Thanks for joining me again as God seeks to inspire His Body, the Body of Christ, to activate the gifts He has given for such a time as this. To the newcomers, welcome to this series where we have been using the passage from 1 Corinthians 12 verses 4-11 to shed some light on the spiritual gifts. In parts 2 & 3 (Arise, Shine!! (Part 2); Arise, Shine!! (Part 3) we have answered the following 6 questions:
- What are these gifts (charismas)?
- Where do the gifts come from?
- Who are gifts given to?
- Why are the gifts given?
- Who decides who gets which gift(s)?
- If I receive the same gift as you will it manifest in the same way?
Today, we want to answer the 7th and final question. As we launch into it, I want us to reflect on the nature of a gift.
What do we know about gifts?
- For a gift to be a true gift it cannot be earned. It is free.
- You do not receive a true gift based on how good or bad you are.
- The giving of the gift is the free choice of the giver of the gift.
- The giver of the gift intends to bring happiness (blessing) to the receiver.
All of these characteristics of gifts apply to our spiritual gifts except for the last one. This is a reminder to us that God doesn’t think as the world thinks. There is a difference between how the kingdom of God operates and how this world operates and perceives things. This is why we are told we are not to be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2). Followers of Christ are supposed to have a different culture from the world in which we find ourselves. We are here to change the world not to blend in with it. This brings us to question 7.
7. The spiritual gifts we receive are for who?
We have the answer in verse 7 of our study passage.
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: (1 Cor. 12:7, NKJV)
This means we are not given spiritual gifts to hoard and to use for our own benefit or to make money from it. There are Christians right now who are charging people to give them a prophetic word from God, to receive healing, to receive deliverance. The Lord’s word tells us plainly, freely you have received freely give.
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. (Mt. 10:8)
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. (1 Cor. 2:12)
And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. (Rev. 22:17)
Let us remember who these gifts belong to. We did not get them in our own power and we cannot operate them in our own power. Those who are acting in opposition to God’s will concerning the gifts they have received are not operating under the influence of Holy Spirit but under the influence of Satan. The Word tells us plainly that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. And charging people in need for what has been freely given of God is both idolatry and rebellion. Those people need to know that God has said that “because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you” (1 Sam. 15:23b). That wasn’t even in my notes but God’s heart is grieved and I could go no further until I express His heart. For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God (1 Pet. 4:17).
The gifts are for ministry to others. Both believers and unbelievers but mainly the latter. It is through the manifestation of the gifts that they will know that God is alive and He will be glorified. We see the example of Jesus doing just this with the Samaritan woman at the well as through the anointing of the Spirit He operated in the gift of the word of knowledge, she believed and began to glorify God and witness to others (John 4:16-29).
The answer to question 7 also gives us some clue as to why, in 2 Timothy 1:6, Paul felt it important to remind Timothy to “stir up” the gift that was in him. “Stir up” is from the Greek word anazopureo meaning to re-enkindle. The Oxford Lexicon dictionary defines re-enkindle as ‘to set alight again; to relight’. This is the only place in scripture where this word appears. This was a reminder to Timothy that he must continually be doing those things that would cause his spiritual gifts to be always alight. This means that if we do not put effort into stirring up our gifts the flame can go out (the anointing of the fire of the Holy Spirit departs) and the persons who are dying in this lost and dark world will have none to bring the life and the light of God to them to deliver them out of their darkness, out of their prison, out of their captivity. We too, who have received the gifts and don’t keep the fire of the anointing going, will also be overrun by the power of Satan and his kingdom. Why are there so many sick, so many bound, so many burdened in the Body of Christ? Think on these things.
We are expected to operate with humility concerning the gifts that God has bestowed upon us. We are not to become puffed up and boastful about the gifts we have received and compare ourselves with others.
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. (Phil. 2:3)
Did you ever consider why God has not given all of the spiritual gifts to any one individual? God purposely does not give any one person all of the gifts because He wants us to need one another, to be dependent on each other. Even as the parts of our physical body have different functions but must act in unity for it to function effectively, so must the members of the Body of Christ function in unity, each taking up his/her calling in God, if the Body of Christ is to take back territory for God. This is another reason why it is important that we “stir up” our gifts. Please read 1 Corinthians 12:14-27 and Romans 12:5. Therefore, if any member of the Body of Christ determines not to function in their calling, the whole Body suffers and is made to function less powerfully than God intended. This is exactly what is happening throughout the Body of Christ. God told me that the world is a reflection of the condition of the church. A dying world means a dying church. The clarion call is being sent out through His prophets, “Arise, Shine!” you who have been called to be the light of the world, “Arise, shine and fan into flame the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to you for such a time as this. Do the works of Him who has called you while it is still day, for the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4).
Please join me next week as we see how we “stir up” our gifts.