1. Clark Kent's Deathbed
Imagine Clark Kent living his whole life without knowing he was Superman. Can we picture Clark Kent on his deathbed, looking down and muttering, "What's that big "S" on my T-shirt? Superman? What's that?" How sad! Even sadder is the fact that figuratively many Christians on their deathbed will look down and say, "What's that big "HS" on my T-shirt? The Holy Spirit? What's that?"
2. AW Tozer:
A.W. Tozer: "If the HS was withdrawn from the church today, 95% of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95% of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference."
3. Spirit Power
The Bible says:
* "Do not quench the Spirit" (1 Thessalonians 5.19).
* "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25).
* "Be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18).
* We are to be "led by the Spirit of God" (Romans 8.14).
When Jesus ascended to heaven, He asked the Father to send the Holy Spirit to indwell His people and to empower us in our work for Christ. It's the Holy Spirit who lives the life of Christ through us and who achieves the work of Christ through us.
The Spirit of God has been given to us to empower us in our walk.
Guard against anything that hinders the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. The missionary statesman Dr. J. Oswald Sanders wrote, "Reduced to its simplest terms, to be filled with the Spirit means that, through voluntary surrender and in response to appropriating faith, the human personality is filled, mastered, controlled by the Holy Spirit."
Ask God daily to fill you with Himself through His Spirit, to have mastery over your actions and reactions, and to control and empower you in your life of service.
4. Ephesians 4.11-16; 1 Corinthians 12.4-11; Romans 12.3-8; 1 Peter 4.1-11
5. The HS impacts us through the giving of "spiritual gifts." Consider some insights into these gifts and why we need to unwrap the gifts God has given us.
I. Spiritual Gifts Are Specific in Nature
A. Each Specific Believer has at Least ONE Specific Gift
1 Corinthians 7.7 But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.
1 Corinthians 12.7 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
Ephesians 4.7 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
1. We are uniquely made in God's creation -- Psalm 139.13-16
13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
2. We are uniquely re-made in God's creation -- new creature in Christ -- 2 Corinthians 5.17
B. Our Gifts Fit Specific Situations -- Philip
1. A Deacon for Widows in Acts 6
a. Gift of Mercy
b. Gift of Wisdom
c. Gift of Service
2. An Evangelist -- Acts 8 (Samaria; Ethiopian)
a. Add -- Evangelism
b. Add -- "Apostle" -- "Sent One" = "Missionary"
II. Spiritual Gifts Are for Serving Others
A. A Working Definition
Leslie Flynn, in his book, "19 Gifts of the Spirit," gives a working definition: A spiritual gift is a qualification granted by the Holy Spirit to every believer to empower him or her to serve within the framework of the body of Christ (p. 25). More simply, It is a Spirit-given ability for Christian service.
B. People for People -- Ephesians 4.11-16
1. Build up the body
2. Build on the kingdom
3. Common good and functioning of the body
Blind Man and Armless Man/Gifts, Interdependence of
In illustrating the interdependence of one another's spiritual gifts in a local church, Gary Inrig, in Life in His Body shared the following story: Several years ago, two students graduated from the Chicago-Kent College of Law. The highest ranking student in the class was a blind man named Overton and, when he received his honor, he insisted that half the credit should go to his friend, Kaspryzak.
They had met one another in school when the armless Mr. Kaspryzak had guided the blind Mr. Overton down a flight of stairs. This acquaintance ripened into friendship and a beautiful example of interdependence. The blind man carried the books which the armless man read aloud in their common study, and thus the individual deficiency of each was compensated for by the other.
After their graduation, they planned to practice law together. This story was related by Donald Grey Barnhouse. No believer is complete by himself, we are to minister to one another, as a family.
C. An Element of Trust -- the Spirit Knows What He is Doing!
A young lady stood talking to an evangelist on the subject of consecration, of giving herself wholly to God. She said, "I dare not give myself wholly to the Lord, for fear He will send me out to China as a missionary."
The evangelist said, "If some cold, snowy morning a little bird should come, half-frozen, pecking at your window, and it lets you take it in and feed it, thereby putting itself entirely in your power, what you would do? Would you grip it in your hand and crush it? Or would you give it shelter, warmth, food and care?"
A new light came into the girl's eyes. She said, "Oh, now I see, I see. I can trust God!" Two years later she again met the evangelist and recalled to him the incident. She told of how she had finally abandoned herself to God -- and then her face lit up with a beautiful smile as she said, "And do you know where God is going to let me serve Him?" And there was now a twinkle in her eye -- "in China!"
D. Even (Especially?) Paul -- Served Others -- Acts 9.15; (22.15; 26.16-18)
To Ananias: "he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel."
III. Spiritual Gifts Are Given by the Spirit -- 1 Corinthians 12.11, 18
11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.
A. Giving Gifts is an Act of the Spirit's Grace
1. Gifts from the word for Grace (charismaton; charis)
2. Gifts are also called "spirituals"
B. Giving Gifts is an Act of the Spirit's Will -- He gives as HE chooses
1. He Honors Us as Coworkers
2. He Humbles Us by His Gifts
a. No place to Envy
b. No place to Boast
1. There are many gifts for us:
* Speaking Gifts: Word of wisdom, prophecy, evangelism, pastor-teacher, and teaching
* Service Gifts: Administration, exhortation, faith, giving, helps, serving, and mercy
* Sign Gifts: Distinguishing of spirits, miracles, healings, tongues, interpretation
2. God has plans for you
11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
3. We can help you discover your gifts and ways to use them