Introduction to the gifts of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit moves in the life of the believer to equip him/her in the
service of God. Understanding the gifts of the Holy Spirit is important,
because we live in a supernatural world and the gifts allow us to have an impact
in this world. However, the problem is not every person who has the “Guarantee”
of the Holy Spirit, uses the gifts of the Spirit.
promises a gift of the Spirit to everyone who has come to
Christ, but using the gift is conditional. In the same way, we
receive gifts from others; we could appreciate gifts or
disregard them. Those who disregard the gifts of the Holy
Spirit loose the benefits of what God had them to do.
Therefore, it’s important for us as believers to find out what
gifts God Spirit has given us.
For this reason
it is important for us to understand what the “Gifts” of the
Spirit are and what they are not. We also need to understand how
the gifts of the Holy Spirit work and can be developed.
What a Gift is
understand the distinction between the Fruit of the Spirit
and the Gifts of the Spirit. The fruit of the spirit is
the result of the Spirit filled life, as opposed to living in
the flesh. When we come to Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to
dwell within the believer. When we submit to the Holy Spirit,
we receive a life, which bears the fruit of the spirit. This
goes for every believer; we should all bear the fruit of the
Spirit, all the fruits. The closer our walk, the more like
Christ we become.
22 But the fruit
of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control.
however equips the saint to serve, by giving him/her gifts for
service. First Corinthians chapters twelve through fourteen
deals with the gifts of the Spirit, chapter thirteen refers to
the fruit of the Spirit, which is love. Its important to
put the right perspective on the gifts and the fruit. Using the
gifts of the Spirit without the fruit of “Love” is in vain, this
is the point Paul makes. Paul contrasts the gifts of the Spirit
with the fruit of the Spirit “Love”.
29 Are all
apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of
miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with
tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the best
gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
I Corinthians 12;29-31
refers to a “more excellent” way, which is living in the
Spirit, letting the gifts of the Spirit flow out life filled
with the fruit of the Spirit.
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but
have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging
cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand
all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so
that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
I Corinthians 13:1-2
having the gift of tongues without “Love”, a fruit of the
Spirit, as a clanging symbol. Someone might have a gift of the
Spirit, but that same person could be in the “flesh”. For
example, a person could have fallen, from a state of being
spirit filled and still exhibit the “gift of teaching” but
that gift could be driven by personal effort as opposed to the
of the “Spirit” or “Flesh”?
As we will see,
the purpose to the gifts are to equip the church, if the person
who has the gifts of the spirit, but not the fruit, questions
should be raised, whether they are operating in the flesh or the
spirit. The purpose of the gift is for the church, not for
individual glory or praise. Individual glory or praise feeds
our old nature, because we are taking credit for another’s work,
the work of the Holy Spirit. The purpose is clear for the gifts
of the Spirit, for the common good of the church, to build up
the body of Christ.
4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5
There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And
there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who
works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given
to each one for the profit of all:
I Corinthians 12;4-7
Since many of
the gifts have an outward demonstration, it is possible for some
to lay claim to spiritual gifts, when they are actually
operating in the “flesh”. If there is a lack of “Fruit” then, we
need to ask is the manifestation of the “gift” from the Spirit
or the Flesh. Work done under the power of the “Flesh” does not
reap eternal reward, but is burned at the “Bema” seat of Christ
(2 Cor. 5:10). We should therefore strive to test the force
behind our gift. Is it flesh or spirit?
3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife,
and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like
11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is
laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this
foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
13 each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare
it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test
each one's work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone's work which
he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If
anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself
will be saved, yet so as through fire.
I Corinthians 3:3,11-15
Testing our gifts
strive to flourish under the power of the Holy Spirit, rather
then our own strength. For this reason, we should examine the
“gifts” we have. We should make sure they are from the Holy
Spirit and not our own will and determination. If we don’t have
the fruit of the Spirit, but have the fruit of the flesh, then
we really need to question, the source of our “gift”.
On the other
hand, if we are in the “Spirit”, then the progression of the
Spirit is for the body, the church to receive the benefit.
Therefore the Holy Spirit has a gift prepared for us, to serve
and help the church advance the Kingdom of God.
Evaluating our “Gift”
have fruits of the Spirit in my life?
Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering... Where do I stand with
the Spirit of God, Do I have the fruit of the Spirit in
have a “Calling” from within?
Is my calling from God, or am I working out of my flesh?
there visible evidence of the Holy Spirit is at work?
Are lives being impacted in my ministry?
need to be persistent in my ministry?
Is God molding me into the worker he needs, and I am just
not patient enough? Do I need to pray for patience and
spend the time developing my “Gift”
Am I in
the right place?
