Summary: This message deals with the gifts of the Spirit, and their use in the church.
1 Cor. 12:1-31
Understanding The Gifts Of The Spirit
The church at Corinth was a church filled with people who had Spiritual gifts !
1 Cor 1:5-7 "That in everything ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
1. They were enriched.
The word "enriched" has the meaning of "wealth". Not wealth from a material perspective, but rich as far as the Spiritual gifts are concerned !
2. They were educated.
They possessed all kinds of knowledge...both in the Spiritual sense, and in the scientific sense.
3. They were eloquent.
The word "utterance" refers to the ability to speak !
Yet in spite of their spiritual gifts.....................
4. They were carnal !
5. They were confused !
I heard about one preacher that always testified that God had called him to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out devils. On one occasion he got in a back way and said, "God has called me to heal the sick, cast out the dead, and raise the devil."
There was alot of confusion at Corinth about Spiritual gifts, and there continues to be today !
6. They were contentious !
1 Cor 3:1;3 "And I brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meant: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men ?
How could a church with so much potential be filled with so many problems ? The answer I believe lies in their misuse, and misunderstanding of their spiritual gifts ! Pride was a major problem with them. Five times in Corinthians Paul refers to them being "Puffed up". They were arrogant, and boastful of their spiritual gifts, and argued about which one was of most value !
In this present church age, the problem still exists. There is still much misunderstanding, misinformation, misuse, and neglect of use regarding the gifts of the Spirit !
In our text tonight Paul addresses the church concerning spiritual gifts saying that he would not have them to be ignorant of spiritual gifts. He then reminds them of their past lives when they as gentiles were carried away with dumb idols.
The Charismatic movement is now the fastest growing segment of Christianity. David Barrett of Regents University estimates that there are 20 million charismatics in the United States and as many as 460 million world-wide.1
As believers we need to understand........
I. The Endowment Of The Gifts Vs 4-7
a. determined by the Spirit.
They are not received through effort.
They are not received through education.
They are not received through emotions.
V7 "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal."
Manifestation = exhibition, evidence, bestowment
b. distributed to every Saint.
"to every man" Not in the sense of every person alive...but to the saints of God. Paul is speaking to the church, and providing information concerning spiritual gifts, and there purpose. This is not directed towards lost people
V13 "For by one Spirit are we (all) baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been (all) made to drink into one Spirit.
Rom. 8:9 "............Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
1 Cor 12:11 "But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will."
Eph 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ
c. desired by the Saints.
1 Cor 12:31 "But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way."
1 Cor 14:1 "Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophecy."
The contrast in Paul, and present day Pentecostals........
Paul preferred the gift of prophecy over that of tongues. 14:5
1 Cor 14:12 "Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church."
II. The Examination Of The Gifts. Vs. 8-11
There is listed in the writings of Paul three different lists of Spiritual gifts. One is found in our text. One is found in Romans 12:6-8, and the other in Ephesians 4:11-12 In looking at these lists we will develop some understanding of the Spiritual gifts. Not every gift is listed in the different lists. The lists vary according to the gifts that God had given to each of the individual churches. The point is that God will gift each local church with what it needs to mature, and minister. Some of the gifts listed are permanent. They are still at work today while some of the gifts of the Spirit are no longer in operation today !