1st Corinthians – Wayne Barber/Part 79
By: Dr. Wayne Barber
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©1998|
|Listen to me, if a gift or a manifestation of any kind is bringing division in the body, then you have to question whether or not that person with that gift or manifestation is truly influenced by the Holy Spirit of God, for the Spirit Himself unites the body.|
1 Corinthians 12:7-9
To Each His Own – Part 2
Someone shared an illustration with me that really has meant a lot to me. The story is told of an evangelist who called home one day while he was away. He called home and just wanted to talk to his family. His son answered the phone. When he heard his Daddy’s voice he asked “Daddy, Daddy, when are you coming home?” The evangelist told him, and then he asked, “Daddy, what are you going to bring me?” His first thought was, “I am looking for the gift. What are you going to bring me?” Well, the evangelist didn’t know yet, but he knew he would have to bring him something or the child would be very disappointed. Well, then is wife got on the phone and said, “I will just be so glad to have you home.”
The evangelist remarked about this in a message. He said, “Isn’t it interesting that the child was more concerned with the gift than he was the giver, but the wife who had grown up and matured was more concerned with the giver than she would be with any gift.”
That very same thing happened with me a few weeks ago. We went my granddaughter. As soon as we walked in the door she says, “Poppy, what did you bring me?” Poppy brings gifts. My granddaughter knows that Poppy brings gifts. So she said, “Poppy, what did you bring me?” Well, we had her something.
You know, it is interesting, neither the evangelist’s little son nor my little granddaughter were really doing anything wrong, because babies act like babies. The tragedy is that the baby, when it grows up, continues to act the same way.
You know where I am headed with this. The church of Corinth was a group of babies, according to 1 Corinthians 3:1-4. Now, I am not going to turn there. You already know it. You should know it by heart by now. After all the teaching that they had, the most taught church in the New Testament, the apostle Paul their teacher, Apollos, after him. I mean, they had the greatest teaching. You are not dealing with a church that doesn’t know. You are dealing with a church that won’t obey. And because of that, they had remained immature. This immaturity had brought great division in the church and it had caused a distorted overemphasis of manifestations of spiritual gifts.
The word used for “manifestations” in verse 7 tells us everything we need to know, that the Corinthian believers were caught up in this kind of thing. Paul was trying to correct the way it is used. The word for “manifestations” in verse 7 is the word phanerosis. It is used for making something visible, something that is made manifest so others can see it. Now listen, babies have to see it. Babies live in the sensual. You see, their emphasis is that which can be seen. Their emphasis is that which can be experienced. It is not in the giver, it is in the gift. Paul is trying to bring them back. He is trying to bring their focus back to the fact that Christ does manifest Himself, He does give gifts, but the focus is always upon Christ and not upon that manifestation and not upon that gift. You see, when the Giver is the focus, then he will use the manifestations He gives to unite the body, not divide it, to build the body and not destroy it.
Now to illustrate this, it is God the Holy Spirit who gives the gifts. Look again at verse 4. He says, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.” This same Spirit who gives the gifts is also the Spirit who produces the love of Galatians 5:22-23. That is God’s love. It is a love that is unconditional. It is a love that is not self-centered. It is a love that takes into the interest of the other person. And this same Spirit who gives the gift and produces the fruit is also the same Spirit who causes the body to be unified. In Ephesians 4:3 he says, “Be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Listen to me, if a gift or a manifestation of any kind is bringing division in the body, then you have to question whether or not that person with that gift or manifestation is truly influenced by the Holy Spirit of God, for the Spirit Himself unites the body. Christ prayed for all believers to be united, to be as one as He and the Father are one. Unity is most important to the body.
Do you realize how gifts are dividing churches everywhere? Manifestations of the gifts or the ministries, or whatever else, these things are dividing churches even as I speak right now. You always have the Greater Fellowship Church and the Greater Than That Fellowship Church and the Better Than Yet Fellowship Church, coming from people. They are immature, and they are using gifts to divide that body of believers. There is something wrong when that takes place. God rules and reigns in His church through the gifts and the ministries and the effects.
We saw in verse 6 that it is God who works all things in all persons. You also remember that “all persons” really is all things. God works all things in all things. It includes people, but that is the narrowed context. He is saying here that God is ruling and reigning in the people He lives in through the gifts and the ministry and the effects. He is bringing about His purposes within the church. It is not our church. There is no committee that can meet and decide how to build a church. God builds the church. You feed the sheep, they put out the wool. It is His business, it is not man’s business. How often do we put upon ourselves a responsibility that God has never given us? He is the one ruling and reigning in the church to the degree that His people are focused upon Him so that their gifts and ministries and effects can draw attention back to Him. He uses the gift to unify and edify the whole body of believers.
