Summary: Fifth in a series of teachings on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. The Helper that Jesus said was to our "advantage" that He leave so that the Holy Spirit might come. This message explores the work of the Holy Spirit in giving spiritual gifts.
(This sermon began with an illustration where I shared frustrations over receiving a toaster for my birthday from my wife. . .which I didn’t actually receive. . .but provides illustrative points to how we handle the spiritual gifts we receive when the Holy Spirit enters our life.)
Opening Illustration - Being sent to my room as a five year-old after receiving a bow tie as a gift during my birthday party.
Transitional Illustration - The 2007 Birthday Toaster
So many problems with this gift -
- Not what I wanted
- Not a fancy enough version – one toaster even comes with an egg cooker and meat warmer
- Can’t even use what it has – “Pop Tarts” setting, but I’m not allowed to eat Pop Tarts
- Assumes a given job - namely, cooking my own breakfast
- Others will want to use it
- Has to be plugged in
- So, I’ve decided that I’m not going to sincerely thank my wife for it
- I just won’t open it
- Maybe I’ll hide it, until I can give it away - regift it.
Reveal truth of illustration - Debbie didn’t get me this for my birthday.
So now, switch the roles: Debbie is now the Holy Spirit & the toaster is my spiritual gift. . .or your spiritual gift.
Because this is what we know about this Holy Spirit, and His giving of gifts. 1 Corinthians 12 says this (read passage – verse 4 through 11).
So this is what we know about the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. . .
A. EVERYONE GETS THEM – SPIRITUAL BIRTHDAY PRESENTS. (v. 11)
B. THE HOLY SPIRIT DOES THE SHOPPING. (v. 11)
C. THEY ALL HAVE A GENERAL PURPOSE. (v. 7)
The general purpose is, for the common good of the body of Christ. Or as we say it in Network, let me hear it from my recent Network graduates. . .to glorify God, and to edify others. That’s the general purpose of all the spiritual gifts. But we also know. . .
D. THEY ALL HAVE A SPECIFIC PURPOSE.
One more thing we know. ..is that. . .
E. THEY ARE ALL GOOD!
How do we know? James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
God doesn’t know how to give bad gifts.
So, let’s switch roles, and examine, do you have a toaster from God? Instead of looking at my attitude at the beginning of the message, let’s examine our own attitudes during the application of the message. Instead of my handling of the receiving of a toaster, let’s look at our handing of receiving spiritual gifts from God. Are we very good at gettin?
Of course, to answer these questions, you have to ask yourself another question, what are my spiritual gifts? If you don’t know, and you have been at Stonewall for more then 3 months. . .it’s your own fault (plug Network). Nevertheless, see me, and I’ll help you discover them.
Ask yourself, what are my spiritual gifts? And then ask yourself, am I very good at gettin’ when it comes to spiritual gifts? In other words, do I. . .
1. COMPLAIN THAT THEY AREN’T WHAT I WANTED
Toaster – Wish list
Spiritually – Take the gift of giving? The gift of giving? Why that one? That means I have to give my stuff away? Why can’t I have healing? Now that would be cool, right? Which can often lead to the second question for how I am at gettin’. . .Do I. . .
2. WISH MY GIFTS WERE FANCIER
Toaster – Egg maker and meat warmer
Spiritually - How about the gift of intercession. Praying for people. Okay, maybe that is necessary, but why not miracles? Forget praying for them. What if I could actually fix their problems in the snap of a finger? Or do I. . .
3. THINK I CAN’T EVEN USE WHAT I HAVE
I guess this is kind of like the Wesleyan who is given the gift of interpretation of tongues. Not to mention the Wesleyan given the gift of tongues. You know, we think our gift is banned like the “Pop Tart” setting on the toaster. Ever think you have a gift that you can’t even use?
What about. . .Do I ever. . .
4. NOT LIKE THE JOB MY GIFT ASSUMES
Toaster – means I have to cook
Spiritually - If you have the gift of helps. . .what does that assume? It assumes you are going to be helpful, right? Well, ever not want to be helpful?
Here’s a big toaster complaint about spiritual gifts. . .
5. WHAT IF OTHERS WILL WANT TO USE IT