BRING YOUR GIFTS

or the body is not one member, but many. 1 Corinthians 12:14 NASB

Modern church looks very different than New Testament church did. 2-3 times a year we have an EXPEDITION 44 range night loosely associated with the Hebrew calendar and based on a more Biblical style of worship (such as God instructed during the OT festivals) and the NT church continued. This year we have shifted the date to this Friday Night June 3 as Shavuot this year is recognized from Sunset Saturday June 4 until Monday Evening June 6.

But I shall remain in Ephesus until Pentecost. 1 Corinthians 16:8 NASB

Pentecost or Shavuot?  Most people have never stopped to consider this simple statement. Devout Jews calendar things different than the rest of the world. Everything is in reference to the OT calendar that God gave in the Torah, the Jewish sequence of Festivals. Shavuot is one of the three pilgrimage festivals from Exodus 34. It is 50 days after the start of Pesach (Lev 23) which is when the Torah was given on Sinai.

When you pause to consider Paul’s statement above, you probably go right to Acts 2 and pentecost. The crowd was gathered to celebrate Shavuot which is where the spirit chose to descend and give us the New Testament idea of Pentecost (which wouldn’t be widely celebrated by the church until 200 years after this was written.) Interesting that After Paul clearly becomes a “CHRISTIAN”, yet he is still celebrating the Shavuot. You see Paul (and Jesus) never abolished Torah or God’s ideals. In fact, Paul is always considering how to live as a set apart person only given to what God desires of him.

Just to be clear, Paul and Jesus were both clear that Christians not be legalistic in following tradition. The focus is that they both recognized that they needed to be immersed in God’s ideals and His world and not the ideals of the world. Jesus isn’t simply better, Jesus’ way is the ONLY way.

As we meet again at the EXPEDITION 44 Range worship nights this is and has always been our focus. Let’s get back to what God says is His way.

I Corinthians 12-14 give us framework for coming together under God’s Ideals. He starts out with, “For the body is not one member, but many.” 1 Corinthians 12:14 NASB

Most of us have heard the terminology of the church our entire lives; the church as the bride, one body, the people not the place, we are the church, or perhaps words of order, unity, or in one accord – but we don’t actually believe it or live it. Corinth was a rowdy mess. Yet Paul shepherds the shepherds. He teaches to be like Christ in mercy, grace, obedience, and love. He calls them to order, but by God’s definition to bring order to chaos from the beginning of time; not in the worldly mindset of hierarchy and/or superiority. Their order should be brought according to their gifts, what God designed them to present. He is also clear that anything outside of this form is or will be spiritually abusive. Jesus is the only Head of the church, everyone else is simply a member of the congregation. No one person is spiritually superior over the others. Elders shepherd (verb) those that shepherd. We are all called to shepherd. No one is to “rule over” another. As those of a priestly position in Christ we can only reign and rule in Him. Each member fulfills tasks that together represent the body of Christ through edification, instruction, and the presenting of at least the 22 gifts mentioned (which we pray for a double portion to be applied through God and get 44!) This is the Biblical definition of worship – 44- an expedition of complete lifelong worship.

This Friday night we are asking everyone to consider what they will bring to contribute. How is the Spirit (it is pentecost!!!) leading you to participate as the body? Will you bring food? Will you share a prophetic word? Will you bring edification or healing? Will you admonish with your lips? Will you testify? What has God given you to bring forth?

Too often we have been conditioned by the modern church to think that serving at church means we “work or toil” and aren’t actually part of the church worship “experience” when we are serving. We say things like we are going to serve at the first service and attend the second. Don’t get me started. Ha ha. We are asking for everyone to be “all in” this Friday night.

Let’s take a look at the verse above again, “For the body is not one member, but many.” (1 Corinthians 12:14). When Paul says “not one” he uses the greek word “ouk.” This is the strongest Greek word possible to mean NOT or negative. In the Bible there are 1634 uses of the word “not” and this is the strongest! Not one but many, “polla.” In other words, Paul is STRONGLY telling us we need to equally come before the Lord bearing what has been uniquely gifted to you to the body in one accord. It is coincidence that the spirit chose the day of Shavuot to “rain” down on us as we “reign” together in Christ and only in Him. You are tailored to bring a gift, and not just one, but many of different flavors, seasons, and descriptions continually. Throw off whatever has been holding you back (hierarchy, ideas of what serving should be, those looking down on you, youth, reprisal of silent encouragement/discouragement); bring what you have been given, and bring it to its best.

Shavuot in the OT was a shadow of what was to come in the Messiah. It was by the Coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Shavuot) that God inscribed his Law in their hearts. We are called to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading and obey him in all areas of our life. From the inside out, he changes us into the likeness of Christ – equally contributing in one accord of the body. The Holy Spirit is also called the Spirit of adoption who witnesses to our spirit that we indeed have left the world and our past behind and instead now have a new identity as children of God (Romans 8:15).

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