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Jun 27, 2021

Spiritual Gifts

Passage: Romans 12:6-8

Preacher: Jess Achenbach

Series: Romans

Keywords: sign, preaching, prophecy, romans 12, serving, spiritual gifts, speaking, cessation


Spiritual Gifts: Sign gifts, speaking gifts and service gifts. What are they and how should they be used.


Spiritual Gifts Romans 12:6-8

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;

if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;

if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

John touched on differing views of the gifts; cessation vs. continuation as well as the amount of gifting. Andrew on unity in the Body and the importance of using your gift for building up the Church, also not to have a higher opinion or your gift.  My goal is to talk about the specific gifts that Paul is mentioning in this Chapter and ask the question “What is your gift, and are you using it?”.

Romans 12 is the start of the application of the first 11 chapters, so I want to read from the beginning of chapter 12 to give us a little refresher and to keep the verses that we are going to study today in context.

Overview 12:1-8

The idea here is, Paul is reminding us that we are saved because of Gods great mercy to us and because of that we are to submit to Him and not conform to the patterns of this world.  We are being transformed by the renewing of our minds, and so now we have a new outlook.  Our mission is simple, to share the gospel (we just came out of our mission’s month where we talked about the aspect of sending people for that very reason) and Paul has made it clear all through this letter that he is spreading the gospel to the gentiles.

This is the first part; these verses in chapter 12 are in relation to the body now.  We are to equip the body for good works.  He stresses that we are to do this in humility acknowledging that we are all gifted differently for these good works.  Andrew and John in the last two weeks have both gone into detail about the pride and humility aspects so I won’t spend too much time on that here, but it is a key component to how we are to work in these gifts.

First of all, there are many different passages that talk about gifts, and there is a bunch of overlap, not each list is exhaustive.  John even mentioned how there very well could be spiritual gifts that are not even listed in all of these areas, like gifts of worship or prayer.

Today I am going to give a broad overview of the gifts listed in this passage and I am going to camp primarily on one of them.  Each of these gifts could yield multiple sermons on their own, and because we only have 35 minutes to go over them it will be a 20,000 foot view.

There are three different kinds of gifts that are outlined in the new testatment and they are the Sign gifts, Speaking Gifts and the Service gifts. 

Before we get into each of these gifts though I want to talk about the different categories of gifts so if you are taking notes this would be something that you might jot down.


The first of these are the SIGN gifts.

  1. Speaking in tongues
  2. Visions
  3. Healing
  4. Raising the dead
  5. Prophesying – but I want to put a caveat on this one.

Matthew 12:39-41 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

John 4:48 He tells the nobleman “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”

I Corinthians 14:22 “Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers.

I want to clarify the understanding of what prophecy is, because I have it listed in the Sign gifts, but in this verse just now it lists as for believers.

If sign gifts are for unbelievers, then how come this says it is for believers?  Is it not a sign gift?

WHAT IS PROPHECY?  Prophecy at its most basic definition is “a message from God.” So, to prophesy is to proclaim a message from God. 

Here is the definition:

  • a message from God
  • a discourse emanating from divine inspiration
  • declaring the purposes of God
    • reproving and admonishing the wicked
    • comforting the afflicted
    • revealing things hidden
    • by foretelling future events

So, while there is a component where you can be telling the future the primary New Testament translation is to simply speak forth the word of God.

I Corinthians 14: 29-31 tells us to test the prophets. “2Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. 30 If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged,”


Let’s come back to the sign gifts again, what are they to be used for?

The signs were a help to those who struggled to believe, but the message of salvation in Christ was the focus.

Acts 2:5 “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.”

In every instance, the sign gifts were a confirmation of God’s message and messenger, in order that people might hear and believe. Once the message was confirmed, the signs seem to somewhat fade away. We typically don’t need those signs to be repeated in our lives, but we do need to receive the same gospel message. (Got Questions)



John talked briefly about this several weeks ago and you can see this arrow chart that I stole from his power point slide. There are two extreme views and then there are others that land right in the middle.  So, this is where I land somewhere in the middle and you might ask yourself, how can you be in the middle on this, they either happen or they don’t.

You can see here by the next chart where the sign gifts are mentioned in the New Testament, they are given instruction here in the first books, but as we progress along, we only see the gifts of speaking and the gifts of serving mentioned. 

Here in I Peter 4 we see an example of that.

I Peter 4:10-11 “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

 This is the last of the books mentioned in the previous slide and you can see that clearly the speaking and serving gifts were highlighted, but nowhere to be mentioned are the sign gifts.

And this is where I differ from the two options that were shown earlier.  As the gospel is introduced newly into different groups. Sign gifts are available by the Holy Spirit when sign gifts are needed but these are primarily for the introduction of the gospel. Specifically for a sign. 

