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Sermon No: 2724-Spiritual gifts



Gavin-Paynter/Gifts.jpg

SERMON TOPIC: Spiritual gifts

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 25 October 2015

Topic Groups: HOLY SPIRIT, GIFTS OF SPIRIT

Sermon synopsis: 1 Cor 12:1-10 Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant… There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord… To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the 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.
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TALENTS & GIFTS

Matt 25:14-30 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. (ESV)

To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.

He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more.

But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.

Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying:

Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.

Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.

And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying:

Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.

His master said to him:

Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.

He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground.’

Here you have what is yours.

You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.

So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.

For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Interestingly the English word “talent”, meaning our natural abilities, is actually derived from this parable of Jesus.

Etymology for the word “talent”:

From Old English talente, borrowed from the plural of Latin talentum ‎(“a Grecian weight; a talent of money”), from Ancient Greek τάλαντον ‎(tálanton, “balance, a particular weight, especially of gold, sum of money, a talent”). 1

1 https:// en.wiktionary.org/ wiki/ talent

TALENTS & GIFTS

The gifts we have come from God and belong to God:

Matt 25:14 (ESV) “… who called his servants and entrusted to them his property.”

1 Cor 12:11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines…

Eph 4:7-11 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers…

Heb 2:4 God also testified to it by … gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

GOD’S PROPERTY

Everyone has something to offer:

Matt 25:15 (ESV) “To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one…”

1 Cor 7:7… But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.

1 Pet 4:10 (NLT) God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts…

1 Cor 14:26 When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation.

SOMETHING TO OFFER

In case you think the servant with one talent was hard done by, you need to remember that even one talent was a substantial amount of money:

A talent was a unit of weight of approximately 36 kg, and when used as a unit of money, was valued for that weight of silver. As a unit of currency, a talent was worth about 6,000 denarii. Since a denarius was the usual payment for a day’s labour, the value of a talent was about twenty years of labour, by an ordinary person. By contemporary standards (ca. AD 2009) at the rate of the US minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, the value of a talent would be approximately $300,000 over 20 years, while, at the median yearly wage of $26,363, a talent would be valued at about $500,000. 1

1 https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Parable_of_the_talents_or_minas

SOMETHING TO OFFER

We have different gifting - Realise that you don’t have to be just like someone else for God to use you:

Rom 12:4-8 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

DIFFERENT GIFTING

1 Cor 12:29-30 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?

1 Cor 12:1-10 Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant… There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord… To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the 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.

DIFFERENT GIFTING

All gifts are important even if they are less “in the limelight” than others:

1 Cor 12:12-26 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ… If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? … But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be… As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 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!”

ALL GIFTS IMPORTANT

I DON’T NEED YOU!

1 Cor 12:27-28 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.

DIFFERENT GIFTING

God wants us to use what we’ve been given.

Matt 25:19 (ESV) Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

God expects a good return on his investment in us:

Matt 25:27 (ESV) “Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.”

USE YOUR GIFTS

God will hold us accountable. We will be judged on how we used what God has given us.

We will either be rewarded

Matt 25:21 (ESV) His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”

… or punished:

Matt 25:30 (ESV) “And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness…”

USE YOUR GIFTS

We are not judged on what we do not have – only on what we are given. The man with the two talents received the same commendation from the master as the man with five: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Well done, good and faithful servant.

USE YOUR GIFTS

God isn’t interested in excuses:

At the heart of the matter, the worthless servant accused his master of being unfair.

“Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed… (v 24)

A “victim” mentality won’t cut it with God.

“… so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent…” (v 25)

Blaming God for your laziness is probably not a good idea.

“You wicked and slothful servant! … Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers…” (v 26-27)

NO EXCUSES

“Playing it safe” is the equivalent of doing nothing.

Matt 25:26 (ESV) “But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful (lazy) servant!’”

James 4:17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

Do not neglect your gift - You either use it or you lose it!

Matt 25:28-29 (ESV) “So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents… But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

Our gifts are like a muscle. The more you use it, the more it grows. If you don’t use it, it shrinks.

