Summary: This sermon explores what the Bible says about spiritual gifts.
For the past three Sundays we have been looking at Romans 12:3-8, in which the Apostle Paul has been teaching us how Christians are to serve in the body of Christ. The first Sunday I gave you a general overview of the text. The second Sunday we looked at what the Bible has to say about ministry. Last week we examined how you can discover your S.H.A.P.E. for ministry. I hope you have taken the time to work through the booklet that I gave you. As I said last week, if you have any questions about that booklet, don’t hesitate to call me.
Today, I would like to look at what the Bible has to say about spiritual gifts.
So, let’s read Romans 12:3-8:
3For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:3-8)
G. Raymond Carlson once said, “Spiritual gifts are not toys with which to play; they are tools of the Spirit with which to do the Lord’s work effectively.” Every Christian has been given a spiritual gift, the purpose of which is to build up the Body of Christ. John Calvin put it this way, “Whatever ability a faithful Christian may possess, he ought to possess it for his fellow believers, and he ought to make his own interest subservient to the well-being of the church in all sincerity.”
So, to help you understand what Christian ministry is I am taking you through what we call Class 301, which is also called “Discovering My S.H.A.P.E. for Ministry.” Today, I want to look at what the Bible has to say about spiritual gifts.
I. Ten Truths about Spiritual Gifts
Let me begin with ten truths about spiritual gifts.
First, only believers have spiritual gifts. Paul talks about spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:7, where he says, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” Only believers, born again by the Spirit of God, receive spiritual gifts.
Second, every Christian has at least one spiritual gift. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:7, “I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.” Many Christians have more than one spiritual gift. For example, Paul had the gift of preaching, apostleship, and teaching (2 Timothy 1:11). However, many Christians don’t know what their spiritual gift is. If you don’t know what your spiritual gift is, pick up last week’s sermon and booklet, and you will have a tool that will help you discover what your spiritual gift is.
Third, no one receives all the spiritual gifts. Paul says in Romans 12: 6-8, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”
Fourth, no single spiritual gift is given to everyone. Paul asks in 1 Corinthians 12:29-30, “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?” Paul’s point is that no single spiritual gift is given to everyone.
Fifth, you cannot earn or work for a spiritual gift. That is the whole point of a gift. Gift are given; they are not received in response to work.
Sixth, the Holy Spirit decides what spiritual gift you get. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:11, “All these [spiritual gifts] are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” You don’t decide what spiritual gift you get; you discover what the Holy Spirit has given you.
Seventh, the spiritual gifts you are given are permanent. Paul says in Romans 11:29, “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” You don’t get a spiritual gift for a couple of years, then lose it, and get a different gift instead. Now, some people discover that they may use their gift in different ways. For example, some people enjoy teaching children for a season, but later find that they are better at teaching at adults. So, their focus shifts from children to adults, but they are still using the same spiritual gift of teaching.