Spiritual Gifts Chart

SUMMARY OF
SPIRITUAL GIFTS

(Part 1) (Part 2)
(Click key Scriptures on spiritual gifts)

What Spiritual Gifts Are and Are Not

Spiritual Gifts: What Do We Need to Do?

How Are Spiritual Gifts Described?

Who Receives Spiritual Gifts?

Why Are Spiritual Gifts
Given?

SPIRITUAL GIFTS ARE...

  • Supernatural abilities
  • Sovereignly given to
  • Strengthen His
  • Saints who are to
  • Serve (minister) one another and be good
  • Stewards of the manifold grace of God

SPIRITUAL GIFTS ARE NOT...

  • Salvation
  • Character
  • Talents
  • Elders
  • Deacons
  • Skills

What is the purpose of our gift?
(see also column 5)

1Peter 4:11 (note)

"so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ"

Your gift is sovereignly given by God to benefit the Body of Christ

Are you a faithful steward (oikonomos) of your spiritual gift(s)? (ISBE Article)

If you are not the Body will not function properly

Do not seek the gift but seek the Giver and to know His spiritual gift to you


DEFINITION of SPIRITUAL GIFTS

Spiritual gifts are divine enablements for ministry, given by the Holy Spirit (He gives them and enables their effective function which calls for us to continually "be filled" with the Spirit - Eph 5:18-note), in some measure, to all believers and are to be completely under His control and to be used for the building of the body of Christ, all to glory to God through Jesus Christ.

John MacArthur says "A spiritual gift is a channel through which the Holy Spirit ministers to the Body. A gift is not an end in itself." (The Body Dynamic)

Thayer defines spiritual gifts as "extraordinary powers, distinguishing certain Christians and enabling them to serve the Church of Christ, the reception of which is due to the power of divine grace operating in their souls by the Holy Spirit"

Spiritual gifts are "special gifts bestowed by the Holy Spirit upon Christians for the purpose of building up the church." (Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary )

Spiritual gifts are "Varied endowments graciously bestowed by the triune God upon individual Christians, but particularly intended to enhance the community, worship, and service of locally gathered Christians and thereby to enrich the whole Church." (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)


"Use it or Lose It"

While spiritual gifts cannot be lost (to the best of my knowledge), they can be under utilized and become "rusty".

We are called to be faithful and dependable stewards in using our spiritual gifts because anything that is not used doesn’t develop.


ILLUSTRATION - A pianist said "You know, I must practice every day. If I don’t practice one day I know the difference. If I don’t practice two days, those who hear me know the difference!” 

Romans 12:1-note

"present [our] bodies a living and holy sacrifice acceptable to God"


Romans 12:2a -note

"[Don't] be conformed to this world"


Romans 12:2b-note

"be transformed by the renewing of [our] mind"


Romans 12:3a-note

"[Don't] think more highly of [self] than ought to think but think so as to have sound [sober] judgment"


Romans 12:3b-note

"God has allotted (merizo) to each a measure of faith"

Which means we can know limits of our spiritual gift.

Use the spiritual gift God gave you - this gives maximum impact and minimum frustration
(Illustration)


1 Corinthians 12:1

"Concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware (unaware)"

The message to us:

Know your gift


1 Timothy 4:14

Paul commanded his young disciple Timothy...

"Do not neglect (command) the spiritual gift within you" 

The message to each member of the Body is stop neglecting your gift!


1 Corinthians 12:2, 3

"[Don’t be like] pagans... led astray to the mute idols"

"[Be led] by the Spirit of God...by the Holy Spirit"


Ephesians 4:1, 2-note

"Walk (command) in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called – with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love"


1 Peter 4:10-note

[Be] good stewards of the manifold grace of God

(See Illustration)

1 Peter 4:10-note

Employ (diakoneo in present tense = continually) [your spiritual gift] in serving one another


1 Peter 4:11-Click

[Speak] the utterances of God

[Serve] by the strength which God supplies


1 Corinthians 12:31

"Earnestly desire the greater gifts"
(Click explanation)

"Earnestly desire" is a command in the plural, not to individuals to seeking specific gifts which would counter truth in 1Co 12:11, 18, 24) The "greater" spiritual gifts in context include those he has just mentioned. Without prophets and teachers the body cannot be edified and prepared for the work of service. This is not a command to seek after tongues. God gives gifts as He desires.

Charisma

Charisma is a grace gift or "the result of grace". We did not and cannot earn grace or the spiritual gift which is freely bestowed.

Therefore we should not be proud on the one hand nor should we complain on the other! To do so is a personal affront to the Giver!

1 Corinthians 12:4-note

"Varieties of gifts but the same Spirit"

1 Corinthians 12:5-note

"Varieties of ministries and the same Lord"

1 Corinthians 12:6-note

"Varieties of effects but the same God Who works all things in all persons"

In short, the results are dependent on God. Note that involvement of the Trinity in spiritual gifting.


Romans 12:4-note

"We have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function"

Illustration

I do not have to perform the same function that is being carried out by another saint

Illustration


Ephesians 4:11-note

"He gave some as apostles and some as prophets and some as evangelists and some as pastors and teachers" (Context Eph 4:7-16)

Paul describes the gifted individuals Christ gave to the church

 

Each believer has at least one spiritual gift

1 Corinthians 12:7-note 
(cf 1 Cor 12:11,18,28)

"To each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good"

Manifestation is the Greek word phanerosis (see below) which is from the verb phaneroo which means to shine forth. So here the point -- your spiritual gift should be visible for all to see! MacArthur comments that "all spiritual gifts are from the Holy Spirit. They make Him known, understood, and evident in the church and in the world, by spiritually profiting all who receive their ministry." Beloved, your church needs to see the power of the Holy Spirit! See also Spirit Filled Church. LET YOUR LITTLE LIGHT SHINE!

It follows that we need to pay attention to mature believers who say "I think you have the spiritual gift of _______". (see note below for how to discern your gift).

The practical application is that although the spiritual gift is not our choice, we are responsible to recognize it

Illustration


Ephesians 4:7-note

"To each one of us grace was given"


Ephesians 4:16-note

That we might "all attain (arrive, finish the journey) to the unity of the faith, and of the (full) knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature (telios - "full grown") man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. No longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming....according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love (see illustration).


