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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Praise God With Service - God Has Given You Gifts...Use Them!

This is the manuscript of a sermon preached on May 20,  2018 at Church of Divine Guidance Los Angeles, CA.  It was my annual sermon on the Gifts of The Holy Spirit (Spiritual Gifts).  The emphasis in this sermon are the Motivational Gifts, Prophecy, Teaching, Giving, Exhortation/Encouragement,  Administration/Leadership, Mercy and Ministering/Serving/Helps.

Pastor Clayton has said that we should revisit the gifts of the Holy Spirit at least once each year.  He wants to do this to remind us that as members of the Body of Christ and especially those of us at the Church of Divine Guidance that we are to use those gifts to encourage and to edify each other so that we are ready and equipped to do what Jesus commanded His disciples, to do.  It was last thing that is recorded in the book of Matthew. 

Matthew 28:18-20 NIV Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

When we first hear, learn, and talk about something new, something we didn't know much about or at all, we get excited about it.  Over time however we can lose that enthusiasm, and forget some of the details, so it’s good to review things.  In 2 Peter 1:12 he wrote;

 2 Peter 1:12 (NKJV) For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth.

In other words it’s my intention to always remind you, even when you already know.

The Holy Spirit has us do this so that you understand the gifts and how God wants you to use them. Pastor has a sermon each year about understanding and he talks about understanding all the time because it’s one thing to hear or read something but it's quite another to understand what you heard, read, or saw. If you didn't understand it's important to ask questions or study until you do understand because it doesn't do you are anybody else any good if you don't understand how to use what you heard, read, or saw.

It is also very significant that the Holy Spirit chose today as the Sunday for this teaching because this is Pentecost Sunday. 

Pentecost Sunday marks the day most Christians believe the Holy Spirit descended on the followers of Jesus after his death, resurrection and ascension.

Acts 2:1-4 NIV When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

The Apostle Peter stood up and preached his first sermon that day so many Christians think of this day as the “birthday” of the church.  Some believe the first Pentecost gave all followers of Jesus “the gifts of the Spirit”.  Pentecost is the Church’s celebration of the Gift of the Holy Spirit. God’s Holy Spirit empowers us with the love of God, the motivation to obey Him and a sound mind to discern the truth

So today this Pentecost Sunday, I’m going to remind you of how important it is for you to use the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given you.  I’m going to remind you of all of them but only emphasize a few of them. 

Let's first go to

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;

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.

Here’s the full list:
Spiritual Gifts
         Speaking in Tongues
         Interpretation of Tongues
         Word of Wisdom
         Word of Knowledge
         Discerning of Spirits

Most Bible scholars classify spiritual gifts into three categories: ministry gifts, manifestation gifts, and motivational gifts. 
The ministry gifts serve to reveal the plan of God. They are characteristic of a full-time office or calling.   Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher
The manifestation gifts serve to reveal the power of God. These gifts are supernatural in nature.  Prophecy, Speaking in Tongues, Interpretation of Tongues, Faith, Healing, Miracles, Word of Wisdom, Word of Knowledge, Discerning of Spirits.
The motivational gifts serve to reveal the personality of God. They are; Prophecy, Teaching, Giving, Exhortation/Encouragement, Administration/Leadership, Mercy, and Ministering/Serving/Helps.
The Holy Spirit made it clear pretty quickly which ones I was to emphasize today.  The ones I’m going to talk about today are those that are described as the Motivational Gifts.  These are the gifts that show the personality of God.

First some general background and most of you will remember this.

Each Christian has been given at least one spiritual gift. This gift or gifts gives you a supernatural ability to make a significant contribution to other believers.  If you use your gift in love, the church will accomplish what God intends for it to do, and that is to show the world His plan of salvation for all people regardless of race, position, status, poverty, or wealth. 

Now the gifts differ, but have these things in common.

(1) Each is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit's presence.

(2) Each is "for the common good," not just the person with the gift and,

(3) It is the Holy Spirit decision period. 

We also have to talk, quickly, about the difference between a spiritual gift and a talent.   We often confuse talents with spiritual gifts.  They are both God given and can both be used to bless others and the church but, they are different.

 A talent is the result of genetics and/or training, while a spiritual gift is the result of the power of the Holy Spirit.

A talent can be possessed by anyone, Christian or non-Christian, while spiritual gifts are only possessed by Christians.
If you work hard and train you can improve your talents.  While you can better use your spiritual gifts there is nothing you can do to improve it.  If you have the spiritual gift of teaching you can improve your presentation but unlike the talent for teaching which only imparts knowledge, the spiritual gift can result in deliverance or salvation. 

