Treasures New and Old
Elkmont Baptist Church
Beloved: Grace and Peace
On Being a Disciple - Using Our Spiritual Gift
"As a disciple, I want to master the Bible so that the Master of the Bible can become my Master."
May God bless you all!
- Author unknown
And That Brings Us Back To:
2 Peter 1:10:
"Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling
and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:"
[computer software] . Franklin, TN: Equipping Ministries Foundation. (Original work published 1890)
Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries.
Meyers, R. (2005). e-Sword.
The burden of the rabbis.
A rabbi had a particular message they would impart to
(students of the
general teachings they all got, they would get specific training and teachings in a special area of ministry. One concentrating on the Torah. Another emphasizing prophecy, or purity of heart. Another on the coming of the Messiah and its signs. One on self-discipline for a holy life, etc.
A rabbi watched boys at Torah school, and as he
saw a particular bent or passion (and for us, this relates directly to the motivational gift that the Holy Spirit has given to us as described in Romans 12), he might ask him to go past thirteen (age of adulthood) and study further in his particular discipline. Sometimes a young man could petition a rabbi of renown that had an established school that was known for an emphasized subject and, after an interview, could be accepted.
Find your burden (related to your gift) and train for it!
As you accept His burden
(portion) He designed for you, you will find that God has a burden (an emphasis, a cause, a desire, your spiritual gift) that for you is not burdensome at all, but light! Evangelizing the lost, ministry to widows, teaching God's Word, making disciples, waiting on tables (in the sense of serving the congregation), etc.. As you find that burden related to your spiritual gift, start your training program there.
Remember the teaching about a "burden" that rabbis carried about in their soul that motivated their scope and tenor of their message to others? Refresher listed once again below with some added commentary:
) and as a body, called a
As you read through the rest of this article, keep in mind why you have a gift - to serve the Body of Christ, See which gift resonates with your spriit and strive to be a disciple that trains that gift, is a steward of that gift, and uses it to help fellow believers.
. Besides the
Why do We have Spiritual Gifts?
"For as we have many members in one body, and all members
have not the same office: So we,
many, are one body in Christ, and every
one members one of another."
To serve God.
The gifts are given so that we can more effectively serve the Lord in
our walk through life. A teacher may have certain abilities, but a Spirit-led teacher with the gift of teaching will have laser-like focus on truth and be able to discern with more aptitude the true meaning of verses and words. Most men have some knowledge of good and evil (the law of God in their hearts) but this sense is twisted by their natural sin and upbringing. (For example, some New Guinea tribes highly value deception!) A person with the gift of a prophet is drawn to God's view of right and wrong and will be able to share it. Skillful service is enhanced by the ability these gifts provide.
To edify/build up His church.
1 Corinthians 12:25: "That there should be no schism
in the body; but
the members should have the same care one for another."
Ephesians 4:12: "for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:". To be effectual, we must acknowledge that (1) all gifts and abilities are from God; (2) not everyone has the same gifts (thank the Lord!); (3) know your gift; (4) without walking in the Spirit, we are ineffective; and (5) that He must increase in our lives as we decrease.
To reach a lost world.
We have already seen in previous articles that gifts differ
in motivation, office, and power. As God assigns you a place and service to do through your gift, He also directs us to reach a lost and dying world (Matthew 28). As we exercise our gifts, the lost will see the results. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. As we "in our going" exercise our gift, say mercy, and give spiritual comfort to a lost person who may be mourning, they see God's compassion and love for them and that may awaken a desire for Christ in their lives.
To complete the Body of Christ.
Using a human body, Paul teaches Christians how
we are to work together. Christ is the head (in charge) of that body. I would hate to be without my heart, liver, kidneys, eyes, ears, etc. Such a body would be a monstrosity. Imagine a church with only prophets. Talk about iron sharpening iron! No one else would want to join. Or a church full of organizers. No work gets done, but boy, is it well planned out to the fifteenth level! Each gift has unique qualities (discussed below) and together they make a whole. A church that is missing one or more of the gifts is a bit lopsided and should desire that God add to the congregation the missing gift holders.
(foretelling, sharing God's heart)
"I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him" (Deuteronomy 18:18).
Prophecy reveals a message from the true God.
How can we tell when people are
speaking for the Lord (and not a false prophet)? (1) We can see if their prophecies happen - the Old Testament test for proving prophets. (2) We can check their words against the Bible. God never contradicts Himself. If someone says something contrary to the Bible, he or she is not speaking for God. (3) There is no new revelation beyond the Bible. If someone is adding or creating new "revelations" - he/she is a false prophet.
