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(094) Spiritual Gifts 2_Spirit Empowered Gifts

Notes & Transcripts

Spiritual Gifts II: Gifted to Serve

Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

November 8, 2009

 

Prep:

·         Dedication (read leftovers)

·         IT Crowd

·         Leftovers (esp. Piper), “Preach for Commitment”

·         081, 069, 040

Scripture reading: Romans 12:3-8

Intro: Last Week

My goal for this series is twofold:

1. To help us become Biblically grounded in what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit and his gifts.

2. To see The Gathering become more filled with the Spirit, more dependent upon him, and more empowered by him for life and ministry, through whatever manifestation he chooses.

Last week’s emphasis was on the Holy Spirit himself, what he does and how we should seek to be filled by him continually. Over the next three sermons we will look at his gifts.

·         The goal here is to exhort the church to discover, develop, and deploy their Spirit-empowered gifts to the glory of God.

Prayer

spectator or PARTICIPANT?

Have you ever thought that some sports are more fun to play than watch? Soccer is about as interesting to watch as competitive knitting, but is a lot of sun to play.

Q   How do you view church, as a spectator or participant sport?

I have heard professional sports described as several guys running around a filed in desperate need of rest, being watched by thousands of people in desperate need of exercise.

·         All too often, this is how churches function.

Any given Sunday, too many people come to church watch, sing along, but aren’t part of the team, but they’re about 2,000 years too late.

This is how it worked in the OT, when worship was left in the hands of the professionals: Only the Levites and the priests were allowed to serve God.

Q   Why? Because they were not holy enough. But in the OT it is promised that it would change.

When Jesus died, the curtain in the temple was torn representing not just relationship with God, but that we all could serve him, not just the special class.

Just important was the baptism of the Holy Spirit: In the past, only the specially ordained people received the Spirit’s empowerment for ministry, now all believers are filled.

This is all part of what we call this “priesthood of all believers,” meaning that everyone one of us has been called and ordained to serve God and be the church, not just go to church.

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Equip for service

But there has always been a slide back into having “professional minister.” The Reformation was birthed out of growing desire by the “common folk” to minister. It sought to remove an error that saw the clergy as the minister and the laity as the common folk.

·         God’s plan and intention is for all believers to be ministers.

Ephesians 4:11-13   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 fullness of Christ.

Our job as elders and deacons is to equip you to be the church (deacons are expected to manage, not just do). All of us are the church, not just the elders and deacons.

As it is, some people are doing too much, while some of us watch. Things have really improved, but ministry does not get done because the church (all of us) is not doing it.

In “Pillars of Community” I defined community as a place we belong, grow, and serve. This community needs each and every one of you home call this your church to serve.

A dead sea?

I don’t just say this for the sake of the church. We need to serve. The individual becomes stagnant without because we have been designed to give and serve.

·         The only difference between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea is that the Dead Sea receives but doesn’t give.

I say we’re designed to serve because we’re made in God’s image, and God is a servant. We find our greatest joy when we serve.

In “Pillars of Community” I defined community as a place we belong, grow, and serve. This community needs each and every one of you home call this your church to serve.

Body parts

Q   Does this mean that all of us have to preach, or lead worship or be Biblical scholars?

This is where spiritual gifts come in: God has equipped us all to serve in specific way that fit how he made us.

NIV 1 Corinthians 12:14-18 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 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. 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. 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? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.

In this body, God has assembled a remarkable assortment of skills and gifts, and the church functions best when we are all functioning accordingly, neither proud nor ashamed of the gifts God has given us.

·         The basic point here is that we all need each other – God designed the church to be interdependent

·         If anyone isn’t doing their part, we all suffer.

What makes a gift spiritual?

Another way of describing “doing your part” is “using your spiritual gifts.”

NIV 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

God has given each one of us spiritual gifts “for the common good.” Each of us, without exception. Some people feel as if they have nothing to offer, but we all have been given gifts.

The problem is that we frequently undervalue the gifts we are given because they don’t seem spiritual enough.

·         I choose Romans for the opening reading because it highlights the more “everydaygifts.

Some people teach that it is only a spiritual gift if you got it after you became a Christian. I don’t see that in Scripture. When we look at a lot of the spiritual gifts, and many of them seem so common place.

·         Perhaps the term “spiritual gift” has become misleading to us.

Paul is not trying describe over-the-top miraculous, but rather a variety of ways that the Holy Spirit works through Christians to build the church. Other terms might help: Talent, skill, ability, personality.

·         That’s not to say there are no miraculous gifts, but only that the ordinary ones are no less spiritual.

purpose and Power

Q   What makes a spiritual gift spiritual?

