John 14:9-10 NLT – Jesus replied, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.”
God is revealed through Jesus.
If we want to know God, then we need to get to know Jesus. And luckily there are four entire books of the Bible dedicated to the life of Jesus. We call them the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Through this series, we are going to travel through the book of John and observe the way of Jesus. What we are going to find is that the way of Jesus is different than the way of the world.
Actually, the way of Jesus may even be different than what you were taught in church. We often get off into our own plans and ideas about what following Jesus looks like.
I’m sure everyone here is guilty of doing that, including myself. But we are going to dive into the Word of God and get a course correction. So go ahead and look at someone next to you and say, “Get ready for different.”
Last week, we went through John chapter one and discovered “the Jesus way” to reach people. We learned two things:
1. To follow Jesus, I must embrace grace and truth.
We have a tendency to embrace one or the other. Some are on the grace side and think that you should never say anything to upset people even if it is the truth. Others are on the truth side and use truth to beat people up.
But to follow the example of Jesus, we must become masters at bringing the two together. The simplest way to explain what this looks like is:
When sharing truth is motivated by love, go for it. Otherwise, shut it.
Here’s the second thing we learned last week:
2. To follow Jesus, I must use spiritual gifts to reach people.
When I left church last week, the Holy Spirit spoke inside of me and said, “Kade, that was a great introduction to spiritual gifts. Now I need you to focus your entire message next week on spiritual gifts because the entire church needs to fully understand this to be ready for what’s to come.”
You know, I used to plan these messages about three months in advance. Last year kind of ripped that to shreds. Just like you’ve probably experienced at work, long term planning just doesn’t work in this season.
I’m still a planner though, so I had my plan for this week to keep moving through the book of John, but we are not going to do that today. We are going to dive into spiritual gifts and be obedient to the Holy Spirit.
So let me set the foundation for understanding spiritual gifts, starting at the very beginning of John chapter 1.
John 1:1-5 NKJV – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
Now jump down to verse 14:
John 1:14 NKJV – And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
The Bible is not just a good book. It is Jesus in book form. The Word of God is Jesus and He’s been here from the very beginning. All things were made through Jesus. Life comes from Jesus, which means life comes from the Word of God.
When I was asking Jesus how He wanted me to teach this message, this is where He told me to start. And He said, “If my people do not settle in their heart that the Word of God is me, they’ll never be able to follow me.”
In other words, we all need to settle the fact that the Word of God is truth. Not science. Not education. Not research results. Not what your grandma told you.
Sure, all these things can have truth in them, but there’s nothing except the Word of God gets it 100% right. The Word of God is the ONLY thing that is 100% truth. So if something else disagrees with the Word of God, it is a lie.
It doesn’t matter if the most respected scientist has come to some other conclusion, or if your professor at college convinced you that they had a better way. No.
The Word of God is absolute truth. Period.
If you don’t settle that in your heart, you are going to be tossed here and there and you are going to live your life confused and you are going to be worn out because you just don’t know which way to go.
We’ve come to a really sad place in America where science is exalted above the Word of God. Higher education is exalted above the Word of God. Sin is exalted above the Word of God.
And you can follow along if you want. But when you make your way to eternity, you’ll find out that the Word of God is truth. And you’ll see all the people who were misled because you influenced them with some kind of counterfeit truth instead of God’s truth.
Y’all, this is Jesus talking to you through me. I had no intention of bringing this up today, but the Lord wants you to hear it. And not just hear it, but embrace it. Settle in your heart right now that the Word of God is truth.
Using Spiritual Gifts to Reach People
Now we’re ready. We’re ready to follow the way of Jesus by using spiritual gifts to reach people in our daily lives.
You’ve probably noticed that the American church as a whole is weak in spiritual gifts. Even here at NoLimits. We’ll see them occasionally, but we should be seeing all of them at work all the time.
The problem is, we’ve come to believe that we are so sophisticated that we don’t need spiritual gifts to reach people. I mean, we’ve got the lights, the great sound system, the good looking pastors. What else could you need?
On top of this, we’re obsessed with being normal. We don’t want anyone to be bothered by what we do. And spiritual gifts are hard to understand, so we neglect them in an effort not to run people off.
