Home > God's Purposes, Ministry > Spiritual Gifts In the Body of Christ

Spiritual Gifts In the Body of Christ

I spoke last Sunday morning on a subject that the pastors here at Calvary Chapel Santa Cruz asked me to address. The subject is spiritual gifts within the body of Christ.

You can listen to the message by clicking here. If it doesn’t work by clicking the link, then just copy and paste it directly into your web browser address field (Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Netscape, etc.). It should work fine that way.


Here is the text of the entire message (below). Of course I add things that are not in my notes, but the gist of the message is here.

I hope you’ll listen to and pray about this study. It’s vital for the sake of Christ’s kingdom that you do so.

Thanks for reading.

In Christ,
Bill Holdridge

1 Corinthians 12:1-7
Calvary Chapel Santa Cruz
November 8, 2009


1 Corinthians 12:1-7 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: {2} You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led. {3} Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. {4} There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. {5} There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. {6} And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. {7} But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all…

This morning, I’ve been asked by the pastors to share on the subject “Spiritual Gifts within the Body of Christ,” which is the title of this message.
Here at Calvary Chapel Santa Cruz, we are heading into a season wherein we believe that the Lord will express Himself to us and through us with more of His supernatural enablements (gifts of the Holy Spirit), so teaching on the subject is necessary.

Notice once more 1 Corinthians 12:7 …but the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all… (each one receives “the manifestation of the Spirit—meaning that each believer has at least one spiritual gift or enablement). So if you’ve been thinking, “I don’t have anything to offer,” or “what use am I in the body of Christ?” you need to believe God’s Word!

You may have heard the story of Ian Usher, a British man who put his whole life up for auction online. While living in the city of Perth in W. Australia, his wife and companion of 12 years suddenly left him, and after living for a year in the house they’d shared together, he decided to move on … but how would he do that? He decided to sell his life … all of it … in a worldwide online auction, eBay style. He’d sell everything—his job, his house, his possessions. His goal? After he sold everything, his goal was to walk out the front door of his house with only a wallet and a passport, and his list of 100 goals in 100 weeks.
As he stated in his blog, Usher was wondering what his life was all about, what, if anything made it significant or worthwhile.

Sometimes it’s like that in the body of Christ. The believer can wonder about his role. The foot says to himself, “I’m not the hand, so I am not part of the body.” Or the ear thinks to himself, “I’m not an eye, so I must not be part of the body.” So that saint gives up, and decides to sort of sell his life—to sort of give up—thereby doing nothing. If that’s you, don’t go there anymore. Repent, and believe what God says about you, because it’s ultimately the only true thing that can be said about you!

The Father declares the believing sinner to be righteous, sealing or indwelling that believer with the Holy Spirit. He makes us His sons and daughters. Then the Father gives the sincere believer the spiritual power and gifts with which He (God) can express Himself to others, for their benefit. In other words, God showers us with grace in its many forms, and the result is that we live lives that matter, lives that count, lives that make some sort of an impact.

As my friend Cliff Stabler likes to say, “we are not human do-ings, we’re human be-ings.” Our identity or worth is not in what we do, yet it’s such a blessing that the King of the universe will use our lives for His glory and for others.

Remember, being used of God is a tremendous privilege and honor!

I’ve made it somewhat of a personal “hobby” to ask people about their spiritual gifts. I’ll say, “So what are your spiritual gifts?”

Many times, the person asked will not have an answer … “I dunno,” is their response to me. They either feel shy about the question, not wanting to sound inflated or egotistical, or they just don’t have any idea. Perhaps they’ve never really thought about it before, or tried to identify what the Lord has given them (by which they will be a blessing to others). I have to admit: that makes no sense to me.

What if you were a general contractor and you discovered a large box on a job site. On the outside of the box is said: The contents of this box will greatly help you and all of your crew. Open it to find out what’s inside. Maybe it’s a brand new table saw with all the bells and whistles. Or a couple of brand new nail guns. Wouldn’t you want to open it, and find out what it is?

Other times when I ask the question about their spiritual gift or gifts, they will respond something like this: “My spiritual gift is playing the guitar.” [“Sorry,” I’ll say … “but that’s not a spiritual gift.”] Or they’ll say, “I have the gift of love.” [I’ll tell them, “Love is the fruit of the Spirit, not a gift of the Spirit.”] Or perhaps “I have the gift of baking,” or some other skill or talent. [Believe me; I’m very glad for that ability!]

So as in Paul’s day, there remains much ignorance or misinformation concerning the definition and use of spiritual gifts!

