The Study of Spiritual Gifts (Sermon 10 of 14)
November 25, 2001 | Andy Davis
Pastor Andy Davis preaches a verse-by-verse expository sermon on 1 Peter 2, Romans 12, and Romans 15 with a focus on what these holy texts say about spiritual gifts.
- SERMON TRANSCRIPT -
We have to study spiritual gifts for a while. We're going into December, and you know what that means? So we'll be taking a break from spiritual gifts, but I'd like to make the most of it tonight and try to look at some things. We've been talking about how to discover and to develop and use your gifts. But before we do that, I want to give you an incentive from the Word to use your gifts. So let's start tonight in a familiar place, 1 Peter chapter 2. We're going to talk again about the priesthood of believers and specifically what it is that we are supposed to be offering to God as priests. We know that if we're priests that we have an offering to offer to God. We are to lift up a sacrifice to him, and I want to talk some about that. There's really a remarkable train of thought in scripture on this topic.
But let's start with 1 Peter 2:4. It says there, "As you come to him, the living stone rejected by men, but chosen by God, and precious to him. You also like living stones are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." So the image here is of a holy temple rising to completion, and we've talked about this before. The same image as pictured in Ephesians chapter 2, the idea of a holy temple, a spiritual building rising to completion in the Lord. We know that it's not complete yet. We've got the sense of an ongoing building project here. It says, "As you come to him, the living stones.” So the fact is that these living stones are presently coming to Christ, aren't they? And they've been coming to Christ for 2000 years, and Jesus said, "Anyone who comes to me, I will in no wise cast him out." So anyone who comes to Christ, he's going to welcome them and going to receive them, and they are according to this passage, living stones. So they're going to go right into the wall. There's a place for them, and each one of you have already been built into a place in the wall that only you can occupy. I like to think of it in terms of a jigsaw puzzle. You had to fit in that place that was for you and for no one other than you, and you were fit in there at the right time when you came to faith in Jesus Christ. So you have come to the living stone. You've come to Jesus Christ. At just the right time, you came to him and you were put into your place in the wall. So you are like it says, "Living stones being built into a spiritual house."
Now the difference between a living stone and the dead stone is that a living stone bears fruit and takes in nourishment, and there's a principle of activity. There's a principle of growth. Good things are happening with that living stone. So it's like you're in the wall and then you pop down out of the wall and perform the duty of a priest and then you're back in the wall again. It's a little complicated image. "Am I in the wall or am I a priest in the building?" Well, according to this passage, you're both, because it says that you are a living stone being built into a spiritual house. Another word for a spiritual house is a temple. So we are the temple of Jesus Christ. We the worldwide church of Jesus Christ. We are the temple of Christ. We are the place where he is honored and worship- the place where he dwells. We are a spiritual, spiritual house to be a holy priesthood. So we are both the temple and we are also the priest in the temple. The purpose of that is that we may offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. So we are all, every one of us, called to be offering up daily spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Now, what I'm contending right now is that the way we do that primarily as gifted people is through our spiritual gifts. As we use our spiritual gifts, we are in an ongoing sense just going to be offering up spiritual sacrifices to God acceptable to him. Everything you do to serve and to build up the church of Jesus Christ is an offering acceptable to Jesus Christ. If you keep reading in the passage, I'll read the intervening verses just because they're so magnificent. I don't want to skip them, but I'm not going to comment on them. I'm going to get down a little further. In verse 6, For in scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,” and, “A stone that causes men to stumble, and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message- which is also what they were destined for.
"Everything you do to serve and to build up the church of Jesus Christ is an offering acceptable to Jesus Christ."
