Summary: One of the ways in which we glorify God is by serving others with the spiritual gifts that God has given to each believer. This sermon explores several truths about spiritual gifts and their relation to ministry.
The day you became a Christian God deposited a treasure in you. For some of you this treasure has some layers on it and it is a bit rusty. But with the help of God’s Word and his Spirit we will pull back the layers and blow off the dust and discover this hidden treasure. This discovery can revolutionize your spiritual life.
I am of course referring to the discovery of your spiritual gifts. Before we get into our Biblical text for today, let me give you a working definition of a spiritual gift. I would like to define a spiritual gift as “a significant ability given to each believer by the Holy Spirit, who thus equips and moves members of the church to serve in special ways for Christ and his kingdom.”
This definition is worth looking at in detail. First, a spiritual gift is “a significant ability.” By this I mean an ability in a certain area of service used specifically for a biblically defined purpose.
Second, a spiritual gift is a significant ability “given to each believer.” A spiritual gift is given not just to some believers, but to every child of God who is born again by the Spirit of God. Every Christian has a significant ability to do something well for Christ.
Third, a spiritual gift is given “by the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit not gives every Christian new life, but he also deposits a treasure of significant ability into the life of each believer.
Fourth, the Holy Spirit “thus equips and moves members of the church to serve.” The reason the Holy Spirit gives a significant ability is for the sake of service or ministry. Not only does he equip every Christian for ministry with a significant ability, but he also motivates every Christian and gives him a new desire to serve.
Fifth, a spiritual gift is given to serve “in special ways.” Each gift relates to specific needs in the body of Christ. Every spiritual gift to carry on the ministry that God is calling our church to do is already resident in this church—now!
And finally, a spiritual gift is given “for Christ and his kingdom.” You are a servant of Jesus Christ. Everything that Jesus does is to build up his church and to advance his kingdom. Through the exercise of your spiritual gift, Jesus enables his Church to carry out the task he has assigned it on earth.
Today is the fourth Sunday in our series on “Glorifying God.” Our ultimate goal in life is to glorify God. We glorify God in a number of different ways. One way in which we glorify God is by serving others with our spiritual gifts.
As we turn in our Bibles now to 1 Peter 4:10-11, we will discover that every Christian has a spiritual gift and is commanded to employ it in ministry. Let’s read 1 Peter 4:1-11, although our text is found in 1 Peter 4:10-11:
"1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. 2 As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. 5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.
"7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen" (1 Peter 4:10-11).
Our ultimate goal in life is to glorify God.
The first question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, “What is the chief end [or goal] of man?” The answer given is, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”