Summary: If you are sealed by the Spirit then you are gifted by God to help the body grow in Christ. This is an introduction to a study on the gifts of the Spirit discussing their source, significance, and stewardship of the gifts.
Intro: Ephesians 4:8 quotes Psalm 68:18 which says “You received gifts from men.” Paul is saying something that would have been understood by people in His day. You gave gifts to men. Paul is using this under the idea of a King who has conquered his enemy coming back into the city with His enemies strapped to his chariot with the spoils of war in tow behind. The king would go to his holy mountain receive the gifts in order to distribute them to his people. Jesus didn’t just conquer he conquered through death. There was a great cost involved in Jesus appropriate the right to distribute gifts to us by way of the gift of the Holy Spirit. It cost God everything to give us our gifts.
Wayne Barber made a very true statement on his study of this passage, “Until we are free in His Spirit, empowered with His might, then the church is not operating.”
So what does it mean to be free in His Spirit, empowered with His might? It means understanding if you have received Jesus as your Savior and Lord and have the indwelling Spirit of Christ in you he gave you a Spiritual Gift. Every believer in Jesus Christ has at least one Spiritual gift that is to be used to the glory of God and the good of the body of Christ.
Over the next few weeks we will examine 4 key passages that give insight and instruction for us and spiritual gifts. The primary goal of this study is not to get you to take a church “job.” The primary goal is for you to see the magnificent way Jesus designed the church as His earthly body continuing His ministry on earth. You should experience Jesus in a fresh way as you see Him work through others spiritual gifts. You should get a renewal of joy as you allow Jesus to minister through you as you exercise the spiritual gift He gave you.
The gifts the Holy Spirit gives are focused on keeping the Body of Christ God, more specifically Christ and cross centered. There is a revival today of the spiritualism that Paul and the early believers lived in. If the practice of our gifts is doing anything other than lifting up Jesus and loving our brother and sister then it is probably not of God.
I. The source of the gifts
1 Corinthians 12.11 “But one and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as He wills.” The Holy Spirit gives us at least one gift when He seals us. It is the Holy Spirits activity in our lives. This is part of our spiritual surrender and worship. Romans 12.1,2 tell us to present ourselves as living sacrifices holy and acceptable to God. Paul speaks in the following verses of the various gifts that each member of the body of Christ is given. You will often find that these gifts are not the natural tendency of your personality. They instead are the outgrowth of the Spirits work in remaking you in the image of Jesus Christ.
In Corinthians and Romans Paul makes it clear that we are to love our neighbor. Why? Because the gifts will one day cease when we stand before Jesus. However love never ends because God is love. When the fruit and gifts are the spirit are operating in our life it is only because we are surrendered to the activity of the Holy Spirit.
II. The significance of the gifts
1 Corinthians 12:1 -2 “What I want to talk about now is the various ways God's Spirit gets worked into our lives. This is complex and often mis-understood, but I want you to be informed and knowledgeable. Remember how you were when you didn't know God, led from one phony god to another, never knowing what you were doing, just doing it because everybody else did it? It's different in this life.”
Charter of the church of the Savior in Washington DC, “On the ship of the church there are no passengers; all are members of the crew.”
A) The importance of each gifted person
Ephesians 4.7 Christ gives each of us a gift. We are what God uses to make the ministry of Jesus continue on this earth. Staff members of the church are not the only people gifted for ministry. We are the ones gifted and supported to encourage, equip, and build you up in Christ so that you will recognize your gift and use it for the Glory of God. It is this way that God creates a symphony that harmonizes all its gifts to reveal the person of Jesus Christ.
B) The importance of each gift
Paul’s theme in Ephesians 4 is unity. He is saying the very reason that we have different gifts is for unity not uniformity of the body. It takes each gift in operation to strengthen the body and fully reveal the beauty of Jesus. There is a unique contribution that Jesus gifted you to bring to this body of believers. If you don’t exercise your gift you are missing out on joy and holding out on the body. The gifts are not meant to contradict each other but to complement and bring a harmony of service.