#5 SERIES ON THE HOLY SPIRIT
"THE HOLY SPIRIT EQUIPS!"
TEXT: 1 Cor. 12:1-31
INTRO: One of the great strengths of the church is the diversity of the gifts that God places in it. It is never the intent of the Holy Spirit to gift everyone in the church in the same way ... it is however the intent of the Holy Spirit to gift every believer in some way!
We need to learn to be open to the Holy Spirit to be used as He sees fit, the ministry of the "gifts of the Holy Spirit" through various believers will build up the body of Christ. We need to learn what our gifts are and be ready to be used, we don't all have the same gift, but we have the same Spirit!
ILLUS: ONE LITTLE BOY DECIDED ONE DAY THAT HE WAS A GIFTED BASEBALL HITTER, SO PUTTING ON HIS BASEBALL CAP HE GRABBED A BAT AND BALL AND OUT INTO THE BACKYARD HE WENT TO PROVE HOW GIFTED HE WAS! HE STOOD READY WITH BAT AND BALL IN HAND AND SHOUTED OUT LOUD, "I’M THE GREATEST HITTER IN THE WORLD!" THEN HE TOSSED THE BALL INTO THE AIR AND SWUNG AT THE BALL ... BUT HE MISSED! HE YELLED OUT LOUD, "STRIKE ONE!" THEN ONCE AGAIN HE READIED HIMSELF AND SAID, "I'M THE GREATEST BASEBALL HITTER IN THE WORLD!" AND WITH THIS HE ONCE AGAIN THREW THE BALL UP AND SWUNG ... AND AGAIN HE MISSED! "STRIKE TWO" HE SHOUTED. STILL UNDAUNTED HE AGAIN YELLED, "I'M THE GREATEST HITTER THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN!" NOW A THIRD TIME HE THREW THE BALL UP INTO THE AIR AND SWUNG ... AND MISSED AGAIN! HE CRIED OUT, “WOW ... THIRD STRIKE!” THEN … “WOW, WHAT A PITCHER, I'M THE GREATEST PITCHER IN THE WORLD!” IT WAS JUST A MATTER OF DISCOVERING WHAT HIS REAL GIFT WAS! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
Too often we want someone else's gift when what we need to learn is what our own gifts are. The more prominent gifts are not always the most important ones ... the best gift is the one that is needed most at that particular time! Paul encourages the believers to desire the "best gift"… not necessarily the flashiest!
ILLUS: A $50,000 VIOLIN HANGING SILENTLY AND DUSTY ON THE WALL IS NOT WORTH AS MUCH AS A KITCHEN SPOON THAT IS USED! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
The Holy Spirit will equip His church with everything needed to do the work that He calls us to do and to build up the body of Christ! We need to discover what our gifts are, and to make ourselves available for whatever gifts He desires us to have.
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that the Holy Spirit gives gifts to His church for the building up of the body of Christ and that all the gifts are needed and is to be appreciated.
I. THE NEED OF THE GIFTS 1 Cor. 12:1-11
A. Corporate 1 Cor. 12:1-7
1. The purpose of the gifts was to build up the body of Christ and to testify to the Lordship of Christ.
a. It is in this sense that Paul says that a gift of the Holy Spirit will never take away from Christ's Lordship; if it does it is not from the Holy Spirit – they do not lift up man, they build up the body of Christ!
b. The gifts of the Holy Spirit therefore will not elevate any individual and make them great, they will elevate Jesus and make Him great!
2. These "gifts" are for the church and they are varied, but they all come from the same Spirit.
a. The gifts of the Holy Spirit therefore are not given for personal exaltation, they are for corporate edification!
b. While there are a variety of gifts that may express themselves in the body of Christ they all come from the same source, the Holy Spirit.
3. Weak churches are usually weak because a small percentage of believers are attempting to do all the work, only a few are usually using their gifts!
THE MOVIE YEARS AGO ABOUT A
4. The work of the Holy Spirit in the church is to set us up to minister in a variety of ways, no matter the gift they all benefit the church and build it up!
a. The focus of these introductory verses is the plan of God for the corporate body.
b. The church cannot do the work of God without these gifts of the Holy Spirit!
