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“Now Concerning Spiritual Gifts…” (Part 3 of 6)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
July 17, 2021 4:00 am

“Now Concerning Spiritual Gifts…” (Part 3 of 6)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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July 17, 2021 4:00 am

Many people are confused about spiritual gifts. What are they? And how should they be used within the church? On Truth For Life, Alistair Begg explores the answers to four fundamental questions concerning spiritual gifts. Be sure to join us!


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We often find a variety of opinion comes to the topic of spiritual gifts can cause confusion about what they are and why they been given to us today. Untruthful life weekend Alastair beg brings clarity to the subject by answering four fundamental questions concerning spiritual gifts taken by William turn back to first Corinthians 12. There is no question that the Corinthian believers regarded themselves as spiritual the end of chapter 14.

Indeed, in verse 37 Paul says if anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted. Let them acknowledge that what I'm writing to you is the Lord's command and there clearly were quite a number of people in the Corinthian context to regard themselves as spiritual and it would appear from what Paul has written here that the way in which they determined their spirituality was very much focused on the manifesting off spiritual gifts and perhaps even particularly certain spiritual gift's dice betraying in themselves an idea that spiritual gifts are the obvious evidence key evidence if you like of the Spirit's ministry in and through them. I need to point out to you tonight on the authority of God's word that spiritual gifts are not the key evidence of the work of the Spirit of God in somebody's life. They may be in evidence all that we may be in evidence of something else entirely, but they certainly are not to be looked to as the key evidence of it all.

Indeed, in first Corinthians, Paul makes it clear that the real issue of spirituality is not to do with whatever phenomenal element. There may be the life of a believer, but rather has to do with the ethical impact of our lives. That's why, in the heart of it all in first Corinthians 6. He reminds those to whom he writes you are not your own. You were bought with a price. So speak in tongues you are not your own. You were bought with a price. So heal people. You are not your own. You were bought with a price. So prophesy. You are not your own. You were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body you want to be spiritual, says Paul you want to display spirituality to your neighbors or friends in the watching world. And the key evidence of spirituality will not be in any phenomenal dimension, but will actually be displayed in the ethical norms of our life's in the words of JI Packer the manifestation of the spirit in charismatic performance is not the same thing as the fruit of the spirit in Christlike character, so external expressions of spirituality do not prove either that I am pleasing God, nor do they guarantee my salvation, sobering thought loved ones because many allies focus very much on what we do as the evidence of what we are without. It is that we preach or teach or help or give or speak or sing or create or touch or how or heal. We look to those things as the self authenticating evidences of our spiritual life that's really foolish that's really dangerous out of the very mouth of Jesus came a word of correction for all were tempted to walk that path, and in Matthew chapter 7 it's recorded for us by Jesus. Not everyone who says to me Lord Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my father who is in heaven. Not everybody who attends evening service and sings he is Lord with a great emotional surge will enter the kingdom of heaven. The people enter the kingdom of heaven are those who do the will of my father and then he goes on to add many, many, not a few, but many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles now are those dramatic evidences of spiritual giftedness. Yes, Jesus is there going to be people to come to them on that day, and they're going to say we exercise spiritual gifts.

Now they are under their cover kind of spiritual gifts, not here in the closet spiritual get your real upfront in-your-face kind of spiritual gift and I will tell them plainly. I never even knew you. Away from me, you evil doers. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, I preach sermons in your name and I will say to them, depart from me. I never knew. So keep this in the forefront of your thinking as we go through the studies on spiritual gift is very very important spiritual gifts are not of value on account of their dramatic impact. They are of divine importance seen in the framework which displays them as acts of starving and honoring God when the apostle Paul noted only here in the butt in his other letters addresses the issue of spiritual gifts, it is clear that he does not view them in terms of human ability to do things well i.e. what we would refer to as giftedness, nor does he see spiritual gifts in terms of supernatural novelty, but Paul confronts us with the fact that spiritual gifts should be seen in terms of Christ, who is the head of the body.

Presently working from heaven amongst his people on earth.

And indeed that's how we began this letter to the Corinthians in chapter 1 in verse four. He was able to say to them, I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus, and him you've been enriched in every way. In all your speaking and in all your knowledge because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not like any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus. Now the importance of these introductory statements will become apparent as we go on for simple questions will tackle tonight. Number one of spiritual gifts, who gives them, who gives them the answer to that ought to be obvious and clear. Certainly if you look at verse 11.

We realize that God is the source of all spiritual gifts and he gives them. As Paul says that at the end of the verse just as he determines the obvious, diversely in the body is grounded in the sovereign purposes of God. He is determined that it is important for his people to be discovering and displaying this rich diversity. Verse 18. In fact God has arranged the parts of the body. Every one of them just as he wanted them to be. Verse 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern. Verse 28 and in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, and so on, and he goes through the list reminding is that it is by means of the church that Jesus Christ is uniquely present and distinctively expresses himself in the world wonder, did you hear that and I wonder, do you believe that it is by means of the church and the only way we can understand churches in terms of local assembly.

