Questions & Answers

Questions & Answers

In reading Acts 1:23-26 God chose Matthias. Why don't the men of the church have God choose Elders in the same way?

Question:

In reading Acts 1:23-26 God chose Matthias. Why don't the men of the church have God choose Elders in the same way? Man only know outwardly, but God knows the heart. Seems Man is choosing now instead of relying on God to show us.

Answer 2 of 2:

I agree with Russ, Christians today should make decisions on who should serve as an elder based upon 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 and not just who may be a businessman or who may be popular among the saints.  In addition to this answer regarding qualifications of an elder I thought it may also spark some further thought on this matter to give some attention to what the New Testament says about the Holy Spirit and what God allows Him to do or not do today for those saved by the blood of Christ.  Below I will copy a study of Scriptures that speak to gifts of the Holy Spirit in the current time for Christ's church.  If we can help answer this or other Spiritual questions we would be glad to do so.  I hope you have a blessed day and thanks for writing in!
 

Does God Bless Christians Today with Gifts From the Holy Spirit?

The Scriptures we were looking at in regards to Spiritual gifts and whether they exist today are...

 

1) 1 Corinthians 12:1-10 - This whole chapter speaks of the different "gifts" that were given to the Christians of that church.  The context is to inform of this - everyone has a different role that adds to the local body of Christ (the local church).  We should all work together (12:12-14, 20) to honor and praise God as well as work to teach each other and the lost.  This chapter aims to instruct the Corinthian Christians to work together and not see themselves as better or more important depending on their spiritual gift.

 

2) 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 - With the context of chapter 12 in mind from Paul we move into chapter 13.  Here Paul addresses the fact that being a disciple of Christ is NOT all about a spiritual gift that you may have been given.  He uses verses 1-8a to remind the brethren that having spiritual gifts without showing love for one another within the church makes the gifts useless.  Verses 1-3 he states that even if he could personally speak in tongues, give prophecies, have all knowledge concerning things of God,  or even give his own body for the sake of Christ he would be as a useless instrument to God IF HE DID NOT have love for the brethren.

Verses 8-12 he reminds the Corinthians to not focus or be to mesmerized by their spiritual gifts.  He informs them that spiritual gifts will be "done away" by God in the future.  This leads us to ask the question... WHY?  Why would God take away spiritual gifts?  The answer is because they will only be needed by God in the beginning of the church.  You see as new converts were being made God allowed His apostles to lay hands on others to give them these different gifts(Acts 8:14-19 - shows how these gifts were given - laying on of apostles hands).  It was only needed in the beginning to prove or confirm that these messengers/apostles of God were truly from God (See Acts 8:9-13 - an example of miracles instilling belief in the message of Christ).  

Let's go back to 1 Corinthians 13...  How do we know that no one today has "spiritual gifts?"  3 REASONS - 1. The reason they were allowed by God in the first place was to confirm Jesus was truly the Son of God (Mark 16:17-20 & Acts 8:9-13).  2. Paul says in 1 Cor. 13:8-12 that when "the perfect comes, the partial will be done away."  The partial is the "gifts."  The gifts were to instill faith until the perfect has come (more on that in our 3rd point).  3. How did Acts 8:17-18 describe that "spiritual gifts" were given???  By the laying on of the apostles hands.  The 3rd reason is because all of the apostles are now dead.  Therefore it would be impossible for them to lay hands on anybody today.

 

3) 1 Corinthians 12:30-31; 13:8-12; 1 Peter 1:2-4; Jude v.3 - 

Let's close by addressing the comment I made under the 2nd reason regarding "that which is perfect."

1 Cor. 12:30-31 - Paul says there is something greater than "spiritual gifts" coming and that the Corinthians (and us today) should desire that more.  

1 Corinthians 13:8-12 - Paul says "gifts" will go away because they are only what is partial knowledge.

Question:  So what is this "greater" or "perfect" that we should desire?   

Answer:  The word of God - aka the Bible.  Remember those being taught the gospel of Jesus at this time only had letters written to them by inspired writers.  They did not have the full New Testament to pull out and read for all instruction.  But, at a time in history (likely after the last letter was written by John in 90-95 AD which was Revelation) all writings had been accomplished by God through His people.  After that point Christians would have begun to be able to piece together all inspired letters and writings and have it all in one place, but not until after that time.

 

2 Peter 1:2-4 - Peter says that God has given us "everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence..."  V. 4 speaks to the fact that we can know by reading about God's word that he keeps His promises.  Today as people who have God's word we already have that which is "greater" and "perfect" we don't needs signs, miracles or spiritual gifts.  All that we need today is God's word.

 

Jude v. 3 - "Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints."  Again, what was the point of gifts???  To prove or confirm that Jesus was the Christ.  Today we are told to earnestly hold fast to "the faith" that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died and arose to defeat sin and Satan and to take on our sins for us.  Anyone on earth can now come to the knowledge of who Jesus is and what He did for them simply by reading the Bible and having a personal belief and faith in it.  WHY?  Because God has now "once for all handed down to the saints" all knowledge.  Therefore, the time has long since past when an apostle needed to lay hands on anyone to help confirm their belief in God and Jesus as the Messiah.

 

Adam Pogue