1 Peter 4:10-note

"Each one has received a special gift"

FOR THE COMMON GOOD
1 Corinthians 12:7

to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good

Our spiritual gift is not to edify self but profit the whole body of Christ and to not exercise your spiritual gift affects the health of the entire Body

Howard Hendricks adds that "If you don’t know what your gift is, and if you are not using it to serve the body of Christ, you are crippling your spiritual life"


FOR SERVING ONE ANOTHER

1 Peter 4:10-Click

"Employ [your gift] in serving (diakoneo in present tense = continually) one another"


TO GLORIFY GOD

1 Peter 4:11-note

"So that in all things God may be glorified (doxazo) through Jesus Christ"


TO EQUIP SAINTS
for Ministry and
building up the Body

Ephesians 4:11, 12-note

For equipping (katartismos) of the saints for the work of service...building up (oikodome) of the body of Christ


TO EDIFY, EXHORT, CONSOLE  

1 Cor 14:3

"One who prophesies speaks to men for edification (oikodome), exhortation (paraklesis), consolation (see verb)"


TO BRING SAINTS
TO FULL MATURITY 

Ephesians 4:13-14, 16-note

That we might "all attain (arrive, finish the journey) to the unity of the faith, and of the (full) knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature (telios - "full grown") man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. No longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.

Saints who are gifted in handling accurately the Word of truth are given to teach the saints so that they might be brought to full maturity. If there is no pure word, there is no growth (1 Pe 2:2-note). The Body is not built up by man made programs but by Spirit filled preachers and teachers of the Word of Life. 

From this passage who should perform the work of ministry-the staff or the saints? If you have the spiritual gift of teaching and are NOT teaching, you are missing your opportunity to store up for yourself treasure in heaven!

Are you serving or just sitting and soaking the sermons? As D L Moody said “It is better to put 10 men to work than to do the work of 10 men.” Are you one of the 10 using your gift or the one doing the work of 10? Teamwork divides the effort and multiples the effect!

ILLUSTRATIONS:

Remember that the church is not a spiritual rest home, but a barracks for training soldiers of the cross!

Could it be that a paucity of sound Biblical teaching explains the scarcity of Word equipped, Spirit filled saints? See description of a A Spirit Filled Church

SUMMARY OF
SPIRITUAL GIFTS

(Part 2)

When Are Spiritual Gifts Given?

How Are Spiritual
Gifts Given?

What Metaphor Is Used to Explain Spiritual Gifts?

What Is the
Order of Spiritual Gifts?

How Are Spiritual Gifts Exercised?

1 Corinthians 12:7

"to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit"

Since EACH believer was given a gift this implies that none at any time lacked a gift.

Therefore we were given our spiritual gift or gifts when we were given the Spirit or when we were Born Again.


1 Corinthians 12:13

Paul writes that "by one Spirit we were all baptized (baptizo) into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit."

Baptizo describes the "introduction or placing of a person or thing into a new environment or into union w something else so as to alter its condition or relationship to its previous environment or condition." (Wuest)


Romans 8:9-note

Elsewhere Paul emphasizes that

"If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him"

1 Corinthians 12:8-10

"To one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit"

"to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit"

"to another faith by the same Spirit"

Illustration - Although Hudson Taylor had no money, he believed God would use him to win China and and God did use him mightily to spread the gospel into inland China (Read Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret)

to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,

to another the effecting of miracles,

to another prophecy,

to another the distinguishing of spirits,

to another various kinds of tongues,

to another the interpretation of tongues

KEY POINT

One is given one gift and next person another spiritual gift


Who gives gifts?
How are they distributed?

1 Corinthians 12:11

"One and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills"

The Spirit is in control (sovereign) and the spiritual gifts are determined not by what individuals want or seek but by what God wills.


1 Corinthians 12:18

"God has placed the members each one of them, in the body, just as He desired"

1 Corinthians 12:24

"God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked"

1 Corinthians 12:28
"God has appointed in the church..."

1 Corinthians 12:29, 30

All do not have ALL gifts

Some teach that we should seek "tongues" yet Scripture says not ALL have this gift


Ephesians 4:8,11

Given by Jesus (after He ascended)

Ephesians 4:8-note

"He gave gifts to men"

Ephesians 4:11-note

"He gave some as apostles"

Romans 12:6-note

"we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us"

Note how the specific phrases above ("He gave...according to the grace given") underscores God's total sovereignty in the giving of spiritual gifts. We are to seek the Giver of the gifts and not the gifts, for each believer has already been gifted by Him at the moment they were save by grace through faith.

 

 

 

1 Corinthians 12:12-Note
Physical Body

"For even as the [physical] body is one and yet has many members and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ"


How does Paul explain the composition of the body of Christ?

1 Corinthians 12:13

"For by one Spirit we were ALL baptized (baptizo) into one BODY whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

Note Paul's repetition: one for all, all for one 


How does Paul further explain the body of Christ?

1 Corinthians 12:14-17

"Body is not one member, but many
foot... is not...any the less a part of the body" Illustration

"if the ear says," Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body"

"If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be?' Illustration

"If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?"

All parts of body are important and necessary for healthy function Illustration or here

There is no grounds for competition or envy Illustration

What is Paul's point?

We can't say because we don't have a specific gift we are not part of the body - don't have a pity party saying "No one wants my lowly gift"

1 Corinthians 12:19-24

All members of the body are necessary = No room for self sufficiency (no Lone Ranger believers) We need each other - Illustration

This truth of our inter-dependence is repeatedly emphasized in Scripture by the use of the phrase "ONE ANOTHER" - Click 50 "one another's"

Don’t' feel like you are a "second class" Christian because can't do what someone else does. This truth should set you free from envy and jealousy for God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked


Why greater honor to lesser?

1 Corinthians 12:25-27

"So that there may be no division in the body but that the members may have the same care for one another"

How is this care explained?

"if one member suffers all the members suffer with it"

"if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it"

Because our physical body is interconnected & interdependent when our head hurts the entire body is affected & so too in the mystical Body of Christ


Romans 12:4-5-note

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Analogy of many members in one physical body and all members don't have same function (in context the same "spiritual gift") so there are many members of the ONE mystical Body of Christ and all are members one of another (inter-dependent and intimately connected) (Illustration)

1 Corinthians 12:28

God has appointed or placed

NOTE There is an ORDER but it is NOT indicative of importance. The idea of order is similar to a husband as head over the wife but both are equally important

1 Peter 4:11-note 

SPEAKING is to be

"the utterances of God"

SERVING is to be

"by the strength which God supplies"

Note, it is our responsibility to use the gift, but God's Spirit enabling us to do so.

1 Corinthians 12:6

"God works (energizes) all things (gifts, ministries, effects) in all persons"

1 Corinthians 12:11

"Spirit works (energizes) all these things"

God is the "power" Source for our spiritual gift. We exercise our gifts in His power not our own.

Romans 12:6-8

7 Gifts Listed:

if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith (click)

if service, in his serving 

he who teaches, in his teaching (click)

he who exhorts, in his exhortation (click)

he who gives, with liberality (click)

he who leads, with diligence (click)

he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness (click)

Paul is simply saying that if your gift is teaching then teach, if exhortation, then exhort. The point is use the gift God gave you. A corollary thought is don't try to seek a gift you do not have.

