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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Use Your Gifts(s) We Need You Part 1 - Sermon Preached 1-31-16

This is the transcript of Part 1 of a Two Part Sermon Series on Spiritual Gifts delivered at The Church of Divine Guidance, Los Angeles, CA where I am the Associate Pastor. You will be able to listen to the audio recording of the sermon by clicking on the YouTube image at the end of the transcript.
This is now the first Sunday of the second month in 2016.  The first two Sundays of the year, Minister Brenda talked to us about casting off all those old things that we have been dragging around because, as she said, God is doing a new thing.  Her key verse was;

Isaiah 43:19 (HCSB)19  Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.

Look at the verse that precedes it;

Isaiah 43:18 (HCSB) “Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old.

And like Paul wrote, we want to forget about the things of the past and move forward;

Philippians 3:13-14 (HCSB)13  Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead,14  I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.

If this is the way  you are approaching this year and the rest of of your life, you  expect the best and you look for progress and prosperity.  And we all want The Church of Divine Guidance to prosper because when it does we are doing  our part in accomplishing what it is that Jesus told his disciples to do;

Matthew 28:19-20 (HCSB)19  Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20  teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

We know that as The Great Commission.  When Jesus went back to His Father,He asked that He send the  Holy Spirit to dwell in us, so that we could accomplish that Great Commission.  

Sometimes we forget that our purpose isn’t simply to have fellowship, sing, preach, and worship. Jesus trusted us with good news of the true life He offers to everyone. This isn’t just for  missionaries, or pastors, and evangelists—it’s for every believer. Your personal mission field includes your family, friends, coworkers, and maybe even a group God puts on your heart, often right in your community.

What an honor to be included in the Lord’s plan to redeem man through the good news of the gospel, which is that Jesus came to pay the price for sin.   All of us are to be a part of that but He doesn’t send us out to do His work on our own. He promised never to leave us, He assured us that what He assigned us to do we could do because of the Holy Spirit.
John 14:16-18 (HCSB)16  And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.17  He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you.18  I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you.  

One of the ways the Holy Spirit enables us is through giving us spiritual gifts.  

Pastor asked me to talk to you today about those spiritual gifts.  If you are a Christian and a believer you have at least one spiritual gift.    We are going to talk about them over the next couple of Sundays.  We are going to talk about how you can identify yours and where it is to be used in the church….and specifically here in The Church of Divine Guidance.
I preached a sermon on spiritual gifts in 2013 after having taught a bible study series that lasted about 2 months on Sunday morning and in a 3 week series on Tuesday night.  So this is a refresher for those of you who participated in those past teachings and this will be new to others.   It’s good for us to be reminded of things from time to time to keep us fresh and to make sure that we don’t forget the important things of God.   In one of his recent sermons the pastor referred to what Peter said in his letter to the Christians in Asia Minor;

2 Peter 1:12-15 (HCSB)12  Therefore I will always remind you about these things, even though you know them and are established in the truth you have.13  I consider it right, as long as I am in this ⌊bodily⌋ tent, to wake you up with a reminder,14  knowing that I will soon lay aside my tent, as our Lord Jesus Christ has also shown me.15  And I will also make every effort that you may be able to recall these things at any time after my departure.

You need to hear me say that this isn't just important for those of you sitting in the pews,
but it is, at least, equally important for those of us who are pastors, ministers, and leaders in God’s Church, we need to be reminded too.

Although we are going to take a couple of weeks to talk about gifts it will just scratch the surface but I pray it is enough for you to realize that you, everyone of you who is saved has at least one spiritual gift and it was given to you for you to use in the church.   Let’s go to Ephesians so you know  I’m telling the truth about you having spiritual gifts.

Ephesians 4:7-8 (NLT)7  However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.8  That is why the Scriptures say, “When he ascended to the heights, he led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to his people.”

The Greek word most frequently used for spiritual gifts is charisma, a word that relates to the grace (charis) of God. That’s the word that Paul used in the scripture that we just read.   One definition is that a spiritual gift as a divine endowment of a special ability for service upon a member of the body of Christ.  Another definition is that a spiritual gift is a special attribute given by the Holy Spirit to every member of the Body of Christ according to God's grace for use within the context of the Body.

The gifts differ, but have these thing in common. (1) Each is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit's presence. (2) Each is "for the common good," that is, each is intended to build up the body of Christ. (3) Each is given "as He [the Spirit] determines."

There is no true Christian in whom the Holy Spirit has not worked, providing a divine capacity enabling him or her to make a significant contribution to other believers.  If those gifts operate in love and in proper order the church will accomplish what God intends for it and that is to show the world His plan of salvation for all people regardless of race, position, status, poverty, or wealth.

