As Christians, we believe in God. We believe that God manifests His personality in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Now, those three Persons work in total agreement and yet God diversifies Himself. He is one, yet three. We want to concentrate on the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our continuing discussion of spiritual gifts.
A. The Purpose of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit ministers to two categories of people: The people who know God and the people who don't.
1. The Conviction of Non-believers
To the people who do not know Christ, who do not know God, and who are not what we would call "born again," the Spirit of God is involved in convicting. John 16:8 says that the Spirit of God convicts them of sin, righteousness, and judgment. His ministry is to bring them to God.
2. The Ministry to Believers
His ministry to believers is much more complex. Once we have come to know Jesus Christ, received Him as Savior, and been born into the family of God, the Spirit of God then begins to work in a multiplicity of ways in our lives. The Spirit of God ministers to believers in two categories: one, individually; and two, collectively.
What does the Spirit of God do for you as a single individual?
1) He Regenerates
The Spirit of God caused you to be saved. In John 3:5 Jesus said that you must be born of the Spirit. It is the Spirit of God that works the transformation of salvation. And the Spirit of God, having worked the saving work, then continues to transform you into the image of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3:18). So, the Holy Spirit regenerates and transforms an individual.
2) He Assures
First John 4:13 says, "By this know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit." "The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (Rom. 8:16). God gives us an assurance. When you see someone who doesn't know if they know God, who has no confidence in their redemption, and who has no security about the future, it may be that they are not a Christian. They have no testimony in their heart from the Holy Spirit regarding this.
3) He Adopts
The Spirit of God adopts us as sons. He not only gives us the reality of sonship, but a sense of it. Galatians 4:6 says that the Spirit comes into our hearts causing us to cry, "Abba, Father." This is an endearing term which means "Daddy." So, the Spirit of God gives us a sense of being a son of God.
4) He Seals
When a king sent out a letter or decree in ancient times, he would pour some wax on it, take his seal and stamp the wax. That made the document official. You and I have been given a stamp by God the Father -- the Holy Spirit. By giving us the Spirit, He puts His stamp of authentication on us: "This is a bona fide child that belongs to Me".
5) He Indwells
First Corinthians 12:13 says that we all possess the same Spirit. Romans 8:9b says, "...Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His."
6) He Frees
Second Corinthians 3:17b says, "...where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." Freedom from law, freedom from having to please God by self-effort, freedom from the works-righteousness system that binds us, and freedom from sin and flesh and Satan are all ours in Christ.
7) He Empowers
Acts 1:8 says that after you receive the Spirit, you receive power.
8) He Makes Holy
First Thessalonians 4:7-8 says that God has given us His Spirit to make us holy.
9) He Reveals Truth
First Corinthians 2:9 says, "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard [that's empiricism], neither have entered into the heart of man [that's philosophy], the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." In other words, man by empiricism and philosophy cannot discover God. Verse 10a says, "But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit...." So, the Spirit of God in us teaches us and reveals truth to us.
10) He Guides
Romans 8:14 says, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."
11) He Prays
Romans 8:26b says, "...the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."
All of this the Holy Spirit does for the individual. You would be limping badly, spiritually, without the Holy Spirit. God gives us this fullness of the Spirit.
You say, "I see what the Spirit does for me as an individual. But what is He doing for the church collectively? What is the Spirit of God doing in the midst of His church?" He indwells His total church. Ephesians 2:22 says that the church is the habitation of the Spirit. He is moving in His church.
1) He Creates Fellowship
The Spirit of God is a catalyst who stimulates interaction in fellowship. Second Corinthians 13:14 talks about the fellowship of the Spirit. The Spirit of God generates fellowship. For example, in Acts 2 the Spirit of God descends and people begin to speak in other languages. Then Peter preaches and three thousand people are saved. Acts 2:42a says, "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship...." The Spirit of God came and created fellowship.
2) He Assists Worship
For example, when John goes to worship in Revelation 1:10 and 4:2, he says, "I was in the Spirit...." The Spirit works in the act of worship. When believers come before God, the Spirit somehow draws out of us that worship toward God. So, He creates fellowship, He assists worship, and...
3) He Inspires Scripture
Whenever I open the Bible and teach the truths in the Word of God or whenever you read them, remember these things did not come by the will of men, but by holy men of God who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:21).
