Gifted To Serve, Part 4 (March 22, 2015)

Listen to the message: Gifted to Serve, pt.4

1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12:3-8, Ephesians 4:11-12, 1 Peter 4:10-11

Though probably not exhaustive, these four passages of Scripture do give us some of the spiritual gifts that God gives to His body to be used to strengthen each others’ faith, serve one another, and glorify God.

Apostleship: In the sense of apostolic authority of those who saw the resurrected Christ and were commissioned personally by Him as an apostle, this gift has ceased. The apostles’ teaching is the foundation and measuring rod for all doctrine.

Prophecy: Communication of a spontaneous thought, image, truth, application, etc. from God that is not always known to the speaker until that moment and that speaks specifically to the hearer’s situation.

Word of Wisdom: Speaking incredible wisdom to edify believers. Possibly communicating insights into the message of the cross and God’s saving purposes for mankind globally and for individual application.

Word of Knowledge: Speaking incredible knowledge to edify believers. Possibly speaking insight into the depth of God’s grace displayed in Christ.

Teaching: The ability to explain and apply Scripture to people’s lives (Bible teaching and preaching).

Evangelism: A unique ability (beyond the call to every believer to make disciples) to communicate the gospel of Jesus and see effectiveness.

Pastor (and/or Teacher): Shepherding the body of Christ through applying doctrine, guarding, guiding, warning, challenging, instructing, and ministering to the people of God (If the grammatical link in Ephesians 4 reads pastor/teacher, then this gift would include teaching).

Exhortation: Comforting and coming alongside others, encouraging them to live out the teachings of Scripture in their personal lives.

Tongues: “Prayer or praise spoken in syllables not understood by the speaker (Grudem).” Sometimes this is expressed in human languages, but ordinarily in a language no one understands.

Interpretation of Tongues: Interpreting the tongues that are spoken.

Distinguishing of Spirits: Discerning between the works of the Holy Spirit and the works of another spirit, namely a demonic one. Oftentimes this shows up in distinguishing between false teaching and good teaching.

Leadership: Leading the flock of God through managing, overseeing, mobilizing, casting vision, guiding through trials, discipline, etc.

Faith: Unique ability to believe with unwavering confidence that God will bring about certain things, despite obstacles, for which there is no specific Scriptural promise to claim.

Gifts of Healing: Spontaneous ability to be used of God to heal diseases and infirmities at certain times of the Spirit’s choosing.

Workings of Powers (Miracles): Spontaneous ability to be used of God to perform a supernatural event at certain times of the Spirit’s choosing.

Helps (Serving): Assisting leadership to handle material church affairs; serving the body of Christ in practical ways whenever/wherever needed.

Giving: Freely giving resources liberally and generously with a single-minded joy and delight to specific needs in order to further God’s work.

Showing Mercy: A Spirit-given compassion of heart that sympathizes with the suffering and assists/ministers to them in their need.

*Some include hospitality – the ability to provide a welcoming, open house for people in need of food and lodging (some say to strangers) – as a spiritual gift.

Questions to Consider

  1. How does the gifts list show God’s gracious care for His people?
  2. What distinguishes the gift of faith that only some Christians have at certain times from conversion faith and continuing faith that all Christians have?
  3. What is the case for and against the more “miraculous” gifts being for the church today?  If some of the more “miraculous” gifts are for the church today, what causes believers to believe that they are not?  If they are not, what causes believers to believe that they are?
  4. How does Jesus and His provision for our sin perfectly exhibit specifically together these three gifts: Helps, Giving, and Showing Mercy?
  5. How can you be a good steward of the specific spiritual gifts of grace that God has given you to use? (1 Peter 4:10-11)
  6. If you know some of the ways that God has gifted you through His Spirit, are there new and fresh ways that He wants to use those gifts for His glory?
  7. How would a correct understanding that all believers have been gifted in different ways according to the sovereign will of the Spirit eliminate rivalry and promote unity and effective ministry in families, friendships, and churches?
  8. How would our church look different if everyone were utilizing their gifts with passion and dedication?

Action Steps

  1. Through prayer, reading the Scriptures, and using some of the resources below or other reputable sources, seek the Scriptures’ teaching on some of the more miraculous gifts.
  2. Through looking over the gift list, spending time in prayer, and asking fellow believers, identify what gifts God may have gifted you with and find one way to use one of them this week.
  3. Ask God for more spiritual gifts and opportunities to use them.
  4. Begin to identify the gifts of those in your family, class, or friends group and celebrate others’ gifts.
  5. Encourage a Christian you know that has one of the less “public” gifts.

For Further Study

  1. Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12:3-8, Ephesians 4:11-12, 1 Peter 4:10-11
  2. ESV Study Bible: notes on these four passages
  3. Books: Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem, The Beginner’s Guide to Spiritual Gifts by Sam Storms, Showing the Spirit: A Theological Exposition of 1 Corinthians 12-14 by D.A. Carson, 19 Gifts of the Spirit by Leslie Flynn
  4. Websites: www.desiringgod.org ; www.gty.org (search key words relating to spiritual gifts for resources), www.blueletterbible.org (search by Scripture and find available resources and commentaries pertaining to each Scripture)