1 Cor 12:4-7 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
Varieties of Gifts – Spirit-given ability
Varieties of Ministries – opportunity to use our gifts
Varieties of Effects – what God accomplishes through our service
Your gift applied in a ministry opportunity produces multiple effects. Those effects are the privilege of seeing God at work through your life.
First Misunderstanding: downplaying the importance of the gifts.
Second Misunderstanding: limiting our service to what we believe is our gift.
Third Misunderstanding: making the gifts about us instead of about God and His intentions.
A wise person values not so much the gift of the lover as the love of the giver. -Thomas A Kempis.
Rom 12:3-8 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. [Leveling the playing field] For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of
his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches,
in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he
who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy,
The Gifts come from God’s GRACE.
The Context within which the gift is Exercised is FAITH.
Because of the Gift we are Capable for whatever God wants to accomplish through us.
Paul wasn’t just a brilliant and well-educated man. He was gifted. Much more was packaged in God’s statement: My Grace is sufficient for you. To make Paul sufficient, Paul would need equipment to service God he didn’t naturally have. That equipment came from God’s Grace. They are Grace Gifts. They were given out of God’s desire to use Paul for His purposes. Gifts are God pouring His grace in and through us.
Grace is God doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves:
1. Granting the righteousness necessary to have a relationship with Him.
2. Equipping us to serve Him as He chooses to be served.
GRACE: God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense
All we are all containers from which God’s riches can be dispensed.
Remember the wedding feast in Cana? The host ran out of wine. In a culture steeped in hospitality, to run out of wine was a family disgrace. Jesus stepped in and had men fill some pots with water. He had the head-waiter draw some out and it was seasoned wine. The moment was saved.
What about the pots? Anybody care about them? A miracle was performed inside them. And nobody is celebrating? You’d think someone could have put them in a room and sold tickets for people to come and see the pots in which water was turned to wine. They would be famous.
They were just pots that were available for Jesus to use. The miracle wasn’t about them. They were merely the containers from which the wine was dispensed.
2 Cor 4:7 We have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;
We are containers from which God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense, can be ladled out to others.
The wine wasn’t about the pots. The gifts aren’t about us. It’s all about Him.
A famous pastor once taught if you want a gift you don’t seem to have, ask God for it. No! Ask for opportunity to serve and God will gift you with what you need to be able to do so.
Ron Dunn's parable: once there was a body where the eyes convinced all the other parts of the body that the gift of SIGHT was the only important gift. They admitted that there were other gifts, but they ranked all of them below SIGHT. They wanted all of those in leadership positions within the body to have SIGHT as they did. They insisted that if all the other body parts and organs were spiritual enough and asked God enough, they could have the gift of SIGHT, too. They scheduled prayer meetings for the other organs and body parts to pray through for SIGHT. They scheduled training courses on "Learning to See."
Now in that same body, there were some toes which had low self-esteem. They didn't understand that God had given them the gift of STABILITY. They didn't understand that even though they were often hidden and were never given any praise, God had called them to the vital ministry of BALANCE. They felt guilty that their gift couldn't do more. They felt like they weren't spiritual enough. So, they prayed and prayed, begging God to give them the gift of SIGHT. To prove His point, God gave the toes sight. And do you know what they saw? They saw the inside of a sock.
The gifts are not about us. They are God’s tools to help Him accomplish His work. It’s not the tools of the mechanic that get the praise for fixing your car. It’s the mechanic.
Rom 12:6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly:
1 Pet 4:10-11 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
John 16:13-14 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me,
1Co 14:12 So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.
You want me to tell you what your gift is? It is the ability to do whatever the moment demands to lift up Jesus and build up or strengthen the church and touch a life.
Your gift is not a skill, a talent or a personality trait. It isn’t something you were born with or learned how to do. It’s an ability God gives you to accomplish ministry that draws people to Jesus.
Singing is my gift. All I want to do is sing. No. Singing isn’t a gift it’s a talent. Your gift is how God uses that talent to glorify Jesus and edify the church and touch a life.
Writing is my gift. All I want to do is write. No. Writing isn’t a gift it’s a skill. Your gift is when God uses that skill to glorify Jesus and edify the church and touch a life.
I’m a people person. That’s my gift. No, that’s a personality trait. Your gift comes in when God uses your personality to glorify Jesus and edify the church and touch a life.
TEST: Is there an area of ministry that speaks to you? Children, Missions, Greeting, Teaching, Sewing, Evangelism, Hospitality.
What type of service draws you? Organizing, leading, helping, hosting, sharing
What are you doing when you find the greatest fulfillment? Encouraging, comforting, serving, solving problems.
What do you do, that doing so, lets you sense God is working through your life? That verse just popped into my head, I actually got through to him about his problems, I saw God’s love come out of me and touch her.
When we focus on Him and make ourselves available, He takes our availability and uses us however He chooses.
Ability is not the requirement, availability is. When we’re available He makes us able.
We don’t need to focus on specific gifts. God will provide the right gift at the right time.
Jesus laid this out to His disciples: Luke 12:11 When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say."
Pastor John Ortberg told about walking with some friends past one of the local bars just as a fight spilled out onto the street. As they watched, three men proceeded to beat up a single opponent. Realizing they had to do something, Ortberg began to warn the men to break it up. Suddenly the thugs looked up with fear in their eyes, let their victim go and turned to walk away. At that point he noticed the men had actually been looking over his shoulder at a 6 foot 7, 250-pound bouncer, standing there with muscles bulging, looking as if he hoped they would try to take him on. Ortberg’s attitude was transformed. He was released from anxiety and fear and was filled with boldness and confidence. “You’d better not let us catch you hanging around here again!” he called out after the fleeing thugs. And why? Because he realized that he was not alone. The bouncer was standing beside him putting the power into his words.
- The Power of God lives within you.
- That Power enables you to accomplish what God wants from you.
- Trust Him and obey what God shows you to do.
- If you are available, He will make you able.