Read: John 15; Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12
Remember this important fact; the Prime Directive for Spiritual Gifts is for service to God's family!
As you grow in the understanding and use of your Spiritual Gifts, you will realize that you are in a relationship of dependence upon Christ. He is Lord and He is empowering you. Your Gifts are not your efforts; rather, they are the work of the Spirit through you. We are the tools; He is the Workman using us. This is an awesome privilege--to be loved and used by the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe! We have to realize our dependence is necessary; if not, our efforts will quickly turn into pride. The real work will then cease, and the Church will fail. Remember, it is not about us, it is about Him. Christ needs to become more in you and you must become less. Then, the ministry will flourish (John ; 15:1-5)!
With the mindset of surrender to Christ (Galatians -21; Philippians 3:1-14) you will see the dynamic impact of the gifts synergistically working together in your church. You will see real authentic growth in faith and maturity--the growth that Christ wants from His Church. Your impact in the neighborhood and world will increase ever so much. But, remember, once you start to accredit His work as yours, you will have to repent! If not, the work will soon be lost! Awesome power requires great responsibility. Be responsible with His Power at your disposal!
Romans 12: 3-13: How we are to do it.
General Idea: Spiritual Gifts are much more than the talents and abilities we have. They are the means for the Body of Christ to function in health and in distinction. They separate us from the evil ways of the world; yet, if they are misused, they will inflict the very things they are meant to prevent. They are to empower us for the service of our King, and to cooperate and build relationships with other Believers for a synergetic reaction for good, for service, and for the building of the Kingdom.
Unfortunately, what we usually find in the church is strife, dysfunction, gossip, and slander, because our pride gets in the way of His call. Thus, the Gifts are neutralized or turned into weapons of dysfunction. Rather than reach out and disciple as we should, we fight amongst ourselves, or develop false doctrines. The Body cannot do things well or function correctly when we are puffed-up with ourselves. We cannot function by pretending, or out of hate. In order for us to be used effectively by Christ, we must be infused with love and joy as we do our part.
1. How we are to treat each other and ourselves
Although this is not a normal topic in today's Christianity, it is, however, a necessary one. We must have a correct self-image, not just one of "self esteem," or who we are to ourselves or to people around us, but who we are in our relationship with our Lord. What He has done for us must perambulate us! When we have a healthy grasp of our Redemption, then our self-esteem should be boiling over with Christ-esteem.
2. For the Christian, the most significant thing in the universe is who we are to and in Christ!
Thus, we should never feel insecure or have the "poor me" attitude when we have Christ in our lives. (Gal. 3 6: 3-5) We need to be over comers. This is a tough task, but we can do it with our Lord at the helm! The opposite is true, too. We are not to think we are "little gods" or "rulers of our domain."
· We are never to go beyond our self-image at others expense, and especially the Lord's. He is God. We are not!
· Being a depressed Christian is shameful (unless there are times of loss and brokenness or chemical imbalance in the brain…and if this is so, one should seek godly help from qualified pastors and counselors.) To continue in a life style of depression (without seeking help) and poor self-image is unnecessary. Christ died to rid us of this kind of shame!
· Paul, people, Christians, and ministry all exist because of Christ's work of Grace. Never forget who you are!
· We must never allow our leadership position, or who we are in Christ to "puff us up!"
· A condescending Christian is an "oxymoron" (with the emphases on being a moron!) Like "jumbo shrimp," the two terms just do not go together!
3. Unity is the responsibility of the Believer to the church Body.
We have unity as well as diversity in the Body. This is necessary to our functioning together. We cannot all be the same. We are to see our differences as "filling in" each other's gaps and deficiencies (1 Corinthians 12-14; Ephesians 4:7-15).
· We are never to be pretentious with Spiritual Gifts or in ministry in general, but, we are to use them to encourage and build up, never to tear down. Authenticity is extremely important (1 Timothy ). God does not need us to wear masks and pretend.
· Kindness is the proof of authenticity.
· Be aware of leaders and people who are more concerned for their own needs and agendas than they are for God's clear doctrine and purpose (Titus 2)!
4. We must practice the Christian faith with a since of urgency. There can be no hesitation to serve the Lord. Else, we will miss vital opportunities.
