What Is My Gift?

A.     Introduction:  Many Christians struggle with the question -- What is my gift?
     1.     Generally, when Christians wrestle with this question, they mean:  Where do I fit in the  lists of gifts found in I Cor 12:4-11 and Rom 12:4-8?
               a.     This issue does not need to be a source of frustration for us.
               b.     Knowledge from Godís word will help us answer the question -- what is my gift?
     2.     Part of the difficulty in this area is that we come at this subject from the wrong angle.
               a.     We ask -- what is my gift?  By that we mean:  Do I have the gift of prophecy?  Do                I have the gift of exhortation?  The gift of serving, etc.?
               b.     But, in reality, the Holy Spirit is our gift and these various lists are ways in which                He works through us.
               c.     So, rather than spending time trying to figure out what our gift is, we need to                focus on learning how to cooperate with the Holy Spirit who is our gift.

B.     Letís begin with some general statements about the Holy Spirit.
     1.     After Jesus completed His work on earth and went back to heaven, He and the Father           sent the Holy Spirit. John 14:16,26; 15:26; Acts 2:32,33
               a.     The Holy Spirit is God the Fatherís gift or promise to His children. Luke 24:49;                Acts 1:4; 2:33,38,39; Gal 3:13,14
               b.     The Holy Spirit applies to us and in us what Jesus accomplished for us in His                death, burial, and resurrection. John 3:5; Titus 3:5
     2.     The Holy Spirit is here to do in us and through us all that Christ accomplished for us on           the Cross.  That means primarily two things.
               a.       In us -- He is conforming us to the image of Jesus Christ. Rom 8:29; II Cor 3:18
               b.     Through us -- He is showing Jesus to the world through us. I Cor 2:2-5;
                    Heb 2:3,4; John 16:13-15; 14:9-12; 17-23     
     3.     The Holy Spirit wants to demonstrate or show Jesus through you by making you like           Jesus. I John 2:6; 4:17
     4.     The issue isnít:  What is my gift?  The issue is:  How do I live in cooperation with the           Holy Spirit who is my Fatherís gift to me?
               a.     The Holy Spirit is a divine person, the Third Person of the Trinity.  He has been                sent to work in partnership with us for the glory of God, for our good, and for the good of those around us.
               b.     II Cor 13:14--Communion = partnership; lit: participation; associate, companion.
               c.     Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Comforter = Counselor, Helper, Intercessor,                Advocate, Strengthener, Standby. (Amp) John 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7
               d.     He is here to be all of those things in you and through you as you live for God.
     5.     Part of the difficulty when we talk about this subject -- gifts of the Holy Spirit; what is my           gift; etc. -- comes from misunderstanding how the word gift is used in connection with the Holy Spirit.
               a.     In one sense, everything from God is a gift.  His grace has freely provided                     everything for us. Rom 8:32; Eph 1:3; II Pet 1:3
               b.     But, what we commonly call gifts of the Spirit are not gifts given to individuals                which become the property of the individual and he can then use them when and as he wants.
               c.     I Cor 12:7,11--They are ways in which the Holy Spirit works or demonstrates                Himself through certain people at certain times as He wills for the good of all.
               d.     No one has the gift of prophecy or the gift of healing or the gift of discernment.                 (There is no gift of discernment.  It is the gift of discerning of spirits. I Cor 12:10)
     6.     But, the point is, these are all ways in which the Holy Spirit shows or manifests Jesus           through us.

C.     A major key to understanding spiritual gifts is understanding the makeup of the body of Christ.
     1.     The gifts listed in I Cor 12:8-10 are ways in which the Holy Spirit shows Jesus through           Jesusí body in the earth.
     2.     I Cor 12:1--God says He does not want us to be ignorant of spiritual gifts.
               a.     ďGiftsĒ is not in the original Greek manuscripts.  It was added by translators for                clarification.  But, it can be misleading.
               b.     Paul is about to discuss more than just gifts of the Holy Spirit.  He is about to                discuss things spiritual or things pertaining to and of the Holy Spirit -- one of which is the body of Christ. v12-27
     3.     It is the Holy Spirit who forms the body of Christ. v13
               a.     When a person believes on Jesus, the Holy Spirit unites him to Jesus through                the new birth.
               b.     The Holy Spirit puts him into the body of Christ.  Baptized = BAPTIZO = to cause                to be dipped or immersed.
               c.     At the moment you are born again, the Holy Spirit makes you a particular member or part of the body of Christ. v18,27
     4.     You may say -- Thatís no help!!  Now, not only do I not know what my gift is, I donít           know what my place in the body is.
               a.     Yes you do!!  v27--Now you (collectively) are Christís body and (individually) you                are members of it, each part severally and distinct -- each with his own place and                function. (Amp)
               b.     You may not have all the details yet, but you can rest in the fact that God knows                what part of the body you are.
               c.     Whether you are a highly visible part of the body, or a less visible part, you are                the part God wants you to be.
               d.     v18--But as it is, God has placed and arranged the limbs and organs in the body,                each (particular one) of them just as He wished and saw fit and with the best                adaptation. (Amp)
     5.     Understanding that you are a particular part of the body of Christ will help you                understand how the gifts of the Spirit operate.
               a.     When the gifts operate, even if they donít come through you specifically, they                come through a part of you. I Cor 12:25,26
               b.     Remember, Paul was writing to a church that was dividing the body through                arguments. I Cor 1:10-13; 3:3,4; 11:18
               c.     I Cor 12:27-30--How we are placed in the body, how we are used, and how God                works through us is His choice.
     6.     We are to desire (be zealous; fervently desire; have warmth toward) spiritual gifts           (things of and pertaining to the Holy Spirit) that they be in operation in the body of Christ.
               I Cor 14:1
               a.     Does that mean through you personally?  That is Godís choice.  We just need to                be willing to be used by God. Acts 4:23-33
               b.     If we are used, we shouldnít be proud.  If we arenít used, we shouldnít be mad or                jealous.
               c.     What are the best (most advantageous) gifts?   The best gift is the one you need                at the time you need it.
               d.     In the case of the Corinthian Church, it was prophecy (supernatural utterance in a                known language which exhorts, edifies, and comforts) so that order could be restored to their meetings, and the greatest number of people could be edified.
                    I Cor 14:1-6; 12,13
     7.     When these gifts are discussed in the Bible, the emphasis is not on ďWhat is my gift?Ē.            The emphasis is on your attitude toward your gift, toward your position in the body. I Cor 4:6,7; 3:4-6; Rom 12:3-5
     8.     I Pet 4:10,11--The abilities we have came from Godís grace, and are for the good of           others and the glory of God.