The Greek construction in this sentence is what is known as the "Locative of sphere" (see explanation below) -- the point is that whatever your spiritual gift is, you are to stay within the sphere of that spiritual gift. If your spiritual gift is teaching then don't try to exercise the spiritual gift of service. The analogy is seen in our body - If one is an "EYE" stay within this sphere.

What's The Message? 

Know your spiritual gift

In a recent survey Barna reports that 69% of church goers have heard of spiritual gifts but do not know their spiritual gift!

Know the limits of your spiritual gift

Don't seek a particular spiritual gift that you would like to possess (but do seek to know the gift you already possess)

Understand what your spiritual gift is – if you are a "hand" you will be drawn to functions a hand is capable of doing.
(Illustration)

How Do You Know What Your spiritual Gift is?

You will be drawn to that spiritual gift

You will show interest

You will experience "success" in the exercise of that spiritual gift

Others will see your gift

You can know for sure that you have at least one spiritual gift

You need to understand that your spiritual gift represents a stewardship from God which you are responsible for and will give an account some day as to how you managed this gift. It follows that you must discover your spiritual gift (or as Paul says don't "be ignorant" of it)

Here are some resources to help discern your spiritual gift:

  1. How do I identify my spiritual gift?
  2. J D Greear - How to discover your spiritual gift. 
  3. What is the difference between a talent and a spiritual gift?

You must exercise your spiritual gift within the context of the body of Christ universal and the specific local body where God has planted you

Remember your role in the body is vital for if one member of the body fails to exercise his or her specific spiritual gift, the Body of Christ will not function as it was meant to function

(Click illustration of a "steward" who fails to fulfill their function)

RESOURCES RELATED
TO SPIRITUAL GIFTS


Manifestation (5321)(phanerosis from phaneroo = to make visible, make clear, display, show, reveal) is a noun which describes a disclosure, a manifestation, a making of something visible or observable.

In English manifestation means a a public demonstration of power and purpose (I LIKE THAT ONE - when you display your spiritual gift, you are putting on display the power of God and drawing attention to Him as others see clearly that you have this supernatural gift! Beloved, let your light shine! - Mt 5:16-note!), a clear appearance, a manifest indication of the existence, presence, or nature of some person or thing; the act of demonstrating; 

Friberg - as an action making public, clear announcement, disclosure (2Co 4.2); evidencing, making known, revelation (1Co 12.7) (Analytical Lexicon)

In the only other NT instance in 2 Cor. 4:2 (no uses in the Septuagint) Paul describes true proclamation as a manifestation of the truth in contrast to the falsification of God’s word by his opponents. He explained the nature of his ministry and the reasons he spoke so boldly and frankly to the believers at Corinth.

(2 Cor. 4:2) but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.


Bricklayers and Violinists

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them. --Romans 12:6

A concert violinist had a brother who was a bricklayer. One day a woman began talking to the bricklayer about how wonderful it was for him to be in the same family as the noted musician. But then, not wanting to insult the bricklayer, she added, "Of course, we don't all have the same talents, and even in the same family some just seem to have more ability than others."

The bricklayer replied, "You're telling me! That violinist brother of mine doesn't know a thing about laying bricks. And if he wasn't able to make some money playing that fiddle of his, he couldn't hire a guy with know-how like mine to build his house. If he had to build a house himself, he'd be ruined."

If you want to build a house, don't look up "violinist" in the yellow pages. And if you need someone to play the violin in an orchestra, don't hire a bricklayer. No two of us are exactly alike, and no one possesses every gift. In that way, houses get built and music gets played.

In the church, God has gifted us in different ways too. Our responsibility is to exercise the spiritual gifts that He has given us. When we do, we build each other up in the faith, and there is harmony in the body of Christ. --H W Robinson

It matters not what others do,
It is my task to see
My life is patterned in the mold
The Lord has planned for me.
--Beers

There are no unimportant members in the body of Christ.


Do Your Own Thing!

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. --1Peter 4:10

In the 60s and 70s, much was heard about the right of individuals to "do their own thing." People were encouraged to be themselves, to get to know themselves, and to express themselves.

Of course a Christian should never pursue an unhealthy individualism that glorifies self and ignores God. But when we remember our responsibility to others and acknowledge our dependence on the Lord, He can use our distinctive skills and spiritual gifts for His glory. In Romans 12, believers are reminded that while they are part of one body, they all have different God-given abilities. Every child of God is obligated to recognize his particular talents and to use them in His service.

In a commercial airliner, the pilot, co-pilot, mechanics, engineers, and flight attendants all have different responsibilities. What jeopardy the passengers would be in if each crew member neglected his duties for another role! In much the same way, serious harm can come to a church if its members clamor for the position of another. Don't settle for less than God's best by coveting a position you may not be suited for. Recognize the spiritual gift God has given you and "do your own thing." And do it well! --R W De Haan

It matters not what others do;
It is my task to see
My life is patterned to the mold
The Lord has planned for me.
--Anon.

Your place is where you can do the most good for God.


Use Your Spiritual Gift!

Do not neglect the gift that is in you. --1Timothy 4:14

God never gives a person a task without also providing him with what's necessary to perform the responsibility.

W. W. Dawley, referring to this truth, says, "God gave Moses a rod, David a sling, Samson the jawbone of a donkey, Shamgar an oxgoad, Esther the beauty of person, Deborah the talent for poetry, Dorcas a needle, and Apollos an eloquent tongue--and to each the ability to use that spiritual gift. In so doing, every one of them did most effective works for the Lord."

Our heavenly Father has given at least one spiritual gift to each of us as believers, and He provides all we need to carry out our individual responsibilities (1Cor. 12:6, 7). We are all essential in the body of Christ (1Co 12:14-27). Acknowledging these truths is not only a source of comfort and encouragement, but it is also a sobering reality, for it places before us an important obligation. God's spiritual gifts to us must not be squandered! They must be fully used, because someday "each of us shall give account of himself to God" (Ro 14:12).

What has the Lord given you? Are you using your spiritual gift for His glory and the blessing of others? Don't waste your spiritual gift! Use it! --R W De Haan

Lord God, I humbly ask of You
The strength to do Your will;
I give to You my talents now
Your purpose to fulfill.
--Bierema

God's call to a task includes His strength to complete it.


Don't Just Sit There

The manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all. --1 Corinthians 12:7

A well-known coach was once asked, "How much does college football contribute to the national physical-fitness picture?"

"Nothing," the coach replied abruptly.

"Why not?" the startled interviewer asked.

"Well," said the coach, "the way I see it, you have 22 men down on the field desperately needing a rest and 40,000 people in the stands desperately needing some exercise."

A similar situation exists in many churches today. When you compare the members who merely attend with those who actively participate, you often find a rather pathetic situation. It's not unusual to have a small group of diligent Christian workers struggling "down on the field" while others in the congregation are acting like spectators, "sitting on the sidelines, eating hot dogs and popcorn."

