Summary: This message discusses the purpose of the gifts of the Spirit and the plan that God has for His people to use them to serve others. In 2 Peter 4, each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace
I would like to talk to you today about the Gifts of the Spirit. If the last three sermons have hit home with you then you are likely encouraged, even excited, to serve the Lord as Christ's ambassadors. You realize that you are a new creation and cannot live the way you used to. Not that you have to try to live a different life separated from the world. Not that you are commanded to live differently than the world, but if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation and cannot help but live a different life separated from the world. Within the world, but apart or separated from it in hope and purpose. Chris love compels us with new desires and new convictions. New ways of walking and talking as we live as foreigners in the land. Not that you have to but that you cannot help but live for Christ.
The question now, if you are in Christ and Christ is in you, is not if we serve Him, but how. I will attempt to answer that question over the next two Sunday's in our series on gift giving. Today I want to talk to you about the gifts of the spirit. I pray that you will leave here today with an understanding of how we can, how we must, live out our faith. That you leave here today with a clearer understanding of how and where God is using you.
One preacher told the church, “My job is to preach and your job is to listen. If you get through before I do, please be patient and I’ll try to do my best.” Please, today, if you get done listening before I get done talking, restart. I pray it will be worth it!
Paul said this to the Romans in chapter 12, “1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. [HOW – Prayer and Scripture by controlling the input into it.]Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
What a great return! If you feed your mind with the Word of God and pray to God about the Word of God, you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is! So the question then becomes, “How do we offer our bodies as a living sacrifice?” Not if we do, but how we do.
He goes on to say, “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 faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For 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, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
Now, if we flip over to Ephesians 4 and read what Paul says there, we find this, “1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. … 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”