January 23, 2022: Epiphany 3

Let us pray: Dear Savior, send forth Your Spirit upon us with the richness of His various gifts so that the entire body of Your Church may be built up and glorified by You.  Amen


TEXT:  I Cor. 12: 12-26

Dearly Beloved By Christ: 

          The Lord’s Prayer is the most perfect prayer ever composed.  That’s because Christ Himself composed it and He’s the Son of God.  Last week, after preaching on the gifts of the Spirit which comes directly preceding today’s text, I thought about how to pray for them.  I came up with this prayer: short, sweet and concise:  “Lord, send me Your spiritual gifts and inspire me to use them daily.” 

          Let’s go back to what those spiritual gifts are:  the message of wisdom, the gospel, how Jesus saved us; the message of knowledge, which includes the Law to show us our sins and the gospel to show us a better way to live by basking in forgiveness and the appreciation  of it; the ability to heal others in body, soul, and spirit by infusing them with Godly power this is done via the Word and sacraments applied to another along with our prayers over them; miraculous powers which is an adjunct to the preceding; the ability to recognize good and evil—even in our own bodies and get rid of the bad through repentance and faith; prophecy, the ability to apply all of God’s truths even when others don’t want to hear the whole counsel of God; the ability to speak to the heart of another from our heart and be honest; and the ability to make all God’s truths real to another so that they begin to  grow in God and not in the sinful ways of the world. 


          Now comes the rationale for all this spiritual work: “The body is a unit, though it is made up on many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body.  So it is with Christ.  For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”

          The spiritual gifts enable each one of us not to live in a vacuum.  Some of you are fingers, hands, arms, legs, feet, eyes, ears, and the like.  Each of you provides support for one another  and thereby assists the head—Christ our Lord.   This is why apathy, neglect of your gifts, or using them in an unloving manner is a sin.  It sins against Christ and the rest of the body, the Church.  It’s also why we have Sunday School and confirmation class, along with adult instruction, Bible Class, home devotions and the like so that you can recognize what God has given you and use it fully year after year.  Because if one part suffers, the entire body suffers and vice versa. 


          God’s gifts are powerful and creative.  When used they create fruits of faith within us which in turn enlarge everyone they touch.  Put bluntly: without the Spirit’s gifts there are no fruits.  I raise apples and pears, I know about all that!  And what are the fruits they create?  “Love, or unselfish  compassion which stems from the cross; joy, or the inner glow of knowing that Christ has made you right with God; peace, or an inner calmness due to knowing that when you repent of each sin, it’s gone; patience, or bearing with others in their weaknesses—and helping them overcome such sins by not glossing them over; kindness, or love in action (also known as putting the best construction on everything if possible); goodness, or never ascribing ulterior motives to fellow believers; faithfulness, or always being true to God’s Word, both the Law and the Gospel; gentleness, or knowing and practicing the truth that “a soft answer turns away wrath”; and self-control, or putting our lusts, passions, and temper aside because it hurts God even more than us. 

          “Lord, send me your spiritual gifts and inspire me to use them daily.”   I cannot compose a better and more complete prayer.  This is why Christians act, think, and engage in life on a far different plane than the world at large.  “The love  of Christ moves us!”  His gifts elicit fruit which makes our cup of life overflow with bounty!  Amen

THE peace of God which…..

Pastor Thomas H. Fox  

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