I want you to turn to I Corinthians 12 as we speak about "Supernaturally Gifted" in a series on improving your image “ I “ M “ A “ G “ E. And each of the messages deals with one of these letters in the acrostic. We are talking about a whole you presented to a Holy God and how to improve your image. We talked about the letter "I" “your inward motivation, how God has made you on the inside. We talked about the letter "M" “your makeup, your personality type, how He has made many different, complex personalities in this world.
And we talked about four of the basic types. And then the letter "A" stands for abilities. And we talked about being naturally gifted, your natural abilities you receive when you are born. Many people are given the ability to play ball, many people are given the ability to be mathematicians. They are born with these things and they are abilities that are given to them by God. And now we come to the letter "G" and we are going to talk about gifts. We are talking here about being supernaturally gifted. And that will become clear in just a moment.
I Corinthians 12:1-7 "Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good."
Then in Romans 12:5-6 Paul said, "so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts according to the grace given us...." It is wonderful to get gifts. Gifts express love and gifts are very, very important. And gifts are what I want to talk about this morning because when you become a Christian, God is a giver. And God gives you three things the very moment you become a believer.
Number one, He gives you the gift of eternal life. Romans 6:23 says, "the wages of sin of death, but the gift of God is eternal life." You don't work for it, you don't earn it, and it is given to you by God's grace not because you deserve it, but because of Calvary Jesus bought and paid for it. And you don't have to worry about that from that moment on. You have been given eternal life.
Secondly, not only does He give you eternal life, but also He gives you the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes to live within your spirit in your life. Your body becomes the dwelling place, the temple of the Holy Spirit. Every Christian has the gift of the Holy Spirit.
And number three; He gives you spiritual gifts. Either a gift or gifts because there are many, many various kinds of spiritual gifts. This is a gifted church, a gifted body, and a gifted congregation. We have many, many gifted people. In fact, all of our members are gifted. You say, well, if I had a spiritual gift I sure didn't know it. It doesn't matter whether you know it or not because you can have measles and not know it, amen?
You have a spiritual gift. Some of you do not know that you have a spiritual gift but don't insult the Lord by saying; well God didn't give me a gift. God didn't gift me with anything. I don't have any special gift to be used by God, because the Lord gifted every one of His children.
Now, we are not talking now about your abilities, we are not talking about the fact that some of you were given the ability to sing and some the ability to be an athlete, some of you were given the ability to have a mind that organizes, but now we are talking about something you receive the moment you are saved.
You know when you are born the Lord gives you some natural talents, but when you are born again, God gives you supernatural gifts to be used to build up the body of Christ and to bless others within the body. Spiritual gifts are very, very important. '
Your self-image is affected by your knowledge and your use of your spiritual gift because if you don't know what your spiritual gift is and you are not serving the Lord in that gift, and then you are not going to have the full impact of who God has made you to be. You are not going to have that joy and that thrill of knowing you are being used by God. So it affects the way you see yourself.
God wants you to know what your gift is so that you can see yourself as a gifted person and when you use that gift you find fulfillment and joy and blessing and other people are blessed because you are functioning in your spiritual gift.
The words spiritual gift comes from two Greek words. It comes from the word charis and the word motta. The word charis means grace or joy and the word motta means gift. So charis-motta means grace gift, a gift of God's grace. You have all heard the term charismatic and someone will say that is a charismatic church and when they say that what are they talking about? Well, they are talking about where they put their emphasis; they are talking about their style of worship.
They are talking about perhaps maybe that church emphasizes certain spiritual gifts. That is the popular definition of a charismatic church or charismatic Christian. That is not what the Bible is talking about though. The Bible is talking about every believer when it says you are charismatic, because every believer has a spiritual gift or gifts.
We are going to define some of the gifts next week so you can recognize what your gift is, but there are many of them. In the Bible I don't think the list is exhaustive I think it is exemplary. The Bible gives us examples of what our spiritual gifts may be. And he gives us seven basic motivational gifts that we will look at next week.
