Two Journeys Ministry
In-Depth Biblical Content by Pastor Andy Davis

The Study of Spiritual Gifts (Sermon 14 of 14)

The Study of Spiritual Gifts (Sermon 14 of 14)

January 27, 2002 | Andy Davis
Matthew 25:14-31
Spiritual Gifts

Pastor Andy Davis gives a review of all the spiritual gifts covered in this sermon series and makes us aware that God gave us a spiritual gifts package and expects us to use it to build up His church.



This is our final look at spiritual gifts and my desire tonight is to do two things. I want to go through some of the gifts with you and look at what they are and how they might function very practically in the body. There's no way we can get through all of the gifts that are listed and go through a detailed description of how they would function, but I want to do some teaching and some application there, but I also have the desire to motivate you to use your gifts. And as we begin our time tonight, I'd like each one of you to think about the answer to this question. What is your ministry here at First Baptist Church, especially those of you that are members that have covenanted with us? What do you do here that advances the life of the church? In other words, how are you using your gifts within the context of this church?

Now, those of you that come on Sunday evenings, you show a special level of dedication and I appreciate that. I'm glad that you come out on Sunday evenings. When I was growing up Sunday evening church was not part of my church experience and so we're grateful that you're here and I think it's so important to be part, regularly, part of church attendance and worship. But that is not a gift ministry is it? That's not a spiritual gift ministry. Now that could be a context of a gift ministry. In other words, as you come in here, you come in with a ministry to do with an attitude, with a desire, and you can use your time here on Sunday morning and evening to exercise your gifts. But my question to you, and it is a rhetorical question, we're not going to have people stand up and say what they are, but do you have a definable ministry here that you are thinking about and for which you would consider yourself accountable, that you're holding yourself accountable to others and that people perhaps even know what your ministry is and that you are doing a ministry here? And that is just so vital and so important.

My role here tonight is to just try to exhort you to do your ministry, whatever it is. It's God that's prepared you for it and it for you. He's the one that's married the two together. My role as a spiritually-gifted teacher is to just make biblical issues clear to you so that you're motivated. Take a minute if you would and look at Philippians 4. We're going to start there tonight. And look at Paul's attitude. And while I'm doing that, Andy, would you mind maybe Tim too, passing out the sheets that list the gifts. Now those of you that were here last Sunday evening, you got a questionnaire, a spiritual gift questionnaire. I hope you all went through it. Some of you have already told me how the outcome came and some of you were surprised at what it showed and others weren't, but I thought that was a useful tool. This is simply the final sheet in which it just describes a variety of gifts. Not all of them but just some of them so that we can really look at it tonight. But I'd like to begin that you not look at the sheet right now just as you're receiving them, but that you look with me at Philippians 4:17. In chapter 4, Paul is talking about a gift that was given to him by the Philippian Christians. He's talking about money there. Isn't he? They gave him money. They sent him a gift of money and you have to understand this about people that were incarcerated that were in prison in the first centuries, that there was no support system for them. The prisons didn't consider themselves responsible to feed the prisoners. That wasn't their job. In many cases, they had to have an outside system that would bring in food and clothing and whatever was needed and prisons were absolutely miserable places in the first century. And so Paul is really living hand-to-mouth and basically depending on the gifts and the support of others. He talks in 2 Timothy about the household of Onesiphorus that wasn't ashamed of his chains but showed up there and cared for him. And he said, "May the Lord repay them." He was very concerned about this. But here he talks about the Philippians gift and what I think is so interesting in Philippians is his attitude about the money, that it's just a remarkable attitude and I'd like to share it with you. This is not a money talk. We're not talking about tithing and offering and all that, but I want you to think with me specifically about the issue of stewardship and how Paul thinks about it. Look what he says. Start at Verse 14. Well, let's go back actually a little further. Verse 10. It says, "I rejoice greatly in the Lord. At last, you've renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned but you had no opportunity to show it. I'm not saying this because I am in need for I've learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty." And then just a tremendous statement here, "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation." Isn't that amazing? How many of you have learned that secret, being content in any and every situation? And if you could get it from a pill or something you could drink a morning, a breakfast drink or something, what would you pay for a day's worth of full contentment in anything that you face? Wouldn't that be remarkable? I mean, you could be the president of a multi-billion dollar corporation if you could come up with something like that, but there is nothing like that. The contentment only comes by following and keeping in step with the Holy Spirit. But Paul said, "I learned the secret." And it's a remarkable statement and bears full weight at another time, but that's what he says. He says, "I am in need, but I've learned the secret." The point is not me. Isn't that the attitude that Paul's having here? “It's not me. My eyes aren't on myself. God is going to meet my needs.” So he goes on. He says, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." That verse frequently taken out of context, but it's just such a wonderful statement. And then he says this, "Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles." Notice the word yet. "For all of my joyful cheerfulness and my contentment in any and every situation and my attitude that I can do everything through Christ and all that, yet it was good of you to share in my situation." Isn't that interesting, the attitude that he has here? It was good of you. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, "When I set out for Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving except you only for even when I was in Thessolonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need." Now look at verse 17. This is the focus of our study verse 17, "Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account." very interesting statement. Now I looked it up in the Greek right before I came here and the word account is Logan, and basically there is a record being kept somewhere of things you do. Do you believe that? There's a record, there's an accounting of what you do and that it would include giving to somebody who is in need like Paul. But it includes so much more than that doesn't it? It includes everything you do, absolutely everything. And it certainly includes something as huge as your stewardship of your spiritual gift, doesn't it? The Lord Jesus Christ has given you a gift package, a spiritual gift mix. He's handed it to you. It's given to you according to the measure of Jesus Christ. He's measured it out to you. Is he expecting anything back from that? Do you think? Do you think that that is a matter of stewardship? And are not all matters of stewardship going to be also matters of accountability on judgment day? Do we not have to give an account for the things that were done in the body, whether good or bad, and wouldn't that include our spiritual gift ministry?

