Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The Importance Of Being Connected

  


This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on July 11th 2021 by Colin D via zoom. For the audio please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.


Acts chapter 20 is about Paul meeting the Ephesians. He met with them, preached the Gospel and he was seeing them for the last time. So it was special.

 20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. – Acts 20:20

Here we see that Paul taught them publicly and from house to house. This means people were meeting publicly as well as in homes.

In this chapter, we see the heartbeat of God – Save the lost, make disciples.

This sermon is a 2-part sermon. Today we’re going to look into the first part.

The heartbeat of God is: Save the lost, make disciples

How do we work it out at Word of Grace church?

15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. – Mark 16:15

Jesus said these words himself. It is very important to preach the gospel.

The other day we heard about Tara’s uncle’s death. Her uncle and aunt were on their way to attend their son’s birthday. Unfortunately, they met with an accident and her uncle passed away. This happened suddenly. Nobody expected this. But the good news is that Tara’s uncle was a believer. We know that he is with Jesus now. Her aunt is still in the hospital.

It is imperative that we proclaim the gospel. On Friendship Sunday, we are going to share the gospel. The challenge of proclaiming the gospel is this –

Here is a task for you – Go to a cemetery and raise any one person from death. The fact is you have been given the task. Last week, we looked into – Go and preach to the dead men and women and proclaim the gospel. We can’t do it alone. We are powerless.

21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. – 1 Corinthians 1:21

We are spiritually dead. But Jesus says, “When you preach my death and resurrection, the dead will come alive”

We need to be obedient.

What else can we do?

1.       Pray for open doors

2.       Pray that you may proclaim the gospel clearly

3.       Ask for labourers

 

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. – John 17:20-21

When we do something, Jesus will do something for us.

You got to be one, united with other believers.

The times have changed. In my family, we watch movies in different rooms on different computers, we Swiggy different food.

But when we stay united as believers, the world will believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, - Acts 2:46

The believers continued to meet together every day. It was not once a week but everyday. Where did they meet? They met in temple courts and homes. Both are important for us.

Today, we are launching something called Micro GYMs – You + 4 to 5 people.

Our aim, as a Micro GYM is to grow in love with one another and equip ourselves to reach out to unbelievers.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. – 1 Corinthians 12:27

Each one of us is a part of the body of Christ. Each part is made up of cells. Disease starts with the cells that are unhealthy. If cells are healthy, then it’s yeast which would be for good.

Word of Grace church is divided into 11 cells. In these cells, you will grow in love for one another.

What are the benefits of being a part of these micro - Gyms?

1.      1 Connection – It connects you to the body of Christ.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. – 1 Corinthians 12:27

Lone ranger – There’s no lone ranger in Christians. We have many 'one another' commands to obey and we cant obey them if we are alone.

2.       2 Growth

We study the Word together. This leads us to grow in Word and knowledge in Christ.

3.       Prayer is powerful in groups

Our prayer becomes powerful when we do it in small groups.

19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. – Matthew 18:19

4.       3 Support

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2

We can get emotional, spiritual and practical support in these small groups.

5.       4 Opportunity to practice unselfishness

Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. – Romans 15:2

We will get many opportunities to practice love, care for one another and practice unselfishness.

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35

 

10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith. – 1 Thessalonians 3:10

 

What does God expect?

It is okay to have differences. But you will grow in love for one another.

  As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. – 1 Thessalonians 4:1

 We have a choice to make. We can either live to please God or displease him. The choice is ours.

 Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. – 1 Thessalonians 4:9

 Some of us may already be practising love and care. But we need to grow more in it.

 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  – 1 Peter 4:8

 This is the purpose of Micro GYMs –

1.       Love one another

2.       Please God

3.       Proclaim the gospel

  Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service.  Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Salvation From Sin For Love And Good Works.


 
This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on July 11th 2021 by Colin D via zoom. For the audio please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.


SALVATION FROM SIN FOR LOVE AND GOOD WORKS.

