Can you imagine trying to say everything about God the Father or God the Son in 5 weeks? That’s obviously crazy. Well, it’s equally crazy to think we can say everything about the Holy Spirit in 5 weeks!
During the last message of the recent Unlocked series, I promised to follow up with some blogs about the gifts of the Holy Spirit since I (predictably!) ran out of time. This will be the first of a series of blogs on the subject… and it’s my goal to do a sequel to the Unlocked series sometime in 2018.
This blog series about the Holy Spirit will take on a variety of formats. Some posts will be conversational and thought-provoking, some will provide doctrinal teaching, and some will focus on practical application and guidelines.
In today’s post, let’s focus on two simple goals:
- Building a foundation by looking at three definitions of the Holy Spirit.
- Providing five guidelines regarding spiritual gifts.
3 Definitions of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is coequal with God the Father and God the Son. He reveals Jesus Christ to sinners, permanently indwells believers at the point of salvation, forms the likeness of Jesus Christ in believers through sanctification, guidance, the distribution of all the biblical gifts of the Spirit, empowers the mission of Jesus Christ through believers, and unifies the Church.
The Holy Spirit reveals Christ to us, forms Christ in us, and empowers the mission of Christ through us.
The Holy Spirit guides us, grows us, and gifts us.
5 Guidelines Regarding Spiritual Gifts
Gifts are for the common good of the church, not for the personal enhancement of the individual.
- 1 Corinthians 12:7 – “for the common good.”
- 1 Corinthians 14:3 – “for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.”
- 1 Corinthians 14:4 – “builds up the church.”
- 1 Corinthians 14:5 – “so that the church may be built up.”
- 1 Corinthians 14:12 – “strive to excel in building up the church.”
- 1 Corinthians 14:26 – “Let all things be done for building up the church.”
- 1 Corinthians 14:31 – “so that all may learn and all be encouraged.”
Diversity within unity, not uniformity, is essential for a healthy and effective church.
- 1 Corinthians 12:4 – “varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.”
- 1 Corinthians 12:5 – “varieties of service, but the same Lord.”
- 1 Corinthians 12:6 – “varieties of activities, but the same God.”
God gives gifts to each person for a specific function in the body.
- 1 Corinthians 12:11 – “All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.”
- 1 Corinthians 12:18 – “But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.”
Every member has his or her own function, and every member needs every member of the body to fulfill his or her function.
- 1 Corinthians 12:14-20 – The Body Analogy: Foot/Hand, Ear/Eye
- 1 Corinthians 12:21 – “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’”
- 1 Corinthians 12:25 – “that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.”
- 1 Corinthians 12:26 – “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”
The lists of gifts are not meant to be exhaustive; the order of gifts varies considerably, no distinction should be made between the gifts, but all expressions of gifts must be in love and done decently and in order.
- 1 Corinthians 13:1 – “but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”
- 1 Corinthians 13:2 – “but have not love, I am nothing.”
- 1 Corinthians 13:3 – “but have not love, I gain nothing.”
- 1 Corinthians 14:1 – “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts…”
- 1 Corinthians 14:33 – “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.”
- 1 Corinthians 14:40 – “But all things should be done decently and in order.”