But we are actually running people off by not embracing spiritual gifts. I mean, if Jesus needed spiritual gifts to reach people, who are we to think that we can reach people without them?
9 Gifts of the Spirit
Let’s go through the nine spiritual gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. And as we work through them, I am going to show you an example of each from the life of Jesus.
1. The Word of Wisdom
I Corinthians 12:8-10 NKJV – For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit,
Wisdom can be defined as the proper use of knowledge. In other words, wisdom enables you to take what you know and apply it in the correct way.
We live in the information age. So we all know a lot of stuff. And because we are so knowledgeable, we think we have it all together. The problem is, not many people apply their knowledge the correct way.
In other words, without wisdom, knowledge is pretty much worthless. Even years of college are worthless if you don’t know how to apply it the correct way.
When it comes to the spiritual gift called the word of wisdom, this is what enables you to take what you know from the Bible and use it in the most effective way.
Let’s look at an example of Jesus operating in this gift. This is one of the many times that the Pharisees – the religious elite – were trying to trap Jesus with their so-called knowledge of the Bible. This is even a question people are still asking today, trying to skirt their way around it:
Matthew 19:3-9 NLT – Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
Uh oh. Jesus better get some wisdom on this issue because no matter how you answer it, someone is going to be upset.
Matthew 19:3-9 NLT – “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’ And he said, ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”
Well, that wasn’t good enough for the Pharisees because they had more knowledge to throw at Jesus:
Matthew 19:3-9 NLT – “Then why did Moses say in the law that a man could give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away?” they asked. Jesus replied, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended. And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery—unless his wife has been unfaithful.”
This is the word of wisdom at work. Jesus knew what the Bible said, but He knew the right application of each scripture. He knew divorce was permitted by the law of Moses, but it will never be God’s best.
This still rings true today. If you’ve been divorced for any reason other than adultery, God does not hate you. But you’ve probably already found out that it was not God’s best. I don’t have to convince you of that.
If you want God’s best for your marriage, then you work it out. I don’t have time to get into that today, but if you need help working things out in your marriage, there are several couples here that will walk it out with you. You just have to reach out and let us know.
Alright, next spiritual gift:
2. The Word of Knowledge
I Corinthians 12:8-10 NKJV – to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,
The Word of Knowledge is different from the knowledge you obtain at school, or by reading a book. The Word of Knowledge comes supernaturally.
It’s when you know something by the Spirit of God that you could not have known otherwise. And the Holy Spirit gives you this gift to help you reach people.
The Word of Knowledge is not so that you can know everyone’s dirty secrets. It’s not so that you can look smarter than everyone else. It’s not for your fame or fortune. The purpose of the gift is to help you lead others to Jesus.
Here’s an example of Jesus using this spiritual gift:
John 1:47-50 NLT – As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.” “How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.” Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!” Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.”
Jesus knew these specifics about Nathaniel because of the Word of Knowledge. And all it took was Jesus simply knowing that Nathanal had been sitting under a fig tree for him to believe in Jesus. That’s amazing!
See how simple it can be to lead people to Jesus when you embrace spiritual gifts? Let’s move on to the next one:
3. Gift of Faith
I Corinthians 12:8-10 NKJV – to another faith by the same Spirit,
First of all, let’s clear up the fact that the gift of faith talked about here is different from the faith that enables you to believe in Jesus Christ. God has given everyone the faith they need to believe in Jesus and receive salvation.
The gift of faith, on the other hand, is what causes us to all of a sudden receive something from God. Maybe you’ve been seeking healing for years, but one day, all of a sudden, faith rises up in you and causes you to receive healing.
In other words, the gift of faith is not something you can work up. It just comes as a gift. All of a sudden, it’s just there. Jesus talks about this kind of faith in Luke 17:
Luke 17:6 NLT – The Lord answered, “If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May you be uprooted and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you!”
Notice Jesus referred to this faith as a seed. He didn’t say you have to plant it first, wait for it to grow, and one day you’ll have a tree of faith. Nope, the seed itself is a gift of faith and it causes the promises of God to grow in your life.
Some of you have been in the garden trying to work up the faith to believe God to do something in your life when you need to just ask Him for the gift of faith, receive the seed, and watch the promises of God grow in your life.
