Summary: Just as Jesus gave gifts to his Bride, the Church so did the Heavenly Father. This sermon examines those gifts.
Today we will continue looking at the church as the Bride of Christ and the gifts that were given to the Bride by Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit. The last time that we studied this subject we discovered that Jesus gave gifts to his Bride.
Ephesians 4:11 “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.” We discussed the roles of each of these gifts and how they were pertinent to the church today. Also how they can help each individual to discover the ministry that God called them into. But we also recognized that not everyone is called to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors and teachers. God also lavished gifts on the Bride of Christ. Perhaps in discovering these gifts you will discover your ministry role.
Romans 12:6-8 “In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.”
As I read this list I noticed that God had duplicated two gifts that were given by Jesus, the gifts of prophecy and teaching. Therefore I think we can conclude these gifts hold a certain importance. So let’s look at those two gifts first.
Gift of prophecy.
Ephesians 3:4-6 “As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ. God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets.
And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus.”
When we think of prophecy, we usually think of foretelling the future. That’s what the prophets of old did. We had a prophetic rock when I was growing up in West Virginia. It would forecast the weather. If it was wet, it was raining. If it was white, it was snowing. If it was dry, it was sunny. If it was gone, than a tornado was coming through. The other day I mentioned to someone as we watched the rainfall that there was an 80% chance of rain. The person’s response? “No I’m pretty sure it’s a 100%.”
When the word “prophet” is used in the Greek, it meant “one who speaks inspired utterances.” It’s those moments in life when a person is comforting someone or giving them guidance and the right words come. It seems that what they said was exactly what the other person needed to hear. They even may step back and have a moment wondering where it came from.
It was an inspired utterance of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told his disciples not to worry about what they would say when troubles came. Jesus said, “For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said. God will give you the right words at the right time.” Why would He not do the same today?
If you find yourself at times being the one that people turn to for spiritual comfort because you just seem to know the right things to say, you may be a prophet. God may even reveal a word of divine knowledge to you. But let me warn you. If He does, share it with another person and agree it’s from God before you make it a public declaration.
Gift of teaching
Titus 2:15 “You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them. You have the authority to correct them when necessary, so don’t let anyone disregard what you say.”
I am your teacher. I am called to instruct you in the ways of the Lord. It’s my role to ensure that the Gospel is taught in a clear manner so that you might grow. I have been given, by the Holy Spirit, the authority to encourage you with the word and correct you if necessary. It’s a tough job and here’s why.
James 3:1 “Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.”
And Hebrews 13:17 “Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.”