Here are twelve principles that relate to God's design for spiritual gifts:
1. Every Christian has at least one spiritual gift.
Every Christian, no matter who you are,  has been given the manifestation of the Spirit for the benefit of others in the church. We just read that in Ephesians but to really drive it home its repeated other places.
1 Corinthians 12:7 (NKJV)7  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:
1 Peter 4:10 (NKJV)10  As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Remember it’s The Holy Spirit who decides who gets what gift or combination of gifts.  
1 Corinthians 12:11 (NKJV)11  But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
Spiritual gifts are not limited to a specific group of believers; they are distributed by the Spirit to all Christian men, women, and children.
2. Many believers have evidently received more than one spiritual gift. Because there is such a variety of gifts, the number of possible combinations is great. Each multi-gifted Christian has received a combination of spiritual abilities that is perfectly suited to his or her God-given ministry.
For example people with the ministry gift of pastor also have the gifts of teaching, evangelism, prophet, and apostle, or any combination of them.  
3. Spiritual gifts are given at the moment of salvation, but they may lie undiscovered and dormant for a long period of time. Multi-gifted Christians often discover their combination of gifts through a gradual process.
4. Spiritual gifts can be abused and neglected, but just as you can’t lose your salvation, they cannot be lost. You can be very gifted and still be and remain  spiritually immature.  The Corinthian church is an example of that.  
1 Corinthians 3:1-4 (NKJV)1  And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.2  I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able;3  for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?4  For when one says, "I am of Paul," and another, "I am of Apollos," are you not carnal?
I don’t want any of us to stay spiritually immature that’s why I want you to identify and then use your gifts the way that God wants you to use them.
5. Spiritual gifts are not the same as the gift of the Holy Spirit. The gift of the Holy Spirit has been given to all believers.  All of us have that gift.  
John 14:15-18 (NKJV)15  "If you love Me, keep My commandments.16  And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever--17  the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.18  I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
Acts 2:38 (NKJV)38  Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The gifts of the Spirit, on the other hand, are distributed as He decides to each person .  We just read that in 1 Corinthians 12:11..
1 Corinthians 12:11 (NKJV)11  But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
6. Spiritual gifts are not the same as the fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23  gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Spiritual fruit is produced from within; spiritual gifts are received from without. Fruit relates to Christlike character; gifts relate to Christian service. The fruit of the Spirit, especially love, should be how we use the gifts of the Spirit. Spiritual gifts without love are worthless.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NKJV)1  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.2  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.3  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.  
Fruit is eternal but the gifts are temporary, for use until Christ comes for His church.   
1 Corinthians 13:8-10 (NKJV)8  Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.9  For we know in part and we prophesy in part.10  But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
Fruit of the spirit is another sermon.
7. Spiritual gifts are not the same as natural talents. Unlike the natural abilities which everyone has from birth, spiritual gifts belong exclusively to believers in Christ. In some cases, the gifts of the Spirit coincide with natural talents, but they go beyond these natural abilities by adding a supernatural quality. Both are given by God, and should be developed and used according to their purpose for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV)31  Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
James 1:17 (NKJV)17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
8. All Christians are called to a ministry, but not all are called to an office. Ministry is determined by divinely given gifts that equip you for an office.  The equipping gifts are Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers.  We’ll talk more about them and the other gifts next week.
Ephesians 3:7 (NKJV)7  of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.
It is possible to have an office and yet not possess the spiritual gift or be spiritually equipped for the office.  Offices are humanly recognized and appointed by denominations, or individual congregations and sometimes by the individuals themselves but that’s something to talk about another time.  
9. Some spiritual gifts are more desirable in the church than others because they result in greater edification of the body.
1 Corinthians 12:28-31 (NKJV)28  And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.29  Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?30  Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?31  But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
1 Corinthians 14:5 (NKJV)5  I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.
I want to emphasize to no  gift is more important than another but some are more desirable.  Let me explain.
1 Corinthians 12:14-26 (NKJV)14  For in fact the body is not one member but many.15  If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body?16  And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body?17  If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?18  But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.19  And if they were all one member, where would the body be?20  But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.21  And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."22  No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.23  And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty,24  but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it,25  that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.26  And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
This is something from Charles Stanley;
Our physical frame is a creation of remarkable beauty and intricacy. And while certain parts seem more attractive than others, all are useful. The body’s interdependent nature—that is, the way every part relies on other parts to perform properly—is an apt metaphor for a Christ-centered church. When believers use their gifts and talents to operate together lovingly, the whole body functions properly to the glory of God.

However, churches today are filled with people who feel insignificant. Upon seeing the successful work of others, they decide they’re not really needed or assume they haven’t got the “right” talents to make a worthwhile contribution. Those are lies from the Devil. When his misguidance succeeds—which is all too often—he manages to get one more Christian to back away in hopes that someone else will do the Lord’s work.

Hanging back instead of seeking a place to serve is a form of thievery: you’re robbing the Lord’s church—His people—of your unique contribution. Your role might be small or go unnoticed, but it is vital to Jesus Christ and to the smooth functioning of His body on earth.

