Summary: The Holy Spirit not only give us spiritual gifts to use in our service to God, He also gives us the power, love and self-discipline to utilize them effectively.
Last week we began a series of 3 messages on the nature and responsibility of having Spiritual Gifts. If you were here you might remember that we read from Romans 12 and 1 Peter 4. And we learned that every believer has at least one spiritual gift. These are God given abilities distributed among His people to be used for His purposes. If you were here, I’m sure you remember me going through that long list of gifts that the Bible tells us about. Some of them were leadership gifts, like that of Pastor or Wisdom. Others were for equipping others like teaching or evangelism. Still others were what we would call “helping” gifts, like giving or hospitality or helps. A fourth category was the miraculous spiritual gifts, those that the Bible talks about during the first century that were used to establish the church, but that God doesn’t seem to be handing out today.
And my encouragement to you was to understand that you didn’t get left out in the gift distribution process. You weren’t holding the door for everybody else when they were filing into the Spiritual Gifts department. Certainly not everybody gets the same gifts, not even the same number of gifts. Some people seem to be heavily gifted, to have incredible abilities to do multiple things well. Others seem to have only 1 or 2 things that they do well. The key isn’t how many gifts you have been given, but how you use the gifts you do have to honor and glorify God. God gave you those spiritual gifts to strengthen His Church and to help people. And the thing that I put before you several times was that if you weren’t using the gifts that God gave you in the church, then that meant that your role either was going undone or that somebody who didn’t have that gift was filling that role, maybe getting burned out because they are working in an area that they are not gifted.
This morning our starting point for discussing Spiritual gifts comes in 2 Timothy 1:3-7. 2 Timothy is a letter sent from the apostle Paul to a minister named Tim. For some reason I really identify with the documents we call 1 & 2 Timothy. Timothy was probably 19 or 20 when Paul visited Lystra while he was traveling around, and when Paul continued his travels, he took Timothy with him. They became very close, and Paul often gave Timothy important jobs to do, sending him to help churches in need or to carry messages to believers in other cities. It seems as if in the end, Timothy wound up as a minister in Ephesus. 2 Timothy is probably the last letter that Paul wrote before he was executed by the Roman emperor. It might have been the last chance Paul had to make an impact on Timothy’s life.
Read Text: 2 Timothy 1:3-7
Now when you read through Paul’s letters to Timothy, you get the sense that Timothy was a little backward in his ministry style. It’s not that he didn’t do a good job. That probably wasn’t the case because Paul gave him some pretty big responsibilities. But it just seems like He needed a lot of encouragement, sometimes he needed a fire lit under him to get him moving. I think that’s what is going on here as Paul says, “Don’t be shy about using the gifts that God has given you. Step up to the plate and swing away. God didn’t give you these gifts for you to be timid about using them.”
I think there are a lot of people who are kind of backward about using their God-given gifts. Sometimes it’s from some confused sense of humility where they think it would be prideful to step to the front and say, “God has given me the ability to do this; how can I help.” Sometimes it’s from fear of getting in too deep. Maybe you’ve gotten in over your head with some responsibilities before and you know how difficult that can be. For whatever reason, sometimes people just don’t or won’t put their hand in the air when the call goes out for help. Paul tells Timothy, “Get out there and get busy. Your reluctance, you timidity isn’t God given. He gave you power, love and self-control, not timidity.” Now I want us to think about those three things that God has given us along with our Spiritual Gifts.
1. God Given Power.
In Philippians 4 Paul is writing to a church to let them know how much He appreciates them sending him a financial gift. He says, “I appreciate it, and it will be to your benefit and reward for sending it to me, but I have learned to get along on whatever I’ve got, whether it’s a bunch or a little. Then in one of those classic phrases Paul says in Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” What a firm confidence Paul had, not in what he could do on his own, but in what God would be willing to do through him if allowed to.