Knowing the Presence of God – 1 Corinthians chapter 12

Just added; a new message preached by J Stewart Gillespie from 1 Corinthians chapter 12:


1 Corinthians chp 12 vs 1 to 11 – Knowing the Presence of God – JS Gillespie – 24112015


outline notes available for this message:

Chapter 12 opens with one of those incidentally encouraging sections which we don’t expect to find in a letter like 1 Corinthians.

Four great sources of encouragement :

  1. God Saves

  2. God Sanctifies

  3. God speaks to us

  4. God speaks through us


If we could have asked the Corinthians what was it that constituted the main difference between what what the Corinthians had now in their Christian gatherings and what they had then in heathenism, this must have ranked very high in their thinking :

The presence of God (1 Corinthians 14:25, Matthew 18:20)

This had been the promise of Christ (Matthew 18:20)

The essence of the Christian gathering is the Presence of God

This was new they had not had it in heathenism

The question inevitably arises to the enquiring mind; if Christs presence is promised amongst His people, is this a presence I can know, or is it simply a presence that I must take on faith.

Christs presence when real has always been discernable both :


  1. Peace – The disciples in the upper room, gathered for fear of the Jews, doors locked, rumours beginning that some claim to have seen Christ after Calvary, rumours which appear to only add to the fear rather than encourage faith, but Christs presence in Johns gospel will bring PEACE
  2. Purity – Isaiah 6:5, cf. John chp 8
  3. Pleasure – “in thy presence is fullness of Joy and pleasure forevermore” (Psalm 16.11)


God speaks – this is the subject of 1 Corinthians chp 12

  • Prophetically : 1 Corinthians 14:24-25

  • Personally : 1 Corinthians 14:24-25; Hebrews 4:12

  • Convicts: Matthew 4:12; John chapter 8

  • Convinces of His presence (1 Corinthians chp 14)

Gods presence is knowable because God speaks (1 Corinthians 12:3)

God would reveal Himself to His people

God would speak to His people, but not only TO His people, God would speak THROUGH His people.

Gods Grace bestows Gods gifts :

This becomes evident from appreciating the origin of the words

gift : charisma (1Co1:7)

grace: charis

Gods gifts are Gods grace made tangible / visible / audible

We think of Grace as a Divine attribute, Gods grace bestowed as a gift becomes our ability

For a brief window in time Gods Grace becomes visible, audible and tangible

Verse 1 – The Grace of God which bestows Gods gift is undeserved and thus it is unconditional and it is not dependent upon the possession of wisdom

The gift and the wisdom / knowledge to utilise that gift are are distinct

Timothy had a gift given by the laying on of the hands of the elders but he had to study to show himself approved unto God, a workman that needed not to be ashamed rightly dividing the Word of God.

cf. “Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” (1 Tim 4:14)

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim 2:15)

God gave the gift to Timothy

Timothy had to draw from the same resources in Grace which gave the gift, Timothy had to give himself to the gift (1 Tim 4:15)

Spiritual gift is not the same as spiritual exercise, spiritual preparedness, nor spiritual wisdom

The Grace which gives the gift is

The Grace which sustains the gift

So many have faltered here, having received Gods gift in grace and yet faltering to be sustained in grace in the use and exercise of that gift.

There would be few more gifted than Elijah – yet despairing and despondent in the wilderness of Horeb (1Kings19) – what a contrast with Carmel!

Samson – cut and compromised; the man who had put a city gate on his back could no longer break his own chains!

Gifts given in grace are sustained by grace

Who opened the door to the Devil?

Chp 10 – contact with the occult – corruption

Chp 11 – compromise over headship and lordship, the emphasis in this section is upon the Lords sovereignty over the exercise of the gifts, v3 “Jesus is the Lord.” v5 “same Lord”

Chp 12 – confusion

The same pattern is easily repeated

Corruption followed by compromise


v7 “the manifestation of the Spirit”

Has anyone ever seen God?

“no one has seen God at any time, the only begotten who is in the bosom of the father, he has declared Him.” (John 1:18)

And yet some did see the revelation of God in the person of Jesus Christ:

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (1 Tim3:16)

‘manifest’: ‘phanero’ – verb

What of the Spirit of God?

Has anyone ever seen the Spirit of God?

cf. 1 Corinthians 12:7 “the manifestation of the Spirit…”

‘manifestation’ : phanerosis (noun)

This unity through diversity is the manifestation of the Spirit of God, just as Christ was the manifestation of God.