Wow, that’s good stuff. Let’s head to the next spiritual gift:
4. Gifts of Healings
I Corinthians 12:8-10 NKJV – to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,
We all know that Jesus healed people – a lot of people. When you dig into the details of these healing stories, you find that sometimes people were healed because of their faith, other times Jesus simply healed them.
So, not all healing that takes place is because of the gift of healings mentioned here. Sometimes it’s the gift of faith that causes people to reach out and receive healing. Sometimes it’s a Word of Wisdom enabling you to apply the Word of God.
However it comes, there is no bad way to be healed. Amen?
Here’s an example of Jesus using the gift of healing:
Matthew 9:35 NKJV – Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
When operating in the gift of healing, it doesn’t matter if the sick person has the faith to be healed or not. They are all going to be healed simply because the gift of healing is at work in you.
What an awesome gift to have. Remember how I told you the gifts of the spirit are given to help you lead people to Jesus? Can you see how the gift of healing would do just that?
Here’s the next one:
5. Working of Miracles
I Corinthians 12:8-10 NKJV – to another the working of miracles,
A miracle is something that is humanly impossible, but simple for God. The Bible is full of miracles. And the only people who have a hard time believing in miracles are those who don’t believe in God.
The working of miracles was actually one of the first spiritual gifts that Jesus used in His ministry. It’s when He turned water into wine at a wedding celebration.
They had run out of wine, which was a big problem because it could make the groom’s family look really bad at the wedding. So Jesus’ mom asked Him to do something about it.
Jesus has the servants at the wedding fill six waterpots with water, each containing 20-30 gallons each. So here’s Jesus with six huge waterpots of water. Take a look at what happens next:
This is what you call the working of miracles. Jesus operated in this gift often, and we should be too. Here’s the next one:
I Corinthians 12:8-10 NKJV – to another prophecy,
Prophecy is a bit misunderstood in the body of Christ. We think of it as the telling of future events, which it is, but it often gets misused. People sometimes say they have a prophetic Word and it’s really just their own delusion.
Here’s how we know if a prophetic Word is from God:
1 Corinthians 14:3 NLT – But one who prophesies strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them.
Did the prophetic word strengthen you, encourage you, or comfort you? If it doesn’t pass one of these three tests, it’s probably not the gift of prophecy at work.
For the past year or so, God has been leading me to start writing books. Not too long ago, I went to a church service where the pastor prophesied over me, “You will write books and people will read them.”
The only person that knew I was thinking about writing books was Beth. This pastor had no idea. And the prophetic word definitely encouraged me in something God had been speaking to me. That’s a true prophetic word.
Now, not all prophecy gives you the warm fuzzies. If you think of things that strengthen you, they usually hurt a little. Like, if you want to get stronger physically, you head to the gym and push through a lot of pain.
Most of the prophecies we hear from Jesus are to strengthen us. Jesus prophesied that He would be betrayed and that the apostles would desert Him.
I believe He said these things so that after they happened, the apostles would remember that Jesus already knew they would desert Him for a short time and yet He continued to stay with them, which means He is still with them.
Jesus prophesied that the temple would be destroyed. Obviously that is not very encouraging, but it was strengthening because now people know that even though the temple was destroyed, it’s not over.
So, prophecy exists to either strengthen you, encourage you, or comfort you. You should run every prophecy through this test to help you determine if it is the true gift of prophecy at work.
Here’s the next spiritual gift:
7. Discerning of Spirits
I Corinthians 12:8-10 NKJV – to another discerning of spirits,
We live in the physical realm, but the physical realm was created by the spiritual realm. So, the spiritual realm is superior to the physical realm. Yet, we get so caught up in the physical realm we forget the spiritual realm even exists.
This spiritual gift, discerning of spirits, is what helps you see how the spiritual realm is affecting the physical realm.
For example, when this gift is active in your life, you can clearly see that the news cycle is controlled by a spirit of fear and deception. You can also see that mainstream entertainment is controlled by a spirit of lust and violence.
Without the ability to discern what’s going on in the spirit, you are completely unaware of these things and end up deceived by the news and thrown off course by TV shows and movies that have no purpose to pollute your mind.