I want to repeat that Spiritual Gifts are for the common good to build up the Body of Christ.   Because God loves and blesses us these gifts can help us in our secular lives but they are specifically given to edify the Body.

I have the spiritual gift of teaching so I can be effective in leading a seminar or training class anywhere, in addition to using it to lead Bible Study in the Church.

The ministry and manifestation gifts are the exciting gifts.  The ones that we all wish that we had and sometimes think we have but don’t.  They are the gifts that cause people to gasp when they see them in operation. 
People with ministry gifts and the offices of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, or Teacher are able to keep us spellbound by their knowledge of the Word and their ability to explain it and get us excited. 
The manifestation gifts are the ones that we really want because they visibly exhibit the supernatural; speaking in tongues, interpreting tongues, healing the sick, miracles, word of wisdom, word of knowledge, and discerning spirits.  These gifts have the WOW factor.  Things that people go home and talk about.
Well I want to talk about gifts that, in my opinion, are the ones that are most needed by the church and those are the motivational gifts. That’s not to minimize any gift.  No one gift is more important than another and they are all needed because we are all one body.  
 1 Corinthians 12:12 NIV Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.

The motivational gifts are the ones most needed by those of us sitting in the pews every Sunday and they are the gifts that many of you probably have and are not using.  I talked about these gifts last year but I’m not sure that everybody got it so I’m gonna talk about the motivational gifts again today.

 Motivational Gifts

Again the motivational gifts serve to reveal the personality of God, and we know God is love.
1 John 4:7 (NLT2)7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.
These gifts are Prophecy, Teaching, Giving, Exhortation/Encouragement,  Administration/Leadership, Mercy and Ministering/Serving/Helps.
These are the gifts that shape our personalities.
This is probably the category of gifts that Peter was referring to when he said
1 Peter 4:10 (NKJV) As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Let’s take a look at these motivational gifts.


I am talking about the gift of prophecy not the spiritual office of a Prophet.

Prophecy is speaking the word of God that he gives for edification it is not fortune telling. It’s the divine enablement to proclaim God's truth with power and clarity in a timely and culturally sensitive fashion for correction, repentance, or edification.

Those with this gift are sensitive to both the prompting of the Holy Spirit and the needs of the church body.  They should be humble and continually study the Scriptures in order to test these revelations before speaking them.  When they do speak, they should allow and even expect others to weigh what is said against the Scriptures and interpret the message accordingly

Characteristics: The focus is on correcting behavior and applying biblical truth to culturally sensitive issues. These people identify and try to correct deception and sin. They often seem blunt and opinionated. Generally they can cause one to be uncomfortable. The results of this gift cause strengthening, correction, encouragement, and ultimately comfort.

Where can a person with the gift of prophecy work in the church?

         Lead in prayer
         Teaching Leader
          Vision Setting team
         Devotion Leader

A word of caution to those with this gift.  These people can lack compassion and may not keep love, unity, and the building up of others as their goal. This can lead to discouragement and disharmony. That’s why it's important that God also gave some the gift of another motivational gift mercy. 


The divine enablement to minister cheerfully and appropriately to people who are suffering.  Mercy is what we express when we are led by God to be compassionate in our attitudes, words, and actions. It is more than feeling sympathy toward someone. The desire of someone with this is to answer the immediate needs of others and alleviate suffering, loneliness, and grief. Mercy addresses physical, emotional, financial, or spiritual crises with generous, self-sacrificial service.

People with this gift aren't just sympathetic, but they take action to alleviate the suffering.  They often find themselves focused around social issues and they develop ministries along those lines (i.e. the homeless, sick, those in prison, single mothers, the poor, etc.). They reflect the heart and compassion of God.  A person with the gift of mercy helps to balance the prophet.

A word of caution to these people.  Some pain and suffering is allowed and used by God as a tool to teach and correct behavior. The person with the gift of mercy needs to be aware of when God does not want the pain immediately removed, and when rescuing someone actually may perpetuate the problems in that person's life.

The Good Samaritan is an example of someone with the spiritual gift of mercy and we all know that story.

Jesus is an obvious example of someone with the gift of mercy.

In what is called the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5-7

 Matthew 5:7 (NKJV) Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.

Where can a person with the gift of mercy work in the church?

