12 Jun

The Common Good

Passage: 1 Corinthians 12: 4-14

Speaker: Patrick King


Speaking of Jesus, John Calvin wrote, “For, he was sold, to buy us back; captive, to deliver us; condemned, to absolve us; he was made a curse for our blessing, sin offering for our righteousness; marred that we may be made fair; he died for our life; so that by him fury is made gentle, wrath appeased, darkness turned into light, fear reassured, despisal despised, debt canceled, labor lightened, sadness made merry…war warred against, vengeance avenged, torment tormented, damnation damned, the abyss sunk into the abyss, hell transfixed, death dead, mortality made immortal. In short, mercy has swallowed up all misery, and goodness all misfortune.”

The Holy Spirit is called in Greek parakelao (“para” meaning stand alongside, with and for you; “kelao” to declare). The Spirit comes alongside us to declare that we have received the greatest gift in Jesus. In response to the saving work of Christ, we are invited to use our gift for the common good and with joy, which is “both a gift and a practice… a muscle we strengthen with exercise” (Tish Harrison Warren).


What has been your experience with spiritual gifts personally or observing others? What has shaped your understanding of what the gifts are and their purpose?

In verses 4-6, notice the words “different” and “same” repeated here. How does this unity in diversity shape your understanding of God, the church, and your own gifts?

What is the purpose of  the Spirit’s gifts according to verse 7? How does this purpose get worked out before a watching world, within the Christian community, and in our personal lives?

What gifts have you received at this season of your life and how are you using them for their intended purpose? Gifts may be prophetic: articulating truth, priestly: meeting needs, kingly: providing direction. If you’re unsure of your gifts, think about your abilities, affinities, and opportunities. What are you good at? What are your interests? Where is there a need?

What is one thing Jesus would want you to walk away believing and receiving as a result of this portion of Scripture?

Our service and use of our gifts for the common good is a loud “Thank you!” to the giver of these gifts. Spend time praising God for His good gifts in you this week – what is one gift you are particularly thankful for today? Share with others what burdens or challenges are before you this week and how you are seeking God.