The Gifts

If Paul were alive today he may have said things in a different way to explain the gifts to the church. The gifts of the Spirit are not clearly understood and it is difficult to describe them without seeing them in practice. In the beginning stages of the church the more powerful gifts played an important role in presenting the message from those gifted by God. These gifts were given to men as God determined for reasons still unknown. Through the gifts, Christ enabled men who were available to serve God to bless man and bring glory to the Father.

When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. Acts 8:6

God knows that the peer pressure is so prevalent in the world that it will force men to live in sin. The natural instinct of man contributes to the corruption in the world and speaks abusively about things it does not understand. However, with the knowledge of God comes a healthy respect for the name of God and reveals the one the old man once cursed - is the one who died to save you from utter destruction.

God gives special endowments to his children that help them to take the message of salvation to the world. The Spirit of God empowers you from on high to proclaim that Jesus is Lord as his gifts add creditability to his message. The gifts of God come at the appropriate time so that everyone can benefit the most from them. The children of God are the witnesses used by God, but they are not the source of the gift only the person the gift comes through.

Godís greatest gift to mankind was his son and our Savior, Jesus Christ. Our Savior became flesh to endure the same race we are running as a man. His human form gave Jesus Christ the experience to empower his role as High Priest of the New Covenant.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we areóyet he did not sin. Hebrews 4:14-16

God is not partial in that he empowered his son to live a sinless life. All of his sons have been empowered to live sinless lives as well. The strength of Godís Spirit makes it possible for all of his sons to live a Christ-like life that convicts the world of sin.

God gives his Spirit without limit so the Christian can have a life of power. According to his grace - God has given each of his children at least one ministerial gift. That gift will vary with the task and the specific ministry you are involved in. Most of the gifts are not spectacular in nature but practical to enable you to do a specific line of work. These gifts may look as normal talents that God has blessed men with. Though the gifts from God differ, those gifts come from the same source. However, you have the same Lord even though your ministry (calling) differs from your brothers in Christ. The gifts are only a sign, but it is more important that you maintain a working relationship with God.

Some are called by God to be an evangelist, others as teachers and some as janitors but each person is called to carry Godís message to the world. Christianís are ambassadors of Christ and called to take the message of the death and resurrection of Christ to the world. Saving them or making them believe the message is not your job, but taking the message to the lost is. God gives us his Spirit and spiritual gifts to work with you in building his kingdom.

There are a wide variety gifts, ministries, and tasks that need to be done to build the kingdom of God. However, God coordinates and harmonizes his gift with the ministry and tasks. The more elaborate gifts of the Spirit are wisdom, faith, healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, speaking in different kinds of tongues, and interpretation of tongues. There are other gifts such as helps, hospitality, serving others, giving, and administration to name a few. If you have access to more than one of these gifts feel fortunate because the gifts are given according to Gods wisdom. Most of the gifts do not have glory written in them and do not have a unique power of their own, but when you allow God to use for his glory, people listen. God determines whom the gifts are given to and distributes them within his church where they are needed. To be of service to God within his calling you must keep your spiritual eyes open to what God is doing and to be available. Being available is not a gift that God gives, but it does mean that you are available when Jesus is using you to glorify his father. Allowing God to use you for his glory is a spiritual act of worship.

In the overall picture, Christians become a part of the body of Christ and a member of Gods family when they are born again. Godís family is growing. However, as humans we seldom cross the denominational lines or help those within the church when you don't agree their ministry. Human lives are the instrument God uses to save the lost. Your hands need to be used to serve God, your eyes need to see the needs of God and our mouth needs to carry the message of God to the world. You are the body of Christ and body should follow Christ as he ministers to the world.

The Bible says that a single body part can not deny its relation and purpose with the body because the body would be incomplete. Any part of the body that refuses to do its function would create a heavier burden on the rest of the body and may cause the rest of the body to cease functioning. Christians who refuse to cross the denominational lines deny the relation that the other church is as much a part of the body of Christ as the one you attend. Crossing the denominational line is not a gift from God, but it shows the love of God at work in the body of Christ. However, refusing to work with another denomination creates a heavier burden on the church as a whole. Jesus told us about them

I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. John 10:16

The idea is that God has sheep scattered around the world and he has sheep pens across the street, with another four blocks away. The number of sheep that are in the body of Christ is staggering, yet God wants each of his sheep to work as one flock, as if one lamb - with one purpose and one goal.

"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John 17:20-21

At times, I feel that the church prefers to display its denomination over the message God gave to give to the world. What I am saying is that the church is a gift to man, but men tend to use their gifts to make them look and feel important. Wasnít man supposed to do everything written in the book of law?

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Romans 12:3
But in humility consider others better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3

The church is another gift and we as humans fail to appreciate that gift for personal; reasons. Have we separated ourselves from the truth and the body of Christ? I ask this question because Christ is the head of the church body, you and I are the branches. Our job is not to make the message of salvation more conducive to the public, but to present the truth as it is. As ambassadors of Christ, God wants you to take the message to the world not to make the world swallow it hook line and sinker.

Paul wrote that love of some would grow cold in latter times. Learning to love through God is not easy because of the prevailing sin in the world but that is the way the gifts of God are dispersed. Granted the lack of trust makes it hard to love strangers but extending love to the stranger is how the church grows. Love brings people into the church but God gives gifts to you so you can love the people God loves.

We love because he first loved us. I John 4:19

God has demonstrated the most powerful gift known to man through his grace. However, love is a gift from God that we need to develop through use. Love is a strong emotion that will compel you to do things for someone you would not do for a stranger. The most important gift is not the gifts of the Spirit but that God gave his only son to pay the penalty of our sin.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- Eph 2:8

The greatest gift god gives to each of his children is eternal life. Because God is love the greatest gift of God is love and it is through our salvation that we can use that love for the common good of all men. Eternal life is a gift from God. Eternal life is the abundance of life that God has and wants to share with the humble, the meek, with those who are willing to become more like Christ.


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