• Steve McAtee

The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts

Updated: Nov 3, 2020



Notes compiled by Marty Zide and Steve McAtee


Believers have been left on earth for a while to labor with the Lord Jesus as He builds His Church. All true believers have been given spiritual gifts to be used for this purpose. Spiritual gifts are not natural abilities that we were born with, but rather, they are sovereignly distributed gifts that are given at the time of one’s salvation.


Every true believer has a blend of spiritual gifts that are to be exercised for His glory. No one is to be dormant when it comes to serving the Lord. Your gifts might be those that keep you behind the scene or they might put out in the open. Either way, all gifted believers are necessary and important. Our desire in covering this topic is that we might understand how important it is for us to discover our gifts and to use them effectively for the Lord’s glory.


A technical definition of a spiritual gift is: a spiritual gift is a supernatural ability given by the Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit that enables the believer to perform special ministries in His work of building the church.


Rom 12:6-8 - Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.


1 Pet 4:11 - Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus the Messiah, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.


A. Some Observations About Spiritual Gifts


The Bible gives a lot of information about spiritual gifts, such as, the purpose of spiritual gifts, why we have certain gifts and not others, how spiritual gifts are to be exercised, and the attitude that must be present when we exercise our gifts.


1. Each believer possesses at least one gift, but no believer possesses all the gifts


All believers are gifted by the Holy Spirit. There is no need to feel inadequate as a member of the Body of the Messiah. At the same time, there should not be an attitude of pride. Thinking that my gift is more important than other believers is offensive to God and is a sin. This is what the Corinthians were doing.


1 Pet 4:10 - As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.


Eph 4:7 - But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Messiah’s gift.


1 Cor 12:28-30 - And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?


It’s just as wrong to think that you have all of the gifts, as it is to think, that you don’t have any of the gifts. This is a denial of what the Word of God clearly teaches.


2. The purpose of spiritual gifts


The ultimate purpose of exercising our spiritual gifts is to glorify God. Another important reason is so that the church will be built up and established in the things of the Lord.


1 Pet 4:11 - Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus the Messiah, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.


Eph 4:11-14 - And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Messiah; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Messiah. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.


As a skilled carpenter uses tools to build a house, the Holy Spirit uses us to assist Jesus, the Master Builder in the building of the church. We are like a tool in the hands of our Savior as He skillfully builds His church. No need for us to be proud or boastful when He does use us. Wouldn’t it be foolish for the tools to think that they built the house, instead of the carpenter who simply used the tools?


3. The distribution of spiritual gifts


Who decides who gets which gifts? Are we to pray for specific gifts? Should we try to exercise a gift that we do not have?


The Scriptures are clear. We do not need to pray for any of the gifts. It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to sovereignly distribute the gifts as He desires.


1 Cor 12:11 - But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.


4. The exercise of spiritual gifts


There are some very clear instructions on how, and why, spiritual gifts are to be exercised. It is very important that we follow these instructions, otherwise, most, or all of what we do will be nothing but wood, hay, and straw. Our exercise of spiritual gifts is to be done for the benefit of others and not for self-edification.


1 Pet 4:10 - As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.


Our exercise of spiritual gifts must be done with an attitude of love.


1 Cor 13:1-3 - If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.


Coming Next – Tips On Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts




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