Warning of False Prophets:
"And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed
shall deceive many. And when ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, be ye not troubled; for
must needs be; but the end
yet" (Mark 13:5-7).
Prophecy inspires obedience.
The prophet has many functions, but the most
important one, in my opinion, is to warn against sin and steer people to righteous living. So many passages in the prophetic books warn of sin in individuals, of cities, of nations, or peoples. But with the warning comes a promise of redemption and restoration if they repent and forsake their sin. This is still true today! "Blessed
he that readeth, and
they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time
at hand" (Revelation 1:3).
Prophecy teaches us to trust in God.
Daniel and Revelation both foretell the future
and give insight into God Himself. Revelation has no less than seven major victory and worship scenes that encourage and strengthen the saints. Knowledge about God's character and His promises (and fulfillment of those promises) are nestled within prophecy. Studying prophecy (and the whole Bible) naturally causes us to get to know God and learn He is trustworthy.
Prophecy gives hope as we learn God's plan for the future.
Knowing events of the
future are needed for walking circumspectly today and preparing for the future. As we wait for His return, we can see various prophecies being fulfilled, and that reminds us that He is indeed in control! If we only get our news from the world, we can become quickly depressed and give up. But when tempered with God's Word and a knowledge that "we win" in the end, we are better able to walk in this world.
not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have
showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister" (Hebrew 6:10).
Serving is a team effort.
Serving or ministering is something we all need to do, but
certain believers have a special spiritual gift in that direction and often go out of their way to serve those around them (and leave their own needs neglected at times!). If God has placed a server or two in a congregation, others should all be willing and able to assist where they can so that the servers are not overwhelmed. Can we purpose to "serve" the servers when we can?
A server considers the needs of others.
Paul makes an interesting statement: "To
the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all
that I might be all means save some" (1 Corinthians 9:22). I personally do not think that Paul was a server, but he had a server's heart. He was willing to become what he had to (legally and righteously of course) so that he could reach and meet the needs of others, including the lost. He was a tent maker/repairer. He did not wantto impose on the body. Servers have a desire to serve without imposing on others. They do so to meet the needs of those who cannot meet their own needs.
Servers support the gospel.
As servers serve, how does it further the cause of
Christ? Take food to a needy family - show the love of Christ. Cut someone's grass - show the love of Christ. Get the picture? You don't need to be an eloquent orator to share the gospel powerfully. Servers "do" for others, and in so doing, they "speak" God's truth. Often this opens doors to let them then share the gospel with those they serve.
Servers know how to prepare.
After Paul's conversion, for fourteen years he prepared
for the ministry God called him to. This included time alone with God (Galatians 1:16-17) and consulting with other Christians. Servers have also most likely prepared themselves for their ministry. Know a guy with more tools than you have and seems to be able to fix anything? Might be a server. Or the sister who has her toolkit of things that makes her a genius in dealing with physical home and church issues. She is likely to be a server.
(guiding, instructing, training, discerning)
"And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up" (Deuteronomy 6:7).
An effective teacher relates God's truth to everyday life.
As a teacher of God's
Word, their responsibility is to not only share His Word faithfully, but to relate it to everyday Christian living. There might be nothing "dryer" than lots of facts and proofs from God's Word if the hearers can't relate to them or use them in some way. God's Word is full of principles, examples, warnings, encouragements, comparisons, and other usable truths that a person with the gift of teaching needs to not just dig for themselves, but to relate those nuggets to the flock. One of my favorite verses and a guide for my teaching has been Matthew 13:52: "Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe
instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man
an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure
new and old." That
speaks to bringing both truth and insight that God has given in His Word so that folks can apply them to their lives.
A teacher can teach in many teachable moments.
The person with the gift of
teaching has a unique knack for taking regular everyday moments and turning them into teachable Bible lessons or principle lessons. The spiritually-gifted teacher should always be ready by staying in the Word for such moments.
A teacher must be diligent in study.
The gift of teaching is a very important one, and
the teacher must not be slothful in their studies. There is a tendency for a teacher to want to verify their sources and add credence to their study with references of teachers and educators that have gone before them. But not all sources are trustworthy! The teacher must discern carefully by diligent study what they read in commentaries and other sources correctly line up with the Bible and the context and meaning.
A teacher knows we are one generation from apostasy.
