I Corinthians 12.
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.
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.
4 ¶ Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 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:
11 but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
12 ¶ For as the body is one, and hath many members and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13 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.
14 ¶ For the body is not one member, but many.
15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
23 and those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked:
25 that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.
27 ¶ Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
30 have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
31 But covet earnestly the best gifts.
¶ And yet show I unto you a more excellent way.
I Corinthians 13.
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling 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, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 ¶ Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 ¶ Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Bestowed on every believer to serve the church. The difference between natural abilities and spiritual gifts are in the results. Teaching spiritually goes beyond facts and understanding, to the heart – feeling a desire to follow Christ's way. To help the growth, education, and maturing of the church.
There are service gifts – giving of time, compassion, money, showing mercy, and forgiveness. Also, gifts of teaching, prophecy, and preaching the Gospel, as well as gifts for special signs to manifest the power of God – healing miracles, and tongues. The latter are not for everybody to exercise in any and every circumstance. If you are in tune with the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts take care of themselves. The whole point of gifts is to benefit others.
The guide is the human body – one body, one spirit. All work together for the common good. Comparing and any resulting jealousy has no place. All contribute to the growth and maturity of each local assembly of members of Christ's Body.
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
Cancer cells are said to work only for their own benefit, not the benefit of the body. Therefore, these cells are destructive to the body. Some people do the same within the church.
Worship leads to service, which is possible through the gifts of the Spirit. We must not think too highly of ourselves – all are saved sinners, only by God's grace and mercy. You may minister to the church through the same areas of natural (God given) talent or ability – or you may not. We are to use God's gifts for God's glory as we have accepted God's grace, so that God's greatest Gift to us, His Son, may be glorified.
A church should not function as a local spiritual filling station, so that its members can limp along through another week. All worship must lead to and energize service towards others.
No scripture urges believers to look for their spiritual gifts. If we sit around and wait for God to show us our gifts, we will receive nothing. Gifts are revealed through service. If we get busy serving, the Spirit's gifts will be revealed. If we have a ministry, we will be equipped for it. Spiritual gifts are given to minister to the spiritual Body of Christ.
Two obvious principles: 1. failure to serve will greatly limit a believer's experience of the power of the Holy Spirit and the joy that it brings. 2. if we do serve others, we will experience the help and influence of the Spirit, bringing skill and joy in the work. We should seek for the task God wants us to take on. He will give us what we need to accomplish it. If we choose a task, or others choose it for us, and there is no success, then another area of service should be sought.
The point is: when the task is right, God's gifts will be given. Seeking gifts first is backwards and fruitless. When we seek to help someone and are successful, then we know that God has blessed our effort and that shows us our gift.
The greatest motivation comes from spending time with Jesus, contemplating the great things He has done for each of us, thinking about the greatness of His Person – the Son of God, Who spoke all things into existence, Who holds all things together, Who is building and maturing His church, and Who intercedes for us with the Father. Jesus is the One Who cares for each of us and Who will call us to be with Him and the Father through all eternity in the new heavens and new earth. It will be a place without sin or tears – there will be only peace and joy and praise to the Father through the Son by the Spirit of grace and truth, forever.
This article was written by my father T.O.D. Johnston, who was licensed to preach the Gospel by Paran Baptist Church in Lake City, SC, on May 26, 1979. He has been a student of Scripture since 1972. Be sure to visit the author's full list of Bible Study Lessons by book for all of his free lessons.