Daily Spirit & Word: 545: The Most Excellent Way.
Spiritual Gifts: Discovering My S H A P E.
1 Corinthians 12:7 “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”
Good morning my friends. When you became a Christian (If you are a Christian), God gave you the great gifts of Salvation and the wonderful sure and certain HOPE of Eternity in Heaven in your heart. You became a member of God’s Family with brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. He also gave you a deeper sense of purpose for life and made you feel significant (important to Him) in your life now. He has also given each one of us the opportunity to serve (Minister to) others and make a real difference in someone else’s life and in this world for Jesus. When you serve others in Jesus’ name, that’s called MINISTRY.
God didn’t design ‘MINISTRY’ for just a few with THEOLOGICAL COLLEGE DEGREES. In St Luke’s Church and most mainline Evangelical, Charismatic, Baptist and Pentecostal Churches, we all believe that EVERY MEMBER of our church is a MINISTER, with a ministry for the LORD first, and secondly towards others.
Hold Up A Mirror:
Do you want to know what a priest looks like? A Minister of Jesus Christ, then just hold up a little mirror and take a look at the face that’s looking back at you and think: “That’s A Minister of Jesus Christ”…
This Every Member Ministry is what today’s TEACHING is all about. During this session of Spirit & Word, you will discover how God can use your; S. H. A. P. E. for His glory.
- S: SPIRITUAL GIFTS: Special Spiritual Gifts, to build up the body of Christ.
- H: HEART: Your Heart (passions: what areas of ministry you are passionate about),
- A: ABILITIES: your Abilities: What unique abilities do you have that would enable you to serve Jesus and His body?
- P: PERSONALITY: Personality: What kind of a person are you? e.b. timid, outgoing, extrovert, exuberant, etc…
- E: EXPERIENCES: Experiences to minister to others in need. What you’ve been through in life.
This is ALL ABOUT DISCOVERING YOUR S.H.A.P.E for the MINISTRY Christ has called and gifted you for.
Why are we looking at this SHAPE stuff?
Because as part of our VISION WEEK: Seeking the LORD for His Vision for St Luke’s Church: We discovered that He wants to enable us to continue what we’re doing here in St Luke’s, but to do what we are doing better. It’s a bit like going back to basics. We followed through with this idea and felt for everyone to be able to know how to SERVE Jesus better, we first needed to know what our GIFTS from the Holy Spirit were. But it’s not just about SPIRITUAL gifts; because each individual has a unique role to play in the family of God. We’re all made up in different ways and the LORD uses that fact to get a much more rounded ministry. We felt every member should know themselves better, in order to be able to serve the LORD.
Today we’re going to focus upon the first part of S.H.A.P.E: SPIRITUAL GIFTS:
But there will be ample opportunity to discover the rest as well.
1 Corinthians 12:1-31 (NIV)
1 Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I tell you that no-one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no-one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. 4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptised by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honour to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But (you) eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.
NOTE: We must, when reading Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church, remember that it is a LETTER. Paul was writing for many different purposes, but mainly in this letter to encourage, instruct and correct the church in Corinth, because it was not living the Christian life in a way that was honouring to the LORD or a healthy witness in the world. Sometimes we take chunks of this letter and read them in isolation, however it’s important to bear in mind the whole thrust of the letter. 1 Corinthians 12 is linked to chaper 11 and 13 and 14 and 15… So we need to just glance back (if we’ve read it before) or READ it ALL (if you’ve never read it at all).
The MOST EXCELLENT WAY:
of operating in the GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IS (1 Corinthians 13).
At the end of chapter 12 Paul tells the Corinthian Christians, “You are seeking the greatest gifts (prophesy, healing, miracles etc), but now I’m going to show you the most excellent way, then he proceeds to write chapter 13. We’d do well to remember that LOVE is the most excellent gift of all. But we also NEED every other gift to build up a strong church.
God’s GIFT PEOPLE & Purpose in giving them: To build up the church:
Ephesians 4:11-16 11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fulness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
God’s Holy Spirit GIFTS are given to build you up into Christ’s body.
So that you can:
- Be UNITED (where brothers and sisters dwell together in unity, there the LORD commands His blessings),
- KNOWLEDGEABLE (about Christ) and
- BE MATURE: = A mature Christian, follows the teachings of Jesus and realises that to stand any test or storm they need to be fully relying upon the Lord.
- FULLNESS: Heading towards the fullness of Christ (becoming more Christ like every day of our Spiritual lives).
“The Holy Spirit displays God’s power (Manifestation of the Spirit) through each of us as a means of helping the entire church.” 1 Cor. 12:7 (LB)
A Spiritual Gift: Is a special supernatural ability, which is given by the Holy Spirit to every believer at their conversion, to be used to minister to others, and therefore extend and deepen the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ on earth. However, there are some things that are of vital importance to know about your special Holy Spirit gifts.
