2nd Sunday of Epiphany – Sermon 95

13th February 2011 Off By Derek Buckthorpe

Prayer to start

May the words of my lips and the thoughts of our hearts be graciously received for the Glory and Honour of our Lord Jesus Christ



Gifts – we’ve seen a lot of them about lately –

What with Christmas presents – the giving and receiving of the most precious gift of all – Jesus Christ – and in this season of Epiphany – the arrival of the three kings – and their gifts – of gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.

Epiphany – means – appearing – bringing something to light – making visible what was once unseen – a bit like unwrapping or opening the gift of Jesus for all to see –

But some gifts we’re reluctant to open – either because we don’t know we’ve got them – or we’re not sure – what’s going to happen – if we do –

This morning we are going to look at the Gifts of the Spirit – gifts given to us by God – to help – build up His church – with the help of our NT reading – we’re going to see if we can understand what they are – how to recognize them – and what we do with them when we get them –

Point 1 what are they?

“About gifts of the Spirit – I want there to be no misunderstanding” said Paul –

They only come from one source – The Holy Spirit – and they only go to one group of people – His Church –

Everyone who recognizes – and proclaim Jesus as Lord – receives a gift from the Spirit –

As far as Paul’s concerned – we’re either for Jesus – or against Him –and no one who is against Jesus – can speak under the influence of the Spirit –

As John the Baptist reminded us – in our Gospel reading last week – its Jesus who will baptise us with the Holy Spirit and with fire”

through Jesus – we receive the holy Spirit –

and through the Holy Spirit we are helped to recognize who Jesus is – and what it means to follow in His footsteps – together – they helps us understand the real meaning of God’s love –

Paul tells us that – when we accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour – and – allow Him to direct our lives – we receive a special skills from God – skills that will enable us to play – our part in what God has in store for us –

In the early church – these gifts were received in a dramatic fashion – at Pentecost – when the disciples were filled with His Power – and spoke in “tongues” – and were able to talk in many languages –

In our reading Paul lists nine gifts of the Spirit – the gift of wise speech – which can put God’s knowledge into words – the gift of faith – which gives us an unshakable trust and confidence in Jesus – the gift of interpretation or prophecy – which enables us to put God’s truths – in clear and simple terms for others –

In other passages – he gives us a lot more examples – the gift of encouragement – leadership – pastoral care – teaching – serving – evangelism – giving – showing mercy –

But the gifts come with strings attached – we can’t choose which gifts we have – and they don’t work unless you use them in a particular way –

“There are varieties of gifts – but the same Spirit”

We each have gifts – Our gifts are different – because – the tasks we are given are different – we can’t all be the centre forward – or the right back – we are part of a large team – God’s team – and we need every position filled –

“There are varieties of service but the same Lord”

Our gifts are not for our use – but for God’s service – its not about being centre stage – its about using our gifts in a selfless way –

“There are varieties of activity but in all of them – and in everyone – the same God is active”

Activity requires energy – and when we serve God – we serve with Gods energy and power

We plant and water – but its God that makes things grow –

“In each of us the Spirit is seen to be at work for the same useful purpose”

Each gift and each person is important – no one gift or person – is better than another – nothing will out do the love we are called to give to one another – and to God –

Three boys in a playground were bragging about their fathers – the first said “My dada scribbles a few words on a piece of paper – he calls it a poem – they give him 50 pounds – the second boy said – that’s nothing – my dad scribbles words on a piece of paper – and he calls it a song – and they give him 100 pounds – the third boy said – I’ve beaten you both – my dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper – he calls it a sermon – and it takes four people to carry all the money –

Because these gifts come directly from God – its important – we value and use them – they mustn’t be wasted –

Point 2 How do we recognize them –

So lets look at our second point – how do we recognise them –

We all have talents – some of us are good at maths – some at writing – drawing – painting – driving – speaking – reading – mending – building – listening – making people laugh –

Some talents we are born with – some we learn along the way- we are all good at something –

But talents by themselves are not spiritual gifts –
Spiritual gifts often – match up with our talents –
but unless the Spirit is in control of them – they remain just talents –
Take music for example – Most of us enjoy it – but not all of us can sing – those than can string a few notes together – have an opportunity to lead others in worship – by joining the choir –

Our choir sounds great – because Mike is directing us – if we all did our own thing – as we sometimes do – in choir practice – it sounds a lot less great –

But when our singing is directed by the Holy Spirit – it can do more than sound good – it can help people to praise God – it can help people to recognize God’s glory – it can help to transform peoples lives – forever –

When we finish our choir practice – we always end with a choiristers prayer

“grant that what we sing with our lips – we may believe in our hearts – and what we believe in our hearts – we may show forth in our lives”

When the Holy Spirit is there – inspiring us to use our gift – for God’s purposes – and for the good of others – then everyone can see and hear the difference –

We recognize our gifts – by the fruit that they bear

-is there someone you’ve helped bring to Jesus – through a gift – you’ve offered to God?

Is there a gift you can offer – here in this church – if there is I’m sure the Churchwardens would love to hear from you –

If you’re not sure – what your gift is – ask the provider –the Holy Spirit – He’ll be the one that will use it for God’s glory –

Point 3 – using our gift correctly

Which brings us on to our third point – How to use our gifts correctly

When Paul wrote his letter to the Corinthian chu
rch it was to tell them – they were not using their gifts properly – they had elevated the gift of “tongues” – above the others –and were trying to outdo each other –

The church was dividing into factions – each one – claiming to be the most fruitful – and that others should listen to them –

Until eventually – people started leaving the church – and others refusing to come –and – those that stayed were becoming less and less effective – in sharing their love for Jesus –

We are called to feed and support one another – to show God’s transforming love – to the world –

No one will believe – that God is real and that faith in Him will make a difference – if they see His church critcising others and criticizing themselves

God calls us to be fishers of men – not keepers of an ever shrinking aquarium –

He has given His Spirit and His gifts – to unite – and strengthen- His church – not to divide it – our gifts are not about personal thrills – or a source of pride – but for service to the whole body

So when we offer our gifts – for use in God’s service – its important that we – seek the leadership – and help of the provider – the Holy Spirit

Ask Him –through prayer – to show us what to do – to remind us why and what we are here for –

before we can serve – before we can talk – before we can do anything for God – we have to ask for the Spirits help – and power –


Our Spiritual gifts are given to help God’s church – don’t leave them in the box – unwrap them – and show them to others

The Holy Spirit is here to draw all people to Jesus – those with different gifts – different service – different workings – He has no other plan – and He has no one – other than His church – to help Him do it –

– are you willing to show the light of Christ to others – through your gifts?

Lets finish with a prayer –

Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
No feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which He is to go about doing good,
Yours are the hands with which He blesses now.