God's strategy for the accomplishment of His program is not like a sports event. It does not call for the job to be done only by the "professionals." In the game of life, all believers have their own positions and spiritual gifts that they must exercise "for the profit of all" (1Co 12:7).

My friend, if you've been sitting in the stands, you're badly needed down on the field! --M R De Haan II

God calls into action today
All those who are children of light;
Whatever our hand finds to do,
Let's do it with all of our might.
--Hess

Christians should be on the frontlines, not the sidelines.


Part Of The Crew

The effective working by which every part does its share causes growth of the body. --Ephesians 4:16

Have you ever watched a pit crew in action at an auto race? I had the opportunity to be in the pit area during a race, and I was impressed. In less time than it takes for most of us to put our seatbelt on and adjust the mirror, the crew had changed four tires, filled the gas tank, washed the windshield, given the driver a drink, and made vital adjustments to the car. It happens so quickly and efficiently because each crew member knows his job and does it right.

Speaking at a chapel service before the race, chaplain Max Helton said to the drivers and their crews, "Imagine all the people it takes to put on a race. What if they all wanted to drive? It would be chaos." It's the same with the crew. If everyone wanted to change tires and no one wanted to fill the gas tank, the car wouldn't have a very long ride. Likewise, in the body of Christ we all have been equipped with different skills to do certain tasks (Eph. 4:7-16). We can't all be pastors or teachers. Some of us have to "change the tires" and "wash the windshield." And each job is as important as the other.

For the body of Christ to fulfill its purpose, we each need to concentrate on our part and do it the best we can. --JDB

God builds His church and makes it strong
By using you and me;
And if we all will do our part,
The world Christ's love will see.
-Sper

Teamwork divides the effort and multiplies the effect


Be Like A Bee

God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. --1 Corinthians 12:18

The honeybee has one of the most highly developed social structures in the animal kingdom. At the heart of the hive, which may house as many as 80,000 bees, is the queen. Without her, the colony has no future. But the 80,000 don't just sit around watching their queen. Each bee has a specialized duty to fulfill.

The forager bees encounter the perils of the outside world to collect food. The guard bees protect the hive entrance from intruders. The undertakers are responsible for removing dead bodies from the hive. The water collectors bring in moisture to regulate humidity. The plasterers make a kind of cement to repair the hive. And the fanners station themselves at the entrance and fan the scent outward to signal the location of the colony to lost or disoriented bees. The scout bees keep the hive alerted to opportunities and dangers of the outside world. The variety and specialization of the worker bees seem endless.

In a similar way, the Lord has given special, spiritual gifts and tasks to all the people in His church. No one has been called merely to sit around. Everyone can do something. The work of the church will not get done unless all of us do what God has called us to do. --M R De Haan II

Christ builds His church and makes it strong
By using you and me,
And if we all will do our part
The world His love will see.
-Sper

The church works best when we see ourselves as participants, not spectators.


Use What You Have

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them. --Romans 12:6

A group of animals decided to improve their general welfare by starting a school. The curriculum included swimming, running, climbing, and flying. The duck, an excellent swimmer, was deficient in other areas, so he majored in climbing and flying, much to the detriment of his swimming. The rabbit, a superior runner, was forced to spend so much time in other classes that he soon lost much of his famed speed. The squirrel, who had been rated "A" as a climber, dropped to a "C" because his instructors spent hours trying to teach him to fly. And the eagle could no longer soar to the treetops because he had to learn how to swim. What happened to this group of animals portrays what often occurs in our churches.

Romans 12:1-8 teaches that we are all given certain spiritual gifts. But some of us serve in so many areas that our tasks are not done well. As a result, the whole church suffers.

If God made you a teacher--be a teacher. Study diligently and do your best. If He's given you the gift of mercy, serve cheerfully and don't expect others to do what you do. Accept your spiritual gifts. Cultivate your capabilities. Stop comparing. Enjoy being you. Yes, use what you have! --R W De Haan

Be not always wanting
Some other work to do,
But cheerfully perform the task
That Christ has given you.
--Anon.

Do what you can, where you are,  with what you have. --D L Moody


Broken Toes, Broken World

You are the body of Christ, and members individually. . --1 Corinthians 12:27

Twice in my life I've broken one of my little toes by colliding with furniture. Ouch! For days I limped painfully, my body protecting its tiny injured member. My body was doing exactly what it was designed to do. It supported and sympathized with the part of me that was hurting. Gradually my toe healed, resuming its thankless task.

Although I'll never again take my toes for granted, I sometimes take for granted certain members of the church. Paul taught that the church is the body of Christ (1Cor. 12:12-27), not merely like the body of Christ. Each member has God-given abilities to support and sympathize with other members.

If Christ's church is to function the way God designed it, there are three things we dare not do: (1) Refuse to fellowship with others. (2) Let fear and lack of love cause us to withhold our spiritual gifts from others. (3) Disregard or oppose the spiritual gifts of others through pride and envy. Instead, we need to be actively using our spiritual gifts to the benefit of fellow members of Christ's body. Only when we experience both the giving and receiving of Christ's healing love for broken members will we be ready to reach out to a broken world. --J E Yoder

We're all dependent on the strength
We draw from one another,
For we're connected by the love
That comes from God our Father.
--Sper

A healthy church is the best witness to a hurting world.


The Right Fit

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them. —Romans 12:6

According to a study of 350,000 people, four out of five have jobs that don't match their abilities. The survey also suggests that the most commonly used guidelines for hiring, like education and experience, are of little value in predicting how well an applicant will do in a particular position. What makes a person either fit or unfit for a job are the inner aptitudes for certain types of work.

The right kind of spiritual giftedness is also essential to our effectiveness in the Lord's work. Secondary factors such as talent and experience have their place. But God, through the Holy Spirit, supernaturally endows every Christian with unique spiritual gifts to serve His church (Romans 12:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; 1Corinthians 12:1-31). We function best and accomplish the most for the Lord when we do what we've been spiritually gifted to do. It's fruitless and frustrating to try to be something we are not.

God wants each of us to discover and confirm our spiritual gifts. Some of us might feel uncomfortable talking about our strengths, but these are not abilities we can take credit for. The Creator Himself has put these spiritual gifts within us to benefit others and to fulfill His purposes. Having discovered our spiritual gifts, let's offer them back to God and build up His church by doing the right job. —M R De Haan II

God gives each Christian special gifts
So the church can function well;
And if we all will do our part,
Then its members will excel.
—Sper

Many people make a grave mistake by burying their gifts.


Foot-And-Mouth-Disease

We dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. —2 Corinthians 10:12

Foot-and-mouth disease is highly contagious among cloven-hoofed animals. Blisters form around the mouth, and the feet become extremely painful. The animals will not eat or drink, and they lose weight rapidly. Fortunately, preventive measures have made this infection virtually nonexistent in the US today.