In Church yesterday, we gave everyone time to read the Bible and fill in the blanks. Then we talked through the answers.
PRINCIPLES TO PONDER REGARDING SPIRITUAL GIFTS:
- Only _____________ have spiritual gifts. 1 Cor. 2:14
- Every Christian has at least _______________ gift. 1 Cor. 7:7
- The ________________ decides what gifts I get. 1 Cor. 12:11
- No one receives __________________ the gifts. 1 Cor. 12:27-30
- No single gift is given to __________________. 1 Cor. 12:29-30
- You can’t _________________ a spiritual gift. Eph. 4:7
- The gifts I’m given are __________________. Rom. 11:29
- I am to __________________ the gifts God gives me. 1 Tim. 4:14
(they are given in seed form; they are like muscles)
- It’s a sin ___________________ the gift God gave me. 1 Cor. 4:1-2 & Matt. 25:14-30
- Using my gifts ___________ God. John 15:8
NOTE: What do you think about the following statement?
“It’s easier to discover your Ministry and Spiritual Gifts through ministry involvement rather than discovering your gifts through ‘gift investigation'”
For many in church today, they’ll do a course or follow a series of teachings on the ‘Spiritual Gifts’, some will go as far as discovering what their own gifts are, but few, very few, followers of Jesus today will take the opportunity to use their gifts. Some churches don’t even encourage their members to exercise their gifts, so the church doesn’t grow strong ‘Spiritually’ and therefore doesn’t progress towards the fullness of Christ.
I said yesterday, holding a piece of paper with their blanks filled in, “wave your paper like this” demonstrating how we get a fire going by fanning the flames, then I explained; “We all need to fan the gifts of the Holy Spirit into a blazing fire that will burn brightly for everyone to see and glorify God”.
Using Your Gifts:
The Manifestation of the Spirit: is given for the common good so;
In the WORKPLACE: A woman in our fellowship felt guided by the Lord to begin a prayer meeting at work and invited some of her colleges to come and pray, they did so. Then one day she turned up for work and got filled with a crippling fear, and instead of going to the prayer meeting, she just got her Bible and began to pray in a quiet room on her own. Then one of her colleagues came and found her and said, “Ah there you are, we’re waiting for you to come and to start the prayer meeting”. The LORD was moving, her Spirit was willing, but her flesh was weak. She said, “I felt a bit like Jonah, running away from the Lord’s calling, but He wouldn’t let me go”…. My friends, your flesh will want to run and hide the light that’s been given to you, to run away from the calling of the Lord. That’s natural, that’s just the flesh and the devil loves it when we get too fearful to do what we’ve been asked by the Lord. How often do we shirk the responsibility and miss God’s golden opportunities, but God’s doesn’t give you gift to sit idle or to hide them;
Matthew 5:15-16 “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Your light, your gifts, the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, are given to you; to show, to be and to demonstrate the Spirit to the world, they will build-up His Church and will lead many to praise God.
So my commitment to the LORD and to His Church is that I’m going to use the gifts that the Lord has given to me, to fan into flame my own gifts and to exercise them, so that others in the church will be built-up and encouraged to fan their own gifts into flame too. I want to see our church full of folks on fire to serve Jesus with their lives, and in turn be used by Him, Spirit ignited, to see others brought into the Kingdom.
One Practical Way:
I shared about a prayer triplet that I’m in with two other men in the church. How we meet-up with one another to pray, read the bible, praise the Lord, hold each other accountable, share about our lives, and contact one another almost every day.
I encouraged others: “Do you know two others, brothers or sisters, that you could get together with during the week? This is on-top of or as well as your weekly fellowship group.” I explained, “This is getting smaller to grow bigger. Much smaller, and soon we’ll all be much bigger or better and stronger in the Lord”. Let’s form hundreds of prayer triplets to ensure every Christian is a growing Christian.
When you’re on your own, Satan can easily stop you, when you are two it’s a bit more difficult, but as the Bible tells us, “A Cord of Three is not easily broken”. Are you going to get into smaller groups to grow stronger for Jesus?
Have and awesome week, stick close to Jesus and be filled afresh with God’s Holy Spirit today.
P.S. We’re on a journey of Discovery: Practical Ministry is a wonderful way of discovering your own Spiritual Gifts. The Holy Spirit has gifted you and I encourage you to get involved, you’ll discover your gifts along the way. I.E. When you pray and lay hands on people for healing, you’ll very quickly discover if the Holy Spirit has given you the gifts of Healing.
Have you made the wonderful discovery of: The Spirit Filled Life?