4) He Guides
In Acts 13:2 the Holy Spirit took the collective body of people at Antioch and said, "Pick out Paul and Barnabas and send them off as missionaries." So, the Spirit of God directs the corporate life of the church.
5) He Generates Unity
The Spirit of God generates unity in the church. Ephesians 4:3 says that we are to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit. The Spirit of God works for unity.
a) The Maintenance of Genuine Unity
We do not need to create unity in the church. We just need to stop creating division. Unity already exists. For example, in our house we have a basic corporate unity. My wife, our four kids, and myself are one. Genetically we are all out of the same, basic, common life stem. We share together. My wife and I become one in our children and our children are one with us. And there is also intellectual unity in our family. That doesn't mean that we are all of the same intelligence, it simply means that we all talk about the same things. We all come up together on the same intellectual plane. My kids will make value judgments based on what I think about issues. Your kids will do the same thing. There is also an emotional unity. All the members of our family respond the same way emotionally because we have learned to work together. In addition, there is volitional unity (i.e., we make similar choices).
Now, this is true in the church. The Spirit of God has created commonness in the church. It isn't up to us to create it, it is up to us to stop interrupting it. You don't have to create unity, you just need to stop creating division. The unity will take care of itself.
b) The Method of Generating Unity
Now, how does the Holy Spirit generate that unity? By giving everyone a mutual ministry to everyone else so that we begin to talk, think, feel, choose, have recreation, and socialize together. All of these dimensions of interaction create a basic unity generated from our common eternal life.
Now, it is critical that we minister to each other because it guards our unity. As soon as someone closes up and doesn't interact, share, or minister, then he becomes a point of isolation. But when there is a flow of ministry, there is going to be unity of the Spirit.
B. The Purpose of Spiritual Gifts
1. Their Priority
The way in which we minister to each other is via our spiritual gifts. You say, "What is a spiritual gift?"
a. The Definition
A spiritual gift is a God-given capacity through which the Holy Spirit supernaturally ministers to the body. For example, I have the spiritual gift of teaching (or preaching). I minister to you as the Spirit of God energizes me. This is something that I can't do humanly, but something the Spirit of God must do through me. Your spiritual gift is not cooking -- there are good cooks who don't even know God. It is a human ability. Your gift is not being a violin virtuoso. It is a terrific ability, but not a spiritual gift energized by the Holy Spirit. Your spiritual gift is a unique capacity to minister to the body of Christ through the channel of the Spirit of God, who supernaturally touches the lives of other people.
b. The Disclosure
This is critical: The Spirit of God has created corporate unity. To keep that unity we have to have mutual ministry where there is the interchange of all the dimensions of life -- of thoughts and feelings and choices. This is why Paul was so upset with the Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians 12:1 he says, "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant." Why? If the gifts don't function, then the necessary spiritual unity will not exist in order for the church to be a corporate manifestation of Christ. There has to be the ministry of spiritual gifts occurring within the church.
c. The Distribution
Then Paul says, "For to one is given, by the Spirit, the word of wisdom; to another, the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another, faith by the same Spirit; to another, the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another, the working of miracles; to another, prophecy; to another, discerning of spirits; to another, various kinds of tongues [languages]; to another, the interpretation of tongues [languages]" (1 Cor. 12:8-10). And in verse 28 He "set some in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues [languages]." Romans 12 has a similar list. These gifts are given to the individual believer through which the Spirit of God can minister to His church. They are very, very important.
Now, I don't want to ask how many of you know what your spiritual gift is, but I do want you to think about it. This is not something between you and me, but it is something between you and God. You are a steward. You don't own your spiritual gift, you manage it for Him. And it is either a case of good management or mismanagement. But if the unity is to be maintained, then the ministry of gifts is absolutely necessary.
2. Their Perversion
Corinth had corrupted the whole system. They were not content with the gifts that God had given them -- they wanted different ones. And they were perverting the ones they did have. This, then, became the point of pride: "Well, what gift do you have?" "I only have the gift of helps." "Sorry, too bad. I have the gift of prophecy." The eye was lording it over the ear (1 Cor. 12:16). The ear was saying, "I want to be an eye. I don't like being an ear. I want to be one of the more comely parts." This attitude was becoming a problem. They were a richly endowed church, but they had perverted everything.
a. The Highest Level
They lived in a society that was engulfed in the mystery religions. Their society expressed the highest level of religion as ecstasy. In other words, the more frenzied you were, the more you were in contact with the gods. You had connected up with God when you became hysterical. This had come into the church.
b. The Highest Gift
They took the gift of languages (the ability to speak in a language not learned), and made it the best gift. In the Greek culture, this kind of ecstatic confusion was a sign of their religion. They went into a frenzy in their festivals, resulting in orgies and wild, bizarre things such as demonic possession.
