Summary: Using the gifts God has given us can draw us closer to Him.
How to have a personal Relationship with Jesus Christ August 19, 2007
Relating to God through Spiritual Gifts
Over the past few months we’ve been doing this series called. “How To Have a Personal Relationship With Jesus.” We’ve looked at how to start the relationship; how to talk to God, how to recognize God’s voice; the Holy Spirits role in our relationship; how to hear his voice through scripture, and in worship; in creation & life circumstance. Today I want to talk about how we can relate to God through using our spiritual gifts.
What are Spiritual Gifts?
Simply put, spiritual gifts are gifts given to the church by the Holy Spirit!
There are three lists of some of these gifts in the New Testament, we just read the one in 1 Corinthians 12. Because the lists are not all the same, Bible scholars feel that they were never meant to be a complete comprehensive list, the there are more things that the Spirit might give that are not on the list!
In a questionnaire called “Finding your Spiritual gifts, Peter Wagner lists 25 gifts that he finds in the scripture.
If you are a Christian, you have the Holy Spirit and if you have the Holy Spirit, you have one or more spiritual gifts.
Some gifts are obvious, like the gift of tongues or words of knowledge, but others might be a little lest obvious to the person with the gift – things like helps or encouragement. You might say, “well, that is just what I do, or that is just who I am.” Spiritual gifts are things that you do for other people that impact them spiritually. Spiritual gifts also often connect both others and your self with God.
There are times that God takes something that you were good at before you became a Christian and puts his power behind it – so you may always have been a good communicator, but now when you communicate God’s truth, people are impacted and turn to God! You may always have been an encouraging person, but now your encouragements go deep into people’s souls…
There are other times that God will give gifts that are out of the blue – like healing, prophesy, tongues, preaching or teaching. My father grew up with a bad stutter & it would disappear when he sang in church and when he preached. The stutter was all but gone by time I came around, but it began to go as he exercised the gifts that God gave him.
What are they given for?
The passages that speak about the gifts of the Spirit are really about two things – ministry in the church and unity in the church.
The Gifts of the Spirit that God has given me are not actually given to me – they are given to the church through me! The Gifts of the Spirit that God has given you are not actually given to you – they are given to the church through you!
We are often times so individualistic in our relationship with God that we talk about the gift God has given me as “My” gift. I know that is had to say because it does not flow, but it is not my gift – it is the church’s gift given through me!
God has given every Christian spiritual gifts to be used to help the rest of the Church to grow and come closer to God.
The gift he has given you is like a jar of candy he has given you and asked you to pass it out to the other people in church. What do you think he would say if you decide to go and sit in a corner and eat it all yourself!
All of the passages about the gifts of the Spirit are more about unity than they are about the gifts. Paul uses the gifts as an argument for God’s desire for unity in the church. “God wants you to be unified – you can tell because he gave such a diversity of gifts so that you would know that you need each other!
Even the passage that speaks of the leaders that God gives as gifts to the church speaks about unity:
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
It is a sad thing that the church has often used the gifts as an excuse for disunity rather than allowing them to bring unity. We do the exact opposite of what Paul says by saying that some of the gifts are not needed or valid today! Paul says, “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.