Text: 1 Corinthians 12:7-11
Last week we started our study of the "spiritual gifts" chapters in 1 Corinthians. We first noted that in addressing the subject of spiritual gifts, Paul first warned the Corinthians that there are counterfeit miracles, counterfeit gifts, counterfeit signs that used to lead them astray when they followed other Gods. Paul understood that the Corinthians were seeking various dramatic expressions of the spirit, and needed to warn them that we can’t just bring all of these things into the church and say that they are from the Holy Spirit.
Then we looked at a definition of the word charismata by doing a word study through various passages, in which I hope that it became clear to you that we have added a technical definition to the word charismata that simply cannot be found in the text. Basically, charismata is anything that God has graciously given the believer for use in building up the church, be it a natural talent, cultivated skill, personal characteristic, life or ministry opportunity or specific role. The basic truth is found in 1 Corinthians 4:7:
For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
Instead of trying to discern what your “spiritual gift” is, or trying to determine whether your ability to do such and such is a natural ability, cultivated skill, or “spiritual gift”, simply 1) thank God for everything he has given you, 2) use it to build up the church, 3) and do it in the strength that God supplies. That is charismata.
Finally, we recognized that there are going to be times in your execution of your ministry in building up the church that you run up against ministry needs that are beyond your ability to meet even if you are serving in the strength that God supplies. In those times, the Holy Spirit manifests himself in a supernatural manner so that the ministry can be met even through weak people like us, so that He receives all of the glory. In these times we stand back and say, “wow!” because it is evident to all that God had done an amazing work. That’s what this list in 1 Corinthians 11 is all about. These are “wow” manifestations – the Holy Spirit showing up in a way that everyone can see to meet a ministry need that couldn’t be otherwise met. Notice three important things:
1) They are given for the common good. They don’t just happen to you to look cool or to say, “hey, I’m spiritual” or even to build up your own faith. They are for the common good.
2) Also, while each of these manifestations is related to a natural gifting or ability of cultivated skill you may have, they go beyond it in a supernatural way, revealing the Spirit’s work.
3) Finally, we need all these gifts. I believe we still meet ministry needs that we cannot meet, and therefore the Spirit can still manifest Himself in these ways when necessary and when it will bring glory to Jesus. Some Christians divide this list up into "gifts still given to believers" and "gifts that ceased after the first years of Christianity". Notice that there is no such division in the text.
Without further ado, let's look at these Manifestations of the Spirit:
1) A word of wisdom: The supernatural ability to make a judgment or bring perspective to a situation through means reflecting the wisdom of God.
Natural correlation: This is differentiated from the cultivated skill of wisdom in which you learn to apply God’s principles in a wise way. We are all to become wise, but when we reach the end of our wisdom the Spirit may provide supernatural wisdom.
Biblical examples: In Exodus 30-31 the spirit of wisdom (some translations call it the spirit of skill) was given to gifted artisans so that they could make Adam’s high priestly garments and a guy name Bezalel who was appointed to construct the tabernacle. Interestingly, the book of Hebrews says that these things were copies and shadows of “the true tent in heaven that the Lord set up”. God gave these artisans wisdom that they couldn’t have come up with themselves.
Joshua, Moses successor was chosen because he was a man known to have the spirit of God in Him, yet when he was confirmed in front of the people, he was given the Spirit of wisdom, so that he could rule and guide the people well. In his spirit-given wisdom, he fought the battle of Jericho by walking around the city for seven days. You don’t plan a military strategy like that!
Modern examples: Pray for our deacons to have this. That they can lead us in God’s wisdom, not man’s wisdom, so that when we see their judgments we may recognize that they came form God, not them.
2) A word of knowledge: Being able to know something that you wouldn’t come to know through natural means.
Natural correlation: Intelligence. Being an astute observer.
Biblical examples:Matthew 16:15-17 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. Acts 5:1-3 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife's knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?
Modern examples: Pastor Mark Driscoll tells a story of how he was invited to speak at a conference and as he was about to speak, God told him that the leaders of the conference were covering up sin.
3) The Manifestations of Faith: This could be supernatural persevering faith. The ability to persevere in situations beyond what could be done through natural means. In times of persecution.
Natural example: While all faith is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9), the faith most of us possess day to day is something that we grow in and work out in fear and trembling. Yet there seems to be a supernatural manifestation of faith in times of severe testing.
Biblical example: Job.
Modern examples: Suffering Christians in all parts of the world whose faith is being stretched beyond what seems humanly possible.
