Summary: When Jesus left He gave gifts to his Bride, the church. This is a look at what those gifts are and how to use them.
Revelation 2:17 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.
Two weeks ago, we studied about being victorious over the law, sin, and death. Last week we studied about the hidden manna. Now we are ready to study the white stone with the new name.
Paul Dickson has written a book entitled, “What’s In a Name?” In that book, he shares some of the most unusual names he’s come across.
How would you like to have any of these for your name? Cletus Clodfelter, Rotten Earp, Jinglebells Kaplan, and Boomfa Umfumpa. A man who’s last name is Odor. His parents gave him the first name of Ivan! Ivan Odor!
Dickson also writes that some people seem to be destined to certain occupations by their names. Joe Bunt became a baseball coach. Dan Druff became a barber. Two men with the last names of Goforth and Ketchum actually became partners in a police force. Would you feel secure hiring a plaster contractor by the name of Will Crumble? My own dentist is Doctor Hatchet.
Then of course the Lane brothers, Winner and Loser. Winner Lane became a petty criminal. Loser Lane became a policeman. As you can see, calling someone a winner will not make them a winner. Nor will calling someone a loser make them a loser.
Once you have accepted the gift of salvation and have matured in the word, God is prepared to reveal to you who you really are. And He reveals it by revealing your ministry. And He reveals your ministry through the gifts that He gave his Bride, the Church.
I knew a man who was getting ready to go to war in Vietnam. He wanted to marry his love before he left. His reason was so she would be provided if he were killed in action. It was his concern for her future that led him to marry quicker than planned.
Jesus also left his Bride behind when He ascended into heaven. And He wanted to be sure that his Bride was provided for. So he left her some gifts. Today we will look at these gifts and discover what your white stone name might be.
Ephesians 4:11-12 “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.”
When the Bible speaks of the church, it speaks of the universal church. It’s the church united as a whole. It goes beyond locations because it is the people and not the building. It goes beyond denominations because it’s the kingdom and not man’s theology. These four things; apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors and teachers are often referred to as the offices of the church. But what I want for us to discover today is that goes beyond a role to play in the church. It is designed to equip us to build God’s church.
Now, let’s talk about the church on a smaller base. Let’s talk about the church that we call whitestone ministry. As I look around the room, I count a total of 12 people here. That’s not a bad number. I read a book everyday about a man who did wonders with 12 people. If I were to ask you “Are you an apostle?” how would you answer? How about a prophet? Are you an evangelist? Certainly, you are not a pastor and teacher. That’s my job. But after today, you may feel differently. Let’s look at each gift.
The gift of apostles
Luke 6:12-13 “One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. At daybreak, he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles. Here are their names:”
Jesus had many disciples. Jesus was a rabbi, which meant teacher. The disciples were his students. Out of his students, He called twelve to be more than just students. He called twelve to be his ambassadors. They were his representatives carrying the message that was first delivered by him. They were his envoy.
Some believe that when the 12 apostles died so did that role. However, the scripture says otherwise.
2 Corinthians 5:19-20 “For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, ‘Come back to God!’”