Unity and Diversity in the Spiritual Gifts

Faith Church September 7, 2002 1 Corinthians 0:

Introduction
- we're into our new series on Discovering and Using Your Spiritual Gifts.
- 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.
- that means that running knowledge of the book of I Corinthians is important so we interpret the verses in chapter 12 in their context.
- so far we've talked about how this church was poised for strategic ministry because of their location, their hosting of a major athletic event, and the religious conditions in their city.
- we've also looked at the first chapter, and learned how much God had blessed them spiritually…
- they had a great ministry situation…they had all the resources/blessings necessary…
- now the question was, were they going to capitalize on all of it?
- were they going to be good stewards of the opportunity?

- last week we studied the first three verses of chapter 12…I'm hoping that we will develop an understanding of the step-by-step argument of this text.
- INPUT - what stands out to you from last week as being the key ideas from verses 1-3 of I Corinthians 12?

[Nancy, please put the highlighted portion of the following four points on the transparency but not on the handout]
1.  God Wants His Children to Understand Spiritual Gifts.
2.  The initial emphasis in this passage is that they are "spiritual" gifts.
Every member of Christ’s church has been given supernatural endowments, gifts of God’s Holy Spirit, which through the Spirit are God’s divine means of ministering His Word and power among His people and to the world. They are God’s supernatural provision for the edification of the church and the evangelization of the world. They are the means through which believers are to grow, worship, witness, and serve.
3.  As Unbelievers, We Were Enslaved to Idols.
For anyone who might view the following instruction by Paul as restrictive, they needed to think about what life as an unbeliever had truly been like.
- cf. Eph. 4:17-18, Titus 3:3, Romans 6:17
4.  Using Spiritual Gifts Properly Requires Submission to the Lordship of Christ.

- this morning, we'd like to work through the main ideas in verses 4-7…READ
- In introducing these verses, John MacArthur wrote…
Because the Corinthian Christians were behaving in response to the flesh rather than the Spirit, they quarreled, became factious, took each other to court, fell back into immoral and idolatrous practices, corrupted marriage relationships, abused their Christian liberty, and became self–centered, overconfident, and worldly. Their misunderstanding and misuse of spiritual gifts was a major result of their carnal divisiveness.
- for those of you who have studied the book of I Corinthians before, you recognize that paragraph as summarizing some of the major issues that have been raised so far in the book.
- the point here is, their "not using their spiritual gifts well" was symptomatic of a greater spiritual issue, and it was also attendant  with a number of other sinful habits.
- [develop the issue of the amount of pastoral/deacon time being taken up with these very kind of behaviors, and the impact on our corporate ability to grow in the identification/equipping/deployment of spiritual gifts...the problem isn't that some people come with these sorts of issues in their past or even in their lives now--the problem is those who don't seem very interested in repenting/changing]

-  the truths in verses 4-7 can help God's people overcome some of those carnal tendencies.
- we've titled this section of Scripture…
Unity and Diversity ion the Spiritual Gifts
- I realize those are buzzwords in our culture today [which would usually lead us to stay away from them], but in this case they really do sum up the argument of the text.
INPUT - How do we see the concept of unity emphasized in these verses?
- same Spirit, same Lord, same God [note the Trinitarian aspect of this topic]
INPUT - How do we see the concept of diversity emphasized in these verses?
- varieties of gifts, varieties of ministries, varieties of effects

- we're going to let our outline follow right along with the argument of the text….


I.  The Same Spirit Gives a Variety of Gifts.

A.  Meaning of "gift".

- remember we learned that in verse 1, the word "gift" doesn't even occur in the original text
- it does occur in verse 4, and the word that is used is "charisma"
- it is related to the word charis/grace…
- charisma means grace gift, or free gift
- the English word charismatic comes from this root…
- there are a few times in Scripture when the word is used to speak of a general spiritual blessing [i.e. the gift of salvation - Romans 6:23], but in the majority of occasions in the NT, it is used exactly as it is here, to speak of a "divine enablement for believers to minister in the power of the Holy Spirit" or "Special capacities bestowed on believers to equip them to minister supernaturally to others."
- the point is---this is something God gave to us to help us minister more faithfully to others.
INPUT - How does this emphasis apply to the issue of a person being proud/boastful of his/her gift?

