1 Cor.12:1,4-7

Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

1.Introduction: Question directed to Paul

  • Question directed to Paul by the Corinthian church about the gifts of the Holy Spirit
  • What are the gifts of the Holy Spirit?
  • Who give these gifts?
  • How do they operate?
  • Where do they operate?
  • NB: Maybe there was also a confusion because some members of the Corinthian assembly who were gifted or thought they were gifted – instead of unifying and maturing the Church/Body of Christ – they divided it
  • Through their gifts they divided the church of God and caused much strife and disorder within the church
  • A brother or sister gifted in healing thought he/she does not need a brother or sister gifted in word of wisdom – broke away to form HEALING MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL

– vice versa  – a person gifted in Word of Wisdom – broke away from the church to form Wisdom Church of God International and so forth and so on

  • Some thought they gifts are more important and more valuable than other’s gifts
  • Apostles thought they are more gifted and more important than pastors – prophets thought they are closer to God more than those with the gift of administration

The gifts of the Holy Spirit or lack of understanding thereof – brought competition and division in the church of Corinth

  • That’s where Paul uses the human body narrative…to show that gifts of the Holy Spirit are interdependent
  • One particular gift does not build the Body of Christ – it does not mature the Body of Christ

2.Spiritual gifts: A definition

Dr Ken Kinghorn: supernatural ability or capacity given by God to enable to enable the Christian to minister/serve.

  • Note: It is supernatural ability – spiritual gifts are not talents – talents come naturally – a person is born with their natural talents – BUT spiritual gifts are given by God through the Holy Spirit

Dr. C. Peter Wagner: A spiritual gift is a special attribute given by the Holy Spirit to every

member of the Body of Christ according to God’s grace for the use within the context of the Body (Church)

  • Important to note and understand that spiritual gifts are part of God’s plan to bring the church or the Body of Christ to the highest possible maturity and unity
  • No local church or congregation will be what it should be, what Jesus prayed that it should be, what the Holy spirit gifted it and empowered it to be, until it understands the gift of the Holy Spirit and begin to flow in these gifts
  • Flowing in the gifts of the Holy Spirit changes the Christian’s life from superficial to supernatural
  • Spiritual gifts can be categorized into the following 3 categories:
  • (i) Motivational/Service gifts (ii) Ministry gifts and (iii) Manifestation gifts – shall unpack when we get there


  1. Who gives spiritual gifts?

  • One of the problems in the church of Corinth – people chose and picked gifts – spiritual gifts were a wholesale affair and normally because of human nature people who pick and choose gifts that are seen by people for personal glory and elevation
  • The question directed to Paul was can a believer pick and choose gifts – can a pastor award spiritual gifts to the congregation?

Eph.4:1  So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, (NIV)

  • (AMP) – He (God) appointed some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers
  • It is God Himself – It is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who give spiritual gifts through the Holy Spirit
  • It is God Himself – Jesus Christ Himself who appoints people in ministry offices

1 Cor.12:28 – 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.


AMP:- 28 So God has appointed and placed in the church [for His own use]: first apostles [chosen by Christ], second prophets [those who foretell the future, those who speak a new message from God to the people], third teachers, then those who work miracles, then those with the gifts of healings, the helpers, the administrators, and speakers in various kinds of [unknown] tongues.

  • NB: God sets ministry gifts in the church – God appoints and place ministry gifts in the church for His own use
  • It is not man that sets, appoints and place BUT God Himself

NB: You cannot make yourself a ministry gift – you cannot pick and choose a ministry gift – it is dangerous


God must call you, set you, appoint you and place you in a particular gift for His own use

  • In my life: I have seen people going into ministry or trying to operate in a certain gift because somebody made a commend that you can be good as a teacher
  • In the Body of Christ: A man is called to be an apostle or pastor or prophet or evangelist or teacher – they do not want to go alone
  • Call the wife – Apostle SoandSo and Prophetess SoandSo – and the poor wife is not called to be a prophet

Paul says in Eph.4:1 – I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

  • I am caught by the word “vocation”: divine call, function, purpose, mission
  • NB: There is nothing dangerous and frustrating than being called, set, appointed and placed by people or by self-interest
  • There is nothing dangerous and frustrating than to operate outside of your divine call, your function, your purpose and mission
  • Most of the people who are doing harm to the Body of Christ are people who are not called, set, appointed and placed by God in the offices or gifts they are operating in
  • They are people who are following something else but not the function, purpose, divine call and mission God has called them for
  • When you are operating according to the divine call, purpose, mission and function God appointed and placed you for
  • V7 of Eph.4 Paul says – God gives us favour/grace to function in our purpose – in other words when we are within our gifts and calling – God is making it possible for us to function unto His glory

4.Spiritual gifts: The purpose of

Paul faced another question: What is the purpose of these Spiritual gifts?

In the Corinthian Church these gifts were used for  different purposes other than those which God intended them for

For personal glory and elevation

 For status and rank

1 Cor.12:7  A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.

(TLB) used for helping the entire Church

 The purpose of the Spiritual gift is not for personal use – but for helping others – the entire Body of Christ

NB: In Eph.4:11 – 12 – He (Paul) explains clearly the purpose of spiritual gifts: 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

TLB: 12 Why is it that he gives us these special abilities to do certain things best? It is that God’s people will be equipped to do better work for him, building up the Church, the body of Christ, to a position of strength and maturity;

The purpose is 3-fold:

  • For the perfecting of the saints (equipping of the believers)
  • For the work of the ministry (for building up the body of Christ)
  • For edifying the body of Christ (to build the body of Christ to a position of strength and maturity)

5.Conclusion: Summarize

  • The question addressed to Paul about gifts of the Holy Spirit
  • We defined the gifts of the Holy Spirit – that they are supernatural abilities given by God for His church

The giver of these gifts: God – who set, call, appoint and place NOT man – we can desire

to have gifts but it is God who appoint, set, call and place us

The purpose of spiritual gifts – to equip, edify , for the work of the ministry


  • Unpacking different kinds of spiritual gifts
  • Understanding the ministry/pulpit gifts
  • How to flow in the gifts of the Holy Spirit
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