· Being humble is to share with one another rather than be so concerned with our agenda and our needs. To cooperate means to create an environment of trust and encouragement, so that people will want to join and belong as they see that there is no pride or arrogance (Proverbs 3:7; Philippians 1:2-8).
· When we are selfish, and stingy with our sharing, we create an atmosphere of distrust. Who would want to be a part of that?
· How we react to the non-Christian environment will distinguish us as either Christ-like or as hypocrites. Which characteristic do you think our God desires?
5. Now you are ready to start a
This is very simple, have small groups meet for each of the Spiritual Gift categories. You may combine ones that are similar. Meet for a specific length of time such as four to six weeks. The purpose is to have a leader, experienced in that Gift, to mentor and explain the Gift to the participants.
· In this group you are to get to know each other.
· Read thorough the definitions and Scriptures of that Gift. You may visit other churches that are using the Gifts. Remember to be discerning!
· Put the Gift into practice; assign each person a "job" in the church that requires that Gift to practice it.
· Meet back to discuss and go over one another's experiences; brainstorm how to be more effective.
· Get busy and do what God has called and gifted you to do! Look up and experience the wonders Christ has for you!
Discussion Questions: (These questions can also be used in the
1. How do you repay people who tease or joke at your expense?
2. How do you and your church practice hospitality?
3. What does the "Body of Christ" mean to you?
4. Why are Spiritual Gifts more than just talents and abilities?
5. How can Spiritual Gifts be misused to cause strife instead of unity?
6. What causes Spiritual Gifts to be misused?
7. What happens when Spiritual Gifts are being exercised effectively?
8. Why would we as Christians fight amongst ourselves instead of exercising unity as Christ calls us to do?
9. To serve Christ effectively we must be infused with __________? Why do some people find that so hard to do?
10. What is the correct self-image we should have as Christians?
11. What can you do to develop a healthy image of who you are in Christ?
12. Christ-esteem means what to you?
13. Who are you in Christ?
14. Why is this the most significant thing in the universe for the Christian?
15. Why would some Christians feel insecure, or have the "poor me" attitude when they have Christ in their lives? How does this affect their ability to minister? Remember we all are ministers together!
16. Read Galatians 6: 2-5. How can you test your own actions?
17. What do you need to get rid of so you can carry your own load? Thus, we should never_________?
18. Why would being a depressed Christian, who does not seek help, be shameful? How does this affect their ability to minister?
19. What causes a leader in Christ to "puff" himself up? How does this affect their ability to practice the Gifts?
20. Why is a condescending Christian an "oxymoron"?
21. Unity is a responsibility. So, what are the responsibilities? For us to function in unity, what do we need to see in each other? For us to function in unity, why is diversity so important?
22. What is the danger in pretending with Spiritual Gifts, to say you have one that you do not have?
23. Why is authenticity so extremely important in Christian leadership?
24. What is kindness to you?
25. How can kindness be used as the proof text to authenticity? Why is kindness essential to practice your Gift? What happens when we are not kind?
26. How do you view prophecy? (Refer to the description)
27. Why is prophecy so often debated and misused in the church?
28. How can prophecy be used today in the church?
29. What comes to your mind when the subject of "word of knowledge" comes up?
30. How can "word of knowledge" be used today in the church?
31. How and why are some Christians more concerned with their own needs and agendas rather than with God's clear doctrine and purpose?
32. What can the church do to guard herself against pride from her leaders?
33. What are the vital opportunities we miss when we do not practice the Christian faith with a since of urgency?
34. What do you need to do to put humbleness and sharing with one another above your own agenda and needs?
35. We are never to go beyond our self-image (will and pride) at another's expense, and especially the Lord's. So, how can you set up a check and balance system for yourself and/or your church to guard against it?
36. What do you need to do to be an over comer, to be one who is not bogged down in depression and a "poor me" attitude? This is a tough task, but we can do it with our Lord at the helm.
37. What do you still need to lean about Spiritual Gifts? How can you learn it?
When we are selfish and stingy with our sharing, it creates an atmosphere of distrust, and, who would want to be a part of that? The manner in which we react to the non-Christian environment will distinguish us as either Christ-like or as hypocrites. Which attitude do you think our God desires in our practice of His Gifts?
ã 1983, 1987, revised 2001 R.J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com