In our Christian walk, we can get so caught up with the daily issues that we forget about the mission. We have been called like Dory from Finding Nemo to rescue the sons of God. The challenges are very real, but the mission is important. Let us remind ourselves of the great salvation!

 

2 Peter 3:1818 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” It is great to come to salvation, but we need to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.

 

Let us look at 6 aspects of salvation from Ephesians 2: 1- 10

 

1.      We were saved from our sins: When we were saved, we were dead. Eph 2:1 “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins” That is our past. If you are not yet a follower of Jesus, that is your present condition. The problem is sin is not of lack of education. An educated thief is just a smarter and bigger crook. Romans 8:7 “The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” Before we were born again, we couldn’t respond to God if we wanted to. We were objects of wrath – Eph 2:3 “Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath”. Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. We can even do good things and fall short of His glory. Luke 6:33 “and if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.” So good works don’t make us right with God.

 

2.      We were saved by love: Eph 2:4 “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive”. That is how we are made alive – because of His great mercy and grace and love for us. Mercy is not giving us what we deserve but grace is to give us what we don’t deserve or cant earn.

 

3.      We were saved by love giving us life: Salvation gives us life. How do we know we are alive? 1 Corinthians 2:14 “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but consider them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit” If we are not made alive by God, the things of God don’t attract us.

 

4.      We were saved for a purpose: Eph 2:6-7 “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” He has seated us with Him and His desire is that he can show us the incomparable riches of His grace. God is not there to judge us or punish us. He wants to show us his kindness and mercy.

 

5.      We are saved by Faith: Eph 2: 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith”. All we have to do is believe. Remember the thief on the cross – he only believed in faith and Jesus said today you will be with me in paradise. Romans 10: 9if you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

 

6.      We are saved for good works: Eph 2:10For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” God has a purpose for our life. We are a masterpiece of God. We will only be fulfilled if we fulfil our purpose. We are created to do the good works that God has prepared in advance for us to do. We are uniquely fashioned for a unique purpose. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. All good we do apart from him are like filthy rags. But in Him, our good words are to His glory. John 15:8 “this is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” Matthew 28:18-20 is a good work God has prepared for us.

 

God has made you, handpicked you for a unique purpose. The reason we are on this earth is to bring glory to God by not losing sight of the mission. When we share the gospel we get our reward whether they come to faith or not. We cannot save anyone, only God can. You are alive today because of His mercy, grace and mercy.

 

Matthew 25:35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” When we meet the needs of the community, within the church and outside, we are serving the Lord. We are doing this through the JOG offering etc. But let us continue to do it personally as well.

 

Give yourself to serving the church, reaching lost and building relationships – for by doing this we bring glory to God. We were saved to bring glory to God. We are here to rescue men and women from the wrath of hell. One day God is going to reward us.

  Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service.  Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org. 


Friday, July 16, 2021

The Foundation And Pillars Of Our Faith

 


This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on July 11th 2021 by Abhishek B via zoom. For the audio please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.

The Foundation and Pillars to build our lives on.

The concept and act of building is very common in the Bible, it is a repeated theme. Jesus used it in the famous parable of wise vs foolish builder in Mat 7: 24-27. Paul refers to it in 1 Cor 3-9-15, (admittedly it is referring to the work of an apostle, but the principle remains intact) as we are God’s building. Peter writes about it in 1 Pet 2:5 “you also like living stones are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” There are other such references in the Bible about the idea of being built or to build.

I have purposely chosen not use ‘Christian lives’ in the title because for those who are of Christ, we only have one life, we don't live 2 lives one in the world and one in Church.

Now, like a lot of Biblical Christian concepts, this concept is also a ‘Collaborative’ one, what I mean is that the act of building and being built up is one where we are co-workers with God, we cannot do it alone, without him. The onus is not singularly on us neither is it only on God, we are not passive in this action. We do our part with the Power and Help of the Holy Spirit.

Let's look at the foundation and the abiding pillars on which we can build our lives.

The Foundation: Christ Jesus

Pillars:

1.  Faith

2.  Hope

3.  Love

Each of these is a topic in itself, and each can be series of teaching, however for today I am going to talk about these only in the context of being built up and building up our lives.

