GIFTED WITH GIFTS
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” 9 (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ
We Must be Clothed With the Positive Attributes of Transformation It is a common truth that newborns will grow-it’s the same with us in our spiritual odyssey. It is also true that Christ’s presence in us will never produce a vacuum; our flesh may, but not Jesus. What do I mean by this? You are never truly defined by what you aren’t, only by what you are. That is why it is so critical to be conformed into the image of He who saved you in a deliberate way. This is what daily crucifixion is all about-putting off the old man & putting on the new as a deliberate act of the will.
Walking in the disciplines of the Spirit is like William Carey’s statement about missions & service when he said: “Expect great things from God: Expect to do great things for God.” Laying down the burden of ungodly behaviors in our lives is “expecting to do great things for God.” Carey/Spurgeon are examples: both converted in their teens and began pastoring in their late teens/early twenties: both changed their world.
Gracelets – Grace Packages
God dresses His bride with the jewels of grace. These gracelets are visible expressions of the bride’s adornment. Grace beautifies the bride. These gracelets are the manifested presence of the Holy Spirit in the form of “Spiritual Gifts.”
You have been called, chosen and elected by the courts of heaven to be a Kingdom gifted person. You are not talented, you are gifted, and there is world of difference. In our modern vernacular, we call highly talented people gifted. That’s not what I’m talking about. When we look at the aspect of the gifts in Ephesians, we are talking about the basic gifts of grace, salvation and faith, coupled with the indwelling Spirit. Paul has already given us a summation of our giftedness in 2:8-9, For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. Grace is the gift Jesus gives, faith given to enhance belief and salvation is the gift that enables us to live in Christ now and forever. This is our inheritance, and this inheritance of giftedness becomes yours the moment you lay claim to it, But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift (4:7). The word measure (metron), is defined as a determined extent or portion. In this context, it means that our gift of grace is measured and determined by the will of Christ. The Father is the point of origin of this grace and the Son is the focus and the facilitator of this grace in our hearts and minds.
IT’S ALL BY GRACE!
Grace is defined as: God’s riches at Christ’s expense. God’s mercy granted to the undeserving and the ill-deserving, The unmerited favor of God. Greek: (charis) general grace, and (charisma) grace made manifest. Hebrew (chen ratson) this means beauty or attractiveness. The Old Testament root meaning of grace is favor. To have favor is to obtain grace in the eyes of somebody “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Gen. 6:8).”
People, a person, a congregation in the grace of God is attractive. If we don’t have the grace of God, we may have the truth, but it won’t attract anyone to it. A legalistic “gospel” is unattractive! It all starts with the way that God chooses to look at us. God can look at us and see us as attractive in His sight. Remember, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
FAITH IS NECESSARY
Then he touched their eyes and said, ‘According to your faith will it be done to you;’ and their sight was restored. Jesus warned them sternly, ‘See that no one knows about this…’” And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. (Matt. 9:29; Matt. 13:58)
- A) There are categories of Faith: The ‘measure of faith’ that each “born again” believer receives and must exercise to bring an increase of faith, For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness ( 12:3-8); The fruit of the Holy Spirit called “faithfulness” which deals with the character of God in the life of the individual, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law (Gal. 5:22,23); The “gift of faith” is a special surge of confidence in God and His Word which sometimes arises within a person faced with a specific situation or need, So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them (Mk 11:22-24); Faith comes (present active tense) and continues to come by the words (rhema) of Christ, So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17).
Two of the main ways we exercise this kind of faith are declarative in nature: 1) Words spoken to God on behalf of a person, an object, or a situation as:
- i) I Ki.17:1 Fall of rain and dew controlled by Elijah’s word
- ii) I Ki.18:41-45 Elijah spoke to God on behalf of the rain (James 5:16-18)
2) Words spoken to a person, an object, or a situation on behalf of God
- i) Josh. 10:12-14 Joshua spoke to the sun and moon on behalf of God
3) Derek Prince, “All progress in the Christian life is by faith.”
4) This Kind of Faith Does Not Operate Alone: This gift operates in connection with several other gifts. It often works with the gifts of miracles, healings, and a word of knowledge.
