Series: He Gave Gifts
Message – Gifts, Ministries & Energies Pt. 1
At the end of today’s message, I felt led to encourage our church towards faith in recognizing their gifts, using them and seeking God for the expression of greater gifts. I decided to separate that part of the message from the main portion and make it available here – Encouragement towards faith.
Today we are going to learn about three categories of God’s grace given to His people, to equip, mature, strengthen, exhort, comfort and edify each other. Before we get into that however, we need to go back over Ephesians 4:11-15, to bring back Paul’s words fresh to mind, so that as we explore these three categories, they will have greater meaning.
One thing which is of HUGE importance is that the emphasis the Holy Spirit makes on the fact that we are – One body!
“(11) And He personally gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors-teachers, (12) for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, (13) until we all reach unity in doctrine and in the full, experiential knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. (14) Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. (15) But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head–Christ. (16) From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part. (17) Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer walk as the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their thoughts. (18) They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts. (19) They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more. (20) But that is not how you learned about the Messiah, (21) assuming you heard Him and were taught by Him, because the truth is in Jesus: (22) you took off your former way of life, the old man that is corrupted by deceitful desires; (23) you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; (24) you put on the new man, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth. (25) Since you put away lying, Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another.”
Gifts, Ministries & Energies
1 Cor. 12:1-3:
As in Ephesians 4 (emphasized above) Paul here too, does not want us to be ignorant! In this case it is about “spirituals” or “spiritual matters”. Specifically, this most likely means matters pertaining to or proceeding from the Holy Spirit.
Contrary to popular belief ignorance is NOT bliss! In fact, what you don’t know can literally kill you…or at least lead to death of some type. God’s graces on the other hand, always lead to life…so let’s choose to not be ignorant shall we!
Paul reminds us of our old life before Christ and that in some fashion or another idolatry played a major role. Furthermore, those “idols”, whatever they were, did not speak – they were mute, yet we followed them. Paul says this as a introduction to the first thing he did not want us ignorant about, concerning the Holy Spirit…
Finally, Paul informs us that AS the Spirit speaks, He will always confirm the person and truth regarding Christ Jesus. Paul emphatically says that it can NEVER happen that the Spirit of God would ever lead someone to curse or deny Christ and that if someone is being truly led BY the Spirit, they will always confirm the Lordship of Jesus.
Now this may seem overly simple, but it is LITERALLY, “DON’T BE IGNORANT OF SPIRITUAL MATTERS 101”!
ANY spiritual gift, given and directed by the Holy Spirit will ALWAYS…and I do mean ALWAYS…glorify and place a spotlight upon Jesus as both Savior and King (Lord). Any “spiritual gift” that fails to do this, or which draws attention to man is NOT of God…PERIOD!!! Remember, even the devil can perform “lying wonders” – 2Thess. 2:9.
Remember the words of our Lord Jesus on this matter,
John 16:13-16, “(13) When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. (14) He will glorify Me, because He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you. (15) Everything the Father has is Mine. This is why I told you that He takes from what is Mine and will declare it to you. (16) “A little while and you will no longer see Me; again a little while and you will see Me.“
These words cannot be overstated! When the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost and as He manifestly accomplishes His work in the Christian community – He will cause us to SEE Christ! Jesus WILL BE GLORIFIED!
Three Categories, Three expressions of Grace
It is my belief that this chapter is largely misunderstood by the body of Christ. Yes, I know how that sounds, but I believe it none-the-less. I think if we take a step back and look at the entire chapter from a distance we can see a pattern, that is not as obvious when we are in the middle of the verses.
Verses 4-6 I believe provide an outline for the rest of the chapter.
In verse 4 we see that by the Holy Spirit we are given Gifts.
In verse 5 we see that by the Lord, we are given Ministries.
In verse 6 we see that by the Father, we are given Energies (more on this in a moment)
As we progress in the chapter, each category is addressed specifically IN ORDER. Beginning in verse 7 which starts with the words, “But the manifestation of the SPIRIT is given to every person for the benefit of all.”
In other words, Paul is about to give description to the Gifts he mentioned in verse 4 which are given as a manifestation of the Holy Spirit.
Later in verse 12, he will begin to talk about Ministries in the body, and finally those who ARE Energies in the body are brought up last in verses 27-29.
Now, concerning these three categories…
So to summarize:
- Gifts are an instantaneous, supernatural enabling given by the Holy Spirit to ANY and ALL believers for the edification of others IN THE BODY.
- Ministries are locations and “jobs” in the body with “sphere” authority. What that means is everyone in the body of Christ has a location they belong in the body, jobs through which their “gifts” find expression and people concerning whom the Lord has given them authority to speak into their lives.
- So…using Paul’s example of the members of the body to illustrate ministries….”a finger” on a natural body, has a place it belongs and MANY places it does NOT belong. It serves a function for the other members of the body and it has authority (responsibility with power) to act for the benefit of others.
- It does not minister to ITSELF. It exists for the benefit of others – in other words it operates and is governed by Agape’ love!
- Energies are certain people given AS gifts to the body. Yes, I know how that sounds, but let’s let God’s word define itself as it pleases without our interference. These “energies” have an “energizing effect” on those within their “sphere” of authority. They equip for ministry, encourage grown into Christ’s image and unify the rest of the body in sound doctrine. These are the ones who minister to the true ministers – which are the rest of the body of Christ.
Really only three of these are not super clear in their meaning and so it is for these that I will offer a clarifying definition.
- Word (logos) of wisdom (Sophia) = In a higher sense, wisdom, deep knowledge, natural and moral insight, learning, science, implying cultivation of mind and enlightened understanding. Sophía stands for divine wisdom, the ability to regulate one’s relationship with God.
- Word (logos) of knowledge (Gnosis) = has more do with comprehension.
- Prophecy = a inspired discourse declaring the purposes of God, whether by reproving and admonishing, or comforting, or exhorting, edifying or revealing things hidden. Even more than all the other gifts Prophecy testifies to Jesus!
A bullet list of points regarding gifts:
- Gifts are something everyone in the body has.
- Gifts are NOT the same things as talents! (For example, there is no spiritual gift of singing, or guitar playing or painting…etc. While these are God inspired talents, they are NOT spiritual gifts – however, they may be used as a vehicle FOR spiritual gifts.)
- They are given & directed by the Holy Spirit as HE wills – not based upon our whims.
- They are for the benefit of the body of Christ at large – NOT the one with the gift.
- You should desire the to be used by the Holy Spirit in these gifts.
- All of the gifts are not equal in their power to edify.
- Prophecy is the greatest gift – (1Cor. 14:1).
As stated above, everyone in Christ’s body has a place in the body where they belong and a “job” to do which will facilitate their gifts. This is SO diversified that it would quite literally be impossible for man to list every possible expression, since they can be expressed nearly anywhere and in countless ways, but that there is A PLACE and A SPHERE of authority for each believer is clear from scripture and we will spend time with this in future lessons.
Much has already been said of this group which include the Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor-Teacher, Workers of Miracles and perhaps others. In the last several week’s lessons we’ve spent quite some time with these so I would encourage you to go back and listen and read those weeks if you have not already.
This service had much content that is NOT written out here, so I would encourage you to listen to it WHILE you read…Blessings!
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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