A spiritual kind of foot-and-mouth disease continues in epidemic proportions in the church. In 1 Corinthians 12, believers are likened to the members of a body. This kind of foot-and-mouth disease breaks out when those who belong to the body of Christ, the church, begin comparing themselves among themselves (v.12). A "foot" may become dissatisfied with its inability to express itself like the "mouth." And the "mouth" may feel inadequate because it can't move about and bear the weight of the body. Such Christians lose their spiritual appetite and become ineffective in serving the Lord.

God's children have been sovereignly designed and placed in the body of Christ for specific purposes. Each of us is vital to the well-being of the whole. And when we fulfill our role, there will be harmony, and our Savior will receive the glory. Let's put an end to foot-and-mouth disease in the church. —M R De Haan II

Christ gives each member of His church
His special gifts to use;
He sovereignly distributes them—
We do not pick and choose. —Sper

For a healthier church, exercise your spiritual gifts.


No Nobodies

Those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. —1 Corinthians 12:22

A visitor was being shown around a leper colony in India. At noon a gong sounded for the midday meal. People came from all parts of the compound to the dining hall. All at once peals of laughter filled the air. Two young men, one riding on the other's back, were pretending to be a horse and a rider and were having loads of fun.

As the visitor watched, he was told that the man who carried his friend was blind, and the man being carried was lame. The one who couldn't see used his feet; the one who couldn't walk used his eyes. Together they helped each other, and they found great joy in doing it.

Imagine a church like that—each member using his or her strength to make up for another's weakness. That's what should be happening in every congregation of believers. Paul likened spiritual gifts to various parts of the human body. Eyes see. Ears hear. Hands work. Feet move the body forward. All are essential. And when each fulfills its function, the whole body benefits. All of us have weaknesses, but we also have strengths. We are all different, but God has given each of us at least one spiritual gift to use for the good of the church. We need one another. In Christ's body there are no nobodies. —Dennis De Haan

God can take a lowly vessel,
Shape it with His mighty hand,
Fill it with a matchless treasure,
Make it serve a purpose grand.
—Bosch

There is no such thing as insignificant service for Christ.


Do Your Best!

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them. —Romans 12:6

When Leonardo da Vinci was still a pupil, his elderly, well-known teacher asked him to finish a painting he had begun. Young da Vinci stood in such awe of his master's skill that at first he respectfully declined. But his teacher would accept no excuse. He simply said, "Do your best."

Trembling, da Vinci took his brush and began. With each stroke, his hand grew more steady as the genius within him awoke. Soon he was so caught up in his work that he forgot his timidity. When the painting was finished, the frail and weak master was carried into the studio to see it. Embracing his student, he exclaimed, "My son, I paint no more!"

Every Christian has unique God-given abilities. Some believers, however, feel inferior because they don't have as much talent as others. But we mustn't think that way. God doesn't hold us accountable for what we don't have. He wants us to discover and develop the skills we do have.

Of course, we can't all be a Leonardo da Vinci. But we don't have to be. The apostle Paul said, "It is required in stewards that one be found faithful" (1Corinthians 4:2). That means doing our best and leaving the results with God. Who knows, we may just surprise ourselves! —R W De Haan

Give of your best to the Master,
Give Him first place in your heart;
Give Him first place in your service,
Consecrate every part.
—Grose

The greatest ability is dependability.


You’re Necessary

January 18, 2013 — by Marvin Williams

Read: 1 Corinthians 12:14-26

But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it. —1 Corinthians 12:24

The story has been told about a conductor who was rehearsing his orchestra. The organ was giving a beautiful melody, the drums were thundering, the trumpets were blaring, and the violins were singing beautifully. But the conductor noticed something missing—the piccolo. The piccolo player had gotten distracted and hoped his instrument wouldn’t be missed. The conductor reminded him: “Each one of us is necessary.”

This was essentially the same message Paul communicated to the Corinthian believers in his first letter to them (12:4-7). Every Christian plays an important role in the body of Christ. Paul gave a list of gifts of the Spirit and compared their use to the functioning of the various parts of the human body for the good of the whole (vv.8-10). The Corinthian believers may have had different cultural backgrounds, gifts, and personalities, but they were filled with the same Spirit and belonged to the same body of Christ. Paul made special mention of the parts of the body that were weak and obscure, and taught that all believers play a necessary and significant role. No one part was more necessary than any other.

Remember, Jesus has given you a significant part to play and will use you to build up His people.

The church, a living body, containing all the parts—
It lives, it moves, it functions, and touches many hearts;
When each part is committed to do the Savior’s will,
His members are united, His purpose they fulfill.
—Fitzhugh

As a member of the body of Christ,
you are a necessary part of the whole.

Sharing Space

Those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. —1 Corinthians 12:22

The number of people who run a business out of their homes is in the millions. But some have found that working alone can be a little too lonely. To give these lonely ones a community, “co-working” spaces have been designed. Large facilities are rented out where people working by themselves can share space with others. They have their own work area but can exchange ideas with fellow independent workers. It’s for those who feel they can work better together than they do alone.

Sometimes Christians think they work better alone. But we are meant to work together with others in the church. Every Christian has been placed into “the body of Christ” (1 Cor. 12:27). And the Lord desires that we take part in fellowship with a local community of believers—using our spiritual gifts and working together in His service.

Yet for various reasons, some aren’t able to join in. Because of health issues, they may be shut in at home or may not know how to fit in at church. Yet they are a needed part of the body (vv.22-25). That’s when others can meet their need for togetherness. Let’s do our part so that others may feel they’re an integral part of the community of faith. We work better together than alone.

Thinking It Over - What can you do to help others feel a part of your church community? Visit, pray with them, read Scripture together, drop a note, or invite them to join you in serving others.

Fellowship builds us up and binds us together.


We Need One Another

The manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all. --1 Corinthians 12:7

The Peterson ranch in Wyoming is framed by mile after mile of fencing. Not only is the entire spread fenced in, Clyde Peterson has it subdivided with barbed-wire so he can move the cattle from section to section. A single grazing spot may be bordered by as many as 600 fence posts. Each cedar post is important. If one is knocked down, the entire herd can escape over the fallen section.

The same principle holds true in other areas of life. If one machine breaks down, the whole assembly line grinds to a halt. If one screw drops out of a carburetor, the car runs erratically. If a single microchip fails, an entire computer system may malfunction.

A local church is no different. Every worker is vital: the Sunday school teacher, the organist, the sound-system operator, the nursery worker, the greeter. If one slacks off, the entire effort suffers.

Are you feeling unimportant--as if you're just one more fencepost in a long row? Does it seem that what you're doing is hardly worth the effort? Remember what the apostle Paul wrote: No matter what your capacity, if you are working for the Lord, it is "for the profit of all" (1Cor. 12:7).

As one single fencepost is crucial to the rancher, you too are important to God--and to the rest of us! --D C Egner

We need each other as we serve the Lord,
With all the workers equal to their tasks,
No matter if the jobs are large or small,
For faithfulness is all the Savior asks.
--Hess

Even the smallest work done for Christ has great value.


