This past Sunday at Ephesus in part 7 of our series “Supernatural” we looked at 6 of the gifts given by the Holy Spirit that Paul lists in 1 Corinthians 12. While Paul does not elaborate on each gift specifically, except for prophecy, tongues and interpretation of tongues, we can see how they function in the life of Jesus and other early Christians in the bible. I briefly described each one this past Sunday, but wanted to specifically add Scripture references so you could dig into each gift yourself. Always, at Ephesus, we encourage you to study the bible for yourself. Preaching is good for instruction, but it is the starting point of your own time in Scripture wrestling with theology and doctrine for yourself. That way we are all better prepared and gain an even deeper love for Jesus as we see Him revealed in His Word. So here we go, some spiritual gift action:
1. Word of Wisdom-1 Corinthians 12:8
- The ability to apply biblical truth to situations and people’s lives so Godly choices are made and foolish mistakes are avoided
- Luke 2:40-52: Jesus was filled with wisdom and grew in wisdom so that the scholars of the day were amazed “at his understanding
- Mark 6:2-his wisdom is very evident as he teaches and the people were “astonished.” It’s also interesting to note that Mark equates this wisdom to the “mighty works” Jesus was doing. Wisdom and the supernatural works of God go hand-in-hand
- Deuteronomy 34:9-Joshua was full of the spirit of wisdom. Here we see the Holy Spirit at work in the Old Testament in the life of one of the greatest, most courageous leaders of the Jewish people.
2. Word of Knowledge-1 Corinthians 12:8
- The ability to read, remember and make effective use of the information they gather to bring others to a deeper understanding of Jesus
- A combination of biblical knowledge and a deep understanding of the nature of God with common sense and cultural understanding to bring others to a practical understanding of Jesus
- The gift of the knowledge is sometimes confused with the gift of prophecy. Having a prophetic word for someone’s life (as seen in Acts 21:10-11) is sometimes mistakenly called a “word of knowledge.”
- These are obviously two distinct gifts as evident in their separate listing in this passage and also Paul’s specific focus on prophecy in 1 Corinthians 14
- 2 Timothy 2:15-“rightly dividing the word of truth.” Using the gift of knowledge to bring deep understanding of Scripture to the world
- Acts 4:13-The Sanhedrin recognized a deep understanding of Scripture as Peter and John used the Old Testament to show them Jesus was the Messiah. They acknowledged these were uneducated men, therefore we see the gift of knowledge at work
3. Gift of Faith-1 Corinthians 12:9
- Supernatural ability to see the enormous plans of God and believe God to accomplish them even when many others may not
- These folks dream big, pray big and believe big because they’re gifted to have faith that God really is God.
- Acts 6:5-8- Stephen was full of faith and did great signs and wonders
- Ultimately his deep faith led him to be the first Christian martyr after preaching an incredible sermon on the truth of Jesus in Acts 7.
- Many people of faith are listed in Hebrews 11
- Luke 1:26-38-After being told she would have a child (even though she was a virgin) who is the Son of God, Mary’s response is to worship because of her faith in the word of the angel. That’s some serious faith!
4. Gift of Healing- 1 Corinthians 12:9
- The ability to call on God to heal the sick through supernatural means so that God is revealed
- Matthew 4:23-24 speaks of the many healings Jesus performed
- Matthew 10:1-the Apostles had the gift of healing
- Acts 5:14-16-Peter heals many, sometimes when only his shadow falls on them!
- James 5:13-16-The elders of the church are directed to lay hands on and pray for the sick so that God might heal them
5. Gift of Miracles-1 Corinthians 12:10
- The ability to call on God to do supernatural acts that reveal His power
- John 20:30-31-Jesus did many miracles so that we would believe he is the Son of God
- Acts 6:8-Stephen did great works, or miracles
- Acts 19:11-God “worked unusual miracles” through Paul in Ephesus. And we all know what happened there!
- In the life of Moses, Elijah and Elisha many miracles occurred. My personal favorite is Elijah and the false prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel in 1 Kings 18!
6. Gift of Discernment-1 Corinthians 12:10
- The supernatural ability to perceive whether people, events or beliefs are from God or Satan
- As evident by my rant on Sunday, this one is so important to me.
- Matthew 4:1-11 Jesus discerns the presence of Satan
- Luke 22:31-Jesus discerns Satan’s influence on Peter and prays for it to be broken. Encouraging to note is that Peter would go on to be an incredible leader of the early church.
- 1 John 4-John’s exhortation to discern and test the spirits to know what is from God
- Acts 16:16-18-Paul discerns the demonic work in the divinations of a young girl and prays for the bondage to be broken. What’s really fun is he and Silas are then thrown into prison for destroying her “handlers” financial livelihood. Tarot card reading is nothing new…
What needs to be repeated is that these gifts are still fully available and active today. As Christians, we should pursue the continued infilling of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:15-19) and the gifts that he chooses to bestow on us. The purpose then of using these gifts is that through their supernatural work, others will be led to Jesus. Not us, but Jesus will be lifted up. Good times!