Gifts for the Church


Series: Life in the Church

Title: Gifts for the Church #spiritual_gifts


  • 2019-06-22: Birmingham First Church


  1. 573: I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go

Scripture: Romans 12:4-8

  1. Intro:
    1. I want to tell you about a church plant–a new church–I was once a part of. The elders of the parent church had posted a map of the city in the pastor’s office and plotted all the Adventist churches on that map. They noticed an empty area–somewhere where our message wasn’t being preached. They prayed about it and decided to launch a new church targeting the area.
    2. Two people had stepped forward to lead the project by the time I arrived on the scene, and I was shortly invited to be the third co-leader. Before long, we had rented a facility and begun holding services.
    3. Us three leaders had a fair bit in common. We were all single men in our 30s, and we tended to attract a similar demographic. We three enjoyed leading out in things, but we weren’t exactly social butterflies.
    4. For a while, the church stagnated. The congregation was almost entirely men. After church, no one would really hang out. People would start putting stuff away right away, and within 15 minutes of the closing prayer the doors would be locked and everyone gone. Fairly often someone new would visit, but they would never come back. Clearly, there was a problem. Us leaders knew it, but our attempts to solve it fell flat.
    5. One Sabbath, we had a visitor from another church in the area who said that she wanted to be a part of a church plant project. I didn’t pay much attention at first because I was sure she wouldn’t be back. But she did come back. And pretty soon she suggested that we should have a potluck lunch after church. That was an area that none of us leaders were gifted in, so when she was willing to organize it, we said, “Let’s do it every week!”
    6. That change was the beginning of a transformation. As we began to have lunch together after church each week, we started to build connections. Visitors started to become regulars and the church started growing, and all because one woman used the gifts that God had given her.
  2. Importance of the church
  3. Involvement in the church
  4. Spiritual gifts
    1. Today we’re examining the topic of spiritual gifts. When I was younger I used to find this subject to be rather confusing. It all seemed so technical and difficult, so I want to share what I’ve learned over the years that has helped me to understand how important and simple it really is.
    2. About the gifts:
      1. What are spiritual gifts?
        1. Examine the lists in the Bible
          1. Three lists of gifts in the Bible:
            1. Romans 12
            2. 1 Corinthians 12
            3. Ephesians 4
          2. These lists aren’t exactly the same
            1. The lists: We aren’t going to examine these in depth; our purpose is to have an overview
              1. Eph 4:11: apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds (or pastors), and teachers
              2. Rom 12:6-8: prophecy, service, teaching, exhortation, generosity, leadership, mercy.
              3. 1 Cor 12:8-10: wisdom, knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, the working of miracles, prophecy, the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues
              4. 1 Cor 12:28: apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.
            2. On all lists: prophecy
            3. On only one list: evangelism, leadership, generosity, helping, etc. (depending on how you define some terms).
            4. The point is that these lists are intended to be examples, not a complete catalog of all the spiritual gifts. Thus, there are other gifts as well, such as music.
        2. Gifts people get confused about:
          1. Prophecy
            1. Exodus 6:28-7:2 – A prophet is an official spokesperson for God
            2. 1 Kings 18: Elijah on Mt. Carmel.
              1. The prophets of Baal have been challenged to call on their god to answer by fire and demonstrate who is the true God.
              2. vv. 27-29 (NKJV): “27 And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. 29 And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.”
              3. So prophesying can also sometimes be used for a kind of prayer.
          2. Evangelism (Marilyn and Yadi)
          3. Tongues
            1. Acts 2:5-12: The gift of tongues was given to increase understanding
            2. in the Bible always a real language
            3. Only one of the gifts; nowhere is tongues given as a distinguishing mark of a true believer
            4. Doroftei? If time
      2. So, what’s the simple way to think of spiritual gifts? Talents used for God
      3. What is the purpose of these gifts?
        1. Ephesians 4:12, 13: To build up believers and equip them to minister to others, and to bring us into spiritual maturity
        2. 1 Corinthians 12:7: The gifts are given for the common good, not individual benefit
        3. 1 Peter 4:10, 11: The gifts are unselfish, and using them is doing God’s work; There’s no self involved
    3. Why are the gifts important?
      1. 1 Cor 12:12-27: There are many things that need to be taken care of in the church, and the Holy Spirit has given us, though the gifts, the resources to do so. Each of us has a different set of gifts, which gives each of us a unique role to play in the church.
      2. Church is about much more than attending services on Sabbath morning.
      3. Each member is needed to serve as they are individually gifted.
      4. We are not called to be reservists in the Lord’s army. We’re called into active duty.
    4. God’s appeal to us:
      1. John 15:1, 2: Bearing fruit–being effective believers, using our gifts–is a necessary part of living in relationship with Jesus.
      2. vv. 4-6: Living in relationship with Jesus is the key to using our gifts rightly; without Him, it’s all a waste.
    5. Appeal:
      1. If you don’t know Jesus, rectify it
      2. If you don’t know your gifts, inventory available
      3. if in church a short time, we’re glad you’re here
      4. Otherwise, how can you use your gifts to build up the body of Christ?
      5. Matthew 9:35-38, then closing prayer