We could say that the gift of faith is an irresistible, unshakable faith. When God reveals certain facts concerning His will in a circumstance, one “just knows” it will happen. And as God restores this gift, there will also be a restoration of miracles on a greater level in the church. This gift will also be used for the release of finances and provisions to do the will of God. May the Father restore a pure use of this gift in His Body in our time.
PRACTICAL POINTS ON THE GIFT OF FAITH
Derek Prince – Author and International Bible Teacher: The gift of faith is a tiny portion of God’s total faith supernaturally imparted by the Holy Spirit, operated only under God’s control. It is different from faith essential for salvation or faith that is a fruit of Holy Spirit. It is a miraculous, “mountain- moving” gift. John Wimber – Late Vineyard Ministries International Leader The gift of faith is the mysterious surge of confidence which sometimes arises within a person faced with a specific situation or need. It gives that person a transrational (otherly) certainty and assurance that God is about to act through a word or action. It is both the irresistible knowledge that God wills to intervene at a certain point and the authority to effect this intervention through the power of the Holy Spirit.
GIFTED FOR GIFTING
In the economy of God, He has given gifts to the gifted through the Spirit. It’s an equipping kind of a thing. Everyone of us who have been named by Jesus have been called into the ministry of Christ. To be in Christ is to be in His ministry.
What is the church?
The church is the body of Christ, And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all (Eph 1:22-23)
Bible says “in the world we are like Him” (1 John 4:17) Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.
Something is wrong when people write off the church and say they love Jesus
CHURCH AS A FIELD
Where the people come to do the work of the Lord-where the farmer plants his crops is where he works
Jesus said the “world is the field” (Matt 13:38) The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one.
Emphasis: getting buildings full
Visibility-Significant PR role-programs & productions & promotion become critical to attractions over people
Goals: Defined by numbers in attendance as a definer of success
Goals are adjustable: we can change our definition of success, quality, not quantity
Budget: when attaining budget is a primary goal, operating the church to get money, serious confusion between ends & means-shouldn’t be surprised when people write the church off as irrelevant & opposed to Jesus
Facility is vitally important-bigger building, more people in the field-enormous building means great work for God
Ministry mindset: centers around a professional-pulling people out of culture into church-everything is designed to attract people
Ministry becomes a positional identity within the organization-title & position rule
All arrows point inward
Leads to identity crisis of normal believers about service, as faith becomes a spectator sport
Motivation: Getting people in-
Danger: Pastors become superstars-platform style is magnetic-warm & caring personality-exude charm & self confidence-administrative capacity rivals CEO-becomes a political puppet
End Result: sub-culturization or Mediocrity
Spiral: 1st generation, highly motivated-excited-budget met, new people attending-building on the way
2nd: not children, but second wave of people after church is well established-settles into compromise-comfort & ease sets in-time of personal sacrifice ends-enjoy the fruits of the labor
3rd: Mediocrity-little activity-faces change as pastors come & go-desperate attempts to create motion usually fail-pastors get discouraged & either leave or settle into mediocrity
Only hope: rise of a new superstar
Subculture: system within a system-establish a community with uniformity-don’t have to worry about violating our idea of error or unpredictability filtering in
We institutionalize revivals
CHURCH AS A FORCE
Church is people not building-where they are, ministry happens in Jesus name
Ministry is given to people, not just professionals
Wimber-“Everybody gets to play. If we create places where only a few can participate we’ve missed the call of the Kingdom…”
If you want to experience the love of Jesus, love what Jesus loves. Jesus passionately loves His church. Become like Jesus and love what He loves, the church!
Emphasis: Worship, training, fellowship-these are the things that produce Spirit filled people who can meet others needs
We gather to scatter
Gatherings in the building are not just work, they are times of R&R they are celebrations
R & R: rested and restored for the field work
Goals: wholeness, equipped & released
Holy Spirit who fills the leadership can fill all of us
Evangelical Christians have a lot of religion in their hearts, some in their heads, little in their feet
Wrong approach-pastors don’t do it all-pastors are to “prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up (Eph 4:12)
Ministry: Break down the clergy-layman distinctions
I don’t believe in vertical relationships in the church, nor do I believe in an elite group in the church
Motivation: healing agency in the community, not a refuge from the community
We don’t want to compete with the worlds-family, school, entertainment all have a proper place
Danger: loss of control, as people begin to follow the Lord in developing ministry opportunities