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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

IV. A Gift of Gifts

Some believe that the gifts of the Spirit have died out when the "apostolic age" ended, claiming we don’t need them since we have the scriptures and the early church didn’t. Based on that assumption answer the questions to yourself or comment on them later if you wish. Remember all opinions are respected.
  1. Would the gifts be only for the early church or would they be for all Christians?
  2. Are God’s promises in the scripture for the early church only or are they for us as well?
But here are some things to remember as you answer the questions:
  • Through the Holy Spirit we have access to the gifts (Acts 2). God has set the gifts that each of us has and are distributed by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12).  1 Corinthians chapters 13-14 says the gifts must be exercised in love. Focusing on 1 Corinthians 13:8-14, some gifts will pass that are done in partial until the perfect comes. This passage can not stand alone because it will be taken out of text. Here is where people say that the gifts will die out. But they do not use the whole text, just this small passage. They will not "die out" as some have claimed. They will pass due to us not being perfect and not using them. They are temporary. However, no matter what, three things will never pass away. They are eternal. Faith, Hope and Love. Love is not only eternal on the inside but is also an action on the external. This is why it is the greatest of all. It neither passes nor is it limited. This is why the gifts must be exercised in love.
  • Gifts are not for competition but for edification.  Read James 5:12-17, prayer is the key to unlocking the gifts.
  • Gifts will overlap. There is no clear cut vision of how one gift differs from another. Think of a baseball illustration. An outfielder may play left field. However he may also play first base when needed. He has the qualities of both but "excels" in one more than the other.
  • There is a big difference between gifts, talents and fruit. Talent is natural. Anyone can have a talent, which is something someone is good at doing by natural abilities. Fruit is what is produced from a Christian’s life. Gifts are Spirit-given. They go beyond someone’s natural abilities.
  • Read Romans 12, Gifts come in variations and degrees. You may not have "as much" in a certain gift area as someone else. But this does not mean you are less important. You have a specific role, a responsibility. You have a specific passion, a ministry to serve in. And you have a measure of faith that is yours specifically. You do what God has called YOU to do.
We are the body. (Romans 12:4-6, 1 Corinthians 12:14-26) Paul always equates the use of gifts with that of the body of Christ.  The church will not hold together without all the body parts working together as they were meant to do. We can function just like someone who is missing a foot or an arm, but it will not be doing what is could be doing.

Definitions:Gift- something given to someone for free. Greek word is "charis".Grace- something given to someone to get through a situation, protection. Greek word is "mata".So God’s grace is what God gives you to get through situations. His grace is sufficient. He will get you through.God’s gift of course is eternal life but that kind of gift is different. We are talking about a spiritual gift. If you put the two words above together you get "charismata" which is what the Bible calls these things. A grace gift. Charisma. Something for free to get you through a spiritual situation.

Conclusion: If the promises of God are for us as well then the promise of Act 2:38 is for us as well. Because if the promises are not for us there is no hope for us, but alas hope is forever! The gifts are for us. All of them! And they are meant to be used, Ephesians 4:16, Matthew 25:14-30.

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