Gifted To Serve— by C. P. Hia

Read: Romans 12:3-13

There are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. —1 Corinthians 12:6

It occurred to me one day that my right foot does all the pedal work when I’m driving my automatic transmission car. It alone works the accelerator and the brake. The left foot is idle. What happens if I decide that to be equitable, my left foot ought to replace my right foot half the time when I am driving? If you have never done so, please don’t try it!

If we don’t require such equality of the members of our own body, why is it that we sometimes expect it of people in the church? That seems to be an issue that the first-century church at Rome faced. Some were thinking more highly of themselves than they ought (Romans 12:3) just because they were doing some things others were not doing. But Paul reminds us that “all members do not have the same function” (Romans 12:4). We’ve been gifted according to God’s grace (Romans 12:6). He gave us those gifts to serve others, not ourselves (Romans 12:6-13). Our service is to be marked by diligence and fervor, for we are serving the Lord, not man (Romans 12:11).

So, let’s not look over our shoulders to see what others are doing or not doing. Look at how God may be able to use you in His kingdom today. He has gifted you just as He has pleased (Romans 12:3).

Lord, lead me today as You see best. Use the gifts You
have given me to encourage others on their journey.
Help me not to compare myself with others
but to be content with who You have made me to be.

We can’t all play the same part in God’s band of service,
but we should all play in harmony.


WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A "KEY" PLAYER FAILS TO FULFILL THEIR FUNCTION?

Are You a Good Steward of the Spiritual Gift God has Entrusted to Your Care? The following story by an unknown author gives an interesting illustration of how one believer not exercising their gift in the Body can affect the message produced by the entire Body.

A Brokxn Kxy

Evxn though my typxwritxr is an old modxl, it works quitx wxll xxcxpt for onx of the kxys.

I havx many timxs wishxd that is workxd pxrfxctly.

It is trux that thxrx arx forty-onx kxys that function wxll xnough, but just onx kxy not working makxs thx diffxrxncx.

Somxtimxs it sxxms to mx that our church is somxthing likx my typxwritxr -- not all thx kxy pxoplx arx working propxrly.

As onx of thxm, you may say to yoursxlf, "Wxll, I am only onx pxrson, I don't makx or brxak thx church."

But it doxs makx a big diffxrxncx, bxcasx a church, to bx xffxctivx, nxxds thx activx participation of xvxry pxrson.

So, thx nxxt timx your xfforts arx not nxxdxd vxry much, rxmxmbxr my typxwritxr and say to yoursxlf, "I am a kxy pxrson in thx congrxgation and I am nxxdxd vxry much."

This is what happxns to thx wholx church, and multiply this by many timxs -- thx whole thing just doxs not makx sxnsx!

"Belovxd don't bx like a broken kxy."

You must utilize your spiritual gift. The local body of Christ where you worship needs you and cannot be the same without you! Do you really believe that?


LOCATIVE OF SPHERE - Wuest (commenting on Ro 12:7) has this informative note (specifically commenting on the preposition "en" = "in" in Ro 12:7 - "en te diakonia...en te didaskalia" = "in his serving...in his teaching"): The word “ministry” is in the locative of sphere. The exhortation is that the one who renders service should render service in the realm or sphere in which God placed him and for which He gave him that gift. Moule says of this word, “Almost any work other than that of inspired utterance or miracle-working may be included in it here.” Godet says; “An activity of the practical nature exerted in action, not in word.” As to teaching, it is aimed at the understanding, with reference to exhortation, at the heart and will (Vincent). Both words are in the locative of sphere, the idea being that the one who is given a teaching gift should remain within the exercise of that gift, and the one who has been given the gift of exhortation, within the exercise of that gift. It is a wise man who stays within the sphere of service for which God the Holy Spirit has fitted him, and does not invade some other field of service for which he is not fitted. (Wuest's Word Studies) (Bolding added)

THE ONE ANOTHERS
IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

The Positive

><> Ro 12:10-note, Ro 12:16-note; Ro 13:8-note; Ro 14:13-note, Ro 14:19-note;

Ro 15:5-note, Ro 15:7-note, Ro 15:14-note; Ro 16:16-note

><>1Co 12:25; 1Co 16:20; 2Co 13:12

><> Ga 5:13; Ep 4:2-note, Ep 4:25-note, Ep 4:32-note; Ep 5:19-note, Ep 5:21-note

><> Php 2:3-note; Col 3:13-note, Col 3:16-note

><> 1Th 3:12-note; 1Th 4:9-note, 1Th 4:18-note; 1Th 5:11-note, 1Th 5:13-note, 1Th 5:15-note; 2Th 1:3

><> Heb 3:13-note; He 10:24, 25-note

><> Jas 5:16, 1Pe 1:22-note; 1Pe 4:8, 9-note, 1Pe 4:10-note; 1Pe 5:5-note, 1Pe 5:14-note

><> 1Jn 1:7,3:11,23,4:7,11, 12, 2Jn 1:5

The Negative

<>< 1Co 6:7, 7:5, 11:33, Ga 5:15, Ga 5:26-note Col 3:9-note, Jas 4:11, 5:9

THE NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES
ON SPIRITUAL GIFTS

ROMANS 12

1 1 urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

3 For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function,

5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

6 And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;

7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching;

8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.


1CORINTHIANS 12

12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware.

2 You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the dumb idols, however you were led.

3 Therefore I make known to you, that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus is accursed"; and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.

5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.

6 And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.

7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit;

9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,

10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.

11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.

13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

14 For the body is not one member, but many.

15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.

16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.

17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?

18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.

19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?

20 But now there are many members, but one body.

21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."

22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary;

23 and those members of the body, which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our unseemly members come to have more abundant seemliness,

24 whereas our seemly members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked,

25 that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.

26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

27 Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it.

28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.

29 All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they?

30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?

31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.


EPHESIANS 4

7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.

8 Therefore it says, "WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN."

9 (Now this expression, "He ascended," what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?

10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,

12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;

13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.

14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;

15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ,

16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.