PLAYING IT SAFE

If you’re faithful in little, you’ll be entrusted with much.

Matt 25:21 (ESV) His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”

E.g. Stephen was originally one of the seven deacons but becomes a preacher and the first Christian martyr.

FAITHFULNESS

Philip too was initially one of the 7 deacons but becomes an evangelist to the Samaritans and to the Ethiopian eunuch.

Acts 21:8-9 Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.

FAITHFULNESS

Throughout Scripture we have examples of men who started out by being a supporting ministry, as God prepared them for ministries of their own. Joshua was Moses’ servant before becoming Israel’s leader.

Ex 24:13 (NASB) Moses arose with Joshua his servant…

Elisha was Elijah’s servant before becoming God’s prophet:

1 Kings 19:21 So Elisha … set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.

At first Timothy was Paul’s understudy and assistant:

Phil 2:22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.

THE GIFTS

Leadership: visionaries who set strategic goals for the future in accordance with God’s purpose, communicate these goals to others and encourage them to work together to accomplish those goals for the glory of God.

Rom 12:8… if it is leadership, let him govern diligently…

Jesus’ brother James led the Jerusalem church. At the council in Jerusalem he exhibited a strong quality of leadership—the ability to persuade others to think correctly and in a godly manner.

It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. (Acts 15:19)

SPIRITUAL GIFTS

FIVEFOLD MINISTRY

Eph 4:11-12 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.

Purpose of the fivefold ministry:

Eph 4:11-15 (ESV) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

FIVEFOLD MINISTRY

Apostles: church planters / missionaries, ministry followed by signs. Apostle is not a title – it means ‘messenger’.

Even in Paul’s day there were false apostles.

2 Cor 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.

These are signs that mark a true apostle:

2 Cor 12:12 The things that mark an apostle—signs, wonders and miracles—were done among you with great perseverance.

2 Tim 1:11-12 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am.

FIVEFOLD MINISTRY

Prophets: (1 Cor 12:27-28, 1 Cor 12:1-10, Rom 12:4-8, Eph 4:11-12) receive and communicate a message of God to people with authority. Either comfort, encourage, guide, warn, or rebuke the Body of Christ.

1 Cor 14:1 … eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.

1 Cor 14:3-4 But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.

FIVEFOLD MINISTRY

Prophecies must be tested (against the Word of God):

1 Cor 14:29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said…

1 John 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

A biblical prophet does not go into a trance where they have no control:

1 Cor 14:32-33 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.

FIVEFOLD MINISTRY

Evangelists: (Eph 4:11-12) While all Christians are called to evangelize (Matt 28:18-20), some are given an extra gifting and effectiveness in this area. Evangelists have a great passion for the lost and have been given an ability by the Holy Spirit to very clearly and effectively communicate the gospel to others.

2 Tim 4:5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist (Gk: euangelistou), discharge all the duties of your ministry.

euaggelizó: to announce good news

Matthew 11:5 (Berean Literal Bible) “The blind receive sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised, and the poor are evangelized (euaggelizó).”

FIVEFOLD MINISTRY

Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news (euangelisasthai) to the poor…”

Rom 10:15 (ESV) And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach (euangelizomenōn) the good news!”

1 Cor 9:16 For when I preach the gospel (euangelizōmai), I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel (euangelisōmai) !

FIVEFOLD MINISTRY

Pastors: They assume a long-term personal responsibility for the spiritual welfare of a group of believers. Like apostle, ‘pastor’ is not a title – it simply means a shepherd.

Eph 4:11 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors (poimenas) and teachers…

1 Peter 5:1-3 To the elders (presbyterous) among you, I appeal as a fellow elder (sympresbyteros) … Be shepherds (poimanate) of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.

FIVEFOLD MINISTRY

Teachers: (1 Cor 12:27-28, Rom 12:4-8, Eph 4:11-12) studying the Bible and related materials in order to communicate what they have learned to other Christians. Those with this gift find it easy to organize vast amounts of information in such a way as to make it easy to communicate, understand, and remember.

