Spiritual Gifts 101
Text: 1 Cor. 12:1-11
1. Read 1 Cor. 12:1-11
2. Illustration: The Detroit News carried a humorous little story about Bill Cosby’s aged mother that illustrates how useless gifts are unless they are used. She had been raised in poverty, and the family had very little money as Bill was growing up. As a result, she never had modern conveniences and had gotten accustomed to doing things the hard way. When the children were old enough to get jobs, they often gave their mother appliances as Christmas gifts to make her life easier. But she wouldn’t use them. Bill especially remembered that after a while his mother had two or three toasters. But she left them in their boxes and put them on top of the refrigerator. At breakfast she would still do the toast in the oven. If the boys protested, she would say, "Leave them on the refrigerator. I’m used to doing it the old way." Daily Bread, March 4, 1990.
3. Why don’t people want to use new things?
a. They don’t want to change.
b. They are stubborn.
c. They are afraid.
4. F.D. R. once said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." I think this is one reason that Christians do not pursue using spiritual gifts: they are afraid. However...
Proposition: We need not fear spiritual gifts, but rather embrace them.
Transition: Paul tells us that when it concerns spiritual gifts we should...
I. Be Informed (1-3)
A. I Do Not Want You to be Ignorant
1. In order to understand 1 Corinthians, and more specifically, what Paul says about spiritual gifts, we must first understand what the nature of this book is.
a. A letter from Paul to the Corinthian Church
b. He wrote it because of a letter they wrote him in which they asked him a series of questions.
c. One of those questions concerned the use of spiritual gifts in community worship.
2. So Paul begins this chapter by saying, "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:"
a. The best way to deal with spiritual gifts is not close your eyes, stick your head in the sand, and hope they go away.
b. We need to know what they are, why God gives them, and how He expects us to use them.
3. That was the problem with the Corinthians: they were ignorant.
a. Confused pagan worship with Christian worship.
b. Thought spiritual gifts made them "more spiritual" than anybody else.
c. Sought the gift and not the giver.
B. Spiritual Gifts Are Not Weird
1. Perhaps the biggest reason that they is so much controversy over spiritual gifts in the church is that people don’t understand them
a. They either think they’re weird, or...
b. They misuse them
2. Illustration: Grumpy Dwarf, from the movies Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, on the "wicked-wiles" of females: "I don’t know what they are, but I’m aginn ’um!"
3. People think they are weird because they do not understand them.
a. I used to say that I would never own a cell phone or a computer, but now I can’t live without them.
b. Once we understand that they are gifts from God intended to help the church, we see them not as weird but blessings from God.
Transition: The next thing that Paul tells us about spiritual gifts is that we should...
II. Be Inclusive (4-6)
A. Diversities of Gifts
1. Paul tells us "There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit."
a. äéáίñåóéòb, åùò f: a state of difference in the nature of objects or events, with the implication of significant variety - —Louw & Nida: NT Greek-English Lexicon
b. Not just variety, but significant variety!
c. They were focused on one gift (tongues), but God had given a variety of gifts to give them.
d. But it was the same Holy Spirit that gives these gifts. The gifts are different, but the source is the same.
2. Paul further says that "There are differences of (administrations - KJV) ministries, but the same Lord."
a. äéáêïíίáb, áò f: the role or position of serving - ’ministry, task.’ —Louw & Nida: NT Greek-English Lexicon
b. We can’t all be the church secretary.
c. We can’t all be the Sunday School superintendent.
d. We can’t all teach the adult S.S. class.
e. We all have a role to serve.
f. But there is only one Jesus!
3. In verse 6, Paul tells us, "And there are diversities of activities (operations - KJV), but it is the same God who works all in all."
a. ἔñãïía, ïõ n; ἐíέñãçìá, ôïò n: that which is done, with possible focus on the energy or effort involved - ’act, deed.’ —Louw & Nida: NT Greek-English Lexicon
b. There is variety in the body because there is a lot to be done.
c. It requires everyone doing his part in order to get the job done.
B. There Is More Than Just One
1. Illustration: Years ago I played in a band, and we rehearsed on Saturday evenings. After we finished rehearsing we would always go out for pizza. After several months of this I got tired of pizza, and I love pizza!
2. If all you do is the same thing over and over it gets boring! God doesn’t want our worship of Him to be boring.
3. That’s why God gives us variety in gifts. He didn’t just give us tongues, but He gives us a variety of other gifts.
4. So we should seek a variety of gifts, because we need a variety of gifts.
Transition: God give us variety in our worship!
III. Be Incorporated (8-11)
A. For the Profit of All
1. Now Paul gets to his main point on his teaching on spiritual gifts - they are for the common good.
2. First, he says, "the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one."
a. The Holy Spirit gives gifts to all of us.
b. Acts 2:17 ’And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
c. He is no longer selective as to whom he uses - he uses all of us!
3. Then Paul says that these gifts are for "the profit of all."
a. He doesn’t give it to us so that we can feel important.
b. He doesn’t give it to us so that people know how spiritual we are.
c. He gives gifts to build up and encourage the church.
4. He gives us:
a. A word of wisdom: a supernatural ability to see how to handle a particular situation (Hamar, 415).
b. A word of knowledge: a supernatural ability "to apply wisdom to life." —Bible Knowledge Commentary
c. Faith: not believing faith, but supernatural faith for a particular situation.
d. Gifts of healings and the working of miracles
e. He gives us prophecy, discerning of spirits, and tongues and interpretation.
5. He does all of this to build up the body and encourage the saints.
B. Be Used of God
1. He gives each one of us gifts, and if we don’t use them we are hurting the body.
2. He gives us supernatural abilities to build up and encourage the body, and if we do not use them we are hurting the church.
3. Too often we come to church with the attitude of "God use somebody else."
4. Our attitude should be God use me today.
a. God give me a word for somebody today.
b. God give me a prophecy today that will encourage someone who is hurting today.
c. God let me lay hands on someone who is sick that they may be healed.
d. God give me a message in tongues and interpretation.
e. God use me today!
Transition: Will you be used of God today?
1. Proposition: We need not fear spiritual gifts, but rather embrace them.
2. Illustration: If I gave you $100, what would you do with it?
3. We have a choice; we can take the gifts that the Spirit gives us and use them for the good of the church or we can tell God "no thanks!"