Summary: In my first installment of this series I said that the gifts of the Spirit are from God and we need to use them for his purposes. Today we will see that a big part of my job as a Pastor is to equip you for works of service.
GIFTED (part two)
1) I need to prepare you.
Eph. 4:11-16, "It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."
Part of my responsibility as your Pastor is to help determine what your gifts are and encourage you to use them. I need to do my best to see how and where your gifts can be used. Your duty as a Christian is to have a desire to know what your gifts are and be prepared to use them.
And we see a few reasons for this. So the body of Christ can be built up. The church needs to be encouraged and edified and building on the solid foundation of Christ. And we need to help each other along in Christian unity so we can all grow together.
And we see why this is important. So we will no longer be infants-so we will move away from being "young and naive" and become wise and strong to fend off attacks from the enemy who will try to drown us in the waves of turmoil and blow us away in the winds of chaos. When we work together and serve in Jesus' name we are exercising our faith which makes us more able to withstand the storms.
Cornerstone has withstood the storms over the past 25 years because we have been building upon the solid foundation of Christ. We have worked together and have grown together. I was talking with someone recently who has been here since the early days and they commented on how things have improved and the maturity level has deepened over the years.
I've seen it too in people that I've known for the 13 years I've been here. That's what happens when we use our gifts. When I am able to encourage someone to use the gift God has given them and people are blessed because of it then I have done my job. I'm responsible to help prepare you for works of service.
2) Many different gifts.
The bible highlights about 20 different spiritual gifts. There are what's known as the speaking gifts: prophecy, teaching, exhortation, evangelism, pastor, tongues and the interpretation of tongues. These would be gifts where the primary use of them would be in a verbal way.
Then there are what's known as the serving gifts: helps, service, giving, miracles and healing. These gifts would be used mostly in a non-verbal capacity. And then there are the gifts that may be evenly combined with both speaking and serving like leadership, administration, mercy, wisdom, knowledge, faith and discernment.
As I said before, there are many of the things listed as gifts that all Christians need to be doing like serving, helping, encouraging, giving, wisdom, knowledge, faith, etc. These are things all Christians need to cultivate. However, they are listed as gifts because some Christians have a special ability in these areas that allow them to either exhibit these traits more easily or more fully than normal.
If you go to a church that's known as Charismatic or Pentecostal you will notice that they focus heavily on the manifestation of specific gifts like speaking in tongues, miracles and healing. Unfortunately, because these gifts can be faked, they have come to be delegitimized in today's church.
Some think these types of gifts only existed in the time of the Apostles and don't really exist today. But these gifts were present beyond the first century. Justin Martyr wrote about them in the present tense (150AD), as did Tertullian (207AD), as well as others beyond that point.
However, the argument can be made that although these gifts didn't die out in the first century, they may have significantly decreased since then. When the new church was starting out, there needed to be some serious convincing going on in order to legitimize this new belief in Christ. Therefore, the evidence of the miraculous gifts-healing, miracles, tongues and their interpretation, would be serious indicators that Jesus was the real deal and therefore the need to follow him firmly established.