Spiritual Gifts – Church Reformation, Part 1.


Dear Ministry partners,
This is a long personal from the heart, and presented in a rough draft, but will be presented in a more condensed article format later. Nonetheless it is worth the read and you will find it an eye opener if you have not seen it this way before, but try and find the time to read it. Likewise, I hope that when you read it, you would have already many years ago determine what it is you wanted out of your spirit led life and went for it! If you haven’t yet decided, what are you waiting for? Time waits for no man is an overused cliché, but truth are naturally that way! Whatever is the achievement you want to put on the mantelpiece of your life depends on many factors. Of vital importance though, make shore it is the will of God for you. Likewise and very importantly too, is that time and chances happens to us all.
It is an acceptable fact that if God created the universe and mankind within it, that He knows our bodies, inside out, every bones, every sinews, every vain that circulate blood through us. He knows humanity completely, personally and intimately. He knows our beginning and our ending, because man’s occupation of the earth and allotted time was planned for him from before the beginning of creation. God by planning a Spiritual Kingdom for His Son, drew the blueprint, designed the shape and form, organised the necessary elements, the parts that would make up the building block, then set things in motion by laying the foundation of the world, and institute man that would be the centrepiece of His creation. God planned the activities of man that would culminate in the establishment of the Kingdom for Christ, before the foundations of the world was laid. He knew that for man to fully accomplish his incredible human potential, he needs assistance, as the enemy he would eventually encounter, Satan, is an experience fighter. Mankind on his own does not stand a chance against him, so God pledged him help, the Holy Spirit, as his rescuer, guide and coach, a comforter through his life journey to the Kingdom of His Son, Jesus Christ. God promised “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days” (Joel 2: 28-29 NIV). Prior to this, Old Testament believers were empowered with the Holy Spirit selectively, now God is promising liberal out pouring. It’s not for the few, but ‘on all people’ for the many believers in Jesus Christ. Jesus repeated this promise of the father to His followers, “On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1: 4-5).
After the reassurance of Christ of the Holy Spirit coming was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 2: 1-4). The mass gathering of people in Jerusalem from all over the world, saw this strange phenomenon and were amazed, but Peter stood up and address the crowd, in order to put their mind at ease. “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams’ (Vs: 14-17). However, many if not all faith groups has overlooked or ignored this most important factor in the life of the church making it necessary for reformation. That it is the Holy Spirit who distribute gifts to the Body of Christ! Therefore it is the Holy Spirit order of church leadership and administration that man should follow.
A church ministry research institute done in America, found only 2 percent of church leaders are functioning in their Holy Spirit gifted place of ministry. 98 percent of leaders then are out of simcha with the Holy Spirit. That means that the church internationally is only functioning at approximately 10 percent of its God delegated power, and empowered capacity. The obvious reason why it has no power to carry out the Great Commission of Christ is the Holy Spirit importance is undermined, its directives misunderstood and continuously misapplied.

 

Paul noticed this confusion among the Corinthian saints, (1 Cor. 12), and wrote to correct any ignorance and conception concerning Spiritual Gifts working in the body of Christ. The Corinthians had, as does the modern church a wrong concept as to why Spiritual gifts are given to the church, and how they operate in empowering the body of Christ and to advance the gospel message in the world.
“Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. And verse 3, “Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit”. He went on to explain that there are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work (V. 4-5) and that to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good (V.7). He went on to describe the types of gifts, wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, speaking in different kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues. (Vs. 8 – 10), and in (V.11) explains that they all are, “the work of one and the same Spirit”, and he, (Holy Spirit), “distributes them to each one, just as he determines”.

