1st Corinthians – Wayne Barber/Part 8
By: Dr. Wayne Barber
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©1998|
|The sixth characteristic of the Church of God is that the church of God lacks nothing in Jesus Christ our Lord. Absolutely lacks nothing.|
1 Corinthians 1:4-6
What Is The Church of God? – Part 5
I hope you understand the importance of these first ten verses in 1 Corinthians. Do you realize what Paul’s doing? Do you realize that this sets the foundation and the stage for all the rest of what he’s going to say in 1 Corinthians? You cannot study chapter 10 without understanding what he said in 1:1-10. Very, very critical.
There’s one thing we’ve learned so far. No matter what a man does or doesn’t do, that does not change who he is in Christ and what he has in Christ. Now understand what I just said. It doesn’t matter what he does. It doesn’t matter what he doesn’t do. That does not change who he is in Christ and what he has in Christ. It may change how much he realizes that and walks in the reality of it but it doesn’t change who he is and what he has in Christ. The church of Corinth has nothing but problems but that has not changed who they are in Christ Jesus.
We’ve been looking at what the church of God is. He calls it the church of God at Corinth. First of all, then, they’re not their own. They’re bought with a price, fully possessed by Christ. Now we’ve read Acts 20 and 28 but I haven’t read these to you. Over at 1 Corinthians 6, we’re going to find the same thing – just to make sure you’re catching the thought. It’s the church of God, not the church of man. If anybody says that they’re a part of the body of Christ, part of the church of God, that means they are fully possessed by God, blood bought. Therefore, we are His possession. We’re not our possession. We’re not to be about our business. We’re to be about His business. In 1 Corinthians 6:20 he says, “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” You’re not your own possession. You’re bought and paid for.
Look in 1 Corinthians 7:23. He says, “You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.” So the first thing about the church of God that we have discovered is that they are fully possessed by God. They’re His property. He has purchased us with His own blood.
Second, since we’re not our own, we’re separated unto His purposes. That’s what is found in the next phrase in verse 2. It says, “to the church of God which is at Corinth, [here’s the phrase] to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling.” The word sanctified means to be separated, apart from something else, to be set apart for something, a useful purpose. The word saint denotes the very same thing. Hagiazo is the process of being set apart. Hagios is a saint, one who has been set apart since he’s been purchased by the blood. He’s not his own. He only has one purpose in life and that’s to let God use him as a vessel and let God do His work through him.
Third, believers are everywhere and they’re not known by their position in Christ. That’s not easily seen. They’re known by their practice as a result of that position. Look at what he says. He says, “to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, [now here’s the phrase] with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:” The people who consistently, present tense, call upon the name of the Lord in absolute dependence upon Him. Not confidence in their own flesh but dependence only upon Him.
Fourth, the church of God is made up of those who daily, constantly, depend upon the grace of God. He says in verse 3, “Grace to you.” The church of Corinth could make a lot of money. They were very affluent. Though they were educated and could earn a lot of prestige, they couldn’t conquer the penalty of sin in their life. They couldn’t conquer the power of sin in their life. They were desperate for the grace of God and only the grace of God that does this in their walk. We’re constantly, totally, daily depending upon the grace of God.
Fifth, the church of God also lives desperate for His peace. All of this is found only in the Lord Jesus. It says in verse 3, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Remember this peace of God that we have? It’s peace with God. It’s the same peace but we take it a step further. It’s living in the reality of that peace, no conflict with God, no conflict with man every day in our life. If you are living under the grace of God, you can enjoy the peace of God. It’s there for you. It’s in Christ. In another place it says, “Christ is our peace.” All the grace and all the peace is resident in Him. But until we are living under it and in the midst of it and surrendered to it we cannot enjoy it, you see. You’ve got to be living under the grace of God before you can enjoy the peace of God. You don’t get the peace so that you can walk under the grace. You walk under the grace so that you can enjoy the peace. That’s the way it works.
Well, this brings us up to number six on our list. What is the church of God? Do you know what we ought to do? We ought to go out on the streets and ask people, “What do you think the church of God is?” People think it’s a denomination. That’s fine. That’s a good name for it. But what is the church of God? That’s what we’re looking at. This is what God says that we are. This is not what man says we are. It’s what God say we are.
The Church of God Lacks Nothing in Jesus Christ
Well, number six, the church of God lacks nothing in Jesus Christ our Lord. Absolutely lacks nothing.
