Biblical Teachings About Spiritual Gifts
Text: 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
Last time, we talked about the Lord’s supper. We have learned the Lord’s Supper is a Christian practice, which also has become a tradition instituted by Christ himself. And this practice is not to be taken lightly. Doing this in an unworthy manner makes us guilty of sinning against the body and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Today, we will be talking about another area where sometimes we put Christ to the test. One of the major divisions that we have in our world today is due to what we call “Pentecostalism”. There are various groups of pentecostals that practices the so called “giftings”. Actually, all Christian churches practice this, however, the highlight comes between the “supernatural” and the “natural” practices of giftings.
Pentecostals are more inclined in the supernaturals while people like us are more inclined to the natural things that God gave. At first, boom of this movement, almost everybody accepted it. But, years after, a schism broke out and great disputes between Christians arises. All that because of the practice of these giftings.
Today, we will be learning the principles given by Paul here in 1Corinthians, addressing to this issue. And perhaps you may also be wondering why there are people like the pentecostals who practice the giftings, and there are people like us who prefers to be living in a natural way. May this sermon be a blessing to each one of us as we also increase in wisdom in Christ.
4 Principles Underlying Spiritual Gifts
- .No one say “Jesus Is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit (v.3)
- There are different kinds of gifts but the same Spirit, different kinds of service but the same Lord, different kinds of working but the same God. (v.4-6)
- Each one was given different kinds of manifestation of his gifts for common good (v.7-10)
- He gave each one different gifts just as he determines (v.11)
No one say “Jesus Is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit (v.3)
In riding a bus, or even by just observing people in a public place, there are times where you can identify whether or not they are Christians. It is because some Christians really expresses their sorrows, disappointments, enjoynment and happiness in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And this is a good principle that we also have to apply in our lives.
There are people in the way talk, in the way they express their lives, you will see in them clearly the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. But there are also Christians, that, not even a shadow of Christ is visible. This principle tells us that those who say “Jesus Is Lord” is a working of the Holy of Spirit.
There are times that we tend to criticize these people as if they are over acting, or something like too godly and is no longer normal. But here we can see that it is only one of the things where the Holy Spirit manifests his work. Therefore, we cannot say to our fellow brothers in Christ in different denominations, who call the same name, and the same Lord, the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they are not one of us. They are of God, and we are just one in them.
This is one of the reasons why we have joined OCEMA. Though we belong to different denominiations, different practices, all of us still call the same name, the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. But doing this however, should not be an excuse to jump from one church to another. It is because the Bible also teaches us to function as part of the body, as part of the family. And we cannot do that without belonging to a local church.
There are different kinds of gifts but the same Spirit, different kinds of service but the same Lord, different kinds of working but the same God. (v.4-6)
This is one of the main issues that Pentecostalism has to answer. Many Pentecostals if not most tend to require their members to have “the same” manifestation of the Spirit as well as to have to same kind of gifts. Where in our passage says that God gave different kinds of gifts, they tend to force their members to have the same gift, and gave more emphasis in the use of “Speaking In Tongues”.
The Bible did really mention that speaking in tongue is Biblical and indeed can be practiced. But we have to understand, that it is not the only gift that was given uniformly to all Christians. In fact, our passage made it clear that each one of us have different gifts, and different working, and different service. Each one of us functions differently, but harmoniously with each other so that we can all together work in perfect unity.
If some of us has the gift of service, so be it, let them serve. If some has the gift of evangelism, let them share the gospel. Though all of us can do this in different ways, we are talking about those gifted people who are really good in doing evangelism. If some has been given the gift to preach or teach, or to disciple, then let them do so. We cannot enforce one gift to all since all of us where given different gifts.
The only challenge in us is that, we should also try to discover that gift. It is also difficult to say that we do not do anything inside the church, and we do not even do anything to discover our gifts. It is very important that we will know our gifts since through these gifts we will glorify our Lord together as one body.
Each one was given different kinds of manifestation of his gifts for common good (v.7-10)
Spiritual gifts were not given only for the personal betterment of an individual. Though in some other passages in the Bible, it teaches us that the gifts of the Holy Spirit can be used to edify his own self, but still generally, as the principle that has been taught here, spiritual gifts were intended for the common good.
Here we see that it has to be used out in public to be seen. It is not to be kept secret and for the good of oneself. It should be used to serve and edify others. This is how God intended to distribute these gifts. Not even Moses was given all the gifts. He was given the gift of leadership, yet he doesn’t have too good tongue, that is why he has Aaron. And so as to the church that we have. All of us were given different gifts and all of us have different functions.
Being too much shy produces nothing, but irritating attitude of immaturity. It does not edify nor elevate a person. It is not amusing to see someone here scheduled to sing, and then doesn’t sing because he is shy. Better not to present if you are shy enough not to sing because it is frustrating for those who are expecting for you. Furthermore, you were scheduled to sing for the benefit, for the common good, and therefore, there should be nothing to be ashamed of.
He gave each one different gifts just as he determines (v.11)
It is not us who determines our gifts. It is not us who chooses what will be our gifts. It is God. And therefore, we do not have the right to question the gift that He gave us. We doesn’t have the right to question God why did he gave us that certain gift. All we have to do is to follow and use that gift for the glory of God.
But there are really times that we are puzzled why God gave us that certain gift. All we can do is to ask God for wisdom so that we can use it effectively. And we have to understand that whatever God’s answer was, this divine act always have a purpose, always have a use, always for God’s glory.
In our passage, Paul made it clear that it is the “sole” will and authority of our Lord, what gifts will He give to us. And to note that each one has different gifts. It is without favoritism, but it is in accordance to what God seems to best fit for each person.
Each of us has different gifts with different manifestations. We can never require a person to have the same gifts as what we have for it is the Lord who give gifts for the common good of all. Finally, each gifts has to be used for God’s glory. It is not for our own benefit, but for the benefit of the body of Christ.