Therefore, it is by means of the local assembly that Jesus Christ is uniquely present and distinctly expresses himself in the world constantly confronted by people coming asking me to participate in this event. In that event. In this organization and this parachurch deal in the next sort of thing, many of which are helpful in which I wish I time to deal with, but I'm often made painfully aware of the fibers I was this week as somebody came to me with a plea for some particular area that really it wasn't the prerogative of this individual to be making that the and the plea need never be made if local churches would understand and believe that Jesus Christ has chosen to uniquely manifest himself in and through local bodies of believers. That's where he gets his get that's where he expects gifts to be discovered and that is where primarily he expects those gifts to be display in verses four, five and six. You will notice perhaps that there is a kind of Trinitarian formula there. The diversity of what is given is matched by the unity of the one who gives different kinds of gifts same spirit different kinds of service saying, Lord, different kinds of working same God reminder to is that in spiritual as well as in physical and material terms James is right every good and perfect gift comes down from the father, above, in whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. That's James chapter 170 who gives them God gives. Secondly, who gets them who get spiritual gifts. What a wonderful thing. At least it ought to be encouraging to this is that the gifts of the spirit are not reserved for a few outstanding individuals, we might be tempted to think that after all that's the way the prize giving's goal is the way the graduation gauze or some with hats and some of this, the things that hang around her neck and there's Anna Rose and Mary Rose and all kinds also grows in all kinds of roles and and and we watch as the, the, the esteemed and the knowledgeable in the bright even the best.

As a result of their excellence are configured with these special gifts and so many times since that is the way we often operate in business or in other areas of the world. We assume that presumably within the church that would be the same and so God looks for a few outstanding individuals and then when he is determined that they have made the mark he bestows his gifts upon not so notice the phrase in verse six that are different kinds of workings with the same God works all of them in all men, not some man special man, but in all man and man is there used generically of men and women find the same thing in verse seven now to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good and again in verse 11. All these are the work of one and the same spirit and he gives them to each one. Another commonality of this was and is important amongst the family of God, because the family of God is prone to two peculiar extremes on the one hand, elitism, whereby and I think it was a sad feature of the Corinthian context, we create a spiritual aristocracy within the church we determine un-taught by our Bibles and unguided by the spirit of the people who really count are the people who possess certain gift, whatever those gifts might be in whatever given context. I don't have a particular gift in mind and maybe the gift of teaching and maybe the gift of of public administration, it probably will be a gift that carries with it some measure of external prominence and were tempted to believe that the key people in the church are those who possess such gift. And so it forms an elitist factor. The flipside of elitism is defeatism. So much so that people who, having determined that those are the key gifts in the key people since they neither have those gifts nor are those people they tend in their minds to sideline themselves and say there's nothing that I can really do that is worthwhile here. I don't have a contribution to make, so we need to be very clear on these basic facts. Who gives them God who gets them all men.

Spiritual gifts are not the prerequisite or the prerogative of the chosen few.

They are the privilege of the Christian family. When you as a parent arise appear and give gifts to our children. We give gifts to all of our children right. We probably don't want to give them all the same gifts because there are different stages in the of different aptitudes and things they like but were certainly not going to give to one and deprive the others. If we care for our children and love our children indiscriminately. We will give to all our children in the same way our heavenly father operates. He doesn't look upon is in the way that we are tempted to look at one another and say what you been good and therefore you been bad. And so, but he gives gifts to his people generously lavishly and purposefully.

Our gifts differ, but we all have and that is made clear. Each time you find a list of the gifts which comes largely in three places in the New Testament, but in Romans chapter 12 in verse six, Paul says we have different gifts, according to the grace given us. And in first Peter chapter 4 and verse 10.

Each one should use whatever gift he has received. Do you know how much time is wasted as a result of churches failing to apply such fundamental principles of practicality. First Peter 410 each one should use whatever gift he is received instead of sitting around wondering about the ones we haven't received are being jealous of what someone else is being given or wanting to take our gifts back for an exchange. The Bible says whatever you got given using 307 and is not a magical mystery tour to find out what it is know if I sent you down at a piano is going to be pretty obvious pretty quickly when he let the gift of music you may claim the you can play with all your fingers.

But when you play you play like this that's not music that's Caleb's if I ask you to help in the organizing of something in this church is going become quickly apparent with you of the gift of administration. Whether you don't, we come to you and ask if you come alongside us and teach a Sunday school class for three-year-old children. We come in and observe there's going to be real obvious real fast with you, but the gift of getting on the floor with three-year-old children is not any great wonderful ministry is not some rep to sit around our after our having private prayer meetings in great major counseling sessions trying to what rats allowed to stash your wife as your husband your best friend is fairly obvious what you're good at what God has gifted you with its no great ministry. Some of us are intensely practical. Some of us are practically useless. It some things you know how many organs are played in churches by some well-meaning lady that should never been allowed within 50 yards of or some well-meaning man it's saying because his wife or his husband or his friend or his pastor, Sue said, you know me.