"Do we not have to give an account for the things that were done in the body, whether good or bad, and wouldn't that include our spiritual gift ministry?"

What I'm trying to say is I feel very much like Paul here. I'm not looking for anything for myself in that you use your gift ministries but rather that you just multiply the good deeds that you have to show on judgment day so that when you stand before God, you will not in any way be empty handed. You will not be ashamed in any way but you'll have a full measure of good deeds that you can present to God. And I believe many of them are going to be done along the tracks or the lines of your spiritual gifts, whatever they are. And so I'm exhorting you to love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, "We should consider one another how we may spur one another on toward loving good deeds." I'm trying to spur you on to consider your gifts and your ministry here that you might have a full compliment of good deeds to show. Paul says, "I'm not looking for a gift for myself. I'm looking for things that may be credited to your account." That's my concern here. And so also it is in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, you remember the story of Matthew 25:14-31. There's the accounting of a master who's going on a journey and he commits to his servants according to their abilities, one five talents, another two talent, another one talent. And then he goes off on his journey and you remember what they do, the one with the five talents put it to work and gained five more, the one with the two talents, put it to work and gained two more. The one with the one talent hid it in the ground and there was an accounting, wasn't there? There was an accounting. Now I think that there is in many churches a sense of that the spiritual gifts are really the purview perhaps of the ministerial staff or maybe the pastor in particular, the so-called myth of the omni-competent Pastor. I can assure you that I am living proof that it's false, all right? It is impossible for one person to have all the gifts. As a matter of fact, it isn't even good because we need each other, don't we? We need each other. We need each other's ministry. So it's not going to be the case that any one person has the full compliment of gifts, but rather we need what each other can give. And so we all need you to use your gifts, et cetera, one another or else we can't grow up to full maturity. But then there's the matter of judgment day, and that's what I'm saying as a teacher, I'm saying, someday you will stand before Jesus Christ, and I will not be with you at that time. I will be busy giving an account for my own life. And so each one of us must give a full account for the gifts given.

