The Holy Spirit part 4
the Holy Spirit Equips Us
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
June 21, 2009
We’ve been working our
way through this series talking about the Holy Spirit, and so far we’ve
talked about how the Holy Spirit is a person – the third person on the
Trinity – which means He is God, and as such it is the Holy Spirit who
is responsible for bringing us to salvation. It’s Him who calls us, who
convicts us, who saves us… It’s Him who guides us and leads us and
empowers us… It’s Him who fills us and works inside us and transforms
us so that we become more like Jesus in our conduct and our character.
talked about how when you first become a Christ-follower, you have all
of the Holy Spirit. But you only experience the filling of the Holy
Spirit when He has all of you.
And last week we talked about the
evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life. We call it
the Fruit of the Holy Spirit, which in Galatians chapter 5 is defined
as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control. When you have the presence of the Holy
Spirit in your life, those are the kinds of characteristics or
qualities that are going to develop within you and are going to be
expressed through the way you live.
That’s the Fruit of the
Spirit. And a lot of people get that Fruit of the Spirit mixed up with
what we’re going to be talking about this morning… spiritual gifts.
talk about the Fruit of the Spirit as being the evidence of the
presence of the Holy Spirit because those qualities – love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control
– those qualities are what the Holy Spirit develops in the life of
every Christ-follower who has yielded themselves to the Holy Spirit and
to His work in their lives.
As for spiritual gifts, there is
no one spiritual gift that is given to every Christ-follower. The gift
or the gifts that you have may be different and probably are different
from the gifts I have. The Bible lists twenty-some spiritual gifts, but
you’ve got to look at four or five passages to compile that list, none
of the lists are exhaustive, so there may be spiritual gifts that are
given that aren’t even mentioned in the Bible. So you can’t look for
any one gift as being the evidence of the Holy Spirit in your life.
the one Church in the New Testament that showed the greatest expression
of spiritual gifts was the Church in Corinth, which is also the Church
that was the most carnal, the most spiritually immature, the most
divisive… and the church that Paul had the most trouble with. The
expression of spiritual gifts in the Corinthian Church did not in any
way signify their level of spiritual maturity or the fullness of the
presence of the Holy Spirit.
So even though we understand that
Spiritual Gifts are given by the Holy Spirit, we’re not going to talk
about them this morning as being the evidence of the presence of the
But yet they are important. We’re going to talk
about them this morning because the Bible talks about them, and tells
us that was need to know about them.
1 Timothy 4:14 (NLT)
Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received…
1 Corinthians 12:1 (NIV)
Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant.
So spiritual gifts are important. Why?
are Spiritual Gifts Important?
help us understand and accomplish what God calls us to do.
Whatever gift you have, you have it for a reason. You have it to use it
in service to God and in ministry to others.
see, God has gifted you so that you can accomplish your purpose in
life. He’s pretty smart that way. In the Bible in Romans 12 verse 2, it
talks about how you can know God’s will for your life, and then it goes
on in the following verses to describe spiritual gifts. There’s a link
between what God is calling you to do and how He has equipped you. So
this is an important discussion we’re having today. Check this out…
Romans 12:6-8 (NLT)
his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things
well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with
as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others,
serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to
encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If
God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility
seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it
It seems pretty clear, at last to me, that if God has
given you a specific gift He has given it to you for a reason. He
intends for you to use it.
But what are spiritual gifts, anyway? Well, in your notes you’ll see a
are Spiritual Gifts?
Gifts are SPECIAL ABILITIES
Beyond just natural talents, they are special abilities God has given
to us to make our own unique contribution to His Kingdom.
Romans 12:6 (NLT)
God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.
by the HOLY SPIRIT
Gifts are given to us by the Holy Spirit to be used in meaningful
ministry. It’s not up to us which gifts we receive… it’s up to Him to
distribute the gifts as He sees fit according to His wisdom. And that
means there is no right or wrong spiritual gift. Every gift is
important because it was given by the Holy Spirit for a reason.
1 Corinthians 12:11 (NLT)
It is the one and only Holy Spirit who distributes these gifts. He
alone decides which gift each person should have.
every BELIEVER according to God’s DESIGN and GRACE
believer is a minister and has at least one Spiritual Gift. If you have
accepted Jesus Christ into your life, then you have a spiritual gift.
You may not have discovered it yet, but you have at least one spiritual
gift. The apostle Peter was writing to Christian believers when He
1 Peter 4:10 (NLT)
God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual
COMMON GOOD of the Body of Christ.
Spiritual Gifts that God gives us allow us to serve each other better,
to meet needs, and to build up the church in love and unity. They’re
for the common good of everyone in the church, not just for personal
enjoyment or even personal edification. They’re for the whole Church,
so that we all benefit from each other’s giftedness. So if you neglect
your gift and refuse to use it, the entire Church suffers the loss.
1 Corinthians 12:7 (NLT)
A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.
So, you put the whole thing together and you have this…
Gifts are SPECIAL ABILITIES distributed by the HOLY SPIRIT to every
BELIEVER according to God’s DESIGN and GRACE for the COMMON GOOD of the
Body of Christ.” (Definition from “NETWORK” by Bruce Bugbee)
a pretty good definition of what a spiritual gift is. But what specific
kinds of spiritual gifts are there? What special abilities does the
Bible identify as spiritual gifts?