We see that the sign gifts happen we hear about those most often from missionaries that are serving with unreached people groups.  In Muslim nations recently we have been hearing about people that are having dreams and visions of Jesus, when I was a child living in Indonesia: DANI PEOPLE STORY OF THE JESUS FILM.

My Friend Rebecca receive the gift of tongues, she was able to speak English, and it was a great testimony to her people in Indonesia the world’s largest Muslim nation.

This is why I disagree with the cessation crowd, because I believe the Holy Spirit provided these gifts for these two specific purposes.  I do believe though that even in these new areas the sign gifts seem to fade when they are not needed and we lean more heavily into the speaking and serving gifts.

So now we are going to shift and look at the gifts that are mentioned in this passage keeping in mind that at this point Paul is referencing prophecy as a speaking gift not necessarily as the sign gift that was mentioned in I Corinthians. 

Here are the speaking gifts.

  • Serving
    • the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to identify the unmet needs involved in a task related to God's work, and to make use of available resources to meet those needs and help accomplish the desired results Giving
  • Giving
    • more systematic and thorough, often in a more academic tone
  • Showing Mercy
    • a person demonstrates a strong ability to empathize with others with compassion, words, and actions. Those with this gift are able to provide some relief to those going through tough times physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

And these are the serving gifts that are mentioned in this passage:

  • Serving
    • the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to identify the unmet needs involved in a task related to God's work, and to make use of available resources to meet those needs and help accomplish the desired results
  • Encouragement
    • The spiritual gift of Encouragement is the ability to strengthen and edify believers in their walk with God. People who have this gift of Encouragement are instruments of God to bring hope to people who are discouraged or need to be strengthened. The gift of Encouragement is vital to the body of Christ because of spiritual warfare and the troubles of life that weigh on every believer.
  • Giving
    • Not just the ability but the desire
  • Showing Mercy
    • a person demonstrates a strong ability to empathize with others with compassion, words, and actions. Those with this gift are able to provide some relief to those going through tough times physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
  • And the last one is the gift of leadership.


And the last one is the gift of leadership.

This is where I want to camp for the rest of the message.

Spiritual Leadership

Spiritual leadership is about following the Holy Spirit and influencing others to do the same.

Taekwondo EXAMPLE: Charisma

  1. a favor with which one receives without any merit of his own
  2. the gift of divine grace
  3. the gift of faith, knowledge, holiness, virtue
  4. the economy of divine grace, by which the pardon of sin and eternal salvation is appointed to sinners in consideration of the merits of Christ laid hold of by faith
  5. grace or gifts denoting extraordinary powers, distinguishing certain Christians and enabling them to serve the church of Christ, the reception of which is due to the power of divine grace operating on their souls by the Holy Spirit


1.compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others.

"she enchanted guests with her charisma"

2.a divinely conferred power or talent.

  1. Leading those in your spere of influence towards Christ.
    1. In our home
    2. Friend groups
    3. Work
    4. Where are areas that you are leading other spiritually


  1. Allowing the Holy Spirit to move through you to do that.
    1. God is asking you do facilitate something only God can do.
    2. Our obedience is to follow through, but you are not the H.S.

An old proverb says: "If you are leading and no one is following, then you are just taking a walk."

8 traits we need to have as spiritual leaders.

1.Vision: if you don’t know where you are going, it is hard to get others to follow you.  When I was doing this study, I was thinking about what it would be like to follow someone that was just wandering, and I came across and Alzheimer’s informational page that talked about traits of a wanderer.  These were hints that you can look for if you think someone is developing the issue, along with what to do after someone is diagnosed.

Reminded of sheep are the ones that wander, not the shepherd.

  1. Example: “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) “You became imitators of us and of the Lord...” (1 Thessalonians 1), “Join with others in following my example...” (Philippians 3:17), “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put into practice.” (Philippians 4:9) “For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example.” (2 Thessalonians 3:7). It is easy to do what you want and ignore the disciplines needed to be an example. The curse in Genesis, the woman desires a man (to rule over him).
  2. Integrity: DRIVING EXAMPLE It is a word that means “wholeness.” It is putting all of the areas of our life in the same direction. Integrity does not signify perfection. Perfection is unattainable but integrity is within our grasp. God will not use a leader who lacks integrity. When choosing a king for Israel, God told Samuel who was enamored with the appearance of David’s oldest brother, “Do not consider his appearance or his height... The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7). Integrity is a matter of the heart. “And David shepherded them with integrity of heart...” (Psalm 78:72) Once you’ve lost integrity, you’ve lost credibility. Once credibility is gone you won’t be able to get anyone to follow you. Integrity is built through making and keeping promises and commitments.
  3. Gods Word:  If we have a hardened heart we cannot lead well. We need to be in the word daily:

Example: Cholesterol.  Vitamin C.  Hardened hearts, If we are not in the word, and being soaked in the HS daily with accountability we will get hardened.

