“SPIRITUAL GIFTS: THE GIFT LISTS”
Rom. 12:4-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-11, 28-30; Eph. 4:11
INTRO – Today, we are going to jump straight into our texts b/c there’s a lot that we need to cover today. So, keep your Bible open, grab your pen & note sheet or journal or your notes app on your phone & let’s go.
First, a couple of quotes to remind us of what we are focusing on right now in the arena of spiritual gifts:
John MacArthur: “A spiritual gift is a supernaturally designed ability granted to every believer by which the Holy Spirit ministers to the body of Christ. A spiritual gift cannot be earned, pursued or worked up. It is merely ‘received’ through the grace of God.”
Adrian Rogers: “What a tragedy to fail to understand that you have a spiritual gift. If you want real joy and fulfillment in your Christian life, I will tell you how to have it. Get right with God, then discover, develop, and put to work your spiritual gifts.”
Drs. MacArthur & Rogers both help us understand the importance of discovering our God-given grace gifts & putting them to work in the Church, the Body of Christ. They come to every believer as undeserved gifts from God. An important part of our maturing process as Christ-followers is the discovery, development, & deliberate usage of our gifts in serving God through His Church.
With these background statements, let’s move into looking at the specific gifts that are found in the Bible. As I was studying for this sermon, I found a “Spiritual Gifts Table” that is extremely helpful in understanding the different gifts & where they operate within the Church. This table was developed by Jeff Carver, a church planter/pastor in California, & can be found at spiritualgiftstest.com. Carver gave 4 categories for the different gifts, which I’m going to use as we look at the gifts:
SERVING GIFTS: Serving Gifts are characterized by their role in the church to manage, serve and build up the body of Christ in practical and loving ways. In this category, we find 6 possible gifts:
Administration – Kubernesis – to rule or govern or direct. Those w/ this gift are able to help direct & organize & execute the work of the church in different areas of ministry.
Leadership – Closely related to gift of administration, but this gift is more people-oriented, whereas the gift of administration is more task-oriented. Many pastors possess this gift. It’s a more “visionary” gift, & not as concerned about the “nuts & bolts” aspects of ministry.
Exhortation – Also known as the gift of encouragement. The Greek word is parakaleo, & refers to someone who comes alongside another to help them & challenge them to keep moving upward & onward. It literally means to “beg, plead, comfort, urge.”
Mercy – A person w/ this gift is someone who is able to be extremely patient & compassionate toward those who are suffering. This person will stay w/ someone all the way through their time of suffering until their burden is lifted.
Giving – Those w/ this gift love having the opportunity to share w/ others & provide the financial means for ministry to move forward, both in the church in a corporate way, & also in individuals’ lives. They are grateful when someone shares a need w/ them, & are joyful in the chance to meet this need.
Serving or Ministering – There are 2 different words associated w/ this gift. Both words refer to those believers who just love to help out, serving & ministering in obscurity so that the work of the church can move forward. They are committed to the spread of the Gospel, & are willing to fill any gaps so that the Gospel can go forth as much as possible.
FOUNDATION GIFTS: The Foundation Gifts are those which were fundamental to the establishment of the church. Those with these gifts are needed for planting new churches and ministries today. The 5 gifts in this category are apostleship, prophecy, evangelism, pastoring, & teaching.
Apostleship – The office of “apostle” is no longer in operation, but the gift of “apostleship” is. Here’s the difference:
- Apostle refers to the 12 original apostles & the Apostle Paul who were specifically & personally called by Jesus to do His work of laying the foundation for the establishment of the Church. To be an apostle, a man had to be an eyewitness to the resurrection of Jesus, & experience a specific call by the Lord. They were empowered to perform miraculous signs & wonders.
- But the gift of apostleship is active today through those who have a missionary heart to go & plant new churches & ministries in places where there is no work. It’s a radical gift, many times a risky gift, a gift that reaches out & raises up new leaders, new pastors, & new missionaries.
