Today, let us talk about spiritual gifts because it is an important topic for the Chruch and as we dive into this subject, let us begin by reading 1 Corinthians chapters 12, and what you will find reading this chapter is the reality that as Christians we can at will call on or manifest our gifts. That is why Paul wrote saying first and foremost:
1 Corinthians 12:1-3 “Concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you be ignorant. You know that you were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as you were led.” And if we were to pause for a moment to think on what Paul was saying in these first few lines of scripture before we move on to the second part of his statement, we will realize he was telling us we can with impulse exercise the gifts given to us by the Spirit.
Notice he said at first, “You know that you were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as you were led.” This means as they were moved by impulse or by desire, or at will because they were being led by the spirit of the flesh or sin, they were able to carry out the sinful nature of the flesh or will of the enemy.
As Gentiles, they were able to carry out the will of the flesh, or Satan because before they came to Christ, they were filled with the spirit of the world or the spirit of the Antichrist successfully manifesting the evil we see in the world today because they were moved to do so by that spirit of the Antichrist.
But then Paul turned and spoke these words now that they are saved and are filled with the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 12:3, “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” And by saying these things, Paul was letting the newly converted Gentiles know they have now come under the spirit of God, and it is by the spirit that now rules their hearts they call Jesus Lord.
Now, what does this means? It means that by impulse and the move of the spirit they can now manifest the will of God through and by the empowering of the gifts of the Spirit of God. Because whenever the impulse come for us to do what God desires it is not of ourselves, but the Spirit of God working in us to perform God’s will. For when a thief who is a thief is moved to steal, he will steal by impulse, but now that we are Christ’s, by impulse, we will do what God requires.
With that said, when it comes to the individual gifts of the Spirit, it is important we know what gifts we have, or that has been given to us because what Paul is saying to us through the Spirit of God, is that if we know what our specific gifts are, as children of God, we can by impulse or will manifest those gifts. Let us think on Jesus for this example.
While at a marriage in Cana, someone cry out there is no more wine; and if we understand the culture of the time, running out of wine would spell disaster for those hosting the marriage feast, and it would have been a stain on their reputation for the rest of their lives, an embarrassment. But being at the party and knowing how bad it would have been for the groom and the bride, Jesus at will chose to turn water into wine.
John wrote down the account, and here is what he said, “John 2:1-10 “There was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, they have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
His mother saith unto the servants, whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast.
And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, and saith unto him, every man at the beginning does set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou has kept the good wine until now.”
This is Jesus choosing at will to perform a miracle to save the day at this wedding and the reputation of the bride and the groom. But did we notice the effect of the miracle? By performing this miracle, Jesus demonstrated his power and glory drawing attention to himself so that he might effectively preach the gospel of the kingdom. John 2:11 “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.” They believed on him that was the effect of the miracle.
God gave us gifts because they are important for the same effect Jesus had at the marriage feast. According to the story we are told, his disciples believed on him and began to follow Jesus based on that experience. And when we look back at history, we can remember another man God gave a staff and told him by the miracles of the staff this people will believe God had sent him to deliver them.
This man we speak of is Moses, his story is another example of why we were given gifts. In Exodus 4:1-9 we read, “They will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, the LORD has not appeared unto thee.” God was sending Moses to lead Israel out of bondage, a people who has been in bondage for some four hundred years and have never heard the voice of God.
Nevertheless, “The LORD said unto Moses, what is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the LORD said unto Moses, put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:” And here now is what the scripture says regarding God doing this for Moses. It said it was done so, “That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared unto thee.”
And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and behold, it was turned again as his other flesh.
And it shall happen, said the Lord, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. And it shall happen, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou take out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land.”
With these two examples, we can see that God was instructing Moses to perform these signs at will, and when necessary to prove God has sent him to deliver his people from the land of bondage. So, when we look at the gifts of the spirit, and the empowering of the man to perform God’s will by the Spirit, we can by impulse, when necessary, manifest the gifts of God.
When Paul, therefore, wrote concerning the gifts of the Spirit, what he is saying to us? He is saying, if, and when we are moved by the Holy Spirit, what we do in the Spirit of Christ is justified and is of the Holy Spirit because no man who is of the Spirit of Christ can say Christ is a cursed. So, if you say Christ is Lord and King, and is the only savior, rest in your gift and be not ashamed because no man can say Christ is Lord without the empowering of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7 Now there are a variety 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 which worketh in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit, nevertheless 1 Corinthians 12:9-12 “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 divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
But all these worketh by the one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man separately as he will. For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also, is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. So, let us put aside the divisions among us and embrace each other according to the gifts distributed to us by the Holy Spirit.