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.