This is the manuscript from the sermon I preached at West Bradenton Southside Campus this Sunday 3/15/20.
For the past five weeks, we have been in our series entitled “The Holy Spirit”. In this series I have talked about how the Spirit plays a significant role in the transformative life of the believer and in the church. I began the series with a general introduction to the Holy Spirit and then we spent three weeks in the Gospel of John and looked at Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit and last week we looked at the Holy Spirit in both the Old and New Testament. I talked about the Holy spirit was not an afterthought or a remedy to a potential problem in God’s plan of salvation. The Holy Spirit, as we have seen, has and always will be eternal, the third person of the Trinity, and given for God’s glory and our benefit.
The overall goal of this series to help us become a people and a church that abides in and is empowered by the Holy Spirit. With this goal in mind it is inevitable that today we tackle the subject of spiritual gifts. I have talked with many people over the years and I have found that many people are either curious, apprehensive/scared, or mystified/unclear about spiritual gifts. Many are curious because the idea of possessing a spiritual gift sounds exciting and they want to use this gift for God’s glory, which is healthy and biblical. Some are apprehensive or scared because when/if they discover their gift it may not be one of the “big ones” or they are just plain afraid that when they discover their gift something freaky might happen to them and they turn into a full-blown charismatic. They may be mystified or unclear because many people don’t know their gift, or better yet don’t know how to discover their gift and some wonder if they even have one.
My prayer and hope is that this message will help dispel any apprehension, fear or confusion concerning Spiritual gifts. One thing I cannot do is tell you what YOUR gift is. That is part of the journey… This is a journey of discovery and my prayer is for you is to discover the gift God has given to you and that you use it for His glory, for the common good and the building up and edification of His Church.
Our text today is found in 1 Corinthians 12:1 – 11 (Read).
In this passage the author, Paul, is addressing some people in the church or Corinth who have the tendency to regard certain people and their gifts as more “spiritual” than others. People were elevating certain individuals in the church on pedestals because they claimed to have a certain gift (probably tongues). Paul tells them a little later in this passage that there are no superior people worthy of a superior gift. He says that all the gifts of the Spirit are from God and they are given for the benefit of all by one Spirit. The same goes for the Church today. There are no superior gifts of the Spirit… Sure some may seem to be a little more “glamorous” from the outside, but all are equally important.
Vs 1 – “Now concerning spiritual gifts…” For some reason every translation uses the word “gifts” after the word “spiritual.” However, this is not in the original texts. Some of you may notice in your Bible a number or Asterix by the word “gifts”. In other translations the word may italicized (which means it was added) and if you follow the reference to the bottom of the page you will notice the footnote will say something like “spiritual people” or “spiritual things”. Now Paul is basically saying “Concerning spiritual persons/things I do not want you to be uninformed.” In the King James version translate uninformed as ignorant, and the Greek word denotes being mistaken, in error or not recognizing.
Vs 2 – Many of the people in the Corinthian Church had pagan backgrounds the reality of spiritual manifestations was not something new. However, the manifestations they witnessed or were used to were not from God. The Corinthians were used to ungodly or demonic supernatural occurrences happening and Paul is telling them, “just because something supernatural is happening, this does not mean it is from God. In their former e Pagan days, they were easily tricked (even awed by a manifestation) and Paul does not want them to be ignorant concerning Spiritual things.
Vs. 3 – “Therefore”, or since this is the case you must know there is a way to test these supernatural occurrences to determine whether they are from God or from demons. Paul gives us essentially the same litmus test John gives his readers in I John. He says…
1. If a spirit attests that Jesus is accursed (loathed, assigned to damnation, dedicated to evil) then the Spirit is not from the Holy Spirit.
2.All who profess Jesus as Christ (Lord, Messiah) have the Holy Spirit in them. In fact, one can only make this confession through the Holy Spirit. If you confess Jesus as your Lord, savior and Messiah then you have the Spirit it in you.
Vs 4 – 7 - There are a variety of gifts, services and activities all given by one Spirit. The word “gifts” in verse 4 is the Greek word charisma which means “A favor with which one receives without merit of his own. Something given freely and generously.” It is similar to the word grace (charis)… God gives us gifts of grace. TO EACH is given the manifestation of the Holy Spirit for the common good. The Spirit manifests Himself in the life of each believer by imparting some gift. There is no believer who does not have a function to perform.
a.According to I Peter 4:10 we all have a gift and we should use it to serve others. “Based on the gift they have received, everyone should use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God.”
b.The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:11 – 12 that we are given gifts to “build up the body of Christ.”
The purpose of your gift is to serve one another, to edify the body, and to glorify God. So contrary to popular belief the gifts of the Spirit are not given so you can have an exciting experience, but they are given to glorify God, edify the church and serve one another (the common good).
Gifts of the Spirit
1 Corinthians 12: 8 – 11 - Paul explains spiritual gifts from 3 different perspectives: They are given freely by the Spirit’s grace, they are intended to be used in a Christ-like manner of servanthood, and they are the result of God’s power working in someone’s life.”
I am sure there are some listening today that have or are struggling with discovering their Spiritual gifts. My suggestion to you (if you are truly seeking your gift) is to begin by praying and asking God to help you discover your gift. Also understand that these gifts are gifts of grace and there is nothing you can do outwardly or in your own power to attain a spiritual gift. Therefore, prayer is vital in the discovery process. There are Spiritual tests online that can assist you in discovering your gifts and I will post links in the comments section after this message. However, before you go down that road I would ask you start with diligently praying for God to reveal the gift of grace he has given to you. God isn’t about hiding something from us and sending us on a wild goose chase to find it. The Bible clearly states each person has a gift and it is given to you for the benefit of the body of Christ and the glory of God.
https://s3.amazonaws.com/bhpub/edoc/DOC-Spiritual-Gifts-Survey.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=1FAF154W9TVZ6M3REZG2&Expires=2091905659&Signature=ldYe7bhXPOBW311aMkUrWRbCfMI%3D (hard copy)
MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. (1997, c1995). Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments (1 Co 12:7). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Vine, W. (1997, c1996). Vine's complete expository dictionary topic finder . Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
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I currently live on the Gulf Coast of Florida with my beautiful family. The Lord has blessed me with over 25 years of full time ministry. He is and has been faithful.