1 Peter 4:10 NIV Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
There are three categories of Spiritual Gifts; ministry gifts, manifestation gifts, and motivational gifts. Today's sermon is on the motivational gifts. These gifts; Prophecy, Service/Ministry, Helps, Teaching, Giving, Exhortation/Encouragement, Administration, Leadership, and Mercy reveal the personality of God.
Click the YouTube Link at the end of the manuscript for the audio recording of the sermon.
Romans 12:3-8 NKJV 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. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 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; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
1 Peter 4:10 (NKJV) As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
We have been talking about spiritual gifts the last two weeks so I want to continue that today.
A little review;
God has given each of us gifts and abilities to use in His service. Every Christian has at least one Spiritual Gift
The gifts differ, but have these common elements.
(1) Each is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit's presence.
(2) Each is "for the common good," that is, each is intended to build up the body of Christ.
(3) Each is given "as He The Holy Spirit determines."
The 20 Spiritual Gifts listed in Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:1-12, and Ephesians 4:11-15 along with 1 Peter 4:10-11 are generally divided into 3 categories:
MINISTRY GIFTS: Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher.
The ministry gifts serve to reveal the plan of God. They are characteristic of a full-time office or calling, rather than a gift that can function in and through any believer. We will talk about these gifts next week.
Manifestation Gifts Prophecy, Speaking in Tongues, Interpretation of Tongues, Faith, Healing, Miracles, Word of Wisdom, Word of Knowledge, and Discerning of Spirits.
These gifts serve to reveal the power of God. These gifts are supernatural or spiritual in nature. We talked about these gifts last week.
The third category of gifts is the one that we are going to talk about today and these are the motivational gifts. The motivational gifts serve to reveal the personality of God. These gifts are practical in nature. They describe the inner motivations of the Christian servant.
- Administration, Leadership
We talked about prophecy last week but a quick review.
The Greek word for the gift of prophecy is propheteia which is the ability to receive a divinely inspired message and deliver it to others in the church. These messages can take the form of exhortation, correction, disclosure of secret sins, prediction of future events, comfort, inspiration, or other revelations given to equip and edify the body of Christ.
The people with this gift are not the same as the Old Testament prophets who spoke the authoritative Word of God directly. Their words were recorded as Scripture as they proclaimed, “Thus says The Lord,”
Under the new covenant the Apostles, not the prophets, took over the role of Scriptural proclamation from the Old Testament Prophets. We will talk about that in two weeks.
Those with the gift of prophecy are sensitive to both the prompting of the Holy Spirit and the needs of the church body. They should be humble and continually study the Scriptures in order to test these revelations before speaking them. When they do speak, they should allow and even expect others to weigh what is said against the Scriptures and interpret the message accordingly.
1 John 4:1 NIV Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 NIV Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 NIV For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
The divine enablement to attach spiritual value to the accomplishment of physical tasks within the Body of Christ. This is a special anointing by which one stands alongside and serves, in a very personal way, those leading the Church. The helper knows personally how to serve their needs and can sometimes speak with authority on their behalf
- Characteristics: These people are absolutely essential to the life of the church. They are the ones who flow to the obvious needs automatically. They don't need a lot recognition, just appreciation. They value serving the leaders because they see the value of serving in support of those up front. They are the ultimate team players of Christ's church.
- Cautions: They can devalue their contribution to the Lord's work, and they may not see their abilities as being a spiritual gift, given by the Holy Spirit.
- Scripture Example: Tabitha
Acts 9:36 NIV In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor.
Romans 16:3-4 NIV Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.
The spiritual gift of service, or ministering, covers a wide range of activities in its application. There are two Greek words for this gift. The first one, found in Romans 12:7, is Diakonia.
Romans 12:7 NIV if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;
The basic meaning of this word is “to wait tables,” but it is most often translated in the Bible as “ministry.” It refers to any act of service done in genuine love for the edification of the community.
The word Antilepsis is translated “helping” and is found in 1 Corinthians 12:28.
1 Corinthians 12:28 NIV 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.
The Holy Spirit endows some believers with this gift to fill the many gaps of ministry and meet the needs of the church as it fulfills the Great Commission. The goal is to energize the church and free up others to use their gifts to the fullest. The result is the continued edification of the church and the added ability to see beyond its own needs and reach out into the community.
Those with the gift of service are committed to the spread of the Gospel. They serve in ways that benefit others with different gifts and ministries that are more public. They have a heart devoted to Jesus and a desire to follow
Acts 6:1-7 NIV In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
1 Corinthians 16:15-16 NIV You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people. I urge you, brothers and sisters, to submit to such people and to everyone who joins in the work and labors at it.
