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042207 UNWRAPPING MY SPIRITUAL GIFTS-Part 2

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UNWRAPPING MY SPIRITUAL GIFTS

You Are Shaped for Significance  -  Part 2 of 6

Romans 12:5, 6 and Selected

 

I.  THREE GIFTS GOD GIVES ME WHEN I TRUST CHRIST

1. ______________________________

"The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."  Romans 6:23

2. ______________________________

"... God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love."  Romans 5:5 (LB)

3. ______________________________

"God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. . . "  Romans 12:6 (LB)

"The gifts we possess differ as they are allotted to us by God's grace, and must be exercised accordingly." Rom. 12:5 (NEB)

 

II.  THE IMPORTANCE OF MY SPIRITUAL GIFTS

 

* My gifts _____________________________________________

"There are different kinds of spiritual 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 in all of them."  1 Cor. 12:4-6

* My gifts _____________________________________________

"All of you form the one Body of Christ and each one is a separate and necessary part of it."  1 Cor. 12:27

* My gifts _____________________________________________

"This is how my Father is glorified -- in your becoming fruitful and being my disciples.  I have told you this so that you can share my joy and that your joy may be complete."  John 15;8, 11 (Ph)

III.  WHAT DOES GOD WANT ME TO DO WITH MY GIFT?

1.  _____________________________________________ it!

". . . Eagerly desire spiritual gifts..."   1 Cor. 14:1

2.  _____________________________________________ it!

"Do not neglect the spiritual gift that is in you..." 1 Tim. 4:14 (GN)

"Fan into flame the gift God gave you..."  2 Tim. 1:6 (JB)

3. _____________________________________________ it!

"Each one should use whatever spiritual gift he has received to serve others faithfully managing God's grace in its various forms."  1 Pet. 4:10

"Why is it that He gives us these special abilities to do certain things best?  It is that God's people will be equipped to do better work for him, building up the church, the Body of Christ to a position of strength nd maturity."  Eph. 4:12 (LB)

Matthew 25:14-30

"Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful."  1 Cor. 4:2


UNWRAPPING MY SPIRITUAL GIFTS

You Are Shaped for Significance  -  Part 2 of 6

Romans 12:5, 6 and Selected

The moment you give your life to Jesus Christ, God gives you three things.

1. Eternal life. When I open my life to Jesus Christ, instantly I'm given eternal life. "The wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." I never have to worry about my future, I know I'm going to heaven. 

2. His Spirit. The moment I give my life to Jesus Christ, God gives me His Spirit to live inside me. The Bible says God has given us His Spirit to fill our hearts with His love. And He'll never leave you. God is with you from every point on after you give your life to Christ. The Holy Spirit is in your life. 

Most of you know about those two gifts - the gift of eternal life and the gift of God's Spirit in you. There's a third gift God gives you the moment you give your life to Christ.

3. A special ability to use for His purpose. Romans 12:6 "God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well." New English "The gifts we possess differ as they are allotted to us by God's grace, and must be exercised accordingly." 

When you are saved, when you become a follower of Jesus Christ, God gives you a brand new purpose for living. And He never asks you to do something that He doesn't give you the ability to do. So when He gives you a new life purpose, He also, gives you a special gift or gifts to fulfill that purpose.

The Bible has a lot to say about spiritual gifts. There are at least twenty of them listed in Scripture. We couldn't even define them all in the time allotted. The Bible says that every Christian gets at least one gift.  It's different from a natural ability. Everybody has natural abilities. But only believers have spiritual gifts. 

When you were born physically, you were given some physical gifts by God. Hear, taste, touch, sight, smell... God gives you physical gifts when you are physically born. 

When you're born again - God gives you some spiritual abilities to serve Him. Every believer has at least one. They are given to you at the moment of salvation. God gives them sovereignly. That means He chooses which ones you're going to get - you don't choose. They're given by grace - you don't earn the gift. It's just God's free gift to you.

There's several lists of them in the Bible. I don't think they're exhaustive. I think the list is much larger than the number that's actually mentioned. I think they're just examples in Scripture. Any time you're serving God and you're doing it well and you're enjoying it, you're demonstrating giftedness. 

Why is it important to know my spiritual gift? Three reasons:

1. MY GIFTS SHOW GOD'S PLAN FOR MY LIFE.

I Cor. 12;4-6 "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 in all of them."

Your spiritual gifts determine how God wants you to serve Him. Once you understand what your spiritual gift is, it answers a lot of questions, like "What's God's will for my life?", "What should be my ministry?", "Where should I focus my life?" All of these factors are answered when you understand your gift. Every Christian is called to serve the cause of Christ, but your spiritual gift shows how you individually are to serve Him. If you're gifted in organizing then God wants you to be an organizer. If your gifted in teaching then you need to be a teacher. If you're gifted in music then you ought to be a music person. If you're gifted in reaching non-Christians you ought to be an evangelist. Whatever you're gifted in determines how you're to use your life for God. 

