Summary: This is the introductory sermon in a series of ten on Motivational Spiritual Gifts which communicates the three categories of spiritual gifts in order to lay the foundation for communicating the characteristics of the 7 Motivational Spiritual Gifts.
In some respects the church today is like a football game. Bud Wilkinson, football coach of the Oklahoma Sooners before he joined the President’s Physical Fitness Program and later became a commentator for ABC, was asked, “What contribution does professional sports make to the physical fitness of Americans?” To the surprise of no one, he answered, “Very little. A professional football game is a happening where thousands of spectators, desperately needing exercise, sit in the stands watching 22 men on the field desperately needing rest.”
That could well describe the typical church today. A host of spectators and a handful of participants. We flock into our churches by the hundreds on Sunday to watch the professionals perform. And if the pro’s a real champion, chances are the stands will be packed. If not, it’s usually a different story. Of course, one thing is certain. That will never be the situation in the life of the church that understands and implements the biblical doctrine of spiritual gifts. And that’s the hope of our emphasis this coming weekend in our “Spiritual Gifts Discovery Conference.”
In answering a question concerning spiritual gifts asked by the congregation at Corinth, Paul gives three categories of spiritual gifts. There are manifestation gifts, ministry gifts and motivational gifts. It’s these 3 categories of gifts that I want us to become informed of today. However, the category we want to emphasize the most and the one we’ll be taught in our conference this weekend will be the motivational spiritual gifts. For that reason let me begin with:
I. The Manifestation Gifts verses 6-7
Verse 6 says “there are diversities of operations, there are different kinds of working, there are varieties of effects. The word for operations or working there is the Greek word “energema” which means effect. It’s the word from which we get our English word energy. It denotes active or powerful in operation, that is full of power to achieve results. You see there are different kinds of working or activities or abilities, but it’s the same God who inspires or energizes them all in every person.
This category of gifts is referred to as the manifestation gifts because verse 7 says “. . . the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” The Greek word for manifestation is “phanerosis” meaning to show, an exhibition, an expression or manifestation. In other words, Paul defines these gifts as supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit at work through a believer. He goes on to list this category of gifts in verses 8-10. There are 9 gifts listed here: the word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healings, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, various kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues. Verse 11 indicates “. . . that he gives them to each one just as he determines.” I believe these gifts are manifest in and through the life of a child of God at any given time by the Spirit of God as He wills to minister to a member of the Body of Christ.
This is not the listing of gifts which will be the emphasis of our Spiritual Gifts Discovery Conference this weekend. However, these are gifts that I believe are still manifest in the lives of believers as God uses us to minister to one another in the Body of Christ. The second category of gifts is:
II. The Ministry Gifts verse 5
The KJV says “there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.” The NIV says “there are different kinds of service” while the NASB translates this verse, “there are varieties of ministries.” In fact, the word for administrations, service or ministries is the Greek word “diakanion.” It’s the word from which we get our English word deacon. These ministry gifts are to function within the ministry of the local church – that’s why they are classified as ministry gifts. These gifts are usually confirmed by ordination.
Now, the listing of these gifts is partially found in verse 28, “And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers...” The complete list of ministry gifts is found however in Ephesians 4:11-13 . . . In fact the context begins in verse 7 saying “But to each one . . . and gave gifts to men.” The word for gifts in verse 8 is “doma” which literally means “a present,” a love gift. Looking at this verse in context, we see that after Jesus ascended to the Father He presented gifts of people who were called and gifted to lead and train the remainder of the Body of Christ. These gifts are enumerated in verses 11ff. . . There are 5 ministry gifts listed here.
These 5 ministry gifts might equally be called “equipping gifts” because their purpose is to enable the saints to do the work of ministry so that Christ’s Body on earth, the church, can function as His true representative. This category of gifts, the ministry gifts are people who are gifted to be the equippers, the enablers of the rest of the Body of Christ to minister to others. Likewise this category of gifts is not the emphasis of our Spiritual Gifts Discovery Conference either.