Those with this gift do not seek recognition or a position in the “spotlight,” they just love to help out. They are content with serving in the background knowing that their contribution will bless the church, display the love of Christ to the world, and bring glory to God.
The divine enablement to understand, clearly explain, and apply the Word of God to the lives of listeners. The Teacher explains what the Prophet proclaims.
The spiritual gift of teaching is one that carries a heavy responsibility in the church. Like every believer, teachers are to be stewards of every word that comes out of their mouths. But the greater responsibility to which they are called is to be stewards of the Word of God to His people. Teachers have been entrusted with the task of effectively communicating what the Bible says, what it means, and how we as followers of Jesus Christ are to apply it to our lives here and now.
James 3:1 NIV Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
• Characteristics: The teacher is a good communicator. This person has a thirst for knowledge and loves to learn. He is generally self-disciplined and usually prefers to teach groups, more than one on one.
Gifted teachers do not just teach Bible knowledge and doctrine, but when they explain God’s truth, people are set free of sin, natural limitations, depression, fear, anxiety, and the anointing breaks bonds off the listeners, freeing them from Satan’s lies and the world’s deceptions. A naturally gifted teacher may be able to explain to people why they sin and what the Bible has to say about the sin, but a teacher who is spiritually gifted releases the Holy Spirit’s power through the gift to set the other person free.
• Cautions: The teacher may struggle to keep things simple because he is too detailed, not wanting to miss anything. He can be too profound, theological, and even esoteric. This can result in a sense of superiority and the teacher becomes unteachable. He can also get frustrated when others don’t get it and can’t keep up his pace for knowledge and insight. Teachers are often good communicators and lousy listeners.
• Scripture Example: Timothy and others
2 Timothy 2:1-2 NIV You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.
The divine enablement and ability to contribute money and material resources to the work of the Lord with cheerfulness and liberality. Those with this gift love to share with others the overflow of blessings God has given them. They are typically very hospitable and will seek out ways and opportunities to help others. They are also excellent stewards and will often adjust their lifestyles in order to give more to the spread of the Gospel and the care of the needy. They are grateful when someone shares a need with them, and are always joyful when they can meet that need. ,
- Characteristics: These people give generously, freely, and joyfully. They don't just give money, but they are free with all of their possessions. They are not always the "rich" among us but they have the ability to make money and increase wealth even though they have no interest in possessions. They give above and beyond their normal tithe. They see themselves as caretakers and stewards of their resources and they usually prefer anonymity when they give.
- Cautions: They can think that giving should give them respect and a place of leadership in the church. They can make the error of replacing serving with giving. Another caution is that those with this gift can see themselves as the ultimate authority, deciding through their giving which ministries are worthy to fund and which will die of financial neglect, rather than leave those decisions to the Holy Spirit through God's appointed leaders, pastors, and ministers.
- Scripture Example: Early Believers
Acts 2:44-45 NIV All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.
Acts 4:34-35 34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, 35 and laid them at the apostles' feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.
The divine enablement to reassure, strengthen and affirm those around you.
- Characteristics: This person is an exhorter. (To urge by strong, often stirring argument, admonition, advice, or appeal) The term is derived from a Greek word whose literal meaning is "to come along side". The Greek words for exhorter come from the same root word as paraclete, which is the word used to describe the Holy Spirit The encourager regularly helps others to apply God's word to their lives in a productive fashion. They bring comfort to those who are going through difficult times, and they tend to be very positive and complimentary. They are expressive about God's will being attainable and their goal is to motivate, comfort, and challenge.
- Cautions: They need to guard against being a "yes man or woman" and they may not be good at confrontation when it is needed. Their optimism may not take into account when some issues need the "prophet's challenge" in order to be corrected.
- Scripture Example: Barnabus
Acts 4:36 36 And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, 37 having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.
The divine enablement to understand what makes an organization function, and the special ability to plan, execute, and achieve procedures that increase the church's organizational effectiveness. This gift is distinguished from regular administration in that its focus is to edify the church.
• Characteristics: The administrator loves to organize, strategize, and systematize things so as to make them run more smoothly, efficiently, and effectively. They are experts at knowing how something works or functions. They are constant improvers of the system and can tell others how to get something done or get from point A to point B. They are great trouble shooters and anticipators of problems.
• Cautions: They can become so focused on the tasks, charts, and graphs that they lose sight of the people. They may be too "black and white" in their approach to issues and problems. They can tend to lack flexibility and depend on systems and strategies more than the Holy Spirit to get things done. They are detailed people who need the visionary leader to inspire them. In leadership, this gift needs to be supportive of apostles, prophets, and teachers.