1) The Approval of Plato
For example, take a great intellectual like Plato and listen to what he said in the Phaedrus: "It is through mania [ecstasy due to divine possession] that the greatest blessings come to us." That is incredible! The more hysterical you are, the more spiritual blessing you are going to receive. Now, this is not an isolated statement of Plato. In Timaeus he also said, "No one in possession of his rational mind [Gk. nous] has reached divine and true exaltation." In other words, you can't ever touch deity until you are out of your mind. That is Plato's thought. The more nonrational the approach, the more the mark of divine inspiration. The more you were out of the spirit (Gk. pneuma), the less of your mind (Gk. nous) was in it and the more you were touching God.
2) The Analysis by Greene
Michael Greene, in his book I Believe in the Holy Spirit (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1975), says, "The Corinthians would have rated in ascending order of value the teacher (in reliance on his rationality), the prophet (who spoke under divine inspiration intelligibly), and the man who spoke in tongues (whose inspiration was marked by unintelligibility)." Now, that is exactly what was going on in Corinth.
Further, Greene says, "To suppose that the more a man loses self-possession the more inspired by God he must be, is to deny God His place in the rational. To suppose that non-personal irruptions of ruach are the mark of inspiration is to forget that it is the Spirit of Jesus with whom we are dealing." The implication is that Jesus is not irrational. Greene continues, "Any such depersonalization of the Spirit is also disparagement of the ethical, as if it does not much matter how you behave so long as you have this mark of divine inspiration upon you." That is why somebody in a wild frenzy could say, "Jesus is accursed," and have others respond, "Oh, it's of the Holy Spirit." Why? They equated the experience with the Holy Spirit rather than the content. And this is what Paul corrects in 1 Corinthians 12:2-3. Further, Greene says, "If this particular gift is prized above all others, it easily leads to a cult of experience, and to excessive individualism (jealousy in those who have not got the gift, pride in those who have). In the midst of all this, Christian love can easily disappear." And, I might add, so will Christian unity.
So, the Corinthians had corrupted the gifts and Paul had to write chapters 12-14 of 1 Corinthians to straighten them out on the proper information and use of gifts.
Now, let's go to the second point in our outline and recall that in our last lesson we looked at...
I. THE IMPORTANCE OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS (vv. 2-3)
They are vitally important. They are not to be confused with the work of demons, or the work of Satan, or the work of some frenzied pagans. They are divine marks of the Holy Spirit. Lucian, in Dialogues of the Dead, describing ecstatic activity, said, "A sort of god [lit. `demon'] carries us away wherever he wills, and it is impossible to resist him." Now that describes their pagan religion. But Paul says, "You used to be carried away" (1 Cor. 12:2). They needed to know the difference between the true and the counterfeit. Having discussed the importance, he moves secondly to...
II. THE SOURCE OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS (vv. 4-7, 11)
A. The Unity of Diversity
1. The Importance of Varieties
Verse 4 begins, "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God who worketh all in all" (vv. 4-6). Now, you see in these verses a contrast: "...the same Spirit....the same Lord....the same God...." But on the other hand, there are varieties. One God, one Christ, and one Spirit means God has one will. He has built unity into His church, but it will only be maintained when there is a diversity of ministry.
I use the following illustration in my book on the subject.* A reporter comes to interview a quarterback and says, "You have a big game tomorrow. Are you ready for it?" "Oh yeah! Really ready." "Do you really feel there is team unity?" "Oh, we've never had such unity. It is unbelievable." "Well, what do you mean?" "We are so united that all forty-four guys have decided to play quarterback." That is not unity! The only way unity functions is diversity in teamwork. That is why the unity of the church is predicated on the ministry of our strengths to make each other strong. So there is the same Spirit, same Lord, and same God working in all of us, but through diversities of ways.