B.  Emphasis on "varieties".

- the word literally means, "allotments, distributions, apportionments"

- [develop the issue of God giving every body exactly what they need at the time…]

C.  "Lists" of gifts.
- the primary passages that give specific lists of the gifts are I Cor. 12:8-10, Romans 12:6-8, and I Peter 4:11 [look up if time]

John MacArthur - The New Testament contains several lists of the categories of spiritual gifts, one of which is here in 1 Corinthians 12:8–10, 28 (see also Rom. 12:6–8; cf. 1 Pet. 4:11). Bible scholars do not agree on the exact number and distinction of kinds of gifts. Because the scriptural lists are not identical, it seems clear that God did not intend to give His church either a rigid or a precise and exhaustive compilation, but rather general categories. One should be careful not to over define the gifts. Because they may resist over-classification, there is not much value in taking tests, formal or informal, to determine what spiritual gifts we have. A believer’s gifts can be an overlapping combination, taken in different proportions from the categories of gifts. One person may be obviously strong in a single gift, such as teaching. Another may not be strong in any one gift but have some measure of three or four categories. It is best to see each person’s gift as a unique blend of the categories of giftedness, granted to that individual in connection with his or her traits and experiences and the needs of the church. Each believer becomes as unique spiritually as his fingerprints are physically.

- INPUT - Important ideas to note from this paragraph?

D.  What unifies the gifts.

INPUT - The fact that there is such diversity of gifts ought to be a source of great delight to us.  However, sometimes the exact opposite is the case.  Why and how is that true?

- the point of verse 4 is, what ought to unify the gifts is the fact that they come from the same spirit.  When the fact that we have diverse gifts becomes a divisive issue, it shows that we don't appreciate the source of the spiritual gifts.


II.  The Same Lord Gives a Variety of Ministries

A.  What variety?

- the point of verse 5 is that not only are there a diverse number of gifts, but there are a diverse number of ways the same gift might be exercised.
- for example, someone might have the gift of teaching, but is especially good at teaching children…someone else might be especially good at teaching senior citizens….

- sometimes the variety has to do with topics…where someone is especially good at teaching finances [regardless of the age], someone else good at teaching principles of parenting….

INPUT - Why does the church need people who are gifted in a variety of ministries?

[if time, could discuss the tendency to compare one person to another…she doesn't do it the same way as Mrs. So and so does….Good!]


B.  Ministries

- the word in verse 5 translated "ministries" is related to our word "deacon" which means to serve.
- the point is that gifts are not given to draw attention to oneself, or self-edification.
- cf. I Peter 4:10 - As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

C.  What unifies the ministries

- they are provided by the same Lord
- we saw many times in chapter 1, and also in chapter 12 verses 1-3, the emphasis on the Lordship of Christ.
- that concept can really help hold down the fussing between different ministries [expressions/uses of spiritual gifts] if we remember that they been given by the same Lord.

III.  The Same God Gives a Variety of Ministry Effects

A.  Effects
- the word here is energema - "what is worked out or energized"

- the point here is, we should not expect every servant to produce the same amount of fruit---that issue is up to the Lord.
B.  What unifies the effects

- the same God.


IV.  Gifts Are Given for the Common Good

A.  Manifestation

- phanerosis - "making known, clear, evident"

- when the spiritual gifts are used this way, God is glorified….


B.  Common good

- sumpheron - to draw together

- [if time, develop the issue of people who talk about a spiritual gift 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]

- point of this lesson is that the diversity of spiritual gifts can actually cause division in the body.
- sometimes we wrongly take the position, that if someone is different than me, they are wrong or that is bad…
- many times that position is a sign of immaturity…
- using gifts biblical for the common good of the church has the ability to draw people together

Adult Bible Fellowship
Discovering and Using Your Spiritual Gifts
Unity and Diversity in the Spiritual Gifts