1 PETER 4

10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

11 Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

RESOURCES RELATED TO
SPIRITUAL GIFTS

Multiple Devotionals from Our Daily Bread (Click)

Topic - The Holy Spirit

Bible Dictionaries, Theological Articles

GotQuestions.org

Wayne Barber sermon series (discussion of spiritual gifts)

Bible.org Website - List of Contents Related to Spiritual Gifts

Kenneth Boa

J Hampton Keathley, III

John MacArthur - cessationist

John Piper (spiritual gifts) - not a cessationist

Ray Pritchard (Includes discussion of seven spiritual gifts)

Grant Richison (abstracts from devotionals on Spiritual Gifts - click link for full article)

1 Peter 4:10 We exercise our (spiritual) gift in grace because we received our gift by grace. God does not want us to be ambivalent about the gifts He gives us. In fact, He warns us not to neglect our gifts...If someone were to give us a gift at Christmas and we threw it in the attic without opening it, it would be an insult to the giver. If Christians receive special supernatural endowments to do the work of God and leave them latent, this is an insult to God who gave the gift. God gave every Christian a special endowment to do His work without exception. Will you stand at the judgment seat of Christ empty-handed with no representation of using our gift responsibly? It will do no good to say, "Well, I'm not talented. I really do not have anything to offer the church. I am a speckled bird that does not fit in. I can't do anything. All I can do is sit. All I can do is be a religious spectator all my life. I watch others serve. All I can do is pity myself." Neglecting our gift indicates our lack of appreciation for the grace of God. Very few Christians seize their gifts and use them for God's glory to the benefit of the body of Christ. Never did so many owe so much to so few.

1 Peter 4:10b Spiritual Gifts serve no purpose except to serve. Each gift is a pipe that relays the blessing for which God designed the gift. We are a pipe, not a reservoir. We are a channel of God's blessing to others. We are the channel through which God's blessing flows to others.

1 Peter 4:10c Christians are managers of God's grace through their spiritual gift. God wants us to be faithful, not famous. He does not even want us to be successful but faithful....Stewards serve others by distributing their gift to meet the needs of others. A good steward manages God's provisions well. As a minister of Christ, God entrusts us with the treasures of the gospel. The first requirement is trustworthiness. What kind of steward have you been with God's gifts to you? Have you opened your gift? Have you neglected your gift? Do you use your gifts to serve others? There is room for everyone in the service of the King.

1 Peter 4:10d God's gifts of grace come in all sizes and shapes. The grace of God comes in all colors, shapes and sizes. It takes a great variety of gifts to produce a healthy, growing church. Our computer has outward functions but below the surface are many little parts that make it work. You may be one of those small parts. Without you there would be no effective church of God. That is the way God works. The church needs big parts and little parts, big roles and little roles without which the church would not be the church. Will you make yourself available to be used of God in the local church? Without you, the work of the Lord will suffer loss. We ultimately do not serve the church but we serve the Lord. Say to the Lord, "Here I am. Harness me. Put a saddle on me and I will do my best." All He expects is our best, nothing more. All He wants from us is to do what we can with what we have.

1 Peter 4:11 God gives us the gift of dispensing revelation....The message is not our own. We are just messengers who deliver the telegraph of good news. We do not say a messenger is great because of the good news in the telegram. The glory is in the content of the telegram. Men are simply mouth-pieces for communicating God's truth. We do not trust in our own powers but live under a power not our own.

1 Peter 4:11b To speak as an oracle of God is to speak with authority....Do you speak God's Word or are you a purveyor of your own notions? In speaking gifts, God designs that we transmit His truth. We simply chime the truth and the Holy Spirit does the work of applying truth to experience.

1 Peter 4:11c A characteristic of Christianity is to serve others....Few of us minister to saints. Most of us cater to our own needs. We love to minister to ourselves.

1 Peter 4:11d God will give us the ability to minister. God will enlarge our capacity to serve Him. He first gives us the capability to minister by giving us a gift. Then as we cultivate the gift, He makes us more potent. If we are faithful to our gift, God will enlarge our area of responsibility. He will push back horizons for greater ministry. Are you dying of spiritual dry rot? If God opens an opportunity for you, seize the day no matter how insignificant it may seem. If you are faithful in the small thing He will give you something greater

1 Peter 4:11e God supplies any provision we need to minister for Him. We do not invent our gift. God both gives the gift and produces the ability to use the gift. God is both the source of our gift and the sustaining of it. We often act as if it is our great gift that produces the results. We forget that God both gave us the gift and gives us the ability to use the gift (1 Corinthians 4:7). There is no room for pride because from beginning to end it is God that supplies.

1 Peter 4:11f Our purpose in life is to manifest God's glory. Use of our gifts is a combination of self-possession and self- abandonment. We should exercise our gift with a sense of excellence and yet the gift should not call attention to ourselves. The focus should be upon the Lord Jesus...Do you live a life of doxology? All doxologies ascribe glory to God. Do you ascribe to God what God truly is? There is always the temptation to ascribe glory to ourselves

1 Peter 4:11g God's purpose for us is to be God-centered. What is your motive for ministry? Do you do what you do for self? Are you self-centered or God-centered? The message here is that God wants us to be God-centered. Everything we do we do to the glory of God.

1 Peter 4:11h God wants us to recognize His sovereign rule for our lives.

1 Peter 4:11i We need to put our gifts in the perspective of eternity. Our master motive should revolve around the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). If we live for the glory of God, our gifts will be used for eternal purpose. What we do in time counts for eternity. The phrase "forever and ever" puts our ministry and gifts in eternal perspective. We need to keep eternal values in view. We look at time from the viewpoint of eternity.

Ron Ritchie (series on Spiritual Gifts)

Ray Stedman from his book "Body Life"

Ray Stedman - other messages on Spiritual Gifts

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A "KEY" PLAYER
FAILS TO FULFILL THEIR FUNCTION?

Are You a Good Steward of the Spiritual Gift God has Entrusted to Your Care?

The following story by an unknown author gives an interesting illustration of how one believer not exercising their gift in the Body can affect the message produced by the entire Body.

A Brokxn Kxy

Evxn though my typxwritxr is an old modxl, it works quitx wxll xxcxpt for onx of the kxys.

I havx many timxs wishxd that is workxd pxrfxctly.

It is trux that thxrx arx forty-onx kxys that function wxll xnough, but just onx kxy not working makxs thx diffxrxncx.

Somxtimxs it sxxms to mx that our church is somxthing likx my typxwritxr -- not all thx kxy pxoplx arx working propxrly.

As onx of thxm, you may say to yoursxlf, "Wxll, I am only onx pxrson, I don't makx or brxak thx church."

But it doxs makx a big diffxrxncx, bxcasx a church, to bx xffxctivx, nxxds thx activx participation of xvxry pxrson.

So, thx nxxt timx your xfforts arx not nxxdxd vxry much, rxmxmbxr my typxwritxr and say to yoursxlf, "I am a kxy pxrson in thx congrxgation and I am nxxdxd vxry much."

This is what happxns to thx wholx church, and multiply this by many timxs -- thx whole thing just doxs not makx sxnsx!

"Belovxd don't bx like a broken kxy."
You must utilize your spiritual gift.
The local body of Christ where you worship needs you
and cannot be the same without you!
Do you really believe that?