But now look at verse 9, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood," a royal priesthood. Isn't that marvelous? There's a blending of king and priest in each one of us as children of Jesus Christ. We are a royal priesthood, but not individually, together; collectively, we are a royal priesthood, "a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God," and here's this word ‘that’, "that [or for the purpose that] you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." Is that not one of those sacrifices that we should be offering, that as we declare the praises of him who brought us out of darkness into light, we are offering up sacrifices to God acceptable to God through Jesus Christ? So when we come in here on Sundays, as we should be doing day after day, we are offering up the fruit of lips as sacrifice that praise his name. We're giving thanks to him. We are a royal priesthood together and that's how we worship. All of us worship together. I know that Bill’s passion is that we not be an audience, but rather those that are offering up together, collectively a sacrifice of praise, and we should be doing it day after day. Isn't that right? Not just on Sundays.
So we are a royal priesthood, a holy nation that we may offer up these sacrifices of praise, “declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people...” Fascinating. “Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you have not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." Who is he talking to there? What category of people could he say truthfully, "Once you were not a people," who is he talking to? Gentiles. At one point you were not a people. Now you're the people of God. He's using Jewish language here to speak to Gentiles, strangers in the world scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia. They're gentiles just like you and me, but he's using sacrificial temple language here in reference to what we could and should be doing: we are to be offering up sacrifices to him. Isn't that fantastic?
Well, look with me back at Romans chapter 12, and then Romans 15, we're going to see how this whole thing came about. Now in Romans chapter 12, Paul urges the Romans, who are themselves Gentiles, or I think there are Jews amongst them, that they should, in Romans 12:1, "I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship." So not only are the Gentiles to be offering up praises, to declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light… By the way, there's just power to that, isn't there? Just say, “Praise you and thank you, Jesus, for saving me. Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Is that not honoring to him? Isn't that what our mouths were for instead of some of the things we use our mouths for? Isn't it better to fill them with praises to God and say, “Thanks be to God, that he saved me, that he took me out of darkness into his wonderful light.” But now we're going beyond that, not just our mouth, but our whole bodies. Every part of us offered to God as a living sacrifice, holy, and pleasing to him. This is our spiritual act of worship. So as we just present ourselves to him, we are pleasing to him. We are like a sacrifice. We are an aroma, but we're a living sacrifice. We're not once for all a dead sacrifice, but a living sacrifice.
Now we're going to come back to here. But go over to Romans chapter 15 and beginning at verse 14. This is a wonderful verse, this section in here, and it just gives us such an insight into the mind of the Apostle Paul. Look at 15:14, beginning there, "I myself am convinced, my brothers that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete a knowledge and competent to instruct one another." That's quite a high opinion he has of the Roman church. Isn't that true? Romans 15, about when do you think we'll get there? We're in chapter 7 right now. At our present rate, we're looking at what? Sometime in January. What? Four years, Tom? Okay, well, we'll see. But we're going to take a break after Romans 8, and so it may lengthen out a bit. At verse 15, it says, "I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again,” now listen here, why does he write them? “Because of the grace God gave me.” Now what does that mean when Paul talks about the grace God gave me? We've learned about this. What is he referring to? It's his what? Well, I don't think it's salvation. It's a specific thing that God gave him. What is it? His spiritual gift, "by the grace God gave me, I've got a role to play in building the body,” “the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles." He knows his place. He knows what he's called to do. He's got a role to play. He's got a job to do, and he is the minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, and look what he says, "with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God." Isn't that interesting? He calls it a priestly duty. What does that mean that his proclamation of the gospel is a priestly duty? How does he see it? Well, it means that he is seeing himself in that spiritual temple offering up sacrifices as he goes from town to town to town preaching the gospel. He is offering up a sacrifice to God. He's offering up himself. He's presenting himself to God as a living sacrifice; all day long he's considered sheep for the slaughter, right? He's willing to die in any town, every town, willing to die for Christ, literally. But he has something more than that. He just doesn't have a desire that he pour out his life. But more than that, he says, "with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit." The Gentiles are his offering. He's offering the Gentiles up to God. Well, what does that mean? It means they hear the gospel that he preaches, they come to faith in Christ and they are an offering, an aroma/fragrance acceptable to God. It's priestly language. So he sees himself in the spiritual temple, and as each of those living stones get put in place, that's an aroma going up to God. It's that Jewish sacrificial language, that's his ministry as one of the priests of God. He's offering up the Gentiles. "The priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit." So much we could say about that.
