The Truth comes to Corinth
Paul says, “That it is by the Holy Spirit’s Power that Jesus Christ is yielded to as Lord in the heart of the Believer
1 Corinthians 12:1-3 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. NKJV
Paul now begins to shift the focus of his letter to expound or explain to these Corinthian believers and to us the various “spiritual gifts” given to the born again believer in Christ by God the Holy Spirit, but before Paul begins to list out and explain the gifts he first makes a profound statement that is true of every genuine believer in our Lord Jesus Christ. Again as we have declared in previous studies, Paul was well aware of all the false worship and pagan practices that were common place in the city of Corinth. Paul reminds these Corinthian believers (as though he were also drawing on all he has said to them thus far) how foolish or devoid of even good or common sense their worship was before they heard the gospel of Christ. Paul says that their worship was stupid and dumb because it was worship to statues made of wood and other man made materials that could not respond to them at all. Paul says it in this manner to them, “Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led” (1 Corinthians 12:2).
The English phrase “carried away” Paul uses in this second verse is translated by the Greek word apago which means to take off or to lead away in the same sense as someone being led off to prison for punishment. These Corinthian people Paul preached the gospel to were living lives under the authority and power of the devil and being influenced by demon spirits in their idolatry, but they looked to man-made images as the object of their worship. Paul speaks this in the imperfect tense with the indefinite particle signifying their habitual, customary, and common practice of allowing themselves to be led away into this stupid, useless, and worthless worship. Paul did know the devices of the devil, for he did warfare with him and his demons every day, therefore, Paul wanted to make it clear to these Corinthian believers and did not want them through the lack of understanding or knowledge to recognize the complete and holy difference their worship of our Lord Jesus Christ would be from their days of idolatry. Paul wanted them to understand that it was God the Holy Spirit who was their permanent gift to live in them (John 14:16-17) and also that it is God the Holy Spirit who gives out the ministry gifts to every individual believer in Christ. Paul wanted to correct some of the disorder through the envy and strife taking place in the fellowship as he just finished correcting them on the observance of the Lord’s Supper, now he wants the understanding of spiritual gifts to be complete not only in what they are, but also in how they are to be used for the good of the whole body of believers.
Paul did not want them to be “carried away” or apago by what they perceived to be the working of the Holy Spirit as they were in the days of their ignorance in idolatry. Paul makes it clear to them that God the Holy Spirit works in the believer in mighty power, but it does not render him or her “out of control” or “carried away” in some behavior that is dishonoring to our Lord Jesus Christ, for Paul says this, “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus is accursed’; and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3). Paul declares emphatically that it is by the Spirit’s Power that a dead in trespasses and sins sinner is moved to declare Jesus Christ as his or her Lord, Master, and Supreme Ruler and Controller (2 Corinthians 3:17). No natural man can experience this submission of his spirit, soul, and body to Christ Rule and Authority because this comes by way of the Holy Spirit’s influence on the regenerated born again heart. Our Lord Jesus Himself testified of what the Holy Spirit would do at His request with these words, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you” (John 16:13-14).
Paul declares that it is the Holy Spirit that dispenses the “spiritual gifts” like speaking with other tongues, but whatever language He enables, energizes, and empowers a believer to speak in, it will most assuredly be the Word of God and the gospel of grace which glorify Christ Jesus our Lord. The Holy Spirit is God and He cannot be manipulated by believers into some worthless worship of Christ, but He seeks only and always to lead the believer into worship that brings glory to our Lord Jesus Christ. The English word Lord is translated by the Greek word kurios which means he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord the possessor and disposer of a thing the owner; one who has control of the person, the master in the state: the sovereign, prince, chief, God, the Messiah. The reference to Jesus as Lord back then was of utmost seriousness because the Romans only viewed their Emperor as Lord or Kurios and for any Jew or Gentile (in those days) to say “Jesus is Lord” surely came from a regenerated heart activated by the Holy Spirit’s Power because to defy Caesar or any other Roman Emperor meant certain death, therefore, this is why Paul wrote these words in 1 Corinthians 12:3 because they were only spoken by a true believer moved by the Spirit’s Power who was not afraid of losing his life because he knew Jesus as Lord experimentally and no threat of death or any other such thing could keep him or her quiet about his Lord.
“To own this truth before men, and maintain it to the death, and live under the influence of it, could not be done without the sanctification of the Holy Ghost. No man can call Christ Lord, with a believing subjection to Him and dependence upon Him, unless that faith be wrought by the Holy Ghost. No man can confess this truth in the day of trial but by the Holy Ghost animating and encouraging him.” Matthew Henry
“The reality of Jesus Christ being Lord means nothing to the man or woman still spiritually dead but to the awakened soul “Jesus is Lord” is his or her whole world and they would have it no other way.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…
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