Summary: Do you want to glorify God? No, I mean it, really in your heart, is that one of, if not your highest priority? Do you know one of the best ways to do it?
How many of you have ever gotten a Christmas gift, and that gift has never been used, it has been on your shelf, maybe even still in the box for years. That is poor stewardship, at least re-gift it to someone else.
Do you want to glorify God? No, I mean it, really in your heart, is that one of, if not your highest priority? Do you know one of the best ways to do it? Hear what it says in 1 Peter 4:10, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” What’s that, I am a steward of God’s grace? Are you telling me that the best way to glorify Him is to use the gifts that he has given me to serve others? Yes. Because that thought is completed in the next verse after listing some gifts, Peter says, do these things “in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”
Do you desire spiritual gifts (1 Co 12:31; 14:1)? Or are you just waiting for one to magically show, before you start doing ministry. “One day I’ll figure out what gift I have, if I even have one.” Please note that what 1 Co 12:7 says and remember that you can have more than one at a time and they may change over time as well.
Now there are essentially three kinds of spiritual gifts. There are ministerial gifts or gifts of service, and what we can call motivational gifts that can be found in Romans 12 and Ephesians 4. And there are manifestational gifts that we find in 1 Cor 12. These are actually the most numerous of the listed gifts in the Bible and this is where I want to focus today because we’ve touched on the others already in a previous message.
These are also the most controversial of the gifts, especially prophecy, healing/miracles, and speaking in tongues. So my hope today is to clarify these and also help you understand what we are to do with the gifts we are given.
First of all:
I. Where Do The Gifts Come From? (1 Cor 12:1-11)
1Cor verse 3, and all the way to verse 11 Paul goes to great lengths to tell us that these gifts come from the one and only Holy Spirit of God. That’s all I am going to say because I don’t want it complicated. You have no spiritual gifts other than those given to you by the Holy Spirit that dwells in you when you are saved by Jesus Christ.
There’s another very clear and simple answer to the question:
II. Why Are They Given? (1 Cor 12:7; Eph 4:12-16)
Verse 7 of 1 Cor 12, says they are given so we can help each other, and if you recall from Ephesians 4, they are to build up the body of Christ so all Christians can come to unity and maturity in Christ. If there were other reasons, I’m sure the Bible would tell us.
And when you hear these reasons, what if we are not using our gifts? We are far less effective, and the body will lack unity and maturity.
So if we put these first two points together, it can be summarized as, these are not your gifts. You don’t create them and you don’t use them for yourself. That’s why their called gifts.
OK, continuing on:
III. Who Are They Given To? (1 Cor 12:7, 27; Eph 4:7)
Ephesians 4:7 to each one of us, 1 Cor 12:7, to each of us, then verse 27, all of you together. “Wait a minute pastor, I don’t think I got one”. Oh yes you did, unless you’re not a believer. You can’t tell me you don’t have at least one of these gifts (mercy, service, teaching, hospitality etc. We should all be on our knees praying for at least one, especially if you really need like say mercy if you find forgiveness difficult.
Is it OK with you that you don’t believe you have one and aren’t using it in the body? It shouldn’t be OK. Someone died so you could have them and not using them is frankly an insult to His sacrifice.
Now there’s no need to say anymore about those first three points. Every believer has a gift, they are given to be used for others in the body of Christ, and they only come from the Holy Spirit.
I want to spend the rest of our time then looking at the gifts and how we are to apply them. So let’s start with:
IV. What Are The Gifts? (1 Cor 12:8-10, 28 & ch 14; Eph 4:11; Ro 12:8; 1 Pe 4:9)
There are a total of about 21 gifts mentioned in the New Testament and like I said I want to focus on the manifestational or what some may call the more charismatic gifts listed here in 1 Corinthians. In your bulletin the insert gives most of the gifts and a short description of them. The reason for focussing on these gifts is because I want to try to normalize these gifts that many Christians see as scary, or weird, and certainly difficult to confirm and discern as legitimate. And so we have kind of written them off.