Summary: We are called to be set apart. We are recipients of Spiritual Gifts. The greatest gift is LOVE
"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord." 1 Corinthians 1:3-9
As we read Paul’s words to the church at Corinth, one thing is certain. He sure has the gift of words and getting his point across.
I am very sure (tongue-in-cheek) that you all remember vividly my sermon on August 27th, entitled “Answering the Call” from Isaiah 51:1-8.
Paul is saying again that we are ALL called. The Hebrew word for call is qara (kaw – rah) and among the best definitions is to call forth. Question: Okay Howard, called forth to where or what? Answer: Called forth FROM the world and flesh to a life of dedication to God. We call that today: Christianity. Until we are called home to glory, we remain in this world, but we are not to live the life of this world for it is saturated with life and lifestyle very displeasing to God. We are called TO fellowship with likeminded. We call that church. The Greek word for church is ekklesia (ek-klay-see-ah) and is best interpreted: a calling out, and also: a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation.
Note, no mention of buildings, steeples, pews, etc.
So, we begin to understand that we are called to be different, set apart from the worldly lusts and sinful ways of the world that we live in.
Please turn to and read with me 1 John 2:28-3:3
“And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him. Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore, the world does not know us,] because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
So Pastor, where is this “gift” that you entitled the message?
I am glad you asked.
To find that specific answer, you will have to do a tad bit of homework. In your quiet time, your personal prayer and meditation time, your study time (I’m sure we all have dedicated personal time with God), etc. Read: 1 Corinthians 12-14.
We are talking about Spiritual gifts here. Paul is reminding the Corinthians just how blessed they are with the Spiritual gifts from God. They have received these gifts but are not using them. That very same thing is so true of many of us. Why is that? There are enough answers to that question to be almost endless. We are so good at making excuses.
Number one is probably that we are too timid to step out and exercise what God has graced us with. Maybe we fear being ridiculed by non-believers. Maybe we just don’t feel qualified to publicly minister our gifts. Etc. etc.
And the greatest gift of all: ________________________? (pause)
YES! The greatest gift of all is the gift of LOVE. What better time to exercise the gift of love than now through the Christmas Season. It just might become a permanent lifestyle and that would be very pleasing to God.
Let us pray.