GAME CHANGING TRUTH |
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
1 Corinthians 12:7
...each according to the measure of faith God has assigned.
But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift.
Ephesians 4: 7
THOUGHT IN A SENTENCE |
God has equipped every believer with spiritual endowments for kingdom service.
That a manifestation of the Spirit has been given to every believer is one of the most emphatic elements of the three verses in the GAME CHANGING TRUTH today. In all three instances the Apostle Paul was vividly clear in selecting the term hekastos, meaning each or every, as a definitive of God's distribution of spiritual endowments to believers. Once again, in the mystery of his ways, God has chosen to live in people like us, and commission us to represent him in our world. What is more, he has prepared us to be his ambassadors or representatives for this kingdom assignment. "Christ in you" (see Colossians 1:27 and blog on Tuesday) is the first level of this preparation. His giftedness for mission is the second.
Pause right here. If you have not taken a spiritual gifts survey you can do so right here. This link will take you to the LifeWay Christian Resources site and give you the opportunity to experience their Spiritual Gifts Survey. Please note that none of these measuring instruments are infallible and are based on your responses to the questions posed. The outcomes can be shaped by your responses and a certain amount of projection we bring into any question and answer process. However, in thirty-eight years of pastoral ministry this survey, and it's predecessors, has been very useful in helping believers discover their spiritual gifts. There are a number of books and articles on spiritual gifts too. I recommend the article by Gene Wilkes, also on the LifeWay site. Please also note that the gifts of healings, miracles, and speaking in tongues are not listed in the gift list of this site. This inventory measures only the gifts that edify or nourish the entire body. ____________________________________________________________________________________________
There are a couple of side-bars that should be mentioned---
1. Spiritual gifts are intended for the common good. This means they are
activated for kingdom service in ways that will benefit the kingdom.
2. Spiritual gifts are manifestations of the Holy Spirit. They are not inanimate or
impersonal. They are how the Holy Spirit is revealed in you.
3. None of us has all the spiritual gifts. Each of the GAME CHANGING TRUTH
Scriptures amplify our need for one another in applying the gifts to mission.
4. Every spiritual gift is indispensable in the functioning of the body. None is more
important that the others.
5. Use of our spiritual gifts unifies the body and matures believers so that his
church can grow up in every way into Christ, the head of the church.
Incredibly, I meet many believers today who have never heard about or been taught about spiritual gifts, and therefore cannot identify where they fit into kingdom service. What is worse, many pastors cannot recite the ways God has prepared them for mission. Because there is some debate among evangelicals about the cessation or continuance of spiritual gifts, many are reluctant to affirm their presence and educate themselves or their congregants in doctrinal study involving spiritual gifts. This is a serious error. Spiritual leaders must be prepared to debate the issues and teach the Scriptural material on spiritual gifts so that church people can know their place in fulfilling God's commission to the church.
Young Timothy's gifts were confirmed by a presbytery of elders. Whether they were spiritual gifts identified in the Roman, Corinthian, or Ephesian correspondence is another matter of debate. Some believe the elders, Paul included, bestowed special gifting and authority to Timothy. In either case, Paul wrote to Timothy about the gift. He wrote, "Do not neglect the gift you have..." (1 Timothy 4:14, ESV) and later, "I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God..." (2 Timothy 1:6, ESV). In each instance Paul was reminding Timothy of God's endowments for ministry and the need to be aware of them, and keep them alive in kingdom service.
It's a popular theme these days, the differences in being a follower or merely a fan, one on the sidelines or one is the game, and other interesting and loosely connected metaphors. But, they all highlight an important spiritual truth: we are all called to this kingdom enterprise, and he has given us all we need for it. In his first Epistle, Simon Peter added a note of assurance and confidence about the gifting of God's people. He evidently wanted his readers to know the limits of even these gifts bestowed by God. He reminded us that God is the central truth of our gifting. It's good to keep that in perspective.
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied
grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who
serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified
through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:10-11, ESV
So, Christ lives in his disciples. And, we are gifted for Kingdom service. It's another element of "your package": how God prepared you to serve.