So we are beginning our new 8 week sermon series on the Gifts Of The Spirit and we couldn’t be more excited. We will not be covering all the details and answering every question regarding the gifts. In fact, there is so much to cover that this would be impossible. And even a quick study of the topic will render you with lots of different views and perspectives to make you think. AND THAT IS ULTIMATELY OUR GOAL — to get us all asking questions, thinking about, and praying about the gifts, to open ourselves up to receive the gifts of the spirit, and not just to receive them, but to use them, to share them, to experience the Holy Spirit using these gifts in and through us for His glory.
The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:1 “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers & sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed.” This applies to all of us: we should not to be uninformed about the gifts of the spirit. In fact, we are convinced that one of the main ways our church is going to continue to grow in what ever new ways God wants us to grow will not happen with out the gifts of the spirit being engaged according to Gods grace and our faith.
Week one we looked at the gift of faith and was challenged to rethink some of the ways we think about the gifts. PARTICULARLY THAT WE MUSN’T GET HUNG UP ON NAMING OUR GIFTS. The thing to get hung up on is, ARE WE DOING WHAT WE CAN DO TO STRENGTHEN THE FAITH OF THE PEOPLE AROUND US WITH OUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS?” That as we seek to strengthen others in their faith and give God glory that it is in that where we will start to see our Gifts come out.
We started this series with a look at this gift because it is a spiritual gift that all of us who call ourselves believers in Christ have experienced at some point. Even if you literally made a decision to follow Christ this morning during worship or as you took communion. That very decision only happened as a result of being open to the Holy Spirit giving you the spiritual gift of faith.
You may feel as if you only have a very small amount of faith right now and that’s ok. It may be the size of a mustard seed, but because the gift of faith is from the Holy Spirit it has the power to do the impossible. And the more we experience and share this gift it encourages and strengthens others in their faith.
The spiritual gift of faith is not limited to situations like building an ark. The Holy Spirit gives us these gifts in different times and various situations simply to encourage and strengthen others in their faith and to point to God to be praised and glorified in the midst of things that seem impossible.
Looking at 1 Peter 4:10-11. I want to make 3 brief observations about spiritual gifts on the basis of these 2 verses
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength & energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. [or as the NIV says] so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. All glory & power to him forever & ever! Amen.
So real quick…
- First, note that “God has given each of you a gift Gifts are not for a few but for all,and every believer has abilities which the Holy Spirit has given and can be used to strengthen others. And you will find them if you really desire to be God’s instrument in bringing about faith and joy in other people.
- The second observation from this text is simply that spiritual gifts take different forms and shapes. “Whoever speaks (let them do it) as one who utters oracles of God.” So we see an example of the gifts showing them self in words. We also see it says, “Whoever renders service (let them do it) as one who renders it by the strength which God supplies.” Here we see the gift showing up in the form or service.
So, whatever your gift is do not try to do them in your own strength. For then your gift will cease to be a “spiritual gift.” It must come from faith, a reliance on grace, and the empowering of the Holy Spirit in order to be a “spiritual gift.”
This is just another way of seeing that the Holy Spirit has no limit to the ways that it can empower us, gift us, and fill us for a particular time, place, story, or situation.
- The final point from this text, is that the ultimate aim of all spiritual gifts above all is seen in verse 11 “that in everything God might be glorified This means that God’s aim in giving us gifts, and in giving us the faith to exercise them, is that his glory might be displayed. The stupendous reality of God is all encompassing as it says in Romans 11:36. “For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” And there is nothing more thrilling, more joyful, more meaningful, more satisfying than to find ourselves involved in and actively participating in the eternal unfolding of God’s glory.
We ended the sermon with a practice of lectio divina on 1 Corinthians 12:1-28 from The Message translation. I recommend you checking this out and letting the text teach you about the gifts as well.