spiritual gifts

Before We Debate About the Spiritual Gift of Tongues, How About This…

Amazingly, while many people speak about the gift of tongues, whether they exist or don’t exist, one aspect we tend to forget is how we use the language (i.e., tongue) that God has given us now?

Jump with me to 1 Corinthians 14:23-25:

23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

Tongues, Paul says, are a sign for unbelievers.  When Peter, skeptical that God would send his Spirit to all the nations to show them His glory and His work through Jesus, we read in Acts 10:44-47:

44 While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45 And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, 47 “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”

What’s the point? The point is that God used this sign (not the gift, the sign) to show the world that God was moving forward in bringing His message of the Gospel through the Spirit to the whole world.  And, friends, we are the recipient of that.  God used His messengers through the Spirit and the gifts that He bestowed to take the message of the gospel, of which we are a recipient.

Dear Christians, unbelievers will enter into your life and your church.  So how are we using the language God has given to us?  Let me show you how some use them.  In Romans 1:28-32:

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

How many times have we seen Christians come together, and use their tongues not for the purpose of building up believers in the faith, but to tear down other believers and leaders that God has put in their path. Rather than going and speaking directly to the person, they gossip and slander and become insolent, arrogant, boastful!  Many of these sins in place are right up there with the flow of the argument—God giving people over to their desires, their sexual sins.

Alan Redpath calls us to think when it comes to what we’re getting ready to say.  It’s an acronym:

T–Is it true?
H–Is it helpful?
I–Is it inspiring?
N–Is it necessary?
K–Is it kind?

If what I am about to say does not pass those tests, I will keep my mouth shut! And it worked!

But really, it’s not just about what we shouldn’t say, it’s about being clear regarding the person and work of Christ both in private, and in this case in public.  Prophesy and preaching and teaching about Jesus and His death and resurrection as the only hope for the forgiveness of sins and eternal must be crystal clear.  Intelligible.  Distinct.  Do we have that?  When we tell people phrases we’re used to like, “Ask Jesus into your heart” or “Won’t you walk the aisle?”

You see, I fear that many in our churches in America believe that the church exists for them.  The spiritual gifts exist for them.  God in heaven simply exists to meet our needs.  We can only worship if the music is just right, the curriculum is just right, if the money is spent just right.  Do you see what’s happening?  Everything can come down to the fact that many believe that everything exists for them!  But vv 24-25 shatter that.  Clarity about the gospel, about Jesus’ person and work will convict as worked by the Spirit.  We want to be clear to call everyone to repent and believe the gospel as Jesus said.  We want to be clear to our family and friends about the gospel—and that our words and our actions match!

The entire point of 1 Corinthians 14 is that of clarity so that the church would be built up!  Outward love toward others always trumps simply building up oneself, whether it’s speaking in tongues or in any other aspect of our Christian walk. But we all speak in a language–how are we using that for God’s glory and building up the church?

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The Purpose of Spiritual Gifts

This is a study given on Wednesday, May 6, 2009 at Boone’s Creek Baptist Church, Lexington, KY.

____________ 

“A spiritual gift is any ability that is empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in any ministry of the church” (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, p. 1016).

Last week, we discussed the gift that God has given in leaders. Ephesians 4:11-12 says:

 

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

Your leaders are not to receive authority because of who they are, but because on account of the who He is—he gave these leaders to the churches to lead them in Christ’s direction and to help them grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18) and to exercise their gifts.

What are these gifts that we are to exercise? They are simply called spiritual gifts: gifts God gives to individual members of his body.

(1) What is the purpose of these gifts?

Let’s continue on in Ephesians 4:13-16

13until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

What can we cull from these verses?

    • Unity in the faith and Knowledge of the Son of God
    • …which moves toward maturity and the fullness of Christ
    • …so we may no longer be children easily deceived but anchored in the Head, which is Christ.
    • …so every member may be held together as it should
    • …so we are built up in love.

(2) What are these gifts?

Different passages outline various gifts.  Grudem offers this list (Systematic Theology):

1 Corinthians 12:28

Apostle

Prophet

Teacher

Miracles

Kinds of healings

Helps

Administration

Tongues

 

1 Corinthians 12:8-10

Word of wisdom

Word of knowledge

Faith

Gifts of healing miracles

Prophecy

Distinguishing b/t spirits

Tongues

Interpretation of tongues

Ephesians 4:11

Apostles

Prophet

Evangelist

Pastor-teacher

Romans 12:6-8

Prophecy

Serving

Teaching

Encouraging

Contributing

Leadership

Mercy

1 Cor. 7:7

Marriage

Celibacy

We must know these things:

  • God gives these gifts to each and every member of His body. None are exempt…and none are without excuse in regards to exercising that gift. God makes these gifts clear to us in a number of ways:
            • Instilling a love for doing or serving in various ways;
            • Spiritual gifts tests (although we must realize that they are man-made and risk having biases);
            • Confirmation from other Spirit-led brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • We must also realize that these gifts are developed differently in various Christians (Romans 12:6; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6).
  • Not every Christian has every gift (1 Corinthians 12:28-31).
  • When you know what your gift is, use it!
  • Make sure those gifts are backed by love (since Paul, after listing those gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:28-30, said “I will show you a more excellent way,” after which he proceeded into the love chapter. 