I. ACCEPT YOUR GIFTEDNESS
So, what do you need to do concerning your gift? First of all you need to accept your giftedness. You need to accept the fact by faith that God has given you a spiritual gift. Now these gifts that come from God are supernatural gifts, not natural abilities. It is not something you were born with; it is something God gave you when you became a Christian.
These spiritual gifts are also service gifts. When God comes into your life and you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you have a whole new life purpose. God adds a whole new dimension to your life. And from that point on, God has a special plan He wants you to fulfill.
And the way you fulfill that plan is by exercising and working in the area of your spiritual gift. Only believers have spiritual gifts. Everybody has abilities, but only those who are born again have spiritual gifts. They are service gifts. The Bible says that are given to build up the body, to benefit the common good.
Number three these gifts are not only supernatural gifts and service gifts but they are for employment not just for enjoyment. God didn't just give you a gift so that you could admire your gift, so that you could exalt your gift, so you can talk about your gift, He gave you that gift to be used for His glory. They are designed to build up the body.
These gifts are sovereign gifts. I Corinthians 12:11 says, "God puts every gift in the body as He will." In other words, you don't choose your gift. God chooses that for you. And you don't say, well I think I would like to have the gift of teaching, Lord give me the gift of teaching or Lord give me the gift of counseling or Lord give me the gift of preaching.
God I want to be an exhorter, no the Lord is sovereign and He knows the plan for your life. So God gives you the gift that He wants you to have. It is up to you to discover what it is and to develop it and use it for His glory. These gifts are salvation gifts. That is, they come at the moment you are born again.
It is God's free gift to you.
Then, these gifts are supportive gifts. You notice the word different was used in our text toward the latter part in verse 7, he says different kinds of gifts, different kinds of ministries, different kinds of workings. And the emphasis is that not everybody has the same gift. We are all different and God made us different for a purpose. God made us different not to divide us but to unite us.
God made us diversified that He might make us unified. God made us different that He might make us one in the body of Christ, amen? God wants the whole body to function together. And therefore God put in the body hands, He put in the body eyes, He put on the body feet, and He put in the body certain organs. And God puts all of those things there to work together and they are all equally important.
II. APPLY YOUR GIFTEDNESS
Now secondly, not only should you accept your giftedness, but you must apply your giftedness. This has so much to do with your self-image. If we as parents want to reach our children about their self-image and how to have a good self-image, then we need to help them find how God gifted them. And that God made that way and because of that, they are very, very special.
Now notice this, when you apply your giftedness, spiritual gifts will show God's will for your individual life. In I Corinthians 12:4, "there are different kinds of gifts but the same spirit, different kinds of service but the same Lord, different kinds of working but the same God works in all of them." He is saying that your spiritual gift determines how God wants you individually to serve Him and be a blessing to the entire body of Christ. So you must know what that gift is.
And a lot of questions are answered when you know what your spiritual gift is. Like what is God's will for my life? What would God have me to do? How should I spend my time? What ministry in the church should I be involved in? All of these things relate to applying your giftedness, to knowing what your spiritual gift is. How you particularly ought to serve Him. If He has gifted you in teaching, then you ought to be a teacher. If He has gifted you in evangelism, then you ought to be involved in bringing the lost to a decision for Christ.
If He has gifted you in showing mercy, then you ought to be involved in the ministry of showing people compassion and mercy who are in problems and need. If He has gifted you in organization, then you ought to be involved in helping the body of Christ in being organized to do the work that God gave the body of Christ to do.
And what he is saying is every gift is unique. Every gift is important so don't make the mistake of looking at someone and saying oh listen, I would love to be a teacher like he is or I would love to be a singer like she is or I'd just love to be a preacher like he is. I would just love to be a person who could counsel and help, I would love to be a person who knows how to organize things and get the things really moving.
