Introduction: What a blessing it is to have the Holy Spirit! We
learned two weeks ago that the Holy Spirit guides our mind if we ask.
We learned last week that the Holy Spirit changes our attitudes so
that we experience love, joy and peace. This week we learn how
everyone of us is given at least one gift from the Holy Spirit to use
to build up the body of believers. Do you like gifts? Let’s jump
right into our study of the Bible and learn more about the gifts the
Holy Spirit has to offer to us!

  1. The Obvious

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 12:1-3. What topic is Paul teaching to
      us? (Spiritual gifts!)

      1. What is the first thing Paul wants us to know about
        spiritual gifts? What is his “baseline” teaching
        about these gifts? (We are all influenced by the
        things around us. Paul does not want us to be “led
        astray” by the wrong influences. As to the right
        influences, telling whether someone is exercising a
        gift of the Holy Spirit is easy – if they say “Jesus
        is Lord” (as opposed to “Jesus be cursed”), you know
        this comes from the Holy Spirit.)

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 12:4-6. Why is Paul telling us that
      there are different gifts, service and workings, but the
      same Holy Spirit is behind them all? (This is another
      warning – not to be judgmental about the spiritual gifts
      of others. Just because someone has different gifts,
      different service, or different workings, we are not to
      say that it comes from Satan. The Holy Spirit works in
      different ways in different Christians.)

    3. Read Matthew 12:22 and Matthew 12:24-26. What does Jesus
      say about the idea that someone would use the power of
      Satan to do something good? (Jesus says it is illogical.)

    4. Read Matthew 12:31-32. We previously learned from Paul
      that discerning whether something comes from the Holy
      Spirit is obvious. He then warns us not to be judgmental
      when others have gifts that we might not have or might not
      understand. Why does Jesus tell us that this is a very
      serious issue? (If we call the work of the Holy Spirit the
      work of Satan, we have blasphemed the Holy Spirit! Worse,
      this is an unforgivable sin!)

      1. Why is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit not
        forgivable and blasphemy against Jesus is forgivable?
        They are both part of the Godhead! (Think about this.
        Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to live in us, guide us,
        change our attitudes, and give us gifts. If we cannot
        distinguish between the work of the Holy Spirit and
        the work of Satan, we have a serious practical

    5. Read 1 Corinthians 12:10 and 1 John 4:1. We just learned
      that making the wrong judgment with regard to the spirits
      (discerning or “distinguishing between spirits”) is a very
      serious matter. In fact, discerning spirits is a gift
      given to some. Should we be reluctant to make this
      judgment, since the penalty for getting it wrong is so

    6. Read 1 John 4:2-3. Have we come full circle to where we
      started in this discussion. John agrees with Paul,
      discerning spirits is easy and obvious. We don’t have to
      fear getting it wrong, if we follow this simple rule – if
      the Spirit says Jesus is from God, that Jesus is God
      incarnate, it is the Holy Spirit. If the spirit says Jesus
      is not from God, then it is demonic. This is not
      difficult. What apparently is hard, is accepting that the
      Holy Spirit works in different Christians in different

      1. If this is so easy, why do we need a spiritual gift
        to figure it out (discern it)? (Recall we recently
        studied the story of Ananias and Sapphira? In Acts
        5:3 Peter says that Satan has filled the heart of
        Ananias. Ananias was giving money to the church.
        There is no evidence that he doubted that Jesus was
        from God. Yet, his motive was not right and Peter
        knew it. The Holy Spirit told Peter something about
        Ananias’ spirit that was not obvious. I think that is
        the gift of discerning spirits – understanding the
        nature of a man’s spirit.)

  2. A Gift For All

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 12:7. Let’s contemplate this text for
      just a few moments. How many receive a “manifestation” of
      the Holy Spirit? (“Each one.” That means everyone,
      including you!)

      1. Why are we given at least one spiritual gift? (For
        the common good. This must mean for the good of our
        fellow believers in Jesus.)

    2. Read Acts 2:38-39. What does this teach us about the
      individual promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit over
      time? (It continues through the generations.)

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 12:8-10. Does it appear that we all
      receive the same spiritual gifts? (No. These verses seem
      to say just the opposite, that different believers receive
      different gifts. We all get some gift, but it is unlikely
      to be the same gift as the person sitting next to us.)

      1. If you were organizing the church, what would these
        verses that I just read cause you to conclude?
        (Everyone has at least one spiritual gift. The gifts
        are unique. The gifts are given for the common good
        of the church. Thus, I would organize the work of the
        church by having each member do something that is in
        accord with his or her gift.)

    4. Read 1 Corinthians 12:11. Who decides who gets what gift?
      (The Holy Spirit.)

    5. Read Romans 12:6-8. Who decides the extent to which we
      have a spiritual gift? (Paul says it is “according to the
      grace given us” and he says “in proportion to his faith.”
      This suggests a joint effort: God originally decides the
      gift and the extent of the gift, and we can increase the
      strength of the gift by our faith.)

    6. Read 1 Corinthians 12:31. In 1 Corinthians 12:27-30 Paul
      lists several spiritual gifts. He then says, “eagerly
      desire the greater gifts.” What does that say about our
      role in securing an additional spiritual gift that we
      would like to have? (It suggests that we also have a role
      in the type of gifts given to us. It would not make any
      sense for Paul to tell us to desire other gifts if we
      could not have them.)

    7. Look again at 1 Corinthians 12:11. As we previously
      discussed, this should have a great impact on church
      organization. If we are simply facilitating the
      organizational work of the Holy Spirit, what does this
      suggest about the work of the church? (We want the Holy
      Spirit to lead in that as well. The Spirit organizes and
      He leads.)

    8. Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-13. What is the goal of this
      organization? (Unity. The goal is to work as one body.)

      1. What doesn’t matter in this organization? (Our race
        or our economic status. The organization of the Holy
        Spirit is our unifying feature.)

    9. Ask yourself whether Paul is writing about your local
      church or the entire body of believers? (When I was
      growing up, I was taught that my church was the most
      recent improvement in a series of refinements in doctrine
      over the history of the church. For example, the Lutheran
      Church was a refinement over the doctrines of the Catholic
      Church. This just continued with subsequent

      1. Is there any Biblical support for this idea of a
        constantly refined series of church denominations?
        (Revelation chapters 1-3 lists churches that are
        thought to represent the history of the church
        through the ages. But, these are not a series of
        improvements. Instead, the teaching of the Bible is
        that each believer (and perhaps each group of
        believers) compliments the rest of the body of

    10. Read Romans 12:3-5. What is the warning given to us if we
      think that our gift (or perhaps our church) is superior to
      all others? (This is a matter that calls for “sober
      judgment.” I think we should be concerned about the sin
      of pride. We want to understand God’s will as perfectly as
      possible. We need to share improved understanding of God’s
      will. But, at the end of the day we need to realize that
      other members and other churches may be doing some things
      better than we are doing them. The goal is unity in

    11. Read 1 Corinthians 12:27-28. Have you figured out what
      gift or gifts the Holy Spirit has given you? Did you
      notice that helping others was a gift?

    12. Friend, if you have received the Holy Spirit, He has given
      you at least one spiritual gift. My challenge to you is to
      find it and then put it to use!

  3. Next week: The Holy Spirit and the Church.