4) Gifts of healing: Miraculous healing of the body by the spirit’s power. The Bible does not call someone a healer, but God gives gifts of healing to his church and does so through people.
Natural correlation: Giving physical or emotional care
Biblical example: Elisha, was able to heal Naaman. 2Kings 5:3. . Acts 8:4-8 Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city. Philip was a deacon, not an Apostle! But for some reason the work was new in Samaria and needed these gifts.
Modern examples: Elders of the church are actually given the responsibility to be used in healing in relation to the care they give the body. James 5:13-16 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working
5) Works of miracles: The ability to manipulate natural law through supernatural means beyond what could be naturally done.
Natural correlation: inventiveness, innovation, technological prowess
Biblical examples Teleportation. Philip. Acts 8:39-40 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea. Peter and Paul both raised people from the dead.
Modern examples: Wigglesworth left his front door and immediately entered into the room of a sick person a three-hour walk away. Brother Andrew would bring a car filled with Bible into China, be stopped at the border and inspected and the border guards would see nothing. There are stories of people being raised from the dead today, not because of the power of a healer, but in response to his people praying, The holy spirit has worked a miracle.
6) Prophecy: The compulsion to speak God’s word into a situation for admonishment, exhortation, and correction in a supernatural way. 1 Corinthians 14:3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.
Natural correlation: admonishment, encouragement, proclamation of the Gospel.
Biblical example: This is what the old testament prophets did. They spoke the word of God into situations in which people had to be corrected, admonished or encouraged.
Modern example: Jean has had a number of experiences where she felt compelled to write someone a note and found out that the person she wrote to was dealing with the exact issue she wrote about.
7) Discernment of spiritual things: The ability to discern the lies of the devil and his work in a supernatural way.
Natural correlation: discernment, able to identify false doctrine, able to see through arguments.
Biblical examples: Paul had this gift. Remember in Acts 16:16 there was a girl following Paul and Silas around, possessed with a spirit of divination, saying that they were servants of the most High God. Instead of making her one of the charter members of the church, Paul cast the demon out of her. Please notice that Paul didn't take her into a special deliverance service and ask her all about her history, he just had a gift of discerning of spirits from the Holy Spirit to know that she had a demon and he cast it out of her that same moment. Also in Acts 13, a prophet named Bar-Jesus was seeking to turn away Sergius Paulus from the faith (Acts 13:6-10). "Then Paul, FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT, set his eyes on him and said, O full of all subtlety and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?" But, Paul first discerned that this evil spirit was there before he spoke.
Modern examples: It's weird, but since I have started pastoring this church, I have been put into situation in which I feel that the Holy Spirit has manifested himself in this way. I'm not a person who goes out looking for demons behind every bush, but God has opened my eyes to real and significant spiritual warfare on multiple occasions to strengthen the church.
8) Speaking in languages: The ability to communicate in languages you don’t know to preach the Gospel. We are going to talk about tongues later in the series.
Natural correlation: Picking up foreign languages easily.
Biblical examples: Acts 2.
Modern examples: I just heard of a man who went to Palestine and he started speaking in Hebrew and shared the gospel with a Jewish guy. When the Jewish guy asked him where he learned his Hebrew, he said he had no idea what the guy was talking about - he thought he was speaking in English.
What about the other type of speaking in tongues – the prayer language type? We will get to that in a couple of weeks.
9) Ability to interpret languages. You hear someone talking in another language and know what they are saying.
Natural correlation: Being able to interpret other languages and relate the message naturally and understandably.
Biblical examples: Joseph and Daniel, the ability to interpret dreams. Daniel 5:25-26 Daniel the ability to interpret Mene,Mene, Tekel Parsin
Modern example: I just heard of a girl in our church who was talking with a Chinese girl. While they were making small-talk, they needed to use an interpreter because the girls English was not very good. Yet, when she started sharing the Gospel with the girl, the Chinese girl actually told her that she no longer needed to use an interpreter because somehow she could understand clearly.
Big Idea: The Spirit gives as He wills.
1) You don’t find you spiritual gift by filling out an inventory, you take all of your giftings, talents, abilities, opportunities, roles, receive them as gifts from God, act on them for the good of the church, and when you meet a supernatural ministry need, he will provide. You never say, “That’s not my gift” How do you know God doesn’t want you to cultivate a new talent and he’s giving you an opportunity.
2) You may start to see a pattern of a manifestation arising around your ministry. That’s cool. Thank Jesus for giving you the Holy Spirit and give him the glory.