But look over with me to Isaiah chapter 66, and here we see the same idea. I don't even know if this is where Paul got this idea, but I think it's so marvelous at the end of one of the greatest books in the Bible, Isaiah… Which is the book that isn't the greatest? They're all great, but I just love the richness and the beauty of the visions of Isaiah. At the end of Isaiah in 66:18, beginning at verse 18, there's so much we could say about this chapter, but this is how he begins Isaiah 66:18, "And I, because of their actions and their imaginations, am about to come and gather all nations and tongues, and they will come and see my glory." What does it mean that he's going to gather all nations and tongues to come and see God's glory? Well, I think this is a foretaste of the great commission work of the church. That the Word is going to go out to the ends of the earth, and people from every tribe and language and people and nation are going to come and see God's glory. They're going to come and see his glory, keep reading, "And I will set a sign among them, and I'll send some of those who survive [that's the remnant] to the nations. I'm going to send them out to the nations, to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece and to the distant islands." Who is he talking about? There's a remnant of Jews he's going to send out to Greece. Can you think of a Jew that went to Greece and proclaimed the glory of God? Could it be the apostle Paul? He said, "I'm going to send him to Greece and other places,” “and to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame, or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations." That's a great way of speaking of the great commission. We're there to proclaim the glory of God to the nations. How glorious is he, how majestic and how wonderful. "They will proclaim my glory among the nations, and they will bring all your brothers from all the nations." He's calling Gentile converts brothers to the Jews.
We're one family, one tree, we're grafted into the same olive tree, uses the image in Romans 11, we're one family through faith in Jesus Christ. He says, "They're going to bring all your brothers from all the nations to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the Lord." Do you see that? They're going to bring these gentile converts to Jerusalem and to the Holy Mountain as an offering to God, “‘to the Lord- on horses, in chariots and wagons and on mules and camels,’ says the Lord. ‘They will bring them as the Israelites bring their grain offerings to the temple of the Lord and ceremonially clean vessels.’" Isn't that amazing? So the Gentile converts are going to be an offering to God, acceptable, purified by the Holy Spirit. Now keep reading, look at verse 21, "‘And I will select some of them also to be priests and Levites,’ says the Lord." Isn't that amazing? So not only are the Gentile converts themselves in offering to the Lord, but what are they going to be, also themselves priests and Levites to the Lord. That's the very thing that Peter talks about in 1 Timothy 2. Do you realize that this Bible is written by one author, God, and that there is one story and it unifies so beautifully. There's a thousand details that could tie it together. But what I want you all to think of yourself as is Gentile converts who are yourselves an offering up to God, but also priests in the temple of God, that you have a priestly duty, and your priestly duty is your spiritual gift ministry, whatever it is, and that day after day, as you offer up your gifts, you're offering them up to God.
"I want you all to think of yourself as is Gentile converts who are yourselves an offering up to God, but also priests in the temple of God, that you have a priestly duty, and your priestly duty is your spiritual gift ministry."
Look with me at Philippians, chapter 4, it doesn't really matter what it is, whatever your gift is, it's a spiritual offering acceptable to God. Look what he says here in Philippians 4, well, start at verse 18, 4:18. It says, "I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I've received from a Epaphroditus the gifts you sent." He's talking about money. Apparently, the Philippians sent some money to Paul to help him in his ministry. So it could be that some people with the spiritual gift of giving, of generosity gave some money to help Paul in his ministry, right? And this is what he says, "They [namely the gifts] are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God." Isn't that beautiful? So just the fact that they gave the money is an aroma, an acceptable sacrifice pleasing to God. Just as when Paul leads somebody to Christ, it's an aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God, or when someone else gets on their knees and prays for a period of time for the advance of the gospel, it's an aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God, for we are a kingdom of priests. We have a ministry to do. And there's not one of you that's excluded. All of you have a ministry. Every last one of you has a calling, something to offer to God. Nobody comes empty-handed to the Lord. We all have an offering. And so, I would contend that you should discover and develop and use your spiritual gifts so that you can be priests in his house offering up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God.