So I thought we’d start this morning by reading the “gift lists” in the New Testament. Then we’ll make appropriate comments.

But first, when we think of “gifts,” we think of presents… something given to us for our use and enjoyment, like at Christmas time.

The Greek word that is used in the N.T., and translated as gift or gifts is charisma, which means a (divine) “gracing,” a (spiritual) endowment, i.e. (subj.) religious qualification, a miraculous faculty or ability (as adapted from Strong’s Dictionary).

So here are the passages … please turn to Acts 8. We’re going to be turning our pages, so get ready. We’ll go from front to back as we read them.

Relevant Scriptures

Acts 8:18-20 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!”

• The ability to lay hands on people to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit (Greek: dorean).

Romans 12:6-8 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; [7] or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; [8] he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

• Prophecy.
• Ministry.
• Teaching.
• Exhortation.
• Giving.
• Leading.
• Showing mercy.

1 Corinthians 7:7 For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.

• Singleness/celibacy

1 Corinthians 12:8-10 …for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

• Word of wisdom.
• Word of knowledge.
• Faith.
• Gifts of healings.
• Working of miracles.
• Prophecy.
• Discerning of spirits.
• Tongues.
• Interpretation of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:28-30 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?

• Apostles.
• Helps.
• Administrations.

Ephesians 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers…

• Apostles.
• Prophets.
• Evangelists.
• Pastor-teachers.

1 Peter 4:9-11 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

• Hospitality.
• Speaking.

Classifications of the Gifts

Gifts of Utterance

1. Teaching.
2. Exhortation.
3. Tongues.
4. Evangelism.
5. Speaking.

Gifts of Revelation

6. Prophecy.
7. Word of wisdom.
8. Word of knowledge.
9. Discerning of spirits.
10. Interpretation of tongues.

Gifts of Power

11. Miracles

Gifts of Ministry

12. Ministry
13. Giving
14. Leading
15. Showing mercy
16. Helps
17. Administrations
18. Hospitality
19. Singleness

Gifts of Office

20. Apostles
21. Prophets
22. Evangelists
23. Pastor-teachers

Important Things to Understand About Spiritual Gifts

Stewardship vs. Being Used At Any Time or In Any Circumstance

1 Corinthians 12:31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.

1 Corinthians 9:16-17 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! [17] For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship.

1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Some Maintain that Some of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit Are No Longer In Operation Today

These brothers and sisters are called cessationists, because they believe that certain gifts ceased at the close of the apostolic age and with the completion of the New Testament canon.

1 Corinthians 13:8-12 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. [9] For we know in part and we prophesy in part. [10] But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. [11] When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. [12] For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

1 Corinthians 1:5-7 …that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, [6] even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, [7] so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Gifts During an ‘Afterglow’ or Believer’s Meeting

Prophecy, tongues, interpretation of tongues, encouragement/exhortation, word of wisdom, word of knowledge, gifts of healings, leading, teaching, discernment of spirits, showing mercy, evangelism, sometimes faith and/or the working of miracles.

Not necessarily helps, serving, giving.

What About the Exercise of the Gifts of the Spirit During a Sunday AM or Wednesday PM Service?

When I was in Monterey, I had someone complain to me once that the “gifts of the Spirit” weren’t in operation on Sunday morning, since we did not allow time for public prophecies, tongues, or interpretation of tongues.

In response, I pointed out to him that prophecy was likely in 1:1 situations. Ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading, showing mercy, helps, administration, the private/personal use of tongues, and speaking happen every time we gather. You could also throw in the word of wisdom and word of knowledge at times.

Every time the body gathers spiritual gifts take place and are exercised, as they have been here this morning.


So where does one start?

Have you ever thought about just showing up? Remember Thomas on the night of Christ’s resurrection from the dead! He wasn’t there! He didn’t show up! And look at what he missed out on!

How can one discover or exercise spiritual gifts within the body if he/she is rarely with the body?

I received this email from a pastor friend of mine who had written a newsletter to his congregation. He was comparing the true sports fan with some believers who are very inconsistent in gathering together regularly with the church body. He wrote:

“A true sports fan does not need to make excuses for why he missed a game. He is so committed, yes even addicted, that there is no possible way to miss the action! Well, just imagine if a true sports fan were to use the same excuses that some folks use for skipping church. Here is how it would sound:

“Every time I go to a game, they want money.”
“The people aren’t friendly and no one greets me.”
“The seats are hard and uncomfortable.”
“The game always goes into overtime.”
“Some of the fans are hypocrites and only come to see their friends.”
“I don’t want to force my kids to go. I want them to choose the sport they like.”
“The coach said something I disagree with.”
“I don’t know many people there.”
“I have to rest up for work on Monday.”
“Somebody offended me at the last game.”
“I don’t like some of the players on the team.”
“My relatives are coming for the weekend.”
“I have to mow the lawn and do some laundry.”
“I need a break from sports to get my head clear.”
“My parents took me to too many games when I was a kid.”
“I don’t want my kids to go to too many games so they get embittered.”
“They always sing the same old songs like “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
“There are too many meetings on the mound and on the sidelines.”
“I feel I know more than the coach.”

