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Gifts of the Spirit



Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:1–31

Memory verse: 1 Corinthians 12:31
“Eagerly desire the greater gifts.”


Use the following object lesson to illustrate the importance of each gift of the Spirit.

Bring to class a key, a match, a coin, and a battery. Place the objects on a table. Begin the class session by drawing the students’ attention to the various objects. Stress that all the objects appear ordinary at first glance. Then proceed to pick up each object and present a situation in which its value suddenly changes.

Examples of such situations ate: A key seems unimportant until a person is locked out of a house or a car and needs to get inside. A match seems worthless when it is in a box with hundreds of others. However, it takes only one match to start a fire. A coin is often viewed as just a piece of pocket change. Yet a coin becomes quite important when a person is stranded and needs to use it to use it to go somewhere or get help. A battery is not beautiful to look at, but it is much appreciated when the electricity is out in a building and a torch is all that could give light.

Tell the students that we are all like the items shown on the table. There are times when we may feel that what we do is useless or unimportant. However, when we let the Holy Spirit use us, He can give us work to do for God, and the power to do it. Stress that the Holy Spirit gives gifts to Christians. These gifts make “ordinary” people able to do great things for God. Tell the students to listen carefully to the lesson, and see how much they can learn about these gifts.

Hearing God’s Word

(Open your Bible to the main passage of 1 Corinthians 12 as you teach the lesson.) During the past several studies we have learned a lot about the Holy Spirit. We have learned how the Holy Spirit helps us. We know we can receive power when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit. But this is only a part of the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit Gives Gifts

After we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, nine separate gifts are listed in the Bible that He wishes to give us. We are going to see what the Bible has to say about each gift.

The gifts of the Spirit come under three categories: Revelation, Power, and Utterance. There are three gifts under each heading.

Gifts of Revelation

The first gift mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12 is the message of wisdom. This gift of the message of wisdom does not refer to being naturally wise or intelligent. The Holy Spirit gives the Spirit-filled believer special insight into a need and into God’s Word. This means that when a certain problem, need, or question about God’s Word arises, the Holy Spirit can give someone special wisdom to know how to apply his knowledge in the situation or to answer the question. By the Holy Spirit’s help, that person can give supernatural direction at the moment of need.

A second gift in this category of revelation is the message of knowledge. This gift gives a believer supernatural insight of facts concerning God and His Word.

A few studies ago, we learned that Peter shared the gospel with Cornelius and those in his house. These people were Gentiles.

Ask: “But what happened as Peter preached?” (Allow responses.)

The men with Peter were amazed to hear Gentiles speaking in other tongues. Yet Peter saw this as God’s sign that Gentiles could be part of God’s family, just as Jews could. This was knowledge given to him by the Holy Spirit.

The third gift is this distinguishing between spirits. A Spirit-filled believer can, through this gift, judge whether a spirit is good or evil. This gift helps the person know if the spirit behind an action or idea is from God or not. This gift is very important because Satan is always trying to trick us into believing what is not true.

Gifts of Power

The next gifts category is Power. The Holy Spirit gives these gifts of power to believers to share with the Church and with unbelievers. They are signs and wonders that glorify God.

One of the gifts in this area is the gift of faith. The Holy Spirit may use a song, a prayer, the Word of God, a testimony, or preaching or the Word to develop faith in a person. When this gift is given, Christians are raised to a new level of believing. The believer is sure God will provide when it actually seems impossible to meet that need by natural means.

For example, once Peter was in prison. It seemed likely that he would be killed. But Peter did not worry or complain. He slept peacefully, by faith he knew God would take care of him. God did deliver Peter in a miraculous way. (See Acts 12:6–11.)

The gift of miraculous powers is a supernatural display or expression of God’s power. It changes, stops, or in some other way controls the laws of nature. A law of nature is something that always happens in the same way every time. For example, water in its liquid state cannot hold a person’s weight. But do you remember the story in the Bible about someone walking on water? (Review John 6:16–20.) Miracles glorify God. A believer who is filled with the Holy Spirit becomes one through whom the Holy Spirit can work miracles.

The Holy Spirit can give Spirit-filled believers gifts of healing. The believer can receive supernatural power or authority over disease when he has the gifts of healing. Peter and John exercised the gifts of healing when they prayed for the lame man.

Gifts of Utterance

The last three gifts in this passage are listed under the heading of Utterance. This is because they deal with spiritual speech.

Prophecy is a supernatural utterance or speaking in the language the speaker and hearers understand. When the gift of prophecy is given to a believer by the Holy Spirit, the message he speaks is for the up-building, encouragement, and comfort of the church. Prophecy can also convict unbelievers or tell believers what will happen in the future. It is God speaking to us through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Tongues are the evidence that a believer has been filled with the Holy Spirit. But this manifestation is also a gift of the Spirit. When a believer is given this gift, he speaks words directed by the Holy Spirit in a language he never learned.

When the believer is alone and he speaks in tongues, he is praying and worshipping God. What if he speaks a message in tongues to other believers? Then the words God speaks through him by the power of the Holy Spirit should be interpreted, either by himself or someone else with the gift of interpretation.

When the gift of interpretation is displayed, the Holy Spirit speaks through a person in a language the hearers understand. The Spirit reveals the meaning of the words spoken in tongues. Only by interpreting the message in tongues can the body of believers be helped when the gift of tongues is used publicly.

We Should Desire These Gifts

Our memory verse says, “Eagerly desire the greater gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:31). (Repeat the verse several times with the class.) This verse refers to the nine gifts of the Spirit we just discussed. We are encouraged to “eagerly desire” the gifts. The “greater gifts” our memory verse talks bout are the ones needed for whatever situations we face. We can be used by the Holy Spirit in any or all of these gifts at different times. They are all given by the Holy Spirit, and are available to all believers who are willing to be used for God’s glory.

Accepting God’s Word

Remind the students that all nine gifts of the Holy Spirit are used to glorify God and draw people to Him. Explain that God wants to draw people to Himself because He wants them to know Him and be saved. Explain that everyone has sinned and needs forgiveness. The punishment for sin is eternal separation from God. Only Jesus can forgive sin and save us from that. He died so our sins could be forgiven. Ask if anyone wants to accept Jesus into his life. Pray individually with any who respond.

Encourage the students to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading. Ask them to prayerfully continue seeking the baptism in the Holy Spirit if they have not yet been filled. Emphasize that a Christian must receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit before he can receive the Spirit’s gifts. Remind the students that daily Bible reading and prayer helps them be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and keeps them ready for the Holy Spirit’s use. Encourage all the students to seek more of God and pray that God will use the gifts of the Spirit in their lives.

Ward Counsellor

The sheik shared a lot of information with us, assisted by the ward counsellor. The counsellor was riding by on a motorcycle and stopped to see what strangers were doing in one of his villages. He proved to be quite knowledgeable and was very helpful in telling the Zigula story. He stayed about 15 minutes before leaving to keep a previous appointment.

Pray for Zigula Counsellors

1. Counsellors advise villagers concerning the benefits of the gospel,
2. Demonstrate an openness to change,
3. Give good advice to gospel messengers.

Prayer Promise

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God...and it will be given to you" (James 1:5).


Mmory verse: 1 Corinthians 12:31
“Eagerly desire the greater gifts.”

1. Spiritual gifts are given to encourage and strength the church.
2. The Lord has one or more gifts for all who have been baptized in the Holy Spirit.
3. I want to identify my spiritual gift or gifts. May the Holy Spirit help me understand how to use those gifts to bring glory to His Name.

Pray for Zigula counsellors.

Study 14 | Prayer Power / Holy Spirit | africaatts.org/go-teach

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