MISCELLANEOUS NOTES ON
SPIRITUAL GIFTS


Wayne Barber has an interesting illustration of unity among diversity in the realm of spiritual gifts - "Remember in chapter 2 (sermon series on Ephesians) we are told we are of God’s household and also His Temple. We are living stones being fitted into His Temple, each one of us with different sizes, shapes, gifts, personalities and individualities, but every one of us under the control of the Spirit of God. If someone played a middle C on the piano for a while, it is a pretty note. If he played it for a long time, you would say, "Will you quit? You are driving me crazy!" Isn’t it great that unity doesn’t mean uniformity? It doesn’t mean we are all alike. Wouldn’t that make church the most boring place you have ever been in your life? If that fellow added an E and a G and a high C, all of a sudden you would say, "Whew, that sounds good! Now that blends." You’ve got more than just one. You’ve got other diversified notes. But when you put them together played by the same hand, you have unity amongst the diversity. That is what Paul wants you to see. This is the body. This is how it functions. When we are each functioning under the Spirit’s power, letting His ability be ours, then our gifts begin to function. Even though our gifts are different, we are still preserving the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We are different. Folks, you need to grasp that and stop coveting somebody else’s gift and somebody else’s ministry and simply say, "God, anything short of hell is grace. I accept what you have given to me. I receive what you have given to me. Let me just be who I am in your power. When you do that, the unity of the body is being preserved....The word for grace, charis, means that which you don’t deserve. It is Christ who is the source of every bit of it. Again, unity is not uniformity. We are all diversified in our gifts as to the amount and as to the gifts themselves. " (bolding added)


R. A. Torrey described the Spirit’s ministry in his book The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit: “Not infrequently the Holy Spirit takes the one who seems to give the least natural promise and uses him far beyond those who give the greatest natural promise. Christian life is not to be lived in the realm of natural temperament, and Christian work is not to be done in the power of natural endowment, but Christian life is to be lived in the realm of the Spirit, and Christian work is to be done on the power of the Spirit.”

COMMENTS ON SELECTED PASSAGES IN 1CORINTHIANS 12

1 Corinthians 12:12 Why does Paul chose the metaphor of the body?

"For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ."

The human body is an illustration of unity and diversity. The body is one, yet has many members. Although all the believers are different and perform different functions, yet they all combine to make one functioning unit —the body. When we see that diversity is essential to a normal, healthy body, it will save us from two dangers—from belittling ourselves (vv. 15–20) and from belittling others. It would be absurd for the foot to feel unimportant because it can’t do the work of a hand. After all, the foot can stand, walk, run, climb, dance—and kick, as well as a host of other things.

1Corinthians 12:11 "But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills."

"This is another important point—the Spirit sovereignly apportions the gifts. If we really grasp this, it will eliminate pride on the one hand, because we don’t have anything that we didn’t receive. And it will eliminate discontent on the other hand, because Infinite Wisdom and Love decided what gift we should have, and His choice is perfect. It is wrong for everyone to desire the same gift. If everyone played the same instrument, you could never have a symphony orchestra. And if a body consisted only of tongue, it would be a monstrosity. " (Believer's Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments)

John MacArthur - "Every believer receives the exact gift and resources best suited to fulfill his role in the body of Christ....every person has his own special but limited set of capabilities. Trying to operate outside those capabilities produces frustration, discouragement, guilt feelings, mediocrity, and ultimate defeat. We fulfill our calling when we function according to God’s sovereign design for us." MacArthur

1Corinthians 12:13 Warren Wiersbe explains that...

"The baptism of the Spirit occurs at conversion when the Spirit enters the believing sinner, gives him new life, and makes his body the temple of God. All believers have experienced this once-for-all baptism (1Cor 12:13). Nowhere does the Scripture command us to seek this baptism, because we have already experienced it and it need not be repeated. To be baptized by the Spirit means that we belong to Christ’s body... To be filled with the Spirit means that our bodies belong to Christ." (Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor) (Bolding added)

1Corinthians 12:17 "If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be?"

Paul is saying in essence can you imagine your body as one big eyeball (possibly alluding to the more "showy" gifts)? How would you get around town? You'd have to roll, wouldn't you? When you rolled, you would be on the ground & you'd get dirt in your eye. You wouldn't have a hand to get the dirt out of your eye. What is Paul's point? The point is that you can't say because I don't have this gift that I'm not part of the body.

1Corinthians12:31 How do we understand the statement "but earnestly desire the greater gifts."? William MacDonald gives a well reasoned answer...

When Paul says: “But earnestly desire the best gifts,” he is speaking to the Corinthians as a local church, not as individuals. We know this because the verb is plural in the original. He is saying that as an assembly they should desire to have in their midst a good selection of gifts that edify. The best gifts are those that are most useful rather than those that are spectacular. All gifts are given by the Holy Spirit and none should be despised. Yet the fact is that some are of greater benefit to the body than others. These are the ones that every local fellowship should ask the Lord to raise up in the assembly." (Believer's Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments)

COMMENTS ON EPHESIANS 4:11-12

See Verse by Verse notes on site - Ephesians 4:11; Ephesians 4:12

Warren Wiersbe explains that in Ephesians 4:11-12 "The saints do not call a pastor and pay him to do the work. They call him and follow his leadership as he, through the Word, equips them to do the job (2Ti3:13-17). The members of the church grow by feeding on the Word and ministering to each other. The first evidence of spiritual growth is Christ-likeness." (Ibid) (Bolding added)

Commenting on Ephesians 4:11-12, the Bible Knowledge Commentary writes that "Gifted people (Ephesians 4:11) are to minister the Word to others so that they in turn are readied to get involved in ministering to others (cf 2 Ti 2:2). The goal is the building up or edifying of the body of Christ (cf Eph 4:16). This shows that all saints and not just a few leaders should be involved in the “ministry.” All saints are gifted (v7) to serve others spiritually." (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., et al: The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 1985. Victor).

Vance Havner in his pithy, penetrating style comments on Ephesians 4:11-12 - "Every Christian is commissioned, for every Christian is a missionary. It has been said that the Gospel is not merely something to come to church to hear but something to go from the church to tell—and we are all appointed to tell it. It has also been said, ‘Christianity began as a company of lay witnesses; it has become a professional pulpitism, financed by lay spectators!’ Nowadays we hire a church staff to do ‘full-time Christian work,’ and we sit in church on Sunday to watch them do it. Every Christian is meant to be in full-time Christian service ... There is indeed a special ministry of pastors, teachers and evangelists—but for what? ... For the perfecting of the saints for their ministry."

William MacDonald illustrates Ephesians 4:11-12 schematically as shown below and explains it as follows: "The circle in the center depicts, let us say, the gift of a teacher. He ministers to those in the circle around him so that they are equipped, that is, built up in the faith. Then they go forth and minister to others according to the gifts God has given them. In this way the church grows and expands. It is the divine method of producing growth in the body of Christ, both in size and spirituality. Limitation of Christian service to a select class of men hinders the development of God’s people, stifles the cause of world evangelism, and stunts the growth of the church. The distinction between clergy and laity is unscriptural and perhaps the greatest single hindrance to the spread of the gospel." (Ibid)