So what do I mean by discover your spiritual gifts? Go back to where we started in Romans 12 and we'll talk more about that. How do we discover the spiritual gifts? God willing, if we return to this topic in January, as I hope we will, I will present to you a list of spiritual gifts as they're listed in the... Where's Romans? There it is. Does it ever move on you? It's always in the same place. But no excuses, Romans 12. There it is, a listing of the gifts as they are printed in the Bible. But what I would say to you is that these gift lists are not meant to be exhaustive or complete. Do you notice that every single last one of the listings is different from all the others? They're all different. They're all meant to be suggestive, I believe. But I still think it's good to get them all compiled in one place, so you can see at least some of those things that are suggested. But we are to discover our gifts. And so it says here in verse 2, Romans 12:2, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you'll be able to test and approve what God's will is, his good pleasing and perfect will, for by the grace given me," There's that language again as code language, "For by the spiritual gift ministry, I got. I'm going to tell you something. I'm an apostle and a teacher to the Gentiles. I'm going to tell you how to use your gifts.” “For by the grace given me, I say to every one of you, do not think of yourself more highly than you are, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function. So in Christ we though, many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." We have different gifts according to the grace given us. So the fact is, you're supposed to think of yourself. Okay, that much is clear, “do not think of yourself more highly than you are, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment.” So we just take all those words away and just say, you need to think of yourself. Think about who you are. How has God made you? This is an important step in discovering what your spiritual gift is. Think about yourself, but think of yourself in proper proportion to the rest of the body, not more highly than you ought as though, you're absolutely indispensable to the body or something like that or more lowly than you ought as though you had nothing to contribute or your ministry is not important, but think of yourself rightly in connection with the body in conjunction with the faith that God has given you.
So as we sum all that up, we already covered this last time, if you want to discover your gift, you present your body to God as living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to him, a daily willingness to serve him in any way, then you renew and transform your mind by the word of God day after day, and then you'll be able to test and approve what God's will is. “For by the grace given me, I'm going to tell you how to use your gift.” You see how it works. That's how you discover your gift. Me, giving you a list of the spiritual gifts is really only, I think, just ancillary to this part. This is how you do it. It's this spiritual process as a priest before God to present yourself and say, "What can I do?"
Well, then the next step is developing the gift. Now, why would we need to develop our gifts? Don't they come fully formed? Well, I don't know of very much that comes fully formed in God's universe. All things grow. All living things grow. Isn't that true? Is there not a principle of growth always in the kingdom of God? Isn't the kingdom of God like yeast that a woman took and mixed in a large amount of flour until it permeated through the whole dough? Isn't the kingdom of God like a mustard seed, which grew until it became a large plant, so that the birds came and nested in its branches? Isn't there a principle of growth in the kingdom of God always? Doesn't it say in Mark chapter 4:26 and following, “Jesus said, ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how all by itself. The soil produces grain. First the stock, then the head, then the full kernel in the head, and as soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.’" So, in other words, there's a principle of growth in the kingdom of God. It starts out as a seed, grows up into the stock, and then there's the leaves and the head, and then harvest time comes. So it is with our spiritual gifts. We have to develop them. And I know that there is a clear teaching on this if you look at Paul's admonitions to Timothy.