Verse 7 reads, “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” Yes, God gives the manifestation of the Spirit, but for the common good. The word “common good” is word sumphero. It is the word sum, which means to gather, and the word phero, which means to bring together. You see, when God is working in His body and the gifts are functioning and the ministries are functioning and there is an effect, then God is unifying and edifying the body of Christ.
In verses 7 and 8 we saw that there is no room for anyone to get proud of their spiritual gifts, for we saw that God is the one giving the gifts. He is not just the one who gave them, He is the one who is giving them. Now one of the things that means is, in verses 7 and 8, the tense is in the present passive tense. God continues to give. Now one of the things that means is, since He has given them, He continues to give them, so you cannot make them work when you want to make them work. They are strictly God’s prerogative to make those gifts work. And you have to be totally focused on the giver or your gift will never function and never benefit anybody in the body of Christ.
There are three categories of gifts in chapter 12. There is first of all, the equipping gifts. He says in verse 8, “For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit.” That is the first one, the word of wisdom. The word logos is used for “word,” which indicates that it is a speaking gift. Wisdom is the ability to take scripture and bring it down and apply it practically in one’s life. So to one, God gives the speaking gifts, the word of wisdom. Somebody can take the truths of God, clarify them and bring them down to where people can live them day by day.
The extraordinary gifts
Verses 9-10 cover the extraordinary gifts. He has covered the equipping gifts and now he shifts gears and shows you the extraordinary workings of God which are intermittent in a person’s life. They are not something that you get when you get saved. These are more in the category of what He gives when He chooses to give them, period. He does with them what He chooses to do with them and no man can hang a shingle on the door and say, “I have this or I have that.” So the second category of gifts is the extraordinary gifts.
In verse 9, he says, “to another faith by the same Spirit.” In other words, faith is not used here with a definite article. If it had the definite article, it would identify it as being the word of God, as being the gospel of Jesus Christ, as the doctrine to which the church holds to, that which has been taught by the apostles, which has been transferred to the believers and carried on. But the definite article is not there. When the definite article is not, it doesn’t identify something, it qualifies something. To one is given the gift of faith, or “to another faith by the same Spirit.” That doesn’t even mention the word “gift.”
Now, it is the kind of gift that when it is without the definite article, it means it doesn’t refer to what it is as much as to what it does when one has it. In other words, when one has this gift of faith, as God chooses to give it to him intermittently and when he needs it, then that gift is something that causes him to be bold and courageous when it comes to facing difficult circumstances in life.
As a matter of fact, in 1 Corinthians 13:2, Paul said, “And if I have all faith so as to remove mountains.” It is the idea of removing mountains. I mean, anything that you have to face is a mountain in front of you. God steps in and says, “Poof. You have had faith. You exercise it all the time, but you need the gift of faith right now. You need faith like you have never had it before.” And so God gives it when He chooses to give it for the purposes that He chooses for that gift. It is God’s Word that must be understood and believed.
Notice where he puts faith. Faith comes after the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge, I love that. In other words, it is not some kind of presumption. Hey, listen, the Holy Spirit of God is writing this thing, using Paul, and He knows where he is going. You don’t have somebody saying, “Well, I’ve got the gift of faith. I jumped out of a plane. I knew God would catch me.” No, God is just going to let you splat all over the ground and say, “You are a fool because faith comes from hearing and hearing from the word of God.”
You have to have the knowledge of God’s Word and the wisdom of how to use it before you can even have faith. Faith springs out of that. And, of course, faith is not just putting your confidence in the word. Faith is putting your confidence in the One who spoke the Word, which comes right back to your focus, which is Christ. It is the kind of faith that effects great boldness in the people who God chooses to give it, when He chooses to give it.
Acts 4: 13 might be a place to turn to. There is a word in the New American Standard there, the word “confidence.” The King James Version translates it “boldness.” That is a better translation and you get an idea of what this is. God stepped in and just gifted them with that boldness that they needed, which obviously was quickened by the Word of God and the one who spoke it. Acts 4:13, “Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John [and that word “confidence” should be “boldness,” the boldness of Peter and John] and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men [that does not mean that they were uneducated and untrained when it comes to spiritual things; it is the way the world sees them], they were marveling, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.” I mean, there was something remarkable about them and the thing that made them remarkable was this gift of faith that became visible and manifested in their life. The people around them said, “These people have been with Jesus.” Again the word there is the word parrhesia.
