Okay, this sermon could potentially get me in trouble I suppose.  But I believe it is the Scriptural teaching concerning Spiritual gifts.  This is the sermon for Sunday November 22nd 2009.

Faith Foundations part 7

Concerning Spiritual gifts


Now of all subjects that we are going to cover in this series, this one is the most controversial in church circles.  Many churches and denominations all have opinions concerning spiritual gifts, and yes they do vary pretty strongly.

Well, one of the benefits of being a non-denominational church is we truly don’t want to look so much toward the teaching of men concerning spiritual gifts, but the teaching of Scripture.  So that is what this sermon is all about.

I would encourage everyone to write down the Scripture passages that I will use, and study these yourself and pray that the Holy Spirit will give you the proper interpretation behind what His intent is in spiritual gifts.

Now before we get into it, let’s look at a couple of Scriptures that deal with the promise and the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:8 ESV – But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.


Now the context of Jesus statement here is He is fixing to ascend to heaven, and the disciples are gathered around.  He prophesies of the coming of the Holy Spirit, and that when He comes, they would receive power and be witnesses.

Now let’s look at the Spirit’s coming ten days later.


Acts 2:1-11 ESV – 1When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”


Let’s look at a few things listed here:

  • The Holy Spirit came upon them suddenly, like a violent wind.
  • The appearance of tongues of fire separated and came to rest on them.
  • They were all filled with the Holy Spirit.
  • They began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
  • These tongues at this time were human languages of the surrounding countries that the Jews and proselytes there for the festival of Pentecost were from.
  • They were declaring the wonders of God in these other languages.

Now before we go further, I want to ask one more question that I think we can find an answer from Scripture:  Is all tongue speaking today beyond the Acts 2 experience languages of men?

Well, let’s look.

1 Corinthians 13:1 ESV – If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.


Here Paul’s beginning his argument of love being the motivation for spiritual gifts; he mentions human and angelic tongues.

So based on this passage, I do believe that some tongues spoken are human, some are angelic, but in both cases it is unlearned, unknown to the speaker type of tongues that the Spirit enables the believer to speak.

We will cover tongues more just a little later, but now let’s begin looking into the subject of spiritual gifts.

What are spiritual gifts?

Wayne Grudem, in his book, “Bible Doctrines,” gives in my opinion the best and simplest definition of spiritual gifts:  “A spiritual gift is any ability that is empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in any ministry of the church.”

Spiritual gifts are not natural talents and abilities that you and I were born with.  These are abilities solely given by the Holy Spirit as He determines.

1 Corinthians 12:11 ESV – All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

What are the purposes behind Spiritual gifts?

1 Peter 4:10-11 ESV – 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong  glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.


  • The first purpose for Spiritual gifts is that we may serve one another.
  • The second purpose is that that God may be praised and glorified through Jesus Christ.
  • Next, the gifts of the spirit are given for the common good.

1 Corinthians 12:7 ESV – To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.


  • To bring unity and equal concern to the body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:25 ESV – that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.


  • To edify (build up) the church.

1 Corinthians 14:4b ESV – … the one who prophesies builds up the church.


  • What should be the motivation behind the use of spiritual gifts?

1 Corinthians 14:1a ESV – Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts.


  • The Motivation should be love:  Love for God; love for the church; and love for the sinner.

What spiritual gifts are listed in Scripture?

1 Corinthians 12:8-10 ESV – 8For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.


1 Corinthians 12:8-10:

  • Utterance of wisdom.
  • Utterance of knowledge.
  • Faith.
  • Gifts of healing.
  • Miraculous powers.
  • Prophecy.
  • Distinguishing between spirits.
  • Speaking in various kinds of tongues.
  • Interpretation of tongues.

Ephesians 4:11 ESV – And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds (pastors) and teachers.


Ephesians 4:11:

  • Apostles.
  • Prophets.
  • Evangelists.
  • Pastors (Shepherds)/teachers.

1 Peter 4:11a ESV – whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies.


1 Peter 4:11a:

  • Those who speak.
  • Those who serve.

Romans 12:6-8 ESV – 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.


Romans 12:6-8:

  • Prophesy.
  • Serving.
  • Teaching.
  • Encouraging or exhorting.
  • Giving or contributing.
  • Leading (administration).
  • Showing mercy.

1 Corinthians 7:7-9 ESV – 7 I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.  8To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. 9But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

1 Corinthians 7:7-9:

  • Celebacy (staying single or unmarried).
  • Marriage.

Should we seek and desire specific spiritual gifts?

1 Corinthians 12:31 ESV – Earnestly desire the higher gifts.


1 Corinthians 14:1a ESV – Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts.


Have any of the gifts ceased?

1 Corinthians 13:8-12 ESV – 8Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.


Now many people use this passage for the belief that tongues, prophesy, and knowledge have passed away.  Well, this does state that they will pass away, but it also gives a time.

When the perfect comes.” Some translations translate this as, That which is perfect,” or, “When perfection comes.” Are we living in perfection?  Does this verse mean the Bible is the “perfect” that was supposed to come as some may state.

Well, let’s let the passage interpret itself for us.

First, it uses the analogy of a child growing up.  Think of it this way.  We will always be children in this life.  Always growing, always maturing in Christ.  But one day we will be completely mature.  When?   Not in this life, but when we see Him face to face.

Notice verse 12: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

So all spiritual gifts will one day cease:  When?  When we see Jesus face to face; all sin, sickness and death will be completely done away with and all that remains is faith, hope, and love.

Now let’s cover a very controversial subject, but we will only deal with it briefly, just letting the Scripture speak to us.

Do you have to speak in tongues to operate in any of the other gifts?

Many denominations, churches, and backgrounds, say you do.  My background and former denomination taught me that as well.

Well, what does Scripture say?


1 Corinthians 12:11 ESV – All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

  • The Holy Spirit is the one who distributes and determines the gifts each one is to receive.

1 Corinthians 12:12-13 ESV – 12For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.


  • In Christ we are one body, but this body is made up of many parts.  Each part has its own specific function, and each one of us has our own specific gifts given by the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:27-30 ESV – 27Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?


  • Here Paul lists a few of the different gifts God has given the church.
  • Next he asked rhetorical questions.  Every time in Scripture a rhetorical question is asked, the answer is always a no.  It is called, “The rhetorical no.”

Looking at the text, to me it is quite clear that not all will speak in tongues.  Some will make a distinction between tongues in Acts and tongues in 1 Corinthians, but that is a man made distinction; the scriptures do not make such a distinction.


We really only scratched the surface of spiritual gifts.

What should be our response?

  • First know that God desires to gift you with spiritual gifts.
  • Begin to pray and ask for them, desire them; be specific in the gifts you want.
  • Remember, it is the Holy Spirit that gives the gifts and determines the gift that you will receive.
  • Joyfully receive any gift He gives you.