     Hospital/Shut-In visitation;
     Nursery worker;
     Homeless ministry;
     Food pantry worker;

There is another caution about prophecy that I need to mention.

There is New Testament evidence which indicates that future foretelling may accompany this gift, but we need to exercise caution to be certain that the prophecy is from God and not use of the tactics of fortune tellers (like Miss Cleo), which is an abomination, used to dupe people and give them false hope or fear.

1 John 4:1-3 (NKJV)1  Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.2  By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,3  and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

One way is to test what you heard is by confirming it with scripture.  If you can't do that then find someone with the spiritual gift of the discernment which is the divine ability to sense the presence of spiritual forces and distinguish between truth and error.

I can't talk about it today but these people have a keen sense of what is right and what is wrong "spiritually speaking". They are able to distinguish truth from error.  

The next motivational gift is



The divine enablement to understand, clearly explain, and apply the Word of God to the lives of listeners.   To instruct others in the Bible in a logical, systematic way so as to communicate pertinent information for true understanding and growth


The Teacher explains what the Prophet proclaims.


The teacher is a good communicator. This person has a thirst for knowledge and loves to learn. They are generally self-disciplined and usually prefer to teach groups, more than one on one. Gifted teachers do not just teach Bible knowledge and doctrine, but when they explain God's truth, people can be and are set free of sin, natural limitations, depression, fear, and anxiety. 


A naturally gifted or talented teacher may be able to explain to people why they sin and what the Bible has to say about the sin, but a teacher who is spiritually gifted releases the Holy Spirit's power through the gift to set the other person free.


A caution to the person with this gift is that they may struggle to keep things simple. They can be too profound, theological, and even esoteric. This can result in a sense of superiority and the teacher can becomes unteachable. They can also get frustrated when others don't get it and can't keep up the pace for knowledge and insight. Teachers are often good communicators and lousy listeners.


2 Timothy 2:1-2 (NKJV)1  You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.2  And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Where can this person serve?

         Bible study group
         Discipleship (esp. small group)
         New-converts or new-members class teacher
         Adult Teaching Leader
         Small Group Leader
         Youth/Children’s Teacher
         Education Committee


The divine enablement and ability to contribute money and material resources to the work of the Lord with cheerfulness and liberality.  Givers take special delight in discovering needs that others overlook and then meeting those needs.

Having a lot of resources is not necessarily evidence of this gift. These people give generously, freely, and joyfully. They don't just give money, but they are free with all of their possessions. They are not always the "rich" among us but they are often given the talent for making money and increasing wealth even though they have no interest in possessions. They give above and beyond their normal tithe in order to support Christ's Church. They see themselves as caretakers and stewards of their resources and they usually prefer anonymity when they give.

A word of caution to these people.   They can think that giving should give them respect and a place of leadership in the church. They can make the error of replacing serving with giving. Another caution is that those with this gift can see themselves as the ultimate authority, deciding through their giving which ministries are worthy to fund and which will die of financial neglect, rather than leave those decisions to the Holy Spirit through God's appointed leaders, pastors, and ministers.

The early believers are examples.

Acts 4:34-35 (NKJV)34  Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold,35  and laid them at the apostles' feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.

How can this gift be used?

         Financial assistance
         Transportation to services/doctors/store
         Support Missionaries
         Fund Raising




The divine enablement to reassure, strengthen and affirm those around you.  The gift of exhortation is often called the “gift of encouragement.”   The goal of the encourager is to see everyone in the church continually building up the body of Christ and glorifying God.


This person is an exhorter which means to urge by strong, often stirring argument, admonition, advice, or appeal.  The Greek words for exhorter come from the same root word as paraclete, which is the word used to describe the Holy Spirit. The encourager regularly helps others to apply God's word to their lives in a productive fashion. They are expressive about God's will being attainable and their goal is to motivate, comfort, and challenge.


But they need to make sure that they don't become a "yes man or woman" and they may not be good at confrontation when it is needed. Their optimism may not take into account when some issues need the "prophet's challenge" in order to be corrected.


Barnabas is an example of someone with this gift.


Acts 4:36-37 (NKJV)36  And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus,37  having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet. 

2 Timothy 4:2 (NKJV)2  Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.


         Children’s Ministry
         Visitation to sick or shut-in
         Prayer ministry
         Music ministry


The divine enablement to understand what makes an organization function, and the special ability to plan, execute, and achieve procedures that increase the church's organizational effectiveness. The divine enablement to attract, lead, and motivate people to accomplish the work of ministry. 