Don't do that because God has given you a gift that is just as important. It may be different than that of the gift that you are admiring. And when you understand spiritual gifts, it explains to you why some Christians emphasize one thing and other Christians emphasize something else.
It explains why some things that are very, vitally important to you are not important to some of your friends. For example, if you have the gift of evangelism then all you can think about is bringing the lost to Christ, reaching people for Christ. And you want everybody to be involved in reaching people for Christ.
Now, we are all called to be a witness that is not a gift. But there is a gift of evangelism that brings people into the body of Christ, brings people to a decision for Christ. And if you have that gift you want to see people walking the aisle, you want to see people accepting the Lord; you want to see the body of Christ growing with new people.
But some of you have the gift of teaching. And you say, well what we need to do is not win a bunch more people for Christ, we need to work on the ones we have. We need to teach the ones we have and mature the ones we have. We are not putting enough emphasis on teaching people.
Because you are coming from the perspective of your gift and if you have the gift of mercy, your motivation is probably to care for people. We need to care for people in the body, yes we ought to reach other people for Christ but we have these people who are hurting and we need to minister to them.
We have these families who are going through divorce and we have these people who have lost their jobs and we need to do something. And you see your gift will determine where you put the emphasis. It doesn't mean the one who is the evangelist is right, the one who is the teacher is wrong, it just means wherever you are gifted is where you will put the emphasis.
Somebody gave me this or I read it about what would happen in a family if in the course of the meal, somebody dropped the desert right in the middle of the floor. That would be a tragedy wouldn't it? Strawberry shortcake right in the middle of the floor, what a shame! Well, if you had the gift of mercy you would say to that person, don't feel bad, that happens to everybody. If you had the gift of teaching you would say, the reason that it dropped was because it was too heavy on one side.
If you had the gift of prophecy or preaching you would say to that person, now let this be a lesson to you, this is exactly what happens when you are careless! If you had the gift of administration you would begin to give orders and you would say, Joe come and help clean this up, Mary you go out in the kitchen to get us another desert and you would just begin to direct everybody to rectify the situation.
If you had the gift of giving you would say, listen let me go out and buy another desert, it will be all right. And you see, the way you would respond to a situation is all determined on how God has gifted you. And when all of us function in our gift, God takes each individual gift and He uses it to complete the body of Christ. So it shows God's will for your life.
This is how denominations get started. Some people are motivated by the gift of teaching so they get a teaching denomination. Some people are motivated by the gift of miracles so they get into a group that emphasizes miracles. Some motivated by evangelism, they get into a group that emphasizes reaching the lost, but what God wants us is for us to be balanced. And to recognize the importance and uniqueness of every gift and every person who is a gifted person by God.
We could talk about the many ministries of OJMIC our church and how spiritual gifts work together to make those ministries work. It is not one person doing it; it is the body of Christ working together. And when you know what your gift is, it shows you where God wants you to be in the body.
Not only does it show God's will for your life, but also when you apply your giftedness it will show your worth to the body of Christ. You see you are a valuable part of the body. Without you the body is incomplete. Like my body without a hand would be incomplete.
I want to tell you something; there are no little people in the body of Christ. There are some of you sitting out here and you think you don't matter and you think you don't count, the Word of God says you are valuable, so valuable that the body of Christ is not complete without you.
Not only are you a valuable part of the body, you are a vital part of the body of Christ. If you don't exercise your spiritual gift then the body of Christ cannot function properly. Everything we do, as a church is dependent upon the fact that you are a valuable part of the body of Lord Jesus Christ and you are needed in the body. And it helps your self-image; it blesses your image when you realize that God has made you a valuable and a vital part of the biggest business on the face of this earth that is the business of the kingdom of God and building the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I don't care if I am the smallest cog in the wheel, without me the wheel goes nowhere, amen? You may feel like you are the smallest cog in the wheel, if I am going to be a small cog, I want it to be on the wheel of the kingdom of God, amen? I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of the wicked. And ladies and gentlemen you are worthy and you are worthwhile in the body of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Then as you apply your giftedness, it shows you the way to the sense of your fulfillment in your Christian walk. Look at what Jesus said in John 15:8, "this is how my Father is glorified, in your becoming fruitful." That means productive. Jesus said this is how the Father is glorified, when you become productive. And I will tell you something, until you are functioning in your spiritual gift, in the body of Christ, finding your place in the body, finding your place in the ministry, using your gift for the glory of God, you will not know real joy.
