This is not a question/answer survey. It will require time and effort to get through it, but when you finish the race what you will discover is freedom, purpose, and understanding... trust me... it's worth it.
Now concerning spiritual gifts,
brethren, I do not want you to be unaware.
1 Corinthians 12:1
God doesn't want you to be unaware, Paul does not want you to be unaware, and I do not want you to be unaware... so become aware. However, do not let your awareness come through the opinions and interpretations of man...
You know that when you were pagans,
you were led astray to the mute idols,
however you were led.
1 Corinthians 12:2
Go straight to Scripture.
There are plenty of ideas and imaginations of man attempting to explain and define spiritual gifts according to what fits in their own man made traditions and doctrines... be brave my friend... and be willing to go against the grain if need be... do not continue to be led astray... become aware.
In this study the first three weeks are an overview study of the subject of spiritual gifts and then the next nine weeks you will dig into each individual gift, the last week is a study on love.
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,
but do not have love,
I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy,
and know all mysteries and all knowledge;
and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains,
but do not have love, I am nothing.
And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor,
and if I surrender my body to be burned,
but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
As I was studying in the overview section of this study the Lord opened my eyes to something that I was surprised that I had not seen before. He has a way of doing that... and I adore Him for it.
As God begins to make us aware of spiritual gifts He uses the human body as an analogy to help us understand. As I was studying this illustration of the body in light of Ephesians 4 and pondering what it means to become to maturity, to go from children to a mature man... my thoughts went to that time period in between that we in our day have termed as "adolescence".
You know that time.
If you have lived it, you know it.
You don't recognize it when you are in it... only when it is behind you and you look back... with utter humiliation and head shaking good-griefs...
It's that time when your father and mother become the most outdated and stupid and old-fashioned people you have ever met. It's that time when what your friends say and do matters more than what your parents have taught you. It's that time when you begin to question and rebel against every authority figure around you. It's that time when you begin test life in a not so good way... more challenge life and those who have given you life and gotten you safely thus far.
As I pondered this and did a little research on adolescence and considered my own days in that dreaded fog of disillusionion it hit me that this is where the body of Christ is at today.
We live in a day when those in the church are questioning the Word of God. We have been questioning and challenging the authority of our Heavenly Father. We have put down His Book and have picked up the books of our peers. We have decided to listen to what our "friends" say and have consider the Word of our Heavenly Father out-dated and old-fashioned and for a different generation.
We have become immature little brats.
It's time to grow up.
It's time to get to the point that when we hear the word and advice of our "friends" we go and ask our Heavenly Father what He thinks about it before we follow it.
It's time for us to hit that point that we look back and say... "you know what maybe Momma and Daddy ain't as stupid as I thought they were, I might should listen to what they say, and follow what they have already taught me... my way ain't turned out so good."
I had to ask myself what is one of the biggest signs of beginning to reach maturity?
My answer: When we realize that the world does not revolve around me and realize that we have a responsibility in this life and we get busy meeting it.
Church it's time to grow up.
As a result, we are no longer to be children,
tossed here and there by waves
and carried about by every wind of doctrine,
by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;
but speaking the truth in love,
we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head,
even Christ, from whom the whole body,
being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies,
according to the proper working of each individual part,
causes the growth of the body
for the building up of itself in love.