Notice the word "differences". It's used three times. It says there are different kinds of spiritual gifts, different kinds of service, there are different kinds of working. Every gift in your life is unique. You're not to copy other people's spiritual gifts. This is a temptation Christians - to copy other Christian's gifts. God doesn't want you to copy anybody else. He knows the gift that is best for you. That's why He chooses it. 

Gifts explain why Christians who believe the same things still see things differently. Have you noticed that even though we believe the same, Christians still disagree about a lot? It's because of your giftedness. As a result, we see things differently. We tend to emphasize what we're gifted in. If you're gifted in evangelism all you can think about is reaching non Christians for Christ. Another person says, No, we don't need to reach more non Christians; we need to help the Christians we've got to grow. That's teaching. 

We're all different. This is how denominations get started. Christians are divided. They all tend to focus on certain gifts. Some people might think the most important gift is teaching so they get into a teaching denomination. Another says the most important gift is evangelism. So they get into a real evangelistic organization. For another it's miracles so they get into a miracle denomination. They are all important. 

God's given us many, many different gifts. Have you ever read a Christian biography and felt guilty? How come I can't pray for ten hours like that guy? He has the gift of intercession, that's why. How come everybody this guy talks to accepts Christ? He's got the gift of evangelism. Don't project your gift onto others. And don't let other people project their gift onto you. It's all important. My gift shows God's plan for my life individually.

 

2. MY GIFTS SHOW MY WORTH.

1 Corinthians 12:27 "All of you form the one body of Christ and each one is a separate and necessary part of it." You're needed. You're important. There are no little people. All the gifts are needed. You are just as important in the body of Christ as I am.  Every gift is needed. God gives you a spiritual gift to bless other Christians. If you don't use it, other Christians get cheated. If I don't use my gift, you get cheated. If you don't use your gift, I get cheated and so does everybody else.

God designed you to make a unique contribution. You're not gifted by accident. Without you the picture isn't complete. It's like a jigsaw puzzle with one part missing. It shows that you're needed in the body of Christ. If you're a Christian, you're needed. Parents, you want to raise the spiritual self esteem of your children? A helpful thing to do is, once they've come to know the Lord, start trying to help them develop their spiritual gifts - discover and develop them. Then each child can see "I can make an important contribution with my life." It raises their self esteem. My gift shows my worth.

 

3. MY GIFTS ARE THE SOURCE OF FULFILLMENT IN LIFE.

Every human being has the desire to be used. Every human being has the desire to accomplish something, to feel significant, to feel like your life makes an impact. When you use the spiritual gift that God has given you you're not only productive, because God's gifted you to do something, but you also enjoy it. It's fun! You enjoy doing it.

Notice John 15:8 & 11"This is how my father's glorified in your becoming fruitful productive and in being my disciples.  I've told you this so that you can share my joy and that your joy may be complete." Real joy does not come from making a lot of money or pleasure or things. Real joy comes from knowing my life counts, that it matters, that I'm not just taking up space. Real joy comes from being productive. 

The word for gift and the word for joy comes from the same word in Greek. You find real joy by being what God meant you to be, by taking the gifts, the abilities He's given you, and start using them. You feel a sense of accomplishment. 

Spiritual gifts, the Bible says, are given to help other people. God gives me one to bless you. God gives you one to bless me. Although they are meant to give to each other the personal satisfaction that comes from being used by God is enormous. The thrill of being used by God is the greatest feeling you can experience in life.  Some of you can't comprehend that. I would say if you've never experienced what it means to feel used by God, you have not learned to really live yet. 

I lead a real active life. Through the years as I've experienced a lot of thrilling things. I've had a lot of exciting adventures. But I tell you that nothing compares to the thrill of being used by God. Trust me. Nothing compares to knowing that God gave me a gift and I'm using it. God wants you to feel that feeling. He wants you to use your gift. And he wants you to use it so you can experience the satisfaction that can compare to nothing else. that God's hand is on my life. He wants you to feel that. 

III.  WHAT DOES GOD WANT ME TO DO WITH MY GIFT?

If it's so important, what does God want me to do with my gifts? He wants you to do three things:

1. Discover it. 

1 Cor. 14:1 "Eagerly desire spiritual gifts." One of the marks that you can know that you're really a Christian is that you have a desire to know your spiritual gift and to use it serving God. The mark of a genuine follower of Christ is they have a desire to know the gifts that God's given them and to use them. 

God wants you to know it. I Cor. 12:1 "I don't want you to be ignorant of gifts.  I want you to know them." He wants you to use it. He's not playing games with you. 

How do I discover my spiritual gifts? Two ways. By examining and by experimenting. By examining my Christian life and by experimenting with different kinds of service. 

