Think of someone who you would describe as a leader. Right away, you’re going to think of all the people you know who are “leadership types.” You know, the corporate heads and movers and shakers. The fact is, just because you’re a mover and a shaker, and you have all sorts of abilities to really get direction and go with it, doesn’t mean that you’re someone through whom the spirit of God can give direction to the church.
As we’ve been talking about the gifts of the spirit, it reminds me of the man who bought an old VW camper. It was supposed to be blue and white, but the paint was oxidized and there were several gray primer blemishes. The engine wasn’t much good either, so he replaced it with a Corvair engine.
The manifestation of the spirit I want to look at today is discernment – another gift to the church to build it up – that comes through people, to people, so that we can storm the gates of hell.
There are people who, by nature, are more discerning than others. They just have good insight. When naturally discerning people surrender themselves to God, I think the spirit of God manifests through them discernment because they’ve surrendered that dimension of their personality to the spirit of God, allowing him to use it.
People who are uncommitted and uninvolved don’t need empowerment because they’re not doing anything. I believe God begins to work through people who surrender their lives as living sacrifices to God and say, “God, take my ability, talent, mouth, eyes, ears and everything I have and use it for you.” He manifests himself through them in a variety of ways, gifting the church.
As we take a look at the serving gifts that act, the first one we’re going to look at is the gift of faith. What is the gift of faith? I’m sure as I ask that question, certain things go through your mind.
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the spirit is given for the common good.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-7
God takes what I am, who I am, and what I do and manifests himself through me in a variety of ways. And it’s all by one spirit.
The word of knowledge is not a physical, intellectual capacity. It is not an ability to memorize scripture. That’s not the gift - or manifestation - of knowledge. God certainly uses knowledgeable people and God uses knowledge.
As we continue to look at the spiritual gift or manifestation of prophecy, we see that there are basically two applications. The first is reiteration (preaching) of the word of God and the second is revelation. Hopefully, as we hear the word of God preached, taught, and applied, we are also hearing the voice of God through that word. The people of God need to hear His voice, and one way is through reiteration. But I also believe revelation is at work today.
Occasionally, when I was pastoring, I would hear something like this: “Ray, I really believe that in our church God is saying to us that we need to move more and more toward prayer (or whatever). We’re beginning to move away from it and we need to move back towards it.
Do you believe that God speaks through His church directly concerning needs like that? I believe he does. I also believe if a message like that is from God, it will be felt throughout the body. It’s something specific. God will speak to his church, and he will communicate that message through his people – that’s prophecy. That’s all it is – it’s not as spooky as we think.
Let’s take a look at serving gifts that speak. The serving gifts themselves break down into two categories:
- Serving gifts that speak – prophecy, word of knowledge, word of wisdom
- Serving gifts that act, or do something – the gifts of mercy, faith, help, leadership, and giving.
At this point we’re talking about the spiritual gift or spiritual manifestation of prophecy.