And so I returned to my original question, what is your ministry here? What is your ministry? What are you doing to help the church grow, numerically through evangelism and outreach and in spiritual maturity, through discipleship and the ministry of the Word? Now, there is a simplistic way of looking at church growth. I've said before, and I think it's still true, that you could look at evangelism and outreach and bringing people to Christ in one of two different senses. One is the kind of Alamo approach and the other is the D-day approach. The Alamo approach is a sense that "Hey, everybody's got to do evangelism. We all got to be busy out there outreach all the time." And you've probably been at churches like that or you've heard that kind of thing. And we all have a responsibility to reach out. Don't we? All of us are called to be witnesses. That can be easily proven from Scripture, from Acts and other places. But in that case, it doesn't really matter whether you're the cook or the bottle washer or the knife sharpener. You need to take your place at the wall because there's only 183 of you and there's 5,000 of them. And basically it doesn't matter what your name is or occupation, you need to be on the wall. You see what I'm saying? That's one view of outreach. Then there's the D-Day approach in which, "Hey, look, the Nazis have been there for over three years. They're well established. The only way we're going to get in there is if we are well organized so that the Quartermaster Corps does their part, the Navy does its part the artillery, the Air Force does their part. Air Corps does their part and those landing do their part." You see what I'm saying? It's a whole system. Now which of those two do you think more nearly approximates the New Testament approach toward outreach and evangelism? Is it not the second rather than the first?

And so what I would say is: we need to be put together like a body, like a church, and each of the gifts functioning well within the body, we're going to see maximum fruitfulness for Jesus Christ, maximum fruitfulness. All right? That's the plug. Use your gifts. That's all. I want you to use your gifts, discover, develop, use, discover, develop, use. Find out what they are, develop them to full maturity and then just crank it out. Just do lots of good deeds. "Store up treasure in heaven", Jesus said. What are you storing up in heaven? Certainly not justification. There's no storing up of justification. You're storing up good deeds done in righteousness for the glory of God, the good deeds that God has appointed for you to do, and I believe you're going to do them along the track of your spiritual gifts. It says in 1 Peter 4, "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others as faithful stewards of God's grace in its manifold forms." We are to be faithful stewards of these spiritual gifts.

"We need to be put together like a body, like a church, and each of the gifts functioning well within the body, we're going to see maximum fruitfulness for Jesus Christ."

Now you all have a sheet, and I would like you to take a look at it. And we're going to talk about these gifts specifically. We're not going to follow the order on that sheet because I had my own sermon, my own message. But I think all the ones that I want to talk about are on this sheet. And I think it's important for us to understand. Now, realize that these gifts listed here on this sheet, service, intercession, teaching, hospitality, leadership, et cetera, these are not an exhaustive list of possible spiritual gifts. There are others besides those listed on these two half pages here. And as a matter of fact, I don't even believe that there is an exhaustive list given in Scripture. We've talked about before that Romans 12 gives us seven gifts, prophecy, service, teaching, exhortation, giving, leadership and mercy. First Corinthians 12 adds without counting the repeats, wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, discerning of spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues, apostleship, the gift of helps and administration. Ephesians 4 adds without repeating, evangelist and pastor. Now as we put all those gifts together, that's 20 gifts that are listed without repeat. Some of them are repeated, but there's 20. And then if you go across and start looking at some other things, you may be able to add to it from the Scripture. But I think that these lists are meant to be suggestive, not exhaustive. But the point is it's enough to go on, isn't it? And if we had all of these gifts fully operative in our church, what kind of powerhouse would we be for the gospel? It's remarkable if all of these gifts were being used to their fullest. Now let's look at them individually and see if we can figure out exactly what they are.

Let's start with the gift of service, the first one listed in Romans 12, “If someone's gift is serving, let them serve.” The sheet that you have says "The gift of service is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to identify the unmet needs involved in a task related to God's work and make use of available resources to meet those needs, thus helping accomplish the desired goals." Now, the word literally means ministry. We get the term deacon from it. So it wouldn't be surprising, for example, if someone were called to be a deacon that they might have the spiritual gift of service. That would not surprise us. That really does line up. I'm just telling you that that's the word in the Greek that we would use for the gift of service. You have, of course, the seven original servants in this way in Acts 6, you remember the widows being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. These were seven gifted men, all of them I think Greeks, if you look at their names, who had I think pretty evidently the gift of service, the ability to marshal resources to meet a specific need in the body of Christ. And so there's this gift of service. Now realize again with all of these gifts, I think it's easier to see with some than with others that all of us are called to be servants to each other, aren't we? And so when we read that deacons are to be servants or that the pastor to be a servant, that's not surprising. We're all supposed to be servants. Every last one of us is to serve one another. But the gift of service is somebody that just has an outlook to find ways to move resources around in the church to meet a need, and I think it's a marvelous thing.