Has God called me to another area, another aspect of
ministry. Do I need to teach adults instead of kids, or
kids rather then adults?
Is the purpose of my ministry to proclaim a message, which
would be rejected! Amos declared a message to those who
did not want to hear it.
and offices in the church
The Holy Spirit
gives gifts for the church body, however, that does not mean
everybody in that office has the gift of the office. Again,
this is why we are to try the gifts, making sure they are from
2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife,
temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to
teach;3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,
but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his
own house well, having his children in submission with all
reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own
house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a
novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same
condemnation as the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good
testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into
reproach and the snare of the devil. 8 Likewise deacons must be
reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy
for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure
conscience. 10 But let these also first be tested; then let them
serve as deacons, being found blameless.
I Timothy 3:2-10
Notice how Paul
links the fruit of the Spirit with the Gift and the office.
What are the
Gifts of the Spirit?
There are a number of lists of the gifts of the Spirit, in
the New Testament. Here are four of the lists, which describe
the gifts of the Spirit and the purpose behind the gifts. In
each case, the gifts are for the building up of the church.
promised to all believers, the Greek word for “gift” is
word “grace” is derived from the same root. Another point, Paul
makes is that “gifts” can be sought after, which means even
though you might not have a gift, you can seek it and pray for
it. In I Corinthians 12:31, Paul instructs us to earnestly
desire the best gifts. The Greek word for “earnestly” is
meaning to be the object of zeal, to jealously seek after. We
can ask God to give us a gift, even if we don’t have it, for the
building up of the church.
we are called to be faithful to the gift given us. Not
everybody has the same gift, but God distributes the gifts among
the body, that we may all have a part in building up the body.
In Romans 12:6-8,
Paul lists seven gifts, now within these gifts there would fit a
lot of subcategories. He lists,
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace
that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us
prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let
us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in
teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who
gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence;
he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
In each gift,
we are to pursue it with our heart, being led by the Spirit.
For the benefit of the body of Christ, the church, there are
differences in the various gifts. Each of us should look after
our own gift, how we can develop it, so we can be a greater
blessing. One point Paul stresses is the diversity, the list he
give is general.
someone might feel called to develop and disciple young
Christians. By developing young Christians, into dynamic
believers, several gifts of the Spirit are utilized, such as
teaching, exhortation and leading. Scripture
demonstrates, God gives and develops those who are sincere in
heart. If we really want to please God, and seek after doing
His will, God will give us the equipment and resources to
complete the task.
Israel afraid to enter the Promised Land, we put too much
confidence in our own abilities rather then the “Power” of the
Spirit. Therefore, we don’t attempt something, because we feel
we are just not capable. Well, maybe we aren’t capable, that is
the point, but God is capable. When we accomplish things beyond
our abilities God, get the credit, we are just along for the
Amos makes this
point in the Old Testament, he was just a shepherd and fig tree
farmer when God called Him. Did he have the ability to present
God’s message boldly to Israel? No, he didn’t, he himself says,
I was no prophet, it was God who gave him the ability.
So like Amos, God could be calling us to reach beyond
14 Then Amos answered, and said to Amaziah: "I was no
prophet, Nor was I a son of a prophet, But I was a sheepbreeder
And a tender of sycamore fruit. 15 Then the Lord took me as I
followed the flock, And the Lord said to me, 'Go, prophesy to My
people Israel.' 16 Now therefore, hear the word of the Lord: You
say, 'Do not prophesy against Israel, And do not spout against
the house of Isaac.' Amos 7:14-16
Paul in I
Corinthians 12 breaks is more specific on the list of gifts then
in Romans 12, he
lists several gifts, some of which have been controversial in
churches, included in this list are,
Word of Wisdom
Word of knowledge
Gifts of healing
Different kinds of tongues
Interpretation of tongues
4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And
there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who
works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given
to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the
word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of
knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith
by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the
same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to
another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits,
to another different kinds of tongues, to another the
interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit
works all these things, distributing to each one individually
as He wills. 12 For as the body is one and has many members,
but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body,
so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized
into one body-whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free-and
have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the
body is not one member but many. 27 Now you are the body of
Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has appointed these
in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third
teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of
healings, helps, administrations, varieties
of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all
teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of
healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But
earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more
I Corinthians 12:4-14,28-31
Ministry is a
gift, its a calling from the Lord. In Ephesians, God has
appointed people in His church to administer the Church, to
build up the body and equip the saints. Paul lists these
“Gifts”, which can include many aspects of the body.
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some
prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors
and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the
work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13
till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge
of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the
stature of the fullness of Christ;
10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one
another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If
anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If
anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which
God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through
Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever
and ever. Amen. I Peter 4:10-11