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ST Lesson 10

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Ralph Sorter



            Spiritual gifts are given to believers to express God’s love to others and so every Christian can experience the joy and fulfillment of God working through us.  They are also given to help us accomplish God’s will.  Phil. 2:13  Every believer is given a spiritual gift(s) upon their conversion.  As we interact with others it becomes visible.  At special times the Holy Spirit may impart a gift for the need of the moment.  The more we concentrate on being God’s instrument among people, the more the Holy Spirit will be free to work through our spiritual gift to meet those needs. 

            The word for spiritual gifts in the Greek is charisma, which means gift of grace.  Obviously spiritual gifts are due to the grace of God, expressing His love through us.  Joy comes in exercising our gift.  When our gift is properly exercised, it perfects and builds up the Body of Christ.  It is equally true that if we fail to exercise our gift, the Body of Christ is weaker.  When a mature Christian exercises their spiritual gift, there is spiritual fruitfulness.  But when an immature Christian exercises their spiritual gift in a carnal way, there will often be a reaction or a misunderstanding.  We will find the same reaction if we try to exercise a gift that is not ours.

            There are three categories of spiritual gifts: Basic gifts, ministry gifts and manifestation gifts.  1 Cor. 12:4-6  Someone once told me something that has helped me understand the purpose of these three categories: “When you exercise your gift through a ministry, the Holy Spirit determines what manifestations will benefit the receiver the most.”  1 Cor. 12:7  A lot of attention is given to the manifestation gifts because of their visible and miraculous nature.  Sadly, confusion and division has resulted in seeking the manifestation gifts apart from our basic and ministry gifts.  We can alleviate this if we seek not after the manifestations, but concentrate on our basic gift and the most effective ministry of expressing it, and let the Holy Spirit take care of how He uses manifestations for the benefit of those we minister unto.  Our goal is to willingly serve using our gift so that we can free others to serve in the area of their giftedness. 

            The gifts are listed in three passages: Romans 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:8-10; Eph. 4:11-13

1.      What are the purposes of the gifts of the Spirit (spiritual gifts)?  (To empower us to share God’s love with others in a powerful way; to build up the body.)  Eph. 4:11-13

2.      Are spiritual gifts chosen by the new believer?  1 Cor. 12:11
Insight: Spiritual gifts are gifts given by God, distributed by the Holy Spirit; therefore the gifts belong to God and are given for the believer to use for the glory of God.

3.      Are natural abilities spiritual gifts?  (No; natural abilities are not listed in any of the passages where spiritual gifts are named.)

4.      Can we get a spiritual gift by someone laying their hands upon us and giving us a gift?  (This did happen in the New Testament by the Apostles, but no where does the Bible say this occurs outside the Apostles.  Besides, 1 Cor. 12:11 says the Holy Spirit distributes them.)  2 Tim. 1:6; Acts 8:14-21

5.      Comment on this axiom:  There is minimum weariness and maximum effectiveness when we serve God through our spiritual gift.
Is the reverse true…maximum weariness and minimum effectiveness if we try to exercise a gift that is not ours?

6.      How would knowing what each other’s spiritual gift is, help unify the Body of Christ as we serve side-by-side?
Insight: If someone has the gift of serving, they will emphasize practical needs.  If another has the gift of mercy, they will emphasize the feeling of people through their messages and prayers.  If one has the gift of administration, they will emphasize getting projects completed and the procedure to accomplish the projects.  Understanding, appreciation and harmony results when we understand other’s motivations through their spiritual gift.

7.      How does 1 Pet. 4:10-11 guide us in exercising our spiritual gift?

8.      Look over the lists of the gifts in Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:8-10; Eph. 4:11-13.  Do you have any questions about how any of these gifts are to be used?   

9.      Do you know what your gift(s) is?     What would your spouse say your gift is?

10.  What happens when we use our gift other than the way the Lord intended it to be used?  (Misuse of our spiritual gift is a form of abuse on the Body of Christ, for it divides and confuses.)


            If you have ever given someone a special gift and they don’t use it…it sits on the shelf, not being used for its intended purpose…then you know the disappointment God must feel when believers don’t use their gift.  They are given for the purpose of edifying the Body of Christ and accomplishing His purpose in the world.

            There is no greater thrill than being used by God to accomplish something good and spiritual in someone’s life.  When you feel His presence with you, using you, and you see the response or transformation in others, it’s the highest calling in the world.  Our gifts are never to be used to promote ourselves or our own agenda.  God has much work to be done in this world…He only needs people who will yield to His work through them to accomplish it.  He used others to do His work in you.  You are a child of His because He used others.  No gift is more important than the other…He needs all of us to accomplish His will.  Yielding to His movement in your heart is the key to discovering your gift and using it for His glory.  1 Cor. 12:12-31

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