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.
As we continue to look deeper into the gifts or manifestations of the spirit, it’s so important to realize that they are given of God for service. Pride is such a natural bent in us as humans that we need to guard against thinking it’s all about us or that we are doing things when God is actually the one working through us.
If we have the evangelists planting churches and pastors teaching, one of the things that needs to dawn on all of us is that it’s not enough.
After I Corinthians 12:28 the scripture says, miracles, then gifts of healings, then helps, then administrations, and various kinds of tongues. If we back up to verses 8-10 it says, “To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.”
A bricklayer whose brother was a famous violinist was talking with his boss one day. His boss said, “It must be great to have a brother who is known around the world.” Then, not thinking that he might have offended his worker’s pride, he continued, “Of course, we must accept the fact that talent isn’t equally distributed – even in the same family.”