Okay, so Sunday (4/28/2013) we talked about the fact that the super-apostles who were opposing the apostle Paul in Corinth (2 Corinthians 10:7-18) were fixated on their personal skills, their attributes and strengths, while the apostle Paul was focused on using the spiritual gifts God gave him.
We said that spiritual gifts (Gr. – chrisma) are Holy Spirit-given, Holy Spirit-powered abilities to serve others. I promised a list of definitions of the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12 and Ephesians 4. Cindy suggested I add a line or two with each gift, explaining how or where that gift could be used at the Chapel.
So, here’s my first stab at defining and explaining the individual spiritual gifts. I put a Bible text next to each to give you the primary location of that gift in one of the three lists. And I added additional bible texts that shed light on the definition and use of each gift. I welcome your thoughts, feedback, questions, even your pushback on the list…
1. Apostle – 1 Corinthians 12:28; 15:7
This spiritual gift of Apostle (Gr. – “Sent one,” emissary, messenger with the authority of and responsibility to the sender) was God’s gift to the church: men who knew Jesus and were witnesses to his resurrection (See Acts 1:22; also 1 Corinthians 15:3-8; cf. Acts 9:1-9), who could preach the gospel from first-hand knowledge and pass on the teachings of Jesus directly (Ephesians 3:5). See also 2 Corinthians 12:12. While all Christians were called to proclaim the gospel, not all were not apostles (1 Cor 12:29). As such, there are no similar Apostles today.
2. Prophecy – 1 Corinthians 12:2ff
This gift is the Holy Spirit-empowered ability to proclaim God’s truth. Today we most often call this gift preaching. See 1 Corinthians 14:22-25. Paul urged believers to carefully evaluate and confirm what prophets say. See 1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21.
Opportunities at the Chapel: This gift can be used in preaching at the Chapel and wherever the good news of Jesus is proclaimed.
3. Teaching – Romans 12:7; 1 Corinthians 12:28, 29
Closely related to the gift of prophecy, those with the spiritual gift of teaching dig out the content and meaning of the Scriptures and explain these truths, principles, doctrines, etc. in a way that people can understand and apply them. The teacher explains what the prophet proclaims. See 2 Timothy 2:2. Paul links the gift of teaching to the role of the pastor (shepherd) in Ephesians 4:11. Elders, as the spiritual shepherds of the flock, must be able to teach, though not necessarily preach (See 1 Timothy 3:1, 2).
Opportunities at the Chapel: Use this gift in your Care Group, as a Sunday School teacher, a Youth Ministry group leader…
4. Exhortation – Romans 12:8
Mature sisters and brothers with this spiritual gift counsel, encourage, exhort, teach, and build up other believers to stimulate their spiritual growth and encourage them to follow a specific course of action in his spiritual development. This gift is more personal than that of the prophet or the teacher. The Holy Spirit, serving as our Comforter (See John same word in Greek as “exhorter”) uses the believer in carrying out His exhorting/counseling work towards the members of His Body. See John 14:26
Opportunities at the Chapel: This gift can be used one-to-one, with couples, in Care Groups, and other small groups. We frequently hear exhortation at the 9am Breaking of Bread remembrance service.
5. Wisdom – 1 Corinthians 12:8
Those with this gift receive deep spiritual principles from the Spirit (Jon 14:16) through the Bible and to apply them to the life and conduct of the members of the Body of Christ. This practical wisdom is not the product of human intelligence, but rather is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Since Christ is called the “Wisdom of God,” this motivation requires a close walk with Him and the knowledge of the mind of Christ. See 1 Corinthians 2:2, 6, 7, 13-16
Opportunities at the Chapel: This gift is of great value in bringing new disciples of Jesus to maturity, and in personal conversations that guide and encourage.
6. Knowledge – 1 Corinthians 12:8
Speaking the word of knowledge suggest a word spoken only after long and careful consideration. This would be a word that the Christian teacher would ordinarily speak as the Spirit gave knowledge, understanding, insight, that might be described as intuition.
Opportunities at the Chapel: This special Spirit-powered gift of deep spiritual insight is always welcome, especially in counseling situations.
7. Faith – 1 Corinthians 12:9
The spiritual gift of faith—unusual faith, above and beyond God’s gift of saving faith (see Ephesians 2:8, 9)—is the gift given by the Holy Spirit to visualize/understand what God wants done and trust God’s power and promises to do it, particularly in times of persecution. See Matthew 17:19, 20; James 1:6; 1 John 5: 14, 15.
Opportunities at the Chapel: This gift should be common, but is quite rare—an opportunity to glorify God by trusting him to be God in little and in great things. Go for it!
8. Discernment – 1 Corinthians 14:29
The gift of discerning of spirits is the Spirit-given ability to distinguish between what is of God, of man, and of Satan. It is the Spirit-powered ability to tell whether a man acted or spoke by the Spirit of God or was moved by a false spirit. It is the gift given for the protection of the Body, to keep error and false doctrine form deceiving the brethren. See 1 John 4:1-6.
Opportunities at the Chapel: This gift is important, helpful and necessary as counterfeits and false-teachers proliferate.
9. Mercy – Romans 12:8
Believers with the gift of mercy show practical and compassionate love for others in the Body. It is Christ’s love manifested in the believer toward other believers for the purpose of aiding them and comforting in time of need. These sisters and brothers can identify and empathize with the misfortune and distress of others and to give them spiritual and emotional support.