Prophecy – This is a very unique gift in which a believer receives a message from God & is called upon to deliver that message. It may be a message of exhortation, encouragement, discipline, correction, comfort, or prediction of future events. A person w/ this gift will always test their words against the Scriptures to make sure that they are in line w/ the Bible. And they expect those to whom they deliver their message to do the same.
Evangelism – While all believers are called to share the Gospel, some are gifted w/ a deep burden for the lost & will go out of their way to share the Gospel w/ them. They have the ability to do so in a very effective way as they develop relationships w/ those who are lost w/ very little fear of rejection or ridicule.
Pastor – Literally, “shepherd, overseer.” Called & gifted to protect the flock, care for the flock, teach & preach the Word to the flock, & to guide the flock to complete the mission of God for the flock.
Teaching – The teachers in the church are gifted w/ the ability to spend large quantities of time in the Word, & then explain, communicate, & instill the truth of the Word into the lives of others. They love their place in helping make sure the Church is “the pillar & foundation of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15).
REVELATORY GIFTS – Revelatory Gifts are those in which The Lord imparts or reveals information to be used to guide, warn, correct and encourage the church while bringing glory to Himself.
Wisdom – The person w/ the gift of wisdom has a deep understanding of God’s Word & the commands for holiness in the Bible. When this person exercises this gift, they speak into the life of another believer or into a situation w/ the desire to see God’s people live lives of worship & holiness.
Discernment – God gives this gift to some in the church to discern & distinguish between the work of God, Satan, the world, & the flesh in certain situations & circumstances. It is a gift that is needed to keep the church from drifting toward ungodly & unbiblical teachings & practices.
Knowledge – This gift is closely related to the gift of wisdom. The person w/ this gift has a strong, working knowledge of the Word of God, usually having large quantities of it committed to memory. As the Spirit leads them, they’re able to relate the Scriptures & the Gospel to every situation, & how it informs every decision a Christian makes.
Interpretation of Tongues – Simply put, the person w/ this gift is able to supernaturally interpret what someone w/ the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues is saying. The goal of this is always to glorify God, & encourage & build up the church, not the person speaking in tongues, or the one interpreting.
MANIFESTATION OR MIRACULOUS GIFTS – These are overtly supernatural and display the power and presence of The Lord among His people. They serve as evidence of the authority of God over all things.
Tongues – This gift is probably the most understood & most abused of all the gifts. Time does not permit me to expound as much on this as I would like, but suffice it to say that I believe this gift is still operational today. It is a beautiful gift that is experienced when a person glorifies God through the speaking of a prayer or word of praise to God in a language that is unknown to the speaker. It may be an actual earthly language, or it may be a heavenly language that is unknown to anyone. This gift may be practiced in private in a time of personal prayer, or it may be practiced in a public worship service. But the only way it can be used in a public way is if there is someone who has the gift of interpretation. Otherwise, the person w/ the gift of tongues should keep quiet.
Faith – This is not saving faith, but a supernatural ability to trust in God’s promises & provisions, no matter what the circumstances may look like. George Muller seemed to have the gift of faith in this way.
Healing – This gift is used to bring physical healing to those in need of it in order to reveal the heart of God to them. It, like every other gift, operates under the sovereignty of God. In other words, there is no guarantee that the person w/ this gift will always be able to bring healing to those in need of healing. It takes a great amount of faith, knowing that if God chooses not to heal the person physically at that time, then He has a better purpose & plan for allowing them to go through the suffering.
Miracles – Literally means, the “workings of powers.” Seems to indicate that these gifts were diverse not permanently available at the will of the one who is gifted in this way, but instead were given at different times & circumstances. The one who has these gifts always points to Jesus & never to themselves when God uses them in some miraculous way. They are deep prayer warriors, deeply humble, & deeply sensitive to how God wants to use them.
CONCLUSION – Back to part of Adrian Rogers’ quote from beginning of sermon:
“Get right with God, then discover, develop, and put to work your spiritual gifts.”