Understanding the Purpose of the Variety of Spirit

Faith Church September 14, 2002 1 Corinthians 0:

Introduction
- we're moving ahead now in our study we've titled Discovering and Using Your Spiritual Gifts.
- as we've already pointed out, we're using an expository approach to this study, where we work verse by verse through the most comprehensive discussion of this topic, which is I Corinthians 12.

- one of the challenges with an expository study is that we let the Bible set the agenda…in other words, God tells us what in wants to tell us, in whatever order He chooses to do so…
- the upshot of that is, sometimes our questions are not answered as rapidly as we might like, or in the order we might like, or in the way we might like.

- it is similar to going to a training conference…
- we might go because we want to learn certain, specific things…
- then we get in the class and the trainer wants to do a more systematic presentation that addresses certain foundational matters first…
- at that point we have to decide --- can I/should I trust this individual that he/she really knows the best way for me to process this material?

- now that illustration falls short because you may have attended a conference where that wasn't the case [the trainer wasn't as knowledgeable as he/she could have been]…
- but when it comes to this topic [what God says about the spiritual gifts], the qualifications of the Trainer [God, the One who gave the gifts in the first place] is above question…

- therefore, we need to decide, do we want to set the training agenda, or do we want God to?
- I realize that for most of us, our central questions involve:

1.  What are the spiritual gifts?
- i.e. - please give me the comprehensive list

2.  Are they all operational today?

3.  How can I know which one I have?

  those are important questions, and at the appropriate time and in the appropriate way, they will eventually be answered.
- but the truth is, God chooses to emphasize some other issues…I hope we'll come to the conclusion that the issues/questions God anticipates and then answers are worthy of our careful attention.

- READ I Corinthian 12:7-11

- I'd like to present to you this morning that there is a principle in these verses that helps us understand the purpose of the variety of spiritual gifts.
- The Lord gives this issue significant attention---and because it was important to Him, I know we'll want to make it important to us.

- we'd like to organize these verses around these ideas…
I.  The Principle Stated - v. 7
II.  The Principle Illustrated - vv. 8-10
III.  The Principle Restated - v. 11

I.  The Principle Stated - v. 7

The variety of gifts is given by our triune God for the common good of Christ's church.

- let's talk about the key words in verse 7, then we'll come back around and discuss this emphasis.

A.  Manifestation

- phanerosis - "making known, clear, evident"

- when the spiritual gifts are used in the way they are intended, God is glorified….

B.  Common good
- sumpheron - to draw together
- [could hit the issue of ---- a private prayer tongue---the problem with that notion is that spiritual gifts are always for the edification of others -- cf. again, I Peter 4:10-11]

- now, let's draw some of this together…
- if we view this subject through a selfish lens…
- i.e. - what do I think about the gift God has given me?
- what do I think about the gifts God has given someone else?
- what do I think about the fact that someone else's gift is different than me, or the expression of their gift is different, or the effect of their gift is different….it will cause division in the body [the opposite of sumpheron]
- on the other hand, if I'm looking at this through the lens of "the common good", then the three issues addressed in verses 4-6 [people having different gifts, God giving different opportunities for the same gifts to be used, God blessing some people's expressions of gifts different than you] will contribute to sumpheron in the body.

- so we could add to our principle… The variety of gifts are given by our triune God for the common good of Christ's church…if we possess [or are cultivating] the level of maturity necessary to respond to their existence in a positive way.

- INPUT - Mature thoughts and responses to the existence of a variety of gifts [and expressions and effects] and immature thoughts and responses?


- now, it's only really in that context that we can properly interpret verses 8-10.
- if we look at them independent of the context, we're going to be tempted to go down all sorts of trails…if we think about them in their context…we're going to see them for what they are, illustrations of the principle we just studied.

II.  The Principle Illustrated - vv. 8-10

- these verses are not attempting to give us a comprehensive listing of all the gifts.
- nor is there any attempt to discuss the issue of their longevity [will they all be around for ever]…
- the list will become longer as we keep reading in this passage and others…
- the longevity issue will be discussed directly in chapter 13.

- but with that understanding of the context, let's look at what the Lord chose to emphasize in this portion of His "training conference"

A.  The word of wisdom through the Spirit.

- the term "word" means speaking….
- wisdom, as we mentioned often in our recent study of the book of Proverbs, is the ability to look at life biblically,  to apply biblical truth to practical issues of living, to know what to do and how to do it, the practical application of knowledge, etc.
- as with many of the spiritual gifts, all of God's people are to seek to grow in this area…
- but some people are given a special ability by God to speak wisely…
- this could be in one on one conversation….counseling type situations [formal or informal]
- it certainly includes teaching and preaching….
- but we all know people that we would say are "wise speakers"…people who can skillfully apply God's Word to the need of the moment…
- and we often seek them out when we have a need…that ability is a spiritual gift…
[as time allows, for each gift, talk about how that could be used for the common good of the body if we allow it to…]

B.  The word of knowledge according to the same Spirit.

- there is no way to know with absolute certainty if Paul was speaking of these first two gifts in a revelatory way, or non-revelatory one…[in other words, are we talking about God supernaturally giving this person new revelation, or is it a divine ability to know and apply the revelation already given through the prophets and apostles].
- I personally believe that the emphasis here is non-revelatory…when we get to chapter 13, we will spend more time talking about temporary gifts and permanent ones, but one of the key factors is going to be whether new revelation was involved.

