Once we are saved and receive the power of the Holy Spirit, we receive the fruit of the Spirit. There are different gifts of the spirit given to us in order to build up ourselves and to also build up the body of believers.
Part of our lesson is taken from the book of I Corinthians. The book of I Corinthians was written by the apostle Paul. Paul was first known as Saul. Saul was not one of the original 12 disciples but was a prominent Jew and Roman citizen. Saul later accepted Christ after he experienced a miracle on the road to Damascus. It was there that God gave him the name Paul. Paul became known as the Apostle to the Gentiles and wrote 14 books of the Bible.
The Corinthians lived in the town of Corinth. Corinth was a busy seaport in Greece. It had about 200,000 freemen and about 500,000 slaves. The people there worshipped the god Poseidon and the goddess Aphrodite. It was to these people that Paul explained the Holy Spirit in I Corinthians, but the principles he laid down apply to all Christians.
Gifts of the Spirit listed.
A good place to start to learn about the gifts of the Spirit is I Cor 12:4-11. Paul lists the following gifts:
4. Miraculous powers
6. Distinguishing between spirits
7. Speaking in tongues
8. Interpretation of tongues
As you can see from the list, not everyone is given all of these gifts. Neither is this list all inclusive. For example, we should read 1 Cor 12:4-31
1. Cor 12:4-11.
a. How can faith be a gift of the spirit when faith is required in order to be saved? Perhaps Paul is speaking about an additional amount of faith?
b. What does Paul mean when he talks about the same Spirit, the same Lord, and the same God?
2. Cor 12:12-26
a. Here we see that each person has unique gifts and purposes excellently portrayed using the body as an analogy.
b. We also learn that we all are interdependent upon each other because each of our gifts serve a purpose.
3. 1 Cor 12:27-31
a. Beginning in verse 27 we see a shift from having skills to using these skills.
b. We again see the message that nobody has all the gifts and that everyone is important.
Warnings about the gifts of the Spirit.
The Bible gives us several warnings concerning gifts.
1. Luke 12:48…... “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” This is a warning that many people disregard.
a. Sometimes people are called to use their gifts, but they do not want to put forth the effort. Perhaps they are too involved in secular affairs.
b. other times a foot tries to be a hand. In other words, a person with one gift tries to do something to be helpful by doing a different task, but they do not have the gift for that particular task. By doing a poor job, they mess things up. Perhaps the person still feels important for doing that task. How should we handle that situation?
1. James 3:3 …... Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
a. The need for Sunday school teachers is a common example of a situation that can cause a foot to try and become a hand. Unrighteous or unqualified people can become teachers and give incorrect opinions that conflict with scripture. No one should take the responsibility of being a Sunday school teacher lightly.
b. I remember the first time I was a Sunday school teacher. I asked the pastor to sit in on our class because I was so afraid that I would say something that was scripturally incorrect. A person who teaches should know what they are saying is correct. This is to say it should be Biblically correct and not politically correct. People should be taught God’s will, not the teacher’s opinion.
2. Eph 4:1-6…... As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit— just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
a. We see from the prisoner analogy (for the saved person) that living an unworthy life should be as hard to do as escaping from prison.
b. Paul also warns us that we are to nurture one another because we are all one body in Christ.
Fruit of the Spirit.
Aside from gifts, the Spirit also gives us fruit. We can read about the fruit of the Spirit in the book of Galatians.
Gal 5:22-25…... But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Notice that Paul says the singular “fruit” and not the plural “fruits”. I believe the scripture says fruit because we are all given these fruits collectively as one fruit. Moreover, unlike gifts, we all receive the fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is a wonderful gift that we receive all these attributes when we become a follower of Christ. If we do not have all of these, then I would say something is wrong with our spiritual life. Surely, Christ would not want us to be without any of these fruits that give us and others around us an enjoyable life. Of all the Fruit of the Spirit, love is the greatest. God loves us and we are given the gift to love others.
1 John 4:10-12…… 10 “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
According to Find it in the Bible by Bob Phillips Jesus performed 37 miracles. However, the gifts of New Testament miracles were not only done by Christ. We can read in Acts that the Holy Spirit empowered others with these gifts. We also read in Luke that the gift of prophesy was given to a woman.
Acts 15:12-13…... The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul talking about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them.
Luke 2:36-37…... There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage
False prophets and their miracles
False prophets can deceive us with apparent miracles. How then can we recognize a false prophet?
Deut 18:22…... If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.
Matt 7:15-16…... "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them.
Matt 7:22-23…... Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23 Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
We have learned that the Apostle Paul taught extensively about the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles. We learned that the gifts of the Spirit are given to everyone according to God’s will. God gives each person unique gifts designed for that person to do his part in helping to build up the body of believers. I often hear people say they can worship at home and have no need for church. This lesson teaches us that it’s not all about us; it’s about sharing our gifts with others.
We also learned that these gifts are all important in God’s eyes. We should not look down on anyone because they have a lesser gift. Paul uses an excellent analogy of the body. In the secular world we could be talking about a certain company. A CEO would be nothing without those who have the skills to make the company run on a day-to-day basis. The laborers would be useless without the existence of managers, administrators, or salespeople. Managers, administrators, and salespeople would also be useless without the laborers. They all have a part in the big picture. Nevertheless, I often see people who call themselves Christians look down upon other workers who have different jobs. Perhaps all of us can now be better focused on the reason for being given the gifts of the Spirit. Then, we can truly enjoy the fruit of the Spirit.
1. Name some spiritual gifts that are not mentioned in the lesson. How have people made your life better by sharing their gifts?
2. What spiritual gifts do you share?
3. What things do you think God looks at when he determines what gifts go to a particular person?
4. How does the fruit of the spirit make your life more meaningful?
5. How does the fruit of the Spirit make life more meaningful for those around you?
6. If you have time, you can read I Timothy chapter 3 and see what qualities a church leader should have.