Summary: We are meant to be active participants in the Body of Christ, and God has assigned each one of us a function in the Body.
At conversion - God incorporates us into the Body.
He puts us in a community relationship w\all believers, and we share a common life in Christ.
We are not meant to be passive participants - eg. "silent partners"
God intends all Christians to be active participants
and has assigned each one of us a function in the Body.
Warren Myers, in his book Pray: How to Be Effective in Prayer, tells of two remarkable people: William Carey, missionary to India, and Carey’s bedridden, almost totally paralyzed sister.
William Carey accomplished a Bible translation work unequaled in missionary history and, as we saw in the last chapter, he has been called "the father of modern missions." We don’t even know his sister’s name. She is mentioned only as Carey’s sister. But while Carey labored in India translating and printing parts or all of the Bible into forty languages, his sister lay on her back in London and prayed hour after hour, month after month, for all the details, problems, and struggles of her brother’s work.
In telling this story of Carey and his sister, Myers asks the question, "To whose account will God credit the victories won through this remarkable man?"’ We all know that Carey’s sister shared in his ministry. In fact, she was a very vital part. Without her ministry of intercession on her brother’s behalf, the work would not have gone forward.
William Carey - Bible translation in India.
His sister - Prayer for the work from London.
One highly visible, the other known by very few--both vitally important.
God also equips each to fulfill their function.
called "gifts" in NT - "A spiritual gift is an ability given by God and empowered by the Holy Spirit to perform the specific function within the Body that God has assigned to each of us."
gifts vs. natural abilities - gifts related specifically to functions within the Body.
Relationship between gift and function in Romans 12:4,6
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.
diff. funcs. - diff.gifts. to fulfill them *see opening Scripture*
Gifts are to be used to serve others and for the common good of the entire Body.
1Cor 12:7 - Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
We have been called by God to be a team of dedicated partners actively involved in carrying out Christ’s Great Commission.
- this is where the fellowship of our spiritual gifts come into play
We are accustomed to thinking of fellowship as Christian social activity or the sharing of spiritual truths. But the fellowship of our spiritual gifts is the using of them for the benefit of the rest of the
Body and the furtherance of God’s Kingdom.
Seven Principles of Spritual Gifts
1) Purpose is to serve others and glorify God. 1Peter 4:10-11
According to Peter: 2 objectives in the use of spir. gifts serving others & glorifying or praising God.
He also refers to us as stewards of our gifts.
Steward is someone who manages anothers
property, finances, etc.
Our gifts are a trust committed to us by God to use for others and His glory as He leads.
There is no place for seeking recognition, fame or self-fulfillment--even though some gifts by their nature bring recog.\fame
There’s no excuse for us to covet recognition or use gifts to gain it. Two people may be equally gifted but God assigns one to a more highly exposed ministry than the other.
Some gifts are more public by nature. eg. teaching vs. service
The key is to remember the purpose of all gifts: serve others & glorify God.
2) Every Christian has a gift and every gift is important.
A. God has given a spiritual gift to every member of the Body.
Many have the attitude that they have no gifts. To say, "I don’t think I have a gift" is to say, "I don’t think I have a function in the Body of Christ." NT teaches different God has a job for every believer!!!
B. Each gift is important we often see more noticeable gifts as important\low profile ones as not so important. Paul addresses this in 1Cor. 12:15-18
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.