The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

God's Gracious Gift  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  34:38
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The church is most healthy when everyone lovingly exercises his/her gift(s)!

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Grace, Effort and Responsibility are all said to be contributors to the process of becoming like Jesus after salvation.
In the mind of some Grace is a gift that is sovereignly distributed apart from any merit or contribution by man. Both the initiation into the Christian life and the events that shape our character are gifts without effort.
Others see redemption as a work of Grace initiated by God, but once we have been redeemed from sin, it is up to our effort to do the things that please God.
But what if Grace and Effort are not contrary ideas? What if a gift originates in the mind and heart of God that He desires to bestow, yet humans are given the responsibility to respond by receiving and appropriating the gift?
I truly appreciate authors who explain that the rhythms we choose provide opportunities for the Gracious transforming work of God to take place. Two books I would suggest (not to replace Bible reading, but to supplement it are: Jerry Bridges’ The Discipline of Grace, and Ruth Haley Barton’s Sacred Rhythms.
Transition: The thrust of the Sermon this morning is not primarily about the Gifts that God gives to form us, but the gifts He gives to us in order to form others—gifts that must be lovingly exercised.

General Observations

No Master List

Some look to Ephesians 4 and see 5 gifts (it is actually a list of 4 roles, because pastorand teacher are 2 activities of 1 role)
Some look to Romans 12 or Liturgical tradition and see 7 gifts (but both are a different 7)
Some combine Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians and 1 Peter into a list of 22.
Some look in the Old Testament to add musicianship and artisanship to the list.
And yet others view celibacy as either a short-term discipline or a long-term gift (1 Cor 7:7)
Just as there is no one place that lists all the gifts, there is no definitive category of gifts. On popular grouping is sign gifts, serving gifts, and speaking gifts. But people smarter than I am disagree if some of these have already fulfilled their purpose or if all of them should be in operation in every local church today.

You Have a gift(s)

Romans 12:6a (ESV) — Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them:
Your gift may differ from another person, but you have gift(s). You may get cottonmouth if asked to speak in front of the church body, but you were the first one to get excited about giving to OCC. You may gag when changing baby diapers, but love to sit on a porch encouraging a senior saint or praying with a young person in crisis.

Faithfulness can generate additional gifts

Matthew 25:14-30 – “talent” 20 years wages
Luke 19:26 – Mina 3 months wages

Spiritual Gifts do not equal Church Roles

Evangelist is one of the gifts mentioned, but ALL of us are to do the work of an evangelist (2 Tim 4:5)
The presence of gifts does not entitle them to be used in the gathered church meeting. Both men (Titus 1:11) and Women (1 Cor 14:34 & 1 Tim 2:12) are given boundaries on the use of their gifts.
When our nominating committee requests to put your name in nomination for some role, it is not because we hope you will get new abilities, it is because we want to put you in a role where your abilities have already been displayed.

Talents do not equal spiritual gifts.

There are people in here who can run fast or draw a straight line, I can’t do either.
The ability to run fast or lift heavy things can be increased through training. The ability to sing or play an instrument can be made better through practice. But there is no mention in the Bible of either putting a basketball through a net, or playing bagpipes as a spiritual gift.
There are 2 words used by NT writers (primarily Paul) to describe these gifts.
Charisma (17x) is the noun form of the verb Charizomaimeaning to give freely and it is closely connected to both Chairo – to be joyful and Charis – grace.
Pneumatikos (26x) is the adjective form of pneuma (from which we get pneumatic or pneumonia). In the New Testament it is spiritual, not spooky, mysterious or ethereal, but related to Holy Spirit.
Transition: Now let’s look at the way God gifts, and specifically at how the Spirit leverages those gifts to bring greater health and holiness to the Bride of Christ.

Nature of spiritual gifts

In both the OT and the NT God graciously pours out gifts on his people. They are to be welcomed and used for the good of all.

Examples of God giving special gifts

God is a giving God because of who He is. One of the most famous Scriptures in all the world is
John 3:16 ESV:2016
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
God’s gracious provision of rain (Joel 2:23 )
God’s Gracious Provision of Bread & Meat
For the Israelites (Ex 16:4; Ex 16:13–14)
For Elijah (1 Ki 17:6)
God’s Gracious Provision of land to tribes (Ezek 47:21)

Examples of Jesus Christ offering supernatural gifts

· Rest (Mt 11:28)

· Living Water (Jn 4:14)

· Living Bread (Jn 6:51)

· Authority (Lk 10:19)

This week we intentionally give Thanks, because God is a giving God!

Spiritual gifts linked with grace (Mt 10:8, Ro 12:6)

We give freely because we received freely
Abilities we have are connected to God’s grace in our lives

Diverse gifts, one giver (1 Co 12:4–6)

We should never be jealous of another person’s gifts because both hers and my abilities come from the same wise God. He gives diverse gifts to make me dependent upon you exercising your gifts; and you to mature through my exercise of gifts of teaching, administration and exhortation.
Transition: Building on the unity with diversity theme, we see that...

The purpose of spiritual gifts is to build up the church (1 Co 14:12, Eph 4:16 )

This is why I said earlier that there is no spiritual gift of throwing a ball. The community generally does not see the glory of God when a team wins, (they may see the beauty of Christ in sportsmanship).
Rarely does a beautiful ensemble make another person more loving. Next week we will look closely at the evidences when the Spirit is controlling a person.

Encouragement to aspire to the greater spiritual gifts (1 Co 12:31; 1 Co 14:1)

1. Greater gift are also called higher gifts—because they produce a higher result, not a greater celebrity.
2. 1 Cor 14:1-3 clearly says that the gifts we should desire are those that benefit other.
1 Corinthians 14:1–3 ESV:2016
1 Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. 2 For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. 3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.
3. The greater gift is not the one you want, it is the one that best builds up the church.

The importance of love in exercising spiritual gifts

Love toward recipient (1 Co 13:1)
The love chapter appears right in the middle of Paul’s discussion on gifts especially because of the way he ends 12:31
1 Corinthians 12:31 ESV:2016
31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.
Love toward actor (1 Th 5:19–20)
1 Thessalonians 5:19–20 ESV:2016
19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies,
Respect when God’s Spirit is working through another person


The church is most healthy when everyone lovingly exercises his/her gift(s)!
There are 4 key words in the application summary at the bottom of the handout.
1. Healthy – a church meeting where people just come and listen to a few people do a performance is NOT a healthy church.
2. Everyone – Everyone has something to contribute: From an infant who communicates in squeals that remind us the church has a future, to the homebound saint who prays for encouragement of those on the front lines.
3. Lovingly – Whether you are in front of people or totally anonymous, our spiritual gifts express that God and others are important!
4. Gifts – The plurality matters because we each need those who are differently-abled.
Song of Response #444 v.2..... “I’ll Do what You Want Me to do
Benediction: Ephesians 2:8 (ESV) — For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
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