Take a minute, and look over at 2 Timothy 2:15. 2 Timothy 2:15, this should be very familiar to those of you that are coming on Wednesday evening, and if you're able to make the time, I think you'll enjoy it. We're talking there about rightly dividing the word of truth. Here's the verse that it comes from, 2 Timothy 2:15. It says there, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing..." I think is a better translation the NIV, "rightly dividing the word of truth." Now, we've focused on Wednesday evening on how that we should rightly divide the word of truth. But I want you to understand, not all of us are called to be teachers. It says in the book of James, "Let not many of you presume to be teachers." So most of us actually are not teachers, and those of you that are not teachers according to James should be relieved because those who are teachers are held to a higher standard. You have to give a more severe account on judgment day because it's just so important that the teaching be right and the life behind it be right, too. But some are called to be teachers, and so you can't hide your talent in the ground because the master's a harsh master- he's not harsh. We need to use our gifts. All of us need to learn, as best we can, rightly to divide the word of truth. But Timothy, I believe, was called to be a pastor-teacher. So therefore he had a special calling concerning the word of God; did he not? So he had to be especially diligent in this matter of the Word. 2 Timothy 2:15, "Do your best," that means labor, be diligent, work hard. "To what end should I work? Paul, what do you want me to do?" "So that you can present yourself to God." Does that sound familiar? Romans 12, "That we are to present ourselves to God as living sacrifice?" Well, day after day you're to present yourself to God. What he's saying is get to the point where you can present yourself to God as a fully formed workman. A craftsman, really. I think Paul's using craftsman language here. Do you remember reading in the Middle Ages, they had these things called trade guilds? You know what I'm talking about, about a trade guild? If you were, for example, a carpenter or a worker in metal, goldsmith, or a silversmith, maybe. If you wanted to be part of that guild, you had to present to them a masterpiece, and until you did the masterpiece, and it was accredited by the guild, you were not a master. So that's the language that Paul's using here. Now Paul was a tent maker, of course, and so maybe there was this kind of an arrangement with tent makers. If you want to be a master tent maker, you had to make a good tent, and when you presented your masterpiece, they would inspect the seams, and they'd look at the proportions and how it was cut and all of this, and see if you'd done it well. So in effect, he's saying, “Go present yourself to the real master, God himself, and say, ‘Am I rightly dividing the word of truth? Am I cutting it straight? How am I doing?’" And what he says is, you have to do your best to present yourself as a master craftsman. Somebody who handles the craft. Well, that takes labor, doesn't it? There's a development, then, in the spiritual gift for Timothy.
He's better at the end than he was at the beginning, or should be. He knows more of the scripture. He is more able to divide the scripture rightly at the end of his life than he was at the beginning. Look over at 1 Timothy 4. He says the same thing there. 1 Timothy 4:13, and following. 1 Timothy 4:13, says, "Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of scripture." By the way, I really enjoy the public reading of scripture in our church. Isn't that wonderful, to stand up and listen to the verses read? I really enjoy that, there's something powerful about hearing the word of God read. So it says it right here in 1 Timothy 4:13, "devote yourself [or give yourself] to the public reading of scripture." By the way, that was very important for them. Why was it more important for them than it is for us? They didn't have the Bible. Do you realize what kind of blessing we just take for granted? How many Bibles do you have at your home? I mean, these folks didn't have anything. They had to listen to it read, that developed good listening skills. Sit forward with your hands folded in your lap, attentive. We're going to pay attention. It's good listening skills because if you didn't have good listening skills back then, you missed it. You didn't get the word of God. So you had to listen. Well, also, then there's a certain craft, I think, to reading the Scripture, putting the right emphasis on the right syllable so that you are emphasizing the right words, and there's a right way to read Scripture, too. That's why anyone who reads Scripture, we ask them that they would read it over four or five times first. You know when somebody's reading it for the first time, can you tell? So there's a craft to reading Scripture. It should be read with power. It should be read in a certain way. It should be read with understanding. So he says, "give yourself [or devote yourself] to the public reading of Scripture,” Not only that it be done, but that it be done well, and it'd be done often, much, “to preaching and to teaching.” he says. “Devote yourself to these things.” Then he says in verse 14, very interestingly, "Do not neglect your gift," Wow. "Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders lay their hands on you." Verse 15, "Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress." Is this not the development of a spiritual gift? "Work at it," he's saying. "Get better at it than you were before. Everybody should see how you're doing. They should see your progress. They should see that you're better at preaching and teaching in the public reading of scripture at the end than you were at the beginning, and the only way, Timothy, that you're going to do it is if you devote yourself to it. Be diligent to do this, work at it and develop it." Well, I'm taking this one spiritual gift and I'm applying it to all of them. I think you can do it with any spiritual gift, that if your gift is the gift of giving, for example, you can devote yourself to it, be diligent at it and develop ways to give, if that's your gift. If your gift is encouragement, that you should consider how to spur one on toward love and good deeds. There's a considering that goes into it, a development of the gift so that you're better as an encourager 10 years down the road than you are now. There's a development to the gift. I think it's just the same principle you get of the talents, the five talents, and then five more. There's a multiplication of it, a growth.