It is the same word used in 1 Timothy 3:13. Turn over there, because I want you to see these things, to understand what this faith is. It is not just everybody has faith. To every man has been given a measure of faith. This is not talking about that. This is talking about a special giftedness that God gives to a person as he is going through a difficulty in life, as he is facing an overwhelming situation. It is not there all the time because you don’t need it all the time, and it is when God chooses to give it. First Timothy 3:13 says, “For those have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence [or boldness] in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.” In other words, in the faith that is in Christ Jesus, spawns this boldness that gave a testimony of those deacons to others. This boldness, this courage in the face of difficult circumstances is what faith is all about.
Now, it may be in the face of the enemy attacking you, the spiritual enemy that we have. It may be in the crisis of circumstances. It may be in the doing of the unexpected, but it comes only as God chooses for it to come. There may be something in your life that will overwhelm you, but you get before God and God says, “Wow, you need this,” and whoosh, and He just gives you that gift of faith and you get back up on your feet and walk through that thing. Never, ever could you bring glory to yourself. You would have to give it to Him who gave you that faith in the midst of the valley you were walking through.
Another example of this is when Peter had to say to Ananias and Sapphira that they were lying to the Holy Spirit. He knew that and had to bring discipline upon them. I want to tell you, you don’t see Peter doing that anywhere else. He is pretty straightforward. He is a fisherman, so he speaks his piece, but you never see him in that situation to where he has to declare the death of both of them actually. Ananias came in first and Peter said, “You are going to die right now.” Boom, he dropped dead. Then Sapphira came in, and he said the same thing to her and she dropped dead and they carried them out and buried them. What a testimony to the early church that sin was very important and you don’t lie to the Holy Spirit of God. That is an exception, it is not the rule, but Peter had to have the boldness of the Spirit of God to do that.
That is what we are talking about, something that makes you have the courage to do what normally you could not do, even in the gifts that God has given you. He just infuses that faith, that willingness to do whatever is necessary. The gift is listed before all the other things he says in a little list here.
Now he is going to give a list. Let me show you. Look in verse 9 again. He says, “to another faith [heteros, of another category; now watch what he does] by the same Spirit, and to another [allos] gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another [allos], the effecting of miracles, and to another [allos] prophecy, and to another [allos] the distinguishing of spirits.” Now all of that is in a list, all of that is in a category. You see, heteros changes the category, and allos keeps all of these gifts listed together, and the first one mentioned is faith.
I want to tell you why I think it is. Because out of the well of faith all of these others gifts come. If you want to find out where faith is operable, if you want to find out where it is that you need to believe God and be bold and courageous, that God just simply gifts you to do that, because God always gets the glory for it, then you will find it in the list that follows forward. In other words, Paul says, “To another [of the same kind], the gifts of healings.”
It is interesting that he brings that up first. What is the valley that most people walk through that they fear any more than sickness and illness? You mention cancer and automatically everything in us just sort of shrinks up because many of us have had to face it. That is a difficult thing. So he puts first the gifts of healings, which comes from the well of faith.
Now, there is no gift of healing. You say, “You just read it.” No, you didn’t listen to what I just read. It is in the plural, it is not in the singular. Woe to the person who hangs his shingle on the door and says, “I have the gift of healing.” No, sir. There is no gift of healing. There are gifts of healings, plural. The reason healings and gifts are in the plural there is because healing is as varied as the gifts are themselves. The very mention of the plural gifts of healings immediately opens the door to the fact that healings may come in varying degrees and in varying ways. We tend to think of it as somebody being cured miraculously. We hear all the stories. And for certain there are some who are cured miraculously as God steps in and gives that gift of healing miraculously. That has happened. We have witnessed it right at our own church. But it is amazing how this is so wrongly taught in the Americanized 20th Century.
We see the gift of healing taught as if only one person has the gift of healing. They don’t ever mention the gifts of healings. They can do this to that one and then this to another one, simply as they call it up. People come from great places to come to these meetings.
Isn’t it interesting how people have a healing meeting when the scripture shows us that they can’t call the gift up at their own command and yet they put a message out and say it is going to be a healing meeting on Friday night. How do you know there is going to be a healing meeting on Friday night? If God chooses to do it, it will be. If God chooses not, it won’t. It is incredible how people mess this thing up.
