Chapter # 12 Paragraph # 2 Study # 6
March 23, 2009
Lincolnton, N.C.

<576> Thesis: The exercise of "ministry" is "particular" and "particularly important". Introduction: In our last study we began a consideration of Paul's insistence that the people of God get specifically involved in serving God by serving one another. In that beginning I started where Paul started -- with the "grace-gift" of "prophecy" -- and immediately set up a rather significant road-block: my claim that this particular "gift" is no longer functioning because it's functional purpose has been fulfilled. Whether that is actually a fact, or not, the fact that I made the claim makes it pretty difficult for anyone in this group to actually apply Paul's words to themselves. However, this is not as big a deal as it might look on the surface for this cause: even when Paul wrote the words and "prophecy" was an active gift in the churches they did not apply to everyone. Thus, that I made the claim that they currently do not apply to anyone is less significant than might appear on the surface. This issues involved here are two: first, the "principle" of Paul's instruction regarding "prophecy" is greater than that specific "gift" (i.e., exercising one's gifting "according to the measure of faith" that one has); and second, anyone who thinks I am incorrect because they have the ability to reveal secrets about God, or men, must be able to validate that claim to the group wherein they hope to function. This evening we are going to look into the second of Paul's listed "grace/faith-functions". It is identified by our translators as "ministry" and is distinct from "prophecy" in an important respect: it is not said of "ministry" that it will "cease" as it is said of "prophecy" (1 Corinthians 13:8).