Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 27-31
Preacher: Rev Kevin Kim
In this sermon Kevin explores how God has blessed us with different gifts – both natural and spiritual gifts – to be used to help others and further God’s mission and will encourage us to discover and use their gifts.
As we moving through second Sunday of ‘Gifts of God’ program, I invite you to think of ‘using our spiritual gifts for the God’s glory’ as we learn from 1 Corinthians 12. The Corinthian church had many problems, difficulties, division and arguments. There was confusion about marriage, food sacrificed to idols, worship, the Lord’s Supper and the Resurrection. In particular, some people thought they were more important than others because they had some spectacular gifts. In this morning’s chapter 12 Paul specifically addressed these issues.
This chapter starts, in verse one,
“Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant.” Spiritual gift is a topic that is too important for believers to be uninformed about.
What are spiritual gifts? They are divine abilities distributed by the Holy Spirit to every believer according to God’s design and grace for the common good of the Body of Christ, the Church.
There is a difference between natural abilities and spiritual gifts.
- God gave you natural gifts as he formed you in the womb. You developed your natural abilities as your mother and father taught you, as you got your education and learned a job skill. It took you years to prefect and yet you still learn.
2. When you accepted Christ, the Holy Spirit gave you at least one spiritual gift. We would break that down into two categories:
a. At Pentecost, people heard witness each in his or her own language. There were times when the early Christians preformed miracles. Occasionally, we hear of such events today but that happens far less often than in the early days of Christianity.
b. Today, Spiritual gifts are given but, just as with natural gifts, you must sharpen them by studying the Word, by coming to church, Sunday school, Bible study, prayer and by putting them to use.
If you were to add up Paul’s list of distinct spiritual gifts, you would come up with about 20. You will find lists of these gifts in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4 and 1 Peter 4. However, there are many more. (each scripture in slides)
We must realize that our gifts are different, individual. Verses 4-6, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.”
A. The key word in this passage is the word “different.” We must respect others gifts especially if they are different from ours.
Let me illustrate. At our upcoming dessert night S, suppose someone drops a plate full of dessert on the floor.
• Gift of prophecy: “That’s what happens when you’re not careful.”
• Gift of service: “Oh, let me help you clean it up.”
• Gift of teaching: “The reason that it fell was because it was too heavy on one side.”
• Gift of giving: “Here, you can have my dessert.”
• Gift of mercy: “Don’t feel too bad. It could have happened to anyone.”
• Gift of administration: “Phil, would you get the mop? Kevin, please help pick this up. Heather, could you get him another dessert?”
We are called to do life in COMMUNITY. We are CREATED and CALLED to come together as ONE. But what does it mean to be a community that comes together as one?
We CLAIM we want diversity. We CLAIM we want to be different. But the truth is we really like to be like others. We are naturally drawn towards sameness.
However, SAMENESS doesn’t add life or strength. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
“Unity without diversity would produce uniformity, and uniformity tends to produce death. Life is a balance between unity and diversity. As a human body weakens, its “systems” slow down and everything tends to become uniform. The ultimate, of course, is that the body itself turns to dust.”
(Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary(Vol. 1, p. 609).
UNIFORMITY tends to produce death. UNIFORMITY decreases the strength and value of anything.
WE ARE NOT STRONGER WHEN WE ARE ALL THE SAME. S WE ARE STRONGER WHEN WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT.
One sermon on this passage I read this week had this title – S WHEN WE ARE ALL TOGETHER DIFFERENT, WE ARE MORE THAN THE SUM OF OUR PARTS.
It’s our nature to look at the differences, determine some to be better than others and to then pursue the ‘more important’ positions and to dismiss those in the ‘less important’ positions.
So, this little community of Jesus followers in Corinth is struggling with the whole difference thing and the whole “whose most important” issue. And as Paul writes this letter to them to help them navigate these issues, he begins to explain the power of differences.
Paul understands that those differences don’t divide us. Those differences actually bring us together as ONE and make us STRONGER.
Then he says this…
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
I Corinthians 12:12-14
In helping them work through their “differences” he goes to one of the best examples from everyday life that he can find. S Something every one of us can relate to. THE HUMAN BODY.
“The body,” Paul says, “is made up of many parts. And every part has a role to play. And every part needs ever other part. And if the whole body were the same part, it wouldn’t be the body.”
If you take the time to read the rest of the part of his letter he goes on and on about how all these different parts coming together are better than any one part. And how the whole thing fails if each part doesn’t show up and play its rule.
Paul is saying,
Now you are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of it.
I Corinthians 12:27
WE – collectively – are the BODY OF CHRIST. And YOU – individually – are each a part of it.
WE – as a community of ONE – are the BODY OF CHRIST. Paul stays on that theme of a body. The church is called to be the BODY… the PHYSICAL REPRESENTATION… the HANDS AND FEET of Jesus in our world.
But a lot of churches do not function properly. I often think the BODY of CHRIST not fully functioning, because we don’t each use our gifts, talents, skills, abilities, passions, to serve the church and to serve the world through the church. S
• YOU have gifts and abilities
• YOU have skills
• YOU have talents
• YOU have passions
And every one of those can be use in all of their differences to create a COMMUNITY OF ONE that changes our world.
• – Have leadership skills and use them to lead in our church
• technical skills and tend to be bulldogs about solving problems. The keep our sound/tech/online ministries
• – great organizational skills and people skills.
• – lead Sunday school and helping / Night church
• – Worship Team
I could go on and on and on (I know I didn’t mention everyone). All of these different parts help make the BODY WORK. And that’s just a few people/areas. And then imagine what happens we take those gifts, skills, talents, abilities, passions out of the church into our neighbourhoods and served our friends and neighbours.
But we Turramurra Uniting Church use our gifts a lot for the glory of God. As our medium, large size we are doing a lot. I just want to encourage all of you a little bit more to spend, challenge
God has gifted you and now He wants to use you. Do not allow yourself to think you do not matter. Everybody is somebody in the Body of Christ. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.
Using your gift will intensify your love of God, your church and yourself. One of the lessons we can learn from the church at Corinth is that having spiritual gifts does not necessarily make you spiritual.
What is in your gift? Use what you have been given.
Allow the Holy Spirit to blow into your life and lead you into some exciting serving opportunities. There is no gift without a corresponding service or ministry. Amen.