Spiritual Gifts Wrapped In Love Part 1
1 Cor 12:1 -- Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
God wants us to know about the gifts that He has given us.
(1Tim 4:14) -- Neglect not the gift that is in thee…
(2 Tim 1:6) -- Stir up the gift of God which is in thee
Nor does He want us to neglect the gift but to stir it up.
Word ‘stir’ also has the connotation of ‘rekindle the fire’.
It is important therefore to understand what are gifts and to stir them up for use.
Gifts: “Charisma”. Same word for grace.
Gifts are God’s grace that He gives freely.
In addition, Believer’s ability to use these gifts also comes from God’s grace.
I WHERE: References of Spiritual Gifts (Five specific references)
Note: There is one chord that binds all of these verses and that is love.
A. Ephesians 4:8 – (Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men).
B. 1 Peter 4:10-11 (As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God).
Begins with love : Both these references begin with love before talking about Spiritual gifts.
(Eph 4:2-3) With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
(1 Pet 4:8-9) And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
C. 1 Cor 12:1 – Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant
D. 1 Cor 14: 1-33 – Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts.
Love in the centre between Ch. 12 and Ch. 14. Ch 13 – the greatest chapter on love.
a) Both these chapters the word used is “Spiritual” not “Spiritual gifts”.
b) The word used is ‘pneumatikos’ unlike in other places ‘Charisma’..
If we are going use our gifts, it must be Spirit led.
Paul is indicating that it is the Spiritual man that able to use the gifts and not use of gifts that confirms the spirituality of men. We will see this in detail later.
E. Rom 12:6 – 9. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us …
Ends with love -- (Vs. 9 -- Let love be without dissimulation.)
Based on a true story, Russell Crowe in the movie “Beautiful Mind”, acts the part of John Nash, a Professor at Princeton University. He was delusional, and after a long fight to regain his equilibrium he comes back to teach at Princeton. He later won a Nobel Prize for his Balance theorem in Economics, which he had worked on during his illness. During the speech while receiving the award he said, (I Quote) “I’ve always believed in numbers in the equations and logic that led to reason. But after a lifetime of such pursuits, I ask what truly is logic? Who decides reason?
My quest has taken me through the Physical, the metaphysical, the delusional and back. And I have made the most important discovery of my career. The most important discovery of my life. It is only in the mysterious equations of love that any logical reasons can be found. I am here tonight because of you. You are the reason I am. You are all my reasons.”
In our study and application of the Spiritual Gifts, we must note that God has wrapped the Spiritual gifts in love. Gifts, are both centre-filled and they are also wrapped in love. It is important therefore that in our study on Spiritual gifts we must look at it in the perspective of love.
First, let us understand what are Spiritual gifts. We will cover only the outlines so that we can focus on the meat of the theme – Using Spiritual Gifts in love.
II HOW: Understanding Spiritual Gifts
Distinct from natural abilities and talents.
Only Christians have Spiritual gifts.
Spiritual gift may accentuate a natural talent:
Ex: Ministering through singing. Singing in itself is no ministry.
a) Different from fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22- 23).
Fruit of the Spirit is the result of the Spirit manifesting the life of Christ in our
All Christians must exhibit all of the fruit but may exhibit only some of the gifts.
Fruit is the attitude ; Gift is the ability.
b) Different from each other in order but not in value.
i. Among the gifts, there are greater gifts. (1 Cor 12:28) – First apostles, second prophets, thirdly teachers after that …
(Vs. 31) Covet the greater gifts
(1Co 14:12) …seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.
Gifts that edify the Church are considered greater than the others.
So there is an order, but…
ii. Not different in value: (1 Cor 12 :21-27). Comparing to the body Paul says even the parts that have less honor, more is given. The members are compacted together as one (vs 25).
Gifts have an order, but there is no difference in value.
(1 Cor 12: 11) – Distributing to each one just as He wills.(Holy Spirit)
They are determined by the sovereign choice of God and given by the Holy Spirit.
(1 Cor 12:18) –God has placed the members, each one of them in the body, just as He desired.
Not received by laying on of hands or desire
Not received by the placing of hands (Often misquoted: Rom 1:12)
Paul prays but Holy Spirit is the one who gives as He wills.
Not by desire (1 Cor 12:31) – Desire does not grant but the grace of God grants. We can desire and pray but God gives in His will.
Given to all Christians
Manifestation of the Spirit: (1 Cor 12:7)-Manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.
Manifold Grace of God: (1 Pet 4:10) – As each one has received a gift, minister to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Measure of Christ’s Gift: (Ep 4:6) – But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
III WHO: Gives These Gifts
A. All Gifts from One God
(Ep 4:4-7) There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism One God and Father of all who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Corinth had various gods for different blessings – god of wisdom, god of knowledge, god of wealth
(Vs. 11 & 13) Holy Spirit confirms there is only One Spirit. One Lord. One God. All of these are from One.
(Deut 6: 6) – (Hear O Israel, the LORD your God is one LORD). When Israel was in Egypt they saw different gods for different needs, but once they came out God confirms to them that all their needs will be met in One God.
B. Trinity involved in the Giving:
1. Father gave the unspeakable gift:
(2 Cor 9:15) – Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift.
(James 1:17) - Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
2. Christ gives gifts – (Ep 4:7-8) Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
(Ps 68:18) Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; …
Ephesians is a quote from Psalm. Christ received gifts so that He may give them to us
3. Spirit gives Gifts– (1Co 12:11) But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
C. Trinity involved in the Working (1 Cor 12: 4-6)
Diversities of gifts: same Spirit.
Differences of administrations: same Lord.
Diversities of operations: same God
Distributed by the Holy Spirit, Administered by Jesus Christ for the Glory of God
IV WHAT: Types of Spiritual Gifts
There are about 20 gifts listed, if you were to list them in groups we can put them into four groups. Whatever they may be it is always focused on the saints and not for the self.