That's where stock I mean can you bump out at you and yeah I can bump out of Jim Goodyear gifted.

Let's go walk on sound why the Joker plays the organ. The person set out on my plays the organ goes home and after lunch sits down and plays the organ unbelievably well because he decided his gift was given so he could amuse himself and his family room and quantified it was given so that the church could be edified and incurred truly pretty straightforward. Who gives them God to whom does he give them to everybody. Why are they getting wired again what the answer is right there in the verse that I was quoting from in first Peter chapter 4, as well as here in first Corinthians in first Peter four Peter makes it clear he says each one should use whatever gift he is received to serve others to serve others in first Corinthians 12 coming right where were supposed to be and in verse seven.

You will notice that Paul says that these gifts were given for the common good to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good of the word in Greek is Sumi Ferron. It has multifarious meaning to bring together to confer a benefit upon to be advantageous to be profitable to be useful to get the picture of the gifts are given in order that we may make a contribution to a sphere beyond ourselves in a way that would confer a benefit and be advantageous in other words, we would be missed if we were absent because God gifted us in a unique way at any point in time to be uniquely useful in a unique group of people to fulfill a unique purpose is the children's song Lublin's there's a work for Jesus. None but you can do. How many of us are sitting around waiting to be ministered to. When the thrust of Scripture is to minister how many others are disappointed with and disgruntled by the absence of ministry to us. When the Scriptures are about ministering through its neither a sense of spiritual defeatism nor elitism should prevent us from the kind of discovery that God wants us to me.

So the gifts are given for the common good. When we think about this in relationship to manifestation, which is a word that is used here in verse seven, it becomes obvious that these gifts are used in a public way to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. Spiritual gifts are not something that we take home to enjoy by ourselves or to use as for our own benefits number people like to speak of spiritual gifts in this way will have a special spiritual gift and unite is just a very private things very personal thing and I just use it for myself.

Well isn't that very interest because the manifestation of the spiritual gifts is being given for the common good. So I don't know that there even exists.

Any spiritual gift that has been given, that is present in any individual's life so that it may be the impact and import to myself alone. If you think you have one, you better check it out against the backdrop of Scripture.

So when we exercise our gifts. Not only do we minister to others, but we in turn encourage them to be involved in ministry. That's what I'm doing right now and exercising the spiritual gift of teaching of exhorting and encouraging Ephesians 4 God has given me the gift of bringing the Scriptures to bear with clarity with relative clarity on the lives of people. The result of which are to be that you say hey I can do that.

I can understand the Bible. I would like in turn to teach the black tremendous encouragement to me to have a young man come to me after I have had the opportunity to exercise my spiritual gift or a spiritual gift and come to me and say that is what I want to be able to do.

I want your help to be able to minister in that way of God is gifted in that way and I'll sure be glad to help them. If you have the gift of encouragement you exercise encouragement to another person. It creates oftentimes a chain reaction you received the note he said that is a wonderful thing. What a Barnabas that fellow is a Barnabas. What a Mrs. Barnabas that garlands and then use it yourself, you know, I had to write someone a note so you do and so the exercise of the gift was for the common good, simple word of encouragement.

A simple note so I know I was a spiritual gift that your life is a spiritual gift of encouragement by the same token, when we fail to minister our gifts. Not only does it affect ourselves, but it affects the wider body of Christ because the body of Christ is Ephesians 4 is I've referred to. It points out the only way that the body of Christ is built up as a result of each part doing its work. You can find that in Ephesians chapter 4 and in the end of verse 16. From Jesus, the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Continue learning how our spiritual gifts can be used to benefit the body of Christ.

Next weekend on Truth for Life weekend with Alister Bragg dark conviction here at Truth for Life that when the Bible is taught clearly local churches will be strengthened and that's why you're Truth for Life. Our commitment is to teach the Bible with clarity and relevance. We believe that the message of Scripture is as applicable today as it was when it was first written. If you listen to Truth for Life regularly on the weekends you know. We also recommend books to help you grow in your faith and today I will tell you about a book that I'm especially excited about its written by Alister Bragg. The book is titled play big.

Learn to pray like an apostle. If you've ever felt like your prayers have become shallow or lifeless or begun to sound the same day in and day out, you'll appreciate this study will help you develop deeper intimacy with God by teaching you about the apostle Paul's God centered pattern of prayer in the book pray big Alister shows us how our prayers reveal our priorities as well as our beliefs about God. Paul prayed big because he believed in an all-powerful sovereign Lord who loves us a God who does what he says he'll do find out why Paul's prayers so rarely mention the issues that frequently fill our own prayers.

The truths that shaped his prayers will motivate you to pray and hope you know what to say page by page, your focus will increasingly turn from the days distractions that will point you toward Christ with the gospel toward eternity.

Learn more about the book pray big today by visiting Truth for Life.Bob Lapine thanks for listening. Join us again next weekend to learn how to use the spiritual gifts of wisdom, knowledge, and faith for their design purpose.

The Bible teaching of Alister Bragg is furnished by Truth for Life learning is prolific


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