"And also all that
generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel" (Judges 2:10). Thus, the gifted teacher must stay aware of his/her audience and help prepare those with children who are not teachers. A teacher who teaches adults must keep in the back of their mind that the material must be sound and easily relayed to the children of those adults. This is also a serious matter for prayer for the spiritually-gifted teacher.
Jesus modeled effective teaching in His ministry.
Jesus taught and preached as
part of His ministry. While teaching, He used parables, illustrations, objects around Him, Old Testament truths, people as examples, quotes from Old Testament saints, and a perceptiveness of those He was teaching (like Nicodemus - "ye must be born again" when that wasn't even Nicodemus' question!) Jesus' teaching displayed understanding; commitment to the truth and to those He taught; and a deep insight into Scripture. These need to be qualities of those who have the gift of teaching. "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people" (Matthew 4:23).
(cheering, motivating, encouragement)
"Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do" (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
The encourager uses God's faithfulness to aid others.
The gift of an encourager is
not always about coming along side someone who is discouraged or struggling. Encouragement can also motive the believers and the encourager can help do that. Joshua gave the people commands in areas where they were more likely to fail: (1) follow the Book of the Law; (2) don't turn aside; (3) don't mingle with the pagan nations; (4) or worship their gods; (5) or give your daughters to them for wives; (6) don't marry their daughters; and (7) worship the Lord thy God with your whole heart - the "as for me and my house we will serve the Lord" speech. The encourager can use God's Word and testimonies from their lives or others to provide motivational guidance to believers.
Encouragers use the examples of others.
During times of persecution or pressure,
the encourager is able to use the testimonies and examples of others to encourage those under pressure. He/she can inspire other Christians to stand fast in the Lord and often come alongside the ministers and teachers to help them stay focus, to stay stalwart in their work even when things don't look promising. "Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith:" (1 Thessalonians 3:7).
Encouragers help us to not quit.
The runner nearing the end of his race has his legs
aching, his lungs burning, his throat parched, he's gasping for air; others are passing him, and his whole body cries for release. This is when the encourager is most valuable. I ran cross-country in high school. Towards the end, teachers, coaches, friends, and parents would line the track as we approached different milestones and the end. They would shout encouragements and praise and helped me to finish. One particular race at a faraway school, they weren't there and about 9/10s of the way to the finish line I just stopped. Just quit. Can't explain why - I just did. We need the encouragers to help keep us going when things get tough! "Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do" (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
Encouragers need to take time to be with those who suffer.
Those who are
suffering are those who most need encouragement. Yet they tend to be those we least want to be around because they tend to get us down. Therefore, the job of the one with the gift of encouragement is most important. Mercys can come alongside the sufferer and weep with them, but it is the encourager that then brings them hope and helps them see past the problems and on to victory in Christ. He/she shows us that God will turn our tragedies to blessings, our lack to abundance, our suffering to joy, and our defeat to victory. "Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:18).
Encouragers must be faithful in praying for others.
That alone can be an
encouragement. When I say I am going to pray for you, I better mean it. When an encourager says he/she will pray for you, he/she really needs to mean it and be specific as to what they will be praying. Nothing encourages me more than to know that others are praying for me and especially if they tell me specifically what they are praying for. "I thank God, whom I server from
forefathers with pure conscience, that without
ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;" (2 Timothy 1:3).
The following are taken from the
version of Strong's Dictionary (end words
; From [
] G4396 ("prophecy");
(scriptural or other):--prophecy, prophesying." "G4396. prophetes,
; From a compound of [
] G4253 and [
] G5346; a
("prophet"); by analogy an
; by extention a
; A primary preposition; "fore", that is,
in front of
to . . . above, ago, before, or ever. In compounds it retains the same significations." "G5346. phemi,
one's thoughts, that is,
To declare the thoughts of God to men. To reveal hidden truths. To
declare the truth of God to man.
; From [
(as a servant, etc.); figuratively (eleemosynary)
the Christian teacher, or technically of the
):--(ad-) minister (-ing, -tration,
-try), office, relief, service (-ing)." "G1249. diakonos,
. . . diako (. . . to
on errands; . . . an
, that is, (generally) a
table or in other menial duties); specifically a Christian
):--deacon, minister, servant."
attend, and aid others. To serve others in a ministry capacity as in a deacon or deaconess.
; Probably from
; A prolonged (causative) form of a primary
verb . . . dao (to
(in the same broad application):--teach."
impart knowledge to others. But the act of learning that knowledge first is strongly implied.