I want to tell you something. You don’t know much if you think that everything extraordinary comes from God. Who do you think mimicked the miracles of Moses? Have you got any clue? I had dinner with a man from India one time. We sat there and he said, “You people in America think that everything that is supernatural comes from God. I have seen more healings in pagan cults in India than you will ever see in one of these meetings you all have over here in America.”
So what is going on? Some people think that is the gift of healing. They just put up a sign and say, “We are going to heal. We are going to heal Friday night. We are going to have a healing.” Do some people get healed? I don’t have any doubt that some people do get healed, but it is not because of that guy and it is not because of that meeting. It is just because God intervened in their life at that time. You can’t call up a gift when you want to call it up. Who in the world do we think we are? You see, unless you are totally surrendered to God, that gift is not even operable, and in this list, it is only when God chooses to give it. It is not something you can hang a shingle on the door and say you have.
You see, to understand the gifts of healings you must understand why it is in the plural. I think we need to start by understanding the diseases and the ailments from which one is to be healed. If you don’t understand the varying diseases and the ailments, then you can’t understand what he is talking about, about the gifts of healings. There is in the Greek language a word that is so mistranslated, it confuses everybody. It does not mean sick, but it is translated sick over and over and over again. It can come to mean sick, but that is not the main word. The word is astheneo. It comes from two Greek words, a—without, and stenos, which means strength. It means to be a person who is weak and without strength. Now, that may cause sickness and sickness may come from that, but disease causes sickness. What we are talking about here is a lack of strength. The word for astheneo is the first word and it is used in a verse where both sickness and this word are used and I think it brings it out.
Look in Matthew 8:17, two words in that verse. Some people say it is not important to know the Greek language. I tell you it is, because if you are only reading a translations, no wonder there are confusions in the body of Christ. Now this word is translated “infirmities” but is the word astheneo, without strength. It says in verse 17, “In order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, ‘He Himself took our infirmities,’” That is the word astheneo. He took our weaknesses, “and carried away our diseases.” There is your sickness right there. The word for “disease” is the word that comes from the word nosos, where we get the word nosology from, which is the study of the classification.
Now, the word “infirmities” should be the word “without strength.” Over in Luke 9:2 it is used, I think, but translated wrongly. It says in the New American Standard, “And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God, and to perform healing.” But the King James Version is better. It says, “And He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” The word “sick” there is not the word for sick, it is not the word nosos. It is the word that means those who are weak, for whatever reason. Now they are weak, they are weary, they are at the point of they can’t do anything, hardly lift a hand. You see, the word nosos is the word for disease.
Look over in 1 Timothy 6:4. Now that we have identified the word that has to do with the classification of diseases from which sickness comes, let me show you the varying kinds of sickness. I guarantee you, this is never thought about in many people’s minds. This is Paul’s letter to Timothy addressing the pastors. It is called the pastoral epistles. It speaks of a pastor here with a sick mind. Have you ever thought about that? Now what is a sick mind? He says in verse 4, “he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest [that is your word right there, morbid interest; he has a diseased mind] in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, and evil suspicions.” It speaks of a minister with a sick mind. He is talking about a man who is proud, knows nothing and his mind is so sick or morbid that he automatically engages in arguments and word fights and causes great division. Have you ever thought of a person with a sick mind as one qualifying as one who needed to be healed of a kind of a disease? People who argue and fight with words all the time are people who are sick in their minds.
Again, you can be sick, but functioning, or you can be sick and immobile, it doesn’t matter. There are so many varying degrees of diseases. As there are categories of degrees of physical weakness and sicknesses, so are there degrees of healings. And as there are malfunctions in any number of parts of the human body or personality, so there are particular and peculiar healings.
Paul wanted them to realize, and I think wants us to realize, that all healing is of God. We have got to see this, whether it is total or partial, all the results of God’s grace and not simply of human administration. So when we are trusting God and there is a healing that comes, however it comes, whether it is in a meeting or whether it is in the silence of a room or whether it comes from taking medicine, seeing a doctor, it still qualifies in the gifts of healings. The phrase “gifts of healings” opens the door for all kinds of healing. The way the person is healed is immaterial. It is the fact that God gives gifts of healings. Being healed may also come from God’s intervention or in the normal use of going to the doctor to get medicine and the treatment of sickness and diseases. One of the greatest cures for asthenos, weaknesses, infirmities or lack of strength, is just getting some sleep and eating right. And you didn’t have to go to a meeting to hear that. You start eating right.