Is there a difference between a servant-hearted, mercy-filled unbeliever building a house in the name of the Peace Corp and a servant-hearted, mercy-filled building it in the name of Jesus?

There is a huge difference, two of them actually:

1. Purpose

The believer is doing it to the glory of God and to build the kingdom of God. This gives it an eternal value. The house will eventually be destroyed and its occupants will die.

The fact that the Gospel goes with the hammer means eternal life may be given in addition to a house. Remember that Jesus considered the Gospel far more important than feeding the poor.

·         Natural abilities only transmit natural things, spiritual gifts transmit spiritual things.

2. Power

The power behind the talent, skill, or gift is other thing that makes it spiritual. If we are submitted to God and using our gifts to glorify him, the Holy Spirit empowers them beyond our natural ability.

·         Talking with a non-Christian: The wisdom came from natural ability, but the guiding of the conversation was supernatural.

The gift list

Let’s briefly look at the Spiritual gifts the Bible. They are compiled from three separate lists, in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12:4-8, and Ephesians 4:11, as well as some other references.

·         God does not intend these lists to be exhaustive, because they vary one from another based on the situation.

The purpose of this survey isn’t to give in-depth explanations, but to get you thinking about what gifts God has given you that you need to use to serve the church and glorify him.

·         Mark Driscoll has great explanations of these, posted online.

Spirit-empowered gifts vrs. spectacular gifts

I reluctantly had to divide the lists into two groups: “Spirit-empowered gifts” and “spectacular gifts” (healing, miracles, tongues, prophecy), meaning ones that are unequivocally supernatural. I was reluctant because:

1. It seems to devalue of the natural ones and elevate the spectacular ones (which leads to the excesses of Corinth).

In reality, the natural ones are more important, as we see from Paul’s preference in Romans when not dealing with a dysfunctional church.

·         The church couldn’t survive without the natural ones, but did without the spectacular ones.  

2. Paul does not divide them so, because he knew they were all equally empowered by the Spirit.

I had to divide them because we already understand the natural ones and take little explanation, not so the others. The next two sermons will cover them.

The list

Romans 12:6-8   If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach;  8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

1 Corinthians 12:8-10  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.

·         Serving/helping: Delight in helping others in practical expressions of Christ.

·         Teaching: Understand and explain spiritual truths.

·         Encouraging: Also translated “exhort,” motivate.

·         Contributing: Passion for giving and supporting God’s work.

·         Leadership: Move people towards fulfilling a God-given vision.

·         Showing mercy: Care for those who are discouraged or in need.

1 Corinthians 12:8-10  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.

·         Message of wisdom: Speak God’s principles.

(Scholars are unsure of the difference between these two)

·         Message of knowledge: Speak facts and information.

·         Faith: Ability to trust God for the extraordinary.

·         Distinguishing between spirits: Determine what’s from God, man, or Satan.

 

1 Corinthians 12:28-29   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. 

·         Apostles: Establish new churches (different than NT Apostles).

·         Administration: Make things run smoothly.

·         Evangelism: Passion for sharing the Gospel.

·         Hospitality: Love making strangers feel at home.

Ideally we function in our gifts, but almost all of the gifts are things we are all called to do to some extent.

A quick note: Sometimes there are people who are gifted and called to clean the toilets, and sometimes there are not, but either way the toilets have to get cleaned.

·         Again, this list is not comprehensive – there are many, many gifts not listed here that are vital for the “common good.”

DISCOVERING your gifts

How do you know what your gifts are? Look at who you are and what you enjoy doing.

Q   If you were to watch one of our kids run into the potluck table and dump all the food, how would you respond?

·         Start cleaning: Serving

·         Organizing others to clean: Leadership

·         Comfort the poor kid: Encouragement

·         Ask them what happened and what to do different: Teaching

·         Offering to go to Red Apple and replace the food: Giving

There are numerous tools to use to figure out your gifts and talents (I have posted a good one online).

Developing and deploying your gifts

The biggest challenge for most us isn’t finding our talents, it is giving them to God to make them spiritual gifts, using them to glorify him, serve the church, and seeking the Spirit’s empowerment.

·         In community groups, look at what skills and gifts God has given you, and how you can make them spiritual gifts.

Closing

If you are not using your Spirit empowered gifts to advance to Gospel and glorify God, you are in sin. Do you think I am overstepping myself?

Q   What did Jesus say to the about the servant who buried his one talent? “You wicked, lazy servant.” 

I challenge all of you to discover, develop, and use your gifts to the glory of God.

Q & A


 

Objectives of sermon:

·         Exhort church to discover, develop, and deploy their Spirit-empowered gifts to the glory of God.

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