Well, as I already mentioned,
there is no one specific passage of Scripture that lists all of the
spiritual gifts. But pulling from a variety of passages, here’s a list…
Spiritual Gifts Are There?
Faith, Languages/Tongues, Shepherding/Pastoring, Apostleship, Giving,
Leadership, Teaching, Craftsmanship, Healing, Mercy,
Translation/Interpretation, Discernment, Helps, Miracles, Wisdom,
Encouragement, Hospitality, Prophecy, Evangelism, Knowledge, Serving
compiled from Exodus 31:3, Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-11,
Ephesians 4:11-13, and 1 Peter 4:9]
there be other gifts that aren’t listed? Well, yeah, I think there
could be. If you look at the passages where I got this list, it looks
to me like these gifts were just listed as examples. In none of those
passages did the writer say, “Okay, here’s a list of all the Spiritual
Gifts there are.” No, each passage just gives a sampling.
fact, some of the other gifts that I’ve heard other people identify
would include gifts like Creative Communication (such as music, or
poetry, or like the Psalms), or a gift like voluntary poverty (and you
might say Mother Teresa had that kind of a gift), or even the gift of
martyrdom (unfortunately you only find out if you have that gift once).
there are discussions about what other kinds of gifts there may be, and
I’m not comfortable saying that these are all the gifts there are.
However, in saying that, I would also warn that in trying to identify
other gifts you can wind up with some pretty wacky ideas. So personally
I tend to stick to these ones when I’m talking about spiritual gifts.
Let’s move on… The big question in regards to spiritual gifts is…
Do I Discover My Spiritual Gifts?
starting with the assumption that you are a Christ-follower – remember,
spiritual gifts are given to believers – then let me give you a few
ways to help you discover what your gifts are. Because when the Holy
Spirit gave you your gift, He probably didn’t leave you a note or send
you an email telling you what gift He gave you. So how do you discover
what gift or gifts He has given you? Well, there are four ways that you
can discern how God has equipped you with spiritual gifts…
Participate in a variety of ministry experiences
fact is, you’re not going to know how you’re gifted until you take the
opportunity to experiment in different areas of ministry and see what
you’re good at and what you enjoy. Because that’s really the test of a
spiritual gift… are you effective and are you fulfilled? Do you
experience joy and success?
Do a self-analysis
Again, are you effective and fulfilled? Do you enjoy it? Do you see
results? Look inside… what does your gut tell you?
Ask others what gifts they see in you
if you truly have a gift in some area, chances are someone else is
going to notice. I mean, think about it… if you’ve been attending here
for a while, then there are probably people that you identify with
certain gifts. When I say the gift of leadership, isn’t there someone
who comes to mind? Or how about the gift of helps? Hospitality?
Sure, there are names that come to mind. Because
you can see that gift being expressed in their lives. So go ahead and
ask for someone else to give you some feedback. They may be able to
clarify something for you or give you some input from their
perspective. And when they do, don’t be insulted and don’t get mad at
them. They’re doing you a favour in clarifying how God has gifted you,
and there are no right or wrong spiritual gifts anyway.
Take a spiritual gift test
are such things as gift tests. Typically, they are composed of a series
of questions that you read and rate how you feel they apply to you, and
then you add up all the numbers and figure out what gifts you seem to
have. Now, the thing about these tests is that they basically clarify
what you’ve already discovered. If you’ve never experimented in
different ministries and you’ve never observed what you enjoy and seem
to be good at and if you’ve never listened to what others have to
contribute, then chances are a gift test isn’t going to do you much
good. I happen to like gift tests and think they can provide some
valuable insights, but by itself it’s really not going to help much.
That’s why I listed it fourth.
Now, if you do want to try a gift
test, then I’ve posted one on our website. You can see the exact link
listed in your notes, so you can go online and download it and complete
it for yourself. It includes the test, the answer grid, and definitions
for all the gifts we listed earlier.
Okay, so I want to finish up this morning by looking at one more
Am I to Use Spiritual Gifts?
in the New Testament book of 1st Corinthians, Paul talks a lot about
spiritual gifts in chapters 12 and 14. But do you know what comes in
between? Chapter 13 – very good!
Well, you may already be quite familiar with chapter 13. It’s the
chapter you hear read at so many weddings. Take a look…
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT)
is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no
record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but
rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses
faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
12 is about spiritual gifts, chapter 14 is about spiritual gifts, and
nestled right in the middle is this chapter that talks all about love.
And I don’t think that’s an accident. I think this is very significant.
I think this is all about what our motivation should be as we use our
spiritual gifts and as we serve each other. Because we’re not to do it
out of obligation, we’re not to do it out of pride, we’re not to do it
just to get extra credit…
use my spiritual gifts with love.
fact, I think this goes right back to what we talked about last week…
the Fruit of the Spirit. Remember that we talked about the Fruit that
the Holy Spirit produces in our lives is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Well, I
think you see those same qualities expressed in 1 Corinthians 13. The
Fruit of the Spirit – specifically the fruit of love – is to be our
motivation for serving each other out of our giftedness.
Tina Turner asked the question, “What’s love got to do with it?” And
the answer is… everything.