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One Body… Many Parts

On the Team

Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church

(4/21) Today we are continuing in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 and we are going to be studying the various gifts or ways in which the Holy Spirit would empower and enable us to do the ministry of Jesus. That’s what we are talking about as the body of Christ. You and I, each one of us together, replicating the works of Jesus. So we’re continuing on with the ministry of Jesus. We’re on the same team. That’s what it means to be a Christian. It’s following the example of Jesus, being filled by the same spirit… being participants on the same mission of loving and serving people and using whatever abilities we have for building up of the Church and benefiting our town. That’s what it’s all about.

It’s NOT about just coming and taking a seat every week. We are participants. We’re on the team. Not one of us is an arm hanging limply at the side. No one of us is a mouth that can’t speak. No one is a knee that won’t bend and do its part. All of us are in full-time ministry. It’s not about whether we’re paid or not. What I mean is that every one of us is called to live a life that serves Jesus. So if you’re a mom, part of your ministry, is taking care of your kids. If you’re a carpenter, swinging a hammer is part of your ministry, being a good employee is part of your ministry. But the remainder of your time whatever it is you’re doing, is just another avenue by which you and I have the opportunity to serve the Lord…. to represent Him… and to do it in such a way that Jesus is honored and people are served.

That being said, as we get into the gifts that Christ gave to the Church, you’re going to see spiritual gifts… extraordinary… supernatural gifts… and let me just toss this out there as a way of introduction… God is the same yesterday, today and forever. God can and still does do healings, miracles, and extraordinary things. One of the cool things about being God is that you get to do whatever you want. That’s just by definition sort of what it means to be God. That’s what the psalmist says,

"Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him" (Psalms 115:3)

So to say, "God can’t do that." Well, yes he can. He can heal... He can do a miracle... He can do whatever he wants. He’s free to do or not do… just as he determines. That’s part of what it means to be the sovereign. You get to do what you want to do. That is why the Psalmist said, "I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord" (Psalms 71:16).

And so as we get into the Word of God today, we will read through the glasses… we’ll focus through the lenses… that say that God is free to do whatever God wants to do.

1 Corinthians 12:4-11

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.


1. Same God

Beginning in Verse 4, the Apostle Paul describes the Trinitarian character of God… the Sovereign Lord… the one who is the giver of the gifts. Paul says... "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," that’s God the Father, who "works all of them in all men."

Here’s what the Holy Spirit is telling us. When you become a Christian, the entire Trinity was paying attention to you personally. And that is so amazing because God’s busy… He has got a lot going on… but God actually pays attention to you. And the Bible tells us here that God, the Father, says… "I want to give them this gift. I have something important for them to do. I’m going to put them in this town. I’m going to put them in this church and they’re going to serve me… they’re going to help these people… so I need them to have this gift… a supernatural gift.

And so the Holy Spirit comes and gives you this gift and all of a sudden you have the ability to do ministry like Jesus. God the father is honored because the Holy Spirit has now empowered you to do that thing that God the Father has for you to do. Now your whole life is re-directed to serving Jesus, your passion is to live your life like Jesus and to continue the ministry of Jesus. And so we see the whole Trinity is involved in the giving of our gifts.

So Paul says that God the father, God the Son, and God the Spirit determine which gifts are given. Verse 11 says… "He gives them to each one, just as he determines." So, if God gave you the gift of helping others… If He gave you the gift of service or whatever it is embrace it. Embrace God’s gift because that is what he has chosen for you…. that’s what needs to be done… and as you serve in that capacity you’ll find yourself serving effectively… you’ll have joy because people will be blessed, and the church will be better, because you’re doing your part.

2. Different Ways

So you and I just need to accept the fact that God loves us and what he has asked of us is something very important… and that he gave each of us a gift... different kinds of gifts… different kinds of service… different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in each of us. And if God gives you a gift, receive it, embrace it, and serve God… serve the body of Christ with your gift.

Now today I want to share about the gifts and in verse 8 Paul writes, "To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom…" This gift is the ability to have insight into people and situations that is not obvious to the average person. It is the ability to not only see, but also to apply the principles of God’s word to the practical matters of life. Called the "Spirit of wisdom" in Ephesians 1:17, its knowing what to do with money, sex, friendship, marriage, kids, or whatever. You could be a group leader, a teacher, counselor, someone who can give advice… someone to direct people... if you have the gift of wisdom, you’re a great blessing, and a benefit to the church.

In addition, there is the gift of knowledge. This is a supernatural insight into what the Bible says about God, about Christ, and God's will. The message of knowledge has to do with the application of God’s Word. Now I for one have a hard time memorizing Scripture. I read it and I forget it. Others read books and they can tell you the author, the outline of every major chapter, quote the highlights off the top of their head. They just remember stuff. But not so with me, however I’ll be teaching and verses will come to mind… quotes will come to mind... and God is the one who does this. Its just as Jesus said in John 14:26, "the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."

So the purpose of spiritual gifts is so that we may be a healthier, more functional church that looks, acts, and sounds more and more like Jesus. And Paul writes in verse 9, "to another faith by the same Spirit" not saving faith, but faith that will help or benefit your local church. It may be a special gift of faith for a particular need. It may be that "mountain moving faith," that will bring about a great move of God. The gift of faith is the ability to envision what needs to be done and to trust God to accomplish it, even though it seems impossible.

