'You Are the Light of the World'
August 11, 2021
"Now, there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit."
1 Corinthians 12:4
A gift is something given willingly to someone without payment. A Birthday gift, for example.
We don't earn birthday gifts, do we? Our birth is out of our control. We just happen to be born on that particular day. Our text says there are spiritual gifts, too. These gift are freely given by God. We don't earn or merit them.
Of course, the best gift God gives us is His Son, Jesus Christ, as our substitute on the cross for sin.
The letter of First Corinthians was written by the Apostle Paul in the city of Ephesus, approximately in the year 55 AD. There is some significance to this date.
55 AD is the Apostolic Age. Various apostles who walk and talk with Jesus are still very much alive.
55 AD means the Holy Spirit is still in the process of revealing the New Testament Scriptures to the writers, such as the Apostle Paul in our text.
This is in contrast to 2021 AD. The Bible is now complete. Finished in the sense there are no new revelations.
The church in Corinth in 55AD doesn't have the New Testament. Not yet. It is still being revealed by the Holy Spirit.
So, without the New Testament, the Holy Spirit provides "diversities of gifts" to the church to sustain peoples' faith. In the Apostolic Age, special gifts of the Spirit are given to different individuals. Some of these gifts have a natural basis in abilities.
The Holy Spirit augments these natural abilities.
Others of these special gifts have a supernatural basis and work in miraculous manner. Both gifts are evident in 55 AD.
These special gifts of the Spirit, whether their basis is on natural talents and abilities, or the miraculous, contrast with the essential gifts of the Spirit found in every soul brought to Christ Jesus.
These essential gifts of the Spirit found in every Christian -- then and today -- are gifts such as faith, hope, love, knowledge and Christian morality or goodness.
"Now, there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit." What does this mean?
The same Spirit refers to the Holy Spirit. The fundamental gift any Christan can have is the Holy Spirit, through whom we confess Jesus is Lord.
The essential gifts of the Spirit, such as faith, hope, love and knowledge, we receive at Holy Baptism, or the moment we believe the Gospel message. That is when God declares us righteous for Christ's Sake.
One other thing about these gifts of the Spirit, they are not meant to be hoarded, or kept to one's self, but shared. They serve the whole church then, in 55 AD, and today.
If the greatest gift God gives us to share, outside the Gospel message, is ourselves, our life with others here on earth?
We gather for worship services to hear the great gift of God's Word and sacraments, but a great gift also is fellowship with others. You presence encourages those around you, and their presence here encourages you as well.
Going to public worship on Sunday is one of the greatest ways we witness the Holy Spirit dwells in us.
So, a great gift we share, behind Christ crucified, is our lives. Our presence, or absence, speaks volumes.
Through all times, the triune God is the source of all the gifts necessary to sustain spiritual and physical life on this earth today.