It fascinates me the way God strung allegory for what he would do with his Church all throughout his dealings with his people Israel. In the last month, the issue of spiritual gifts has come up a lot, because of a variety of reasons. And my pastors at Trinity, being the responsible shepherds they are, have taken initiative in several ways to teach on the nature of the gifts and the way they fit into body life today.
All of this has left me with still other questions, and a few places of disagreement, but its also been incredibly interesting and informative. It's not often that a Southern Baptist church will, verse-by-verse, tackle 1 Corinthians 12-14. I think they're usually pretty scared of it, which is why I respect Ryan and Ronnie all the more. Anyway, regardless of the more unclear aspects of the gifts, several things are clear. But for that, I want to back up to the Tabernacle.
Exodus 25-30 gives incredibly specific, meticulous guidelines for how the Tabernacle was to be constructed and decorated. From the basic framing, to the screen at the entrance, the altars, and even the garments for the priests, God made known exactly how he wished everything to be done. And it the purpose wasn't so the nations, or even Israel herself, would look at the temple and marvel. The purpose was for God to have a habitation among his people, and a place where they could come and seek him, and even talk to him face to face, as friends (Ex 33). Even though these requirements were incredibly specific, God gave men to Moses who were supernaturally enabled by the Holy Spirit to do everything that was necessary.
The Lord said to Moses, "see, I have called by name Bezalel...and have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship...And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab...And I have given to all able men ability, that they make make all that I have commanded you. (31:1-3, 6)
God supernaturally enabled men to build up his temple! This is incredible, and is a tribute to the nature of God to always provide what he requires. He doesn't heap up impossible tasks for his people to do and not lift a finger to help them. What God requires, he provides.
And this aspect of God's character is not limited to how he dealt with Israel, however. Believers in the New Testament are referred to as "living stones...being built up as a spiritual house, as a dwelling place for God by the Spirit," (1 Pet 2:5, Eph 2:22). We have similar commands from God as to how to behave, what our goals are, and how to reach them. They are just as specific, and similary as hard to do naturally. And in the same way as with the Tabernacle, God provides what we need. He provides the raw materials (2 Tim 1:9, Eph 2:8-9) and the instructions (2 Pet 2:21), and finally, the gifted workers:
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, and to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit, for building up the body of Christ, to excel in building up the church. (Eph 4:11-12, 1 Cor 12:7, 14:12)
The purpose of the foundational men of the church, and the gifts distributed to all believers (as the Holy Spirit wills), is the same as the supply and giftings for the Tabernacle over 1400 years earlier. To build up a place for him to dwell with his people. Originally, a construction, but now, the people themselves. The symbolism is incredible, the mercy of provision even moreso!
Posted at 03:36 pm by longnailsareok