It’s not because you are a bad person. I’m not trying to condemn anybody. I just want to help you get a place where you desire the ability to discern what’s going on in the spirit so you can protect yourself and your family.
Jesus used this gift many times. That’s how he knew when a demon needed to be cast out of someone. But let me take you to one of the most shocking times when Jesus used this gift.
He was prophesying to His disciples about how he would soon suffer under the hands of the religious leaders and even killed. But on the third day, He would be raised from the dead.
One of the disciples, Peter, pulled Jesus aside and said, “Heaven forbid! This will never happen to you!” And then Jesus’ response is shocking:
Matthew 16:23 NKJV – But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
Whoa! This isn’t the kind and politically correct Jesus that modern Christianity has made Him out to be. That was kind of rude! I mean, how could you call one of your own friends satan?
Jesus was using the gift of discerning of spirits. He knew Peter’s comment wasn’t coming from the spirit of God, but from the spirit of deception.
We’ve gotta learn how to use this gift. Last year revealed how many Christians have no idea this gift even exists. They can’t even see the most blatant evil right in front of their face. How will they ever see when someone close to them is saying something to mislead them?
If you want this gift, simply say, “God, I receive the gift of discerning of spirits. Open my eyes to see what’s going on in the spiritual realm.”
Alright, two more gifts to go. Here’s the next one:
8. Different Kinds of Tongues
I Corinthians 12:8-10 NKJV – to another different kinds of tongues,
This is a controversial subject, isn’t it? Entire church denominations were formed because they were either for speaking in tongues or against it. What a bummer that the church has allowed it to bring such division.
I know this gift seems weird. But aren’t all of them a little weird? I mean, if we are going to believe in prophecy, where God can enable people to see the future, why can’t we believe in tongues where God enables someone to speak in a language they don’t even know?
If you read about speaking in tongues throughout the Bible, there is absolutely no doubt that this is a legit spiritual gift. And it could be the most powerful considering the enemy works so hard to keep us from it.
Even Jesus told us about this gift:
Mark 16:17 NKJV – And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;
And then it was fulfilled shortly after His resurrection:
Acts 2:4 NKJV – And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
The question is, why? Why this gift of speaking in tongues? What does it benefit me to speak in a language I don’t even know?
I Corinthians 14:2 NKJV – For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.
Speaking in tongues enables you to pray perfect prayers. I mean, how many times have you been praying only to realize that your prayer really wasn’t that great because you didn’t know what to pray for?
That will never happen when you have the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues. When you speak in tongues, your prayer is always effective, always spot on, and you are speaking mysteries – things you have no idea that need to happen, but the Holy Spirit does and He speaks those through you.
This gift is awesome! No wonder satan doesn’t want us to use this gift. Imagine how much destruction we could do to the kingdom of darkness if we all prayed in tongues every day.
Now I do want to point out that scripture says that speaking in tongues is not to speak to men, but to God.
Although it’d be nice to be able to use this gift on the mission field to speak in their language even though you didn’t know it, there’s nowhere in scripture that indicates that’s what this gift is for. So you are still going to have to put in the work to learn their language.
9. Interpretation of Tongues
I Corinthians 12:8-10 NKJV – to another the interpretation of tongues.
Speaking in tongues is primarily a personal gift. It’s one that you use in your own prayer time between you and God. But sometimes you are led to speak in tongues in front of others. In this case, there should be interpretation.
I Corinthians 14:6 NKJV – But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching?
In other words, if I showed up to church every Sunday and spent thirty minutes speaking in tongues instead of teaching the Word of God, you all would leave no better than you were before. You’d be more confused, actually.
That doesn’t mean that no one should ever speak in tongues in front of the church. But if they do:
I Corinthians 14:13 NKJV – Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.
In order for tongues to be helpful in a church service, it must be paired with the interpretation of tongues so that we can all understand what was being said. Makes sense, right?
However, when you pray in tongues when it’s just you and God, there’s no need for interpretation. You just go for it so you can pray out those mysteries, those perfect prayers, those things you don’t even know what to pray for.
Go ahead – destroy the kingdom of darkness by praying in tongues every day. Man, what an awesome opportunity.