Are bible students getting this, it is written in all our bibles, that it is the Holy Spirit that distributes gifts, not our church boards, or seminaries, not the great institutions of learning, universities etc. To Paul the gifts are for to create “Unity and Diversity in the Body” of Christ, not divisions. The misunderstanding that’s permeated the Corinthian church centuries ago still exists today where people elevated certain gifts above others. Paul is clearly saying the Holy Spirit distributed the gifts to the body and none is above another. So no open door policy was left, nor is it down to people to choose their gifts, or for institutions to make people whom they choose gifted. What the institutions are meant to do, is identify people to whom the Holy Spirit distributed the gifts. Then through instruction and training, help to develop and establish them as seasoned and more rounded performer in ministry.
Paul went on (V. 12 – 27), to press home an important point by using the human body as an illustration of unity. “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ”. It cuts across ethnic, cultural and class barriers, “whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink”. “Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many”. The Holy Spirit would guide the church in making important decisions about appointing the gifted people in their right roles for unity of the body and effectiveness in operations but only when we are careful to obey its leading. Instead of allowing the gifted members to perform certain task, as with the human body, the modern church is packed, infiltrated with self-interest serving people where everybody wants to lead, manage churches, board members, pastor, teacher whether appointed by God or not. As if mirroring the experience of Moses when Aaron and Miriam, rebelled and challenges him for the leadership of Israel. “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” (Num. 12: 2). The Lord heard their groaning’s and they suffered the consequences of their actions, they were punished, which is happening to today’s churches. It is powerless and weak, because the modern church has failed to submit to God’s order of church leadership and governance, has open the door for that Satanic influences. He hasn’t crept into the church, we open the gates and clearly invited him in. Humanity has inadvertently become Satan’s tools, because of our general attitude of rebellion against God’s authority. This defiance permeated the modern church, where we rebelled against God’s order, of Holy Spirit gifted, ordained and appointed leadership which displays ingratitude but also a rejection of God’s authority.
Now deliberate and reflect carefully, before reacting, around ‘what is the most important God designed organisation in the world’. I make no apology for saying, that it is the body of Christ, bar none! So, why then would we, the international church organisations, the supposed body, treat it with such disdain and disrespect? Read Pauls letter to the Corinthians ‘Over’ and ‘Again’. Then check your lexicons, try different translation, bible dictionaries and commentaries and see if you get the message? Study for text revelation, ask God for text illumination, of the truths therein and not rely on our own ideas. The understanding will come, we will be enlightened why the church internationally is not performing to its ultimate spirit intended maximum potential. The church is s spiritual organisation, is it not? Just as He knows the human physical body, He knows the church, the spiritual body. He knows that if it was up to man to distribute the gifts he would distribute the more desirable gifts to his friends. So as He placed the eye in the head, the feet at the bottom and the hands in the middle, etc., He knows why they are there. Likewise with the spiritual body, He knows why He distributed the gifts, and dictated how, why and where they should operate in the body. Why then do we ignore the spirits delegated modus operandi and instead employ secular terms and conditions to operate and govern the body of Christ?

The church is operating at only 10 percent of its God given Holy Spirit empowered capacity, because of the existence of unqualified leadership that are not Holy Spirit gifted. It means that 98 percent of people in the church leadership internationally, are in the wrong roles. This does not mean that people in leadership are without qualifications in their own secular right. Really, what it means and without any qualifications is that, the gifts the spirit distributes to individuals are ignored by many organisations, and people are instead given or appointed to a role in the church that the spirit did not determined for them. “All these (gifts) are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines”. This means that if the appointed officers’ gifts does not fit the position they inhabit, they are only occupying space.