• Scripture Example: Baruch (Jeremiah 36:4-8 4 Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah; and Baruch wrote on a scroll of a book, at the instruction of Jeremiah, all the words of the Lord which He had spoken to him. 5 And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, "I am confined, I cannot go into the house of the Lord. 6 You go, therefore, and read from the scroll which you have written at my instruction, the words of the Lord, in the hearing of the people in the Lord's house on the day of fasting. And you shall also read them in the hearing of all Judah who come from their cities. 7 It may be that they will present their supplication before the Lord, and everyone will turn from his evil way. For great is the anger and the fury that the Lord has pronounced against this people." 8 And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading from the book the words of the Lord in the Lord's house. )
The divine enablement to attract, lead, and motivate people to accomplish the work of ministry. The spiritual gift of leadership is closely related to the gift of administration and, interestingly, the spiritual gift of pastor/shepherd, which we are going to talk about in a couple of weeks. The Greek word for the spiritual gift of leadership is proistemi. This word means to lead, to assist, to protect and to care for others.
They are “visionaries” and less concerned with mundane details than those with the spiritual gift of administration. Many are entrepreneurial and willing to take risks to see the kingdom of God advanced through the church. They will go to great lengths to protect those under their care and are well-equipped to lead through crisis situations.
- Characteristics: These people are overseers and goal setters in the church. They are motivators of vision and direction. The good ones are team players and delegators who take the initiative when others do not make decisions. They are natural leaders who can point out the direction and course that others will follow. They dream big. Credibility and respect need to be built up before an individual can truly exercise this gift.
- Cautions: The leader can have the potential of becoming overconfident and perhaps demeaning of other gifts. They have the potential of losing sight of the individual and only seeing the "mass" or "the crowd". Leaders can often tell others where the church is going and where a ministry is heading, but they are poor at charting the course in showing others how to get there. They are often poor at details. Good leaders must surround themselves with people who have the gifts of administration and of helps.
- Scripture Example: James the half-brother of the Lord Jesus
Acts 15:13-15, 22-39 13 And after they had become silent, James answered, saying, "Men and brethren, listen to me: 14 Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written: 22 Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas who was also named Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren. 23 They wrote this letter by them: The apostles, the elders, and the brethren, To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings. 24 Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, "You must be circumcised and keep the law"--to whom we gave no such commandment--25 it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.
The divine enablement to minister cheerfully and appropriately to people who are suffering. The Greek word for the spiritual gift of mercy is Eleeo. It means to be patient and compassionate toward those who are suffering or afflicted. The concern for the physical as well as spiritual needs of those who are hurting is covered by the gift of mercy. Those with this gift have great empathy for others in their trials and sufferings. They are able to come alongside people over extended periods of time and see them through their healing process. They are truly and literally the hands and feet of God to the afflicted.
The Holy Spirit gives the spiritual gift of mercy to some in the church to love and assist those who are suffering, and walk with them until The Lord allows their burden to be lifted.
- Characteristics: People with this gift assume the needs of others. They often desire to remove the pain of others. They aren't merely sympathetic, but they take action to alleviate the suffering. They often find themselves focused around social issues and they develop ministries along those lines (i.e. the homeless, sick, those in prison, single mothers, the poor, etc.). They reflect the heart and compassion of God.
Romans 12:15 NIV Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Galatians 6:2 NIV Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
- Cautions: They have the potential of being rescuers. Some pain and suffering is allowed and used by God as a tool to teach and correct behavior. The person with the gift of mercy needs to be aware of when God does not want the pain immediately removed, and when rescuing someone actually may perpetuate the problems in that person's life.
- Scripture Example: The Good Samaritan
Luke 10:30-35 30 Then Jesus answered and said: "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.
33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.'
Spiritual gifts without love don’t accomplish God's intended purpose
When Paul wrote to the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians he was writing to a church where all the spiritual gifts were in operation. God had given them for the edification of the body and each of them, but they were misusing them, they were abusing each other, they thought one gift was superior to another, they were puffed up with knowledge, so what did he say?
1 Corinthians 12:29 - 13:3 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way. 1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
You might be a teacher. You might be an accountant. You might be a janitor.
But your greatest calling is to use the gifts God gave you to make sure more people will go to heaven.
Identify Your Spiritual Gift(s)
If you don't know your spiritual gift I encourage you to identify it's needed in the church. There is a link to a Spiritual Gifts Inventory on the Spiritual Gifts page that will help you identify your gift(s). If you are sitting on your gift then your congregation is missing it like the body missing a finger. It can’t function at the optimal level without that finger as small and insignificant as you might think it is it still keeps the body from functioning as God would have it. But above all else use your gift in love.