Holy Spirit is released (“multiplied,” II Peter 1:2) through the believer’s life. This releasing of power (the eternal life of God) is manifested through the supernatural enabling/empowering of the yielded believer. In looking at this Scripturally, we must be careful to distinguish between temporary sign gifts and continuing service gifts.

“1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. 3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. 4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7 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 worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. 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. 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” (I Corinthians 12:1-13).

As I have said, the word pneumatikos, translated “spiritual gifts” in I Corinthians 12:1, refers to something far beyond the normal. It refers to something supernatural or ethereal. The word pneumatikos refers to things, works, or actions that cannot be produced by human wisdom, great talents, or abilities. No matter how good, talented, intelligent, or great a person might be, he cannot produce “spirituals” through his life apart from an intimate knowledge/relationship with God. The word “spirituals” describes a supernatural act of creation through the believer’s life.

What is a spiritual gift (I Corinthians 12:1)? A spiritual gift is the divine energizing (empowering) of a believer’s life by the Holy Spirit. The gift is the empowering. Therefore, when the Spirit of God gives a spiritual, it refers to the divine energizing of a believer’s knowledge, talents, or abilities that he already has for some special task or purpose.

This spiritual empowering is the supernatural working of God in the life of all Spirit filled (controlled) believers. This spiritual empowering is that which is intended to be common to all believers and is what defines the Age of Grace (Church Age Dispensation). This spiritual empowering of a believer’s knowledge, talents, or abilities is intended to be the common, normal, and everyday experience of every Spirit filled believer.

There are two Greek words that define spiritual gifts. The first is pneumatikos (pnyoo-mat-ik-os') as used in I Corinthians 12:1 that is best translated by the word “spirituals.” The idea in the word pneumatikos is that the baptism with the Holy Spirit forms the “body of Christ,” which “body” is empowered (given life and abilities) by the Holy Spirit. It is not the baptism with the Holy Spirit that empowers. It is the “filling.” The baptism with the Spirit merely places the believer in the position of power. The position provides the potential. The “filling” results from bringing the human body and its desires under the control of the Spirit and is a matter of yielding the will (Romans 6:11-13).

The second Greek word that defines spiritual gifts is the word charisma (khar'-is-mah) that is made up from the Greek word charis (khar'-ece), which is usually translated “grace.” Therefore, charisma refers to the divine empowering of the yielded believer by the indwelling Holy Spirit for some specific task. Anything any believer seeks to do for the Lord in this life must be done by the empowering of the Holy Spirit or it cannot be blessed of God; i.e., is not the result of God’s power and therefore is not lasting/eternal in its duration. Charismata (gifts of empowering grace) denotes extraordinary and supernatural powers that distinguish certain Christians for special areas of ministry and enables them to serve the church of Christ (the body metaphor).

There “are diversities of gifts”
(charisma, or grace empowering I Corinthians 12:4).
“Diversities” is from the Greek word diairesis (dee-ah'-ee-res-is), referring to a distinction arising from a different distribution to different persons. Not everyone had the same spiritual gift.

“29b are all workers of miracles? 30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret” (I Corinthians 12:29b-30)?

There “are differences of administrations.” (I Corinthians 12:5; “differences” is from the same Greek word as “diversities” above.) “Administrations” is from the Greek word diakonia (dee-ak-on-ee'-ah), which can be translated services or ministries. Not everyone has the same knowledge, talents, or abilities, so everyone does not have the same ministry in the local church.

“14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20 But now are they many members, yet but one body” (I Corinthians 12:14-20).

The idea of I Corinthians 12:14-20 is that not everyone has the same job/ministry (although there are some things everyone is commanded to do). Everyone is not an Apostle. Everyone is not a preacher (“prophet”). Everyone is not a Pastor/Teacher.

“Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers” (I Corinthians 12:29a)?

There “are diversities of operations” (I Corinthians 12:6). “Operations” is from the Greek word energema (en-erg'-ay-mah), which means to display one’s activity or work. Although God never changes (character, nature, and attributes), His operations do change. These changes are called Dispensations.

“For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation {stewardship} of the gospel is committed unto me” (I Corinthians 9:17).

“That in the dispensation {stewardship} of the fulness of times {in the New Heaven/Earth} he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:” (Ephesians 1:10).

“If ye have heard of the dispensation {stewardship} of the grace of God {Church Age of Grace} which is given me to you-ward:” (Ephesians 3:2).

“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation {stewardship} of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;” (Colossians 1:25).

The word “dispensation” in each of the above verses is from the Greek word oikonomia (oy-kon-om-ee'-ah), which refers to the management, oversight and administration of a household or of household affairs. How God manages His household has changed down through the ages. The word dispensations refers mainly to the stewardship of delegated responsibilities by God to believers.

The empowering by the Spirit is visible in every believer’s life for “profit” (bringing forth spiritual fruit, I Corinthians 12:7). When the believer produces spiritual fruit, the empowering of the Holy Spirit becomes visible.

“Manifestation” is from the Greek word phanerosis (fan-er'-o-sis), which means to make manifest (visible or known) what has been hidden or unknown. The idea here is that, as the Holy Spirit spiritually empowers the believer and that believer begins to bear fruit, the invisible Holy Spirit is made visible in that believer’s life by that fruit.

This leads us to Peter’s statement in verse 3 of II Peter chapter 1; “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” This verse speaks of spiritual power potential.

The empowerment cannot take place until the Tripartite of Power exists within the believer’s life:

1. The Spirit: the supernatural empowering of the indwelling Holy Spirit
2. The Word: the knowledge of the will of God as revealed by the Word of God
3. The Spirit filled believer: as the believer yields to the indwelling Spirit AND begins to live the Word of God, becoming a “doer of the Word” (James 1:22)

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