I went on a diet not long ago. But I have already noticed on this particular diet that I am already feeling better. Well, did God heal me? Yes, He is using my sense and the wisdom that God has given me to eat the right things. And when you eat the right things, you are going to feel better. It is amazing how we don’t think that is gifts of healings. You think it is in that? No, God is the only one who brings healing. He gives gifts of healing. Somebody may take an aspirin and it will heal a headache. Somebody else may not have an aspirin and ask God and He just takes the headache away. That is healing on both ends and God is the one. We must trust the Lord for the healing. It is all God’s gifts of healing.
Now this is clearly demonstrated, I think, in the book of James. Turn over to 5:14. It is a very, very misunderstood passage. In fact, I lived for years caring a little vial of oil around with me, a little thing of oil I carried in my pocket. Any time anybody wanted to pray, I would put the oil on them, pray for their healing, expecting them to be raised up and healed. That is not exactly what it says. I hate to pop your bubble. Verse 14 of James 5 reads, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let the pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.”
Now there were no question marks in the original Greek. Somebody has put that as a question. You can’t prove that at all, nobody can. As a matter of fact, it was probably rendered as a statement. That is the way most questions came, out of a statement. And the statement is, someone among you is sick. That immediately goes against the grain of people who say that if you live righteous with God, and James is a book of faith, you won’t be sick. Yes, there are going to be people who are sick. You are not except from weaknesses and diseases. “Is anyone among you sick, let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”
This anointing with oil is something they do first because it is “having anointed him with oil.” It is in a certain tense. Then they pray. But the anointing comes first. The anointing of oil was the physical remedy for the situation. Now God is in that. You’ve got to trust God in the process. In other words, today he would have said, “Call a good Christian doctor.” But they didn’t have doctors then. Isn’t it amazing how we interpret James 5 out of Americanized theology and customs. We have drugstores, a doctor on every corner and hospitals everywhere we look. We interpret it in light of that. Only one doctor is even mentioned in the whole New Testament and that is Luke. They didn’t have drugstores.
By the way, the word “sick” is not even sick, it is one who was without strength. What do you need when you are without strength? Well, the elders would come. And what would they do? You see, back in those days they had a double role; not only with the spiritual matters but they would actually go and help with the physical because they didn’t have doctors, as I said. They had huge vats, vases filled with olive oil. They were for people for medicinal purposes. The elders would come. The word for anointing here is not the spiritual word for anointing. It is the secular word which means to rub, to massage. They would come and rub you down and rub you down and rub you down. What does that do? It increases the circulation. And what happens when the blood starts flowing? Healing comes from that and that comes from God. The massaging doesn’t do it, it is still God who brings the healing.
Why has it got to be something so extravagant that you have got to go to a meeting so you can write a book about it? Why don’t we just stand up and shout for the millions of times God has healed us and we didn’t even thank Him for it? If we started right now it would take us the rest of our life to thank Him.
But again in James 5, the scriptures show that the sick or weak person is not to put his trust in that, even though they do that. He is to keep his trust in God. He is the One who does the job of healing. It says in verse 15, “And the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick.” That doesn’t mean restore in the sense of raise up, in the sense of automatically physically, but it does in the sense of automatically spiritually. The whole context of James is not getting out from under anything. It is bearing up under it. Why would he blow the whole context of five chapters and say, “Hey, all you’ve got to do is get the elders over and you can escape the whole thing.” It is a spiritual restoration first and then many, many times because your spirit is restored, the physical can be restored. But still, it is the gifts of healings. It is still God.
My son called me the other day. He is dealing with some physical problems. I said, “Have you called a doctor?” He said, “I haven’t.” I said, “Well, you need to call a doctor. But trust God in the process.” Why do we think that going to a doctor and taking medicine doesn’t have anything to do with God giving the gifts of healings? God can heal by the use of medicine. It is not the medicine. If you are healed, it wasn’t your medicine. You keep taking that medicine and you will become immune to it and it won’t heal you anymore. God is the one who heals you. We give Him the credit for that kind of healing. In the matter of recovery, from the prevention of sickness or death, God expects us to do our part with what we know is needed to accomplish these ends.
