“SPIRITUAL GIFTS: WE’VE GOT THEM – LET’S USE THEM!”
INTRO – One of the joys of being a parent is giving gifts to your kids. Love to see the excitement on their faces. Love to see the joy it brings to them. Like this pic right here: (Rach, Reese, & Russ in trunk of car)
Our God is the same way. He loves to give gifts to His kids! Look at these verses:
- James 1:17 – “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
- Luke 11:13 – “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
- Rom 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- Eph. 2:8 – “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…”
- Rom. 11:29 – “…God’s gifts and His call can never be withdrawn.”
Think about all that God has given to us & continues to give to us:
- Acts 2:38 – The Holy Spirit
- Numbers 6:26 – Peace
- Isa. 40:29 – Strength to the weary
- Ezek. 36:26 – A new heart & a new spirit
- Matt. 6:11 – Our daily bread
- John 6:63 – Life
- 1 Cor. 15:57 – Victory over sin & death
- Eph. 4:7 – Grace
That last one is where I want us to focus our attention today, b/c the spiritual gifts that you & I have are “grace gifts.” In Rom. 12:6, we see that we have different gifts according to the grace given to us. Greek word for “gifts” is “charisma.” Greek word for “grace” is “charis.” You can’t have the gifts w/out the grace. What’s the definition of “grace”? God giving to us that which we do not deserve. John Gill, biblical scholar in 1700’s said, “…all these gifts are not the effects of nature, the fruits of human power, diligence, and industry, but flow from the grace of God, who dispenses them when, where, and to whom he pleases in a free and sovereign manner; and therefore to be acknowledged as such, and used to his glory, and for the good of his church and people.” So, let’s remember that all of these gifts are gifts of God’s grace toward us. None of us is better than anyone else b/c of the gifts we possess. None of us will be in better standing w/ God b/c of the gifts we possess. They are gifts of His grace. We don’t deserve them. We haven’t earned them. He has given them to us when He gave us the gift of our salvation.
So, let’s answer this question about these gifts of grace: What are we supposed to do w/ them? How are we supposed to use them? Let’s use the word “GRACE” as an acrostic & answer this question.
Grow – This is really a foundational truth in our understanding of spiritual gifts. God’s desire for His children is that we grow in spiritual maturity. All of us who know Christ should be striving to know Him more, to obey Him more fully, to trust Him deeper, & to love Him more. Stagnation is an unwelcome condition in the Christian life, but it is inevitable if we stop striving to grow in our spiritual life. Someone once said, “Decay starts where growth stops.”
God has given us spiritual gifts in order to facilitate our spiritual growth. This growth happens in 2 ways:
- When I exercise my spiritual gifts, it strengthens my walk w/ Christ. Just as physical exercise builds up our physical strength, so the exercising of our spiritual gifts builds up our spiritual strength. It teaches me more about who Christ is, who the Holy Spirit is, how He works in my life, & what He will do in & through me when I use my spiritual gifts. That is what spiritual growth is all about.
- When YOU exercise YOUR spiritual gifts, it helps me grow. You who have the gift of teaching help me grow. You who have the gift of exhortation & encouragement help me grow. You who have the gift of giving help me grow.
Every gift helps someone grow in some way in the Body of Christ. That’s why EVERY gift is important!
Reach – Let’s be reminded that Paul said in v. 4-5 that, even though we are many different members & have different gifts, we are all still a part of the same body, the Body of Christ. He also said in 1 Cor. 12:7 that the gifts were given for the common good. He also said in Eph. 4 that the gifts were given to equip God’s people to do His work so that the Body would grow & work properly.
So, when we are EACH using our gifts we are helping the WHOLE Body of Christ reach its biblical purpose.
- We are helping it reach its purpose of evangelism.
- We are helping it reach its purpose of discipleship.
- We are helping it reach its purpose of ministry.
- We are helping it reach its purpose of worship.
- We are helping it reach its purpose of fellowship & community.
Advance – There’s no doubt or debate about the commission that Jesus has given to us, His Church. Matt. 28:19-20 – Say it w/ me: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” THIS is how we advance His Kingdom in our world – by making disciples of all nations. THIS is the answer to EVERY problem that our nation is facing. THIS is the way to keep marriages from falling apart. THIS is how we reach out to & help those who are struggling w/ homosexuality, w/ drug & alcohol abuse, w/ pornography, w/ racial prejudice, w/ anger & bitterness & divisiveness. We MUST advance HIS Kingdom into our lost & dying world, starting right here in our own community. Col. 1:12-14 says that “…the Father…has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” When we exercise our spiritual gifts in the Church, we are helping to advance His Kingdom of Light into the dominion of darkness.
- We are advancing His love into this world of hate.
- We are advancing His life into this world of death.
- We are advancing His Truth into this world of lies.
Care – What does it mean to truly care for someone? It means that you are deeply concerned about their condition & are willing to do whatever it takes to meet their needs to the very best of your ability. We see this happening all the time in many different ways in the Church:
- Life Groups caring for & rallying around those in their groups who are sick & in need.
- Women’s Ministry & Men’s Ministry providing caring help to church members.
- Deacons doing their ministry of care w/in the church FAMILY.
- Mission Byram, Lunch4Christ, & Country Oaks showing loving care to those they minister to.
God has given us our grace gifts to do this. It’s not just for the pastor & staff to do; it’s for ALL of the members of the Body to do. God gives us grace so that we might show grace to those in need. Our gifts empower us & enable us to care for each other in the FAMILY of God!
Edify – Finally, our gifts edify the Church. What does the word “edify” mean? It means “to benefit or uplift; to build up.” A Christ-follower should NEVER do anything that will damage or tear down the Church, in other words, we should NEVER do anything that will damage or tear down a brother or sister in Christ. Listen to these verses:
- Rom. 14:19 – “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”
- Rom. 15:2 – “Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.”
- 1 Cor. 8:1b – “Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.”
- Eph. 4:11-12 – “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
- 1 Thess. 5:11 – “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”