(A Series on I Corinthians)
Westgate Chapel 11/8/98 a.m. I Corinthians 12:7-11
PROPOSITION: That the Holy Spirit manifests spiritual gifts through each believer as He wills for the common good.
- GOD is doing one thing in the world today...He is building His Church.
- THE Church is the Church of Jesus Christ...it was bought by His blood and belongs to Him.
- JESUS has ascended to the right hand of the Father on high and because He is in that position of exaltation the Father has sent the promised One...the Holy Spirit to do in and through us what He did in and through Jesus when He was in his earthly, human body.
- THE person of the Holy Spirit indwells every born again follower of Jesus.
“Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?” (I Corinthians 3:16)
- IN addition to indwelling every follower of Jesus the person of the Holy Spirit also comes upon born again believers in what the Bible calls the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
- THIS Spirit baptism is for power.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you...” (Acts 1:8)
- THIS power is power for witness....the rest of Acts 1:8 spells out where the church’s witness was to spread.
- IT is also power for living victoriously. The fruit of the Spirit is the visible life-style evidence that God’s Spirit is at work in the believer.
- BUT it is also power for ministry.
- GOD is doing one thing in the world today, He is building His church.
- AND one of the ways that He accomplished that is through three things...gifts, service and workings.
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. (5) There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. (6) There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.” (I Corinthians 12:4-6)
- THE Greek word used for “service” in verse 5 is diakonia, which are the different kinds of ministries that God gives so that we can partner with Him in building His church.
* Every one is a minister in the church of Jesus.
* Every one has a ministry...and the fact that there are different kinds is what keeps life interesting and church growing.
- THE Greek word used for “gifts” in verse 4 is charismata, which are the spontaneously given tools by which ministry is done in spiritual power.
* No one posses the gift permanently. The emphasis is on the Holy Spirit who is the giver of spiritual gifts as He wills.
* All posses ministry callings/assigments.
- THE church in the book of Acts did not seek spiritual gifts...then develop ministries.
- THEY moved out in faith in ministry....
* Peter and John to the temple precincts and the streets of Jerusalem.
* Philip to Samaria.
* Paul and Barnabas to Asia Minor.....and the Holy Spirit provided the spiritual gifts to build the church of Jesus supernaturally.
- AS the early disciples stepped up to the ministry challenge....with all prayer and fasting....the Holy Spirit came upon them, filled them afresh, and manifested Himself through them in spiritual gifts.
- THE Greek word used for “working” in verse 6, is energema, which is the Greek word for “power” that emphasizes final results.
- ALL of this tells me that God intends “final results” in our lives and in His church that comes through...
* ministries given to each one by Jesus...
* done by means of spiritual gifts distributed by the Holy Spirit as He determines...
* worked through us in the power of the Father intended to produce kingdom results.
ii. the beneficiary of the gifts is the church
- AND the focus of all of these spiritual gifts of I Corinthians 12....is Jesus.
- AND the Source of the spiritual gifts of I Corinthians 12....is God the Father.
- AND the beneficiary of the spiritual gifts is the Church of Jesus.
- BECAUSE I Corinthians 12:7 says,
“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”
- MINISTRY is NOT about us it is about the body of Christ....the church of Jesus Christ.
- LIKEWISE spiritual gifts are not given to make you or me a superstar....they are given to build up the church.
- THEY are not given as a reward to perfect people...they are given to build up the church.
- THEY are given for the common good.
- THE ultimate goal is transformed lives so that God can receive the glory that is due His name through you and me.
iii. the gifts
- WHAT are these spiritual gifts?
- THIS is one of several lists...not intended to be exhaustive.
- WHO of us can put the Spirit of God in a box?
- VERSE 8,
1. “To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom,
• This is a “word” a “proclamation” of wisdom to meet the need of a particular situation or problem in such a way as to inspire faith.
• It is not dependent on human wisdom, intuition, reasoning or training.
• It is the revelation of God’s counsel for problem-solving in a particular situation.
• An example is when the church faced the crisis of what to require of the Gentiles to be Christians.
- The problem immense.
- The ramifications staggering.
