This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on January 30th 2022 by Lasya D via zoom. For the audio & video please click here. To listen to the worship please click here.
Gifts of the Holy Spirit - Part 3
How many of you have had the experience of receiving a surprise gift and not liking what you got? We can feel the same way about the gifts of the spirit, the same spirit who gave me the gift of service, gave that person the gift of working miracles! Why?? But the bible tells us
James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” All the gifts of the spirit are good because they’re from God. The Father delights in giving us gifts and we are not to despise any of them.
We get to see how precious each of these gifts are, in context. There are 3 main passages of scripture that list out the gifts of the spirit. Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4. We are going to examine these chapters and these lists to draw out the truth about these gifts.
The wider context - they are all epistles. That means they are applicable to us today. The idea that the gifts are not in operation after Pentecost is not backed up by scripture or by the moves of God through the centuries. Instead, what we are commanded to do is to eagerly desire them, ask God for them, fan them into flame and faithfully use them. So let's see what the Lord has in store for us today.
It is in obedience to the verse 1 Cor 12:1 “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed” that we are doing this series.
- One God, many gifts: Romans 12: 4-5; 1 Corinthians 13: 4-6 and Ephesians 4: 4-6
The first commandment - Ex 20: 3 “You shall have no other gods besides me”
Think of the gifts as a prism. There is one source of light but a variety of manifestations. Blue is nothing like orange and red is nothing like green, but they work together to fill the whole world with light and colour.
● The gifts operate in the context of the unity of the Godhead - Father, son , spirit. Illustration - In the Indian context, we have one god for wisdom and a different god for healing, one for miracles, etc. This causes divisions, hatred and disunity but the Holy Spirit is called as the spirit of unity because he brings us together to the glory of God.
● God does not oppose himself, so all the gifts are to function in coordination with one another, not in competition. There is no competition between a prophetic gift and an administrative gift. The prophetic needs to harness that gift and use it to edify the body in submission to the leadership and the administrator needs to realise that it is people before the programme. Is God being glorified in this, are people being built up/ edified?
● All gifts point to the supremacy and sovereignty of God
- How do we receive them: Romans 12: 6; 1 Corinthians 12:11 and Ephesians 4:7
● We receive the gifts by grace and according to His will. There is nothing we have done to deserve it. We can desire the gifts but we can never deserve them. Don't go to God with a naughty or nice list. Ask your father who loves to give you good things.
● Gifts are not rewards. They flow out of a love relationship and are not based on performance.
- What do we use the gifts for? Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7 and Ephesians 4:12
● The gifts of the spirit are to serve the body of Christ to the glory of the father.
● There is no room to build our own platforms. You may be the best bricklayer in the world, but unless you use that gift for building a house along with the carpenters and plumbers, etc you are not building a house, you are only building a wall.
● On the other hand, it is not humility to deny or not desire the gifts because your gift is supposed to serve the body of Christ and your brothers and sisters. Every measure of gifting is an opportunity to serve - greater the gift, greater the service, greater the sacrifice.
● Each one receives a gift. So just because your gift doesn't look like someone else’s don’t think you don't have a gift. “As each has received a gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the grace of God in its various forms”1 Peter 4:10
- Regarding the different types of gifts: Romans 12: 6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 and Ephesians 4: 11
★ Administrative gifts - service, teaching; exhortation; generosity; leadership, mercy, helping and administrating - These gifts seem like just Christian virtues- all of us need to be serving, generous, helping, merciful, yes. But when there is a gift of mercy or gift of help, it is an ability to do this beyond normal capacity. Bezalel and Oholiab upon whom the holy spirit fell for the first time in scripture were for the purpose of an administrative task.
★ Revelatory gifts - words of wisdom, words of knowledge, Prophecy and Discernment of spirits - these are spiritual gifts that enable us to know the unknowable, where the spirit of God reveals something about a person or a situation without them saying a word. This is spiritual intelligence - it's having the mind of Christ.
★ Power Gifts - Healings, Miracles, Faith - these are the doing gifts where God intervenes in nature and does something supernatural.
★ Speaking / vocal gifts - Prophecy, Tongues and interpretation of tongues - this has to do with obedience and surrender where God uses our voice as an instrument to declare his will. Several instances of these gifts are found throughout scripture, in the Old as well as New Testament.
★ Office Gifts - Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, pastors and teachers - these are equipping gifts because they are meant to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. So their scope of operation is usually at least the local church if not greater than that.
- Concludes with love and honour: Romans 12: 9-10; 1 Corinthians 12:21-25; 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 and Ephesians 4:16
● Gifts are to be used with love and honour:
● There is a hierarchy of gifts– Paul says twice to eagerly desire the higher gifts. But the lesser we think the gift is, the more indispensable and more worthy of honour. You might desire the gift of the prophet, but you have the gift of helping, of mercy, of generosity - what do you do? Use the gift you have in love.
● When we serve the body of Christ and our brothers and sisters in love and honour, we step into a greater realm of the gifts.
● Brene Brown in Atlas of the heart writes about love “we cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honour the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection”
● You may ask, what does this benefit me? V. 16: when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
● Love is the most excellent way. So before we jump into the different activations of spiritual gifts, can we activate our love one for another?
○ Can we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be seen and known
○ Can we honour the spiritual connection that exists between us as the Holy Spirits binds us together as one body
○ Can we offer ourselves to one another with trust, respect, kindness and affection
So here is the summary:
● There is one God and a variety of gifts
● We receive these by grace and according to His will
● But we use them to benefit others, for the common good, to build up the church
● We use them with Love and Honour
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.