D.     Instead of thinking in terms of ďWhat is my gift?Ē, we need to think in terms of ďHow can I cooperate with the Holy Spirit who is my Fatherís gift to me?Ē.
     1.     II Cor 13:14--Remember, the Holy Spirit works in us and with us as we intelligently           cooperate with Him.  Communion = KOINONIA = partnership; lit: participation;                associate, companion.
     2.     Our partnership with the Holy Spirit becomes effective as we acknowledge who and           what is in us -- the Person of God, the power of God, the life of God. Philemon 6
               a.     Communication = KOINONIA = partnership.  Effectual = ENERGES = active,                operative.  Acknowledging = EPIGNOSIS = full discernment, recognition.
               b.     We study Godís word to see what has happened to us, in us, as a result of being                born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit.  Then, we agree with it -- believe it and speak it out, and the Holy Spirit gives us the experience.
     3.     The Holy Spirit is in you now to be what you need Him to be, to work with you as you           live for God, to conform you to the image of Christ.  Then, through you, Heíll show Jesus           (the Fatherís gift to the world) to the unsaved around you.
               a.     Do you need strength?  The Holy Spirit is in you to strengthen you. Eph 3:16
               b.     Do you need knowledge of Godís will for your life and help being fruitful and                effective for God?  The Holy Spirit is in you to help you. Col 1:9-11
               c.     Do you need healing?  The Holy Spirit is in you to heal your body. Rom 8:11
               d.     Do you need guidance?  The Holy Spirit is in you to lead and guide you.
                    Rom 8:14
               e.     Do you need help praying?  The Holy Spirit is in you to help you to pray.
                    Rom 8:26
     4.     If you ďhad the gift of prophecyĒ, as wonderful as it is in its place, that gift wouldnít help           you in any of the above circumstances.  And, the prophecy would be for someone else,           not for you.
     5.     It really isnít about gifts.  Itís about relationship with a divine partner given to you by your           loving heavenly Father to help you live your life for Him.

E.     How do we cooperate with this wonderful gift our Father has given us?
     1.     Be grateful.  Thank God for what, for Who, He has given us.
               a.     Thank you Father for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
               b.     Thank you for making me a particular member of the body of Christ. I Cor 12:27
               c.     Thank you that the Holy Spirit is in me to guide me into the truth and to show me                the things that are freely given to me by God.  John 16:13; I Cor 2:12
               d.     Thank you that the Holy Spirit is in me to conform me to the image of Christ and                to show Jesus through me. Rom 8:29; John 14:12,13
          2.     Pray that signs and wonders would be done through the body. Acts 4:29,30
               a.     Be available.  Any way you want to use me or show yourself through me is fine by                me, Lord!!
               b.     If God has used you in any of these gifts or if you believe that they are part of                Godís plan for you, read good book s by solid people who are already being used by God in these gifts.
               c.     Jude 20--Use your prayer language.  Pray in other tongues.   It stirs you up and                makes you more aware of the Holy Spiritís presence in you.
     3.     Acknowledge, confess, what God has done and is doing in you.
               a.     I am a particular member of the body of Christ.  The Lord nourishes me and                cherishes me as His body. I Cor 12:27; Eph 5:29,30
               b.     The Greater One is in me to put me over in life.  He is greater than anything that                can come against me.  I cannot be defeated and I will not quit. I John 4:4
               c.     God is in me to will and to do of His good pleasure. He is giving me the desire                and strength to do what I need to do. Phil 2:13
               d.     God is working in me that which is well pleasing in His sight.  He is making me                like Jesus. Heb 13:21
               e.     The same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is in me and is quickening my                mortal body (giving health to my body). Rom 8:11
               f.     The Holy Spirit is in me to lead me into all truth and to guide me in every area of                my life.  Therefore, I will not fret or worry about what to do.  He is leading me. Heíll get me to the right place at the right time. Rom 8:14; John 16:13
     4.     Your gift is the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, who has come to make you           like Jesus and to show Jesus to the world through you.

F.     Conclusion:  If we will get accurate knowledge of the Holy Spiritís gifts (how He works in and through us) and combine that knowledge with an earnest desire to see the Holy Spirit demonstrate Jesus through the body, weíll see more and more of the gifts in operation in the body of Christ. I Cor 12:1; 14:1
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