It means that the church is misplaced because gifts that are distributed for its proper functions are misplaced by organisations! This then resulted in too many people ‘though they mean well’ are given, or appointed to the wrong leadership roles. The road to hell is packed with good intentions, so good intentions are not enough! Saran is the author of this international spiritual blindness and confusion that now enveloped and permeated the church? Church organisations, boards of governance, international management authority will be held accountable. Surely God wants the gospel to be preached effectively, so that humanity can be saved into the Kingdom of His Son. Only Satan, the archenemy of man who is against Gods plan for man. Surely Satan does not wants Gods plan to be accomplish in the church and the world. So he masquerade himself, as an angel of light took up key positions in the churches to block the progress. He is responsible for producing mediocre, ineffective, unlearned leaders in the seat of power, people who cannot interpret the Scriptures and convey the message so people hear, understand and be saved.
The worldwide church, the multiple organisations, that comprised the body of Christ internationally, (or supposedly do), and the myriads of institutions of learning, needs reformation and should face impeachment for its failings. They are to be blamed as they have rebelled against the order of the Holy Spirit. Would Paul and should we the members of Christ body appoint or sanction “wrong” gifted, some novice but privileged to church leadership positions? The biblically ignorant and spiritual babes, who don’t know their gifts, has never taken a gift test, so don’t know where God wants them, never taken any kind of training, not even the minimum course for a pastoral role, a diploma course in theology or divinity, has become leaders! So if one is placed in the wrong roles, has no biblical training, neither experience in leadership, how in all good conscience can he be made overseer in the body of Christ. He is a blind leader of the blind, as they know no better and because the people likes it so. Someone once said that, “no one can lead someone further than he has gone himself”. Really, how can we lead someone where we ourselves has never been? American pastor, public speaker and author, John C. Maxwell once said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”. The truth of this statement is so blatantly obvious, even spiritually blind people can understand it. How then can a leader in the body of Christ, and spiritually sited people cannot see it? How can a leader train others, if he himself does not have the gift, has no prior training or experience? Can anyone now see why the church has no teeth, struggling and has limited effect in the world?
The instruction of Paul to the Corinthians are that the gifted are to teach others to do the work of ministry. “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Eph. 4: 11-12). So that the principal purpose for which all of the spiritual gifts are distributed among the members is to build up the Body of Christ, the church. Paul reminded the saints in Rome, (Romans 12:4-6), that we are all one body in Christ and that each of the members of a body belong to the other members, even though they have different functions. How many present leaders, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors etc. are known today who have the gift, been trained and have the ability then to train others? How many do not have the gift to preach or ‘prophesy’, to interpret and prepare homilies, or lessons from the Scriptures? Not able to develop training materials for the church on biblical doctrine or even write a proper discourse or lecture? Humility goes out the window for many, because the role of the spirit gift distribution is downplayed, in many cases none acknowledged. Anyone who shows an interest, is in the right place or apply for the role is appointed, without question, even on the basis of friendship, buddyism and personal preference. For many wannabies it is not about spiritual qualification but about the power and prestige, the status and honours those upfront roles yields. Going back to the bible and Paul’s instruction, is the first steps in reforming the process, because it is the Holy Spirit that appoints by giving or distributed the gifts for ministry, not church boards. We forget as well, that those most obvious roles, the much sought after leadership roles are ‘servant leadership’ roles, not Lordship ones! Pauls advice to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 12) must always be at the forefront of our minds when we pursue an office.

The church then has an important task of submitting to the spirits directives and gift test its membership, identify the spiritually gifted in a certain field before training and appointment. Those up for appointment should in turn do a deep soul searching, and ask ourselves the question, is this my gift or where God wants me? Ask God, and seek the Holy Spirit guidance, then ask the church to do a gift search analysis. Many ask their friends, as sometimes members of the church can see our gifts before we do. Once we determine our gifts, we should not run ahead and start leading or preaching. Again after gift identity, training for personal development should be the obvious response, then there should be an internship or probationary period before taking up the most important office on earth. Nonetheless those already appointed should ascertain that they are in their gifted roles, then get ourselves into training to get the necessary improvement and so we can effectively perform in the office. If you are called on by your board to serve, ask them questions, and if you feel unqualified, refuse it. Better the refusal early when you are ill prepared for office, than to take it and find yourself struggling, and have to resign in shame. However, to the shame of many no matter how ill-equipped and badly they perform will not see the need for reformation. If they help you to identify your gift, it’s a start, then ask them are they willing to foot the bill for your training. If they refused, then don’t take the office, you will become part of the problem not the solution.

