St Paul's UMC
Sunday, June 19, 2022
  • Holy Spirit
  • Forever
  • Doxology
      • 1 Corinthians 12:1–11NIV2011

  • Romans 1:11–12 ESV
    For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.
    Last week we looked at the fruit of the Spirit - the evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
    Galatians 5:22–24 ESV
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
    Today, we are looking at the gifts of the Holy Spirit - natural and supernatural abilities, directions, events, in some cases a calling to specific ministry roles within the Church for the purposes of strengthening the body and completing the mission of the Church in world which is to share the gospel and make disciples. In short, God’s equipping of His Church to continue the mission of Jesus in the world.
    Spiritual gifts are not to elevate the individual - but for the edification of the whole Body.
    John Piper defines a spiritual gift as follows, “a spiritual gift is an ability given by the Holy Spirit to express our faith effectively (in word or deed) for the strengthening of someone else’s faith.
    The Apostle Paul provides list of quite a few spiritual gifts, or charismata (Greek), which Paul observed within the early churches he served or oversaw.
    The Lexham Bible Dictionary The General Content of the Teaching

    In 1 Corinthians 12:8–10, 28:

    • Word of wisdom

    • Word of knowledge

    • Faith

    • Healing

    • Prophecy and prophets

    • Tongues

    • Interpretation of tongues

    • Apostles

    • Teachers

    • Deeds of power

    • Forms of assistance

    • Forms of leadership

    In Romans 12:6–8:

    • Prophecy,

    • Ministry

    • Teaching

    • Exhortation

    • Giving

    • Leading

    • Showing mercy

    In Ephesians 4:11:

    • Apostles

    • Prophets

    • Evangelists

    • Pastors

    • Teachers.

    Paul does not suggest that these are all encompassing lists of gifts. He also does not seem to differentiate between those that we would categorize as supernatural and those that are more mundane that have to do with the regular function of the Church.
    So what does this look like - these gifts of the Holy Spirit working in the life of the Church?
    Here are some real life examples as I have witnessed throughout years of ministry:
    A Christ follower, through an interaction with a stranger, is given a word of knowledge from the Spirit about that person that otherwise would be unknown. This enables the disciple to speak straight to the person’s heart and reveals God’s presence and glory.
    I’ve seen this happen in varies situations. One person, while eating at a restaurant, felt the Holy Spirit put it strongly on their heart to offer words of encouragement to their server because they were in need of it. When she did so, the server’s eyes welled up with tears as she shared difficulties she was dealing with. This led to a time of table-side prayer.
    Another example, the Spirit places a calling on a member of the Church to enter into pastoral ministry. The church affirms the call and this person is enters into training in order to fulfill this role. Eventually, the member is permitted to preach and teach and in so doing, instructs the Body on the teachings of the Bible and challenges members to put the word taught into action.
    One more example. A church holds a prayer and healing service. Several members have been trained in offering healing prayers and the anointing with oil. The prayer team and the pastor have asked the Holy Spirit for the gift of healing and discerning prayer. During the prayer service, a woman comes forward with a specific issue and a member of the prayer team anoints her with oil and prays over her. All honor and glory is given to God regardless of whether or not healing is immediate. The woman stands and gives testimony that she has indeed been healed.
    Each of these examples involve the work of the Spirit through the body of believers for the edification of the Church.
    We find examples of Spiritual Gifts imparted on the apostles and the early church members throughout the New Testament.
    In Acts 3:1-10
    Acts 3:1–10 ESV
    Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
    That is a great example of a spiritual gift, the ability to heal, being given in order that the faith of others would be increased. “And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.”
    It is in the demonstration of signs and wonders followed by the proclamation of God’s Word that the Church grew in number.
    People need to first experience, in some capacity, the presence of God in order that they can hear the Word of God.
    They will most often experience the presence of God through another human being who is filled with God’s Spirit. If one’s particular gift is showing abundant mercy - even when they have experienced a great injustice - this will demonstrate to another person the power of God and may open ears to hear.
    Great care must be taken in the manner in which spiritual gifts are used. If I’m a General Contractor building a home and I equip my workers with the power tools they need to actually build the house, it is important that they safely use the tools. If for instance one worker (Carl) runs around the worksite shooting his nail gun haphazardly - great harm can be done.
    Spiritual gifts can be misused. Typically, this happens when a member or body of members equate the receiving of a gift as a measure of their own spirituality or they get so excited about the gift they fail to discern the overall purpose of what the Spirit of God is calling them to do.
    The Apostle Paul addressed this with the Corinthians who were misusing the gift of speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues, Glossolalia, is act of speaking a language one did not acquire by natural means. This may be an actual foreign language you never studied or a language that may or not be intelligible by another person - the language of angels.
    1 Corinthians 14:23–25 CEB
    So suppose that the whole church is meeting and everyone is speaking in tongues. If people come in who are outsiders or unbelievers, won’t they say that you are out of your minds? But if everyone is prophesying when an unbeliever or outsider comes in, they are tested by all and called to account by all. The secrets of their hearts are brought to light. When that happens, they will fall on their faces and worship God, proclaiming out loud that truly God is among you!
    Notice when the Church is inwardly focused in the use of their spiritual gifts, speaking in a way that confuses outsiders, and ignorant to reality that others are watching and listening - those who are unbelievers dismiss the church a bunch of nuts. Yet when the members of the church are cognizant of their mission, when they are discerning in their use of gifts, and they allow the Spirit to work through them - then we have a whole different result. People falling on their face in worship of God.
    And as a reminder - spiritual gifts include both the supernatural and the natural. It is not just speaking in tongues. It could be in our gift of service, of hospitality, of giving. Are we utilizing our gifts in a way that draw people to Jesus or are we operating like an insider’s club speaking the tongue of Christianese?
    Our use of gifts must come out of our love for one another and our neighbor. It always comes back to love. God equips us to do His work as we fulfill the greatest commandment - summarized as love God and love others.
    And lastly, we should be asking the Spirit for the gifts of the Spirit and desiring to have them.
    1 Corinthians 14:1–3 ESV
    Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.
    We desire spiritual gifts so that we will be able to prophesy. To prophesy is to proclaim or announce something under divine inspiration. It is having the right words at the right time. So to desire spiritual gifts is to desire that God will give us the tool necessary to grab someone’s attention so that we may proclaim his truth and it will be heard and received.
    I want to close today’s service with us praying to receive the gifts of the Spirit in abundance and the discernment to use them well.
    Will you join me in prayer.
    Lord we ask that you give to us a heart of faith to trust the Spirit and the Spirit’s work in our lives, we ask for hearts that desires the gifts of the Spirit for the “common good,” and we ask to be open to the gifts of the Spirit in others. We ask for jealousy of others’ gifts to be quieted within each of us. We pray that our gifts would build up the church. We always first ask for the gift of love. Lord, giver of gifts, use us today to build up your Kingdom. Amen.
      • Romans 1:11–12NIV2011

      • Galatians 5:22–24NIV2011

      • Acts 3:1–10NIV2011

      • 1 Corinthians 14:23–25NIV2011

      • 1 Corinthians 14:1–3NIV2011

  • They'll Know We Are Christians By Our Love
      • 2 Thessalonians 2:16–17NIV2011

      • Romans 15:13NIV2011

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