Saturday, December 01, 2007
Purpose, Principles and Powers
On Veterans Day we see them gathering for their street marches, nodding with an unspoken respect to each other. 'They have known a liminality unlike anything the rest of us can imagine. They were separated from mainstream society, sent to a foreign land to undergo a life-and-death ordeal and then return to us as different people. 'Chose of us who have known nothing but Civilian life can never fully appreciate their experience. It is to each other, to the communitas, that they must turn for real understanding.
As long ago as 1465, this kind of battlefield camaraderie was described by the French knight Jean de Brueil:
Battle is a joyous thing. We love each other so much in battle. If we see that our cause is just and our kinsmen fight boldly. tears come to our eyes. A sweet joy rises in our hearts, in the feeling of our honest loyalty to each other; and seeing our friend so bravely exposing his body to danger In order to fulfill the commandment of our Creator, we resolve to go forward and die or live with him on account of love. This brings such delight that anyone who has not felt it cannot say how wonderful it is. Do you think someone who feels this is afraid of death? Not In the least I He IS so strengthened, so delighted , that he does not know where he is. Truly, he fears nothing in the world.
Peter Jackson's epic Lord o/the Rings film trilogy Lord of the Rings has a special poiece in it where in The Return Of the King, after Frodo and Sam have finally destroyed the ring and the evil Mordor has been defeated, the four hobbits return to normal life in sleepy Hobbiton.. There, they find themselves at a large wooden table at a noisy, bustling inn. The other drinkers are laughing and carousing, going on with life as they had always known it. But Frodo and his friends have experienced an adventure like no other. They have looked death in the face many times, and by. rallying together, they have not only survived, but also triumphed over evil. What of this experience could their friends and neighbours possibly understand? As they raise their tankards of ale to their lips, they look at each other-a long, knowing look. As their eyes meet, something unspoken is powerfully communicated. They know each other. No words can express what they are thinking, but they know each other's thoughts. This is the society found only with those who have been united together in a struggle.
The Lord of the Rings films are by no means the only ones that celebrate Common unity. In fact, I perceive that an astonishing number of movies have a common unity through struggles at their core. We love watching films in which a band of friends find deeper connection through the challenges thrown at them by an external threat, precisely because we desire that same connection with our own friends.
In Rain Man, a selfish, immature young man named Charlie Babbitt (played by Tom Cruise) is forced to drive his autistic older brother, Ray (played by Dustin Hoffman), across America to claim his inheritance. By the end of the journey, Charlie has been transformed by the relationship that he has developed with his brother. In the film The Princess Bride, an unlikely band of adventurers (a pirate, a vengeful Spaniard, a giant, and a princess-to-be) are bound together in their attempt to overthrow an evil prince.
Mighty Ducks-style sports film capitalizes on our desire to consider a rag-tag bunch of also-runs transformed into a force greater than the sum of the individual parts. The granddaddy of them all, though, is The Wizard Oz, in which each character literally contributes a different part to the body as a whole: the Scarecrow's brain, the Tin Man's heart, the Lion's courage, and Dorothy's sense of destiny.
These movies speak to us because they depict the very sense of intense intimacy and contribution between the characters that we yearn for among our friends: a friendship that is forged by worthy challenges and trials, in which each person’s contribution and sacrifice is appreciated and absolutely necessary.
The Lord brought this to be a part of the Life of the church.
1. You Have A Purpose To Participate.
For the greater good, we the many and different can combine together to fulfil the Lord’s Great Commission.
The Purpose is clear. Top Win men and women to the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is a purpose that drives us. 1 Cor 9: For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
This is a purpose that sustains us.
1Thess 3:3 so that no one will be shaken by these persecutions. For you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. 4 In fact, when we were with you, we told you previously that we were going to suffer persecution, and as you know, it happened. 5 For this reason, when I could no longer stand it, I also sent to find out about your faith, fearing that the tempter had tempted you and that our labor might be for nothing. 6 But now Timothy has come to us from you and brought us good news about your faith and love, and that you always have good memories of us, wanting to see us, as we also want to see you. 7 Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution, we were encouraged about you through your faith. 8 For now we live, if you stand firm in the Lord.
(According to Gary Inrig, in Life in His Body, 32-47)
Unity. There is only one Body of Christ, and only one Head of the Body. Therefore, it is a unity of a common life, given to us by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But when a man or woman trusts in Christ, he becomes one with all other believers and shares the seven-fold unity of the Spirit (Ephesians 4:4-6) and bears the responsibility of being “diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).
Diversity. The Lord Jesus, the risen Head of the Church, has given each believer a distinctive gift or gifts. The beautiful variety which exists in an assembly is divinely intended “for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7).
