God Gives Believers Gifts
Last time we went over the gifts that God gives believers are for the ministry, 1 Corinthians 12:4-6. Let me refresh your mind.
God the Father gives us our vocation our operations. God the Son, Jesus, gives us the power (administrations = power) to do these vocations. Then God the Holy Spirit gives us different gifts – donations – to manifest these vocations. If I had to put this in a simple expression, it might go like this:
God the Father creates all these things, through Jesus Christ and puts them all into a box. Then the Holy Spirit passes them out to believers. And what is the purpose? Ephesians 4:12
1) For the perfecting or maturing of the saints/believers.
2) For the work of the ministry.
3) For the edifying or building up of the body of Christ.
The key here is not the “gifts” but the purpose. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12:1,2 – Gentiles turned these gifts into idols. They made everything about the gifts. There are even churches today that all they talk about is the gifts. But the gifts are not the focus. Why give gifts to believers if they don’t know what to do with them?
Notice these gifts are given only to believers, not unbelievers. Paul explained why God gave believers these gifts in Ephesians 4:12 – to help “believers” the church not unbelievers. When you look at the gifts you see how these gifts would build up the church and imagine, when unbelievers saw prophecies explained to the church and teachings, church people being healed, government of the church, people speaking foreign languages and people in the church being able to interpret. When unbelievers would see the church giving to their members and when the church would set up the least esteemed in the church to judge matters. The unbelievers would see a well “oiled” body of believers working together, sharing the gospel with their community and helping one another out – the unbelievers would desire what we have.
Yes, people from all over brought their sick to Jesus to be healed, but Jesus even said he had come to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Did Jesus help others, yes but he came to Israel. Just as the HolySpirit is come to the church to empower the church, believers.
Some “churches” have what they call healing services or they go places around the world for “healing tours”. Yet, these same “Christians” have gone to doctors and had surgery. Why is this? Do I believe in healing? You bet. God heals. But no where in scripture do I see Paul telling the church to have healing services. Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:20, he left Trophimus in Miletum “sick”.
This is not condemnation against Christians having healing services. But the church has strayed away from our mission of winning souls and mentoring believers on how to live the Christian life. Churches have fought among themselves over the “gifts” that a schism has occurred and soul winning and mentoring have fallen aside.
When Christians focus on only two gifts (there are 8) and build their ministry on these two gifts, they have failed as a church. How do you help the broken-hearted? How do you help the guy who just lost his job or the mom left alone with 3 kids because her husband abandoned them or people struggling with their weight, eating disorders, cancer, sex abuse, rape and so many other issues?
The gift of teaching is not about how much head knowledge you have, but conveying God’s way of doing things and using the examples of Scripture. People can make informed decisions when they know truth. It is not up to believers to change people, convince people or persuade people to God’s truth – that is God’s job. We are to present truth and pray and watch God work. Paul explains this in 1 Corinthians 3:5-9. Once people believe and get saved, we are to mentor them, teach them God’s ways. How can you teach God’s ways if you don’t know them?
We will always have those who want to pick fights and strain over one or two words, I know, I use to be one of those. But Praise God, not any more. These types of churches are loosing their congregations. When you walk into any real Christian church look around. Are the people all white haired? Is there any life in that church? Show me a scripture where hand clapping replaces confessing with your mouth Amen.
Paul poured himself out to his converts. This is not just a “thing” for preachers, but for all of us. You have to learn God’s word and ways and make yourself available to mentor others. Your life experiences and how God delivered and helped you are good places to start. Until next time my friends.