Spiritual Gifts and Prophecy

Lesson 3

January 17, 2009


Scripture: Acts 2:1-11; Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 1:6, 7, 13:9; Ephesians 4:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10.

In his new book The Great Eight, gold medal Olympian Scott Hamilton candidly shares with readers the struggles he’s faced in life, including his battle with cancer.1

At one time, the professional ice skater seemed to have it all. Yet Scott felt that his life was one tragedy after another. Although his fans may have thought he looked like a man enjoying life to its fullest, in truth, there wasn’t much he was enjoying. Then came the spring of 1977. While starring in the national tour of Stars on Ice, Scott felt lethargic, nauseated, and had a stomach ache that no amount of ibuprofen would take away. Some tests were done, and two days later he was told that he had a tumor twice the size of a grapefruit growing in his abdomen. He was also told he had stage three germ-cell testicular cancer.

Scott immediately decided to battle his cancer. He would use the same positive focus that he had practiced on the ice for years—and he was determined to win. He took a leave from the tour to begin an intensive chemotherapy treatment. Doctors told him that if he could survive the chemo, he’d have a good chance of making it.

Scott did survive the treatments—barely. Although he went into treatment a strong athlete, by the third round of chemo he was ready to quit. Too weak to even push the TV remote button, he felt he didn’t have the strength of character to overcome his cancer. But somehow he persevered, and after the fourth round of chemo, the tumor had shrunk to a size that could be removed. Today he is cancer free.

Looking back on all he had to endure, Scott now calls his cancer journey his “gift.” In his book he writes, “I live every day knowing that today might be the day that my cancer returns. But rather than look at this as a horrific cross to bear, I call it my gift, a constant reminder of just how lucky I am to be healthy and alive. After all, what is joy without sorrow? What is success without failure? What is a win without a loss? What is health without illness? You have to experience each if you are to appreciate the other. There is always going to be suffering. It’s how you look at your suffering, how you deal with it, that will define you.” 2 Through this experience Scott has discovered a second gift: the gift of encouragement as he travels and speaks to cancer patients.

This week’s memory verse talks about diversity in spiritual gifts—that God gives a variety of gifts to His people. The very nature of the words, “Spiritual Gifts” suggests that they originate with the Holy Spirit, and can’t be earned or contrived. Because of this, the honor of being given one or more causes us to depend on God for the giving and nurturing.

Why do we need people with spiritual gifts when we have the Bible to guide us? Because God needs us as disciples to carry on the work which Jesus left behind. With Him at the head of the church, we can use our individual gifts for His cause—the cause of preparing the world for His final return.

As with any gift, we need to be aware of the counterfeit. Some may proclaim that they have been given a gift from God when in reality, the gift isn’t from God, but from Satan. Like never before, in these last days, we need to know our Bibles so we can decipher truth from falsehood. At the same time, we need to accept those who have the true gifts and not fear what God wants to do through them.

What spiritual gifts might you have? Think about it. Has God blessed you with a gift that you can use in your church and community? The church needs you. God needs you. And those who will benefit from your ministry need you. It’s understandable if you feel inadequate. So did Jesus’ disciples. Yet with His power in them, they turned the world upside down for God! And we can, too.

~nc


1.  MSNBC

2.  Ibid


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