Summary: Exactly what does the Bible mean when it speaks of a Spiritual Gift?
I heard a story about 3 sons who left home & went out to make their mark upon the world & did quite well. One day the sons talked about the different ways they were able to pay back their elderly mother for all of her generous sacrifices.
1. The 1st son said, “I built a big house for our mother.”
2. The 2nd son said, “I bought her a new Cadillac + got someone to be mom’s personal chauffer.”
3. The 3rd son said, “You remember how our mother enjoys reading the Bible. Now she can’t see very well. So I purchased for her a remarkable parrot that recites the entire Bible. It took the elders in the church 12 yrs to teach him. Mom just has to name the chapter & verse & the parrot can recite it.”
Shortly thereafter, their mother sent out 3 short notes of appreciation:
1. Milton, she wrote, “the house you built is so large, I live in 1 room, but have to clean the whole house.”
2. Gerald, she wrote, “I am too old to travel. I stay at home most of the time, so I rarely use the Cadillac, and that driver you hired = he is so rude, such a pain”
3. “But Donald,” she wrote, “that little chicken you sent = was absolutely delicious!”
Today we are going to talk about those unique gifts, that God specifically gives each of us, upon our conversion to Christ = Bible calls them ‘Spiritual Gifts’
I. So, exactly what does the Bible mean when it speaks of a Spiritual Gift?
Paul writes in I Corinthians 12: 1 “…regarding your question about the special abilities-gifts the Spirit gives us, I don’t want you to misunderstand this.”
A. 1st, Spiritual Gifts are NOT...
1. To be confused w/the FRUITS of the Spirit as mentioned in Galatians 5: 22: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, & self control. [next week]
2. Spiritual Gifts are NOT equivalent to personality types or profiles such as being a Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Choleric, or Melancholy
3. Spiritual Gifts are NOT naturally given abilities we received @ birth
God’s word makes a clear distinction between a natural ability & a spiritual gift:
4. God deeply values natural ability:
a. Exodus 31: 6 – 11= craftsmanship God says, “I have given special skill to all the naturally talented craftsmen so they can make all the things I have instructed you to make: the Tabernacle itself.”
b. I Samuel 17: 49 – 50a = use of the sling Bible says, “Reaching into his shepherd’s bag & taking out a stone, he hurled if from his sling & hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, & and Goliath stumbled & fell face downward to the ground. So David triumphed over the Philistine giant w/only a stone & sling.”
c. I Chronicles 6: 31 – 32a = musical ability Bible says, “David assigned the following men to lead the music at the house of the Lord after he put the Ark there. They ministered w/music there at the Tabernacle.”
B. However = Spiritual Gifts ARE given by God at re-birth
1. Upon your confession that Jesus is your Lord & Savior.
2. Every Christ-follower is given at least 1 spiritual gift.
C. Original definition of Spiritual Gifts...
1. The word “gifts” in the original language is “charismata;” it comes from the same root word as the word grace = charis
2. [Literally], ‘Spiritual Gifts’ are your “grace capacity” given by God, to make other persons lives better in Jesus’ name!
II. So, what is the actual purpose of having a ‘Spiritual Gift?’
A. 2 scriptures that will help answer this for us:
• 1st = (R) I Thessalonians 3: 1 – 5 or p. 906 in pew Bible
• The text is very clear that ‘Spiritual Gifts’ are intended for strengthening others ; that God has given each of us specific gift in order to ‘give courage or to strengthen’ others who may be weary from being beaten down by the enemy in their faith!
• To strengthen someone by a ‘Spiritual Gift’ means to help their faith not give way as easily when trouble enters their life.
• Bible is very clear ~ that we are to give away our ‘Spiritual Gifts;’ they are not intended to be hoarded ~ that God intends each of us to use our unique gifts to strengthen the faith of others who are struggling – being beaten down.
God designed ‘Spiritual Gifts’ intentionally so that we would need each other
1. Counter cultural = b-c we have been conditioned since childhood to equate maturity w-independence.
2. II Corinthians 12: 9 says, “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness”