IN THE STUDY:
We have been studying the various gifts of the Holy Spirit. A spiritual gift is the ability that is given to a believer so that he or she may complete God’s will for them. Every Christian possesses at least one God-given gift. Sometimes Christians have several gifts. The gifts mentioned in the New Testament are found in Romans 12:6-8, 1 Cor. 12:14, Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Peter 4:10-11. There are at least 20 different gifts mentioned in the New Testament but by other counting they may number 21 or even 27. Even this is not an exhaustive listing.
They fall into four categories:
a) The gifts for helping. This includes:
The gift of serving. Which is the ability to give aid in any way that encourages others;
The gift of generosity. The ability to make and give money in the work of God
The gift of showing mercy. The ability to work with those people who need help;
The gift of craftsmanship. The ability to make works of art that inspire others
The gift of healing. The ability to heal people spiritually, emotionally and physically.
b) The gifts for leading. These gifts include:
The oversight and leadership of the work of God and the local church.
This includes the gift of administration – the ability to encourage other Christians and to correctly guide the affairs of the church; and the gift of faith – which is the ability to trust God completely and to raise the vision of other people to point where great things are attempted and achieved.
c) The gifts for growing. Each of these important gifts are concerned with the growing of the individual Christian to maturity in the faith. Several of these gifts have been given to help the individual Christian grow in maturity in Christ. Among these gifts are the gift of Apostleship – the gift given to the early New Testament disciples to develop the work of God through the ministry of the word; the gift of prophecy – the ability to preach God’s work with conviction; the gift of evangelism – the ability to so preach Christ that people are convicted of sin and converted in their faith to Jesus; the gift of being a pastor – the ability to care for people’s spiritual needs through feeding them on the word of God and nurturing them in the faith; the gift of teaching – the ability to understand and communicate God’s truth clearly and forcefully to others; the gift of exhortation – the ability to motivate people to action through the skilful handling of the word of God; the gift of wisdom – the ability to interpret God’s truth to the lives of Christians in every situation; the gift of knowledge – the ability to know and to impart fundamental truths; the gift of discernment and interpretation – the ability to perceive through the true and false influences and powers of this world. These gifts help the Christian grow to maturity.
d) The gifts for amazing. These were the gifts that are so often sought by Christians because they are spectacular and can be used greatly to help others. They are also the gifts that have been greatly misused and have caused dissension within the family of the faith. They include the gift of miracle working – which is the ability to perform acts that are contrary to what we know of nature with power beyond normal human ability; the gift of tongues – the ability to speak in strange sounds beyond human understanding or learning; and the gift of interpretation – the ability to understand speaking in tongues and interpret the message which is unintelligible to others. These gifts of amazing others, were gifts which at the time caused division and dissension within the early church as well as the conversion of many.
FROM THE PULPIT:
Visiting one of the artists in our congregation who has made a great contribution to the worship of God through her art, I was asked “How can I distinguish between my natural talent and a spiritual gift?”
1. Both natural talents and spiritual gifts come from God (1 Cor. 4:7). Both can be used for good or ill, to promote the work of God and the welfare of mankind.
3. While natural talents are given at birth, spiritual gifts are given at a time of re-birth. Paul was a great teacher, student and leader before his conversion, but after his re-birth he had the gift of miracles, apostleship, and exaultation.
4. Both natural talents and spiritual gifts must be developed, or they will be lost. As with the talents in the parables of Jesus, they can be increased or decreased. If you don’t use them, you’ll lose them!
5. The Holy Spirit helps us to discover and develop the gift given to us (2 Tim. 1:7). The Holy Spirit guides and empowers us in the use of our gifts. Every Christian must let their light shine!