How many Christians have gifts from the Holy Spirit? Gifts that can be used for ministry? The answer is all Christians. Now, seeing that we all have gifts, how should these gifts are used?


     For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.

-1 Corinthians 1:17 (NKJV)


     Paul, here in 1 Corinthians 1:17, writes For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel….


     All things that can be done through the power of the Holy Spirit are for the ultimate purpose of bringing others to salvation. When one person’s certain gift is emphasized, that gift can easily become the ministry and can create a following that takes the focus off Jesus and can put the focus on the person, with people coming to events and sharing ideas based on gifts rather than based on Jesus.


     If Paul were to baptize people with water nonstop, then who would be there to share the good news of the gospel with people hungry for the truth? All the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for the purpose of works, works to bring salvation to others and to help others along their walk with God.


     It is through the hearing and believing of the gospel that miracles happen. The greatest miracle there is is the miracle of salvation. It is the only miracle that is an eternal miracle, and not a temporary fix or a short term solution for a long-term issue. A person can see miracle after miracle, but unless that miracle is accompanied by belief in the truth of the gospel, that person‘s experience was just that, an experience, one of many experiences the person will have throughout a lifetime. But salvation is more than an experience, it is an encounter with God, but that initial encounter is still not enough, a person needs to keep the fire going with fresh fire.


     John said Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire (Luke 3:16). Paul was writing in 1 Corinthians 1:17 about baptizing with water, not wanting people to focus on his anointing or what the person may get by being baptized with water by Paul. Paul was wanting people to focus on the gospel and what Jesus was doing through Paul instead of what Paul was doing through Jesus because Jesus is the One who is drawing people to God and the Holy Spirit is the One who is doing the work. Paul was a vessel by which the word of God was manifested into the heart of the hearer.


     For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.

-1 Corinthians 1:17 (NKJV)


     In Paul’s day, the Greeks were focused on philosophy and used big words to puff up themselves and their hearers with pride, celebrating their own perceptions of wisdom, as were many preachers. People would marvel at the depths of what they thought was true insight. Paul took a more simplistic approach, breaking it down so everyday people would understand the truth of the gospel.


     Do you know the true definition of simplicity? It is more simple than one may think. There is a word, affectation. Now this may seem like a large Word, but affectation means artificial behavior meant to impress others. What is artificial behavior to a Christian? A Christian is supposed to be the vessel God works through to reach other people. A Christian is supposed to be controlled by Jesus. Anything contrary to what Jesus would do if He were here on earth walking around is based on pride. Pride can cause a person to do all kinds of things contrary to Christianity, even unknowingly.


     Contradictions to Christianity are artificial behavior because Jesus is the real behavior a Christian needs to strive to achieve. Are Christian’s always going to walk in the Spirit and never fall short of the glory of God? No. We all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) every day, sometimes every hour, but it is when we repent and turn from our ways back to the way of Jesus that Jesus shows us more of His reality. The more of His reality we see, the less artificial our intelligence becomes and the more godly wisdom we possess.


     Simplicity is defined as freedom from affectation. True freedom is knowing Jesus, knowing Jesus is working through us and for us in everything we do, having a relationship with Jesus and allowing Him to guide our everything we do in life. Jesus died on the cross so we could be saved from artificial behavior. Our true behavior is spiritual and eternal, it is spending eternity with or without God, and it is the beginning and the end goal of this human race. The wages of sin is death and is the price Jesus paid at the cross so we can spend eternity with Him (Romans 6:23).


     For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.

-1 Corinthians 1:17 (NKJV)


     The phrase “should be made of no effect” only occurs five times in the New Testament and is the Greek word κενόω.


     Different translations word this phrase slightly different from each other, but the word itself is a verb meaning, in one instance, to empty, make empty, as in to be emptied of its power. Jesus giving up His power in heaven to come to earth as a servant and teach people the way of God is an example of κενόω. Without that power Jesus gave up by His coming to earth and being born as a human, even Jesus, as fully God and fully man, relied on the power of the Holy Spirit while He was performing His public ministry on earth. The power of the Holy Spirit worked the miracles Jesus performed during His public ministry on earth. The Holy Spirit was also the power of Jesus’ conception as a human and the power of His resurrection from the dead. True, the faith of the people and their belief in what they heard Jesus preach is what led the Holy Spirit to heal people, but the healing power is the Holy Spirit.


     After Jesus‘ resurrection from the dead, in Matthew 28:18, Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (NKJV)


     The KJV translates Jesus as saying, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.”


     In Matthew 28, after Jesus rose from the dead, some soldiers were paid off to say Jesus’ disciples stole the body and that is what many people still believe today. The Greek word κενόω is not found here, but the meaning is the same: Jesus‘ resurrection from the dead into eternal life emptied the tomb, or death, of its power and authority on earth. Jesus thereby took the keys of death (Revelation 1:18).