It is no accident that the word grace and the word joy come from the same Greek word, charis. Grace and joy, your gift is the key to your joy. It shows you the way to real joy in your Christian life. I don't know anybody in the Christian life who has real joy unless it is a person who knows their spiritual gift and they are functioning and serving God in the area of that spiritual gift. That is where fulfillment comes from, when you know you are fulfilling the purpose, when you now that our life counts, when you know that you are making a difference for the glory of God that is going to last for eternity. That is where real joy comes from.
And it is my job and the job of our teachers and the job of the leaders in our church to help equip you. And help you to know your gift and help you find a place and help you put that gift into use and to feel productive and to be productive in the body of Jesus Christ. Spiritual gifts are given to us for the purpose of helping other people. And we get real joy when we know that God is using us to help others.
I have had a lot of thrills in my life, a lot of wonderful experiences, but I never dreamed as a boy or as a young adult that I would have those kinds of experiences. Some of them have nothing to do with my function as your pastor, some of them have nothing to do with being a minister, but I want to tell you something of all the thrilling experiences that have happened in my life, I can stand and tell you that nothing can compare with the joy of knowing that I am using my gift that God is blessing other people and that the Lord is pleased.
And that God is using me, that is the greatest joy in all the earth. And it doesn't matter; the joy is the same, whether it is here on Sunday morning or talking to somebody through the week or in Korea or wherever I may be, it doesn't matter where it is, but it is that knowledge of knowing that it is not me but it is God and God through me and God using my gift to bless a little child or to help a person or to encourage somebody or to bring somebody to Christ.
So what I want you to do is to unwrap your spiritual gift. If you have not looked at it, unwrap it and see what it is. And see how to be used in the body of Christ, see where there is a need that your gift could fill. See how you can fit in. There are no little people. It doesn't matter how small you may think it is, you will experience a satisfaction and joy and a blessing that nothing else can bring.
And this afternoon it all begins when you have that personal relationship with Jesus. I feel so sad for people who have had religion all their life but they have never known Christ. Religion will never bring joy, religion brings duty, obligation, boredom, drudgery, but it will never bring joy. Jesus Christ will bring joy. And a personal relationship with Him, it all begins when you receive Him s your Lord and as your Savior.
So I challenge you this afternoon to examine your heart. Do you know that you have received Christ into your heart? Do you know that you have had a time in your life when you personally invited Jesus Christ to come in? When was it? Can you go back to that time when you know that you realized that you were a sinner and you repented of that sin, turned form that sin and turned to Jesus Christ. And He came into your heart and into your life. And if you have never had a time like that you can begin right now.
You can begin today and He will not only give you the gift of eternal life that is the first gift He will give you. He will give you the gift of eternal life. You won't have to worry about going to hell from this moment on; you can look forward to going to heaven. Secondly, He will give you the gift of His Holy Spirit, who would be God coming to live inside of you.
And number three, He will give you a spiritual gift that will be used to bring you joy, that will be used to bless the church, that will be used to glorify God. God will do that the very moment you invite Jesus into your life. And you can do that right now. Just open your heart and invite Jesus to come in. I challenge you to do that this afternoon.
Let's bow together. Just open your heart and open your life and invite Jesus to come in. He is real. He knows your need, He knows what is inside. If you have never known that joy of personally inviting Christ in, He won't come in, He won't force His way, but He says if you will open the door I will come in.