Sunday September 7, 2014 | Greg Boyd
1 Corinthians 12:1
12 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed.
1 Corinthians 12:4-14
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
14 Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many.
This week begins a sermon series discussing the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit, or those gifts often referred to as the supernatural gifts. Before discussing each gift individually, today we discuss two pieces of information needed to understand the gifts. We'll discuss listening to the Spirit and using our gifts to build up the body of Christ.
This week we begin a sermon series about the charismatic gifts of the Spirit. These gifts are discussed by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12, and can often be surrounded by confusion or controversy. Woodland Hills Church has always been of the belief that these gifts are for the church today, but haven’t talked about what this means practically for quite some time. We will examine and discuss each of these gifts in detail throughout the following weeks, but for today we will begin with some introduction to the theology behind the giving of these gifts to the church.
Learning to listen to the Holy Spirit throughout our daily lives is the first step in understanding how to use the gifts we have each been given. Our days are made up of choices, some of which we do instinctively and some of which are done with more intentional thought. As disciples of Christ, it is our responsibility to serve Jesus as our Lord in the choices we make throughout our day. For a person to confess Jesus is Lord, but to not make any daily choices that are brought upon by his Lordship means we are lacking something in our relationship with him. In order to allow Jesus to lead our lives and the choices that make up our lives, we must begin by listening to him. While this practice of listening to the Spirit takes time, we all experience these nudges whether we are aware of it or not. The Spirit does not scream to us, but rather he whispers. The voice of the Holy Spirit is that intuitive nudging we feel in our own spirit or the quiet voice we hear prompting us to act. Becoming aware of these sensations is the first step the disciple must make to begin living a Spirit-led life.
Along with knowing how to actively listen to the Spirit, we must also understand why the Spirit is at work within us. The Spirit that is within each of us is the same Spirit that is tasked with uniting all of us. As followers of Christ, we must always be aware that we are part of a bigger whole and within that bigger whole we have been assigned a purpose. There are many gifts given by the Spirit, both supernatural and natural. It is up to us to determine what gifts we have been given and how we can use them to benefit the whole body of Christ.
The Apostle Paul tells us that the Spirit gives gifts to each one of us. We are each recipients of a gift. If we have been given a gift by the Spirit, but choose not to use that gift, we are failing to give thanks for that which we have been given. Your gift shouldn’t be thought of as the thing you use to impress others, but the thing you use to uplift others. It is when we begin to actively listen to the Spirit’s promptings in our lives and apply the gifts we have been given by the Spirit to build up the body of Christ that these gifts will produce fruit for the whole church.