; From [
] G3844 and
] G2564; to call
, that is,
):--beseech, call for, (be of good) comfort, desire, (give) exhort (-ation),
intreat, pray." "G3844. para,
; A primary preposition; properly
, that is,
(with genitive case)
(literally or figuratively), (with dative case)
of (objectively or subjectively), (with accusative case) to the
with (local [especially
to] . . . above, against, among,
at, before, by, contrary to, X friend, from, + give [such things as they], +that [she] had, X his, in, more than, nigh unto, (out) of, past, save, side . . . by, in the sight of, than, [there-] fore, with . . . ." "G2564. kaleo,
; . . . to "call" (properly aloud,
but used in a variety of applications, directly or otherwise):--bid, call (forth), (whose, whose sur-) name (was [called])."
To call another to come along side and to
encourage, urge, entreat, exhort, urge, and support another.
; From [
] G3326 and [
, that is,
:--give, impart." "G1325. didomi,
prolonged form of a primary verb (which is used as an alternative in most of the tenses); to
(used in a very wide application, properly or by implication, literally
or figuratively; greatly modified by the connection):--adventure, bestow, bring forth, commit, deliver (up), give, grant, hinder, make, minister, number, offer, have power, put, receive, set, shew, smite (+ with the hand), strike (+ with the palm of the hand), suffer, take, utter, yield." "G3326. meta,
; A primary preposition (often used
adverbially); properly denoting
; "amid" (local or causal); modified
variously according to the case (genitive case
, or accusative case
) with which it is joined . . . after (-ward),X that he again, against, among,
X and, + follow, hence, hereafter, in, of, (up-) on, + our, X and setting, since, (un-) to, + together, when, with (+ -out). Often used in composition, in substantially the same relations of
be understood as "beyond". Meta-giving, then, is giving beyond that of others, sacrificial giving, or the ability to give beyond that of others. Great giving, or giving more than others can give.
; from [
] G4253 and [
, that is, (in rank) to
or (by implication) to
be over, rule." "G4253. pro,
; A primary preposition; "fore", that is,
in front of
) to . . . above, ago, before, or ever." "G2476. histemi,
; A prolonged form of a primary . . . to
intransitively), used in various applications (literally or figuratively):--abide, appoint, bring, continue, covenant, establish, hold up, lay, present, set (up), stanch, stand (by, forth, still, up) . . . .
To stand before, preside, manage in front of, over others.
; From [
] G1656; to
word or deed, specifically by divine grace):--have compassion (pity on), have (obtain, receive, shew) mercy (on)." "G1656. eleos,
; Of uncertain affinity;
(human or divine, expecially active): - (+ tender) mercy."
show, share compassion, mercy, grace on another who is in need, either divine or humans.
(sharing God's wealth with others)
"Every man according as he purposeth in his heart,
so let him give
grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7).
God has marked some people as givers.
They just seem to be able to find and or
make (or resources) where the rest of us struggle to do so. These folks have the "Midas touch" and make accumulating wealth look so easy. Warning: those of us who try to mimic these folks will find out that we don't have the gift of giving and may lose a lot in trying! These special people tend to stay in the background and give quietly to those causes that God has prompted them to do so. Givers are not always obvious to us as those who walk in God's light are not flashy or pretentious about their gift.
Givers tend to give generously - but carefully.
Whereas many of us will listen to a
hard luck story and offer the requester some money, a giver discerns the real need. I learned long ago that those looking for a handout for a meal really want it for drugs or alcohol. When I started to offer to take them to lunch, well, no thanks anyway! A giver checks and rechecks the requests and the needs of a project as well as discerns if God is in the project or if it is just the desire of some preacher or church. Like the TV evangelist that needed his followers to help him get his fourth private jet! I doubt that a Spirit-filled giver helped with that project. Givers must check out the project and, if they determine that the Lord is in it, they tend to give quietly and anonymously.
Givers are personal givers - as we should be also.
The one with the gift of giving
does not give away other people's money. He/she is a personal giver, able to make money and able to give money. They tend to have no debt. They don't presume on other's money. There may be a giver in a position within an organization responsible for the finances and also funding of special projects, and therefore they may have responsibility for the gifts others have provided, but they are careful to treat those funds as carefully as they would their own. We could all do well to emulate the givers in the careful way they distribute their funds to causes by careful analysis of the need and a prayerful check to see if God is in it.
Sacrificial giving is a special calling from time to time by Christ.