The administrator loves to organize, strategize, and systematize things so as to make them run more smoothly, efficiently, and effectively. They are experts at knowing how something works or functions. They are constant improvers of the system and can tell others how to get something done or get from point A to point B. They are great trouble shooters and anticipators of problems.  The good ones are team players and delegators who take the initiative when others do not make decisions. They are natural leaders who can point out the direction and course that others will follow. They dream big. Credibility and respect need to be built up before an individual can truly exercise this gift.

They can become so focused on the tasks, charts, and graphs that they lose sight of the people. They may be too "black and white" in their approach to issues and problems. They can tend to lack flexibility and depend on systems and strategies more than the Holy Spirit to get things done. They have the potential of losing sight of the individual and only seeing the "mass" or "the crowd".  This gift needs to be supportive of apostles, prophets, and teachers.

They can have the potential of becoming overconfident and perhaps demeaning of other gifts. Good leaders must surround themselves with people who have the gift of helps

Scripture Example

     Planning teams;
     Ministry Coordinator;
     Organizer of special events;
     Small Group Leader;
     Board/Committee Chairperson;
     Teaching Leader;
     Youth/Children’s Leader


The divine enablement to attach spiritual value to the accomplishment of physical tasks within the Body of Christ. The special anointing by which one stands alongside and serves, in a very personal way, those leading the Church. The helper knows personally how to serve their needs and can sometime speak with authority on behalf their behalf.  The Holy Spirit endows some believers with this gift to fill the many gaps of ministry and meet the needs of the church as it fulfills the Great Commission.  The goal is to energize the church and free up others to use their gifts to the fullest. 

These people are absolutely essential to the life of the church. They are the ones who flow to the obvious needs automatically. They don't need a lot recognition, just appreciation. They are the ultimate team players of Christ's church. They focus more on the impact of people and not on the finished physical product.

They can devalue their contribution to the Lord's work, and they may not see their abilities as being a spiritual gift, given by the Holy Spirit. They too, can get frustrated doing their ministry and they may fall into the trap of saying "I just let My light shine for Jesus", when we are all called to speak up as His witnesses and ministers at some point and time.

Scripture Example:

Acts 6:1-7 (NKJV)1  Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.2  Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables.3  Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business;4  but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word."5  And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch,6  whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.7  Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.

1 Corinthians 16:16-18 (NKJV)16  that you also submit to such, and to everyone who works and labors with us.17  I am glad about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, for what was lacking on your part they supplied.18  For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.

     Building maintenance
     Office helper;
     Teacher’s aid;
     Information Center Host


This gift is not mentioned in any of Paul’s lists.  Peter mentions it in 1 Peter 4:9

1 Peter 4:9 NIV Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Many theologians include it as a spiritual gift so I am including it. 

The spiritual gift of hospitality is the divine enablement to share with others our home, our lives, our personal space and resources without any expectation of return.

Characteristics: These folks desire to make others feel comfortable, important, and accepted.  They tend to gravitate to those who stand alone. They are generally friendly, warm, caring individuals who regularly have a "come-on-in-and-relax" attitude. They generally make time to be available and are not just into entertaining, but rather, showing genuine care and concern for others. The gift of hospitality differs from that of mercy in that this gift opens up the home and provides warmth and comfort by bringing others in. Whereas, mercy takes care and concern outside to others.

These people may not see their gift as "real" or "spiritual". This gift can also provide stress in family relationships where the gift is not shared or understood by other family members. Ground rules need to be established with the exercise of the gift.

Scripture Example

Hebrews 13:1-2 (NKJV)1  Let brotherly love continue.2  Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.

Romans 16:23 (NKJV)  Gaius, my host and the host of the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets you, and Quartus, a brother.

How can you use this gift?

     Small Group Host;
     Banquet Server;
     New Member Sponsor;
     Fellowship events;
     Coffee hour host;

Identify Your Spiritual Gift(s)

If you don't know your spiritual gift I encourage you to identify it's needed in the church.  There is a link to a Spiritual Gifts Inventory on the Spiritual Gifts page that will help you identify your gift(s).  If you are sitting on your gift then our congregation is missing it like the body missing a finger.  It can’t function at the optimal level without that finger as small and insignificant as you might think it is it still keeps the body from functioning as God would have it.  


These are the motivational gifts but it doesn’t stop there.  Remember that I said something earlier about talents and the other special abilities that we have through our genetics, or resources that God has blessed us with. 

