A Few Questions About the Gifts

Yesterday we started a sermon series on the gifts.  Having just finished our series on vision and rhythm, going through the all of the spiritual gifts found in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12 and in Ephesians 4 seemed like an appropriate next step as we gear up to accomplish God's mission for our church. After all, no one goes into battle without having the proper gear needed to win the battle. So here are a few highlights as to what John spoke on yesterday. Our prayer for this time is that you would approach these coming weeks with expectation and with an open heart to follow God.
  

Why are we talking about the gifts?

The Bible commands the leaders to build and equip the church:

Ephesians 4:11-12 – And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ

And each person has a role to play in the mission of the Church:

1 Corinthians 12:18-20 – But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

Paul doesn’t want the people to operate in ignorance:

1 Corinthians 12:1 – Now concerning the spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uniformed.

Scripture commands us to desire the gifts of the Holy Spirit!   

1 Corinthians 12:31 – But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I will show you a more excellent way.

1 Corinthians 14:1 – Pursue love and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.

1 Corinthians 14:5 – Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy.

1 Corinthians 14:12 – So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.

1 Corinthians 14:39-40 – So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But all things should be done decently and in order.
  

But what if I don’t want some of the gifts… because they’re… um… weird?

1 Corinthians 12:7 – To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

The word manifestation means appearance, revelation, or disclosure. So what is happening is that the Holy Spirit Himself is appearing in the giving of and use of the gift.

“Spiritual gifts are nothing less than God himself in us, energizing our souls, imparting revelation to our minds, infusing power in our wills and working His sovereign and gracious purposes through us. Spiritual gifts must never be viewed as if God is “out there" and sending us “something” to use “down here”. Spiritual gifts are God present in, with and through human thoughts, human deeds, human words and human love.” – Dr. Sam Storms, The Beginner’s Guide to the Spiritual Gifts, Page 12
  

Who gives the gifts?

God does!  He is good and does good.  James tells us that all good and perfect things come down to us from the Father of Lights.  Every gift that He uniquely apportions to us is His good design and sovereign choice.  Because of this, we can trust His wisdom and be thankful for all of  His gifts.

Romans 12:3 – For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

1 Corinthians 12:11 – All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

1 Corinthians 12:18 – But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.