We can't keep up
with the giver in our giving. They are simply way ahead of us in making money for us to do that. However, we may see from time to time that even the giver will give sacrificially to a cause in order to accomplish what they believe is God's will. Note, however, the following: A giver gives sacrificially by denying themselves something - not by refusing to pay their debts. When a preacher asks you to give sacrificially, that is not a call to take money you owe to others and give it to the cause, but instead, to forego something you wanted/needed so that you can give. Example: if you have a car payment - you must pay it - you owe it. If you were saving up to buy a car and God prompted you to give sacrificially and that means that you have to wait longer to get that car - then that is acceptable if God has so prompted.
(goals, outline, preparations, planning, oversight of
"And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants. And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find
such a one
, a man in whom the Spirit of God
?" (Genesis 41:37-38)
The gift of organization means careful planning.
After interpreting Pharaoh's
dreams, Joseph gave him a survival plan to deal with the next fourteen years. Without Joseph's plan, Egypt would have fallen into devastation. The one with a gift of organization tends to find planning a natural process with insight of those who will do the work (skill sets), the kind of work to do, and the schedules needed to complete the tasks. Some with this gift tend to just "know" what to do, but they must remember that others need those things laid out for them so that they can also understand. The organizer must prepare and present well laid-out plans. Imagine what might have happen if Joseph had not!
The organizer must be able to handle reactions of others.
The organizer has a
unique gift, the ability to see what is needed to be done, often before others can see the need. In addition, he/she can also see how best and who best to do the tasks needed. Imagine the reaction if an organizer suggests a better way to do something, and worse, a different set of persons than that which has been used by a church for the last XX years! I can imaging that at least some noses were out of joint when Pharaoh picked Joseph to organize the land - at least until they saw how well he did so. So the organizer must also be a bit of a peacemaker and find creative ways to get all who wish to be involved - involved. They also need to have a bit of thick skin and take no offense when others strongly disagree. Compromise may also be needed.
Organizers need to submit to God.
Because of the point just made, and because we
do not wish to presume upon God, the organizer must learn to submit themselves to God for direction. Example: a loan might allow a church to complete a big project, but is that truly God's will for a church - to get into debt? Whenever the organizer begins to exercise their gift, so that they don't do it in the flesh, they need to spend time asking for direction. In fact, all of the gifts need to do this. "For that ye
we shall live, and do this, or that" (James 4:15).
(sympathy, rejoicing, compassion, weeping with those in pain)
"Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep" (Romans 12:15).
A mercy loves to rejoice with those that rejoice!
It is easy to laugh and rejoice with
those who are rejoicing as in a new-born baby, a successful activity, the return of a lost person, a significant weight removed, a healing, etc. The mercy will be all over it in spades. They seem to feel the joys of others and join in without feeling they missed out or wish that they had that good fortune. They generally don't get jealous over the good blessings of others.
A mercy generally does not enjoy weeping- but will weep with those that weep.
The mercy likes to rejoice, but it can really hurt them when someone is weeping/hurting. Some mercys don't like to visit hospitals or go to funerals. But as they fulfill their God-given gift, they must overcome this hesitancy, because it is their gift that is most needed at a time of loss. They certainly don't need a prophet to preach to them, or the teacher to tell them if they had only not done this or that. Weeping people need the mercy to come along side and weep with them, and thus, support them.
A mercy reflects God's mercy towards us.
God is a merciful God and His throne in
Heaven is called the Mercy Seat - a true reflection of His mercy towards us. He is often called the God of second chances as in the prodigal son. He often shows a tangible flow of mercy through those with the gift of mercy. When a mercy comes alongside a weeping person who has suffered loss, it is often the mercy who knows exactly what to say (or not say) to reflect God's mercy towards them. Others may as well (as in Nathan telling David that he would surely not die - but then Nathan did go on to tell him that the sword would not leave his family for generations - so much for just a word of mercy!). We need our mercys to reflect God's mercy towards us all.
A mercy may be compelled to not comfort the proud.
The Pharisee went to the
temple not to pray but to trumpet how wonderful he was. But the tax collector recognized his sin and begged for God's mercy. Pride causes a person to feel contempt towards others and causes God to resist him/her. The tax collector's anguished cry should be our cry. We all need God's mercy every day. God may give strong cautions to a mercy to avoid a certain person because He is dealing with their pride by resisting that person. A mercy must learn to discern when God is saying NO to comforting a prideful person suffering loss.
heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified
than the other: for every
one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
deceive you: For many shall come in my name, saying, I am
to say, If the Lord will,
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as
- Luke 18:13;14