This message is the fifth sermon in the series. It lays the foundation for identifying, understanding, and utilizing spiritual gifts.
Before becoming a follower of Christ, one first encounters a fork in the road – a moment of decision as to whether or not Christ will be the Lord of one’s life. We often refer to that moment as a conversion. But in this message, Seth reminds us that a Christian’s conversion doesn’t end with the initial decision to follow Jesus. There are several defining moments along the way – moments when a believer’s decision to exercise the privilege and responsibility of following Jesus has transformative and lasting consequences.
Seth describes one such defining moment in his life – when he first learned about spiritual gifts. He learned that God gifts each person with unique abilities. Christians recognize these individual strengths as supernatural gifts intended to serve the body of Christ and to bless the world.
The focus scripture for this message is Acts 2:2-4. In this passage, the apostles were gathered on the day of Pentecost when “they saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.” Seth explains that this event symbolizes that the Church would grow by the supernatural power of God. It would not be due to human ingenuity or will, but rather through God empowering the church. This holds true today. Also, it’s significant that each apostle was given a full flame in that moment, regardless of whether they were educated or uneducated, rich or poor, male or female, young or old. This means that if you’re a follower of Jesus you have a full flame. God’s power for your life is totally available to you. No sins, mistakes, or disadvantages can change that. Likewise, your position in the church doesn’t diminish the full gifting of the Holy Spirit. Those who preach sermons and those who rock babies in the nursery are equally endowed and equipped with the gifting of the Spirit. Just as a human body cannot be made of all eyes, or brains, or hands, so also the church body needs those who specialize in all different areas in order to function properly and to live out its calling to the world.
Although every believer has been given the flame of the Holy Spirit, whether or not a believer chooses to fan that flame is another matter. In 2 Timothy 1:6 we see Paul urging Timothy to fan the flame inside of him. Some believers today don’t know how to fan their flame, or don’t even know what their spiritual gifting is. Here are some practical steps that can help you begin to recognize and utilize your spiritual gifts:
- Read about spiritual gifts. Even a Google search will lead you to several tests that can help identify your spiritual gifts.
- Take several tests and compare the results.
- Ask people that you know and trust if they can confirm that they see these gifts in you.
There are a few things to keep in mind as you pursue identifying and putting your gifts into practices. First, if you don’t have close relationships within people at church who can give you feedback, consider reaching out and working to build those relationships. Second, if you’re asked about someone’s ability to exercise a certain gift, be honest. Constructive feedback may be difficult to give and may require courage, but it is ultimately the loving option. Finally, know that you’ll likely encounter failure when you first begin to use your spiritual gifts. Possessing a gift doesn’t mean that using that gift will always be easy or effortless. You may need time and practice to become effective in using your gift to bless others.
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