In a recent sermon this fall, our Pastor Joel Lindsey here at Grace Church summarized three key benefits of the Christian life. Here is what he said: 1) God has dealt with our past and forgiven our sins. 2) God has given what we need to live in the present. (We have the Holy Spirit who empowers us in so many ways. One way is to give us Spiritual Gifts), and 3) God has given us security and hope for the future by rewarding us with eternal life in heaven. God deals with the whole human timetable!
God gives us some tools for the present to build His church.
The intention of Spiritual Gifts is stated in Ephesians: to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11)
How do we know which gifts are ours? Jerry Tapp, in his book, God’s Daily Classroom, says this. “Don’t know your spiritual gift(s)? There are many books and tests available to help you identify your spiritual gift(s). After identification of your gift, then just as important is using your spiritual gift.” Every Christian has one or more! That’s exciting.
For example, “Understanding Spiritual Gifts”, by Kay Arthur, helps you to sort out what might be your gift. Check it out.
We all have different gifts, according to God’s grace. (Romans 12:6) Now that you know you have a spiritual gift or two or three, be careful of spiritual pride, thinking that your gift is superior. The Corinthian believers had many wonderful gifts but instead of using what God gave them, they were arguing over which gifts were more important. Typical of us humans. We let pride get in the way, don’t we? (1 Corinthians 1:7) Reminds me of the disciples asking Jesus who He thought was the best of them!
So there are twenty-three different spiritual gifts listed in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 4. Lets’ go through them together.
Romans 12:6-8 Paul lists seven spiritual gifts here: 1) Prophesying (here this means preaching the Word– see 1 Corinthians 14:1-3) 2) Serving 3) Teaching 4) Encouraging 5) Generous giving 6) Leadership-governing diligently 7) Showing mercy-doing it cheerfully.
1 Corinthians 12:8-11 Paul lists nine spiritual gifts here :1) having wisdom 2)having knowledge 3) having super faith 4) ability to heal 5) having miraculous powers 6) prophecy 7) having the ability to distinguish between spirits (discernment) 8) speaking in different kinds of tongues 9) ability to interpret people who are speaking in tongues.
1 Corinthians 12:28 Paul lists two other spiritual gifts:1) teaching (already mentioned in Romans 12:7) 2) helping others 3) administrating.
Ephesians 4:11 Paul lists four other spiritual gifts: Jesus gave some to be: 1) apostles (historical), 2) some to be prophets– predicting the future 3) some to be evangelists, and 4) some to be pastors (shepherds) and 5) teachers (already mentioned).
So the Speaking gifts are: prophecy (preaching, and completely different telling the future), evangelism, pastoring (shepherding), teaching, encouragement, knowledge, wisdom, tongues, and interpreting tongues. The Serving gifts are: service, administrating, giving generously, helping with a humble attitude, leadership, showing mercy, faith without measure, discernment between good and evil spirits, performing miracles, and healing.
Now that we know what they are and where they are in the Bible, in the next blog we will discuss the individual gifts in more detail.
When we finish the topic of spiritual gifts, we will next be focusing on Evangelism.