You know, it’s amazing to be a grandfather. One thing I’ve discovered and one thing that her parents are discovering is that my granddaughter came fully equipped. She doesn’t know how to use everything yet, but she’s learning very, very fast. The cutest thing she’s doing right now is she’s standing up. She’ll just stand up right up in the middle of the floor. She hasn’t walked yet but she’s standing up. She’ll just stand there and not waver. I mean, she’s just got balance. She’ll just stand there for a while. I’m so proud of her. Isn’t it amazing what you’re proud of when you’re grandparents? Now she’ll stand there for a while and then she’ll just plop back down. But now one of these days she’s going to take a step.
So far we have learned that she has come fully equipped. Now she hasn’t gotten her words right yet but she’s found out that she can talk. As a matter of fact, she just sits there and babbles to herself. I know she’s saying something and somebody somewhere must understand her. She’s saying these little things like, “What’s that? What’s that?” I just think that’s so cute. It’s just wonderful watching her. But the longer she goes the more she discovers what she already has. It all comes in the package.
I want you to see that not only are we fully possessed by God, but we fully possess God in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. We don’t lack anything in Christ Jesus. That’s an important principle to nail down the first part of this study. Look at verse 4: “I thank my God always concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you.”
The first thing Paul does is he lets these fleshly minded believers at Corinth, filled with factions and divisions and all kinds of problems, know that he prays for them constantly. He says, “I thank my God always concerning you.” It indicates not just a passing prayer but something that’s consistent in his life. As a matter of fact, the verb tense there is in the present tense. I consistently, constantly, thank my God concerning you.
Well, what does he thank him for? The word “thank” is the word, eucharisteo. The word means good grace. The word eu means well or good; the word charis of course is the word for grace. Good grace. The word came to mean to give thanks for that which man does not deserve. It’s just kind of giving you an indication of what Paul’s thanking God for concerning the Corinthian believers. He’s not thanking Him for their lifestyle for sure, because in verse 11 of chapter 16 he just skins them alive. But he’s thanking God for the fact that they have grace that they don’t deserve.
He says it in the verse. He says, “I thank my God always concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus.” Now, what I want you to see here is that he’s thanking God that they have Christ in them, who is the embodiment of all grace. You see, the gift that we don’t deserve is not just what Christ does for us, it’s Christ Himself who has come to live in us. He says, “for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus.”
Just remember something. You may feel lacking, but you’re not. If you have Christ, you have been enriched fully in all things and you have Him who is the embodiment of all grace and none of us deserve that.
Now, what is it that’s involved in this grace and about this grace that Paul is so thankful for and prays constantly for them? He introduces the whole thing, the whole sphere of what grace covers in verse 5: “that in everything you were enriched in Him.” I wonder how many of us believe that? In everything we have been enriched in Christ Jesus. There are a lot of people today who, like those in Corinth, feel like if they have to give up something or surrender something to Christ, they’re going to lose or have to pay more than they want to pay. Have you ever known anybody like that?
I remember a fellow one time who told his mother, “Mama, I would become a Christian, but I feel like I’m just going to have to give too much up.” There are a lot of people who still think that. They think if they come to God, they’re going to have to pay what they don’t want to pay, especially if they’re well-to-do financially. I don’t know how many times I’ve run across this in my meetings and places that I’ve been. People who are wealthy always feel like they don’t want to hear this message because they’re going to have to give up something that they don’t want to have to give up. The church of Corinth was made up of wealthy, well-educated people. They would obviously think that having to obey Christ somehow was going to cost them more than they wanted to pay.
Do you know what, folks? We live in a world of affluence. We look at all the external things and think that this is something that maybe God has cheated us out of. Maybe not. Maybe you’re fortunate to have all those things. We live this way all the time. For a person to not understand that he’s been enriched in everything in Christ Jesus is the saddest thing in the world.
This is nothing new because when God saved us He did not remove our sinful bodies. We still have our sinful bodies. Look in Matthew 19:27. It’s going to surprise you who says this: an individual who meant very much in the kingdom later on and an individual who God had to deal with quite often. The only time this person opened his mouth was to change feet. He was the most emotionally volatile disciple Jesus had. His name was Simon Peter. Look at what Peter says in Matthew 19:27. You think this is something new? This has been going on for centuries even when Christ was on this earth, thinking that if you have to surrender to Christ you’re going to have to give up something or pay something you just don’t want to pay. Are you kidding? Verse 27 says, “Then Peter answered and said to Him, ‘Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?’” Ha, ha. Woe is me for having to obey God. I’ve just had to obey You, Lord. What is there for us?
