Summary: God gifts believers in various ways for the building up of His church.
Do you like the way your body looks? Some of you do and some of you do don’t. But all of us can find parts that need improving.
When God looks at the church – known as the “body of Christ” – do you think He likes what He sees? Just like us I think he likes certain parts and really wishes other parts would get “shaped up”. Well, if we are to get “shaped up” it will mean first understanding what part of the body we are – and then getting involved.
With that in mind we’re spending these 4 weeks Discovering Our Spiritual Gifts. My prayer is you will see that God has uniquely created YOU to be involved in a life that matters for eternity. Last week we looked at the first section in 1 Cor 12 and the 9 gifts of the spirit listed there. This week we’ll continue a quick look at each of the spiritual gifts – and I hope you’ll find one or two today that you really identity as a way that God has gifted you!
1 Cor. 12:27-31
27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28And 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. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31But eagerly desire the greater gifts.
10. Apostle/missionary (from gk. “apostolos” – literally “sent out one”)
A representative of the church sent out to establish new works of God.
For most of my life I’ve considered this gift only a title for the 12 disciples – as if their name changed after the ascension of Jesus to heaven. But a careful look at scripture shows that many others beyond the twelve disciples and Paul were designated with the title “apostle”: James (Gal 1:19), Barnabas (Acts 14:4, 14), Epaphroditus (Phil 2:25), Silas and Timothy (1 Thess 1:1, 2:6), Andronicas and Junia (Rom 16:7), and others (1 Cor 15:5, 7; 2 Cor 8:23; 11:13).
In the early church, then, to be an apostle meant you were “sent out” from one place to do ministry work in another place. It is a bit unclear whether this is a spiritual gift or simply a calling from God – but either way, those who are sent out as apostles or missionaries are specially gifted to pioneer new works of God.
In our own story here at CTK, we have one who definitely has the gift or calling of apostle – and that is Dave Browning. He is just not happy if he is in a settled place. He has a pioneering spirit that loves the challenge of moving into new places and trying new things in ministry.
Where do we need people with this gift here at CTK Oak Harbor? If you feel God has gifted or called you as a missionary/apostle, we need you make yourself known. The need for new small group leaders to develop new ministry with new people is huge! You can start a new small group. Or maybe you’re going to be moving away sometime in the next year or so – did you know God might want you to start a new CTK location? Or perhaps God is calling you to go to a foreign land and bring the gospel of Christ to the masses who have no opportunity to hear it. Regardless, if you have this gift – then be praying about how God wants to use YOU to go and start something new.
TRANS: the next gift we’ll discuss today is teaching. (You’ll notice I skipped “prophecy” in verse 28 – that’s because we introduced the gift of prophecy last week.)
The ability to clearly communicate information relevant to the health and ministry of the church.
Obviously, there are many people who by education and by experience learn to be effective communicators. But the spiritual gift of teaching allows someone to take deep spiritual truths and help other people understand those truths.
People with the gift of teaching enjoy studying the Bible and related materials in order to communicate what they have learned to other Christians. Those with this gift find it easy to organize vast amounts of information in such a way as to make it easy to communicate, understand, and remember.
Teaching was one of my highest scores when I recently took the spiritual gifts inventory, and I’m not surprised at that. I really enjoy being in front and helping people understand what the Bible means. But in order for this church to succeed in its mission, we need many different people who have been gifted in this area. If this is you – you should be making plans to lead a small group this fall – or at least to tell your small group leader you’re ready to be an apprentice leader in preparation for starting a group in the near future.