2. The Implication of Varieties
The word varieties is interesting. It is a very broad word that literally means "distributions" in the Greek. God has distributed varieties of operations within His church. There are a variety of gifts. Some might have the gift of teaching, some might have the gift of giving, some might have the gift of helps, some might have the gift of administrations, the gift of governments, or the gift of giving. There are multiplicities of gifts within the framework of this distribution. And I am confident that most of us have more than one. One might be stronger in manifestation than another, but I think we all have a combination of them.
a. Varieties of Gifts
This list in 1 Corinthians is not necessarily exhaustive. There is a different list in Romans 12 and there is a suggestion of a list in 1 Peter 4. There is no reason to assume that this is all there is. I read one book that said there were only four gifts. I read another one that said there were nine, another one that said there were eleven, another one fourteen, another one seventeen, another one nineteen. How many are there? I don't believe that is the point. I don't think we need to take a test on the gifts, put the results into a computer, and say, "I'm a... according to the computer."
b. Varieties of Combinations
There are so many varieties of ways in which gifts function, that I'm not sure we can always catalog them in such an isolated fashion. Some of them overlap so much, that you might have a mixture of gifts. So, there are combinations and there are...
c. Varieties of Categories
There may be thirty of us who have the gift of teaching, but all thirty of us may be manifesting it in entirely different ways, in entirely different styles, to entirely different groups of people, with entirely different objectives. But that is the beauty of diversity.
The word varieties is the best translation of the Greek word for "diversities" and "differences" in verses 4, 5, and 6 (see NASB). I conclude that there are varieties.
d. Varieties of Power
Verse 6 refers to "operations" (i.e., energizing). There are different manifestations of divine power. Some gifts, manifested in certain ways, demand a different degree of power than others. Romans 12:3 talks about "the measure of faith" (cf. v. 6). God gives you gifts and measures out the exact amount of faith to make that gift operate.
1) The Example
For example, God gave me the spiritual gift, ability, and capacity to minister to this church. Since this is a large church, it requires a lot of responsibility. In a situation like this, there is a lot of anxiety because you have different people with different problems. It takes a certain kind of energizing by the Holy Spirit to handle this situation. If God gives me the capacity to teach you, preach to you, and to lead you, but not the faith to believe that it's possible, I'm going to be a wreck. I am going to try to do something that I don't believe I can do. On the other hand, if God gives me the faith to believe that I can do this, but you keep telling me, "You can't do this. We need to get somebody else," I would be very frustrated. So, when God gives me the spiritual capacity, He measures out the faith equal to the task so I won't become frustrated.
2) The Equivalent
This means that the energizing is equivalent to whatever the gift might be. So, as the Spirit of God gifts you, He energizes you enough to operate the gift so that you have a sense of fulfillment. In all the varieties there are different manifestations of power.
B. The Uniqueness Of Diversity
1. The Dimensions of Spiritual Enablement (vv. 4-7)
There are five words in this chapter that are like five different facets of the diamond of spiritual enablement in the church.
In verse 1 the Greek word is pneumatikos, meaning that the source of spiritual enablement is the Holy Spirit.
According to verse 4, there are "diversities of gifts." You have all heard the word charismatic. We may say that someone is charismatic. We mean that he has an electrifying, captivating, and charming personality. The word charismatic is from the Greek word charis, which means "grace." Grace is an undeserved gift. Remember this: your spiritual capacity -- your charisma -- is a gift of God's grace. You didn't deserve it. You can't say, "I am where I am today because of me." No, if you got where you are today because of you, then you don't belong in the church and everyone else is paying the consequence. What you have is purely a gift of grace.
The word charisma is used seventeen times in the New Testament. Eleven times it refers to spiritual gifts, the other times to salvation. Is salvation a free gift? Yes. Did you deserve it or earn it? No. Spiritual gifts are free gifts, undeserved and unearned, granted by God's wonderful, loving, gracious kindness.
So, the first thing you learned about your capacity is it is energized by the Holy Spirit (v. 1). Secondly, it is a gift that you didn't earn or deserve -- given to you purely as a result of God's sovereign grace. That gives me a sense of responsibility. When someone gives me a gift and says, "Would you care for this?" I'm going to care for it! I want to be a steward; I want to make sure it's handled properly. The Spirit graciously gives out those grace gifts to all believers so that each of us can say with Paul, "But by the grace of God I am what I am..." (1 Cor. 15:10a). His grace was superabundant to me. The greatest mystery of my life, apart from God saving me, is that God called me into the ministry. Why? It was His choice, and I thank Him for it.
