Summary: A teaching sermon on spiritual gifts; what they are, who has them, and what their purpose is. (audio will be placed at www.sermonlist.com/2007.html)
The drama we presented this morning about spiritual gifts was a comedy, but it served one very important purpose: Bringing the subject of those gifts to the forefront so we can study and understand who has them and what their purpose is.
Unfortunately, the area of spiritual gifts is just one of many areas that man has added his thoughts to what God has already written. Most Christians know little about spiritual gifts and tend to be very leery of anyone who talks about them, or claims to have them. Instead of trying to find out more about something, we always tend to be afraid and shy away from those things we don’t understand.
Some leaders in the church at Corinth were teaching a great deal of "nonsense" advice on the subject of spiritual gifts. But their teaching contained just enough "sense" to make it appear authoritative. And because of this, many Christians there believed these cleverly disguised false teachings and were applying them to their lives.
These false teachers were saying that true gifts of the spirit were always sensational or miraculous. They taught that when a Christian was under the influence of the Holy Spirit he or she was out of control. They were spreading the nonsense that spiritual gifts were only bestowed on the favored few, the "mature" Christians who were closest to God. And like many today, they taught that to be feel the Sprit of God, one had to be emotionally charged.
That may carry a person through Sunday, Monday, and maybe even Tuesday, but when Wednesday comes, and you feel drained because of other things in your life, does that mean you are without the Holy Spirit? No it doesn’t. What that shows is that our spiritual maturity must be founded on biblical knowledge, not emotional ups and downs.
Because of all this nonsense the local body of Christ in Corinth was in turmoil, it was sick. The Apostle Paul had founded this little church on his 2nd missionary journey and so he cared very deeply for its people. And when he heard of their troubles he wrote to the Christians there.
In 1 CORINTHIANS 12:1, Paul says we should not be ignorant about spiritual gifts, and then he gave biblical wisdom to help distinguish sense from nonsense when it comes to spiritual gifts.
We must first understand that there is a difference between the "gift" of the Holy Spirit and the "gifts" of the Holy Spirit. The GIFT is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit whereby He comes to take up residence in the believer’s heart the moment that person accepts Christ as Savior.
But the GIFT(S) of the Holy Spirit are something else. The GIFT(S) of the Holy Spirit are special abilities imparted to all Christians by the Holy Spirit for service in the church. So this morning I want us to examine what God’s word says so that we can make sense out of the subject of spiritual "GIFTS".
1. WHAT ARE SPIRITUAL GIFTS?
The Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to us, as He deems appropriate. Just as a business has many people working for it, but most have different duties, the kingdom of God has many Christians working for it, and they have different duties, too. You might be able to reach one person for Christ where I cannot, and another might reach someone else that you and I cannot reach, and so on. So, the spiritual gifts that we receive are tools to help us produce results for God.
1 CORINTHIANS 12:27-31 reads,
‘And in the church, God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.
Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts.’
Okay, now if spiritual gifts are supernatural abilities that God gives to Christians so they can work for Him, let’s talk about ….
2. WHO HAS SPIRITUAL GIFTS
Let me begin by saying that each person who humbles their heart and submits to the will of Jesus Christ in their lives has received a measure of God’s grace. And that is the key to our spiritual gifts.
The first sentence in ROMANS 12:6 teaches us,
‘We have different gifts according to the grace given us …’
It is important to note that when Paul says “we”, he is talking about Christians.
1 CORINTHIANS 12:4-11 says,
‘There are different kinds of gifts but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.