Tag Archives: gifts
Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #33 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 5
5. The believer is USE HIS GIFT(S) TO BUILD UP THE BODY OF CHRIST! (vv. 4-8)
I see the Apostle making several points in this section:
Okay. I admit. I have a lot of admiration for good commercial-makers! And how about those lines?
“I secret Santa-ed myself!”
“I shouldn’t have. I have been very good this year!”
Aren’t you glad God thought of US when He sent His Son! ‘Cause we aren’t good. Have a great day!
Friends: We are thinking about the incredible possibility that awaits us as we anticipate a brand new year — 2020. The expression “2020” reminds me of my first eye exam in high school — when I memorized the eye chart before going to the doctor’s! (I don’t know why). As we face this new year, we have the opportunity to focus on several priorities for our lives.
First, we can commit ourselves to becoming more like the Lord Jesus, Second, we want to focus on the truth that we are not to be conformed to this world. Third, we need to have a deep desire to get into God’s holy Word! Four, we would deeply care about the salvation of those around us. If we believe the gospel is true, then every person is headed either to heaven or to hell. Do we think about that truth as we meet people, engage with our co-workers and neighbors, and come in contact with total strangers?
A fifth priority challenges us this new year: We should desire to use our gifts to build up God’s people in the local church. Every believer in Christ has at least one spiritual gift that is to be used to encourage the people of God. We learn about our spiritual gifts in Romans 12, I Corinthians12, Ephesians 4, and I Peter 4.
May I ask you a few questions, dear blog-reader? (1) Do you know what your spiritual gifts are? (2) Are you using your gifts to serve the local church? (3) Would you mind leaving a comment at the end of this post specifying which gift you have?
And may I ask you to pray this prayer with me? “Lord of All Gifts, would You use me this year to honor You and to build up the Body of Christ, the local church? Father, make me aware of how I can serve others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — What Do We Learn from 2 TIMOTHY about the Holy Spirit?
There are two ways of approaching the doctrines of the Scriptures. One way is to collect all the data throughout the Bible into logical categories (called “systematic theology”). The other way is to work through individual books of the Bible, collecting the data on a particular subject (this is called “biblical theology,” although the term is used in other ways in less than conservative circles). When we ask, what does the epistle of 2 Timothy say about God the Holy Spirit, we are taking a kind of biblical theology approach. Our conviction in these posts is that, while some believers overemphasize the Spirit, others overlook Him. We want to do neither, but long to have a balanced view of the Third Member of the Trinity.
What do we find when we unit-read (read straight through at one sitting) the epistle of 2 Timothy? We find that there is precious little reference to the Spirit of God in Titus! But here’s the one reference that we do have —
Ch. 1 – 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
Ch. 3 – 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
From the reference in chapter one, we learn that we have the responsibility to “fan into flame the gift of God” given to us. We know from Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and I Peter 4 that it is God the Holy Spirit who gives the gifts to serve the Lord. Here we are reminded that God’s Spirit does not make us timid, but rather gives us power, love, and self-discipline!
Later in chapter one we are challenged to “guard the good deposit that was entrusted” to us. We guard that good deposit “with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us”! He has taken up residence in us — and assists us in standing up for the truth!
The only other reference to the Spirit in 2 Timothy is an implicit one in chapter three. Here we have the fundamental statement that “all Scripture is God-breathed . . .” Who “breathes out” the Scripture? The Spirit of God, as Jesus promised in John 14-16. Let’s make sure we use the Scriptures in teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (to be continued)
The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — The GIFTS of God the Holy Spirit! (Part 4)
Some Christians seem to overemphasize the Holy Spirit, while many of us overlook Him. We need to biblically relate to Him. We can speak to Him because He is personal and, because He is God, we can (and should) worship Him. Neither of these actions are intended to minimize the primacy of the Lord Jesus, for the Spirit of God’s primary job is to glorify the Lord Jesus.
