understanding spiritual gifts

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gifts

1 COR 12:1,7

Now concerning spiritual gifts …But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man

God’s plan is to equip us so that we can perform the ministry to which He has called us.  Through the gifts we can demonstrate the reality of God to the world and minister to one another in building up the Body of Christ.

To the Apostle Paul it was virtually important that he tell the Corinthians, ‘now concerning the spiritual gifts…’. The same exhortation is vital to the church today, for many misunderstanding and misuse governs the spiritual gifts today.

Some vehemently oppose spiritual gifts, saying that it was only for the early church and not for the present times.  They quoteFor we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” (I Co 13:10).  They imply that the ‘perfect’ talks of the time when the Word of God as a written form will come.  The Weymouth Bible translation makes it very clear, that the word ‘perfect’ talks of the ‘maturing of the saints’  “For our knowledge is imperfect, and so is our prophesying; but when the perfect state of things is come, all that is imperfect will be brought to an end.” (1Co 13:9-10 WNT)

Some others say, gifts are God’s anointing on ‘natural talents’.  It is very important to realize that when the Bible says “manifestation of the spirit” it means exactly that—these are evidences of Holy Spirit, not natural abilities that God has given to the person. They are the presence of Holy Spirit being made visible. We make this point because some people treat these manifestations as if they were talents that some people have, with no specific connection to the gift of Holy Spirit they received when they were saved. It is true that God does give different people talents. Some people sing well; some people are very athletic; some are very intelligent; some people are great artists, etc. These are all God-given talents, but they are not manifestations of Holy Spirit.  A naturally gifted person and ‘spiritual’ gift are not the same.  Gifts are supernatural ability and not natural ability!

The gifts display or manifest the Holy Spirit in the believer. They are not to be confused with the fruits of the Holy Spirit which shows the character of God in the lives of believer.

§   In using gifts Jesus is exalted as the Lord:  A genuine gift will exalt the Lord Jesus and not the individual.

§   God is the center:  There is a great unity of purpose in the Godhead in the operation of the gifts in the church.

o God the Father plans and oversees these operation

The Lord Jesus Christ ministers to the people in their needs.  He came to the earth to redeem, heal and deliver mankind

o The Holy Spirit’s task is to make Jesus ministry effective in our lives and also to bring forth those things which Jesus wants to do in the earth.

§   Gifts operate for the Body of Christ 

“But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ (1Co 12:11-12)

In these verses Apostle Paul explains the operation of the Body of Christ.  When the gifts are in operation then the Body functions.  We have been placed in the Body that we may function as members.  The gifts operate for the Body and not for the individual users.

Each of us should understand

§   Each one has a function in the Body of Christ, through the operation of the gifts.  All are to be involved, each one expecting to operate in the gifts.

“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” (1Co 12:7).

As we minister, God will minister through you.

§   Each is important.  All are significant in the local church

§   Each is different.  We should not expect the same function as someone else.  

“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”  (Rom 12:3)

“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For the body is not one member, but many.  (1Co 12:12,14 )

§   Each should accept others.  We should realize that without others contribution we are incomplete.  We can not say one of the gift is better than the rest. The best gift is the one that is most needed at any particular time.

§   The gifts are distributed by the Holy Spirit as He desires.

“But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” (1Co 12:11)

“Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. (1Co 14:1).

Though we are to earnestly desire for spiritual gifts, it is not up to us to decide which gift we or others should operate.  First we have to surrender then He will give the gift for the occasion that God might be glorified.

Gifts cannot be earned or merited therefore gifts are not a sign of spiritual maturity.