Summary: We need not fear spiritual gits, but embrace them.
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