"We Are Family" part 2:
Understanding Spiritual Gifts
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
March 11, 2007
Main Passage: 1
Corinthians 12:1-12 (NLT)
This is our second week
in a series called “We Are Family”. Last week, we talked about unity
within the family. We saw how God designed the Church to be His Body…
to be a team… to be a family. We’re all working together and serving
together and worshipping together and loving together and learning and
growing together. We are a unified family.
Today, we’re going to talk about how we serve as a family. We’re going
to see how each and every member of this family brings something unique
to contribute. We’re not all the same. God has made each one of us
special. He’s given each one of us different passions and different
talents and different personalities and different life experiences.
We’re all unique. And it’s only when each member of the Sunrise Family
brings their differences to the whole that we can be complete.
And so today, we’re going to focus in on one area in particular where
we have our differences. We’re going to talk about spiritual gifts.
Because we’re all gifted differently. So what are spiritual gifts? What
kinds of gifts are there? How do you know your spiritual gifts? Between
this week and next week, those are the questions we’re going to try to
1 Corinthians 12:1 (NIV)
Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do
not want you to be ignorant.
And if Paul didn’t want the believers in the city of Corinth to be
ignorant about spiritual gifts, I don’t want you to be ignorant about
So today, we’re just going to do a bit of an overview. And I want to
start by giving you a definition of what a spiritual gift is. Right
now, some of you really don’t know what I’m talking about. I suppose
that’s nothing new, but this might help…
What is a Spiritual Gift?
are SPECIAL ABILITIES
They are abilities God
has given to us to make our Unique Contribution. They’re not just
natural talents. They may work alongside natural talents, but they’re
not talents. They’re special abilities.
1 Corinthians 12:7 (NLT)
A spiritual gift is given to each of us so
we can help each other.
the HOLY SPIRIT
Spiritual Gifts are
given to us by God for meaningful service.
1 Corinthians 12:11 (NLT)
It is the one and only Spirit who
distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person
BELIEVER according to God’s DESIGN and GRACE
Every believer is a
minister and has at least one Spiritual Gift.
1 Peter 4:10 (NLT)
God has given each of you a gift from his
great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
For the COMMON
GOOD of the Body of Christ.
The Spiritual Gifts that
God gives us allow us to serve each other better.
Ephesians 4:16 (NLT)
As each part does its own special work, it
helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and
growing and full of love.
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
Okay, so the Holy Spirit
is the one who oversees the distribution of spiritual gifts. Why is
that important? Because He sees the big picture. He know what gifts are
needed when and where and why. And so He’s able to work everything
together for the good. He’s able to create a great diversity of gifts
while maintaining a great unity within the Family… within the Church.
1 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NLT)
To one person the Spirit gives the ability
to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of
special knowledge. The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to
someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. He gives one
person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to
prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a
message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another
person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while
another is given the ability to interpret what is being said.
There is great diversity. We are all uniquely gifted and have our own
contribution to make. But at the same time, it’s by God’s design that
we need each other to really function as the Church, the Body of Christ.
You know, we’ve got a great worship team here at Sunrise. We’ve got
some talented musicians, and I know how much I miss just one of them
when they’re away. Each instrument plays an important role, regardless
of how easy or difficult, boring or flashy their part may seem alone.
Here… let’s try to illustrate this a little more. We sang this song
earlier (Shout to the Lord). Let’s take another look at it…
Just say the words out loud… don’t sing them.
Okay, now just hum (or “La”) the melody.
Let me play the melody line on the piano.
Here’s the base line…
Or if I just play the chords with my right hand.
Put it together.
Do you notice the difference? All the separate parts are pretty
unspectacular by themselves. But what happens when you put them
together? You can have some beautiful music and an inspiring worship
That’s the way it is with us and our giftedness. God didn’t create us
to operate in isolation. He created us to serve together. He put us
together so that each person brings something unique to contribute to
Check out these verses…
Romans 12:5 (NLT)
We are all parts of his one body, and each
of us has different work to do. And since we are all one body in
Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.
1 Corinthians 12:27 (NLT)
Now all of you together are Christ's body,
and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it.
Now, last week we talked about unity. This week, so far we’ve talked
about diversity. How each one of us is unique. So how do you reconcile
these two? How do you have unity while acknowledging our diversity?
Unity is not
achieved by being alike; it’s achieved by having the SAME PURPOSE.
And what’s our purpose?
It’s to transform lives. It’s to raise up radical followers of Jesus.
It’s to introduce people to Jesus and help them grow. And the diversity
of spiritual gifts represented in this room this morning helps us do
that all the better.
1 Corinthians 12:17-20 (NLT)
If the whole body were an eye, how would you
hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?
But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he
wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes,
there are many parts, but only one body.
So we need to understand that our differences are by design. When we
fail to realize that, it just leads to frustration and conflict. But
when we realize that our differences actually compliment each other, we
can have a joyful unity.
And just to carry this idea of being unified in spite of our
differences one step further, look at these verses…
1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (NLT)
There are different kinds of spiritual
gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are
different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in
different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.
So what are the spiritual gifts? What are some of the specific gifts
that the Bible identifies? Well, in your notes, you see a whole list of
So here’s what we’re
going to do. Below that list, you’ll see a whole list of definitions
with a blank in front of each one. I want to you to see how well you
can identify which spiritual gift matches which definition. I
understand that some people would define some of the gifts differently…
these definitions are just my understanding of what the gifts are.
Okay? So you might want to get in groups of two or three and just take
a few minutes to work on it. Okay?
[If you're reading this on our website, you can find a gift test with
all the definitions at
www.sunriseonline.ca/downloads/gifttest.zip. It will also be
used in part 3 of this message series.]
Okay, so that’s an
overview of what spiritual gifts are. You’ve seen what types of gifts
there are, and you’ve seen what each one contributes. Next week, we’re
going to get personal. We’re going to talk about how you can find out
what gifts you have. So we’ll talk more about that and we’ll also talk
about a few cautions about spiritual gifts. Okay? Let’s pray.
of this message adapted from “Network” by Bruce Bugbee]