Summary: One of the great blessings Jesus has given to His Church and to us as individuals is the gifts of the Spirit. Discovering our Spiritual Gifts, there purpose and use.
Spiritual Gifts! What a fascinating subject!
One of the great blessings Jesus has given to His church and to us as individuals is the gifts of the Spirit. As it says in Eph. 4:7-8:
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.The simply meaning of this passage is that God has given each believer spiritual gifts by which to minister to the body of Christ.
Eph. 4:10-13 further tells us the purpose of these gifts and offices are "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ"
Each Spiritual Gift Has a Special Place in the Body of Christ. Every gift that God has placed in the body of Christ is important. Some gifts such as preaching, teaching, and prophesying may seem more important than others; but, God has given all of these gifts to build up the Body of Christ, His church. None of these gifts should be looked down upon or treated lightly.
Spiritual gifts are supernatural empowerment given by the Holy Spirit to the followers of Christ; so that, they can do the work of building up the body of Christ, and extend the Kingdom of God throughout the world. The Gifts of the Spirit" is no minor doctrine. The proper functioning of the gifts is critical to the building up of the body of Christ and to a healthy witness to the unsaved.
So, in this study, we’re going to examine spiritual gifts, each one’s function in depth, hoping to ascertain a clear understanding of its nature and present availability.
Our study is not going to be based on sensationalism, guesswork, wishful thinking, personal experience or the testimony of others; which are easily misinterpreted and often inaccurate or exaggerated. But, this study is going to be based solely on the source, the relevant passages in the Word of God.
1 Cor. 12:1
1Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant….
1 Corinthians chapter 12 is the most popular and well known passage in the Bible that addresses and speaks to spiritual gifts. And, from the Apostle Paul’s opening, “Now concerning spiritual gifts”, it’s apparent he was addressing various questions he had received from the Church regarding spiritual gifts, which he proceeds to answer. He tells them, he doesn’t want them ignorant (or uninformed) about spiritual gifts.
The very first thing Paul makes clear, is that, spiritual gifts are not the same as innate, natural talents, like a beautiful singing voice, athletic ability, artistic ability to draw, etc. But, rather they are empowerment that the Holy Spirit gives to a believer to minister to the body in ways that are not possible by mere natural effort apart from the Holy Spirit.
1 Cor. 12:4-6
4Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all….
As believers, we are stewards of the gifts of God (1 Peter 4:10). "10As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." So, every believer can expect to receive some spiritual gift from the Holy Spirit for the purpose of edifying the body of Christ, the Church. So, we see that spiritual gifts are for the sole purpose of strengthening or building up the body of Christ or Church.
So, let’s begin by addressing question of when does one receive their spiritual gift or gifts?
Though, most assume that spiritual gifts are given at the time of spiritual birth (the moment of salvation), the exact timing of the giving of spiritual gifts is not specifically mentioned in scripture. Spiritual gifts can be experienced immediately following conversion, but are often received at various moments subsequent conversion.
In 1 Timothy 4:14 and 2 Timothy 1:6 we see spiritual gifts given sometime after conversion. "14Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery"; and "6Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands."
These two passage indicate that Timothy had received spiritual gifts some later period following his conversion.
It also tells us in 1 Cor. 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts…. Now, why would Paul tell them to strongly desire the "greater" gifts if they already had been given all they would be given at the time of conversion, and there was no further opportunity of gaining these greater gifts? Therefore, this passage clearly implies that one can be granted a spiritual gift sometime after conversion, by seeking to develop that area in your walk with Him.