You know, the Corinthian church and Peter missed the whole thing. They have been fully enriched in Him. Yes, you must obey. Yes, you must deny sin. Yes, you must crucify yourself but in Christ you are enriched in everything.
Most of us have long weeks and you’ve probably had a long day. I have too. You get to church on Wednesday night and you think, “Oh, man, will you say something that’ll crank me up? I’ve got to be able to go home.” Well, let me tell you something. You have been fully enriched in everything in Christ Jesus, in everything. Everything has changed because Jesus has come into your life. Everything in life now is richer or fuller because Jesus is in your life. We’re rich in a way the world will never understand. In the material world the rich people who have things don’t really have them. They’re owned by the things they think that they have. They own us. We don’t own them.
Some folks gave us a car one time years ago, the first car that I’ve ever been given. It was a Chevrolet. It had upholstery like a couch. It was wonderful. I mean I thought I was in my living room riding in that thing. It was a Chevrolet Caprice. Man, it had power steering. It had a radio. It had big speakers in the back and speakers in the front, four doors. Man, we had been driving an old ‘73 Buick for all those years that would overheat 35 miles away from home. The church gave us a brand new car in another place where I served. I remember how automatically overnight that thing began to possess me. I wanted to make sure no leaves or limbs fell on it during the night if there was a rainstorm. I wanted to make sure that no bird got on it and no scratches got on it. All of a sudden it began to control us. Have you ever been in a situation like that and you thought you owned it? You don’t own it. It owns you and robs you out of every joy you could have had otherwise.
I was riding Mississippi one day, and there was a piece of pipe lying on the road. I didn’t see it until it was too late. I ran over part of it and it just made it flip up and when it flipped up it caught the side of my car. That thing had a big silver chrome strip all the way down the side. It caught right in the middle of it and just made a dent, I mean, an inch wide, all the way back to the end of the car. It scratched that thing like it has never been scratched. I pulled over to the side of the road, and I got out of the car. I stewed and pouted and got upset. It was almost like God was saying, “That’s good, Barber. That’s really good. You don’t own that car. That car rules you. It rules your emotions. It rules your choices.” You see the rich people of the world think they own this stuff. They don’t own it. You wait until the stock market goes down one more time and you’ll find out how they feel about the things in their life. It rules you.
But oh the difference in the riches that God gives us in Christ Jesus! We fully possess the riches that God has given us in Christ Jesus. We actually have them. They’re our possessions in Christ Jesus. In His kingdom, in Christ, they’re our possessions forever. You can be as poor as a church mouse and be wealthier than the richest person who lives down the street from you if you have Jesus Christ in your heart. You truly possess, and everything in life becomes richer and fuller because He lives in you.
Paul’s saying that you may not be realizing it, but you have in you that which will make life what God intended it to be, because He’s the added piece of the puzzle. You now have Christ in you. Love for people, love for life, love for your family, such that has never been known before.
If you haven’t traveled much, you don’t understand how desperate people are for what he’s talking about here. The Corinthian church didn’t realize how desperate they were for what he’s talking about here. He’s just setting the stage. He’s trying to show them, “Okay, you’ve chosen not to live in all of this and look at your divisions and factions and problems and quarrelling and all this stuff you live in.” The rest of the book is what people live and that inner turmoil. They could have had the peace of God living under the grace of God, enriched in everything in Christ Jesus.
Like that fellow who came up to an airline ticket counter. A fellow was just chewing out this ticket clerk because something had happened on his arrangements and he couldn’t take off when he wanted to take off. I mean you could tell this man had no peace inside of him. This was a man governed by his own flesh. When he walked away the fellow walked up to the counter and said, “How do you put up with people like that?” The ticket counter guy said, “You know, it didn’t bother me. I just checked his bags to Hong Kong.”
But there are people like this all around you. What they have controls them. They do not control it. We have something that adds the extra dimension to our life. You’ve been enriched by Jesus Christ. You say, “Well, my life’s not like that.” Well, hang on, we’ll tell you why before this thing’s over with.
