What about the Gifts of the Spirit?

Galston, Glenorie and Hills Rural News - - Church News - (The mes­sage by Rev Ed Long con­tin­ues)

Ev­ery true Chris­tian has the gift of the Holy Spirit. That gift comes from the Fa­ther Him­self.

But the New Tes­ta­ment also speaks of gifts, given by the Spirit to all men and women within the Body of Christ. What are these gifts? Is the Spirit still giv­ing what He gave, for ex­am­ple, to the early church? What were they? Are they valid to­day?

Spir­i­tual gifts are the dif­fer­ent ca­pac­i­ties given by the Spirit to each mem­ber of the Body of Christ to fit that mem­ber for par­tic­u­lar ser­vice within the Body. A gift of evan­ge­lism, of course, is for use be­yond the Body, and it may be that other gifts (such as mercy or help­ing) are to be used in that way also. But ba­si­cally these ca­pac­i­ties for ser­vice are given to be used for the ben­e­fit and bless­ing of the Church and not merely for the per­sonal ben­e­fit of the be­liever in­volved.

How many gifts are there? About 28 are listed in the New Tes­ta­ment, but the Holy Spirit is in­fi­nite and may have many oth­ers. No two be­liev­ers need to have the same gift. Part of the em­pha­sis of Paul’s teach­ing in 1 Corinthi­ans 12 con­cerns the va­ri­ety of these gifts of the Spirit to be­liev­ing men and women.

One sug­gested divi­sion of the lists of these gifts in the Epis­tles (1 Corinthi­ans 12, Ro­mans 12, and 1Peter 4) is ‘speak­ing gifts’ ‘serv­ing gifts’ and ‘sign gifts’.

No lists could be fi­nal, but if we di­vided the gifts men­tioned in the above chap­ters the lists would look like this:

Speak­ing or sup­port gifts: Preach­ing, teach­ing, pas­tor evangelist, knowl­edge, wis­dom, coun­selling, ex­hor­ta­tion.

Serv­ing Gifts: Ad­min­is­tra­tion or or­ga­niz­ing, serv­ing, help­ing, giv­ing, mercy, hos­pi­tal­ity.

Sign Gifts: Tongues and in­ter­pre­ta­tion, heal­ing, mir­a­cles, ex­or­cism.

Some gifts are clearly seen to­day, such as pas­tor­ing, teach­ing (or the gift of speak­ing wis­dom and knowl­edge) en­cour­ag­ing, evan­ge­lis­ing, help­ing, ad­min­is­tra­tion, lead­er­ship and faith.

The ‘sign gifts’ or ‘mirac­u­lous gifts’ are those which cause the most dif­fi­culty and divi­sion. A few Chris­tians may to­day have a gen­uine gift along these lines, but that does not mean that ev­ery­one must have the same gift. Part of the won­der of the Body of Christ is its diver­sity yet it’s mar­vel­lous unity.

Each gift given to each mem­ber is part of the whole, and we must clearly un­der­stand the teach­ing of 1Corinthi­ans 12 on this point. Read and study it for your­self.

How do you dis­cover your gift?

First ac­cept that ev­ery Chris­tian has at least one gift, there­fore you must have one. Then ask the Lord to show you what it is. Ask your friends who know you best what they have ob­served. Ask your church for op­por­tu­ni­ties to test what they have said or what you be­lieve you might do for Christ. Be avail­able. What do you en­joy do­ing? Is that your gift? Lis­ten to what your church may say about you and what it thinks you can do.

Re­mem­ber, gifts are to be used. And they are to be used to help oth­ers, not to bring glory to your­self. Nor should their use create ei­ther jeal­ousy or pride.

We will all be held ac­count­able to the Lord for our use of these won­der­ful spir­i­tual tools and also how they are used. They are to be used in line with the char­ac­ter of the Giver- the Spirit of love and peace.

(to be con­tin­ued)

Come and find out more at Bi­ble study at 7.30 pm Tues­days. Sun­day Ser­vice: 10.00 a.m. at Glenorie Mis­sion Church 1409 Old North­ern Rd.

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