“Gifted to Give” (1 Cor. 12)
Did you every realize that God has good…I mean GREAT intentions for you?! That He is actually on your side? Do you realize that He is shaping you in a unique way, for a unique purpose, for a unique expression of Himself? Now if you do, don’t get big headed. It’s not all about you. It included you, but all this shaping & molding is part of a much bigger work then you might expect.
Today we are going to focus on the Body (Church). We all have a part in the Body. And we need to know what is our part and begin to do our part. We have been gifted by the Holy Spirit so that He can express Himself through us. And in this we a gifted to give, have a part to play, and a love to live.
To get an understanding of all of this lets look at the letter to the Church of Corinth. This was a spiritually gifted and dynamic church. But it was also an extremely dysfunctional expression of Jesus as well. The church of Corinth is NOT our model. If anything Corinthians is a handbook of how NOT to be a healthy Body. So, the Apostle Paul walked them through the basics…
Gift 2 Give Read: Corinthians 12:1-11
We see straight away that God has not just Shaped you, but He has also Gifted you. Yet, we also see that the Corinthians were stupid – spiritually speaking. Paul tells them: Don’t be ignorant about Spiritual Gifts. They (and us) are to be informed and knowledgeable about spiritual gifts. I think that many in the church today are still ignorant about spiritual gifts. I see about 3 basic camps on this issue. You’ve got what I call the “Hyper-spiritual”: those focused on “dramatic” gifts and use them as benchmarks for salvation & spiritual maturity. Then you have the “Historically-spiritual”: those who believe that the “charismatic” gifts stopped when the book of Acts was done and the early church was established. Both of these camps are in my opinion are ignorant concerning spiritual gifts. Why? They either add or remove the claims that Scripture makes concerning how God expresses Himself via the believer.
I think the third and appropriate camp to be in is the “honestly – spiritual”: those who hold to what God says about spiritual gifts and expressions. They don’t over or under estimate or expect from God. That the Holy Spirit works today as He always has. If you look at the book of Acts and realize that it records the life of multiple churches over a period of 30+ years you will quickly see that God was working and He was doing it over a good stretch of time. Every week wasn’t a swinging from the rafters revival meeting. Nor was it ineffectual, powerless, and totally relying upon our shoulders. If I would look back on my home church over the last 20+ years and see how God has touched people, brought many to salvation, and spread the Gospel all over the world I simply see a reflection of Acts. There is no difference. God is still at work today though His people!
Verses 4-6 let us know that these “spiritual gifts” are not ordinary talents, but Gifts. They are spiritual and they are given to us for a reason. These gifts are different, but untied in Him! They are initiated by the Trinity – Father, (Lord) Son, Holy Spirit!
So, what is the point of all these spiritual gifts? “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” (v7).
We are all given at least one gift! And your gift is a “manifestation of the Spirit” – your gift is an EXPRESSION of the Holy Spirit! Notice this echo’s the “poemia” & masterpiece concept we looked at last week in Ephesians 2:10. The Holy Spirit wants to communicate something via your spiritual gift!
Now is this Holy Spirit expression just for us? It is given so we can get a spiritual high? to get our spiritual pep talk? No, you are gifted to give. Verse 7 tells us the gifts are “for the common good.” Your gift is to be given out to others. It is to build others up, not you! (see: I Cor 14:12)
In verses 8-10 we have a short-list of spiritual gifts. Read through them and simply meditate on these questions:
Q: Have I seen these gifts at work in the church?
Q: Do I have these gifts?
Often times we don’t want to use our gifts because of fear. Fear that God will take over and make us do something stupid. v9-10 encourages us that our gifts are the Holy Spirit working via us. You are not being “possessed”, but FILLED.
Part 2 Play Read: I Cor 12:12-27
The H.S. desires to creatively communicate through you in the context of the Body (church). You unique shaping and gifting have more impact and meaning when they are expressed together. Much like a photo artist creating a series or work to display in a gallery or museum. Each photo is top notch work and could stand alone. But as a body of work together the images make a much more dramatic and impacting conceptual message. It’s the difference between a left jab and a knock-out punch combo. Both are good, but one is better.
Paul writes a lot about how the Holy Spirit is setting up this art gallery called the Church. I would just like to point you to a few key ideas: You have a part (v14). And without you we would be lacking. We all need each other (v21) You may not understand what your part is or how the Body works, but be confident that God has arranged it (v24). We are equal, but diverse (v25) and are called to be united (v25) and caring for one another (v26)
Love 2 Live Read: I Cor 12:31-13:1-13
So, we have seen that we are gifted and we are given a part to play.
Use your Gifts in Love to build each other up in Love.
Read: Eph 4:16
Q: What is the point of all this verse?
A: We are to build each other up in love!
Questions to think about:
Q: Do I know what my spiritual gift is?
Q: Do I have difficulty in knowing what my gifts are?
Q: Do I have difficulty to doing my gifts?