Teaching must be based on the Word of God, bot human wisdom:

Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom…

Col 2:22-23 These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom…

FIVEFOLD MINISTRY

In the last days some teachings are not only man’s wisdom, but doctrines of demons.

1 Tim 4:1-2 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

Being a confident teacher doesn’t necessarily mean that you know what you are talking about:

1 Tim 1:7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

FIVEFOLD MINISTRY

We must ensure we teach sound doctrine :

1 Tim 1:3-4 … so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work—which is by faith.

If you do this your hearers will be saved:

1 Tim 4:16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Col 1:28 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.

FIVEFOLD MINISTRY

We have a different focus depending on our gifting. The evangelist, pastor and teacher look at the same church and see different things.

The evangelist looks at the church and sees empty seats.

The pastor looks at the church and sees empty hearts.

The teacher looks at the church and sees empty heads.

FIVEFOLD MINISTRY

Faith: (1 Cor 12:1-10) - Not to be confused with saving faith which all believers must possess.

The Holy Spirit distributes this gift to some in the church to encourage and build up the church in her confidence in God. Those with the gift of faith trust that God is sovereign and He is good. They take Him at His Word and put the full weight of their lives in His hands. They expect God to move and are not surprised when He answers a prayer or performs a miracle. 1

1 http:// www.spiritualgiftstest.com/ spiritual-gift-of-faith

SPIRITUAL GIFTS

Workers of miracles: (1 Cor 12:27-28, 1 Cor 12:1-10) human intermediaries through whom God performs miraculous signs.

Those having gifts of healing: (1 Cor 12:9) human intermediaries through whom God cures illness and restores health apart from the use of natural means. ‘Charismata iamaton’ is literally translated ‘gifts of healings’ – in other words each healing is a gift.

SPIRITUAL GIFTS

Those speaking in different kinds of tongues: (1 Cor 12:27-28, 1 Cor 12:1-10) speak to God in a language that they have never learned, or else communicate a message from God to his people through a divinely inspired utterance in a language they don’t know.

1 Cor 14:2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit.

SPIRITUAL GIFTS

If a tongue is spoken without an interpretation, only the speaker is edified. If the tongue is interpreted, the whole church is edified.

The interpretation of tongues: (1 Cor 12:1-10) - The ability to interpret the message in tongues.

1 Cor 14:11-3 If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker is a foreigner to me … For this reason the one who speaks in a tongue should pray that they may interpret what they say.

If tongues are used in a group setting, an interpreter must be present or else the one speaking should remain silent.

1 Cor 14:27-28 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.

SPIRITUAL GIFTS

The word of knowledge: (1 Cor 12:1-10) - A revelation of knowledge about a particular person or situation that it was not made known by natural means e.g. Jesus with the Samaritan woman at Sychar (John 4) or when he discerned the private thoughts of his critics (e.g. Matt 9:4).

SPIRITUAL GIFTS

I have no husband.

You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.

The word of wisdom: (1 Cor 12:1-10) - The ability that God gives to know how knowledge may best be applied to specific situations.

Acts 6:9-10 …These men began to argue with Stephen, but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke.

SPIRITUAL GIFTS

Discerning of spirits: (1 Cor 12:1-10) - The special ability to know with assurance whether certain behaviour or talk - is in reality divine, human or Satanic in origin.

E.g. Peter did what many well-meaning Christians do today – he rebuked Jesus’ “negative” statement that he would suffer on the cross. Jesus discerns his statement as being Satanic in origin. (Matt 16:22-23)

SPIRITUAL GIFTS

Get behind me, Satan!

Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!

There is also the need for discernment as to whether sickness is physical or demonic in origin.

E.g. Although the symptoms were the same (people being mute) at times Jesus discerned this to be a sickness requiring healing and at other times something that was demonic in origin.

Matt 15:30 Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.

Matt 9:32-33 While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke.

SPIRITUAL GIFTS

Encouraging: (Rom 12:4-8) or exhortation - those who give words of comfort, consolation, encouragement, and counsel to other members of the body in such a way that they feel helped and healed. This gift is useful in counselling, mentoring, discipleship and preaching.

