A Few Spiritual Gifts Defined

How gracious and creative is our God to make us one and also give each of us different gifts and roles and services and activities. Below is a list of definitions and explanations from Sunday’s sermon. Because the Spirit gives gifts, our prayer is that we would gain a better understanding of them and be excited to use them for the common good (1 Cor 12:7). The Spirit is empowering us to serve one another for our joint maturation. Thank you Lord!

Word of Knowledge - the ability to speak in a way that gives true knowledge to people—especially knowledge of Scripture and knowledge of God.

Word of Wisdom - the ability to speak a wise word in a situation with wisdom the Holy Spirit has given through years of meditation on Scripture and practicing godly living in everyday life.

Faith - this is not the faith that is granted to all Christians in salvation, but a kind of faith in an almighty and sovereign God that specifically believes that He is capable of intervening in the most dramatic or supernatural (or even more subtle and mundane) ways.

Gifts Of Healings - healings are granted by the Spirit, are occasional, and are subject to the sovereign purposes of God. Which means we pray expectantly for God to heal people. And we think God’s healing can come through in an instant by his touch or through him using medication. Healing is an expression of God’s mercy so we shouldn’t view it as a right. Healing is not the payment of a debt. God does not owe us healing. We don’t deserve healing. We do not name it and claim. We believe we should have faith for healing. But there is a vast difference between faith in God’s mercy and presumption based on an alleged right.

We don’t believe if anyone could ever heal, he could always heal. Multiple people have ongoing sickness and health problems in the New Testament and so we should see the gift of healing not based on the will of the person but subject to the will of God. A person may be gifted to heal many people, but not all. Another may be gifted to heal only one person at one particular time of one particular disease.

Working Of Miracles - Since Paul does not define “works of miracles” any more specifically than this, we can say that the gift of miracles may include the working of divine power in deliverance from danger, in intervention to meet special needs in the physical world (as in the case of Elijah in 1 Kings 17:1-16), in judgment on those who irrationally and violently oppose the gospel message, in vanquishing the demonic forces that wage war against the church, and in any other way in which God’s power is manifested in an evident way to further God’s purposes in a situation. All of these would be works of “power” in which the church would be helped and God’s glory would be made evident.

Distinguishing Of Spirits - Specifically, this is a special ability to evaluate the origin, authority, and application of a prophetic message. More generally, this gift may be the ability to distinguish between demonic forces from the Holy Spirit.

Application As We Move Forward

"If we spend less time searching to identify our spiritual gift(s) and more time actually praying and giving and helping and teaching and serving and exhorting those around us, the likelihood greatly increases that we will walk headlong into our gifting without ever knowing what happened. God will more likely meet us with His gifts in the midst of trying to help His children then He ever would while we’re taking a spiritual gifts analysis test” (Sam Storms, Beginner’s Guide To Spiritual Gifts).

These gifts are all manifestations of the Spirit for the common good. Healing serves the sister with that chronic pain and builds up our faith in our merciful God. Words of wisdom and knowledge help and instruct others in specific questions and situations. Demons being cast out is for our good. Having a crew of people that have the gift of faith and seem overly optimistic is good for others of us who are doubting and skeptical. All these various gifts are for the common good.

*These definitions are borrowed or adapted from D.A. Carson, Wayne Grudem, Sam Storms, and The Village Church