Summary: What you don’t know can hurt you and certainly won’t help anyone else. The Apostle Paul said that he didn’t want us to be "ignorant" about our spiritual gifts. So why are we?
1. Overview and Introduction
a. Promise of Power – do you want a religion that is just that…a religion? Or do you want to experience the Supernatural power of God in daily life?
b. Would you like to experience the promise of Pentecost which isn’t found in works and the power of what we can do, but rather in faith and the power of what God can do through us?
c. God has a plan for each of us to experience first hand His power and supernatural working in our daily lives so that we make a eternal difference here in our world. Is that what you want?
i. Or are you willing to simply settle for just enough power, just enough of His grace and His Holy Spirit to get through life?
ii. Our lives will be petty and mundane without His power.
iii. Our lives will be self-serving and meaningless if all we want is enough of His power to help us just survive another meaningless day.
d. I believe that we have spent our spiritual capital on ourselves, we haven’t given it away as God has called us to…and as a result we are spiritually impoverished! Look around us and you will see two problems:
i. Too few Christians are involved in any kind of ministry within the local church.
1. They conceive of themselves as spectators rather than participants. These ‘spectators’ miss the joy of being actively involved in ministry and of seeing God work through them in the exercise of their spiritual gifts.
2. They have 100 reasons why they can’t do something but the truth is that they are consumers and not givers.
ii. Another problem is with those who are actively involved in the ministry of the local church, but who are not serving in a ministry utilizes their spiritual gifts.
1. Their dilemma is illustrated by the story of a certain sea captain and his chief engineer who were having an argument as to which one of them was the more important to the ship. Failing to agree, they resorted to the unique idea of swapping places. The chief ascended to the bridge, and the captain went into the engine room. After a couple of hours, the captain suddenly appeared on the deck covered with oil and soot.
2. “Chief!” he yelled, wildly waving aloft a monkey wrench. “You’ll have to come down here; I can’t make her go!”
3. “Of course you can’t,” replied the chief. “She’s aground!”
2. Scripture Analysis:
a. How many of you know pretty well what your spiritual gifts are…and are using them?
i. Joe tells me the last time our church did a spiritual gift assessment has been probably 7 years or so ago.
ii. How many of you were here 7 years ago for that experience?
b. Paul says something very poignant in 1 Cor 12:1 “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware.”
i. Paul is saying here that he does not want us to be unaware when it comes to our spiritual gifts.
1. He doesn’t want us to be “in the dark,” uninformed, without understanding, mistaken, without a clue.
2. We are not to be IGNORANT when it comes to our spiritual gifts!
1. 29% of all Christian adults - and 40% of younger Christian adults - have never heard of spiritual gifts
2. 69% of Christians have heard of spiritual gifts but do not know what their spiritual gift is
3. Are you one of them? Don’t feel bad, you are in good company and the church has failed you.
c. Why did Paul tell the church in Corinth that he didn’t want them to be ignorant or uninformed about spiritual gifts? I found a several reasons, a few of which are still true today:
i. The Corinthians had confused pagan worship with Christian worship.
ii. They thought spiritual gifts made them "more spiritual" than anybody else.
iii. They sought the gift and not the giver.
iv. They were misusing the spiritual gifts.
d. This leads us to the question, “Why is it important that you and I know our gift?”
i. The prominence of the subject spiritual gifts in Scripture.
1. One of the ways we can measure the importance of a principle or a doctrine is to determine the amount of space devoted to it in the Bible.
2. Subjects mentioned infrequently should not be regarded as crucial as those which are frequently mentioned.
3. Using this standard of measurement, the subject of spiritual gifts is a vital one, b/c spiritual gifts are addressed specifically in four major portions of Scripture:
a. 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14; Romans chapter 12; Ephesians chapter 4; and 1 Peter chapter 4.
b. In addition to these central passages, spiritual gifts are mentioned in passing in numerous places elsewhere in the Bible.