Regardless, we must know that as Christians, we have gifts given by God himself that spread His glory from our neighbors to the nations—given to strengthen His people and share His gospel.

Question:

· What type of spiritual gift do you think you have?

· What is something that God has given you a love for?

· In what ways can you use that gift? In what ways will you use that gift?

· Do you ever envy another gift someone may have? Why?

If someone gives you a gift, and you fail to use it, you offend the one who gave that gift to you. However, many Christians fail to realize how we offend the holiness and direction of the Father who gives His sons and daughters gifts to exercise, yet never exercise them. And we must be content and thankful for whatever gift God has granted to us—without envying the gifts that others may have!

Yet, beware of taking this gift that God gives you and using it as a opportunity for pride. Remember, even with these gifts, Paul would show us a “more excellent way”—which leads us into 1 Corinthians 13, known as the “Love” chapter. You can have the gifts, but if there is no love to bolster those gifts, then those gifts are nothing. The gifts are not meant to point to the one who was given the gift—the gifts were meant to glorify and point to the giver.

Categories: church, spiritual gifts | Leave a comment

The Purpose of Spiritual Gifts

This is a study given on Wednesday, May 6, 2009 at Boone’s Creek Baptist Church, Lexington, KY.

____________ 

“A spiritual gift is any ability that is empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in any ministry of the church” (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, p. 1016).

Last week, we discussed the gift that God has given in leaders. Ephesians 4:11-12 says:

 

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

Your leaders are not to receive authority because of who they are, but because on account of the who He is—he gave these leaders to the churches to lead them in Christ’s direction and to help them grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18) and to exercise their gifts.

What are these gifts that we are to exercise? They are simply called spiritual gifts: gifts God gives to individual members of his body.

(1) What is the purpose of these gifts?

Let’s continue on in Ephesians 4:13-16

13until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

What can we cull from these verses?

    • Unity in the faith and Knowledge of the Son of God
    • …which moves toward maturity and the fullness of Christ
    • …so we may no longer be children easily deceived but anchored in the Head, which is Christ.
    • …so every member may be held together as it should
    • …so we are built up in love.

(2) What are these gifts?

Different passages outline various gifts.  Grudem offers this list (Systematic Theology):

1 Corinthians 12:28

Apostle

Prophet

Teacher

Miracles

Kinds of healings

Helps

Administration

Tongues

 

1 Corinthians 12:8-10

Word of wisdom

Word of knowledge

Faith

Gifts of healing miracles

Prophecy

Distinguishing b/t spirits

Tongues

Interpretation of tongues

Ephesians 4:11

Apostles

Prophet

Evangelist

Pastor-teacher

Romans 12:6-8

Prophecy

Serving

Teaching

Encouraging

Contributing

Leadership

Mercy

1 Cor. 7:7

Marriage

Celibacy

We must know these things:

  • God gives these gifts to each and every member of His body. None are exempt…and none are without excuse in regards to exercising that gift. God makes these gifts clear to us in a number of ways:
            • Instilling a love for doing or serving in various ways;
            • Spiritual gifts tests (although we must realize that they are man-made and risk having biases);
            • Confirmation from other Spirit-led brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • We must also realize that these gifts are developed differently in various Christians (Romans 12:6; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6).
  • Not every Christian has every gift (1 Corinthians 12:28-31).
  • When you know what your gift is, use it!
  • Make sure those gifts are backed by love (since Paul, after listing those gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:28-30, said “I will show you a more excellent way,” after which he proceeded into the love chapter. 

Regardless, we must know that as Christians, we have gifts given by God himself that spread His glory from our neighbors to the nations—given to strengthen His people and share His gospel.

Question:

· What type of spiritual gift do you think you have?

· What is something that God has given you a love for?

· In what ways can you use that gift? In what ways will you use that gift?

· Do you ever envy another gift someone may have? Why?

If someone gives you a gift, and you fail to use it, you offend the one who gave that gift to you. However, many Christians fail to realize how we offend the holiness and direction of the Father who gives His sons and daughters gifts to exercise, yet never exercise them. And we must be content and thankful for whatever gift God has granted to us—without envying the gifts that others may have!

Yet, beware of taking this gift that God gives you and using it as a opportunity for pride. Remember, even with these gifts, Paul would show us a “more excellent way”—which leads us into 1 Corinthians 13, known as the “Love” chapter. You can have the gifts, but if there is no love to bolster those gifts, then those gifts are nothing. The gifts are not meant to point to the one who was given the gift—the gifts were meant to glorify and point to the giver.

Categories: church, spiritual gifts | Leave a comment