Summary: The true purpose of the speaking gifts is to edify the church. #3 of 5.
Title: A Closer Look At The Speaking Gifts
Series: Discovering God’s Special Gifts
Theme: The true purpose of the speaking gifts is to edify the church.
“For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.”
We have been praying for church growth. We are a body, and as such, we have need of every necessary part for the body to be alive. A body simply cannot function properly without all of its parts. Indeed, some are more vital than others, yet all are needed. As we pray for church growth, we can now begin to specifically make requests of exactly what we need.
I. PROPHECY – PROCLAIMING THE TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD.
Definition: the ability to proclaim God’s Word truthfully.
“But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.”
A. The Main Function Of Prophecy Is Not Making Predictions.
1. The implication of making predictions was added some time in the Middle Ages.
2. Biblical prophets sometimes revealed God’s plan, and sometimes only restated what had already been revealed.
B. Prophecy Is The Spirit’s Special Enablement Of A Christian To Testify Of Christ. (Revelation 19:10)
1. The gift of prophecy empowers a believer to speak God’s truth in spite of personal, subjective faith.
2. Even when the truth is painful or unpopular, God’s Word must be proclaimed. (1 Thessalonians 5:20-22)
C. Prophecy Can Never Stray From The Written Word Of God. (2 Peter 1:19-21)
II. KNOWLEDGE – UNDERSTANDING THE TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD.
Definition: the capability of grasping the meaning of God’s revelation, which is mystery to the natural mind.
“But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
There is a story about a teenage boy who was deeply interested in scientific subjects, especially astronomy. So his father bought him a very expensive telescope. Since the young fellow had studied the principles of optics, he found the instrument to be most intriguing. He took it apart, examined the lenses, and made detailed calculations on the distance of its point of focus. The youth became so absorbed in gaining a technical knowledge of the telescope itself that he never got around to looking at the stars. He knew a lot about that fine instrument, but he missed seeing the wonders of the heavens. As Christians, to know all the facts and figures contained in the Bible is not the end for which God has given us this Book. The purpose is that we might see God and know him. (http://bible.crosswalk.com/SermonHelps/AutoIllustrator)
A. Knowledge Allows A Believer To Gain Insight Into The Mysteries Of God’s Revelation. (Colossians 1:24-26)
B. God Has Gifted Certain Believers With A Special Ability To Study His Word.
1. They understand the meaning of the text and the context.
2. They grasp the idea of individual words and phrases.
3. They follow up with related passages and truths.
4. Their gift helps provide understanding for other believers.
C. The Gift Of Knowledge Is Necessary For All Christian Teaching And Preaching.
1. The proper use of all other ministries and gifts is dependent upon knowledge.
2. If a believer does not have the gift of knowledge, he must rely heavily upon those that do in order to exercise his gifts properly.
3. Teachers and preachers are especially dependent on knowledge in order to teach and interpret God’s truths to others.
D. The Gift Of Knowledge Operates Differently Today.
1. The human authors of Scripture received revealed truth directly from God.
2. Today, however, since we have a complete New Testament, there is no more new revelation.
3. Anyone claiming to have new divine revelation is a deceiver and contradicts God’s Word. (Revelation 22:18-19)
III. WISDOM – APPLYING THE TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD.
Definition: the ability to understand God’s Word and apply it obediently.
“And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, "Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands!”
A. Wisdom Is The Ability To Make Skillful And Practical Application Of The Truth To Life Situations. (James 3:17)
B. A Counselor Must Have Wisdom In Order To Apply God’s Truths To The Questions And Problems Of Life.
C. A Pastor Must Have Wisdom To Know, Understand, And Apply God’s Word In Order To Lead People As He Should.
Illustration: Besetting Sins
A young woman asked for an appointment with her pastor to talk with him about a besetting sin about which she was worried. When she saw him, she said, “Pastor, I have become aware of a sin in my life which I cannot control. Every time I am at church I begin to look around at the other women, and I realize that I am the prettiest one in the whole congregation. None of the others can compare with my beauty. What can I do about this sin?” The pastor replied, “Mary, that’s not a sin, why that’s just a mistake!” (Source unknown.)