Closely related to that is the last one they describe here, the gift of helps. This is listed in 1 Corinthians 12:28. "The gift of helps involves the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to invest the talents they have in the life and ministry of other members of the body, thus enabling them to increase the effectiveness of their spiritual gifts." So basically you're coming alongside somebody and just pumping into that person and helping them along. Does this sound like a discipler, for example, a discipleship relationship? I think that that might be a good example of how the gift of helps might work. You're coming alongside somebody and you're saying, "I would like to help you be everything you can be for Christ. I would like to help you mobilize your own gifts, your own resources to the building of the body of Christ." And so you would find this kind of person involved, I think in discipleship a great deal. Sometimes it's just a simple matter of helping in the simplest way. I think an example of that would be the stretcher-bearers in Capernaum, in Mark 2. You remember those men that brought that paralyzed man? They're just carrying him on the mat. And do you remember what it says about that? It says, "When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed, man, your sins are forgiven." Why the plural? Well, he's looking at the whole group of them as they come and bring Jesus, all of them carrying him had faith as well, not just he himself. And so they had the gift of helps I think, or at least it's an example of one, somebody that would be willing to take their resources and put them to the specific need of an individual.

Now related to this... And as I'm looking over, I don't see it here on your sheets, but I'm just going to describe it as the gift of mercy. Now, the gift of mercy I think is a special ability to feel genuine empathy and compassion for individuals, both Christian and non-Christian who are suffering physically, emotionally or spiritually. And to translate that compassion into cheerfully done deeds which reflect Christ's love and alleviate the suffering. How many times does it say of Jesus that he had mercy on someone and healed them? You see what I'm saying? As he walks by, he sees a blind man and he has mercy on him, or they're even crying out for it, “Lord, have mercy on us!” What it means, I think in this specific sense is alleviate our suffering. Bring resources to bear so that our suffering in this world is alleviated, the gift of mercy. A good example from scripture might be the Good Samaritan. The good Samaritan goes by and sees somebody lying in a ditch and he has mercy on him. And Jesus even says that. Now, which of those had mercy, the one who had mercy on him, which of them was a good neighbor? The one who had mercy; there was a sense of mercy there. And so these people with this gift just have an outlook to find suffering where it is and to alleviate it. Now let me ask you a question. How would somebody or even a whole operation or service of ministry, of the gift of mercy in a local church help evangelism? Think about that. Well realize that people with the gift of mercy are going to be going out into the world finding suffering and alleviating it. And they're going to, in the same way, be bringing those people, I think, into the life of the church. And so they have a very powerful impact I think, on connecting or bringing people into the hearing of the gospel. Now, they themselves can and should be sharing the gospel. But maybe somebody with the special gift of evangelism, the ability to communicate the gospel very clearly will be the actual one who leads that person to Christ. Maybe not. Any one of you can lead somebody to Christ as the Spirit leads, no question about it. But you see how the gift of mercy could work even in our church. We're a downtown church, aren't we? Aren't there opportunities for us to alleviate suffering around us? Didn't Jesus do that? And wouldn't it be that perhaps you have that kind of a sensitive, compassionate heart to see ways that our church could alleviate suffering, and then you can start getting things together, right? All right, you got somebody with the gift of mercy who's got that outlook, that compassion, and then somebody with the gift of service is able to put the thing together, also perhaps the gift of administration, to be able to figure out a good way to make it a viable ministry. You see what I'm saying? That's how it begins to happen, and it's already happening in our church. It's not like this is shocking or new. The Spirit's been working this kind of thing. The Caring Center for example, and other benevolent type ministries that we do are examples of it, but I think we can do more. And I think people with the gift of mercy are going to be able to do that.