Foundation

No building can be built without a foundation. It is the very thing on which a building stands. A strong foundation means a strong building, a weak foundation means a weak building. It is the starting point of the whole act of building something up, and for our lives that foundation is none other than our Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 28: 16 – “So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic””

1 Cor 3: 11 – For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is is Jesus

Christ.

Jesus Christ- his person and his works are the foundation on which we build, he is the sure foundation, one whom we can trust, one who cannot be shaken, one who is forever. Because of Him coming to earth, because of Him taking our punishment and dying in our place and because of His resurrection we have surety.

Without Jesus, there is nothing to build. All that one may do in life, all good works, all charity, all achievements, all would be of no value if not done on the foundation of Jesus. Like Jesus said in the parable, the foolish man builds on sand, when the rain comes down and floods rise up the house would be destroyed, it is not going to stand trail.

But the foundation of Jesus is sure. Imagine trying to build on something which is shaky, it would be a nightmare- never knowing when the whole thing collapses. Whereas on the foundation of Jesus, we have surety that whatever we build will last, such a joy to know that God eternal is the one who guarantees our success in building.

I cannot let this time pass without pleading and encouraging those amongst us who have not yet made Jesus their foundation, to take this opportunity and make Jesus the sure foundation of your lives, and the good news is you have pre-qualified for this, Jesus’ work on the cross has paid the price for you already!

For those of us who already have Jesus as the foundation, I rejoice with you! What a Joy! I want us to be encouraged by reminding us that the foundation of Jesus is sure, secure, never shaken, eternal.

Pillars

As I mentioned earlier, Faith, Hope and Love are huge topics and each has a lot of depth, I cannot possibly cover that and they deserve study in their own right, but today we will look at these as being the essential pillars of our lives.

All 3 are interconnected and it is amazing how many times they appear together in the Bible, sometimes in the same verse, sometimes in the same thought spread across 2 or 3 verses, sometimes 2 out of 3 are together.

1 Cor 13:13

Rom 5:1-5

Gal 5: 5-6

Col 1:4-5

Heb 10: 22-24

Col 1:23

1 Thes 1:3

1 Thes 5:8

1 Tim 1:14

1 Tim 6: 11

In all of these verses we find Faith, Hope and Love. This trio of terms was a favourite summary of Christian teaching in the early church.

1 Thessalonians 1:3 says “We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” And this gives us the perfect guideline for how we build on these 3 pillars of Faith, Hope and Love. Interestingly this verse can also be taken as the summary of my message today, that we would produce work by Faith, labour by love and have endurance by hope.

Faith

In the simplest terms Faith means belief or conviction. And in the context of 1 Cor 13:13 it means the belief and conviction about God and His Power to answer prayers-“move mountains” so to speak.

Hebrews 11 almost gives a definition for faith, as Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Heb 11: 6 says that it is impossible to please God without faith. Now this faith which we need to be able to live a life pleasing to God with, is it only limited to ‘believing’? Would that be sufficient? No.

 

As James very clearly states and then proceeds to demonstrate by the examples he uses in his letter- Faith without action is dead!

It needs to produce work (1 The 1:3), we need to walk the walk of faith. True faith would produce an act. James 2: 21- 26 states how Abraham’s faith led him to do what he did (ready to sacrifice Isaac) and how Rahab’s faith led her to save the spies.   Hebrews 11 in most Bibles has a heading of ‘Faith in action’, it gives an account of great characters of the OT doing great deeds by faith. By faith Abraham obeyed and left his old country, by faith Joseph gave instructions for the burial of his bones- something which happened years later! Etc.

We see that Faith produces the action. In our lives let us remember that faith enables us to believe and receive all God has for us as Christians. By faith, we can walk in the fullness of the gifts and power of the Spirit of God.

 

 By faith let us proclaim God’s word without reservation and by faith let us dedicate ourselves to the work of the Lord. In doing so, brick by brick, we will be building our lives on the foundation of our Lord.