First, I discover my spiritual gifts by looking back on my Christian life and saying, "In the ways I've served God so far, what have I enjoyed doing? What has God blessed? Where have people been impacted?" If you've never gotten involved in any ministries since you've become a Christian there's no way you're going to know your gift. Often you get involved in something and other people will see a spiritual gift in you before you do. They can see it in you. Look back on your life.

If you don't have anything to look back on so far you're going to have to depend on the second way and that is by experimenting with different kinds of ministries and service. There must be 20 different ways for you to serve just in TCF alone. We have all kinds of different ministries. What interests you? You try different ministries and one of them will feel like your niche, what you're good at. It will be enjoyable. You'll like doing it. When you do that you've found your gift. 

I don't believe in taking these tests on spiritual gifts. Every test has to be standardized and we're all unique and so you can't standardize it.

The only way you discover your gift is get out there and start doing something. Try it. Discover the gift that God made you to have, so that it is fulfilling and you find enjoyment, it impacts society. That's the purpose.

2. Develop it

The second thing you need to do is develop it once you've discovered it. Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:14 "Don't neglect the spiritual gift that is in you." A lot of you already know what you're good at. You know how God's gifted you. But you're not using it for God's glory. You're not using it for the Lord. You're neglecting your spiritual gift. Maybe you think, "I'm too busy" or "I've got the wrong priorities" or "Maybe I'm just lazy". Maybe it's the fear of failure or embarrassment. Satan will do everything he can to keep you from discovering and developing your spiritual gift. He'll try to get you involved in all kinds of other good things to keep you from the best so you don't know that thrill of being used by God. 

2 Timothy 1:6 "Fan into flame the gift God gave you." Keep it alive, strengthen it, deepen it, increase it, cultivate it. Don't get discouraged. Don't quit. Just because you're gifted in an area doesn't mean it's easy. You may be gifted in counseling or caring for people who are hurting but that's not easy week after week. You may be gifted to organize events but that doesn't mean it's easy. Just don't give up. Keep on going. 

3.  Use it.

The third thing God wants you to do is use it. Use my gift. 1 Peter 4:10 "Each one should use whatever spiritual gift he has received to serve others, faithfully managing God's grace in its various forms." God wants you to use it and the church is the place to discover and develop and use your gift. That's one of the purposes of TCF to help you discover, develop and use your gift. Ephesians 4:12 "Why is it that he gives us these special abilities to do certain things best? It's so God's people will be equipped to do better work for Him, building up the church, the body of Christ, to a position of strength and maturity."   

When I look at this I think God's plan is brilliant. God's plan is this: "Everyone will get a spiritual gift if you're a Christian so that everybody can contribute, so that everybody's important, so that nobody feels insignificant, so that we all function together like a symphony. I'll give every Christian a spiritual gift so that every person can be a partner with God in the most important task in the world, building His kingdom."  God's plan is that some people set up, some people organize, some people make artistic signs, some people do music, some people teach, some people work with kids, some people know how to raise the money financially, some people put it all together. Everybody's important. No one is more important than the others. It's all God's plan. It takes everybody. 

Right now there are several people here at TCF who have discovered their gift and are actively involved in a ministry. Many of them are behind the scenes and you'll never even know them. But they're what makes this church run to benefit everybody in the community. What motivates somebody like that to keep on serving, helping, working, ministering when nobody applauds them. What gives them the motivation? They're gifted to do it! You just have to know from experience when you're gifted to do something, it is pleasurable! And satisfying and fulfilling! That's the way God meant for it to be.

A church isn't supposed to be a one-man superstar show. The Bible says that pastors are to equip people for their ministry, to help them discover and develop their gifts to do the ministry. I'll make you a deal. If you'll do the ministry God's gifted you to do then I'll do my part. 

In Matthew 25 there's a very important story called the Parable of the Talents. Jesus told an entire story to say this, "One day you're going to stand before God and the ultimate question is going to be, What did you do with what I gave you?'" That's the whole purpose of that story, "What did you do with what I gave you?" 

Folks this is serious business. One day there's going to be a final exam. I want, as your pastor, for you to be able to give the right answer. Let me give you a pop quiz. 

Question #1: Are you a follower of Jesus Christ? If you are, then let me ask you this: What excuse are you giving for not using your spiritual gift? When you stand before Jesus Christ one day with pierced hands who died on the cross for you and He says, "What reason do you give for not discovering and developing and using your gift?" What are you going to give?

What we're talking about here is of vital importance. God is not going to hold you accountable for gifts He didn't give you. But He is going to hold you accountable for gifts He did give you. The Bible says, "Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful." God has made an investment in you and it is a sin to waste it. There are a lot of people out there who fear death. Don't fear death! If you're a believer you're going to heaven. Instead of fearing death, you ought to fear a wasted life. God has shaped you for significance. And the first of that shape - S - is spiritual gifts. What are you going to do about it?

Prayer:

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