Summary: This sermon is about spiritual gifts the nature of them and what they are for. It gives 5 suggestions for finding out what your gift is

God’s Gift To You

1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Primary Purpose: To examine what spiritual gifts are and how to discern what yours is.

Over the next few weeks our nominating committee and church will be selecting new leaders, deacons, committee members and teachers. In thinking about this I wanted to say a word to you about spiritual gifts. God has given each of us spiritual gifts that He desires for us to use for His glory. By identifying what your spiritual gifts is you can go a long way to discerning what area of ministry or need you can fill in the body of Christ. One of the most extensive passages about this is in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11.

I want you to remember that God has a ministry uniquely designed for you. Rick Warren has said in his book “Purpose Driven Life” that there are 2 main problems when thinking about spiritual gifts. One is called “gift-envy”. This means that we compares our abilities and gifts to others. In doing that, we might feel tempted to feel jealous of others or feel dissatisfied with what God has given us. The second problem is “gift-projection”. This happens when you expect other people to have your gift, do things as you do them and to feel the same way you do about that subject with the same passion. This just isn’t going to happen. Your gift is unique to you. Notice what Ephesians 2:10 says, that we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works. God has prepared these works ahead of time just for you. This is your assignment for God.

Another thing we can say about this giftedness is that the Holy Spirit is the one who determines what is given to whom. Notice in vs.11 it is given individually “just as he wills”. This then is according to the will of God and not your will or mine. Paul describes these gifts by using three different words in verses 4,5 & 6. The first word he uses is gifts. The greek word for gifts is charisma. It means a favour with which one receives without any merit of his own, the gift of faith, knowledge, holiness and virtue. By saying it is a gift of this kind Paul is stressing that God is giving it to us based on his desire to bless us and allowing us to join Him in His work. We do not deserve this gift. The gift is not an earned wage

The other word Paul uses is ministries in vs.5. The word here is diakonia (dee-ak-on-ee-ah) which emphasizes service, minstering to others in practical ways, those who help meet needs by either collecting or distributing of charities. The people who have these gifts are often the behind the scenes people. These people the church could not function without, but often they don’t get the spotlight. They make everything work behind the scenes and would probably feel embarrased if the spotlight was on them.

Another word that Paul uses in vs.6 is effects. The KJV uses the word “operations” instead of effects. The greek word there is energema (en-er-ay-mah). This basically means that the inner workings of the Spirit are not always the same, but it is the same God, one God who causes all to happen.

2. Notice that these gifts are given for the benefit of others vs.7. Your spiritual gift is not for you. Your gift is for the building up of the body. It is different than a talent. Because we each have special gifts to contribute then to the body when some decide not to use our gifts then the whole body of Christ suffers for it. Paul compared the body of Christ later in this chapther to the likeness of a physical body. Each organ or system has a unique task given it for the common good. The stomach, lungs, heart and other organs all work together. If one stops functioning properly then it can cause immediate long term problems. Compare it to a engine. Each part is important to make the car run. The belts, hoses, spark plugs, radiator, filters etc. If one of those parts stops working your going to be sitting on the side of the road going nowhere fast. Likewise, we need each other. Every person is vital to the health of the church. When people decide they won’t use their gifts it ends up hurting us all.

3. The greatest gifts are ones that edify others. The Corinths were caught up in speaking in tongues and felt that was very important. They felt that that was proof that they were spiritual. Paul said later in 1 Corinthians 14:18-19

“I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all; however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind, that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.”

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