- there is probably overlap between these first two gifts, but often when we think of knowledge, we think of "facts" and wisdom as "the application of facts to everyday life".
- in that case, the spiritual gift of the word of knowledge is the spiritual ability to know/explain facts about God's Word.
- undoubtedly you've spoken to some people and walked away saying…it is amazing how much that person knows about God's Word.
- true, but the emphasis shouldn't be on how amazing that person is, but on how amazing God is to enable an individual to grasp that much truth.

C.  Faith by the same spirit.

- this gift especially illustrates how with many of the gifts, every believer has the responsibility to posses/be cultivating the characteristic, but God enables certain persons in unusual ways.
- INPUT - How would you define faith?
- [the ability to believe God's Word even when it is hard.]

- INPUT - What categories of persons would say evidence unusual amounts of faith?

- INPUT - Why is this gift so essential for the church?

- now, I'm going to list the rest of the gifts mentioned in this passage without a lot of comment.
- please don't let that frustrate you….as we said earlier, we will address "our questions" later in the study…
- before we're through, we will put together a list of all the gifts mentioned in the NT, talk about whether they are for today or not, etc.
- but that’s not the point of the verses in their present context…my goal now is to try to emphasize what is being emphasized in the text.
D.  Gifts of healing by One Spirit.
- like Christ, the apostles had the ability to heal people completely and immediately.
- this was done to authenticate the message of the gospel and as a sign of judgment on unbelieving Israel.
- the ability was waning even during the time of the apostles…
- we'll have more to say about it when we study the matter of temporary and permanent gifts…

E.  The effecting of miracles
- "a supernatural intrusion into the natural world and its natural laws"
- not, "it was a miracle that he made it out the accident alive…."
- the reason Jesus performed miracles was to confirm the truth of the gospel message [cf. John 2:11, 20:30-31, Acts 2:22]
- the apostles were never able to do "miracles of nature" [make bread, walk on water, still storms], but they were able to cast out demons…[develop the reasons we don't do this today]

F.  Prophecy
- includes foretelling [predicting the future] and forthtelling [applying God's word]

G.  Distinguishing of spirits
- discernment between truth and error

H.  Tongues
- a language that was either known by the hearer or "interpretable" by another person.

I.  Interpretation of tongues
- see above


III.  The Principle Restated

- verse 11 [READ] comes back to the point made in verse 7.
- the variety of gifts should not frustrate or divide us…
- it should make us rejoice in the creative power of our God and unify us around a common purpose that can only be accomplished by many different people working together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adult Bible Fellowship
Discovering and Using Your Spiritual Gifts
Understanding the Purpose of the Variety of Spiritual Gifts

Introduction
I.  The Principle _____________ - v. 7
II.  The Principle __________________ - vv. 8-10
III.  The Principle _____________ - v. 11

I.  The Principle Stated - v. 7
A. _________________
 ________________ - "making known, clear, evident"
B. Common good
 ________________ - to draw together
INPUT - Mature thoughts and responses to the existence of a variety of gifts [and expressions and effects] and immature thoughts and responses
II.  The Principle Illustrated - vv. 8-10
A. The word of _____________ through the Spirit.
B. The word of _________________ according to the same Spirit.
C. __________ by the same spirit.
INPUT - How would you define faith?
INPUT - What categories of persons would say evidence unusual amounts of faith?
INPUT - Why is this gift so essential for the church?
D. Gifts of ______________ by One Spirit.
E. The effecting of _______________
F. ________________
G. Distinguishing of ____________
H. ________________
I. ____________________ of tongues
III.  The Principle Restated


Adult Bible Fellowship
Discovering and Using Your Spiritual Gifts
Understanding the Purpose of the
Variety of Spiritual Gifts

Introduction
I.  The Principle Stated - v. 7
II.  The Principle Illustrated - vv. 8-10
III.  The Principle Restated - v. 11
I.  The Principle Stated - v. 7
A.  Manifestation
– phanerosis - "making known, clear, evident"
B.  Common good
– sumpheron - to draw together
INPUT - Mature thoughts and responses to the existence of a variety of gifts [and expressions and effects] and immature thoughts and responses
II.  The Principle Illustrated - vv. 8-10
A.  The word of wisdom through the Spirit.
B.  The word of knowledge according to the same Spirit.

C.  Faith by the same spirit.
INPUT - How would you define faith?
INPUT - What categories of persons would say evidence unusual amounts of faith?
INPUT - Why is this gift so essential for the church?
D.  Gifts of healing by One Spirit.
E.  The effecting of miracles
F.  Prophecy
G.  Distinguishing of spirits
H.  Tongues
I.  Interpretation of tongues
III.  The Principle Restated

Faith Church