Category: Church and Discipleship, Word: GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT
February 26, 2016 | by: Kendell Easley, prepared by Dave Maniquis | 0 Comments
Posted in: 52 Words
44. GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT
Based on the gift they have received, everyone should use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God. If anyone speaks, his speech should be like the oracles of God; if anyone serves, his service should be from the strength God provides. (1 Peter 4:10-11)
DEFINITION: At the time of the new birth, the Holy Spirit gives one or more special abilities to the believer, enabling him or her to build up other believers in the context of the local congregation. All believers are responsible for discovering, developing, and using their spiritual gifts.
The greatest of all God’s gifts is the Spirit Himself, the mark that we belong to God (Rom. 8:9). Thanks to the spread of Pentecostal and Charismatic congregations, Christians have recently become more aware of the importance and place of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The word translated “gift” is charisma in Greek. Thus, every Christian is in some sense charismatic because every believer has a spiritual gift.
The quotation from Peter above shows that the charismatic gifts are of two basic sorts: speaking and serving. All other instances of charisma in the New Testament are in Paul’s letters. The most helpful discussion of gifts is in Romans 12:3-8. The following truths are evident:
- Every Christian already has a least one such gift of the Spirit.
- Gifts are not identical with natural talents, because gifts are supernaturally bestowed.
- Gifts are to be used to build up the body of Christ not to exalt the gifted individual.
- The gifts include prophecy, service, teaching, exhorting, giving, leading, and showing mercy.
Much more controversial is Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 12-14, concentrating on two spiritual gifts: speaking in tongues and prophecy. Pentecostal and Charismatic teachings have brought to the forefront several important questions.
1. Is “speaking in tongues” the spiritual gift that normally shows one has been baptized by the Spirit?” Pentecostals answer yes, based on Acts 2. Others have answered no, based on 1 Corinthians 12, believing that “baptism by one Spirit” happens at conversion, not later, and that Paul did not regard tongues as for every believer (1 Cor. 12:13, 30).
2. Is “speaking in tongues” in Acts the same as in 1 Corinthians? Pentecostals answer yes. Others have seen great differences. For example, in Acts no translation or interpretation was necessary, but for the Corinthians someone with the gift of interpretation was required when tongues were spoken in public worship (1 Cor. 14:27-28).
3. Is “speaking in tongues” as currently experienced the same as the first century? Pentecostals and many others answer, “Yes, this is the Holy Spirit at work.” Some say, “No, modern tongues are at best psychologically induced.” (But see 1 Cor 14:4, 39, in which speaking in tongues at least privately was never to be forbidden.)
What should not be missed in thinking about spiritual gifts is that each believer is to seek to be empowered (“filled”) with the Spirit on an ongoing basis, as Paul taught in Ephesians 5:18. Further, all believers should seek to discover and develop their spiritual gifts as well as their natural talents in order to serve other believers and to bring glory to God.
REFLECTION: How well do you understand your spiritual gift(s)? How do you build up other believers through using your gifts? What have you decided about the questions listed above?
PRAYER: Holy Spirit of God, Your presence in my life is God’s great gift to me. Help me use Your other gifts in ways that honor You and build up others in Christ’s body. Amen.
Dave Maniquis is a Teaching Elder at Restoration Church. He holds a BA in History from Rutgers University and an MA in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. He enjoyed a 23-year career in the U.S. Government, working and traveling extensively in Western and Eastern Europe. He has been a Christian for most of his adult life and has been involved in church planting, overseas as well as here in Port Orange, teaching the Bible and speaking into others’ lives with the Gospel. He is married to Maureen and they have two wonderful sons, Dylan and Evan.