Interdependence. A “body life” component is our need for each other as believers. Because no single believer possesses all of the spiritual gifts, and because another believer has been divinely gifted in an area of our need, our lives are bound together in a connected web of mutual ministry. (1 Corinthians 12:21, Romans 12:5).
This interdependence is beautifully illustrated in a story related by Donald Grey Barnhouse. He describes two students who graduated from the Chicago Kent College of Law. The highest-ranking student in the class was a blind man named Overton, and when he received his honor, he insisted that half the credit should go to his friend, Kaspryzak. They had met one another in school when the armless Mr. Kaspryzak had guided the blind Mr. Overton down a flight of stairs. This acquaintance ripened into friendship and a beautiful example of interdependence. The blind man carried the books that the armless man read aloud in their common study, and thus the individual deficiency of each was compensated for by the other. After their graduation, they planned to practice law together.
1 PETER 4:10 "As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another."
1 TIMOTHY 4:14 "Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you…"
2 TIMOTHY 1:6-7 "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. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."
1 CORINTHIANS 12:1 "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware."
1 CORINTHIANS 12:11 "All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He gives them to each one, just as He determines." 1 CORINTHIANS 12:27 "All of you together are the one body of Christ and each of you is a separate and necessary part of it." ROMANS 12:6 "We have different gifts, according to the grace given us."
EPHESIANS 4:1 "Live a life worthy of the calling you have received." EPH 4:7,11 (NLT) "However, He has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ…Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church…"
EPHESIANS 2:10 "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
1. WHAT IS A SPIRITUAL GIFT? "A spiritual gift is a God-given ability that enables the Christian to function in God's family with ease, efficiency and a sense of accomplishment." – C. SWINDOLL
Malphurs notes these differences between natural and spiritual gifts:
• Natural gifts are given at birth. Spiritual Gifts are given at conversion.
• Both are God given (Gifts that are not earned or deserved.)
• Spiritual gifts are used for ministry (spiritual in it’s origin and it’s concern).
• Spiritual gifts are given only to believers. Natural gifts are also given to unbelievers.
2. DOES EVERY CHRISTIAN HAVE AT LEAST 1 GIFT? "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of effects, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good." 1 COR 12:4-7 1 COR 12:11 1 PETER 4:10
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH ABOUT SPIRITUAL GIFTS? 7 SUMMARY PRINCIPLES
Every Christian has at Least ONE Gift — 1 CORINTHIANS 7:7
Only BELIEVERS have Spiritual Gifts — 1 CORINTHIANS 2:14
No one Receives ALL of the Gifts — 1 CORINTHIANS 12:27-30
No Single Gift is Given to EVERYONE — 1 CORINTHIANS 12:29-30
I am to DISCOVER-DEPLOY the Gifts God Gives me — 1 TIMOTHY 4:14
An UNUSED Gift will Result in a Wasted Life — 1 CORINTHIANS 4:1-2; MATTHEW 25:14-30
Using my Gifts HONORS God and GROWS me — JOHN 15:8
“Everyone has some gift, therefore all should be encouraged. No one has all gifts, therefore all should be humble.
All gifts are for the one Body, therefore all should be harmonious. All gifts are from the Lord, therefore all should be contented. All gifts are needed, therefore all should be faithful.
All gifts depend on His fullness for power, therefore All should keep in close touch with Him.”
WHAT ARE COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS?
Spiritual Gifts are for PERFECT PEOPLE! Spiritual Gifts Correspond only to NATURAL TALENTS
Confusing Spiritual Gifts with the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” GAL 5:22-23 Fruit Show Maturity Gifts show Ministry
Confusing Gifts with CHRISTIAN ROLES
Projecting GIFTS AND RESULTS "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of effects, but the same God works…" 1 COR 12:4-6
Thinking that Only the VISIBLE are VITAL "The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.” 1 COR 12:21-23
Thinking I Should Only Operate in the Area of MY GIFT "…do the work of an evangelist." 2 TIM 4:5 Primary -GIFTED Secondary – NEEDED
Thinking that when I'm using my gift — ALL WILL GO SMOOTHLY! "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." GALATIANS 6:9
2. You Have Principles To Protect You
Bill Hull states,
Our vertical relationship with God shapes our horizontal relationship with those around us. Fellowship with God is even more fundamental than fellowship with men. Only when we develop a humility of spirit and a willingness to submit to God will we be able to develop an open, honest kind of sharing (koinonia), giving us strength, support, and guidance for our lives. This is the holy foundation on which we must build. The spiritual cornerstone for all Christians is Christ himself. Our intimate fellowship with Christ prepares us for meaningful fellowship with Christians. Solid relationships with one another are possible only when they are built around the solid relationship we have with the Father through his Son. There is a direct correlation between these two distinct kinds of fellowship. The discipler whose walk with God is vibrant and meaningful will pass on his fervor to those around him. In this way, true fellowship tends to keep growing in quality and quantity.
