One of the primary areas where Christians get BOGGED DOWN in the Christian life, it seems to me, is in SERVICE! And God’s Word has much to say about the spiritual gifts God has given by His grace to Jesus-followers who want to dig their way out of this area of STUCKNESS.
This is my last series of sermons for Crossroads Fellowship Church in Augusta. They have found their next senior pastor and he will begin his SERVICE in several weeks. We have looked at three of the four passages on spiritual gifts. In this last post on SERVICE, let’s look at I Corinthians 12:
Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.
And yet I will show you the most excellent way.
Yes, this is an entire chapter devoted to SPIRITUAL GIFTS. We can only make a couple of comments on this central passage:
(1) First, note the prominence of God the Holy Spirit! The gifts are “of the Spirit.” Though the gifts are different, the Spirit is the same who distributes the gifts. These “manifestations” of the Spirit are given “for the common good” (vv. 1-7)
(2) Second, a variety of gifts (I count nine) are mentioned here: a message of wisdom, a message of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, speaking in different kinds of tongues, the interpretation of tongues (vv. 8-10).
(3) Third, we are one Body with many “parts” and each should respect God’s sovereign placing of each part in the Body (vv. 11-26).
(4) Fourth, a second list is given by the Apostle Paul (apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues) to show that we have different gifts and must work with one another in love (vv. 27-31).
May I ask you, faithful reader, what is your primary SPIRITUAL GIFT, and are you using it for the Lord?