Look over in Ephesians 3:8. He’s talking about the riches we have. Good gracious sakes alive! You know all this talk. “I just grew up in a nonfunctional family. I had a dysfunctional family so bad.” Oh good grief, man! So what? All of us did. We were born into the dysfunctional family of Adam but we’ve been born again in the functional family of God. We have been enriched in all things in Christ Jesus. We either have to live as if we’re products of our past or live as if we’re products of the cross. In Ephesians 3:8 he says, “To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ.”
I believe the longer you live the more you begin to understand some of these terms. When you think about the fact how rich is the forgiveness of God that He not only died for your sins, the sins past, present, and future, but He died for every person’s sins in the world, folks, you start thinking about that for a while and it will boggle your mind as to who He is and what He’s done and how rich we are in Him. They’re unfathomable. They’re unsearchable. You can go looking for them tomorrow and find things you didn’t even know that were there. I believe a million years after we’re in Heaven and we see Him and we know as we’re known, one day a million years from now we’ll walk by Him and we’ll break out and just praise and praise and continue to praise for who He is and what He’s given us in salvation. But we live down here like spiritual paupers.
Look in Ephesians 1:18 at Paul’s prayer for the church of Ephesus. He says, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” Now how does he say you’re going to find out? He said that the eyes of your heart are going to have to be opened. You can study it and study it until you fall in the floor and one day God’s going to open up that search light and open the eyes of your spiritual heart and you’re going to understand what you have in Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:3 talks about the First National Bank of all the blessings of God. Look what it says. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” We have access to the very unlimited spiritual riches of Christ. We’re the church of God, bought with a price, set apart unto Him, called saints, given grace in Him that we live under and experience His peace, but we also have everything. We’ve been enriched in everything in Christ Jesus. We lack nothing in Him.
You see there’s fallacy about riches, that they satisfy us. Look over in Proverbs 27:20. I want to show you whether or not your flesh can ever be satisfied. If you’re living this kind of life and think there’s satisfaction, let me just show you what the Word says. It’s very clear. Proverbs 27:20 starts off and says, “Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied [in other words, they just endlessly take souls into them. Then it says], nor are the eyes of man ever satisfied.” They’re never satisfied. As soon as you get whatever it is you think will make your life better outside of Jesus Christ, as soon as you get it, you’re not satisfied because you’re going to see something else that you want. The more you get, the more you want. That’s the way life is down here and the flesh can never be satisfied in that sense.
Not only will it never be satisfied but everything you get on this earth and you call riches, compared to what we have in Jesus Christ, have wings on them. We mentioned that just a little bit a little earlier. Look over in Matthew 6:19. There’s an inherent destructive end built into everything the world offers to you. Verse 19 reads, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.”
You know one person who learned that was the rich man over in Luke 12:20. You might want to mark some of these places because, I tell you, these are the things that you have to realize that are there before you can start being awakened to what you have that’s internal and eternal that no man can take away from you, the riches that we have in Christ Jesus. In Luke 12:20 we read, “But God said to him [this is that rich man who stored everything up. He just thinks he’s got it. He owns it. It’s his.], “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’” Thank God that we own riches that can only be found in Christ that no man can put their filthy paws on and take away from us.
An illustration happened back in the second century really touched me as I was studying this. It’s a true story. A Christian was brought before a pagan ruler and told to renounce his faith. And the answers he gave to this pagan ruler, I think, really depict what we’re looking at in 1 Corinthians. First of all, the ruler said, “If you don’t renounce your faith, I will banish you from this land.” The man answered and said, “You cannot banish me from Christ. You can banish me from the land, but you can’t banish me from Christ, because He promised He would never leave me or forsake me.” The ruler said to him, “Then I’ll confiscate your property and take all your possessions.” To which the man said, “My treasures are laid up in Heaven and you cannot get to them.” The ruler became angry. Not knowing what to say, he said, “Alright, then I’ll just kill you.” The believer said, “I have been dead for forty years since I first received Christ in my heart and my life is hidden in Christ and you cannot touch it.” And history records the ruler saying, “What do you do with fanatics such as this?”
When you begin to realize what you have in Jesus Christ, folks, all of a sudden your pursuits in this world change and He enriches and fills every area of your life. We’re rich. We lack nothing in Christ.
