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Unwrapping Your Spiritual Gifts (1 of 5)
1 Corinthians 12:1-11
August 6, 2000
Sometimes gifts can be dangerous things. I'll never forget the Christmas my two older cousins, Ronnie and Chuck, both got BB guns. From daybreak, when they unwrapped their weapons, until around noon when they were finally apprehended, these two went on a crime spree that terrorized that neighborhood. As I recall, their targets included at least three broken house windows, a windshield, two other kids, a Plastic Santa, and who knows how many cats that ran clear out of the country.
My aunt was the kind who gave her kids an awful lot of freedom, and I can still hear her telling my mom, "Gee, I never thought to tell them all the things they couldn't shoot. I just told them not to shoot at each other."
I wonder if Paul had the same feeling when he found out about all the ways the Corinthian church had abused the gifts they had received from God's spirit?
As we've seen in the first six chapters, Paul has really taken them to task for moral and ethical disorder in the church. Power struggles, rivalries, sexual immorality, lawsuits between believers, marital difficulties, pagan practices - you name it and the Corinthians were involved in it. And now Paul addresses ways they hurt one another and discredited the name of Jesus in their community through both their misuse and neglect of God's empowering gifts of grace.
Years ago, the great football coach Bud Wilkinson was asked to serve on the President's Council for Physical Fitness. During an interview, a reporter asked him what contribution professional football makes to the physical well being of Americans. His response, "Very little. A professional football game is where 60,000 spectators, desperately in need of exercise, sit in the stands cheering on 22 athletes, desperately in need of rest."
There's a cliché pastors hear that says, "Eighty percent of the ministry in a local church is done by twenty ...
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