Remember Jairus’ daughter? She was dead. He walked in and said, “Arise!” Jesus does that. And then immediately her spirit returned and she rose. Then He gave orders for them to do something. He said, “Now take her someplace and give her something to eat.” So there is a dual responsibility here. Gifts of healings.
What is wrong with us? We relegate this thing to somebody with a shingle walking around having meetings, taking in millions of dollars and then having people come forward. Listen, you had better be careful. Be real careful when you get into this kind of stuff, because that gift cannot be called up by that man. God intermittently, when He chooses, gives the gifts of healings. And it may come in so many different ways. Thank God for the doctors. Thank God for the progress people are making towards cancer. Thank God they are not stopping. Keep on going! But ultimately, in every situation, it is God who gives the gift of healings and, because there are so many diseases, He puts it in the plural. As varied as the diseases are, is as varied as the healings are. And no one man has all that. God gives it when He chooses to give it.
Well, these gifts of healings must be taken to refer to the person who may apply medicinal means, or the person who can’t. By the way, if you choose to trust God for your healing and not go to any doctor, it will only be for these reasons: Number one, you can’t get to a doctor; number two, the medicines aren’t available; number three, the medicines have not worked. It has to be for one of those reasons. Why would God step in for somebody who won’t even take the time to call and find medical attention? It doesn’t make any sense. God is not a cosmic bellhop, folks, and when you are tied to the Giver, He will direct you with wisdom as to how you live. But you don’t use Him. You don’t use Him. You obey Him and surrender to Him.
God is one who is constantly giving the gifts of healings. It may be supernatural. Look over in Acts 3:1. It is very supernatural here, very supernatural. A fellow is sitting there by the temple, in the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. How many times he had been there is no telling. That was their practice, to sit there and ask for gifts. You see people even today doing that. It says in verse 1, “Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. And a certain man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. And when he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. And Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze upon him and said, ‘Look at us!’ And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, ‘I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!’ And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. And with a leap, he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.”
Now that is exciting. But sometimes God just chooses not to do it that way. Look over at 1 Timothy 5:23. The apostle Paul writes to Timothy, who has been having some stomach problems. So Paul writes him some advice. He says, “No longer drink water exclusively.” I thought water would help you. It was probably causing the problems. “But use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.” Now do you know what he just did? He just made a prescription to Timothy—take a little wine. Isn’t it interesting that Paul, who, when he was bitten by the snake, was not even hurt, Paul, who one day they took his handkerchiefs and started passing pieces of them around and people started getting healed, isn’t it interesting that he didn’t write Timothy and say, “Timothy, I declare to you, put your hand on this letter and send in $50 and you can be healed.” No, Paul who was seen in more healings incidences than the rest of them said, “You take a little wine, take some medicine for your stomach. Don’t just keep drinking water. Take something for it.”
Listen, our bodies are healing themselves right as we sit here. Have you ever stopped to think about that, how God has miraculously made your body? In the body there are 600 muscles, 100,000 miles of blood vessels, and 350 arteries important enough to name. They have named every one of them. The skin spread out would cover 16 square feet. It has 1,500,000 sweat glands which spread out on one surface would occupy 10,000 square feet and cover five city lots 20×100 feet. The lungs are composed of 700,000,000 cells, all of which we use in breathing, equal to a flat surface of 2,000 feet which would cover a city lot. In 70 years, the heart beats 2,500,000,000 times and lifts 500,000 tons of blood. The nervous system controlled by the brain has 3 and zero to the 12th power—I don’t know what that number is; math wasn’t my greatest subject—nerve cells, 9,200,000,000 of which are in the cortex of the brain alone. In the blood are 30,000,000 white corpuscles, and you know what they do, and 180 trillion red ones. It is easy to believe why the hairs on the head are numbered, there are only 250,000.
You are sitting in a miracle right now. Did you thank God for it this morning? The gifts of healings. God chooses to heal. So, to understand gifts of healings, you have got to understand the variety of diseases and you’ve got to understand the variety of what we are talking about. You can’t just relegate it to somebody in a healing meeting, coming forward, who is crippled and throws his cane away. There is a whole lot more to it than that. It all comes back to the Giver.
Where are you today? Are you going to get mad when we finish chapter 12 because you didn’t like what we said about gifts? Well, then, friend, wherever you go, you are going to take your carnality with you. A gift is not worth splitting a church. Jesus will unify us if we will keep focused on Him. And if there is a problem, let’s work it out in prayer and in the Word. But remember, your attitude towards gifts tells you everything about your attitude towards the Giver. That’s the key.