Go back to 1 Corinthians 1:4. The verb “enrich” is an important word to understand. It is a rare verb. It’s only found three times in the New Testament. It’s found right in 1 Corinthians in the first aorist passive. It’s a causative verb, that the action of our being enriched took place in the past at a certain point and it was final. It almost has the sense of a perfect tense. Yet it still continues to affect our life.
It’s in the passive voice. The passive voice means that all the riches we have in Christ are not because of us but because of Him. The action happened unto us. It’s not something we deserve. It’s not something we asked for. It’s something He gave us as a free gift of His grace. It’s all resident in Christ. It happened back here and it’s supposed to be still having an effect in our life. When we’re in Him, we become heirs of His family, heirs of all the riches He has. That’s what He said. You’re enriched fully in everything in Christ Jesus.
Look over at Galatians 4:7. When you’re living out there in the turmoil and conflicting arenas of this world, it’s good to know this, isn’t it? It’s good to know that we fully possess all of God in Christ Jesus through His grace. It’s all there. All we’ve got to do is learn how to tap into it. Galatians 4:7 says, “Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.” You know, there’s no greater riches on earth than we have in Christ Jesus.
Do you know what the difference is between a co-heir and a joint-heir? In my wife’s family there are eight children. All of them are married. All of them have children. Good night! Anyway, she is a co-heir with eight children. She has six girls in her family and two boys. That’s five sisters and two brothers. So she’s a co-heir. So if anything ever happens to her mama, then she’ll become a co-heir of that estate. She’ll get one eighth of everything in that estate, whatever that is. That’s a co-heir.
But a joint-heir is a little different. A joint-heir shares in the whole estate with anyone who gets an inheritance. In other words, we are joint-heirs of Christ, not co-heirs. Co-heirs, let’s see how many millions of Christians are there in the world? Well, I’ll get about a millionth of a share. No, in Christ Jesus we share it all. Everyone of us. We have access to it through the Holy Spirit of God and because of grace. We have been enriched in all things; that’s constantly to be having an effect on our life every day that we live. Because of this enrichment there’s no area of our lives that cannot be affected if we’re willing to walk by His grace.
In other words, you may say, “I’ve got a problem and I don’t know what to do about it.” Well, I can tell you only one thing. You have been fully enriched in Christ Jesus and because of His grace, there’s not any area of your life in which He cannot transform you, renew you, and do whatever it is that He desires to do in your life. There’s not one single area, not one single problem He cannot handle.
I want to tell you something. In every situation of our life, God is able. God is able. God is able through the grace that He has given unto us. There’s not one area of our life that we cannot be enriched in because of having been fully enriched. We acquired a brand new nature, 2 Peter 1:4 says. We’re members of God’s eternal family as Galatians 3:26 says. What else do we want?
Paul is trying to remind this church; and remember, this is the most fleshly-minded church in the New Testament. He’s not bragging on what they’re doing. He’s boasting in what they have in Christ Jesus. That’s what he’s doing. That’s going to set the whole foundation for the rest of the book. When you get over several chapters later, remember what he said in 1:1-10 because it has something to do with everything he addresses in the rest of the book.
There are two examples that Paul wants us to understand of how we’ve been enriched in everything. He’s trying to tell us something. Look what he says in verse 5: “that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge.” Now, why in the world would he narrow it down to those two things? Because he’s going to zero in on a testimony they’re supposed to be having amongst the Corinthian people. Paul remembers how wicked Corinth is. Led by the Holy Spirit of God, he’s setting it up for the rest of the things he’s going to say in 1 Corinthians about the testimony we ought to be having to others by what we say and by what we know and how we live.
First of all, he says, “You’re enriched in all speech.” The word for “all” here is panti in the Greek, and it means all. It means enriched in every kind of word. Now, you know, when we communicate with one another, we express ourselves by what we say. So we have been enriched. He says, “You have been enriched in all speech.”
The word for “speech” here is the word logos. Now you know the word logos. That means word. Doesn’t it? It means more than just word. You see, in the English language we only have one word for half of the things we say. They had several words and were specific in what they meant. It’s kind of like we have one word for love. We love grandmother, the American flag, my dog, and Jesus with the same word. Who knows the difference in any of it? But when you hear them say it, they would put it in such a way that you would know exactly what they were talking about.