Let's call these Life Gifts

In order to really perform the purpose that God has for you the place that you play in God’s plan there are three promises that you must claim. 

1. In addition to your spiritual gift which only you can give there are some other things that you have in your possession you have —a resource, a talent, an asset, a gift—ready to be given. You are blessed. You can be a blessing.

2. Someone has a need only you can meet. There is a problem, an issue, a hurt, a wound somewhere in the world that only you can heal, no matter how inadequate you may feel.

3. Joy is the journey where the gift and the need collide. Your inner satisfaction, your ultimate fulfillment, your life purpose, your true happiness will never be fully unlocked until your unique gift and the world’s unique need come together.

Your Life Gift might be a skill you have developed or expert knowledge you have gained. The gifts God uses are more than just financial or material resources.  It might be time that is on your hands. It could be the gift of your smile or a few encouraging words. It might simply be the gift of your presence.

What your gift is doesn’t matter so much as having that spirit that says, like Peter in

Acts 3:6 (NLT2)6  But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”

You may not have the spiritual gift of healing but you have something, if it’s just a smile, a word of encouragement, a few minutes to pray with them.  You have something.

 So how can you discover your Life Gift? How do you find the little bit of extra that you have to share?

A good place to start is to take inventory. As the song says, “Count your blessings, name them one by one; count your many blessings, see what God has done!”

Like the desperate widow, in 2 Kings chapter 4 who only had a jar of oil but with starting with that one jar was able to get enough oil to sell and pay off all her creditors, take a take a look around you. 

Can you share a meal with someone? How about a conversation over a cup of coffee or tea.  How about some of those clothes or shoes you never wear because you've gained or lost weight you bought them and have only worn them once or maybe never.  If you have or had children how about those toys they got disinterested in but are still almost new.  Could God be calling you to babe a foster parent or even adopting a child. How about those extra blankets or coats or socks. How about being a mentor for a young boy or girl. How about volunteering somewhere other than church.

You might not see what your Life Gift is right away and that’s okay. Just keep your eyes open. When you approach the world with a readiness to hear from God—an openness to the voice of the Holy Spirit—eventually God will speak to you.

Your life can be transformed from ordinary to an extraordinary adventure.

Spiritual and life gifts without love don’t accomplish God's intended purpose

When Paul wrote to the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians he was writing to a church where all the spiritual gifts were in operation. God had given them for the edification of the body and each of them, but they were misusing them, they were abusing each other, they thought one gift was superior to another, they were puffed up with knowledge, so what did he say?

1 Corinthians 12:29- 13:3 (NKJV)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  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.

Let me close with this:

A believer is accountable only to say yes to God's call. The Lord is the one that equips for the work He's assigned. A personal plan has been mapped for each believer's life, and God provides the personality and temperament to accomplish that plan. Then He adds talents and skills that can be developed and the spiritual gifts necessary to fulfill His mission.

Don’t think of your calling only in terms of “spiritual” gifts. We sometimes limit our thinking by putting clear lines between what is spiritual and what isn’t. We tend to think of our God-given gifts only as those things that might contribute to a church worship service, such as preaching, singing, Children’s Church, or greeting visitors when they come into the church, but if that’s the beginning and end of where we think God can use us, we’re missing the point.

What we do together on Sunday mornings as we encounter God’s presence in worship is meant to equip us to carry that presence out into the world all week long. Your Life Gift is just as likely to include sitting in the cancer ward as singing in the choir; just as likely to happen in the local middle school as in a Sunday school. If you can neatly package up your gift in an hour or two a week, I can safely say that’s not your calling.

God makes His call with wisdom and discernment. He knows why He created you and what you're capable of accomplishing in His strength.

Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)10  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Rejecting the invitation to serve Him is foolish. It would be like telling almighty God that He made a mistake. But surrender opens the door to a lifetime of service, blessing, and joy!

Earlier I mentioned God’s plan for salvation.  Here it is;

God’s plan of salvation is that you first acknowledge that we all sin,

Romans 5:12 (NLT2)  When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.

Second that you acknowledge that the penalty for sin is death,

Romans 6:23a (NLT2)23  For the wages of sin is death,

Third that you acknowledge that Jesus paid the penalty for your sin,

Romans 6:23b (NLT2) but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5:8 (NLT2)8  But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

After acknowledging those things do this;

Romans 10:9-10 (NLT2)9  If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.10  For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.

Sermon Audio