(read 1 Cor 12:12-20)
II. THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE GIFTS AND GRACES
What we are, we are by the grace of Christ. It is “according to the measure of the gift of Christ,” verse 7. He dispensed to us what we have and they are the fruits of His victory at the cross, 8-10.
1. At the cross the Saviour triumphed over His enemies and we were given the spoils. (Col 2:14-15.) This quotation comes from Psalm 68 where David is tracing the glorious interventions of Jehovah on behalf of His people and the victory spoils they enjoyed as a result, verses 1-4; 6-7; 12-13; 18-19.
Our Lord Jesus finished the work which was given him to do on earth, John 17:4, ascended unto heaven, Acts 1:9-10, was exalted with that glory which he had before the world was, John 17:5, poured out His gifts and graces upon the church, Acts 2:32-33; took possession of heaven in our name, Eph. 2:6, and there prepares a place for us, John 14: 2.
2. See how Paul proves his doctrine from Holy Writ. How complementary is the Bible. There is a unity in it that helps us understand the unity we should seek. This obscure portion in the psalms serves to assist Paul prove this great truth.
3. Here is proof of the deity of Christ. Psalm 68 is speaking of Jehovah, verse 4, and Paul applies it to Christ.
4. See how Paul develops this point. He does not pass over the reference quickly but presses the use of the word “ascend”, verse 8-9 and shows the inferences of the word. Christ laid aside His glory in order to deliver us, John 17:5. He assumed the nature of man in order to suffer the consequences of sin for His people.
5. The dispensing of gifts to the church indicates that Christ has ascended to the highest glory. He fills all things. Sin empties all things for the sinner. As the prodigal was reduced to nothing so sin has emptied us of all good, comfort and hope. Christ, by His death and resurrection fills up our cup again. That which was marred and ruined by sin, He the divine potter, has renewed and made whole, Jer 18:4. He is a fountain that is inexhaustible. To Him we may go for refreshment; for an increase of grace.
6. Let us learn that the removal of one joy is but in order to introduce a greater joy. Christ ascended in order to pour out His grace and power upon His people to a degree unknown before. Let us ever trust the wise providences and loving rule of our King.it is the spirit in which we receive whatever providence send to us, Titus 3:2.
Longsuffering — Self-restraint. What God has shown toward us, 1 Tim 1:16; 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 3:15.
Forbearnace — “To hold up under.” 1 Cor 4:12; 2 Thess 1:4 – “endure.”
This is the second great commandment stated in a different form. Matt 22:39.
3. This appeal is all the more powerful for it is addressed from prison. Paul was bearing with the opposition of men and devils as a Christian should. “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,” Ephs 4:1. He beseeches. It is an earnest call from the sufferer’s prison cell. It reminds us of the cost of the unity we enjoy. First, that of Christ on the cross and then those who endured devil and man’s hatred to bring us the gospel.
As this age gets darker, we will have cause to consider more the example of the servants of God of old, James 5:8-11.