There are three words for speech we’re going to look at in a moment. What does this word right here mean, the word logos? It’s the word in the Greek that specifically refers to words that have meaning. Every time you ever see the word logos you never think of idle, senseless words. You never think of a word that’s hanging out there with nothing behind it. It means intelligence, with great meaning.
That’s the word God chose to call His own son Jesus Christ. John says in 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, (the logos),” the divine intelligence of God. He understands what he’s doing. There’s thought behind it. There’s sense to it. The very mind of God is incorporated into Christ: “and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Then in verse 14 we read, “And the Word (the divine intelligence of God in the person of Jesus) became flesh, and dwelt among us.”
So don’t ever think it could be used in a sentence of something that is senseless or idle or has no thought behind it. It can never be used that way. It’s always used one specific way. I told you there are three distinct words for speech in the Greek. We’ve got to understand them. You say, “Why do we have to understand them?” I’m telling you, this is foundational for what we’re going to get into later on.
Look over in Matthew 12:36. It’s very significant that you understand this. Only one of these words for “word” consistently means intelligent, thought through, with meaning speech. Only one, the word logos. The others, depending on their context, can mean that but don’t necessarily mean that just on their own. In Matthew 12:36 Jesus says, “‘And I say to you,…” Now, what do you think the word “say” is there? That’s the logos. Jesus was saying, “I say to you what I’m saying to you has thought behind it. It has meaning behind it. It has sense to it.”
Look at the next word: “that every careless word.” Now that “careless word” there is the word rhema. It is the spoken word but does not necessarily mean that there’s something thought through behind it. For instance, here it’s careless words. It can be a careless word. So rhema, even though some people say that it always mean with thought behind it, does not necessarily mean that. It can be a careless spoken word. Logos can never be that. It has intelligence and thought behind it.
Then there’s another word for speech there. He says, “And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak.” The “shall speak” there is another word. It’s the word laleo. It simply means to make a noise and have no understanding whatsoever of what you’re talking about.
You say, “Now, I know you camped out here for just a second. Why did you do that?” Well, folks, listen to me and listen to me carefully. We’re going to wade our way through this book. We’re going to take a long time because I want to make sure we get it good and down. I’m going to stay here until you’re going to think I’m a broken record. But if you get over into chapters 12-14 and forget what was in chapter 1:1-10, that’s going to damage what we’re talking about.
It will be good for you to jump ahead of me. Jump ahead of me and take chapters 12-14. I’m not going to tell you what’s there. Look up the words that are used for “speech” or “utter” or “say” or whatever and see which ones they are with the understanding of what I just shared with you and already you’ll begin to understand what Paul is doing, led by the Holy Spirit of God, in 1:1-10. The only word there that always consistently is referring to intelligent, thought through, divine speech in the sense of the Scriptures is the word logos. The word rhema can be or cannot be, depending on the text. It’s inconsistent. The word laleo simply means a noise that nobody understands.
So when we get to chapter 12, remember this. Write it down and hang on to it. It may come back to help you later on. So often, as in all of the books in Scripture, people jump into a book and do something without, first of all, understanding where it started and what was the intent of the writing to begin with.
When we become a believer in Christ, Christ comes to live in us and He enriches our words. In other words, as we’re living depending on His grace, walking in His peace, living separate unto Him, Christ in us, then He fills our minds to the point that what we say is no longer idle or unclean or senseless. He changes the way we talk. If we do get messed up, He’ll bring us back to the cross. We’ll confess it, repent of it, and we’ll clean it up for another time. In other words, He gives us speech that communicates to others that we know the living Lord Jesus Christ. This is part of the enrichment that Christ has brought into our life. Our words now become seasoned with salt. When we’re living under His grace, He takes control over our tongues.
James 3 says, “No man can control the tongue.” That’s right. For a man to be in control of his tongue, he’s got to be under control of the One who enriches our speech. When you’re living that way, even what you say has salt in it. Words that come from thought have meaning to them. That’s the speech that he’s talking about.
Now, the reason our words are enriched is because He enriches our knowledge with His word. Look at what it says in verse 5: “that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge.” It’s not that we have been imparted all knowledge either. I’ve met several people who, once they get saved and get through one Bible study, think they’ve got it all together. No, no. We’re continually learning. But in everything we learn now, Christ then enriches it with His word. You see, in every area of knowledge, it’s not just spiritual knowledge. It’s science and history and anything that you’re studying. God now adds the missing dimension.