The word "administrations" (v. 5) in the Greek is diakonion. The similar word from our vocabulary is deacon. What does the word deacon mean? Servant. So, there are different grace gifts, different spirituals, different Holy-Spirit-energized enablements, and different services. Another word for spiritual gift is services. It is not a different concept, it's just a different way to say the same thing.
1) The Purpose
The purpose of my gift is for service. Jesus says, "For even the Son of Man came, not to be ministered unto but to minister [Gk. diakonos - "to serve"]..." (Mk. 10:45a). Spiritual gifts are not designed as special privileges for the one who has them. My spiritual gift is not for my edification. Now, I could pervert that. I could go into my office, study, write out all the things that I learned, preach a message into my tape recorder, and then turn it on and listen to it by myself. But that would prostitute my gift. When anyone says, "Well, I have this gift which I exercise only in private," that is self-edification. I say, "Well, it isn't a gift that the New Testament teaches, because the gifts are called services. That implies someone else is the object of your gift."
2) The Proof
a) 1 Peter 4:10a, 11a -- "As every man hath received the gift, even so minister [serve] the same one to another, as good stewards...." Whatever your gift is, please serve somebody with it. Verse 11a says, "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister [serve], let him do it as of the ability which God giveth...." All the gifts are for others. Serve one another in divine energy.
b) Ephesians 4:12 -- "For the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry [Gk. diakonos] for the edifying of the body of Christ." Beloved, your spiritual gifts are not for you.
Someone said to me, "Well, I believe that some of the gifts were for self-edification." You cannot find that anywhere. When the Corinthians perverted the gift of languages for self-edification, it would be the same as going into my office and teaching myself. That is not the intention of the gift -- that is a perversion of it. That is why Paul says regarding spiritual gifts, "...seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church" (1 Cor. 14:12). That is the right intention.
Not only are there these three terms: spirituals, gifts, and services, but there is...
There are a variety of energizings. The word comes from the Greek word energeo. God empowers each believer differently. Don't confuse this with natural talent -- this is divine energizing. When we begin to function in the capacity that God has gifted us, there is a flow of divine energy that is thrilling. And it energizes the Word as it comes out of me to you. Once in a while I will listen to a tape on something I have taught in order to refresh my mind. After hearing it I have said to myself, "Did I say that? That's really terrific!" Then I realize the difference.
For example, one fellow said to me, "I have an observation to make. I just want you to know that you do not have the gift of counseling. I come to that conclusion based on having been counseled by you on several occasions." At first I thought he was wrong based on my natural human reaction. But then I thought, "That's probably true." That is not what God has called me to do. I don't have an office as a marital counselor. I would probably be sitting there listening to somebody's problems week after week thinking to myself, "Gee, I wish they would leave so I could get back to my Bible." So, I know the difference between what the Spirit of God has gifted and energized me to do, and what I sometimes need to do although I may not have the sense of spiritual energy. So, you can see that the Spirit of God has this fantastic variety.
A Unique Snowflake
You are a snowflake. There are no two of you alike. God cannot trade you for anyone. If I said, "I have four nice kids, but I wouldn't mind a change. Maybe I'll give away one of my kids and get somebody else's kid," that would be wrong because no child in the world would substitute for one of mine. God looks at you and says, "If you don't do it, there isn't anyone else." You are a snowflake. The combination of gifts, energizings, and services that God has given you is unlike anything that He has given to someone else. You are like a California license plate -- there are no two alike. If you don't do it, it doesn't get done! You are then creating division where the Spirit is trying to keep unity.
Verse 7 says, "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit." This is another word for spiritual gifts.
1) For Public Display
"Manifestation" is a simple word that means "to make clear, to make visible, to make known, to make manifest." It means the very opposite of "to hide," or "to be private." Spiritual gifts are for manifestation. They are a visible, clear, manifest, public display. Again I say, when somebody says that they have a private gift, you ask them, "How can it be private when all of the gifts are given to declare the working of the Spirit of God?"
2) For Profitable Declaration
You say, "Well, maybe it is only to be manifest to him?" Verse 7 actually says, "The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every Christian for the common good." That is what the Greek word sumphero ("profit") means. It isn't given for his good, but for the good of all those who have been gathered together. It is a compound word and means "to gather together." Your spiritual gift is given to manifest the work of the Spirit to everyone that has been gathered together. My gifts are not intended for private purposes, my gifts are for the common good. Whatever the gift is, its purpose is to profit everybody.
