Summary: Continuing to look at Excellence! through Spiritual Gifts
Be Excellent: Spiritual Gifts
February 7, 2016
Have you ever wished that you were something you weren’t? At one point or another most of us have. There are times I wish I was a professional athlete, playing a game and making millions. But I know I can’t — I’m too old, too fat, too slow, and just not quite talented enough. It’s a nice dream, but not a reality. Then there are times I wish I was one of you with some of your talents.
On the flip side, have you ever wished you were NOT something you ARE? That may be a little different, but many have that thought too. It may be the career path you have chosen, and you don’t want to be there, but you feel stuck. It may be the aging process or it could be your just tired of what you’re doing on a daily basis.
My point is this: we are all SOMEONE and have SOMETHING to offer. And whether we like it or not, or whether we believe it or not . . . there is a place for each one of us. We might dream about being someone else, or not being who we already are, but there would be a void in this world if you were not here.
As we continue looking at excellence, today we are diving into spiritual gifts. For some, spiritual gifts has been a battleground. Even in the early church there was great confusion. This tension can result from an overemphasis on certain gifts, or we downplay gifts we don’t have or think we simply don’t have gifts.
Before we jump into our text in 1 Corinthians 12, let me set the context. The Corinthian church had lots of problems. The church was filled with division, arguments, lawsuits, and immorality. On top of that, there was confusion about marriage, food sacrificed to idols, worship, the Lord’s Supper, the Resurrection, giving, and spiritual gifts.
When it came to spiritual gifts, some people thought they were more important than others because they had some spectacular gifts. When Paul wrote this letter to the church he addressed these issues.
Paul basically spent 3 chapters making sure the people of Corinth had a proper understanding about spiritual gifts. In 1 Corinthians 12 ~ Paul wrote - - -
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed.
This is a topic that is too important for believers to be uninformed about and it’s certainly too critical to disagree about. John MacArthur wrote, “No local congregation will be what it should be…until it understands spiritual gifts” (“The Church,” Page 136). We need to understand what spiritual gifts are and are not and how they apply to us, so that we can be the church Christ has called us to be.
One of the best definitions I’ve come across is from Bruce Bugbee, founder and president of Network Ministries. That’s the spiritual gift inventory I like the best.
He wrote - - Spiritual gifts are divine 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. (What You Do Best in the Body of Christ, Page 52).
What we need to understand is that EVERY believer in Christ has spiritual gifts. Sometimes we think . . . ‘Oh, I have nothing to offer, I’m no good!’ That is FALSE! You have something to offer, you just have not realized what your spiritual gifts are. You are needed. Everyone is needed. It’s what makes this church complete or incomplete.
Paul wrote ~ 4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;
6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.
7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
Paul wanted the Corinthian church to understand how their unity can be enhanced by appreciating the different gifts God has given them. God wants us to understand there are a variety of gifts, a variety of services, and a variety of activities, but it is the same God, the same Spirit who gives them to us.
Nobody has them all! That’s ludicrous. Paul tells us God empowers / accomplishes these gifts in us. The image in the Greek is so cool for us to better grasp what God is doing. To empower us – it’s like we flip a switch in a room and an electrical current energizes a wire, which then brings light to a darkened bulb. That’s the image of what God is doing for us – – when He empowers us. He is the one with all of the power which energizes and empowers us.