These are people who continually have the theme from Rocky playing in their head. They just believe it can happen! They’re like the battery pack that jump starts everybody else in the church. They’re the cheerleaders for Jesus. It doesn’t matter if we’re down by 74 points and there’s 3 seconds on the clock. God could still show up. It could happen! It’s that kind of faith that gets people to dream… to step out in faith… because things could be different… because the Holy Spirit is here.

And verse 9… to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit. Now "gifts" and "healing" are both plural in the Greek, meaning that God distributes each healing as a special gift… gifts given to the body of Christ… given to you and I… given to those who have the faith to believe that God answers prayers and that he can and does heal people. But it’s not a gift given to that person… its a gift given through that person, so that God receives all the glory. Gifts of healing is a sign that God uses to reveal his power to people so that many will come to believe in Jesus. The point of healing is not just that people would be physically well, but they would be completely well… so that they would see Jesus and his ability as our Great Physician to heal the whole person.

Verse 10 says, "to another miraculous powers…" This is the ability to call on God to do the supernatural. This is where God shows up in some miraculous way and there is no explanation other than… it’s just God. And maybe you’ve never seen one. That’s because miracles are, by definition, things that don’t happen very often. If they happened all the time, we’d call them Tuesday, right? That’s not a miracle… that’s Tuesday… but miracles are unusual… they don’t happen all the time.

People with the gift of miracles see God show up in miraculous ways… People with this gift expect signs and wonders... You see we don’t chase signs, wonders... we chase Jesus… we want to follow Jesus, love Jesus, obey Jesus, get close to Jesus and as we pursue Jesus miracles follow us. The Bible says this in Marks Gospel:

"These signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well" (Mark 16:17-18).

So God the father did miracles through Jesus and today as we continue as Christians, as the body of Christ, sometimes God shows up and does miraculous through us, too.

…to another prophecy. This is a gift where one is inspired by the Spirit to give God's message to the people. It is a gift that is available to all believers. Acts 2:17 says, "In the last days, God says,

I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy." What is often called Peter's "sermon" on the Day of Pentecost was not a sermon as we know a sermon to be. Rather, it was a manifestation of the gift of prophecy. Peter stood up and spoke out spontaneously by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Prophecy is a word from the Lord that touches our hearts, reveals secrets, brings conviction, encourages us, and leads us into worship and action.

Then… to another distinguishing between spirits. Sometimes the Bible speaks of the human spirit as well as the spirit of the devil and demon spirits. This gift will distinguish between them. 1 John 4:1 says, "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." The spiritual gift of discernment is the ability to quickly perceive whether people, things, ideas, events are from God or Satan.

Can you read a book, meet a person, or hear a teacher and immediately sense when there is demonic presence or activity? This is a gift to guard the church, protecting it from false teachers, unrepentant sinners, and all forms of evil. It’s a gift to protect the whole church.

And to another speaking in different kinds of tongues… there is variety in this gift and it will be expressed in different languages, but it is not gibberish or nonsense syllables. It involves communication, for by it we speak to God… so speaking in tongues, often called "prayer language" edifies only the individual. So tongues are important in our individual worship and prayer for in that experience we actually collaborate with God... we partner with the Divine mind seeking the things of God.

The Bible says in Romans 8:26-27, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."

And the last gift listed here… "to still another the interpretation of tongues." You see when people speak in tongues we utter mysteries, and spiritual truths that have been revealed by God in His Word. When interpreted, tongues like prophecy is a spontaneous, Spirit-led message that strengthens the church, builds us up spiritually, confirms our faith, encourages us, and comforts us. Paul says in chapter 14, "I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue." (1 Corinthians 14:18-19). In other words, if there is no interpretation we should speak forth in the assembly only that which edifies others.

So Paul lays out these nine gifts… not that they are the only ones… but they’re just examples of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit's concern is that every believer would use their spiritual gift, not for their own benefit, but for the body, for the church. It is His purpose that all of us "in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ" (Ephesians 4:15).

3. For the Common Good

And so the Apostle Paul goes on in Verse 7 to say, "Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good." The Holy Spirit gives us each a spiritual gift to serve others. To bless others. To benefit others. So that the whole church, he says in 1 Corinthians 14, would be edified… that the whole church would be built up. God gives each born again believer a gift… the Holy Spirit is in you who believe and the spiritual gift that has been given to help you serve. So if you teach, you teach and other people learn. If you’re in encourager, you encourage and other people grow. If you’re an administrator, you help us organize the church. Whatever the capacity God has given you, he has sent you here on divine mission with important things to do and we need you and we all need each other to become the church God has called us to be. So we’re all in this thing together and we each have our part to play.

And so if you’re a Christian and you’re here, every one of you is here on divine appointment, most certainly by God. I want to get to know you, to plug you in, so that you have an effective, efficient and meaningful place to serve, so that the city and the church are blessed by you and that you are blessed by others in the church, as we all work together for the common good.

And so, when we speak of church, we’re speaking of a community of people doing life together around the person and the work of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Bible. We are unified around the Gospel… we are coming together with one mind… and so when it comes to spiritual gifts… to supernatural gifts that the Holy Spirit gives you to serve the church, the most important thing is to start with Jesus. Because if at any point we pursue ministry or spiritual gifts or service apart from Jesus, we end up getting in all kinds of trouble.

And so I’ll close with this. It really is all about Jesus. Today we celebrate and give praise to Jesus Christ… that we have faith in Jesus. That today we have been saved as a miracle through Jesus and now we are able to know, love, serve, follow, worship, obey, adore, and follow Jesus.

Read past sermons by Pastor John Talcott

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