What about the gift of languages? In chapter 14 Paul says not to use the gift of languages unless it is interpreted. Even though the gift was a sign to unbelieving Israel, it had to be interpreted in order to edify the church. No gift should be anything other than edifying to the people who are gathered together. So, when someone says that they have a private gift, it isn't true. It is to profit for the common good -- to manifest the Spirit to all those gathered together.
2. The Dividing of Spiritual Enablements (v. 11)
Verse 11 begins, "But all these worketh...." This is the same word from verse 6 -- energizing. He continues, "...that one and the very same Spirit, dividing to every man..." (v. 11b). How many Christians have gifts? All of them -- it's not a spiritual elite. You can't say, "The gifted ones are up on the podium." No, you are all the gifted ones. Mine is just different. You can do what I can't do in His energy.
Now, we all have them, but look at this beautiful thought: "...dividing to every man...," that is universality; and "severally," that is individuality (v. 11c). The word severally is a very interesting word in the Greek, idios, from which we get idiot. Do you know what an idiot is? He is someone who has no duplicate in the world. When we say, "He's an idiot," that word comes from an old word that meant "peculiar." Peculiar originally meant "he's the only one." The Spirit of God universally gives the gifts, but to every individual He gives them peculiarly. Nobody has yours. You are a snowflake. It is not mass production; everybody is different. There are not forty- three teachers in one section, eighty-four givers over here, and forty-nine with faith over there. Everyone's uniqueness manifests itself in a unique way. So, the Spirit of God divides to every man severally and as He wills. Remember, you can't seek a gift. In the first place, gifts are from God, and in the second place, He is the one who wills what He gives.
Focusing on the Facts
1. What two categories of people does the Spirit of God minister to?
2. What is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to unbelievers? In what two ways does the Spirit of God minister to believers?
3. What is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to the individual Christian?
4. What is the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the collective church?
5. Why don't Christians have to create unity in the church? What do they have to stop doing?
6. How does the Holy Spirit generate the unity in the church?
7. Why is it critical for Christians to minister to each other?
8. Give a definition of a spiritual gift.
9. What is a steward's function? How are you a steward of your spiritual gifts?
10. How had the people of Corinth perverted this system? Explain.
11. Explain how unity functions when there is a diversity in teamwork.
12. What does varieties literally mean? Explain the importance of varieties in spiritual gifts.
13. Why is there a need for a variety of energizings by the Holy Spirit? Explain what is meant by "the measure of faith." (Rom. 12:3).
14. What five words describe the different facets of spiritual gifts?
15. Explain why this spiritual capacity given to Christians by the Holy Spirit is called a gift.
16. What is the purpose of spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:5)?
17. Explain the need for the divine energizing of spiritual gifts.
18. What does manifestation mean? What purpose does this word have in defining spiritual gifts?
19. How many Christians have spiritual gifts? What word describes the uniqueness of each believer's gift?
Pondering the Principles
1. List the eleven ways in which the Holy Spirit ministers to believers on an individual basis. Next to each one, give an example of how the Holy Spirit has personally ministered to you in each of these areas. Next, list the five ways in which the Holy Spirit ministers to the collective church. In each case, how have you personally seen the Spirit minister? Take this moment to thank God for His gift of the Holy Spirit in your life.
2. Read Ephesians 4:1-6. According to verses 1-2, how must you live in order to preserve the unity of the Spirit? On a scale of 1-10, rate your life-style in the areas of lowliness, meekness, long-suffering, forbearance, and love. According to your life-style, are you mostly a positive influence on the preservation of unity, or are you mostly a positive influence on the creation of disunity? What changes do you feel are necessary in order for you to be a preserver of unity? Select the one you feel to be the most important, then make it your priority for this week. Ask God to give you the wisdom and spiritual guidance to make this a permanent change.
3. Spiritual gifts are a combination of five facets: first, their source is the Holy Spirit; second, they are a gift of God's grace; third, they are given for the purpose of providing service; fourth, they are energized by God for action in the believer's life; and fifth, they are given to publicly declare the work of the Spirit. Based on all these truths, why do you think so many Christians are not utilizing the gift God has given them? Why do you have trouble exercising the gift God has given you? Be specific in your analysis. Is any of your trouble based on a misunderstanding of some of the above facts concerning spiritual gifts? If so, what? How can an accurate understanding of these truths help you in your practice? Commit yourself to God's control and seek to be a faithful steward of His gift to you. Memorize 1 Peter 4:10: "As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."