They sound silly, don’t they? And yet this is the very same list of reasons that some people use to stay away from regular corporate worship and fellowship with the body of Christ. These excuses don’t hold water.
Christ-followers are passionately committed to a regular time with God and His people, for a myriad of reasons … including the fact that someone needs you to be there for them.

e.g. call to Brian Broderson on To Every Man An Answer by a new believer who didn’t have a great experience in her first visit to a church; she asked if she couldn’t just stay home and listen to the CD. His response? Hebrews 10:25, of course… but also that someone there probably needed ministering to, important to be there to support others.

If I’m not focused on God and thinking of others, then my only other option is to think of myself. This is not right. We’ve been redeemed from selfish, self-focused living.

Back to Ian Usher, the bloke that sold his life in an online auction…

The auction was finalized on June 29, 2008, ending with the final bid of $399,300.

His goals? They mostly included a variety of thrill-type adventures, requiring travel to places all over the world; also he wanted to learn how to play the harmonica, wanted to lose weight and stay trim, and so on. I could only find three his 100 goals that had “others” as their aim … (1) he started a website for those who have been similarly blindsided by sudden life events; (2) he wants to work in a soup kitchen on Christmas Day; and (3) he wants to raise 50,000 for colon cancer research.

Hey, I’ve got a better idea!

Instead of “selling” my whole life, why got give it away to God?

And instead of selling it for myself and my own goals and pursuits, how about spending it lavishly for the Lord, and consistently for others?

Matthew 16:25-26 “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

When a person—a believer begins to do this, to give his/her life away, they will begin to discover their purpose, gifts, and direction in life. QUOTE by Ashleigh Brilliant: “Don’t be afraid to give yourself away; it will all grow back.”

Categories: God's Purposes, Ministry
  1. Peggy
    November 13, 2009 at 10:25 am

    A soul and spirit resounding, “Amen”, Pastor Bill, and thanks be to God for His gifts!

    Who are we to be the recipients of such gifts – such “divine gracing” and “spiritual endowments”? We are HIS! We have been created in God’s image to be His ambassadors. Hey world, we come bearing gifts!

    Thank you for this teaching and the all encompassing important exhortation to us to, “pray about and listen to” these truths about the spiritual gifts and, the parting, “It’s vital for the sake of Christ’s Kingdom that we do so.” It is indeed…I needed to be reminded of this. The absolute sweetness and savor of our Lord Jesus Christ is present when we are ministering one to another in the special ways with which He equips us.

    I’ve experienced such love from God when a sister or brother in Christ is operating in their spiritual gifting and it’s coming my way, and I need it. It’s a very special touch of the Father when we are ministering one to another…it’s what we have until we’re with Him for all eternity; let’s not thwart it, as the enemy would have us do…instead, let’s thwart the enemy by edifying one another the way God intended.

    I so appreciate the extra effort and time on your behalf to “usward” to have the study available in both audio/visual format, Bill, many, many thanks. I was able to have the text on my sceen as I was listening, which then made it simple to refer back and forth when I wanted to go back to varying portions over and again. God bless you; He has, He IS.

    The summary, for me, is in the following verse from your text:

    1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

    May we be exhorted to pray for the Body of Christ, world wide, to be in good and godly stewardship of the gifts God has placed with each of His precious children. And, then, always, to minister one to another with said gifts. God is glorified, He is obeyed, when we do these things, and, His Body of Believers here become fully strengthened by “every good and perfect gift” which is from above…is there any believer out there who does not believe we need the strength of God during these days? And He has equipped us!

    I’ve heard commercials in the world exhort various products by stating that they are superior because they are “full bodied”; the world applies this to everything from shampoo to certain beverages…in the spiritual realm, may we, God’s representatives, be full bodied, nothing missing, nothing broken, whole and working for and with and in and because of Him.

    Thanks be to God.

  2. November 13, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Thanks for the feedback, Peggy. May the Lord be glorified and His kingdom come!

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