Opportunities at the Chapel: Use this gracious gift at City Supper, The Providence Rescue Mission, Second Chance Clothes, Saltshaker—and anywhere there are broken people who need to receive God’s mercy; I guess that means everywhere.
10. Administration, Ruling, Organizing – 1 Corinthians 12:28ff; Romans 12:8
The Spirit-given gift of administration is the ability to coordinate the activities and ministries of others in the Body of Christ in order to achieve order, harmony, growth, and fruitfulness. It
is the motivation to lead, to preside, or organize, and to visualize goals and to help those around him to visualize them.
Opportunities at the Chapel: Please, use this gift to help organize Sunday School, missions, finances, Saltshaker, VBS/Sunshine in the Park, the kitchen, the nursery, or any other ministry or project at the Chapel!
11. Helps – 1 Corinthians 12:28
This important gift is the Spirit-directed motivation to help and assist brothers and sisters of the Body in a supportive manner so they will be able to exercise their gifts more effectively. It is a vital supporting gift of demonstrating Christ’s love by meeting the very practical physical and material needs of the members of His body. It is the motivation to discern the personal needs of others and often at personal cost or discomfort meeting these needs, always with the view of putting pothers before oneself. See the example of Elders with this gift in Acts 20:35.
Opportunities at the Chapel: This is the single most helpful gift! (Get the pun?) Seriously, at every level—in Care Groups; in Chapel ministries like Sunday School, the Nursery, City Supper, etc.; in personal projects; in serving our church family—this is the foundational gift; so, you are invited to get in and help.
12. Giving – Romans 12:8
Those with the spiritual gift of Giving show the love of Christ to the members of His body through giving from their material assets generously and joyfully to other members of Christ’s body under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Believers who have this gift have the ability to manage wisely their financial business in order to gain assets to be used in God’s work.
Opportunities at the Chapel: There is always room for the generous sharing of what God has blessed you with. Talk with one of the elders if you want some suggestions on how to target your giving effectively.
13. Miracles or Works of Power – 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28, 29
The gift of miracles (Gr. -“dynamis,” powers) is the Spirit-given, Spirit-powered ability to intervene in the natural processes by the direct supernatural intervention of God’s power. This gift has a two-fold purpose: It is linked with the preaching of the gospel, authenticating and confirming both the messenger and his message (See Acts 2:17-20; 8: 13, Romans 15:18-20). Its’ second purpose is to be of practical benefit to the body. See the examples in Acts 9:36 (Dorcas) and Acts 20:9 (Eutychus).
Opportunities at the Chapel: Our God is a miracle-working God! We see this every time God takes someone who is spiritually dead and makes them a totally new creation! (See Ephesians 2:1-10). While God is actively at work, it is also quite unusual for laws-of-nature-defying miracles to happen, both in the church today, and actually, even in the pages of the Bible! (Count the miracles in the Bible over a 2,000 year time period. Are they common? Or Not? Do you see any patterns? Hint: Authenticating a new messenger from God to a new audience. Think Moses, Elijah, Jesus, the disciples, Peter & Paul…)
14. Healing – 1 Corinthians 12:9, 28, 30
The gift of Healing is the ability display God’s power in response to Spirit-given faith. It is the gift to heal on every level of human need, and involves the restoration of the total person—spirit, soul, and body. Note that the examples of Spirit-powered healing in the Bible are always of instantaneous and complete healing (See Acts 3:1-9; 5:12-16; 28:7-9). Note also that God does not always answer every prayer of faith with healing (See 2 Corinthians 12:8-10). Third, notice that God can and does also heal directly without a “healer” being involved (See James 5:12).
Opportunities at the Chapel: Our God is a healing God! There certainly is a role for brothers and sisters to pray that God will heal. Someone with this gift will be rare and obvious.
15. Tongues – Acts 2:4; 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28
Speaking in tongues is the gift, given by the Holy Spirit, to speak in an unfamiliar language that is frequently unknown to the general audience (1 Cor 12:2-4) but may be possibly known by others (Acts 2:2-11), and certainly to God (1 Cor 14:2ff). The purpose of this gift is clearly stated in 1 Corinthians 14:22: it serves as a sign to non-believers that God is at work. (It is interesting to note that there is no record of the gift of tongues having been used by Christ. All the other gifts were manifested by Him.) See also 1 Corinthians 12:30. See also 1 Corinthians 14:2-39 where specific instructions are given for the use of this gift in the meetings of the local church; note that the gift is under the control of the user (14:28) and one with the gift of interpretation must be present (14:27).
Opportunities at the Chapel: This gift, since it is a sign to non-believers, might be used at the Chapel, but as Paul said, “Try to excel in those things that build up the church” (2 Cor 14:12). See Corinthians 14:22-25.
16. Interpretation of Tongues – 1 Corinthians 12:10, 30; 2 Corinthians 14:26-28
This gift from the Holy Spirit enables a believer to give the meaning of the unfamiliar language that another believer is exercising with the gift of tongues. The gift was sometimes given to the same person as was the gift of tongues. See 1 Corinthians 14: 13.
Opportunities at the Chapel: This gift is essential if the gift of tongues is being used (2 Cor 14:27, 28).
Okay, that’s a lot of reading. Feel free to use the Response/Reply button to ask questions or make comments and suggestions of how your gift fits in at the Chapel.
Only by grace (Gr. – charis),