The next gift on my sheet is the gift of teaching, which is third one down on yours and it says on your sheet, "The gift of teaching is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to communicate biblical information relevant to the health and ministry of the body and its members in such a way that others will learn, that others will learn." Now obviously there are many examples of the gift of teaching in the Bible. The apostle Paul is a great teacher. And we had teachers in the church at Antioch in Acts 13. These are people who have the ability to just take the written word of God and unfold it and just get things out of it, mind truths and pour them out for the strength of the body. And churches need many teachers, not just one or two, but many and all the more as the church starts to multiply. So we're going to want to see the gift of teaching.

The next one on my sheet is the gift of exhortation or encouragement, which is not on your sheet. I don't see it, but I think it's such a vital gift, isn't it? Think of somebody that had the gift of encouragement in the Bible. Wouldn't Barnabas be a great example? It's somebody... I'll read my definition, "The special ability to minister words of comfort, consolation, encouragement, exhortation, and counsel to other members of the body in such a way that they feel helped and strengthened." It's almost like this kind of person comes alongside and just breathes new life into you. You know what I'm talking about? Just when they speak, you just feel strengthened when you listen to them. Those kind of people are so valuable, aren't they? Don't we get worn down in the ministry? Don't we feel like we want to give up? Ministry's not easy. We just had an international ISM, International Student Ministry, team meeting, and it's just so easy to become discouraged in ministry, isn't it? If you don't see immediate results or fruit. And so at that point, people with the gift of encouragement come alongside and just breathe new life, say, "Don't give up. You're doing good work. God is helping you, and God has blessed you and God is calling you and we're going to see things if we don't give up." They'll quote scripture perhaps. Remember how Barnabas did that? Remember Barnabas, his name was actually Joseph, he was a Levite from Cyprus, but they nicknamed him “Son of Encouragement” because he was just such a lavishly, encouraging guy. Well, how did it function? We see it at least twice in the New Testament, once in the case of a man named Saul of Tarsus who nobody wanted around. He was the ultimate pariah and nobody believed his conversion, least of all the church in Jerusalem. And so along comes Barnabas and basically puts an arm on and says, "He's all right. He's with me. All right?” And he just brings him into the body, into the group, and he encourages him. And then later on he's going to go up to Tarsus and get him and bring him down to Antioch so that they can minister together. We see that encouragement ministry, and then we see it again in the case of John Mark where John Mark just blew it on their first missionary journey, he just cowardly, I think, retreated from the work. And Paul said, "That's it. No second chances with me. No way. You're not going on this second missionary journey." And he said, "No." And Barnabas said, "Yes, God has big plans for this young man." Well, as you read in Scripture who was right? Barnabas was right. The encourager was right. "Get John Mark", said Paul later. "Get John Mark and bring him with me because he's very useful to me in my ministry. All right, all right, I was wrong. All right? John Mark was a great guy and I sold him short." He still had... he made a mistake. But you see how Barnabas came alongside and encouraged and kept him going. Now, what would've happened if there'd been no gifted encourager at that point? John Mark would've wilted and think of all the good works that God intended to do through John Mark. And I think because of the ministry of Barnabas was able to do those. And so exhortation and encouragement, we're going to be looking for that.

