Before we look at what the GIFTS are, it is important to state what they are not - as we will see later they are completely an act of God's grace towards us and have nothing to do with our natural ability, upbringing, training or that which is pushed upon us.
(2) Three Things The Gifts Are Not.
The Gifts of the Spirit are not....
(i) NATURAL TALENTS
Sometimes we mistake natural giftedness for spiritual gifts. We will see this is not Biblical thinking. Just because someone is naturally gifted at oration (public speaking) that does not mean they have the Spiritual Gift of Teacher or Pastor or even Evangelist. It could be an indication that one such gifting is present but there again the person may be naturally a very poor speaker (as Moses felt he was ) but still called into a ministry that demands public speaking.
Group or Individual Activity: What other natural giftings can you think of that may be mistaken for Spiritual Giftings ? What is the main difference between natural and Spiritual Giftings ? Discuss.
(ii) CHRISTIAN RESPONSIBILITY
By Christian Responsibility we mean areas that all Christians are expected to move in no matter what their Spiritual Giftings may be. Such areas of responsibility include prayer, evangelism , discipleship, missions involvement (not necessarily going but involved in heart) and many other Biblically demanded responsibilities.
Group or Individual Activity: What other areas of Christian Responsibility can you think of that all Christians should be involved in ? Why are these not Spiritual Gifts ? What is the difference ?
(iii) FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT ( Galatians 5:22-23)
Gifts and the Fruit of the Spirit are different, but may Christians think that the more Fruit you have the more Gifts you will have or vica verca. This is simply not the case. Indeed, they can even be mutually exclusive, which means that they are not necessarily dependant on each other. Someone may move seemingly powerfully in the Gifts but have very little Fruit (such as was the case in Matthew 7:22-23) and the opposite is true also.
But in reality, both are needed.
We are told in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 that gifts without love (the main characteristic of all the fruits - see this quote by D.L.Moody) are like an unclear sound causing the opposite effect of what God desires. The more Fruit of the Spirit we bear, the more we should know of the Lord to move out and use the gifts He graciously bestows upon us.
The Fruit of the Spirit is related to our AUTHORITY and the Gifts of the Spirit relates to our POWER. If you think of a Sheriff, they may have a badge saying Sheriff but without the gun they lack a certain power. On the other hand, a man with a gun but without the sheriff badge has the power but lacks the authority.
Group or Individual Activity: Think about / discuss how the above illustration relates to Gifts and Fruit of the Spirit.
Look at the chart below of the differences between the Fruit and the Gifts...
Think about / discuss each of the differences. Which do you think are the most important, the Fruits or the Gifts ? Why ?
We have seen that the Gifts of the Spirit are not natural telent, Christian responsibility or The Fruit of the Spirit but are needed as well as these things.
Can you think of any other things that the Gifts may be mistaken for ? i.e. can you think of any more 'the Gifts are not....' statements ? Share.
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