Life Together – Part 6
Gifted to Give – Ephesians 4:7-8
Crosspoint – Dave Spooner – Oct. 17th, 2021
- Christ in His goodness and grace has given gifts to His family, the church. These gifts of grace are given to each one just as He chooses. Each one of us has both the responsibility and privilege to use these gifts to build the body of Christ and accomplish the will of God in the world. We are to thank Him for His gifts and then engage with the work He is doing by utilizing what He has given to benefit others and honor the giver of the gifts.
- Your faith will be built up when you see God at work through you. There is a deep sense of satisfaction when you do so, and others benefit from the grace of God working through you. When we use these gifts with enthusiasm motivated by love, God’s grace, wisdom, and glory are seen through us. When the body is functioning well, we are a powerful and transformational force on the earth that impacts and alters eternity.
- Again, this morning, we will look to gain a better understanding of what these gifts are about and what our part is in their engagement on the earth. We could spend weeks and weeks on the subject of spiritual gifts. To give a thorough treatment, it would best be done in a class, but for our purposes in this series of life together, my goal is to give you a general understanding so you have a good foundation to build upon and explore further.
- Our jumping-off point to talk about the gifts is in our primary text, Ephesians chapter four. First, let’s look back at our verses from last week.
Eph 4:7-8 ESV
But grace was given – to each one of us – according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high, he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”
- So, what is clear from this passage is that Christ gave gifts to humankind when He triumphed over sin, death, and the devil through His perfect life, atoning death, and victorious resurrection. Then, when it was time for Him to go as a victorious warrior, He led a host of captives. As a glorious king, He gave gifts to men so that we would be equipped to continue and overcome in His name, and to continue His mission and ministry in all places and all ages.
- He gave these gifts because of His grace. He gave these gifts to each one of us. He gave these gifts as He chose to do so. And we are told to use these gifts because we love both God and His creation.
Understand that there are a variety of gifts
- The New Testament lists specific spiritual gifts and roles in five different passages:
|1 Cor. 12:28||1 Cor. 12:8-10||Eph. 4:11||Rom. 12:6-8||1 Peter 4:11|
|Apostle (1)||Word of wisdom (9)||Apostle||Prophecy||Whoever speaks|
|Prophet (2)||Word of knowledge (10)||Prophet||Serving (16)||Whoever serves|
|Teacher (3)||Faith (11)||Evangelist (14)||Teaching|
|Miracles (4)||Gifts of healing||Pastor (15)||Encouraging (17)|
|Kinds of healings (5)||Miracles||Teacher||Giving (18)|
|Helps (6)||Prophecy||Leadership (19)|
|Administration (7)||Distinguishing between spirits (12)||Mercy (20)|
|Interpretation of tongues (13)|
- This list may not be exhaustive, but it is comprehensive. These gifts are given to build up the body of Christ and to advance the kingdom of God. We may ask for various gifts (1 Cor. 12:31), and they may be imparted (2 Tim. 1:6, Acts 8:18), but they are given by Christ as He chooses in the measure He chooses (Eph. 4:7, 1 Cor. 12:18).
Understand that gifts are not talents
- Spiritual gifts are not talents, even though they can be expressed through talents and applied to specific situations and circumstances. Spiritual gifts require spiritual life to function. Unlike talents, nothing happens without the Spirit’s breath. When we confuse these, we lose the sense of the supernatural because all people have talents. For example, here is a list of some of the gifts and some talents.
|Administration||Singing / Musical Ability|
- You can have a Spirit-empowered gift coupled with a talent and applied in a variety of ways. There are virtually endless combinations and possibilities. We have a responsibility to think about how we are gifted and wired, where we are to develop and utilized these gifts. To help you to think through these things, ask these questions:
- What is it that you do when you can sense God working?
- What would others say is your spiritual gift?
- How can you develop these gifts, and where can you apply them?
- Here are some additional resources that may be helpful:
Understand that you are responsible to use your gifts
Rom 12:6-8 NIV
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
- Each of us has been given different gifts according to God’s grace. We are to use them – and this is not kindly asking us to do so. He commands that we do so. If you don’t, everyone loses, and everyone suffers loss.
Rom 12:9-11 NLT
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.
- Don’t pretend to love others; really love them, and if you don’t, ask God to change your heart and give you His heart for them. Hate what is wrong – be emotionally invested. Hang on to what is good and let what is not good fade away. Love with genuine affection (we do this by giving of ourselves in using our gifts). Make it your delight to honor other people, not bring them down.
- Don’t be lazy . . . work hard! Using our gifts requires us to work hard and serve the Lord—in honor to of Him, in obedience to Him, for love of Him—and to do so not grudgingly, but enthusiastically, thankful that we have the opportunity to serve Him.
1 Peter 4:10-11 NIV
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
- Each of us should use whatever gift we have received to serve others. We are to be faithful stewards of the grace that God has given (whatever the form). So if you speak, have courage and confidence. Speak as one who speaks the very words of God. And if you serve, however you serve, do it with strength that is beyond yourself, because it will take strength, and God will provide you the strength that is needed.
- We do these things so that God will be praised through His Son Jesus Christ. Let Him be seen in us so that He will be seen for who He is through what He does. He is the one who has all power, and He is forever and ever.
Conclusion and Communion
- Understand that the grace of God has gifted you. He has given you a gift, and He expects you to use it. No one benefits if you bury your gifts in the sand because of fear, lack of faith, or just sheer laziness or lame excuses. We are responsible to God to use His grace for His purposes.
- While you still have breath in the lungs of this body, take this seriously. Have a conversation with God. Have a conversation with loved ones. Have a conversation with yourself, and engage. He is building His church. He is changing the world. He is working in the great adventure. Join Him in what He is doing because He is the author and finisher of our faith. He is moving; move with Him. Love what He loves, do what He does, go where He goes, all in His power, in His grace, and for His fame.
- Communion and prayer