Gifted, To Be Given
Pastor Stephen Hayes
November 26, 2017
Main Idea – God has given to each of us spiritual gifts we are to use in coordination with the gifts of other believers.
God has given gifts to each of us
- We have all personally been given spiritual gifts by God.
- Everything that is good – even every good feeling - is from God. James 1:17 – “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
- Therefore, it should be our response to express thankfulness for having received those blessings. Luke 17: 11-19 tells the story of Jesus healing ten lepers. But afterward, only one of them returned to Jesus to say thank you. Christians are conscientious to continually give thanks to God for all He has given them.
God’s gifts to individuals are diverse
- Because God’s spiritual gifts are diverse - and given to many different people - each of us should not think highly of ourselves, but should realistically consider how we have been blessed.
- After acknowledging we have received a gift from God, our objective should be to use it as one part of a larger group of gifts held by many others in the church.
- Romans 12: 3-8 “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly then he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
- 1 Corinthians 12: 4-11 “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
- The word “soberly” in the Romans 12 passage (above) is the Greek word “eis,” which has the meaning of “to the intent that, of one mind.”
- * It is likely not ironic that both of the passages where the Bible discusses spiritual gifts (above) is in the 12th chapter of each epistle. The spiritual meaning of the number 12 includes: “a perfect number, it symbolizes God’s power and authority. It can also symbolize completeness.”
Satan seeks to attack our unity and “completeness”
- Because we have been given gifts to use in coordination with other Christians, Satan is looking for opportunities to destroy our completeness as a body of believers working together. 1 Peter 5:8 – Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
- Our unity, as one body of which Jesus is the head, must be defended. Colossians 1:18 – “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” 1 Corinthians 12:27 – “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.”
- God uses us when we are unified.
Don’t become impatient; don’t change your tactics.
- James 1:2 – My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials”
- Difficulties will come. There will appear to be a lack of progress from time to time.
- We should not become impatient, nor deviate from the correct way of doing things, during times of challenge. Rather, we should find encouragement during those times in knowing it is all part of the expected process.
Three possible responses to receiving a gift
- We can become overwhelmed with gratefulness, knowing we have received more than we have contributed.
- We can identify a gift as being the answer to our prayers or needs.
- We can become stimulated to think about new things, or to think of things in a new way.
- The best leaders are not the most talented, but are those that employ the most talent that is around them.
- “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” Rick Warren
Receive it, then use it – assembly is required
- Before Jesus sent his disciples out into the world, He first equipped them. Matthew 10: 1 – “And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.”
- In the final analysis, it is not so much about having received a gift, but in how we have used it. This requires a process of first identifying what the gift is, and then learning how to use it.
- We should pray we will find ourselves in the right environment – with a mindset of thankfulness and faith - so we can implement our gifts in the correct way, and at the appropriate time, for God’s glory.
Reflective Questions for Gifted, To Be Given
- After again reading Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12: 4-11 identify one or two spiritual gifts you feel you have been given. Also, share with others in your discussion group gifts you have sensed in each of them (be honest; avoid the temptation to flatter.)
- How do the different gifts in your group work in coordination with each other? How might these different gifts be used collectively by God?
- Why is unity such an important quality for the church to defend?