Spiritual Gifts (01) - Gifts from the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12)

Date: 1/17/2016
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But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. 12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:1–12

In this short series I will address spiritual gifts. Several passages in the New Testament address this (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12-14, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 4). In 1 Corinthians, we see how such gifts can be used contentiously. Paul corrects the Corinthians on several points.

Are These Gifts of the One Holy Spirit? (vv 1-5) - They have been led astray regarding spiritual gifts, just as pagan idol worship led them astray. The connection between this topic and vs 3 is not immediately apparent. Perhaps a “hyper-spiritual” fanatical leader had been spewing falsehoods about Jesus. It seems Paul is bringing them back down to the basic point: this is how it looks when it’s the Spirit and this is how it doesn’t look. Therefore, though gifts vary, there is only one Holy Spirit, one Lord, one God. God doesn’t contradict Himself. He is not “inspiring” people to curse Jesus.

If They Are Gifts of the Spirit, They Must Build the Body? (vv 6-13) - Now the emphasis is on the purpose of gifts of the Spirit: the common good. The emphasis comes through in vs 12-13: “For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” This theme of edification of the Body rather than individual experience continues through chapters 12-14.

Which Gifts Are Given by the Spirit? (vv 8-10)? The term for gift here is charismata, related to charis (grace). “Grace-gift” is a reasonable translation. The list in 1 Corinthians 12 is for Paul’s purposes here in terms of their correction. It is not complete. We have in 1 Cor. 12-14: administration, apostleship, discernment, faith, healings, helps, knowledge, miracles, prophecy, teaching, tongues, tongues interpretation, and wisdom. In Romans 12 there is exhortation, giving, leadership, mercy, prophecy, service, and teaching. In Ephesians 4 gives the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers (some say pastor-teacher). In 1 Peter 4, speaking and serving are mentioned. Other texts indicate other gifts also, such as celibacy, hospitality, martyrdom, missionary, and possibly voluntary poverty.

Exhortation on Humility: Prayers by a martyred Russian, named Alexander Men. Here’s a sample of his prayer for humility.
From the desire to avoid hurt – Deliver me, Jesus!
From the desire to assert my opinion – Deliver me, Jesus!
From the desire that my counsels be accepted – Deliver me, Jesus!
From the desire to be praised – Deliver me, Jesus!
From the desire to be respected – Deliver me Jesus!
From the desire to be loved – Deliver me, Jesus!
From the fear of being forgotten – Deliver me, Jesus!
From the fear of being suspected – Deliver me, Jesus!
From the desire of being unknown – Deliver me, Jesus!
From the fear of being misunderstood – Deliver me, Jesus!
From the fear of being rejected – Deliver me, Jesus!
From the fear of being slandered – Deliver me, Jesus!
From the fear of being humiliated – Deliver me, Jesus!
From the fear of being ridiculed – Deliver me, Jesus!

When others are valued more highly than I – Help me Jesus to bear this with love!
When others are accepted, and I am ignored – Help me, Jesus, to bear this with love!
When the 1st place is given to others – Help me, Jesus to bear it with love!
When others are esteemed to be more righteous than I – Help me, Jesus, to bear this with love!
When others are loved more than I – Help me, Jesus, to bear this with love!

That I do not strive for high places – Grant me, Jesus, the grace of humility and love!
That for the sake of Your Glory I willingly fulfill unpleasant duties – Grant me, Jesus, the grace of humility and love!
That I may see God’s will in the commands of those who are older – Grant me, Jesus, the grace of humility and love!
That I may indeed, just as in words, forgive hurts – Grant me, Jesus, the grace of humility and love!
That I may treat all with love, and especial

Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more