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Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.

LESSON 1 - WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT SPIRITUAL GIFTS

INTRODUCTION: THIS WEEK WE START OUT WITH A NEW QUARTER AND A NEW
LESSON.  I'M DISAPPOINTED TO TELL YOU THAT, ONCE AGAIN, WE ARE NOT
STUDYING A BOOK OF THE BIBLE.  HOWEVER, WE ARE STUDYING THE HOLY
SPIRIT AND I THINK THIS IS AN IMPORTANT AND INTERESTING TOPIC. SO
LETS JUMP INTO OUR TOPIC OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS.

I. THE BODY

     A. TURN WITH ME TO ROMANS 12:1-3. READ PAUL TELLS US AT LEAST
     THREE THINGS IN THESE VERSES:

          1. WORSHIP IS OFFERING OUR BODIES AS LIVING SACRIFICES
          (v.1);
          
          2. DO NOT CONFORM TO THE "PATTERNS OF THE WORLD," LET GOD
          TRANSFORM YOUR MIND; AND,
          
          3. GIVE YOURSELF A REALISTIC APPRAISAL -- YOUR ABILITY
          TURNS ON THE AMOUNT OF FAITH GOD HAS GIVEN YOU.

     B. IS THERE A RELATIONSHIP HERE BETWEEN THESE THREE? OR ARE
     THESE JUST THREE HELPFUL, BUT UNCONNECTED POINTS?

     C. HOW DO WE OFFER "OUR BODIES" IN WORSHIP? (THE GREEK WORD
     FOR "BODIES" IS "SOMA," WHICH VINES SAYS CAN MEAN THE "COMPETE
     MAN." A "LIVING SACRIFICE" SOUNDS LIKE THE SACRIFICIAL
     SYSTEM.)

     D. WHAT DO YOU THINK PAUL MEANS BY THE "PATTERNS OF THE 
     WORLD?"

     E. AND WHAT HAS THIS GOT TO DO WITH A REALISTIC SELF-
     APPRAISAL?

(PAUL IS TALKING ABOUT CHURCH WORK. WORKING FOR GOD IS WORSHIP.
GOD'S WORK IS ORGANIZED ALONG DIFFERENT PATTERNS THAN EARTHLY
BUSINESSES. YOUR PLACE IN THE CHURCH TURNS ON YOUR FAITH. DON'T GET
UPSET IF YOU DO NOT HAVE AS IMPORTANT A POSITION AS YOU THINK YOU
SHOULD HAVE.)

     F. LETS READ ON. ROMANS 12:4-8. WHAT ADDITIONAL POINTS DOES
     THIS MAKE ABOUT CHURCH WORK AND ITS ORGANIZATION?

          1. IT IS LIKE A BODY.
          2. IT INVOLVES "GIFTS." (v.6)

     G. WHAT KIND OF GIFTS IS PAUL TALKING ABOUT?

          1. IF YOU ARE NOT SURE, LOOK AT THE SPECIFIC EXAMPLES HE
          CITES. WHAT KIND OF GIFTS ARE THESE? (SPIRITUAL GIFTS!)

     H. ALL RIGHT! NOW WE WADE INTO SPIRITUAL GIFTS.

     I. PAUL SEEMS TO SAY THAT:

          1. THERE ARE DIFFERENT KINDS OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS
          2. WE CAN BE GIVEN THE GIFT IN DIFFERENT PROPORTIONS.

     J. LETS LOOK BACK JUST A SECOND AND REVIEW. WE HAVE LEARNED
     THAT:
          1. WORKING FOR GOD IS WORSHIP, 
          2. GOD'S WORK IS NOT PATTERNED AFTER INDUSTRIAL MODELS,
          3. EACH OF US HAVE SPIRITUAL GIFTS.

II. YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFT(S)

     A. THAT LEAVES US WITH TWO VERY IMPORTANT QUESTIONS:

          1. WHICH PART OF THE BODY ARE YOU (OR WHICH PART ARE YOU
          SUPPOSED TO BE? THAT IS, "WHAT IS YOUR SPIRITUAL
          GIFT(S)?"

          2. HOW DO WE KNOW IN WHAT PROPORTION WE HAVE THIS GIFT?

               a. AND WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES THAT MAKE? (HOW MUCH OF
               A GIFT YOU POSSESS SEEMS A SUBSET OF WHAT IS YOUR
               GIFT? IF YOU HAVE IT STRONGLY, THEN THIS IS MUCH
               MORE CLEARLY ONE OF YOUR GIFTS.)

     B. HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFT(S)?

          1. THE PASTOR ASKED ME TO TEACH A LESSON ON SPIRITUAL 
          GIFTS LAST MONDAY. HE COPIED THE LESSON FOR ME. THE WHOLE
          THEME OF THE LESSON I WAS SUPPOSED TO TEACH WAS THAT YOU
          COULD FIND YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS BY TAKING A TEST THAT
          TOLD YOU WHAT YOU WANTED TO DO. THE ACTIVITIES YOU WERE
          PASSIONATE ABOUT.

          2. I'M NOT SURE THAT IS TRUE.

               a. WHAT ABOUT JONAH?
               b. MOSES AT THE BURNING BUSH?
               c. WERE THEY DYING TO DO WHAT THEY WERE ASKED TO DO?

     C. I SUSPECT WE ARE GOING TO BE ANSWERING THIS QUESTION ALL
     QUARTER, SO LETS GO TO THE NEXT QUESTION, HOW MUCH OF THE GIFT
     DO YOU HAVE?

     D. HOW DO WE KNOW HOW MUCH OF A GIFT WE HAVE? (ROMANS 12:3&6
     SAY THAT THE GIFT IS GIVEN TO US ACCORDING TO THE FAITH OR
     GRACE THAT GOD HAS GIVEN US.)

