Summary: What does it take to make the Kingdom of God work? it takes you, and me.
How The Kingdom Works: Part 2 – Spiritual Gifts (MythBusters Version)
1 Pet 4:8-11 Feb 11, 2007
What does it take to make a Kingdom work? Let me sum up last week’s sermon in one sentence: God’s Kingdom really does work! I believe it, I’ve seen it very recently. It really works, it really makes a difference, it really is worth it. Last week we talked about what it would take to change our focus as a church, so that we would be focused outwardly on meeting the needs of people, to see God’s Kingdom work in the lives of people. We looked at Luke 10, and saw that it takes It takes prayer (vs 2), It takes faith (vs 4), It takes focus (vs 4b), It takes teamwork (vss 5-7), It takes actions AND words (vs 9), and It takes perspective.
This morning I want to look together at another thing that it takes to make the Kingdom work: it takes you, and me.
“8 Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.
10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.”
Peter, the author of this passage walked with Jesus. He was a disciple, one of the inner 3, very often the spokesman for the group. He heard a lot of teaching from Jesus, saw a lot of miracles, even saw God use him to change a lot of people’s lives. So when Peter writes, “most important of all”, we should sit up and take notice. What is “most important of all”? “show deep love for each other”.
I never get tired of preaching this message. I believe it is at the core of the Kingdom, the core of Jesus’ ministry, the core of the mission of the church, and the very core of the heart of God. What is it all about? What is the most important? What is the “most excellent way”? It is love. Deep love. Deep love shown.
It is not a coincidence that this message of love is tied to the message of Spiritual gifts. There are four main passages on spiritual gifts, and each of them revolves around the message of deep love for others. You can check the others out for yourselves – Eph 4, 1 Cor 12-14, and Rom 12 – for now here is the point I want to make: Love for others motivates us to use our Spiritual gifts, and that is what makes the Kingdom of God work.
Busting the Myths…
This passage busts several of the myths that exist about Spiritual gifts.
Myth #1: I don’t have a gift.
Often when we talk about “gifted” people, we mean that they have abilities so far beyond the rest of us that they stand out. We create a hierarchy, put those people in a class beyond us, and since “those people” who are “gifted” are “over there”, it naturally does not include us. It can be a little subtle, but the end result can be that we believe and live like we are not gifted. That can be kind of convenient, because if I don’t have a gift then I don’t have to use it… That logic may be true of the kingdom of this world, but it is not true of the Kingdom of God.
“10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts.” There you are. Do I need to elaborate? It sounds pretty plain, pretty blunt, pretty conclusive. It busts the myth. You have a gift. I went back to the Greek to make sure that the “each of you” was really there, and was really inclusive of everyone, and it absolutely is.
So, you have a gift. I want you to turn to whomever is sitting near to you, and say this out loud: “God has given me a Spiritual gift.” Now, this is a little harder: tell that person what you think your gift is.
Ok, reporting time. How many of you heard your partner say, “I have no idea what my Spiritual gift is.”? How many of you heard your partner say, “I have a guess, but I’m not sure what my Spiritual gift is.”? How many of you heard your partner say, “I have the gift of________”?