“Spiritual gifts are special abilities distributed by the Holy Spirit to every believer according to God’s design and grace for the common good of the body of Christ” (Bruce Bugbee)
They are given by a person – the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:11) according to the grace given to us (Romans 12:6). In other words, the Holy Spirit (the third person of the Godhead Trinity), – God – has thought about us enough and loves us enough to give us a gift that we don’t deserve!
No one is excluded – 1 Corinthians 12:8 says to “each one”, referring to members of the Body of Christ.
They are for the common good of the Body. Nowhere in the Bible do we read of spiritual gifts being given purely for personal satisfaction or personal advancement.
“The truth of the matter is that the Scriptures plainly imply the imperative of possessing the gifts of the Spirit… (1 Corinthians 12:31; 1 Corinthians 14:1). It does not appear to be an optional matter with us but rather a scriptural mandate to those who have been filled with the Spirit” (A.W.Tozer)
Non-Christians can have talents, but only believers have spiritual gifts.
Gifts of the Spirit v Fruit of the Spirit
Gifts of the Spirit are different from Fruit of the Spirit.
Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22,23):
• Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
In many ways ‘the fruit’ are more important than ‘the gifts’ in that the fruit refers to what a Christian is (character), while the gift refers to what a Christian does (service in the church).
Fruit of the Spirit is what we are to BE
Gifts of the Spirit is what we are to DO
The Gifts in Context
The Apostolic Church tenets include:
• The nine gifts of the Holy Ghost for the edification, exhortation and comfort of the Church, which is the Body of Christ
• Church government by Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, Teachers, Elders and Deacons
The former tenet deals with gifts for edifying, exhorting and comforting the church (it specifically refers to the gifts of 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 whilst not discounting the fact that the Spirit gives many other gifts). The latter tenet deals with five gifts (five-fold ministry) that equip and direct the church.
We are all called to do the things that Christians should do (e.g. pray for the sick, witness, serve one another, encourage, etc.).
As we do the things that Christians should do, the Holy Spirit will come and give a special gift for that situation, a burst of divine energy, which does the job (e.g. the gift of healing).
As we experience certain gifts with frequency then maybe we feel called of God to serve particularly in this way.
Where God appoints a person to a specific function and gives the person himself/herself as a gift to the church (e.g. the five-fold ministry of Ephesians 4:11), that person still needs to function charismatically and not simply by virtue of their position.
The common theme
We all know the parable of the feeding of the 5000. In there we saw the disciples asking Jesus what to do about feeding all these people. Jesus replied “you give them something to eat”
So what’s the common theme with spiritual gifts?
Word of Wisdom? – listening and then declaring
Word of Knowledge? – listening and then declaring
Prophecy? – listening and then declaring
Encouragement? – listening and then declaring
Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me” (John 10:27). Again, we see here the principle of listening and then following on the basis of His instruction.
What did Jesus do?
Jesus is fully God but He is also fully man and as a man, He showed us how to live.
Jesus had a relationship with the Father.
Jesus was filled with Spirit and led by the Spirit
He displayed all the fruit of the Spirit in perfection
He operated in all the gifts – miracles, healing, prophecy, encouragement, teaching, etc.
Jesus did only what the Father told Him.
Should we be any different?
Discovering your gift
• John 14:21 – Why is daily obedience in keeping the Lord’s commands important as we go about discovering and developing our Spiritual gifts?
The unopened gift
• Matt 25:14-30 – use it or lose it!
A gift… you might think you know what it is, but until you unwrap it, you’ll never really know.