All right. The gift of giving, the gift of giving, is that on the list there? You don't have it. See, I told you it was incomplete. The gift of giving, now, what is the gift of giving? Well, it's a special ability to contribute sacrificially material resources to the work of God with abundant generosity, faith and cheerfulness. That's a great gift in the body of Christ, I'm telling you right now. Now, there's some things, as we said at the ISM meeting there's some things that money can't buy. For everything else, there's the gift of giving, right? To paraphrase that commercial, all right? There are some things you just need money for. There are just some things you need resources for. And God has abundantly blessed some of these folks with a lot of material resources in this world. Is that for an accident? Not at all, but that they might take it and convert into heavenly currency by giving it away, by giving it away. And so we see that. But it's not just wealthy people. Sometimes it can be poor people with the gift of giving. The Macedonians are examples of that. 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, you don't have to turn there, but just listen. 2 Corinthians 8, it says, "We want you to know about the grace that God has given to the Macedonian churches out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able and even beyond their ability, entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in the service of the saints. They gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us." Now, I just listed out attributes of this. They gave even in the midst of severe trial. They gave even when they were poor themselves. They gave with overflowing joy. They gave with commitment to the Lord. They gave with commitment to the Lord's work. They gave with a sense of privilege and gratitude. They gave with incredible faith. They gave beyond natural ability and they gave it their own initiative. People with the gift of giving do that. They do it all the time, and not just money. They just take what they have and make it available to you, lavishly. I was reading about this Texas industrialist, R.G. Lurtenau. I can't pronounce his name. But he founded a secular corporation whose ultimate purpose was to make money for the gospel. Eventually, his company, Lurtenau Incorporated, gave 90% of its stocks and profits yearly to the advance of the gospel. 90% of the stocks and profits of that company went to the advancement of the gospel. At one point, his corporation was worth 40 million dollars. And this is what he said, "It is not how much money I give to God, but how much of God's money I keep for myself." Isn't that interesting? And that's the attitude of somebody with that gift of giving. And so we would like to see people with that gift of giving. And again, what is Paul's attitude in Philippians 4:17? “Not that we need it, but you need to give it.” Isn't that his attitude? So if God has lavishly blessed you with financial resources, you need to give so that you can convert that earthly stuff, which is of no use at heaven, I can tell you right now, they don't use that currency up there, but they use something else. And that's stuff done by faith for the advancement of the gospel. That'll be waiting for you on judgment day. And so every dollar you give by faith to the Lord's work, it'll be waiting for you. It'll be there. It's credited to your account in Paul's language. It's been multiplied to your account, so the gift of giving.

Now, another gift that I think is fascinating is the gift of faith. Now, it's interesting to me because obviously every one of you has faith or you're not a Christian. If you don't have faith, you're not a Christian. We're justified by faith. But this is something else now. See in the up right-hand side of your sheet there: “The gift of faith is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to discern with extraordinary confidence, the will and purposes of God for the future of his work.” Wow. These are the visionaries. It's like they can just see what God is going to do. You know what I'm talking about? And they're not making it up. And certainly they're not forcing or compelling God to do their vision. Faith is not an arm-twisting of God by men. It's not that at all, because we have enough faith and God's got to do what we want him to do. That's not it at all. Rather, faith is a sensitivity to what God is planning to do, and God starts to open up his plan and his heart to those people more and more. Isn't that remarkable? George Mueller is a great example of a man with a gift of faith. We've talked about him before. Remember the story about the fog? What a great story that is. The story about the fog, some of you are remembering. Some of you seem like you're in a fog. Others are nodding. And I remember... But what a great story. This is a man who trusted God for literally thousands and thousands of orphans over his 62 years of caring, literally caring for thousands, I think 13,000 orphans. All right. Think about... You think somebody with a family of six is a large family. He had a family of 13,000 and he cared for them by faith. And how many times did he get on his knees and ask God for things and trust God for bread and for clothes and shoes and a bigger place and all that so that toward the end of his life when he was on a ship and needed to be somewhere to do the Lord's work and the ship had shut down because of fog, he goes up to the captain and says, "Why have we stopped?" And he said, "There's a fog. It's impenetrable and we have to wait for it to move." He says, "Well then I need to find another way to get there. I've never missed an appointment and I'm not going to miss this one." Now he's in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. You're going to find another way? This is before helicopters now, okay. "Another way to get there, you're crazy." He said, "No, if the fog needs to lift it, it'll lift. Let's pray." And the man looked at him like he was from another planet, but Mueller just kneels down and the captain started to pray and he stopped him. You remember that? He stopped and said, "Don't. First of all, you don't believe that he will. And second of all, I believe he already has." And so he prayed simply, "Lord, remove the fog so that I can get there in time." That's all. No magic words, just, “Lord do it.” Now let me ask you a question. Did Mueller move God to move the fog? Not at all. It was God communicating his special will to a man like George Mueller. People with the gift of faith are in communication with God in a way that they can see where God wants us to go. They can see the future. They can see the vision. And isn't that valuable? I mean, there is almost infinite ministries we could do. How do we know which ones God's leading us to do?