Introduction
INPUT - What stands out to you from last week as being the key ideas from verses 1-3 of I Corinthians 12?
John MacArthur - Because the Corinthian Christians were behaving in response to the flesh rather than the Spirit, they quarreled, became factious, took each other to court, fell back into immoral and idolatrous practices, corrupted marriage relationships, abused their Christian liberty, and became self–centered, overconfident, and worldly. Their misunderstanding and misuse of spiritual gifts was a major result of their carnal divisiveness.
INPUT - How do we see the concept of unity emphasized in verses 4-7?
INPUT - How do we see the concept of diversity emphasized?
I.  The Same Spirit Gives a ______________ of _________.
A.  Meaning of "_________"
"Divine enablement for believers to minister in the power of the Holy Spirit"
"Special capacities bestowed on believers to equip them to minister supernaturally to others."
INPUT - How does this emphasis apply to the issue of a person being proud/boastful of his/her gift?
B.  Emphasis on "_______________"
II.  "________" of gifts
John MacArthur - The New Testament contains several lists of the categories of spiritual gifts, one of which is here in 1 Corinthians 12:8–10, 28 (see also Rom. 12:6–8; cf. 1 Pet. 4:11).  Bible scholars do not agree on the exact number and distinction of kinds of gifts.  Because the scriptural lists are not identical, it seems clear that God did not intend to give His church either a rigid or a precise and exhaustive compilation, but rather general categories.  One should be careful not to over define the gifts. Because they may resist over-classification, there is not much value in taking tests, formal or informal, to determine what spiritual gifts we have.  A believer’s gifts can be an overlapping combination, taken in different proportions from the categories of gifts.  One person may be obviously strong in a single gift, such as teaching.  Another may not be strong in any one gift but have some measure of three or four categories. It is best to see each person’s gift as a unique blend of the categories of giftedness, granted to that individual in connection with his or her traits and experiences and the needs of the church.  Each believer becomes as unique spiritually as his fingerprints are physically.
INPUT - Important ideas to note from this paragraph?

 

D.  What ____________ the gifts.
INPUT - The fact that there is such diversity of gifts ought to be a source of great delight to us.  However, sometimes the exact opposite is the case.  Why and how is that true?
II.  The Same Lord Gives a Variety of _________________
INPUT - Why does the church need people who are gifted in a variety of ministries?
A.  What ______________?
B.  ________________
cf. I Peter 4:10 - As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
C.  What _____________ the ministries
III.  The Same God Gives a Variety of Ministry _____________
A.  _____________
B.  What _____________ the effects
INPUT - How does all of this dovetail with the issue of spiritual gifts?
IV.  Gifts Are Given for the ________________ __________.
A.  __________________
– _________________ - "making known, clear, evident"
B.  ________________ _________
– _________________ - to draw together

Adult Bible Fellowship
Discovering and Using Your Spiritual Gifts
Unity and Diversity in the Spiritual Gifts
Introduction
INPUT - What stands out to you from last week as being the key ideas from verses 1-3 of I Corinthians 12?
1.  God Wants His Children to Understand Spiritual Gifts.
2.  The initial emphasis in this passage is that they are "spiritual" gifts.
Every member of Christ’s church has been given supernatural endowments, gifts of God’s Holy Spirit, which through the Spirit are God’s divine means of ministering His Word and power among His people and to the world. They are God’s supernatural provision for the edification of the church and the evangelization of the world. They are the means through which believers are to grow, worship, witness, and serve.
3.  As Unbelievers, We Were Enslaved to Idols.
4.  Using Spiritual Gifts Properly Requires Submission to the Lordship of Christ.

"Divine enablement for believers to minister in the power of the Holy Spirit"
"Special capacities bestowed on believers to equip them to minister supernaturally to others."
INPUT - How do we see the concept of unity emphasized in verses 4-7?
INPUT - How do we see the concept of diversity emphasized?
I.  The Same Spirit Gives a Variety of Gifts.
A.  Meaning of "gift"

INPUT - How does this emphasis apply to the issue of a person being proud/boastful of his/her gift?
B.  Emphasis on "varieties"
C.  "Lists" of gifts
INPUT - Important ideas to note from this paragraph?
D.  What unifies the gifts.
INPUT - The fact that there is such diversity of gifts ought to be a source of great delight to us.  However, sometimes the exact opposite is the case.  Why and how is that true?
II.  The Same Lord Gives a Variety of Ministries
INPUT - Why does the church need people who are gifted in a variety of ministries?
A.  What variety?
B.  Ministries
cf. I Peter 4:10 - As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
C.  What unifies the ministries
III.  The Same God Gives a Variety of Ministry Effects
A.  Effects
B.  What unifies the effects
INPUT - How does all of this dovetail with the issue of spiritual gifts?
IV.  Gifts Are Given for the Common Good.
A.  Manifestation
– phanerosis - "making known, clear, evident"
B.  Common good
– sumpheron - to draw together

Faith Church