Firm Foundations Two (20 of 55) What Are Spiritual Gifts?

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What Are Spiritual Gifts?

Spiritual gifts are certain abilities given to every believer to serve God through building up the church or the body of Christ. As we recognize our ability, we should desire to use it in accordance with the Scriptures to build up the church for the glory of God.

Understanding Spiritual Gifts For The Edification Of The Church

  • Only believers receive spiritual gifts. The basis for receiving spiritual gifts is one’s belief in “Jesus as Lord.” Before belief in Jesus, you lived a lifestyle contrary to God, but the Holy Spirit revealed Jesus to you and you confessed Him as Lord; therefore, being saved you received the Holy Spirit and were given spiritual gifts.
    1 Corinthians 2:8–14; 12:1–3; 1 John 5:6–8
  • There is a range of gifts, but one God. As believers, we are part of the body of Christ. Every person is in the body of Christ, but the body is made up of different members. Every person’s role in the body is important and useful, but different. Therefore, we should see ourselves as one and work together for the edification of the body.
    Romans 12:4–6; Ephesians 4:4–6; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 12–27
  • The Holy Spirit distributes the gifts to each believer according to His own will. All the gifts come from the Holy Spirit; therefore, we should use the gifts that He has seen fit to give us.
    Ephesians 4:7–8; Romans 12:3; 1 Corinthians 12:7, 11, 18, 28
  • We are to desire spiritual gifts so that we can excel in edifying the church. As we understand the importance of spiritual gifts and their use in the church, we should desire them so that we may properly serve God and build up the church. Spiritual gifts are for the common good, and as we use them, we “manifest the Spirit” which in turn profits all.
    Ephesians 4:12–16; 1 Corinthians 12:7; 14:1, 12
  • All spiritual gifts should be used in love (humility, gentleness, patience) to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. To use your spiritual gift without love means that you profit nothing. Love never fails, and if we dismiss love in our desire for spiritual gifts, we are missing the point. Love is superior than any other gift and should be a part of all spiritual gifts. It is the greatest manifestation of the Spirit.
    Ephesians 1:1–3; Romans 12:1–3; 1 Corinthians 12:31; 13:1–13
  • All speaking gifts within the church should be used in a way that everyone in attendance can understand what is being said so that all can be edified. Also, the use of these gifts in the church should not be characterized by confusion, but be spoken one at a time, showing self-control and being done decently and in order.
    1 Corinthians 12:8–10, 28; 14:19, 23–26; 31–33
  • There are two main types of gifts: temporary and permanent. The temporary gifts were given to authenticate that the Apostles were truly appointed by God and their teachings were truly from God. These signs continued as the Apostles laid the foundation of the church and ceased after the Bible was completed. The permanent gifts are still available to be used for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of the body of Christ.
    Ephesians 4:12

Temporary Spiritual Gifts For The Establishment Of The Church

Ephesians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 12:8–10; 28–30

  • Apostles: The apostles were men chosen to lay the foundation of the church and to give the Word of God to us. They were confirmed through being eyewitnesses of and chosen by Jesus, as well as, performing miraculous signs.
    Ephesians 2:20; 3:5; Acts 8:6–7; 11:28; 21:10–11; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:3–4
  • The Working of Miracles: This gift was the ability to do supernatural things that displayed the power of God. This was a sign that the person performing the miracles was from God. Jesus did many miracles as recorded in the Gospels. The disciples also had power to do miracles, such as casting out demons.
    John 2:12; Luke 9:1; 10:17–19; Acts 2:22; 6:8; 8:7; 13:6–12
  • Healing: This gift was the ability to miraculously heal people of their sickness to authenticate the message being preached and the one who is preaching it. This gift was used by Jesus, the Apostles, the seventy, and a few others in the New Testament.
    Matthew 8:16–17; 10:1; Luke 10:1; Acts 8:5–7; 2 Corinthians 12:12
  • Various Kinds of Tongues: This is the gift to speak the things of God in a foreign language, unknown to the speaker. This was also used to fulfill prophecy, serve as a sign to unbelievers, confirm the gospel, and show that God is now working among all people.
    Acts 2:5–21
  • Interpretation of Tongues: The ability to interpret a foreign language being spoken.

Permanent Spiritual Gifts For The Operation Of The Church

Ephesians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 12:8–10; 28–30; Romans 12:6–8

  • Gifts of the Word: These gifts are the ability to speak forth the Word of God unto men to edify, exhort, comfort, teach, convert, etc. These gifts no longer include new revelation from God or foretelling the future, like in Acts, but it is a reiteration of the already revealed Word of God. These gifts include prophets/prophecy, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, teachers/teaching, exhortation, evangelists, and pastors.
  • Gifts of Serving: These gifts are the ability to serve efficiently and effectively. These gifts include government/ruling, helps/ministry, giving, mercy, faith, and discerning of spirits.
  • Categorizing the Gifts: The above gifts are separated into two categories to emphasize their “main function,” but are not limited to those categories. The Bible tells us what the spiritual gifts are, but does not define them nor limit it to these gifts only. Therefore, we need to be cautious when applying our spiritual gifts and always make sure it is in accordance with the Bible.

Review Questions

  • Who receives spiritual gifts?
  • Who distributes the spiritual gifts?
  • What is more important than our spiritual gifts?
  • What are the temporary gifts? Why were they temporary?
  • What are the permanent gifts? Why are they permanent?

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