TEXT: 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
Big Idea: “God gives the church spiritual gifts, not to divide over differences, but to be unified in the purpose and power of the Holy Spirit.”
Four unifying statements on the spiritual gifts taught by Paul:
1. Spiritual gifts are for the Church today. (v. 1-2)
Paul says he doesn’t want the church to be uninformed about the gifts. To be uninformed or ignorant of what God intends will not only cause an exaggeration and an unhelpful emphasis on the gifts like in Corinth. But being uninformed could also mean we ignore or neglect or deny the very gifts God intended to edify the church and evangelize the lost. But how can we know the gifts are for today? The fact that the Holy Spirit put these instructions in the Bible for the New Testament church is a pretty strong evidence. Another way we can know the gifts are for today: The way the Corinthians were abusing the gifts, Paul could have simply said, “Stop it. Stop all of the gifts. They’re not that important, they’re temporary and they’ll cease when we Apostles are gone anyway.” But he didn’t say that. Instead, the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to take three entire chapters – more space than any other topic in the letter – to instruct them on the right use of the gifts.
2. Spiritual gifts are meant to point us to Christ. (v. 3-6)
According to God’s Word, the real evidence a person is full of the Holy Spirit is not primarily the gifts. The real evidence is that they call on Jesus as their Lord. The Spirit is the one who reveals the truth of the gospel to us, and causes us to believe on Christ. And as the Holy Spirit points to Christ, this also includes how the Spirit points to the unity Christ has with the Trinity – with the Father and the Spirit. The 3 persons of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – are different, yet unified. As a reflection of that unity, we have been given different gifts, different service, different activities, but the same Spirit, the same Lord, the same God. Perfectly unified in One Spirit, yet different in function
3. Spiritual gifts are given for the good of all. (v. 7-10)
One of the main jobs a pastor has is to equip the saints for the work of ministry. The Body is supposed to minister to the Body. That means your pastors want to help you identify, grow in, and use your spiritual gift – so that you can minister to each other. Remember, whatever spiritual gift you’re given is not yours – it belongs to God. You are simply a steward of it. You and I do not have the right to withhold what God has given for the good of His church. But when you use your gift, others will be encouraged and edified, and God will be glorified.
4. Spiritual gifts are given by God’s grace, for His purposes. (v. 11)
The Greek word Paul uses here for gifts is literally translated “grace gifts” – abilities given to the church by God’s grace, to minister to each other. God is sovereign, and He does as it pleases Him. Whatever gift anyone has, it is not because we earned it, or because God loved that person more than another. It is because God gave it by His grace. And if you don’t know what your spiritual gift is, ask your spouse, ask your family. As a good friend – “What do you see me do that encourages others in the faith?” That is most likely your spiritual gift.
Now, run with it for God’s glory!