Leaders are readers. Christian leaders are devoted to the word of God. Because a man of God depends on God, he learns to listen to and depend on God’s word for goals, methods, insight and power. It is the word of God that makes him “adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:17) Our audience... our followers need the assurance that we are regularly meeting with God and hearing his voice--that we are leading them from the guidance we are getting from God. They want to listen to the person who listens to God.

If a leader is to influence people to accomplish an objective, then a Christian leader must be certain that the objective is something God wants done. To lead a ministry, you must devote yourself to the word. 

The dispute in Acts 6 caused the disciples (leaders) to clarify their job description. “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables” (Acts 6:2). Waiting tables is good and necessary. However, people will survive without clean silverware. They will not grow and thrive without leaders who feed from and teach the word of God. In Hebrews 13:7 the author writes, “Remember you leaders, who spoke the word of God to you.” Leaders give people the word of God. At Mosaic while I am working throughout the week, it is easy to get distracted with all of the table waiting and veer away from spending time in the Word.

An essential characteristic of Christian leadership is the ability to receive truth from God. What are you doing to feed yourself from the Scriptures? What are you doing to feed others from God’s word?

  1. Prayer: “We (leaders)...will devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:4./ The weakest link in the life of a spiritual leader is probably prayer. Leaders, by their nature, are activists. They want to get things done. Prayer is often seen as in interruption of the work. It’s tough talking to an invisible being for any length of time. Yet Jesus, for all he came to do, “would often slip away to a lonely place to pray” (Luke 5:16). E.M. Bounds wrote, “Men are looking for better methods. God is looking for better men--men of prayer.” Joshua’s first lesson of leadership was learned on the battle field against the Amelekites (Exodus 17). While he was slicing and dicing Amelekites in the valley, the real battle took place on the mountain. As long as Moses interceded for him, the Israelites prevailed. Spiritual battles are won in prayer. If the success of your work and ministry was a reflection of your prayer life, where should your ministry be right now.
  2. Spirit Led:  Spiritual leadership can be exercised only by Spirit-led people. Other qualifications for spiritual leadership are desirable. To be Spirit-led is indispensable. Jesus said “...apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Even those whose duties are largely temporal in nature must be people controlled and empowered by the Holy Spirit (Acts 6). Wherever you see spiritual leadership, the Holy Spirit is behind the scenes, empowering, directing, leading. Paul wrote, “...not that we are competent to consider anything as coming from ourselves but our competency is from God, who made us competent ...(by) the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:5,6)
  3. Hard Work: 1 Thessalonians 5:12,13 “Now we ask you brothers to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.” Leadership in the God’s kingdom is not a life of executive privilege but that of hard work. The work may be very enjoyable, challenging and rewarding but it is work. That’s why it is called “the work of ministry.” We are admonished to “...lead with diligence” (Romans 12:8).
  4. Growth: .Howard Hendricks says, “If it doesn’t work at home, don’t export it.” If you fail with your wife and children you have failed as a Christian leader...period! All of the above characteristics can be developed by a family man.

In 1 Timothy 4:12-16 the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy about his style of leadership and how he could overcome his handicap of youthfulness. Observe how many of the above elements are present in his admonition: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift which was given you...Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.”

What is the purpose of Leadership?: Every spiritual leader is “one who will give an account” for the lives of his followers (Hebrews 13:17). Spiritual authority is bestowed by God for the benefit of those being served. Paul writes about “...the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than pulling you down...” (2 Corinthians 10:8). God gives leaders to his people “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11,12). How well does your purpose as a leader fit God’s purpose for a leader?


Spiritual leadership does not rest in a title or in a position. The biblical approach to leadership rests on the quality of life of the individual leader. Because of the very nature of the term, “leader,” the followers will follow his or her example. In Titus 1 and 1 Timothy 3 we see a list of life-qualities, probably pursued by few, available to all and deniable to none. The attributes are a combination of character, maturity (“must not be a recent convert”), skill (“able to teach”) and track record (“they must first be tested... managing their household well... a good reputation with outsiders”).






The importance is to do it in accordance with the measure of faith that you have.  I might not have the same ability or giftedness as John, or Andrew and Bob to preach or prophecy, so that is why I don’t preach as much.  But also, when you exercise your gifts, they seem to grow.  Like a muscle, if you don’t use it, they tend to atrophy, but if you are using it, then I believe it will grow and God allows us to strengthen these gifts.  That is why I appreciate the opportunity to grow my gift, and I appreciate it that you allow me to preach.

A pastor’s job for the flock is to provide opportunity and encouragement to use their gifts.  We should have 200 ministers of the gospel here at Mosaic Fellowship, not just the pastoral staff.  This is what I love about having a team of pastors here, we all have strengths that allow us to help grow the church in different ways.

It might be that you have the speaking gift, there are many ways that you can use this gift, not just from the pulpit, but also in ministry groups, Bible studies, and with serving there are many different ways. You might notice that there are still no candles lit up here.