UTILIZING ALL OF GOD’S GIFTS (BOTH NATURAL AND SPIRITUAL) FOR GAINING SOULS FOR CHRIST
TEXAS WESTERN JURISDICTION CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST, INC.
LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE MESSAGE
February 11, 2011
THEME: UTILIZING ALL OF GOD’S GIFTS (BOTH NATURAL AND SPIRITUAL)
FOR GAINING SOULS FOR CHRIST
SCRIPTURES: I CORINTHIANS 9:19-22; I CORINTHIANS 12:4-11
As I read the first Scripture, the part that struck me was: “…I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” I cor. 9:22b. This means to me that we must get involved with people where they are, except for the sinning part. We may be limited based upon our experiences and our natural gifts, but we can use what natural gifts we have, try to learn something about what people are doing, and get involved with them. “Coming out from among people and being separate from people” to me means for us not to be involved in their sinning, not that we are not to be involved in bicycle riding, cooking, bowling, gardening, shopping, golfing, and other activities, and using our natural gifts among and with them in endeavors. While we are involved with the people in some of their activities, etc., we must always be true to our God and our principles, loving God more than the activities and things. We must interact with them where they are so that they can see our little lights shining in whatever activity we may be participating, so that they may be drawn to the Christ in us. Remember Jesus’ going to and participating in a wedding? I am sure that Jesus did not get drunk with those guests who got drunk, but he was there and the God in him caused some to marvel.
As I read the second Scripture, I am stuck by the difference between God’s natural gifts to us and His spiritual gifts to us. We had most of God’s natural gifts to us before we ever accepted Christ. God was good to us while we were yet sinners. We had professions, money–maybe, things, abilities. And as we used these natural gifts to benefit ourselves and our loved ones, God expects us to now use these same natural gifts for the benefit of the church. Moses had natural gifts from God before he ever met God. Naaman the leper had natural gifts from God before he received a healing from God through the prophet Elisha. Peter had natural gifts before he met Jesus. Paul was smart and educated before he met Jesus. Joseph of Aramathea and Zachaeus both were rich before they met Jesus. Tithes are to be paid from some of the natural gifts God grants us–the gift to make money. As we used our natural gifts to further projects and causes in the world, God expects us to use our natural gifts to further spiritual projects and causes in the Church. Most of us never got and never will get more natural gifts just by coming to Christ. We come to Christ having already been given natural gifts. When we come to Christ, we may then fully understand that we did not make ourselves, that we did not give ourselves these natural gifts, but that all that we received as sinners was given us by God or God allowed us to get it. As Jesus said, outside of God, some of us might have been able to use the gifts Godd gave us to gain part of or the whole world, but yet lose our souls.
Now the next things I want to talk about are the spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are those things we did not get from God while we were sinners and cannot get from God while we are sinners. Jesus said that he would manifest himself to us who have accepted him and not manifest himself to the world. Spiritual gifts are those things we find that we may need but can’t get from the world or from God while we remain in the world. If we could have gotten them from the world, we would never have come to God through Christ. And spiritual gifts from God, not natural gifts, are those things which we have that can draw people from the world to God. We might be able to draw them as they are to the Church with natural gifts, but we can’t draw them from or out of the world with natural gifts. People came to Jesus not because he was smart, good looking, intelligent, knowledgeable… They came to Jesus to get what they could not get elsewhere. They came to Peter to get what they could not get in the world. They came to Paul to get what they could not get in the world. And if they come to us, and we are representing Jesus properly, they will be coming to us to get something they could not get from the world or while they were in the world.
The spiritual gifts are different, they are administered differently, and evidently they can operate differently. But all of them are by and from the Holy Ghost, the same Lord. Although
we can clearly understand the purpose of natural gifts, for what purpose are spiritual gifts?
1. Some spiritual gifts are to be used to help people who are in Christ Jesus.
2. Some spiritual gifts are to be used to help draw people to Christ Jesus. \
3. Some spiritual gifts are to be used by some to help those others who are frontrunners in bringing people to Christ Jesus.
I will now list some of the spiritual gifts and try to expound on their purpose (and remember, these gifts and calling of God do not come from God without repentance):
Salvation–to deliver from hell those who accept Jesus.
The Holy Ghost–to seal salvation, to lead, to guide, to comfort…
Ministry–called and sent by God to declare the gospel to sinners and to edify saints.
Teaching–to clarify. (For Christians.)
Exhorting–to warn. (For saints.)
Giving–to assist and help. (For Christians.)
Ruling and administration–to keep order and promote progress and well being. (For Christians.)
Giving of mercy–to relieve, save, restore. (For Christians, mostly.)
The word of wisdom–to guide, to help, to destroy confusion. (For Christians.)
The word of knowledge–to give information that cannot be obtained otherwise. (For Christians to gain sinners.)
Faith–to sustain. (For Christians.)
Healing–to physically restore. (For Christians and to gain sinners.)
The working of miracles. (For Christians and to gain sinners.)
Prophecy–to encourage, warn. (For Christians and to gain sinners.)
Discerning of spirits–to inform and warn of demonic presence and influence. (For Christians.)
Divers tongues–mostly for prayer. (For Christians.)
Interpretation of tongues–to give understanding. (For Christians.)
The last thing I want to say is that we may need some experiences and some tests to discover what our natural gifts are. But if we pray, study our Bibles, and live right, usually, God will reveal to us what our spiritual gifts are. Otherwise, there will be confusion in the Church. And God is not the author of confusion. God let Moses know what his gifts were. God let Jesus know what his gifts were. God let Paul know what his gifts were. And God will let us know what our spiritual gifts are. God has order in his Church without man necessarily giving a test to Christians to tell them what spiritual gifts God has given them to use in the Church. We may sometimes feel unworthy, even timid, sometimes afraid, but we will know what our gifts are. These tests may tell us more about where our inclinations and abilities are in terms of giving, ministerial helps, administration, and the like. But preachers are called and sent by God. God lets people know that they are saved. God let’s people know that they have the Holy Ghost. Jesus manifests himself to his people and lives within them. God reveals to His people if they have any of the nine major spiritual gifts of prophesy, healing, miracles, discernment of spirits, faith, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, tongues, and interpretation of tongues. Whatever we have, however, natural gifts that we had mostly before we came to Christ or spiritual gifts we received after we accepted Christ, we are to use all to edify and build up the church–the body of Christ–and to gain souls for Christ. We as Christians have no other purpose to be living on earth.