In our last few studies, we have been looking at the Spiritual Gifts that the Lord gives us for our usage today. Please keep in mind, the gifts that we receive from the Lord are directly related to the ministries to which we are called. By recognizing the gifts we possess, it will help each one of us to discern the ministries to which we have been called.
In our lesson today, we will be looking at how we can recognize the gifts we have been given.
But before we begin our study here is a very abbreviated listing of the spiritual gifts given for our use in today’s time…
- Gifted Men:
- Evangelist – Ephesians 4:11 – The main thrust of this ministry is to the lost giving them the gospel message. In today’s time this gifted man is best described as “a Missionary”.
- Pastor/Teacher – Ephesians 4:11 – This gift involves the taking oversight of the Lord’s assemblies by leading, feeding and protecting her members through the teaching of the truths of the Word.
- Spiritual Gifts:
- Prophecy – Romans 12:6, 1 Peter 4:11 – This gift emphasizes the PROCLAMATION of the Word.
- Ministry or Helps – Romans 12:7, 1 Corinthians 12:28, 1 Peter 4:11 – This gift emphasizes HUMILITY in meeting the needs of those around us.
- Teaching – Romans 12:7 – This gift emphasizes the EXPLANATION of the Truth.
- Exhortation – Romans 12:8 – This gift emphasizes the ENCOURAGING others to keep the Truth.
- Giving – Romans 12:8 – This gift emphasizes GIVING of ourselves to display the Truth.
- Ruling or Governments – Romans 12:8, 1 Corinthians 12:28 – This gift emphasizes ORGANIZATION AND EXAMPLE SETTING to effectively reveal the Truth to others.
- Mercy – Romans 12:8 – This gift emphasizes the ability to EMPATHIZE WITH THE NEEDY to more effectively share the Truth.
- Celibacy – 1 Corinthians 7:7-9 – This gift emphasizes the ability to live WITHOUT PHYSICAL INTIMACY for the sake of the Truth.
- Marriage – 1 Corinthians 7:7-9 – This gift emphasizes the ability to be FAITHFUL TO THE CONDITIONS OF THE BIBLICAL MARITAL COVENANT to show the Truth.
- Hospitality – 1 Peter 4:9 – This gift emphasizes CARING FOR STRANGERS to communicate the Truth .
(For a more detailed look at these gifts, please see the previous two studies in this series.)
Please note the following gifts found in these texts are accrediting (sign) gifts that no longer exist and are covered in previous lessons:
- Office Of Apostle – 1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4:11
- Office Of Prophet – 1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4:11
- Gifts of Healings – 1 Corinthians 12:28
- Diversities of Tongues – 1 Corinthians 12:28
First of all, it is very important to understand that the Lord sovereignly gives different gifts to different Christians based upon the ministries to which He has called them. This is unlike Spiritual Fruits which appear in every Christian’s life.
1Co 12:7-11 KJV –
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
How can we recognize which gifts we have been given? Through prayer, time in the Word, and consideration of the following list of questions, by God’s grace, we can begin to get indications of the gifts we have been given. And, then by extension, we can come to a clearer idea of the ministries to which we have been called.
The answer to any one of these questions does not give us conclusive evidence of a gift we have been given. However, when the same gift becomes the answer to several of these questions, it becomes weighty evidence of a gift that we may possess:
1. What seems to come naturally? How do we naturally react in any given situation?
When the Lord gives us gifts to be used in our ministry, they become a working part of our lives. As such, when we are placed in a situation that requires the exercise of that gift, we will find ourselves naturally “rising to the occasion” and successfully meeting the needs at hand.
2. What do we enjoy and find satisfaction in doing?
When we exercise a gift we have been given, we will find ourselves at peace with the Lord and ourselves. We will be able to see that we have met the needs of others, thereby using our time and efforts wisely. This will give us added assurance of our salvation, the Lord’s gracious intervention in our lives and our fulfilling the Lord’s will for our lives. All of these things will foster a joyous attitude within us.
3. What character in the Bible do we most closely identify?
When we read the historical accounts of Bible characters and we find our lives similar in our actions and decisions, in some cases, it is because we share gifts in common with these characters.
4. The testimony of others?
When people tell us that we have been a great blessing to them, or that we have met a need in their lives, probably it is because we have exercised a spiritual gift in our ministry to them. Many times, by watching the response of others to our attempts at service to the Lord we can discern between gifts we have been given and gifts we wish we have been given!
5. Can We See Spiritual Results of Our Ministries?
By “spiritual results” we mean a closer, more intimate walk with the Lord and/or souls being saved as a result of our acts of service to the Lord. We are not talking about outward displays of “numbers” or “professions of faith” but a genuine spiritual change of heart which is shown by a changed life and spiritual growth and maturity.
Normally, when we exercise our spiritual gifts we will see these types of results taking place. When we see these type of results they are a great indicator of a spiritual gift being exercised.
But keep in mind, these results may not take place right away. It may take an extended period of time to perceive Godly results to our ministry. As a matter of fact, there are some cases where we may never see the spiritual results of our service. So, when we do not see results this may, or may not, be an indicator of lack of a spiritual gift being present.
In summary, it is important to remember that the above questions are only aids to discerning the spiritual gifts that we may have been given. Above all else, a prayerful attitude, combined with a study of God’s Word and the leadership of His Spirit is vital in properly identifying the gifts we have been given.
In our next lesson we will look at the Fruits of the Spirit, which are given to every man and are needed in any ministry to which we are called.
A Description Of Spiritual Gifts For Today:
Rom 12:4-8 KJV
(4) For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
(5) So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
(6) Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
(7) Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
(8) Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
Rom 8:38-39 KJV
(38) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
(39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1Co 7:7-9 KJV
(7) For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.
(8) I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.
(9) But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
1Co 12:27-31 KJV
(27) Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
(28) And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
(29) Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
(30) Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
(31) But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
Gal 5:22-25 KJV
(22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
(23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
(24) And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
(25) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Eph 4:11-15 KJV
(11) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
(12) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
(13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
(14) That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
(15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
Eph 5:8-10 KJV
(8) For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
(9) (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
(10) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
1Pe 4:8-11 KJV
(8) And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
(9) Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
(10) As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
(11) If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.