          1. ARE FAITH AND GRACE DIFFERENT? (THE TEXT SUGGESTS THAT
          GOD GIVES US BOTH. BUT THE WORD "GRACE" IS "CHARIS" AND
          THAYER SAYS THE GREEK CAN MEAN, "WHAT AFFORDS JOY,
          PLEASURE, DELIGHT, SWEETNESS.")

               a. LETS BACK UP A MINUTE: DOES THIS GIVE A BASIS FOR
               THE IDEA THAT GIFTS WE GET BY GRACE ARE THOSE THAT
               WE LIKE?

          2. CAN THIS MEAN THAT SOME GIFTS COME FROM OUR WALK WITH
          GOD: OUR FAITH? AND SOME GIFTS ARE GIVEN NATURALLY? WHAT
          WE ENJOY DOING? (WE ARE GOING TO GET INTO THE DIFFERENCE
          BETWEEN TALENT AND SPIRITUAL GIFTS LATER IN MORE DETAIL.)
          
          3. ARE THESE GIFTS SOMETHING GIVEN TO US AT BIRTH THAT
          NEVER CHANGES? (SURELY NOT FAITH. BUT GRACE, MAYBE.
          ESPECIALLY IF WE ARE TALKING ABOUT NATURAL TALENTS: THOSE
          THINGS WE LIKE TO DO.)
          
     E. LETS TURN TO EPHESIANS 4 TO FIND OUT MORE. READ 4:11-13.

          1. HERE WE SEE AGAIN THE VARIOUS GIFTS. WHAT IS THE 
          PURPOSE BEHIND THESE GIFTS? (TO BUILD UP THE CHURCH FOR
          WORKS OF SERVICE. BUILD UP FAITH.)

          2. YOU REMEMBER IN ROMANS 12:1-3 WE FOUND THAT WORKS OF
          SERVICE IS A TYPE OF WORSHIP. AND IN ROMANS 12:3&6 WE
          FOUND OUT THAT WE HAD THESE GIFTS IN PROPORTION TO OUR
          FAITH.

               a. NOW LET ME ASK YOU AGAIN, WHAT IS THE PURPOSE 
               BEHIND THESE GIFTS AS YOU UNDERSTAND THESE TEXTS?
               (YOU CAN SEE THAT THEY ARE SELF-PERPETUATING. GIFTS
               GIVEN TO MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH HELP THE MEMBERSHIP
               IN GENERAL INCREASE FAITH WHICH, IN TURN,
               STRENGTHENS THE GIFTS IN THE CHURCH.)

     F. LETS TURN TO 1 PETER 4: 7-11. READ. LETS LOOK SPECIFICALLY
     AT VERSE 10. IT SAYS "EACH ONE SHOULD USE WHATEVER GIFT HE HAS
     RECEIVED TO SERVE OTHERS."

          1. HOW MANY GET THESE GIFTS WE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT?
          (ALL "EACH ONE.")

     G. AS WE DISCUSSED BEFORE, THE PURPOSE OF THE GIFT IS TO HELP
     OTHERS, BUT LOOK AT THE REST OF THIS VERSE: "[USE THE GIFT]
     FAITHFULLY ADMINISTERING GOD'S GRACE IN VARIOUS FORMS."

          1. OUR LESSON IS VERY HIGH ON THIS TEXT, AND IN
          PARTICULAR, THIS PHRASE. WHAT DO YOU THINK PETER MEANT
          WHEN HE SAID, "FAITHFULLY ADMINISTERING GOD'S GRACE IN
          VARIOUS FORMS?" (SINCE THE CONTEXT IS SPIRITUAL GIFTS,
          THESE ARE THE SPIRITUAL GIFTS USED TO DO THE WORK OF THE
          CHURCH.)

               a. REMEMBER THAT IN ROMANS 12:6 WE HAVE DIFFERENT
               GIFTS "ACCORDING TO THE GRACE GIVEN US?" THIS
               REFERS TO THIS WORK OF THE CHURCH BEING AN
               ADMINISTRATION OF "GOD'S GRACE."

                    (1) DO WE ACT FOR GOD IN EXCERCISING OUR GIFT?
               
                    (2) IF SO, HOW SHOULD WE ACT? (4:11 SUGGESTS
                    THAT WE SHOULD DO OUR BEST.)

                    (3) WHAT IS THE GOAL ACCORDING TO PETER? (4:11
                    - THAT GOD MAY BE PRAISED.)

III. TALENTS v. GIFTS

     A. OUR LESSON SUGGESTS THAT NATURAL TALENTS ARE DIFFERENT THAN
     SPIRITUAL GIFTS -- BUT THEN QUOTES BIBLE TEXTS THAT SEEM TO
     SUGGEST THE OPPOSITE.
     
          1. READ EXODUS 31:1-4.
          
          2. NOTE THE CHRIST'S OBJECT LESSONS QUOTE: "THE TALENTS
          THAT CHRIST ENTUREST TO HIS CHURCH REPRESENT ESPECIALLY
          THE GIFTS AND BLESSINGS IMPARTED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT."
          
          3. DO YOU THINK THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NATURAL 
          TALENTS AND SPIRITUAL GIFTS?

     B. READ EXODUS 3:2-6, 9-11; 4:10-12. DOES THIS SOUND LIKE A
     NATURAL GIFT?  THE PASSION OF MOSES? (NO. GOD TOLD MOSES TO DO
     SOMETHING THAT MOSES THOUGHT THAT HE WAS NOT (AT LEAST NOW)
     FITTED TO DO.)

IV. NEXT WEEK: THE ROLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN SPIRITUAL GIFTS.