- In Acts 15:13 it says,
“When they finished, James spoke up: "Brothers, listen to me....”
- And God gives James the solution amidst all the voices and opinions....a solution that silences the dissenters and solves the matter. Verse 28 says, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us...”
• This gift of the Spirit is available for crises at church, home and work.
2. “...to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit....”
• Wisdom has to do with the right application of knowledge.
• The “word” or “proclamation” of knowledge is knowledge that belongs to God applied supernaturally to a situation by divine revelation.
• It is the knowledge of God, previously unknown to the proclaimer....and divinely revealed.
• One of the functions of the word of knowledge is to inspire faith and the response of faith in the hearer.
• One example would be Jesus’ call to Nathanael in John 1:48 to be His disciple.
• Nathanael was a reluctant disciple of Jesus....full of doubt about Jesus....when approached by Philip.
• Then Jesus arrived on the scene and said,
“I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you”
• And that ignited faith in Nathanael to follow Jesus because Nathanael knew that Jesus had not been near the fig tree to actually see he and Philip talking earlier.
• Another example would be Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well in Samaria (John 4)....where He knew how many husbands she had and her current situation. The revelation of that convicted and convinced the lady that Jesus was the Messiah...and she got saved that day.
3. “..... to another faith by the same Spirit,” (Verse 9)
• This is different from saving faith, which is also from God.
• This gift is an impartation of faith given to a body of believers, or an individual to believe God for something impossible that He has promised.
• This is what happened in Peter in Matthew 14:29 when Jesus invited him to come walk on the water with Him.
• It happened in the disciples when Jesus sent them out two by two to heal the sick and raise the dead.
4. “... to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,”
• Sometimes the apostles laid hands on people and they were healed.
• Sometimes just Peter’s shadow passing by was enough to stir faith for the healing gift.
• Sometimes Jesus said that the faith was in the sick person.
• Sometimes the faith was in the one doing the praying, as in Peter at the gate when the crippled man was healed in Acts 3.
• Impossible to determine if there was any repeatable pattern....except that the healing was a gift from a God for whom no sickness, not even death is intimidating.
• This is not the domain of an evangelist or pastor or even the elders of the church....God can share His gift of healing through you any time He wants.
5. “......to another miraculous powers,” (Verse 10)
• Divine intervention in the world of man and nature....setting aside natural laws to reveal the sovereignty of God.
• Water into wine was a miracle.
• Walking on the water was a miracle.
• Feeding 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish was a miracle.
6. “......to another prophecy,”
• This is the divine illumination of the mysteries of the Gospel in anointed proclamation.
• Sometimes it is fore-telling....something yet to come, like Agabus in Acts 21:10.
• Sometimes it is forth-telling....like Peter’s prophetic utterance/message in Acts 2.
• It is NOT preaching, unless there is a portion of the message that God’s Spirit takes over...and it becomes fore, or forth telling by the power of God.
7. “.....to another distinguishing between spirits,”
• This is the divinely inspired ability to distinguish in a situation which of the three possible spiritual sources you are dealing with...
- The Spirit of God.
- The Spirit of man.
- Demonic origin.
• Jesus knowing where Peter’s statement came from when Peter said,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16)
• Jesus knowing where Peter’s statement came from when Peter, a few moments later said,
“‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you.’” (Matthew 16:22)
• And Jesus said,
“Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (Verse 23)
• Another example would be Paul knowing that the woman who “appeared” to be promoting his and Silas’ work was really demon possessed (Acts 16:18).
8. “.....to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,”
• This is the Holy Spirit’s language of response....given us for worship, for intercession....
• ......and for prophetic utterance when interpreted.
9. “.....and to still another the interpretation of tongues.”
• This is the divinely anointed ability to interpret the tongue...not by human understanding or translation, but by the work of the Holy Spirit.
• When interpreted, the tongue has the equivalent value of prophecy because it edifies the hearer.
- VERSE 11 says,
“All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.”
- THESE gifts are God’s powerful tools for building His church.
- WHY would we try without them?
- WHY would we resort to our own wisdom and ingenuity?
- WE need to get back to a place of dependence on the power of the Holy Spirit to do the work of God.