I don’t know if you ever saw “Jurassic Park.” There’s a sequel coming out. The book is entitled The Lost Horizon. But the whole premise for the book comes from people who have the missing piece of the puzzle. They’re trying to figure out why animals go extinct. They’re trying to figure out the system of what causes the higher selection and all this kind of stuff.
But they don’t have the missing piece. The missing piece is God’s word. He enriches us in all kinds of knowledge, not just in word but in anything that we study. I guarantee you, woe to the person who studies and learns anything apart from adding in the mixture of what God does in His word and says in His word that enriches all that knowledge. When all human knowledge stops, that’s when God begins to enrich us with what only He can reveal. That’s when He enriches. Every single thing that we learn is enriched by the word and the wisdom of God in our life.
Now, you have to ask yourself a question. Wait a minute, wait a minute. Back up. I hear what you’re saying, but I know Christians right now who live as if they don’t know anything and their speech is not in anything what it’s supposed to be. Now how are you telling me that we’re all enriched in speech and knowledge? Look at the church at Corinth. They’re not living that way. Huh! Good question. Hmmm! It’s answered in the next verse.
Look at verse 6. As a matter of fact, it’s lost in the translation. He says, “even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you.” That little word “even as” is the problem here. The little word “even as” is the word that should be translated “to the degree that.”
Look over in 1 Corinthians 12:11. Let me show you this word. It’s also translated, just as. It’s the word kathos, and it means the degree of something, the measure of something. The phrase is used over in 12:11. Look at what it says. “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” Or to the degree that He chooses. You see, the word has the idea that to the degree of something.
Well, you have to put verses 5 and 6 together. Verse 5 says, “that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge [to the degree] the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you.” You’ve got to understand there’s some people who aren’t living under grace. They’re not living as if they’re separated for God’s purpose. They’re not walking in God’s peace so their testimony has not been confirmed in them to the degree it has in somebody else. Even though we have potentially enrichment in Christ in every area of our life, there’s some things here that are required for us to have our testimonies confirmed. One is that we listen to what God’s word has to say and two is that we apply it to our life and we live according to what God’s word has to say. Then as we do that, we tap in to what’s there and then He enriches our knowledge and enriches our speech. The two tie together, you see. But it’s to the degree that you’ve done that. This Corinthian church doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about because their testimony has not been confirmed among the people.
The word “testimony,” marturion, is the word that means something that is absolutely without doubt. That your living a life to the point that your lifestyle, as a witness would be on a stand, absolutely proves without a shadow of a doubt that you have been enriched in Christ Jesus and that you are the church of God.
The Corinthian church was not living as somebody who has a purpose of only that God would do His works through them. As a result, their testimony is clouded and not confirmed and it does not prove they know Christ Jesus. But others have come to that place of surrender and the place of living up under the power that grace has and their testimony is without question. It is proof beyond a shadow of a doubt. It has been confirmed and put in concrete. These people know what they’re talking about. These people know the Lord Jesus Christ.
Do you remember back in the days of black and white television, and the “Beverly Hillbillies”? Jed is out hunting, trying to get a rabbit for supper, thinking he’s poorer than a church mouse. He shoots at the rabbit, misses it, and what does he do? He shoots into a vein of oil. That oil spurts up and all of a sudden over night they’re the richest people in town. That oil had been there all the time. He just happened to stumble into what he already had.
Let God so affect your heart that you’re willing to start tapping in by faith and living up under grace to what you have in Christ and being enriched in all knowledge and in speech and having your testimony confirmed. If you choose not to, my prayer is maybe somehow in your life you’ll stumble into it; maybe God will reveal it to you. I think that’s what Paul was praying in Ephesians. I pray that the eyes of your heart might somehow be opened because evidently they’re still closed to what you have in Jesus Christ, the riches you already have in Him. I hope you don’t have to stumble on it like that because that’s a little risky. My prayer is that you’ll hear it by faith, receive it by faith, and start walking in light of it. When you start living up under it, it enriches your knowledge which enriches your speech which automatically proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re up under grace, bought with a price, and living in the peace of God and you’ve got a testimony to the world.
Corinth didn’t have a clue. They didn’t have a clue. So Paul is telling them what they have first before he starts showing them that they don’t have a clue that they had it.