Summary: All believers should discover and use the spiritual gifts God has given them. Spiritual gifts are given for the benefit of God’s Kingdom.
What is the best gift you’ve ever received? For me, I’ll never forget Christmas when I was in 4th grade. When I went out to the living room – leaning on it’s kickstand was a beautiful silver univega ten-speed bicycle. I’d been dreaming of it and finally I had it! I can still remember going for a bike ride on that crisp December afternoon with my Dad on my new bike. I rode that bike until I was through college! It was a great bike!
Now, what is the best gift you’ve ever received from God? Most of us would probably say “salvation” – and indeed that’s true – our salvation in Christ is the greatest gift we could ever be given. But did you know that God gives more than just salvation to His disciples? He actually gives gifts to each Christian for a specific purpose in His Kingdom. These are known as “spiritual gifts”.
In chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians, Paul informs the Corinthian church about these spiritual gifts, and gives them instruction on what some of them are, and why God gives them to us.
In our ongoing study of “Real Life Christianity” in 1 Corinthians, we’re going to spend the next 4 weeks taking a look at Spiritual Gifts. My hope is that each person in our church will discover the ways that God has gifted them for ministry, and will then know the joy of using those gifts for the benefit of the Kingdom of God.
Let’s turn to 1 Corinthians 12 now…
1Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant….
4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
7Now to each one the manifestation (appearing, revealing, expression) of the Spirit is given for the common good.
8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
1. Spiritual gifts are given uniquely to each Christian. (v. 1-11)
“given to each one” (v. 7)
this means each person has one or more gifts. There are no “benchwarmers” in the body of Christ. Everyone has been given something to do.
“given for the common good” (v. 7)
This shows the purpose of the gifts. They are not for your personal benefit. They are for the common good. You were meant to use your spiritual gifts to make a difference in this world!
1Pet. 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
“he gives them to each one, just as he determines” (v. 11)
As Paul has listed he obviously makes the point that not everyone has the same gifts, and no one person has all the gifts. In his infinite wisdom, God knows which spiritual gifts should be given to which individuals, and he gives them accordingly.
ILLUS: Sometimes I feel as a father than I need to be totally fair with my own children. If I give a certain thing to one I feel like I need to give the other child the same thing. But that’s not always possible – and it’s not always good. It’s really far better for my kids if I give them gifts that they will really enjoy because of their unique personality. For instance Ryan loves animals and nothing is better for him than a book full of pictures and info about animals. Bethany loves to do things with her hands and the best thing for her is a craft to do.
God does the same with us. He knows us infinitely better than we even know ourselves, and he gives spiritual gifts to each of us, not in fairness or equality, but according to who we are and what he sees we would enjoy and be fruitful in.
TRANS:This idea that not everyone gets the same gifts can sometimes bring feelings of jealousy or envy – but what we’ve got to learn is that we’re all a part of the same team –and that’s what Paul instructs the Corinthians in the next few paragraphs, starting with verse 12.
12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.