I am beginning a new study today with my staff at church. We have covered a plethora of topics over the past 8 months since I have been on staff. Mentoring was the first series that we covered. Then we moved to the Sermon on the Mount. After the Sermon on the Mount we moved to leadership according to God’s Word, looking at such leaders as Abraham, Moses, Joshua, and Caleb. Today we are beginning a new series on Spiritual gifts based on a study by Kay Arthur called, “Understanding Spiritual Gifts“. I just finished filling out the first lesson and would love to share my thoughts before teaching later today. In order to understand this subject better, I will post some passages and then see what we can learn from them.
I. The gifts
According to I Peter, each believer has received at least one spiritual gift. The special gift is according to the grace of God. We do not deserve the gift(s) yet God gives them to us of His own will. We can do nothing to earn a spiritual gift. The gift(s) is given to us and we simply receive it (them). The gifts are divided up into two different categories, speaking gifts and serving gifts. God gives us the gift and also the power to serve according to the gift. If you have a speaking gift, then you are to use that gift and speak the Word of God. If you serve, serve according to God’s strength. According to Acts 6, the speaking gifts and serving gifts are equal and must be used together to glorify God. A person with a speaking gift is to serve in a speaking capacity. I person with a serving gift is to serve in a service capacity. They both need each other to function properly. One cannot be neglected for the other. According to Ephesians 4, again, each believer is given at least one spiritual gift. The believer does not choose the gift he receives. Instead, Christ is the One who gives the gift and He chooses the gift that a person receives when He places him or her in the body. One more important thing about spiritual gifts is that no one person receives all of the gifts. We depend on each other to function properly as a body.
II. The purpose
There are several different purposes of the spiritual gifts and I would like to examine them here in this paragraph. As we have seen, we have all been given at least one gift and we must work together. We are to serve one another with our spiritual gifts. No spiritual gift is to be employed in personal service. My spiritual gift is given to me to the benefit of others. I am not to employ my spiritual gift for selfish purposes. I am not to employ my spiritual gift to bring glory to myself. The purpose of my spiritual gift is to serve others and by doing so, glorifying God. In Acts 6, we see that the gifts bring about unity, resolve conflicts, and allow each member of the body to serve according to his own gift. According to Ephesians 4, when we use our spiritual gifts to serve one another, we bring about unity and peace among the body. That is not something that comes natural to us. Our natural tendency is toward division and strife because of our sin nature. Those who have been given the speaking gifts are to employ them in teaching the rest of the body (others with either speaking or serving gifts) to build them up and equip them for service, according to their own spiritual gifts. Those with speaking gifts are to teach the body the Word of God, leading them to maturity of faith in Christ.
III. The results
When the gifts are properly used, great things happen. The first thing that happens is that the Name of God is glorified through the Lord Jesus Christ working through the church to be an example to the world. The way that this happens is that each member of the body knows his spiritual gift, serves according to that gift, and uses it to serve the rest of the body. The next thing that happens is that the ministry continues to grow when each member serves according to his or her gift. In Acts 6, because of internal conflict, the growth of the church was in jeopardy. When the leaders employ their gifts in raising up people with service type gifts, the ministry once again continues to grow. The final thing that we see is that the body builds itself up and the members move to maturity. Ultimately, the Name of the Lord is glorified when we are unified, maintaining love and peace among ourselves.
Do you have a spiritual gift my dear friend? Are you using that gift to serve the other members of the body of Christ so that the Name of the Lord will be glorified? If you have a serving gift, are you being equipped by those with a speaking gift so that you can grow to maturity and serve the body to the best of your ability?