Bible Study on Spiritual Gifts and How you Can be Empowered by Them
This Bible study is about spiritual gifts, their importance and how you can be empowered by them.
The Greatest Spiritual Gift is the Holy Spirit
The greatest gift you will receive from God is His Spirit because it can seal you into the family of God which virtually guarantees your salvation. (II Corinthians 1:21-22, 6:18 and Ephesians 1:13). The Holy Spirit is a very personal gift to you from God. It is a portion of His very essence, mind and power with the characteristics of the divine nature that He passes on to you creating you in His image. The Holy Spirit is a gift of immeasurable value available to all who are called to salvation. Peter said, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38 NKJV). It is a down payment (earnest) on eternal life in God's Kingdom (II Corinthians 1:22 and 5:5).
Fruit of the Spirit Result From Receiving This Gift
Having the Holy Spirit and knowing what it means should fill you with love for God and bring you great happiness and peace of mind that results in patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance being perfected in you. These are the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). The fruit of this great gift do not appear immediately in their mature form. They are developed as you interact with God through prayer, study and fasting, and through interaction with others (especially those in the Body of Christ), until you come to perfection in the fullness of the stature of Christ (Ephesians 4:13). It takes time for these attributes of God to be developed in to the extent that they motivate and direct the way you behave.
The Fruit of the Spirit are a direct result of having God's Holy Spirit. God's Spirit is the greatest spiritual gift of all and is common to all who are called to salvation.
Greatest Fruit of the Spirit is Love
The love that comes as a fruit of the Spirit is not an impulsive expression of emotion, infatuation, or sickly sentimental feelings. It is a core component deep within the psyche that motivates thoughts and actions. It involves a love for God which is a deep desire to be like Him, and the love of God which is the love that God has for us extended through us to others. Such love for God fulfils the first great commandment that Christ mentioned, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38).
As you develop the fruit from having God’s Spirit it will affect the way you deal with others. Treating them gently with patience as goodness, faithfulness, meekness and temperance are perfected in you, just as God treats you. This fulfils the second great commandment, “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (verse 39). These two great commandments summarise the ten commandments of God’s universal law which define how you are to love God and your neighbours, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (verse 40).
The gift of God's Holy Spirit and the fruit that result from it are inseparable from the law of God, "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love." (John 15:8-10). Love is the fulfillment of God's law (Romans 13:8-10).
Other Spiritual Gifts Help Achieve God's Purpose
Paul spoke of spiritual gifts within the Church congregation (I Corinthians 12:1-31). He described specific purpose gifts for spreading the gospel, administering to the congregation and edifying members of the body (I Corinthians 12:5-6 and I Corinthians 14:3). Diverse gifts of that same Spirit that enable God to work in different ways through different people to achieve His will (I Corinthians 12:18 and 28). He said that these gifts are dispensed among the congregation according to the needs of that congregation, or body of Christ as a whole (Verse 27). Not everyone has the same spiritual gifts (verses 4-11).
Christ distributed Spiritual Gifts to His followers
When Jesus Christ was preparing the early Church he empowered twelve of his disciples with spiritual gifts so they could go and preach the Kingdom of God, "And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease." (Matthew 10:1 see also verse 7). He later empowered seventy more disciples to prepare the way for him, giving them the ability to perform miracles, "After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come." (Luke 10:1). And, "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you." (verse 19).
After he was resurrected Christ empowered his Apostles to preach to a mixed audience through the miracle of tongues whereby every one could hear in their own language (Acts 2:4-12). They were also given miraculous powers to heal and the gospels are full of incredible examples.
What to Do With Your Spiritual Gifts
In Romans 12 Paul admonishes you to seriously examine yourself to determine what gifts you have and use them to the best of your ability. It is not wrong to desire spiritual gifts that enable you to serve God and the brethren (I Corinthians 12:31 and 14:1). Such manifestation of the Spirit are beneficial to the individual and the congregation, "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal." (I Corinthians 12 :7). But he warns that they are to be used from the motivation of love otherwise they will not profit you at all (I Corinthians 13:1-3). They are to be used to edify, exhort and comfort the brethren (I Corinthians 14:3 and 31). How you utilise those gifts may well determine your reward (I Corinthians 3:10-15).
Not all gifts are described by Paul in I Corinthians 12 as there are other attributes to do with music and psalms that Paul does not mention that are obviously gifts. There are many gifts for edifying and encouraging others that are not specifically mentioned but are important in making the Body of Christ function harmoniously (I Corinthians 12:20-27).
Distribution of the gifts among God's people may not have been consistent throughout the history of the church. Some gifts distributed to the early church may not be appropriate for today because of prevailing attitudes or circumstances. Eventually the need for these specific purpose gifts will diminish (I Corinthians 13:8-9).
What ever your gift you should use it to as best you can, taking great joy that you are so blessed and knowing with peace of mind that you have the divine nature of God being perfected in you.
Further Recommended Reading To Help You Understand more about Spiritual Gifts will be forthcoming
Greater Works Than These (About spiritual empowerment)
Spiritual Gifts and Fruit (Defines the difference between gifts and fruit)