And so, I'm urging you, not just to discover your gifts, but to develop your gifts. Be diligent to grow in what you are good at, what you're called to do. “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them,” isn't that beautiful? Be at them is a better translation, be in them. Remember how Jesus as a boy, when he was separated from his parents for a while, age 12, and then they found him. You remember what he said? He said, "Why were you looking for me everywhere didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" Well, it's the same Greek construction we get here, be in them. Kind of dwell in your spiritual gift. Be at it all the time. That's how you develop it. Just do it and study how you can do it better. “Be in it, give yourself wholly to your gift, so that everyone may see your progress.” Watch your life and your doctrine closely. Wow, that is true of us all, isn't it? Those are the key matters of the Christian life. That is sanctification. Watch your life closely. Watch how you live and watch your doctrine, too. I believe this is the primary job of a pastor, is to look over the life and doctrine closely of the church. So, he says, "Watch your life and your doctrine closely. Persevere in them because if you do, you'll save both yourself and your hearers." So there's a perseverance in the spiritual gift. You're going to be better at it at the end than you were at the beginning. You're going to have to labor at it. You're going to have to be diligent, and you're just going to have to do it. So there's a cycle. You're discovering your gift, you're developing it, and you're just going to be using your gift on and on as the church grows.
One last verse I'd like to look at with you this evening, in 2 Timothy 1:6. There it says, again, similar advice, "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." Isn't that a marvelous verse? “Take that gift that you have and fan it into a flame.” Isn't that growth? Isn't that a matter of growth that we are more? I think this is a picture of zeal here, isn't it, a fire, a zeal, a burning desire to please the Lord? It says in Romans 12:11, "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor serving the Lord." There should be a fire to it. So if your spiritual gift is a glowing ember right now, blow on it, add some tinder to it, get it into a little flame. If it's a little flame, then get it into a little crackling fire. Just add some larger log and on and on until it's a roaring bonfire, right?
"Don't neglect your gift," he said, but actually, on the converse fan, your gift into flame. Let it get bigger and stronger. Our church needs that from all of you, all of you who are members of First Baptist regular attenders, too. We need you to use your gifts. We need you to use what you have to offer and fan those gifts into flames so that we grow and we are offering a sacrifice to God, pleasing to him as well. We grow together corporately. One last thing I want to share with you. You need to talk about Paul. He said, "I have the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God." He said that we should present our bodies as living sacrifice. That's the spiritual gift. That's the priestly image. At the very end of his life, in 2 Timothy 4:6, Paul says, "I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure." So Paul went out as a spiritual sacrifice, the way he lived his life. He was a spiritual sacrifice every day of his life. And then God poured him out to the very end. And so, that's the way I want you to see yourself. You have something to give. God put it in you by grace. Pour it out day after day after day, offer your spiritual gift. Discover what it is, develop it, and then use it for the health of the church.