Summary: The church needs to understand what are the gifts, who is the Giver, and how the church fits into this
"No local congregation will be what it should be, what Jesus prayed that it would be, what the Holy Spirit gifted it and empowered it to be, until it understands spiritual gifts." John Mac Arthur
Contributed by: Brian La Croix
1. The giving of spiritual gifts to the church (Vs 7-10)
“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men." (Now this, "He ascended"; what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)”
First of all “grace was given according to the measure of Jesus’ gift.”
This is the basis of God’s distribution of spiritual gifts through the church: grace, the free unmerited giving of God. No one deserves or has earned spiritual gifts.
Just as our salvation is by grace. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works lest any man should boast.”
Twice, in Ephesians 3 Paul makes mention of God’s grace this way. 3:2, “Surely, you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you.” And 3:7, “I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of His power.”
We sang about God’s Amazing Grace this morning.
The gifts were given by Jesus through the Holy Spirit.
Jesus made it plain, saying that when the Holy Spirit would come, He will testify of Me (John 15:26), and He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you (John 16:14). The ministry of the Holy Spirit is not to promote Himself or any man, but to glorify and represent Jesus. We can therefore trust that the true ministry of the Holy Spirit will be according to the nature of Jesus.
Who will give the gifts?
“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)
That is backed up by what Paul says in Ephesians 4:4-6 when he says, “There is one body (which is the church), and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when you were called - one Lord (Jesus), one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all and in all.”
In 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 Paul goes on to list nine spiritual gifts and goes on to explain the administration of those gifts in Romans 12:4-8. There is indeed a diversity of gifts! Yet, there is only one Giver, who works through the diverse gifts. Let’s look at them.
“To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, (which I believe to be languages),
And to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit. And he gives them to each one, just as he determines.” And they serve the purpose of edifying the body of Christ, the members, and bringing honor and glory to Him.
In our text today he mentions this. Ephesians 4 beginning with verse 11, “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastor/teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the Body of Christ might be built up.” I just read from 1 Corinthians 12:7-11.
The gifts are diverse, the ministries are different, and the activities are diverse: but it all the same Spirit, the same Lord, the same God doing the work through the gifts, the ministries, and the activities.
Ministries probably has in mind the different "gifted offices" in the church.
The Greek word for activities is energemata, where we get our words energy, energetic, and energize from. It is a word of active, miraculous power.
What is the difference between gifts, ministries, activities, and the manifestation of the Spirit (verse seven)? All of these are gifts. Some gifts are ministries, standing offices or positions in the church. Some gifts are activities, miraculous events or outpourings at a particular time and place (such as the manifestation of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:7).