1John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
DISCOVERING AND USING YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS ARE GOD’S KEYS TO…
Discovering Your PURPOSE IN LIFE "Live a life worthy of the calling you have received." EPH 4:1
Growing to Your MAXIMUM POTENTIAL
Finding Freedom From GUILT and INFERIORITY "There are different spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different ways of serving, and yet the same Lord is served." 1COR 12:4-5
Encouraging Me to TRUST GOD
Motivating me to SACRIFICE "Well done, good and faithful servant! You've been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!" MAT 25:23
Sowing Seeds that IMPACT OTHERS “When you produce much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified" JN 15:8
ARE THERE LISTS OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS IN THE BIBLE? KEY BIBLICAL CHAPTERS
1 Corinthians 12 Variety & Unity 1 Corinthians 13 Accompanied by Love 1 Corinthians 14 Constructive
1 Corinthians 15:58 “Always abounding in the work of the Lord…” Romans 12 Ephesians 4 1 Peter 4
The whole deal of spiritual gifts is that they are to be used for serving the Purpose of the Lord in the Great Commission, and they are to be used in serving other believers as we each fulfil the Great Commission.
3. You Have Provisions To Point You
FOUR STEPS TO USING YOUR GIFTS
1. DISCOVER "Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you…" 1 TIMOTHY 4:14
EXAMINE EVALUATE EXPERIMENT
"As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another…" 1 PETER 4:10
CATEGORIES OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another …" 1 PETER 4:10
GUIDING GIFTS (Make Things Happen) PASTOR-TEACHER APOSTLESHIP LEADERSHIP ADMINISTRATION
INFLUENCING GIFTS (Communicate God’s Word) EVANGELISM TEACHING PREACHING (PROPHESY)
FELLOWSHIP GIFTS (Care for God’s People) MERCY PASTORING HOSPITALITY HEALING ENCOURAGEMENT/EXHORTATION
TASK GIFTS (Support God’s Work) HELPS GIVING CRAFTSMANSHIP INTERCESSION
SUPPORT GIFTS (Complement Other Gifts) WISDOM KNOWLEDGE DISCERNMENT FAITH TONGUES MIRACLES
2. DEDICATE "Give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life. Anduse your whole body as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God."ROMANS 6:13 (NLT)
3. DEVELOP "Fan into flame the gift God gave you …" 2 TIMOTHY 1:6 (JB)
4. DEPLOY "We are to use our different gifts in accordance with the grace that God has given us. If our gift is to speak God's message, we should do it according to the faith that we have." ROM 12:6
1 CORINTHIANS 12:4-6 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. (4) There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. (5) There are different kinds of effects, but the same God works all of them in all men. (6)
All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many.
18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.
KING HENRY V faced mammoth odds at the Battle of Agincourt, immortalised in Shakespeare’s play.
The facts are that 6,000 to 9,000 for the English, english troops in 1415 faced off against between 36,000 and 140,000 French troops in Normandy in Northern France. The English were outnumbered at least three to one, and possibly 6 to 1. The English had very little food, had marched 260 miles in two-and-a-half weeks, were suffering from sickness. One fairly widely used estimate puts the English casualties at 450, not an insignificant number in an army of 6,000, but far less than the thousands the French lost, nearly all of whom were killed or captured. In the speech before the battle, Shakespeare puts in the mouth of Henry V the famous words, "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers," immediately after numbering English troops at twelve thousand, versus sixty thousand Frenchman. (Westmoreland: "Of fighting men they have full three-score thousand." Exeter: "There's five to one ..." (Act IV, scene 3). Shakespeare may have overstated the French casualties but not the English; at the end (Act IV, Scene 8), when Henry's herald delivers the death toll, the numbers are 10,000 French dead and just "five and twenty score" (ie 500) English, which is close to the modern figure of 450.
They were motivated by a common purpose.
They were encouraged to stand in this battle by the common purpose and camaraderie they experienced.
Listen to how Shakespeare puts these two powerful forces in his play:
What's he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin:
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more, methinks, would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made
And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
You have a common purpose:
Matthew 28:18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
19 Go, therefore, and make disciples ofall nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember,I am with you always,to the end of the age.”
You have a camaraderie in this purpose.
Acts 2:44 Now all the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 So they sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need.
46 And every day they devoted themselves [to meeting]together in the • temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved.
You have an Common good to serve.
1Cor 12:7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.