THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT

I Cor. 12:4-11

In this lesson, we want to look at what the Bible has to say about the gifts of the Spirit.

I. A DEFINITION OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS

A. Spiritual gifts are abilities and endowments given to one through the inner working of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12:4-11).

B. Spiritual gifts are distinguished from the initial gift of the Spirit Himself (Acts 2:38; 10:45; 11:17).

C. Spiritual gifts are also not to be confused with natural abilities or talents.

1. One is born with certain strengths that may be developed.

2. Spiritual gifts, on the other hand, are not a product of birth but of the Holy Spiritís power.

II. THERE ARE TWO MAJOR TYPES OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS

- These are permanent gifts and temporary gifts.

A. Permanent gifts are given to edify the church.

1. God will continue to give permanent gifts to believers throughout the duration of the church age.

2. These gifts are given to the members of the Lordís churches.

3. These gifts include:

a. First, there are the speaking or verbal gifts, such as prophecy, knowledge, wisdom, teaching, and exhortation.

b. Second, there are the serving or nonverbal gifts, such as leadership, helps, giving, mercy, faith, and discernment.

B. Temporary gifts were signs to confirm the Word of God. 1. The temporary sign gifts were limited to the apostolic age and, therefore; have ceased after that time.

2. Those gifts included miracles, healing, languages, and the interpretation of languages.

3. The purpose of temporary sign gifts was to authenticate the apostolic message as the Word of God.

a. When the Scriptures, Godís written Word was completed, these temporary sign gifts passed away as Paul had prophesied (I Cor. 13:8-13).

b. "That which is perfect"(v. 10) is the Bible, Godís complete revelation.

c. When God completed His Revelation, the Bible, there was no longer any need for prophets, apostles, miracle-workers or tongues, so God discontinued giving those gifts to men (vv. 8-10).

d. Those who claim to have these gifts today are simply fakes and frauds who are under the delusion of Satan.

e. When Christianity was a child (first getting started), it needed special help, such as these spiritual gifts, but when it grew up, this need disappeared and it no longer acted as a child (v. 11).

f. Those under the old system did not get a clear picture of God, themselves, or their need; but now that the Bible has been completed, we can know ourselves as we are known (v. 12).

g. Three permanent gifts that did not cease when the Bible was finished, are faith, hope and love (v. 13).

- The greatest of these is love.

- Love is greatest because it is for eternityófaith and hope are for time only.

III. THE SOURCE OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS

- The gifts of the Spirit have a twofold origin:

A. They were given by Christ (Eph. 4:7-12).

B. They are given by the Spirit (I Cor. 12:4-11)

1. These two points may be reconciled by understanding that Christ bestowed the Spirit upon the church.

2. After His ascension back to heaven, Christ sent the Holy Spirit to empower His churches (Jn. 7:39; Acts 1:8; 2:33).

3. The Spirit having thus been sent produces within us the needed spiritual abilities.
 
 

IV. THOSE TO WHOM THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT WHERE GIVEN

A. Though all saints have spiritual gifts, yet it is correct to say that the gifts were given to the church.

1. All Christians are not members of one of the Lordís churches, but it is Godís revealed will that they should be.

2. The church is the proper sphere for the exercise of the gifts of the Spirit.

3. The gifts were given to the church for its spiritual development (Eph. 4:11-12; I Cor. 12:27-28).

4. Gifts are given to individual saints so that the entire assembly may be blessed.

B. The church in the New Testament is declared to be the Temple of God and the Body of Christ. 1. It is in relation to these two concepts that the gifts of the Spirit may be seen.

2. In regeneration, we become "living stones"(I Pet. 2:5).

3. It is the gifts of the Spirit that cause these "living stones" to form a temple of God that is "fitly framed together"(Eph. 2:19-22).

4. Just as a human body has many members that contribute to the general well-being of the whole, so the local church as a body of Christ is supplied with every necessary function by the variety of gifts within its membership (I Cor. 12:12-28; Eph. 4:16).

5. The church was given the gifts of the Spirit because it is responsible to promote the spiritual growth of Godís people (Eph. 4:11-16).

C. The good of the whole body must be the controlling factor in the exercise of any spiritual gift. 1. The concept of people receiving spiritual gifts in order to be personally blessed is entirely false.

2. Every gift is for the body of Christ as a whole.

3. The good of the whole body must be the controlling factor in the exercise of any spiritual gift.

V. THE REGULATION OF THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT

A. Spiritual gifts are given for the benefit of the whole body, and they must be regulated in a manner that will help to achieve this end.

B. Those who possess spiritual gifts must use them for the good of the church.

1. We find in I Cor. 13 that these gifts are to be regulated by our love for others. C. Those who disturb the worship service with uncontrolled actions cannot attribute their behavior to the power of the Spirit (I Cor. 14:32-33). 1. Our worship of God should reflect the character and nature of God.

2. He is the God of peace and harmony, not of strife and confusion.

3. God cannot be honored where there is disharmony and confusion.

4. Chaos and discord in a church meeting is certain proof that the Spirit of God is not in control.

5. Where His Spirit rules there is always peace (Jas. 3:14-18).

D. Just as Godís Spirit cannot be in control where there is confusion and chaos in the church, so He cannot be in control where women take upon themselves roles that He has restricted to men (I Cor. 14:34-40). 1. One of the designs of creation, as well as one of the primary consequences of the fall, was the submission of women (Gen. 3:16; I Tim. 2:11-12).

2. The Spirit of God cannot be in control where women take upon themselves roles that He has restricted to men.
 
 

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