04/06/T – Spiritual Gifts

Esther 4:1-5:14; 1 Corinthians 12:1-7; Psalms 36:10-12; Proverbs 12:19-20

OT: “Mordecai told the messenger to reply to Esther, “Don’t think that you will escape the fate of all the Jews because you are in the king’s palace. If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will come to the Jewish people from another place, but you and your father’s family will be destroyed. Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.” Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go and assemble all the Jews who can be found in Susa and fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my female servants will also fast in the same way. After that, I will go to the king even if it is against the law. If I perish, I perish.”” (‭‭Esther‬ ‭4:13-16‬ ‭CSB)

At this point in the story, Esther (her Jewish name was Hadassah) had become queen and Haman (the King’s right-hand man) had initiated a genocidal plot to kill all of the Jews. Up to this point, Mordecai (Esther’s older cousin and adopted father) had instructed Esther to keep her Jewish ethnicity a secret, but now the time had come to reveal who she was for the sake of her people. For anyone (Queen included) to approach the King uninvited, the result was death – unless the King showed favor and extended his royal staff. When Esther informed Mordecai of the dangers of approaching the King uninvited, Mordecai, instead of becoming discouraged, was filled with faith. Mordecai knew, by a gift of faith, that God would not allow His people to be destroyed. Mordecai knew that God would deliver His people, whether Esther accepted the call or not. In faith, Mordecai reminded Esther that she was Queen because God had put her there for a purpose… and it was apparent that the purpose was to deliver her people from annihilation. Stirred by Mordecai’s faith, Esther stepped out in faith and willingly placed her life in God’s hand as she risked her life for the sake of her people. Though God is able to do anything, He has chosen to accomplish His purposes on earth through people. In order to accomplish His purposes, He makes gifts of willing people by calling them into action, and then equipping those people with gifts that are beyond their ability. God desired to use Mordecai and Esther to accomplish His purposes. What Mordecai and Esther needed at that time was great faith. So God gave them both a gift of faith – and through their faith, Mordecai and Esther became gifts of God to the Jewish people.

NT: “Now concerning spiritual gifts: brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be unaware. You know that when you were pagans, you used to be enticed and led astray by mute idols. Therefore I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different activities, but the same God works all of them in each person. A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good:” (‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭12:1-7‬ ‭CSB)

Paul needed to make sure that the Corinthian church understood how the Holy Spirit worked. The phrase “spiritual gifts” is actually one word in the Greek: pneumatikos. Pneumatikos means pertaining to the spirit… So Paul was saying, concerning things that pertained to the Spirit (not just spiritual gifts), he did not want the Corinthian church (nor us) to be unaware, ignorant or mistaken. Firstly, the Holy Spirit is not like the spirits that inhabit the worship of idols which entice you into things against your will. The Holy Spirit does not possess and overpower a person. He inhabits and empowers a person. Secondly, the Holy Spirit will always glorify God and attest to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Paul then went on to explain gifts specifically. The word for gifts is the Greek word ‘charisma.’ Charis is the Greek word for grace, so charisma means a gift of grace. Paul said that there are distinct distributions of grace, and he went on to describe three distinct types of grace gifts that all come from the same spirit. We know God to be three distinct personalities that are all united as One: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Each of these three personalities distribute distinct types of graces – and all types of grace gifts work together in unity under the same spirit. Jesus Christ is the Lord of the Church and the type of grace gifts that He distributes are different ministries. Paul describes those ministry graces in detail in Ephesians 4:11-12. God the Father distributes to each person different activities or motivations (energema in the Greek). Paul lists out those various motivating graces from God the Father in Romans 12:6-8. Finally, the Holy Spirit graces each and every Spirit-filled believer with needed manifestations that are not to be used for personal gain, but for the benefit of others. The next few verses of 1 Corinthians 12 are used to describe those manifestations of the Spirit in greater detail.

Prayer: Lord, what an honor it is to be used by You to accomplish Your purposes on earth. What a relief it is to know that You don’t expect me to accomplish those purposes in my own strength and abilities. I thank You, that as I make myself available to You, You grace me with spiritual gifts to then be a spiritual gift to others. Therefore, I yield myself to You and expect You to grace me with what I need as I walk in obedience to Your purposes. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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