1 Corinthians 12:1-30
Stephen Caswell © 2000
Gifts - A Whale and a Cactus
A whale is as unique as a cactus.
But don't ask a whale to survive Death Valley.
We all have spiritual gifts.
Where we use them and how determines if we actually complete something.
Tonight we will have a look at God's purpose of spiritual gifts.
God has given spiritual gifts to all believers.
Everyone has at least one spiritual gift which they received at salvation.
A great deal of misunderstanding exists in the Church today concerning spiritual gifts.
Some teach that we can obtain them by seeking them or tarrying for them.
But this cannot be proven from the Bible.
Like all gifts, spiritual gifts are in fact a gift of the Holy Spirit.
He gives them as He wills, not as we desire.
/Tonight we will answer the question, Are Spiritual Gifts, Toys , Weapons Or Tools?
/You play with toys, fight with weapons but build with tools.
Unity Not Uniformity II.
Diversity Not Division III.
Priority Not Superiority
Unity Not Uniformity
Confession Of The Same Lord /
*1 Corinthians 12:1-3* /Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led.
Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit./
Paul doesn't want the Corinthians to be ignorant about spiritual gifts.
For Paul to say this they obviously weren't using their spiritual gifts the way that they should.
If you read chapters 11 through to 14 you soon discover they had many problems in the worship services.
The women in the Church were behaving in a disorderly way.
They weren't respecting the leadership of the men.
The Lord's Supper had become a drunken feast and the Church was using their spiritual gifts like toys to show off or weapons to fight with.
As a result the Church services had become very disorderly.
So Paul reminds them how God had saved them out of idolatry.
People worshipping idols are an abomination unto God.
They are led into the most wicked practices.
Their speech is also blasphemous toward God.
However people saved by God's grace ought to behave differently.
No one speaking by the power of God will curse Jesus Christ.
Yet this is what was happening as some spoke in tongues.
These tongues were being empowered by an unholy spirit and not the Spirit of God.
Paul follows this up by saying that people don't confess Jesus is Lord unless the Holy Spirit has regenerated them.
*All believers ought to confess the same Lord!*
/Is Christ accursed today?/
Missionaries on furlough testify of people speaking blasphemy against Christ whilst speaking in tongues.
Obviously the Holy Spirit was not empowering such utterances.* 1 John 4:1* *warns us:* /Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; *because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
/Spiritual gifts should glorify Jesus Christ who has given them through His Spirit.
Cooperation Within The Same God Head /
*1 Corinthians 12:4-6* /There are *diversities* of gifts, but the *same* Spirit.
There are *differences* of ministries, but the *same* Lord.
And there are *diversities* of activities, but it is the *same* God who works all in all./
In these three verses we find the words */same/* and */different/* used three times each.
Within the same Godhead there are different gifts, ministries and activities.
/Don't differences divide us? /Not necessarily.
Unity doesn't mean uniformity.
The three members of the Godhead work together in the giving and functioning of spiritual gifts.
They cooperate together.
There is no rivalry or jealousy.
Each member of the trinity is involved in the ministry of spiritual gifts.
They have a united purpose even though they have a different part to play.
They appreciate the different functions performed by the other members of the Godhead.
We must learn from their example.
Unity doesn't mean uniformity.
True unity means different people working together for a common cause.
The trinity practices this perfectly.
Corporate Purpose For Spiritual Gifts /
*1 Cor 12:7* /But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:/
The Holy Spirit gives individual believers a gift for the benefit of others.
The gifts are not given for personal edification as some claim.
I have been told many times by sincere believers that they exercise the gift of tongues at home privately for self edification.
In fact the word */manifestation/* means */to unveil, to openly display or reveal something/*.
This can't be done secretly at home because it contradicts God's purpose for spiritual gifts.
Just imagine if an evangelist announced, from now on I am only going to preach at home to myself.
I want to edify myself and build myself up.
/Or how would you feel if I said that from now on I am staying at home all the time to teach myself and build myself up?/ That's crazy, worse, it's selfish.
Every spiritual gift is given for the benefit of the whole Church.
Considerable Variety Of Spiritual Gifts /
*1 Corinthians 12:8-10* /For to one is given the *word of wisdom* through the Spirit, to another the *word of knowledge* through the same Spirit, to *another* *faith* by the same Spirit, to another *gifts of healings* by the same Spirit, to another the *working of miracles*, to another *prophecy*, to another* discerning of spirits*, to *another* different kinds of *tongues*, to another the *interpretation of tongues*./
In verses 8 to 10 Paul lists 9 various gifts distributed by the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit gives many different gifts to believers.
The list given here is not complete.
Further lists are found in Romans 12:4-8, 1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Peter 4:10-11.
18 spiritual gifts can be divided into three main groups, Speaking Gifts, Serving Gifts and Sign Gifts.
Speaking Gifts - Apostles, Prophets, Word Of Knowledge, Word Of Wisdom, Tongues, Interpretation of Tongues.
~* withdrawn at end of Apostolic Age./
Speaking Gifts - Evangelists, Pastors, Teachers, Encouragers./
Serving Gifts - Faith, Serving, Mercy, Administration, Helps.
Sign Gifts - Miracles, Healing, Discernment Of Spirits ~* withdrawn, end of Apostolic Age./
Some of the speaking gifts and all of the sign gifts were removed at the end of the apostolic age.
God used these gifts to make a transition from Judaism to the Church.
These gifts helped establish the Church during this transition.
They provided doctrine for the Church whilst the New Testament cannon was being progressively written.