But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Ephesians 4:7
Did no one ever tell you you’re a gifted child? Well, you are. Look at the words “every one” in Ephesians 4:7. Does that include you? You should underscore it in your Bible. The word “grace” here is the Greek word charis (in English, “gift”). When the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven, He left you with an incredible gift, received through your risen Lord. We all have natural gifts, but this goes beyond natural talent. God has also given to each of us a spiritual gift.
But many don’t even know they have a spiritual gift, much less what it is or how to use it. Your spiritual gift is a God-given ability you may not even know you have.
You’re saved by His grace—not just to sit, but to serve—and you serve by grace.
Have you ever said, “God can’t use me”? Don’t insult God like that! He has given you a grace gift, and He can use you. We are what we are by the gift of God. Our spiritual gift isn’t for our own enjoyment but our employment—to bless others. It’s a tool, not a toy. It falls to us to discover, develop, then deploy our spiritual gift and minister both within the church and to everyone we encounter.
How did this all come about? Ephesians 4:8 tells us: “When He [Jesus] ascended up on high, He led captivity [the devil] captive, and gave gifts unto men [That’s you and every believer].
Sounds “other-worldly,” doesn’t it? It is.
Here’s what happened: The Lord Jesus descended to earth, lived a perfect life, suffered, bled, died on the cross. He was buried and rose again. When He died for us, with His blood He purchased our salvation. At the same time, He broke Satan’s back. Satan’s kingdom came crashing down. Calvary crushed the devil and his malevolent forces, who had taken the world captive. By His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, the Lord Jesus took Satan captive, ascending on high, leading a parade of captives—just like a military parade of triumph when a war ends. Satan’s kingdom no longer has a legal hold over God’s creation—and that includes you.
In His triumph, Jesus gave the spoils of the battle to His followers—us—our grace gift to serve our great King. Never despise or overlook your spiritual gift from our conqueror, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Don’t be just looking at your natural talents. Your gift goes beyond that. Just as your natural talents are natural, your spiritual gift is supernatural in source, nature and purpose. You don’t choose your spiritual gift any more than you could choose your natural gifts, like the color of your eyes or your skin. Your talents are genetically encoded in you by your first birth, but your spiritual gift is given to you at your new birth.
The Holy Spirit gives different gifts to the church (1 Corinthians 12:4-6), but everything is not always done the same way: “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us…” (Romans 12:6). Nevertheless, it’s the Lord who’s doing it.
Here are some of these varied gifts, which the Holy Spirit lists in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. Does one or more ring a bell with you?
Word of wisdom—supernatural insight into the mind of God; uncommon sense;
Word of knowledge—supernatural ability to know and apply the things of God. Wisdom put to practical use. Those with these gifts make wonderful counselors.
Faith—not just faith to be saved, but mountain-moving faith. Visionaries, pioneers, people who think big and believe God for the big things,
Prophecy—primarily not to foretell the future, but tell forth the will of God in a particular matter. Every church needs prophets who can speak for God and speak His Word.
Paul continues with healings, working of miracles, discerning of spirits, gift of tongues, and interpretation of tongues.
In case none of these seems like your gift, Romans 12 adds:
Ministry—acts of service within the church—teaching, exhortation, the gift of giving, ruling (leadership) and mercy.
Often you will discover what your gift is by simply beginning to serve in an area. People will say, “You really blessed me with that.”
If you want God to use you, stop praying for God to use you; get useable and God will wear you out. As you continue, you’ll discover and develop your gift—as you deploy it.
Paul continues in Ephesians (4:11-13) to pinpoint specific ways you may soon be using your gifts. Not all are called to be ministers (pastors, shepherds of the flock) but within the church you will find prophets who from the Holy Spirit speak wisdom into your life, evangelists, teachers…
…for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:12-13
Mature in stature.
“Perfect” doesn’t mean sinless but mature in stature, like the Lord Jesus Christ. God gave leaders to His church to equip believers. This is how your spiritual gift will be developed: The pastor/teacher helps you mature, discover, and develop your spiritual gift for the work of the ministry. When the gifts are operating in a church, we mature in stature, and we, the Body, become more and more like the Lord Jesus Christ.
Mature in stability.
“That we be henceforth no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (v. 14). Immune to the false cults out there, going door to door, deceiving the immature.
Mature in speech.
“But speaking the truth in love” (v. 15), we’re growing up—and more like Jesus, the Head of the Church. If you speak the truth without love, that’s brutality, but if you speak in love without truth, that is hypocrisy.
Mature in service.
It all works together “the whole body fitly joined together” (v. 16), compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
Now what does that mean? Flexible harmony in every joint, just like a physical body when it’s working according to design.
When the gifts are working, we’re mature in stature, we’re mature in stability, we are mature in speech, then we become mature, dear friend, in service. We serve one another, and the body works together. Don’t you want to be a part of a church like that?
Friend, if you’re not serving, you won’t have joy. The Greek word charis not only means grace; it also means joy. When you serve the Lord, that’s when the juices of joy begin to flow. May God help you find out what God wants you to do and get busy doing it.
To help you discover the joy of your spiritual gift and many other joys of the Christian life, this message and 6 more are here for you in the CD album “Factors of Faithfulness” at our web site, www.lwf.org.
Each message will air beginning Monday, July 2 through Sunday, July 15, both on radio and at our website.
If you’d like a CD of this individual message for your own study or to share with a loved one or friend, call us at 1-800-LOVE-GOD and request message # 1838, “Faithful in Ministry.”
What are your thoughts on new age thinking? Is there a choice in pro-choice? Is evolution fact or fiction? Does character matter to you? How has tolerance been affected by society? Pastor Adrian Rogers deals with difficult questions head on in this collection on current issues.