During our last staff meeting, we covered an overview of spiritual gifts. This week we are going to take a look at the initial giving of the spiritual gifts to the early church. We learned last week that it is Christ who gives us the gifts. He is the One who chooses which gift(s) we receive. We do not pray for a certain gift. We also discovered that we do not all have the same gifts. Not everyone has a speaking gift. Not everyone has a serving gift. Both types of gifts are equally important. The gifts are given to us to be used in serving one another and not ourselves. If the gifts are used properly, the Lord is glorified and the ministry grows. What truths can we learn about spiritual gifts from the initial giving of the gifts to the early church?
I. Coming and Manifestation
In order to study the topic of the coming and manifestation of the Holy Spirit (which also brings the Spiritual gifts), we need to take a look at when it happened in the book of Acts. Take a moment to read Acts 2:1-13. Here are some of the things that we learn about the coming of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts.
- The Holy Spirit comes from heaven.
- There is a great noise which draws the attention of many of the people in Jerusalem.
- The Spirit lands on all of the believers who were gathered together (120 people).
- Each believer receives the Holy Spirit (along with the spiritual gifts that He brings).
- All of the believers (120) begin to share the Gospel with the people who are present.
- They share the mighty deeds of God.
- All of the people present hear and understand the Gospel in their native languages.
- About 16 different language groups are represented.
- Some of the people who heard and understood began to mock the people sharing the Gospel, claiming that they (the believers) are drunk.
What are the signs of a person having a spiritual gift?
- Desire to share the Gospel with people who do not know Christ.
- Clearly communicate the Gospel with others.
Do we see any clear speaking gift manifested in this passage? Yes, if we continue to read Acts 2, we find Peter taking a stand and preaching/teaching/explaining the Gospel to a large crowd of people. He clearly has the gift of evangelism and possibly teaching. Let’s examine.
II. Peter’s sermon
From Acts 2:14-36, we see what Peter’s sermon is all about. The central focus of the message is the person of Jesus Christ, His life, death, burial, and resurrection. In order to explain the event that is taking place, Peter uses the Old Testament and some of Christ’s words in the New Testament. Acts 2:14-21, Peter uses Old Testament prophesy written by Joel to explain the coming of the Holy Spirit and the manifestation of spiritual gifts. This lines up perfectly with what we learned last week in Ephesians 4:8,
Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”
After Jesus resurrected and ascended into heaven, He gave the Holy Spirit which brought spiritual gifts to the believers. Later in Acts 2:33, Peter uses the words of Christ that are found in John 16:7, the fact that after He goes back to the Father, He will send the Helper. Peter’s sermon is full of Scripture to help explain the events that were taking place. He preaches the Gospel using an event with the explanation coming from the Scriptures. Peter clearly has the gift of evangelism and teaching, maybe even the gift of prophecy. They key is that the people understood the message and it moved them profoundly. What happens when believers serve in the power of the Holy Spirit, according to the spiritual gifts that they have been given?
The Bible is very clear on what the results are when believers serve in the power of the Holy Spirit, according to the spiritual gifts that they have been given. Take a moment to read Acts 2:37-43.
- Repentance takes place. Their minds are changed about who Jesus Christ is and their sin. They are ready to accept Him as the Messiah.
- They are baptized into Christ. They become one with Him in their daily lives. This verse does not speak of water baptism. This means to be identified with someone.
- Their sins are forgiven.
- They receive the Holy Spirit (which brings spiritual gifts to the believers).
- This is what salvation looks like.
- They are discipled in the Word of God, learning how to serve according to the gifts that they have received.
- They begin to serve and the ministry grows.
So, when people serve according to their spiritual gifts, the Gospel is proclaimed, people understand It, they repent, are unified with Christ, receive the Spirit, get trained, and learn to serve according to their gifts. Have you received the Spirit? Have you been discipled to know how to serve according to your gift? Are you serving according to your gift? Are people repenting, being identified with Christ, discipled, and ministering to others? May the Lord help us lean our gifts and serve according to them so that God would be glorified daily in our lives and our churches.