Too many people, many ministry leaders are in the wrong roles and are too ego driven to admit it. The taste of the office is so alluring to many that even when they recognise their limitations will still assume the office to their own shame. For the Holy Spirit will not indict the board only but you also for taken it when you know you do not qualify.
The Holy Spirit in distributing, gifts had no problem with one who has secular disciplines, has a PHD, is a scientist, an engineer, and philosopher or have a world of experience in any field. These skills are important in their own rights and in some organisations used to compliment and is enhanced by the Holy Spirit to help the church in numerous ways. However, secular disciplines are not enough to be appointed to the most important offices in the church. Christ body or church leadership should only be through the Holy Spirit gifts and follow up training should be nothing less than in biblical matters. Paul’s instruction is that church leadership should be based only on biblical themes, scriptural knowledge, and spiritual maturity, not on manmade systems. Understanding hermeneutics is key in leadership, because church leaders need that skill to interpret the Scriptures, the biblical literature and its message which was not originally written in English.

If we do not have the gifts from God, apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors, teachers etc. distributed solely by and through the Holy Spirit, why are we in those roles? Undoubtedly we will stumble along, possibly some get by, but by and large our performance in the pulpit will lack effectiveness and credibility. This is how and where many church leaders are today, just getting along, but barely getting by. We are not being honest to ourselves, and to the church of God. If we are appointed to a role, and we know we are not qualify for it we should refuse it. We should be able to see our limitations and admit it, and only humility does that.
Many organisations create and develop leaders to accomplish their organisational goals. If someone in a job and they notice any shortfall they may have, they send them on training courses, so they can better perform their task. Some secular organisations are able to see a certain potential in others, and know where their strengths are, so they are given further opportunities. Though the majority of churches operates like this, by appointing leaders, then train and develop them in those roles, it has very limited success. The church is very different, and should not operate like secular organisations. As it is the Holy Spirit determines and distributes the gifts in their various office or mode of operation in the body of Christ. The gifts are not given by church organisations, committees or boards, but by the Holy Spirit! The body of Christ then has the duty of identifying the spiritually gifted, acknowledge them, and then train people in how to fulfil their gifted roles effectively. Church leaders cannot effectively perform in the office we are given, if we are not spiritually appointed and then train to deliver effectively. It is like trying to force square pegs in a round holes, it will not happen!

Church boards have the power to appoint leaders to offices, give license and credentials based on their constitution, but if the appointment is not on biblical principles they are just adding numbers. The international church needs to get back to the bible. From Paul’s message to the Corinthians, we acknowledge that church authority do not distribute Spiritual gifts to its members, God does through His Holy Spirit! So what is this most important role of church organisations as opposed to secular ones? Simply this, they are to identify the gifted members, open up training opportunity, facilitate or encourage training, then appoint. It is not appoint then train, it the other way round, Identify (gifts) – Train –Appoint! After understanding Paul’s encouragement to the Corinthians, there should be a whole pile of soul searching and resignation from leadership and church boards, going on right now.
But ego gets in the way, many leaders lacks humility, don’t know or will admit their limitations but see the appointment to office as a progression, i.e. first a Deacon, then an evangelist, then a pastor, so they will not resign. The question then is, who develop this model, is it even biblical? Where in the bible can it be found? Not thinking or even aware that we are already rejected, and cannot see that we are not performing, because self stands in the way. Some people genuinely think they are in the right role, but why? The research done in America reveals that too many people are appointed to the wrong positions, primarily because of limited availability and years of service. Church leadership should not be about convenience or whose face fits ‘buddyism’, it a Holy Spirit determined and gift distribution, God directed role. The church identify, facilitate training then appointed to office and effectiveness will be seen and felt. And even after training is ascertained, no leader should take up this awesome responsibility of the most important organisation in the world, the body of Christ, but instead do a period of internship, under a seasoned campaigner or under guidance of a more experienced elder!

PART 2 NEXT TIME.

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