Summary: The church is in need of those who are willing to become living sacrifices for God. He, by His grace, has given us gifts. We must use them
Spiritual Gifts of the Church
RO 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
The idea behind this passage is to get us to look inward. It answers the question, “In view of God’s mercy toward us, what can we do for him?” Paul provides for us the answer. Present ourselves, our bodies, a LIVING SACRIFICE. For this is our SPIRITUAL ACT OF WORSHIP.
Well the next question that begs to be asked is HOW? Simply by surrendering
Illustration: Why do people resist surrendering themselves to Christ? For many, the reason they give is that they do not trust God to handle their lives to their suiting. A young lady was talking to an evangelist on the subject of consecration, giving herself totally to God. She said “I don’t dare to give myself wholly to God because he may send me to China as a missionary.” The evangelist asked her “If some snowy, cold morning a little bird should come, half frozen, pecking at your window, and would let you take it in and feed it, thereby putting itself entirely in your hands, what would you do? Would you grip it in your hand and crush it? Or would you give it shelter, warmth, food and care?” A new light came into the girl’s eyes. “Oh I see” she said, “I can trust God!” Two years later she again met the evangelist and recalled to him the incident, she told how she had finally given herself to God, and then her face lit up with a smile and said, “And do you know where God is sending me to serve Him?” and then with a twinkle in her eye she said “In China.”
God is in need of ones who will be LIVING SACRIFICES. There are people all over who are willing to DIE for HIM, where are those who are willing to LIVE for HIM?
How can we LIVE for HIM
1. Not think more highly of ourselves than we ought, thinking humbly
2. Using the Gifts he gave us for HIM
a. Prophesying: Communication of God’s truth that will convict and build up others.
b. Serving: Ministering to the material and spiritual needs of the Christian Community.
c. Teaching: Similar to prophesying except not necessarily connected with revelation but by living but the 2 normally go together
d. Encouraging: the word is Paraklesis, which I found quite similar to Paraklete a term used for the Holy Spirit.
e. Giving: Sacrificially meeting the needs financially of the Christian community
f. Leadership: Those with the ability to make decisions, with the entire Body of Christ in mind. Able to guide, direct, and lead.
g. Showing Mercy: Similar to Encouragement, feeling, seeing, experiencing with the others feelings, eyes and thoughts.
3. We are to understand that not everyone has all of these but everyone has a least one of them
a. Each is given according to Grace
b. Each are given for a specific purpose
c. Each are needed in the Body of Christ locally (Eph 4:16)
4. Which one or ones do you have?
Encouragement: Exhort, Urge, Comfort or Cheer up.
a. 2 Cor 1:4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God
b. 2 Cor. 7:6-7 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.