We see this gift especially in Barnabas, who encouraged both the newly saved but ostracized apostle Paul, and the fledgling missionary John Mark.

SPIRITUAL GIFTS

Showing mercy: (Rom 12:4-8) - those who feel genuine empathy and compassion for individuals who suffer from distressing spiritual, physical or emotional problems, and translate that compassion into cheerfully done deeds which reflect Christ’s love and alleviates the suffering.

Rom 12:8 … if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin. (John 8:11)

SPIRITUAL GIFTS

Those with gifts of administration: (1 Cor 12:27-28) People who have good organisational skills and are able to manage people, events, projects, finances and information.

They are concerned with the details of how to accomplish goals and tasks, and when necessary delegate specific tasks to other people according to their gifts and talents.

1 Cor 14:40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

1 Cor 14:33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace--as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

PRACTICAL GIFTS

Gift of giving: While all Christians are called to give, some are particularly blessed by God and thus able to contribute great material resources to the work of God.

Rom 12:8 if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously…

E.g. Barnabas generously gave all the proceeds from the sale of his land to the church. He didn’t do it in response to a specific need nor was there seemingly any appeal from the apostles for assistance. It was an unsolicited and spontaneous gift, given with no strings attached.

PRACTICAL GIFTS

Gift of hospitality: providing an open house and a warm welcome to those in need of fellowship, food or lodging:

1 Peter 4:9-10 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

The Greek word for hospitality is ‘philoxenia’ and literally means “love to strangers” (Strong’s ref 5381).

Paul writes of a hospitable man called Gaius.

Rom 16:23 Gaius, whose hospitality I and the whole church here enjoy, sends you his greetings.

PRACTICAL GIFTS

Serving: (Rom 12:4-8) or “those able to help others” (1 Cor 12:27-28) - a practical gift.

There are two Greek words for this gift. The first one, found in Romans 12:7, is Diakonia. The basic meaning of this word is “to wait tables,” but it is most often translated in the Bible as “ministry.” It refers to any act of service done in genuine love for the edification of the community. The word Antilepsis is translated “helping” and is found in 1 Corinthians 12:28. It has a similar meaning: to help or aid in love within the community. 1

People with this gift (e.g. deacons) enjoy doing tasks in order to free others to do spiritual ministry.

1 http:// www.spiritualgiftstest.com/ spiritual-gift-of-serving-and-ministering

PRACTICAL GIFTS

The first deacons were chosen to relieve the apostles from administering a program to distribute food to widows.

Acts 6:3-4 “… choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”

PRACTICAL GIFTS

HOW TO USE YOUR GIFTS

Use your gifts to benefit others

1 Cor 12:7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

1 Peter 4:10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

Eph 4:11-12 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up

BENEFITTING OTHERS

Use your gifts to build up or strengthen others:

1 Cor 14:12 So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.

1 Cor 14:26 … When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.

BENEFITTING OTHERS

It’s not ability but availability that matters most.

Make yourself available (decide to consecrate your life to special purposes, not common use):

2 Timothy 2:20-21 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

GOD CAN USE YOU

Don’t focus on excelling in your gift at the expense of your character. God is more interested in character than in ability. That is why the fruit of the Spirit takes precedence over the gifts. While one person will not have all the gifts, we should have all the fruit.

CHARACTER

Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Elders are chosen primarily on character not ability:

1 Tim 3:1-7 … If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

CHARACTER

Deacons too are chosen primarily on character:

1 Tim 3:8-13 Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

CHARACTER

Everything must be done in love:

1 Cor 13:1-3 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not

LOVE

love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

1 Cor 14:1 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts…

Everything must be done for God’s glory and not to draw attention to ourselves:

1 Peter 4:10-11 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.

HUMILITY

You need to stir up the gift inside you:

2 Tim 1:6-8 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.

CONCLUSION

1 Tim 4:12-16 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

CONCLUSION

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (http:// www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quotations taken from the ESV:

“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”




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