The Work of The Hidden Spirit
Thank you for the beautiful anthem. The spirit is the gift given by God. When Jesus left this world, Jesus left, sent the Holy Spirit as the gift. The disciples were very anxious when Jesus left. There were a lot of persecutions and oppositions and animosity and hatred and disciples didn’t know how to take that, so they were quite worried and anxious and Jesus said this to the disciples do not worry. I’ll send you the spirit as the gift and that spirit will be with you. That is in John Chapter 16 verse seven nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away for I do not go away if I do not go away. The advocate meaning the Holy Spirit. The advocate will not come to you, but if I go, I will send him to you. So Jesus promised the spirit and spirit actually came to us as the gift and the spirit is with us. The spirit guides us and the spirit shows us the way and what to do. The spirit empowers us because we have the spirit. We can live a spiritual life. This spirituality is to recognize that the spirit is within us and have fellowship with the spirit and that is what spirituality is in everything we do. We should be always aware of the presence of the spirit within us.
Whenever we talk with Spirit, sometimes we kind of have a kind of reluctance because he’s not visible. And also some people abused the word spirit in a very bad way. So it is really sometimes we have this reluctance to talk about the spirit. Spirit is not limited to those who are very, very spiritual and special and mystical and in a high level of religiosity. The spirit is not just limited to those chosen elite spiritualists. Spirit is with those who call Jesus as the Lord. When you say that Jesus is the Lord that means you have the spirit within you. Today’s passage verse three says, therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says, let Jesus be cursed and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit, without the Holy Spirit. You cannot say that Jesus is the Lord.
So when you say that Jesus is Lord, the spirit is with you. As a spirit resides within us. He doesn’t just reside within us, he works within us. Moses shapes us and builds us up. So we need to let ourselves be led and moulded by the spirit. You’re not on your own. You’re not alone. You don’t have to deal with all your problems, all by yourself. The spirit is within you as spirit guides you each and every step of your life. One thing at a time, one day at a time, the spirit guides you step by step and also spirit gives us gifts, gifts of the spirit. You can call these gifts as a special ability to do God’s work. It is the ability given to you to serve people and Saint Paul lists these gifts utterance of wisdom, utterance of knowledge.
Gifts of The Spirit
He calls even faith as one of the gifts, healing the working of miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirit, various kinds of tongues and interpretation of tongues. As you see the list of it, this is not the whole exhaustive list there in other letters. Saint Paul said, there is a gift of teaching and gift of hospitality, but in this list, he put a gift of tongues at the end because the gift of tongues caused so many problems at our Corinthian church. And it brought division in the church because of a Keith of tongues. So he kind of put it at the last in the list. These gifts, I know what you decide. It’s not what you decide. Okay? You see the list. I like that gift. I want to have that. You can’t do that. It’s not something that you choose. Is that something that you decide, the spirit who knows you the best, the spirit chooses that gift for you, spirit gives you that gift. You’re just a recipient of those gifts. You don’t choose actively, the spirit gifts you. That was verse 11 all these are activated by one and the same spirit who allots to each one individually. Just as the spirit chooses. Spirit certain gifts for each person. Then you have to know your gift and serve with that gift. When you serve without having that gift, sometimes you can cause problems.
God gave each person at least one gift. You need to discover your gift and serve God with the gift given to you, and this gift is not for your own benefit. This gift is given to you for other people. St Paul calls it common good verse seven, to each is given the manifestation of the spirit for the common good. You are given gifts not to dictate other people or to boast about yourself, but to serve for the common good. The serving attitude should be based on all the gifts. Before you receive gifts, you should ask for the humility of serving attitude before you receive gifts. Otherwise, these gifts can be fairly well abused. So you have to have this serving attitude and humble attitude before you receive these gifts. And on that attitude, the gifts are given.
In that sense, gifts are like the fruit of the spirit. Fruits are different, but in the sense that they exist for other people their saying. When a tree is healthy, fruits come out. So fruits and tree are connected. So when the trees are healthy, the fruits come up, but those fruits do not exist for the tree, these fruits for other people to enjoy. In the same way, a person, when a person is spiritually healthy, the fruits come out and also gifts are manifested. But these are not for yourself. These are for others to be enriched. These are for others to be ministered.
When a person is not healthy spiritually, the fruit will not come out and the gifts can be abused. Instead of the gifts being used for the common good, they can be abused to cause division and confusion. And that was what happened at Corinthian church. That’s why Saint Paul was very cautious in talking about the gifts of the spirit. I mentioned that the leadership retreat, Corinthian Church, they had a problem with the gift of tongues. Tongues are something that’s not really a language, is tongues are just out of the spirit. You started speaking in tongues and then they started saying that I have the tongue so I’m more spiritual. I’m spirit to you. I’m more spiritual, I’m better than you. And all kinds of problems and difficulties arose and Saint Paul by principle, the order of the church and piece of the church takes priority over the gifts. So don’t speak tongues in public worship unless there are people who can interpret tongues. Don’t speak tongues. He just made a rule because gifts can be abused and it caused a lot of problems, division and confusion. Even in today’s scripture passage, when you read all these things, go home and read it again. You’ll see how much he emphasized unity. He constantly talked about the same spirit, same God. For example, verse four to six. When you look at it as an example. Now there are varieties of gifts but the same spirit and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.
This year’s theme is leadership. I don’t know. Jonathan, how you got all this wisdom of leadership. You didn’t even come to the retreat next year. You don’t need to come. You already know everything. This year’s theme is leadership. To be a good leader, we need the help of the spirit. You cannot be a good leader on your own. You have to be connected with the spirit. As we reflected at the retreat, one of the most important qualities or characteristics of the leadership is discernment and discernment is not possible without spiritual transformation. When we are connected with the spirit, when we are being transformed by the spirit, then we get the discernment.
When we are connected with the spirit, the spirit will help us in every aspect of your life. Saint Paul said in his letter. Likewise, that’s Romans. Likewise, the spirit helps us in our weakness for we do not know how to pray as we art, but that very spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words and God who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the spirit because the spirit intercedes for the scenes according to the will of God. The spirit helps us. We will discover our gifts and humbly use our gifts for the common good, but ultimately it is God who will work through us. It is ultimately God who works through you and accomplishes God’s own purpose. As verse six Saint Paul said, it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. You have gifts but it is God who activities all of them and then uses all these gifts to achieve God’s purpose. We are just humble servants. Whatever is given to me that proportion, we do our best but God will activate all of them together and he will work out his own purpose, so have confidence in God. You cannot do everything, but if you are faithful to do what you’re supposed to do, then God will activate all of these things for God’s common purpose and for our common good. May God bless you with the spirit. May God bless you with the gifts of the spirit.