We need people with the gift of faith and we need people with the gift of administration. I feel this one most acutely. I think there are two gifts that I covet more than anyone else. I think I know what my gifts are, but the gifts that I'm just jealous over are the gifts of evangelism and the gifts of administration. Why evangelism? Because people like Bill Bright and DL Moody and all that, they have all these great stories. They just go to a Vietnamese restaurant and they lead three people to Christ and they go back and lead others to Christ, those Vietnamese. I mean it's just... Everywhere they go. I mean somebody sits... Everybody that sits next to Bill Bright on an airplane is going to come to Christ. It's just the way it is. I mean it's just there's no hope for that person. There's all hope for that person. It's remarkable. I try to witness every time I sit on an airplane, but I don't see those kind of results. And I have to just realize, listen, my gifts are different. I need to be faithful to be a witness and I will never give up on that. I'm going to try to witness because I really want to lead somebody to Christ and I have led some to Christ but not like them. And so I covet that gift of evangelism. Some of you have that gift. And I want to see you afterwards. I want you to come up and we're going to talk, right Steve? Get that outreach organized. We very much would like to see that. All of us have the responsibilities. Some of us have the gift, but also that gift of administration. I covet that one too. I'm just not a well organized guy. Look at this. Look at this. This is a mess. I've been struggling with this all my life. At any rate, the gift of administration, the ability to organize well and marshal and think through everything that needs to happen ahead of time. It's almost like a practical kind of prophecy where you're figuring out the future and well, "We'll need this and this needs to happen and we need to make these 15 phone calls. And if we don't do it by this time, forget it. It's over." And they think these things out. We need all of these gifts operative in the church.

The last one I want to talk about is the gift of intercession. It's there, second on the left. “The gift of intercession is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to pray for extended periods of time on a regular basis and see frequent and specific answers to their prayers to a degree much greater than as expected of the average Christian.” I believe that God wants great things for this church. I really believe that. But I believe they're only going to happen as we begin to pray for them. There are some blessings that God just withholds from a church until they really seek him for it and they'd just begin to pray. And who leads out? It's these people with the gift of intercession. They feel it more acutely than anybody else that we need to pray for these things. All of us should feel it, but some just... They just have this gift. And when they pray you, don't you... Have you ever prayed with somebody like this? You just feel like you're being lifted up into the presence of God. And so we have that group of people who have the gift of intercession and they ignite a fire in the rest of us as we all have the Spirit within us crying out “Abba Father” and we can cry out to him. But some have that gift. So we've gone through some of these. There's more that we can talk about. But the question is, what is your gift or what is your gift package? And therefore, from that, what is your ministry going to be here at First Baptist? Life is short. You don't know how much longer you have on earth. Make the most of every day. Make the most of your gifts that you've been given. Let's close in prayer.

Father, it's been a wonderful study to look at spiritual gifts and how they function in the body. And Father, for us to understand more about what the church is and how we function together. Father, I thank you for each of my brothers and sisters here and how much I feel very much my need of them. Father, I need them and they need me. We need each other, Lord, very, very much. Father, we need those with the gift of encouragement to step up and encourage one another. We need those with a pastoring and a shepherding heart to look after one another in brotherly love. A sense of, “How are you doing and how is it going with you?” We need those with the gift of intercession to be faithful in prayer. Those with the gift of evangelism, Lord, to just go out in a remarkable way and lead many, many to Christ. And those with the gift of helps or perhaps discipleship, to take those new ones and encourage them and exhort them and those with the gift of teaching to teach so that they grow to full maturity in Christ. Oh Lord, we need all these things. Father, help us that nothing be wasted. You set us that example when you fed the 5,000, Lord Jesus, and you gathered all of the broken fragments and pieces, and you said why and the answer was that nothing would be wasted. God, I pray that not a moment and not a gift would be wasted. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

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