1. EQUIPPING GIFTS. Ephesians 4: 11-12
Equip God’s People:
Apostle, Evangelist, Prophet, Pastor-Teacher
(Verse 7) says that He has already given individual gifts to the believer, and (vs 11-12) it is the role of the believers with these gifts to equip the gifted believers to use their gift.
2. EXPLAINING GIFTS. Rom 12: 6-8; 1 Cor 12:8; 1 Pet 4:11
Explain God’s Truth
Prophecy, teaching, exhortation, Word of Wisdom, Word of Knowledge.
Prophets may be dead, but the gift of prophecy is still going strong. A word of exhortation from the Word of God is not teaching but giving forth of the Word of God.
3. ENABLING GIFTS. Rom 12: 8; 1 Cor 12:28
Enable God’s Work
Service, Hospitality, Leadership, Giving, Mercy, Discerning of spirits, Faith, Helps
These are the administrative gifts. May be done quietly and without noticing but extremely valuable.
(1 Cor 12:23) – The members which seem less honorable, receive more honor.
4. ESTABLISHING GIFTS. 1 Cor 12: 9-10
Establish God’s Authority
Tongues, interpretation of tongues, miracles and healing.
Acts 2:11 – “…we hear them speak in our own tongues, speaking of the mighty deeds of God” – to speak and demonstrate the mighty deeds of God.
1 Cor 12:7 – “But to every man some form of the Spirit's working is given for the common good.” --
I believe these have ceased as gifts, though manifestations may appear as needed. God is still in the healing business. He still gives His children ability to learn and speak different languages – but we are not at present, like they were prevalent in the first century. Ex: Peter’s shadow would heal … ours, well that’s a different story.
V WHY: Why Are The Gifts Given
Ep 4:13: God’s Infinite Fullness To Saints
To grow to the full stature of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ while on earth exhibited the gifts and we are now given them in the body of the Church so that we can grow to the infinite fullness of Christ.
Manifest Christ: Christ becomes real in the world
Maturing of the Saints: The gifts are not random they help in the building
1. Edification: (Ep 4:12)--To build up – strengthened, matured and perfecting
2. Established: (1 Cor 12:25)--each member caring for the other
3. Effectiveness: (1 Cor 12:7)--For the profit of all
4. Enlargement: (Ep 4:16)--Causes growth of the body.
5. Exaltation : (1 Pet 4:11) – That in all things God may be glorified.
VI USING GIFTS IN LOVE
We will look at it in the perspective of what happens when we don’t apply love while using the gifts.
1. MISUNDERSTOOD AS A SPIRITUAL
People equate Spirituality with the exhibition of gifts. Exhibition of gifts is no guarantee of correct doctrines, neither good fellowship, nor even Godly morals.
(1 Cor 1:7 ; 1 Cor 3:3) – Though the Corinthian Church did not lack any gift they were the most carnal.
(1 Cor 1:12) -- Corinthian Church were giving importance to people based on the gifts they were exhibiting – I am of Paul; I am of Apollos.
Pride and arrogance can easily take on those with “greater” gifts. So the Holy Spirit adds the chapter of love between Ch 12 and Ch 14.
Lack of love for the Saints will cause the “Corinthian” problem.
Therefore add Love in the middle of all your use of the Spiritual Gift.
2. MISUNDERSTOOD AS A SPECIALIST
Gifts do not exempt believers from the demonstration of other gifts.
Serve: Gal 5:13 – Serve one another.
Teach: Mt 28:20 – Teaching them to observe all I have commanded you.
Exhort: Heb 10:25 – Exhort one another
Giving: 2 Cor 9:7 – so let each one give…
Mercy : Ep 4:32 – Be kind one to another.
For nearly every gift there is a passage that speaks to the responsibility of each member.
There are no specialist but generalist with accented abilities.
If the use of gifts is for all the saints to achieve the fullness of Christ, we must punctuate each step in love.
The gifts of the Spirit must be used with the fruit of the Spirit -- love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance.
End of all these is in love.
3. MISUNDERSTOOD AS FOR THE SELF
Gifts are not for the one who has the gift but for those who receive them.
God gives us a gift that we can gift others, and as each gift each other, the results of the gifts are exhibited unto all.
(1Cor. 14:4) He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself but he that prophesieth edifieth the church
Self is not at the front of the line. Begin everything in love; Love for God, Love for the saints and you will use your gifts in the right way.
4. MISUNDERSTOOD AS SPIRIT “POSSESSED”
The Spirit of God does not operate the gifts of the Spirit when people are out of control. A Christian must always be Spirit led, but never will be Spirit possessed, that is Paul's point in:
(1 Cor. 14:15) -- "What is it, then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also; I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also
(1 Cor 14: 33) -- "For God is not the author of confusion...."
(1 Cor 14:40) -- "Let all things be done decently and in order."
People in the Corinthian Church would stand up and say, "I have the gift of prophecy and I would like to say, Jesus is accursed."
1 Cor 12: 3 - Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed:1 and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost.
But the Corinthians didn't know because they had made the judgment of the value of the gift on the basis of the experience rather than the content.
If it was far out, ecstatic, and supernatural, they figured it had to be the Holy Spirit. After all, it was happening in the church.
Someone had actually gone so far as to literally curse Jesus and the people could not determine that it was not of the Holy Spirit.
The very tools that are used to build, can be used to breakdown. The very gifts that would give us comfort can turn frustrate. The very fellowship that helps us will leave us dry. Gifts need love to be effective.
It is one thing to know about the gifts or even know which gift you have, but another thing to know how to use them. Next week, we will see how we can be diligent in using these gifts that God has given us.