B. Categories 1 Cor. 12:8-11
1. Here Paul identifies several categories of giftedness:
a. Gifts of REVELATION:
(3. Discernment of spirits
b. Gifts of POWER:
c. Gifts of WORSHIP:
(3. Interpretation of Tongues
d. Gifts of SERVICE:
(1. Helps (verse 28)
(2. Administrations (verse 28)
(3. Leadership -- See also Rom. 12 & Eph 4
2. While 9 are listed here in 1 Cor. 12 it is not intended that these are exhaustive lists, they are representative of the kinds of gifts God's Holy Spirit may give! The possibilities are as unlimited as the Holy Spirit is!
a. These are not the only categories therefore ... they are examples!
b. The Corinthians had elevated certain categories above others and thereby created an “upper class” of spiritual giftedness, they had elevated certain gifts and people above others!
c. The truth about the gifts is that they are all from the Holy Spirit and they are all important!
3. The purpose of this variety is to maximize the abilities of the church energized by the Holy Spirit!
a. In other words, the church would need all the gifts in order to do a supernatural work!
b. The more variety, the more versatile the church's ability to minister to any situation!
c. These gifts are not static; we can receive a variety of them at different times
4. The church is strengthened by the variety:
ILLUS: WE ARE LIKE A JIGSAW PUZZLE, THE PROTRUSIONS ARE LIKE OUR STRENGTHS OR GIFTS AND THE INDENTATIONS ARE LIKE OUR WEAKNESSES. AS SINGLE PIECES WE DON'T LOOK TOO GOOD OR HAVE AN AWKWARD APPEARANCE, BUT WHEN PIECED TOGETHER, A VERY GOOD PICTURE APPEARS. WE NEED EACH PIECE FOR THE PUZZLE TO BE COMPLETE! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
II. THE NATURE OF THE GIFTS 1 Cor. -31
A. Complimentary 1 Cor. 12:12-26
1. Paul begins to teach the absolute necessity of all the gifts, though not equal in type they are equal in importance to the whole body!
a. He uses the image of the body with its various parts, some which are more hidden or not seen yet as important as other parts. But yet, no body wants to give up any part.
b. Each part does something different but each needs the other to be a whole body, they each compliment the other, the ear helps the eye and vice versa.
2. Some parts may seem more important, or be in use at times when other parts aren’t being used, but no part is willingly discarded!
a. How would you feel when watching TV one night if your eyes told your feet to get lost, that they weren't needed anymore since you are sitting down and watching TV! Your brain would argue with the eyes and say that though the feet are not being used at the moment you still want the parts to stay!!
b. It takes all the parts to make the whole work!
ILLUS: LIKE THE FOLLOWING POEM STATES:
“WHO FLIES THE KITE?” “I," SAID THE BOY; “IT IS MY JOY; I FLY THE KITE.”
“WHO FLIES THE KITE?” “I,” SAID THE WIND; “IT IS MY WHIM; I FLY THE KITE.”
“WHO FLIES THE KITE?” “I,” SAID THE STRING; “I AM THE THING THAT FLIES THE KITE.”
“WHO FLIES THE KITE?” “I,” SAID THE TAIL; “I MAKE IT SAIL; I FLY THE KITE.”
“WHO FLIES THE KITE?” ALL ARE WRONG; ALL ARE RIGHT; ALL FLY THE KITE! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
3. Too often we give much attention to the more spectacular gifts and ignore the less spectacular ones that in some ways can be more important!
a. People like to be used by God in great ways; few people are willing to be used by God in small ways!
b. How often though it is the small ways that keep things going!
MARCH OF 1981 PRESIDENT REAGAN WAS SHOT BY JOHN HINKLEY JR. THE PRESIDENT WAS HOSPITALIZED FOR
SEVERAL WEEKS AND YET THE COUNTRY MOVED RIGHT ALONG QUITE WELL. YET, WHEN THE GARBAGE COLLECTORS WENT ON
4. The parts are meant to compliment each other so that there is no division within the body of Christ! 1 Cor. 12:25
a. The gift of prophecy or tongues will mean little to the life of the church if there is no one willing to have the gift of service or teaching!
b. Every gift is important!
c. No gift is to be despised or treated with contempt – and this even includes the gift of tongues as well as those of service! Note that Paul at the end of the gifts teaching also added that they were not to forbid speaking in tongues 1 Cor. 14:39 it has always struck me odd today that people do forbid this gift but encourage the others.
d. All the gifts are to be considered equal in importance and honor – the one most needed at any one moment is the most important one!
