Sep 11 2022 Why Does God Give Spiritual Gifts?

(Prayer for Ukraine and 9/11)

The phrase “Spiritual gifts” is never mentioned in the Book of Acts – and is only mentioned 1 time in the entire Bible – Romans 1 – and there it is not even in the context that we know it!

When the word gift is used in the Book of Acts – the GIFT *IS* the Holy Spirit. And it always takes place around the sharing of the gospel and people coming to Christ.

The result of that – the Spirit coming – sometimes is speaking in tongues, but not always. Sometimes it is the gift of prophecy – but not always.

We are going to END the book of Acts in the Epistles.

There are two primary words for gift in the New Testament -

1 Peter 4:10 Just as each one has received a gift (charisma), use it to serve one another as good stewards of the varied grace (charis) of God. Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies;

We get the word – charismatic – from this gift. Charis – Grace –

Just as each one has received a grace gift. This is helpful to think about.

1 Cor 12: With regard to spiritual gifts (italicized – not in the original Greek) – so with regard to spirituals, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed…

This would be a common thing in their religious practices of spiritual manifestations.

A couple years ago we went through 1 and 2 Corinthians – but this was a series of letters that is the MIDDLE of a conversation. So, as we look at chapters 12-14 briefly today – we need to look at the context. Paul reveals an attitude of superiority that runs through the Corinthian church.

In Chapter 1 – there was division and problems – I am of Paul, or Apollos, or Christ – my leader is better than yours. Then there were attitudes of superiority in status in society – wealth disparity, and superiority of how one dresses (ch. 11) – and all of this is wreaking havoc on their communion service.

Then 12-14 talk about the superior attitudes about what gift one has. For them – tongues was at the top.

They were so preoccupied with superiority and rank and position – it affected the church.

This sets up what is going on – not about tongues, per se.

4 Now there are different (variety) gifts, but the same Spirit.

Many graces in the church – lots of them! There are all kinds of different things that are gifts from the Holy Spirit – and whatever it is – it is not better or worse – because the Spirit is giving it.

5 And there are different (variety) ministries, but the same Lord.

The purpose of the gifts is so we can serve and do ministry to the Lord – (and therefore, to others)

6 And there are different (variety) results(effects, activities, works), but the same God who produces all of them in everyone

The results are God’s doing and God’s concern. We are all concerned about what it looks like, but it is God’s doing.

The Spirit gives the gifts, we do ministry – God causes the work.

Grace gifts – power, ability and resource given by the Holy Spirit so that God can accomplish His work through us.

What that looks like is not that important! It takes all shapes and sizes! The important thing is that God gives gifts so He can do His work through us.


7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good…

Whatever Gifts the Holy Spirit gives – are for the common good. Your gifts do not belong to you – they are not your spiritual superpower.

They belong to the Church. Whatever gift you have belongs to everyone else.

Paul is saying – it is not about you – just like Rick Warren said.

11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

The Spirit just decides. People use to say – “You have the gift of encouragement!” and I would get so discouraged, because I wanted evangelism or preaching or something!

There is no ranking of these things.

This past year, we have experienced what Paul is talking about here in a new way. Some are laying dormant. And as a church, part of our role is to identify and recognize gifts and allow them to come forth.

What might that look like?

How do you know that God is grace gifting you for ministry? First – recognize a need! That is step 1. Then – you would have a personal burden to meet that need. It would be on your heart – I need to do something about this need!

We often recognize a need and then think – someone else can do that – and that is probably not a grace gift!

Next – we need to confirm with others that it is a need.

If there is not a structure to meet the need – create a small team of people – 1-2 others – start small – grow slowly – so that you can grow stronger!

Mustard seeds – leaven – there is something about God’s kingdom about starting small.

Then act on the power the Holy Spirit has given you.

Hypothetically speaking – you sense that there is a need for senior care ministry. Then you have a personal burden for that – a personal concern about meeting that need yourself. You talk to others – not to sell it – but to discern and confirm that it is a need. Then – look to your gifting – what Grace Gift has the Holy Spirit given you? Compassion? Mercy? – because of those, you desire to do this for the elderly. When you discover that – you will also discover this – it also requires someone to administrate – to cast a vision for this – and it might take a small team of people to accomplish. Start small, grow slowly, grow strong.

1 Cor 12 – talks about all the gifts… then:

1 Cor 12:31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.

And what is 13 about? Love.

Excellent is the word – SUPERIOR – and there is a superior way – one way – the way of LOVE.

The attitudes of superiority in this church created a lack of love in that church. Superiority destroys love. You cannot love someone if you think you are better than them! That is astonishing and convicting!

Then the Love Chapter…

And then…

Pursue love – that is the important thing.

1 Cor 14: 1-4 Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.

Spiritual gifts are one other way to love and nothing else. Corinthians prized the speaking gifts – especially prophecy and speaking in tongues. The word was used 24 times – and Paul will adjust their thinking…

2 For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries. 3 But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation. 4 One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church.

So, to put this simply – Paul is saying – the superior gifts (if that is what you are concerned about) are the gifts that build and encourage others.

The person in the kitchen – have a superior gift because they build and encourage others.

The person leading worship – builds and encourages others.

Those are vastly different – but are of the importance of building and serving and encouraging others.

In our world – speaking gifts can be viewed as superior – maybe for different reasons. Many Christians follow great preachers – kind of like people follow rock stars! And it might not be the preacher’s fault – but maybe the people want to feel a part of something superior. It is so destructive.

There are many ways we do this – doctrinal, theology – even church strategy – where we try to feel superior.

12 So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.

When the Church gathers together – our focus should be on benefitting others.

1 Peter 4:10 Just as each one has received a gift (charisma), use it to serve one another as good stewards of the varied grace (charis) of God. Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies;

We have grace gifts from God. All of us have them. Use them to serve others in the church. It is not complicated! Within the church there are a variety of grace gifts – again – recognize and identify what they are.

Taking spiritual gift tests might be of little benefit. More benefit is each of us seeing and recognizing what these gifts are.

Using these gifts for others is our service to God. We serve God by serving others. We need to step into it! And that can be hard, depending on the situation.

For me, some gifts are easy to use in certain settings – but others – I am not comfortable in that setting.

Most of the gifts are about the church – and most focus on the Church. When the church gathers.

And there are a couple that focus on mission and outreach.

We had our monthly pastor’s meeting on Monday – two people came in – from a church in Copley – CMA – Crosspoint – these two began a ministry – ESL – they have been doing it in NE Ohio – presenting their program – and pastors are interested in how to do this – they gave some information on it – but one of the pastors – over by Richardson – and he is young and have children in the school – and are very involved. There are 20 nations represented at Richardson! They have all the flags of each country in the halls – and they have been involved in English as a Second Language there

Then he said this – there are over 19,000 refugees in the Akron area!

They saw this need all of a sudden – and had a burden to do something about it – and they started small and grew slow and strong. All of the people they have trained – all they are ministering to – they do ESL as a ministry – where they bring their faith story into the whole thing.

This is just an encouragement for us – not that we have to all go do that – but some might want to – but maybe God is placing something on your heart that you can do!

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