If Any Man Thinketh Himself…
If Any Man Thinketh Himself…
"If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord."
Context - Paul is giving direction in the use of (miraculous) spiritual gifts. In the discussion of how prophecy is not a personal possession for self-glory, he makes the side comment that any prophecy given must agree with what has already been revealed by God. Presumably, in Corinth's fascination with spiritual gifts, people were getting carried away with the attention they were receiving and forgetting why they had the gift in the first place - thereafter perverting it and abusing it, perhaps even going so far as to expound exaggerations and falsehoods! This was glorifying Satan - not God!
It would do us well to remember some principles about understanding God's word and pay attention not to abuse it -
I. Unity in God -
All gifts are from the same God, and what we do must be in agreement with God's whole revelation (1 Cor 12:4-11):
"4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills."
II. Authority is God's -
We are to act by God's authority, not speaking because we think so, but to magnify and show God's truth (1 Pet 4:11):
"11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified."
and (2 Pet 1:20-21):
"20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."
III. The source of revelation to us must be genuine -
We are not to believe just anyone who says he has God's message. Paul was a genuine apostle, inspired by God, and trustworthy. He got his message from God (Gal 1:10-12):
"10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. 11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ."
He had sworn to tell the whole truth even if it would cost him heavily (Gal 1:20):
"20 Now concerning the things which I write to you, indeed, before God, I do not lie."
And there is a burden on us too - we must try what we are told (1 John 4:1):
"1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world."
IV. We must stay in what has been revealed -
(2 John 1:9):
"9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds."
V. Do not let go of the gospel of Christ -
We are to value what God gave us. It cost much to bring it, and we must respect it accordingly. It is a serious danger to corrupt it (Gal 1:6-9):
"6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed."
VI. We must work hard to handle God's word correctly -
There are those who do not (2 Pet 3:16):
"16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures."
We must study for ourselves (2Tim 2:15):
"15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
What should we conclude? God has blessed each one of us with a talent. We should work to use it in His service and as His instrument under His authority. When we do this, we will be producing fruit in God's kingdom and helping people on their journey to heaven.