5. EACH gift is to be held in honor as complimenting the whole body!
a. If any part suffers, the whole body suffers!
b. If any part rejoices, the whole body rejoices!
6. The very fact that there would be variety would cause them to need each other, not to separate them!
B. Capable 1 Cor. 12:27-31
1. Paul's point here is to emphasize the fact that God puts order in the church, these include not only spectacular gifts like tongues which he chooses here to list last as if to make his point against their excessive emphasis on this one gift, and he puts at the top of the list things like Apostles, teachers, etc., as though to balance their excesses and create the importance of leadership gifts and their priority which was presently lacking in the church at Corinth.
a. Paul's point was to restore balance in this church.
b. These gifts of leadership mentioned are given to maintain that balance.
2. The point here is to tell them that these gifts are all necessary for them to be a capable, effective force as the church!
3. In this sense Paul then concludes this section by letting them know that no one will have all the gifts, the gifts will be distributed throughout the body of Christ!
a. Thus, anyone attempting to do it all will find themselves and the church becoming very frustrated!
AGO A MAN WANTED TO BE A CONDUCTOR.
HIS CONDUCTING STYLE HOWEVER WAS IDIOSYNCRATIC. DURING SOFT PARTS HE'D CROUCH EXTREMELY
LOW, AND FOR LOUD PARTS HE'D OFTEN JUMP INTO THE AIR, SOMETIMES EVEN SHOUTING TO
THE ORCHESTRA! HIS MEMORY WAS POOR,
ONCE HE FORGOT THAT HE HAD INSTRUCTED THE ORCHESTRA NOT TO REPEAT A SECTION OF
MUSIC BUT DURING THE PERFORMANCE HE WENT BACK TO THAT POINT, BUT THE ORCHESTRA
DID NOT. HE STOPPED THE MUSIC
HOLLERING AT THEM "STOP, WRONG ... THAT WILL NOT DO, AGAIN! AGAIN!" ONCE HE TRIED CONDUCTING FROM THE PIANO,
AT ONE POINT JUMPING FROM THE BENCH AND KNOCKING THE CANDLES OFF, AT
ANOTHER TIME HE KNOCKED OVER A CHOIR BOY! AT ANOTHER PIECE HE JUMPED HIGH TO CUE
IN THE ORCHESTRA BUT HE HAD LOST COUNT AND IT WAS THE
b. It is very clear from these verses that not ALL will have ALL the gifts!
c. It is also clear however, that ALL will have some gift!
4. The very nature of the gifts will make the church diverse ... and strong!
a. Diversity is a strength; not a weakness!
b. Diversity strengthens the ability of the body.
c. Diversity is not a divisive force but a force that brings unity!
d. This variety of giftedness gives greater capability to the body of Christ!
5. Therefore, all gifts are to be appreciated ... though they have different functions!
a. The flashier gifts can also be good.
b. And the not so flashy gifts are good too!
c. The body of Christ is diverse and thus capable of handling a variety of things that come its way.
6. Paul ends this chapter with an important statement: "EAGERLY DESIRE THE GREATER GIFTS!"
a. But I thought he just said that no one gift is greater than the others!??
b. So what does this mean then?
c. Simply this: THE BEST GIFT IS THE ONE THAT IS NEEDED AT THAT MOMENT ... AND THIS MIGHT MEAN A DIFFERENT GIFT AT DIFFERENT TIMES FOR DIFFERENT NEEDS!
(1. For instance, if someone needs healing the “Gift of healing” would be the “Best gift” ... not tongues!
(2. If an important decision needed to be made by the church the “Gift of wisdom” would be the best gift, not healing!
d. In this sense the gifts are all equal ... but not equally needed at the same time for different situations!
e. It is important not to look for what we want but for what is needed!
7. The Holy Spirit will truly equip the church for everything it needs! We must be available however to be used!
CONCLUSION: The Holy Spirit equips us with gifts to bless and benefit the entire church. The gifts are not given for personal exaltation but for corporate edification! The gifts are not badges of spiritual superiority; they are practical ways God's Spirit builds up the body of Christ! The entire purpose of the gifts is to edify or build up the church, not just to tickle our fancy! There is great diversity within the body of Christ, yet one body! Thank God He equips us to grow together!