The sketch we watched outlined the different types of giver that there are. But there are also different types of kinds of gifts. Some are very personal, like perfume or maybe a jumper. But other gifts are for sharing. For example a cake, or a tin of biscuits. Maybe a game or a cafetiere. They are for the receiver to use for other people benefit as well as their own. We are told that God gives gifts to his children and nearly all of them are to be shared. We may think “Surely not me…” but we are all part of God’s family. It would be unfair to miss anyone out. We do sometimes find it difficult to believe that we have a gift that God has given us to benefit others. But we are told that we are all given spiritual gifts, but what are they? Do we have one? How can we find out? Jesus followers then and now are ignorant of the facts of the gifts of the Spirit. Paul one of the early followers of Jesus wrote to various churches about this because he wanted us to understand and experience spiritual gifts.
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You can see that the gifts are many and varied. Verse 7 tells us that: “The Spirit's presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all.” We all have the Spirit otherwise we couldn’t believe, but we also have spiritual gifts for the benefit of the body; the church. Jesus himself manifested many of these gifts, if we want to be more like Jesus we need to be filled with the same Spirit and exercise those gifts.
The Spirit of God decides what gift we are to be given. It is not an excuse for pride. We can’t earn them.
These are not exhaustive lists. We are encouraged to eagerly desire the greater gifts. This leads into the next chapter that talks about the need for love to be at the centre of all.
Paul writes to the church in Rome about this as well.
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Paul describes these gifts here as gifts of grace. They are signs of undeserved favour. We are encouraged to USE our gifts. All gifts need to be unwrapped and used. They are no good in the box or left in the cupboard. These gifts like all gifts must be accepted and used.
Both of these lists of gifts are given using the analogy of a human body. Each part of our body has a purpose. Each part is necessary for the health of the whole. We know from our own experience that if one part of our human body is injured or stops working it affects the whole of our bodies. It can put stress on the parts that still work. “The Spirit's presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all.” God wants us to work together, supporting and loving each other. He wants the church to be a vibrant healthy body. For this to be true we need to know what gifts we have, accept them, and put them to use.
Can you imagine what it would be like if these gifts were being used regularly in the church. It would be great to be a part of that and the impact of the Holy Spirit’s presence would travel beyond the walls the church. People around us would see the evidence of heaven breaking through and the living God working in us and through us.
Don’t forget; “The Spirit's presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all.”
Questions and Reflections (for you to think about on your own or to discuss in your Life Group)
1. Read the passages through. Having read all of this do you believe we have all been given Spiritual Gifts by God?
2. Make a list of the Spiritual gifts in these passages and others that you know of. Then think about Jesus ministry and see if you can see which ones he uses and think or talk about these incidents?
3. What difference would it have made to Jesus ministry if he hadn’t had and used these gifts of the Holy Spirit?
4. Which of these gifts do you see in others? What sort of impact does it have on the church?
5. Do you know what your gift is? If you do, how are you using it for the common good?
6. What difference do you think it would make in the church if we saw all of these gifts used?
7. If you haven’t yet discovered what your gift is, what are you going to do to find out about it?