The various ministries in the church are not all to be performed by professional clergy, because every believer is given gifts by the Holy Spirit to be used to build up the Body of Christ and to serve a broken and needy world. The four major passages on spiritual gifts are Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and I Peter 4. Let’s look at the last of our four passages, I Peter 4 —
7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
What do we learn here about God the Holy Spirit? Actually He is not specifically mentioned in this last text on spiritual gifts, but we may infer several truths:
1. We are told to “use whatever gift you have received to serve others” (v. 10). And we know from our other texts that the Spirit is the Giver of the gifts.
2. We are to be “faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (v. 10). It is the Spirit of God who is the grace-giver, “grace” referring to the gifts themselves.
3. One question would be: Who is the “God” being referred to in verse 11? We read, 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Could “God” in this verse be referring to the Third Member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit? If so, the one who has the gift of speaking should do so as one “who speaks the very words of God” (the Holy Spirit). After all, it is the Spirit who led the Apostles to write the New Testament. Now, it does not appear that verse 11 is saying that new revelation is being given or that it should be added to the divine canon of Scripture.
Further, the one who serves should serve “with the strength God [the Holy Spirit?] provides.” Why? “So that in all things God [the Holy Spirit?] may be praised through Jesus Christ.” Could this be another reference to the Third Member of the Trinity? He is worthy to be praised and to receive “glory and power for ever and ever.”
The Challenge: In all four of these texts on the spiritual gifts, it appears that much of the work which the Spirit of God is doing in the church and in the world is through God’s gifted-people. What enablement or gifting do you have to serve the Lord?
The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — The GIFTS of God the Holy Spirit! (Part 2)
In discussing the believer’s relationship with God the Holy Spirit, we are suggesting that some Christians overemphasize Him, while many of us overlook Him. This is to our detriment. We can speak to Him because He is personal and, because He is God, we can (and should) worship Him. Neither of these actions are intended to minimize the primacy of the Lord Jesus, for the Spirit of God’s primary job is to glorify the Lord Jesus.
The various ministries in the church are not all to be performed by professional clergy. The Bible is quite clear that every believer is given gifts by the Holy Spirit which he or she is to use to build up the Body of Christ and to serve a broken and needy world. We’ve looked at the first of the four major passages on spiritual gifts (Romans 12) in our last post. Let’s continue our study by looking at the second of our four passages (Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and I Peter 4), I Corinthians 12 —
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues[d]? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.
We realize that this is a lengthy passage, but let’s see what we can learn, not so much about the gifts, but about the Giver, God the Holy Spirit:
1. First of all, it is He who distributes the gifts (v. 4).
2. Although there are different gifts, the same Lord is at work (v. 6).
3. Every believer is given a gift (also known as a “manifestation of the Spirit”) for the common good (v. 7).
4. Several gifts (nine specifically) are listed (vv. 8-10- a message of wisdom, a message of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, speaking in different kinds of tongues, the interpretation of tongues). But the point is made that “all these are the work of one and the same Spirit” (vv. 11). The oneness of the Spirit’s distribution is important here.
5. We also learn of His will — He distributes these gifts “just as He determines” (v. 11).
6. The baptizing work of the Spirit is brought up, presumably to emphasize the oneness of the Body of Christ (v. 12). “We were all given the one Spirit to drink” (v. 13).
7. There is no room for jealousy regarding the gifts or for one to feel unnecessary. Why not? Because we need all the body parts to function properly and “God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be” (v. 18). “God” here certainly seems to refer to the Third Member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.
8. The sovereign assembling of the body by the Holy Spirit should not lead to division in the body but “equal concern for each other” (v. 25).
9. Again we are reminded that “God has placed in the church” certain people and gifts. “God” in verse 28 seems to refer to the Spirit of God. The people and gifts mentioned in verses 28-30 are: apostles, prophets; teachers; miracles; gifts of healing, helping, guidance; and of different kinds of tongues. [I find it interesting that three gifts — healing, helping, guidance — seem to be a small category of gifts].
10. Lastly, this same Spirit who disburses different gifts, longs for unity among believers. Several questions are asked in verses 29-30 to show that there are different gifts among the people of God.
The Challenge: What gift or gifts has the Spirit of God given you? How does your gift help you to have “equal concern” for other members of the Body?