Summary: Truths About Spiritual Gifts
A. INTRODUCTION: Four Truths About Your Spiritual Gifts
Key Verse: "Every man hath his proper gift from God"
(I Cor. 7:7). The new Contemporary English Version (Thomas Nelson’s version of the Living Bible) translates it, "God has given different gifts to each of us." Four truths from this verse:
1. Every believer has a spiritual gift. There is no such thing as a little believer without any gifts who just comes to church and loves God. Peter teaches, "As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another" (I Peter 4:10 NKJV).
2. "Proper" means "fitted." When you buy shoes, the salesman tells you, "We’ve got a shoe to perfectly fit your size that will perfectly suit your style of life."
a. God has a perfect gift for all people that perfectly fits their lifestyle.
b. Your gifts are unique to you. Your gifts are different from others "having then gifts differing" (Romans 12:6).
3. A gift is an ability to do God’s work. In the parable of the property owner, he gave different amounts of money for investment before he went on a trip. The property owner determined the amount of money he would risk on a worker, "To each according to his own ability" (Matt. 25:15 NKJV). God gives us gifts according to our ability.
4. Your gifts come from God. I want to read from an expanded version how God has given these gifts to His people. "There are different gifts, given to each by the Holy Spirit. There are different ways each person gets these gifts, even though the same Lord gave them to us. There are different uses of these gifts in the lives of people, but it is the same God who works through these gifts" (I Cor. 12:4-6, expanded translation).
First, everyone has gifts.
Second, the gifts are unique to each.
Third, the gift is an ability.
Fourth, the gift comes from God
B. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU USE YOUR GIFTS?
1. You will have greater results in service when you use your giftedness. The servants were given talents (remember a talent was an amount of money in Bible times but is interpreted as a human talent). When the servant used his five talents faithfully, he was rewarded with five more. "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things" (Matt. 25:21).
2. When you use your gifts, you will be obedient. The parable of the pounds also teaches the proper use of our assets for God. "He (the landowner) called his ten servants and delivered them ten pounds and said unto them, occupy till I come" (Luke 19:13). When we "occupy" we are obedient to God.
If you are busy doing anything for God . . . good. If you are busy doing your gift . . . better. If you are developing and doing your gift . . . best.
3. You will lose the gifts you don’t use. I call God’s spiritual law, "Use ’em or lose ’em." This is a law of nature, if you don’t use an arm or leg, you’ll lose its use. Tie an arm to your side with adhesive tape and eventually lose it. If you have a farm and don’t plow, plant and tend it constantly, you’ll lose that ground to weeds and trees.
So God commands, "neglect not the gift that is in thee"
(I Tim. 4:14). The landowner took talents from those who didn’t use them, "thou wicked and slothful servant, . . . thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and that at my coming, I should have received mine own with interest. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents" (Matt. 25:26-28).
4. When you use your gifts, you will grow more gifts. When you faithfully use your spiritual gifts, you will get more gifts you don’t have, or you will grow in the effectiveness of your present gifts.
a. You can get other gifts. "Desire earnestly the best gifts" (I Cor. 12:31). Paul wrote to the Romans that he wanted to come see them and help them get some spiritual gifts they didn’t have. "I long to see you that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift" (Romans 1:11).
b. You can grow your present gifts. This means you can become more effective. Paul was not satisfied with Timothy’s use of his gifts, "Stir up the gift of God which is in thee" (II Tim. 1:6). This is a picture of stirring up the coals of fire to make it hotter.
5. When you don’t use your gifts, you feel guilty. The man who was given one talent didn’t use it. He told his boss, "I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth" (Matt. 25:23). He didn’t do what he was supposed to do. He wasted the talent, so it was taken from him.