10. Spiritual gifts, just like other acts of God’s grace are completely  undeserved so none of us can boast or brag about them.   Every member of the body has a special place and purpose and none more important than any other.   Work with what God has given to you
2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NKJV)6  Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.7  For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Our job is to please God and not men
Galatians 1:10 (NKJV)10  For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
1 Thessalonians 2:4 (NKJV)4  But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.  
11. Gifts are God's spiritual equipment for effective service and edification of the body.
They are not given so that the person who has it can feel superior but for the profit and edification of the Body of Christ.
The person with the gift  is only the instrument of glory and not the receiver of the glory (J. Oswald Sanders).
Gifts were given so that in everything God will be glorified through Jesus Christ, like we read in
1 Peter 4:11 (HCSB)11  If anyone speaks, ⌊it should be⌋ as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, ⌊it should be⌋ from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
12. Operation of spiritual gifts was the key to the rapid growth of the church in the New Testament.
Romans 1:11-12 (NKJV)11  For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established--12  that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
Ephesians 4:11-13 (NKJV)11  And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,12  for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,13  till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
We as members of the Body of Christ have two responsibilities. The first is to worship God and the second is to work for His kingdom.

When you were saved, the Lord baptized you by the Holy Spirit into His church—the body of believers who live all over the world but are united by trust in Jesus Christ. You then chose, according to the will of God, to become part of a local group of believers, in your cases that local body is The Church of Divine Guidance.   God put  you here because He knows that you are needed here.

1 Corinthians 12:18 (NKJV)18  But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.
You are very important here.  We are a diverse group, with many different personalities and likes and dislikes, and that means we often have to work hard for unity. But our differences are something we should celebrate, because each one of us uniquely contributes to God’s purpose. When we are functioning as a unit—with all its varied gifts, talents, personalities, and intellects focused toward kingdom goals—we can accomplish big things.

Just as when Israel was in the wilderness they had a battle against the Amalekites.

Exodus 17:8-13 (HCSB)8  At Rephidim, Amalek came and fought against Israel.9  Moses said to Joshua, “Select some men for us and go fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the hilltop with God’s staff in my hand.”10  Joshua did as Moses had told him, and fought against Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.11  While Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, but whenever he put his hand down, Amalek prevailed.12  When Moses’ hands grew heavy, they took a stone and put ⌊it⌋ under him, and he sat down on it. Then Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other so that his hands remained steady until the sun went down.13  So Joshua defeated Amalek and his army with the sword.

Joshua fought, Moses prayed, Aaron and Hur assisted.  That team working together defeated the Amalekites.  That’s the kind of thing that we can do when we work together using the gifts that God has given us.

Christianity isn’t a spectator religion. We all have jobs to do in God’s kingdom. The body of Christ functions best and when all its members become committed to serve God and each other to the best of their ability

1 Corinthians 12:25-26 (NKJV)25  that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.26  And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

Spiritual Gifts are for the common good to build up the Body

1 Corinthians 12:27 (NKJV)  Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.

1 Peter 4:10-11 (NKJV)10  As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.11  If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
 Now the apostle Paul speaks about spiritual gifts a number of times, and the gifts mentioned in Peter in the scripture we just read are also included in Paul's lists.  So it's Paul's his lists that we most look at when we talk about spiritual gifts.

Let's first go to those lists of spiritual gifts;

Romans 12:6-8 (NKJV)6  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;7  or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;8  he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.  


1 Corinthians 12:7-11 (NKJV)7  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:8  for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,9  to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,10  to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.11  But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.


Ephesians 4:11-13 (NKJV)11  And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,12  for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,13  till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

Suppose I asked what the mission of the church is—how would you answer? Although the church accomplishes many tasks, its only message to the world is the gospel of Christ. Everything else we do is merely an extension of that primary goal. The gospel we offer the lost is superior to every worldly philosophy. Never outdated or in need of correction, it is always sufficient to meet humanity's greatest need: reconciliation with the Creator.
Although the message is always the same, methods of making it known are many—including the spoken word, music, printed material, and electronic media. But all these avenues of communication require the individual involvement of God's people. It is every Christian's responsibility to use his or her spiritual gifts, talents, and abilities to help fulfill the Great Commission.
Some Christians think that this role is given only to pastors, missionaries, or other people with an "up-front ministry." But all of us have the responsibility to be involved in whatever way we are able and in whatever opportunity God gives us. Not everybody is called to go abroad as a missionary, but we all can give, pray, and tell friends and family what the Lord has done for us.
When you're truly committed to getting the gospel out, God will reveal what work He is calling you to do. He has a place for every one of us—nobody is insignificant or unusable. The limiting factor is not the Lord's ability to use us but our availability to His call.

No matter what the gift is, it must be opened.  It is of no value it you don’t open it.  It I gave you  Ninja for Christmas  and you never open the package and use it you might as well give it back to me.  You are to use your gifts to bless you and others around you.  God has given you unique and special divine enablements; gifts.  

By the time I finish next week if you don’t know your gift or gifts, ask God to show you what they are.  At the end of the sermon, next week, I’ll have a spiritual gifts inventory to help you identify them.  Then start using them.  

Use Your Gift(s) We Need You - Part 1 Audio Recording