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1. The Bible uses the human body as a model to describe the structure of the church.
2. Jesus Christ is the head and we are the body.
3. The body is made of different parts but, serves a one purpose. The welfare of the person.
4. The church is formed of different people with different gifts bestowed by the Holy Spirit, but works for a common goal: The edification of the church.
5. Let me share with you a couple of important truths in the area of spiritual gifts (Assuming you already have a basic knowledge of the Holy Spirit and His ministries).
Text: 1 Corinthians 12:4-23
1. What does the Bible say about spiritual gifts?
A. 9 specific gifts are identified (1 Corinthians 12:8-10)
i. Wisdom (superior good judgment on behalf of a particular issue.)
ii. Faith (Not the saving faith. Supernatural faith of expecting God to do the unusual.)
iii. Healing (Designed to heal various kinds of diseases.)
iv. Knowledge (a word that brings to light that which is hidden.)
v. Distinguishing of spirits (To distinguish imposing evil spirits from God’s spirit.)
vi. Prophecy (Not just predicting the future, but understanding God’s heart.)
vii. Miracles (Gift of performing various supernatural acts.)
viii. Tongues (Gift of speaking in different tongues: edifies the believer himself.)
ix. Interpretation of tongues (Gift of interpreting a message given in tongues.)
B. Miscellaneous gifts (Ephesians 4:11, Romans 12:4-13, 1 Corinthians 12:28, 1 Corinthians 7:7)
i. What if yours is not in the list?
ii. There are millions of other gifts that are not listed in the Bible.
iii. You possess one of them.
2. Gifts are unique but equally important
A. All gifts are given by the same Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)
i. There is a hierarchy of gifted ministries, but every ministry is from the Lord
ii. Gifts cannot be categorized as spiritual and nonspiritual
iii. All of them are equally important as long as the purpose is to serve God and edify the church
3. Gifts are given to serve God’s purpose
A. For the edification of the church (1 Corinthians 12:7)
i. To help each other
ii. To build the church and God’s kingdom
iii. Illus: My parents planted a church. But they never held into it. Instead when the church was strong enough they handed her over to the senior leadership.
B. Not for your personal gain
i. Never make the mistake of glorifying yourself (Herod: Acts 12:21-23)
ii. You cannot sell neither you can purchase spiritual gifts (Acts 17:18-24)
C. Every one doesn’t have the same gift (1 Corinthians 12:12-21)
i. Gifts are unique. 2 people can not have identical gifts (what if the entire world was green? What about enjoying different cuisine? God likes diversity.)
ii. None has been left out (Illus: The ugly ‘Cuckoo’ bird (Koha) with a beautiful voice).
iii. Never run after some one else’s gift. To do so is to insult your creator (Parrot is beautiful, but a singing Parrot could be terrible).
iv. Some gifts enable the operator to stand under the lime light while others don’t.
v. The most insignificant ministries are the most important. (1 Corinthians 12:24)
A. Identifying your gift
i. Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice – alive, holy, and pleasing to God – which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)
ii. God has a specific ministry for each of us. When our hearts are completely open to whatever He may ask us to do, we have taken the first step towards beginning our ministry in the body of Christ.
iii. Actively seek your gift from the Spirit for your ministry within the body.
iv. Wait upon God, be available for Him to use. God doesn’t worry about your ability but He wants your availability.
B. Exercising your gift
i. Never ignore your gift. (1 Timothy 4:14-15)
ii. Don’t get puffed up (1 Timothy 1:7)
iii. You are just a vessel containing the gift. God will use you. You don’t need to be reluctant.
iv. Be careful not to draw attention to yourself
v. The vessel should not flavor the contents. (Illus: A tiny amount of silver is used to polish porcelain Jugs. Too much of it will mix up with the contents of the Jug Ex: Fruit Juice, and spoil the kidneys)
a. When Jesus performed miracles people glorified God (Luke 5:26)
b. Instead I subdue my body and make it my slave, so that after preaching to others I myself will not be disqualified… (1 Corinthians 9:27)
vi. Make the maximum use out of your gift: Robin Sharma, motivational speaker and the author of ‘The Greatness Guide’ says ‘If your gift is to sweep the street, do your best, that the angels of heaven will rejoice saying; Here lived a great street sweeper’. Frankly speaking whatever your gift is ‘Give it your best shot’.
C. Avoiding pit falls
i. When God begins to exercise a gift in our lives, Satan is always there to challenge the exercise of the gift.
ii. We begin to exercise our gift of ministry within the body by starting where we are in our small circle of fellowship. From there, the Lord may give us bigger things to do. If He doesn’t we shouldn’t mind because we should be happy just to be serving Him.
iii. Wait for God’s time. People will not recognize your gift at once. You have to wait for the right time. (Church leadership may not recognize your gift at once, but they will, when the time comes.)
iv. Your gift must operate within the church context. (Illus: A kidney taken out for a transplant must be connected to the other person’s body with in 24 hours or it dies).