I want to encourage all of us today, if we think of this as a burden or a demand, we have wavered away from truth, because the good news is that God has called us to do the good works prepared for us in advance and for that he supplies us with abundant grace. At times we may feel like we just don't have the required faith, the truth is He has given us each a measure of faith and like the disciples prayed in Luke 17:5       we too can pray “Increase our faith”. Growth is a Godly principle, and if with whatever measure of faith we have, we do produce, God will surely make it grow.

Hope

Hope means confident expectation based on solid certainty. Biblical Hope is quite different to the way we use the word hope in our day to day lives. We use hope more in the wishful sense or being optimistic sense. In the word of God there is certainty, the Hope we have as Christians is not a wish, which may or may not come true, our hope is certain and our hope is eternal.

It is a little complicated sometimes to explain the difference between Hope and Faith, both seem very similar, and they are, they are interconnected but there is a difference.

I have always understood the difference in the context of time, faith has to do with past and present, while hope is always about the future. We don’t hope that Jesus died on the cross for us, we believe, we have faith that He did. Derek Prince says there is another difference, Faith has to do with the heart and Hope to do with the mind, based on 1 Thes 5:8 ‘breastplate of Faith and Love and Helmet of Hope of Salvation.’

For our building, the pillar of Hope is needed for endurance. Hope is based on Faith, but Hope is for the things not seen yet. Our Hope is surely the blessed moment when we see our Saviour face to face, our hope is the eternity we have with Him, our hope is the manifest glory of God, our Hope is that in Christ Jesus we have eternal life and that He gives meaning and purpose to our lives and our work here.

1 Pet 1: 3 says we have been begotten to a lively hope of incorruptible inheritance and exceeding great and eternal weight of glory.

Hope gives us endurance. Marathon runners have endurance which is not easily matched, they run and run and run, never losing sight of why they are running- you may think it is to win, but surprisingly for many marathoners the goal is not winning but finishing. Similarly in our lives, Hope is having our sights fixed on what’s at the finish line. Our Eternal reward. Gal 6:9 says Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

 

Hope, a confident expectation of incorruptible inheritance in Christ- hows that for motivation. Let us then continue with doing good, however and in whatever ways we can exhibit God’s goodness to people, let us continue doing that, in giving to the poor, in serving, in holding on to the values of God over the values of the world, let us continue and have endurance.

Rom 15: 13 says May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Joy and Peace are integral to Hope, and as with other things we are not left alone to have endurance, it is by the Power of His Holy Spirit that we overflow with hope. Be encouraged, be full of Joy and Peace of God as we continue to do the good works prepared for us in advance with Hope.

Love

We now come to the most critical of all pillars- Love. The greatest of these 3 as Paul puts it. In the context of the trio of Faith Hope and Love, it is Agape love, which is self-giving, freely given, expecting nothing in return which seeks the highest good of the other person no matter what. As with hope, love in common language is used very differently, we use love for a variety of things and we mean a variety of things when we say love. But biblical love is giving love, which will last and remain even in eternity.

Love produces a labour which is not selfish, which is not expecting something in return, it will value the person more than the prestige. James severely reprimands the church for showing favouritism and for discrimination because it was against the ‘Royal Law’ (James 2:8) which is Love your neighbour as yourself.

 

Again in practical terms, is love something which we manufacture in our hearts and communicate by words? Are we capable of producing agape love in our hearts? I am not sure, because the bible talks about it requiring laying ones life. Honestly it is not natural, cause natural is being selfish. However, Rom 5:5 says God’s love has been poured out into our hears through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us, and that is a reason to rejoice, because that gives us the ability to Love the way God Loves- agape love.

When we are full and are overflowing with God’s love, and His Spirit, that love will inevitably touch others.

1 Cor 13 lists the characteristics of this love, and they are useful in us evaluating our love actions. If what we are doing is rooted in selfishness, envy, so that we can boast about it etc. Love is the pillar which will make sure that the building is being built the way God wants it. Because like it is mentioned in the chapter one can have the faith to move mountains, and one may have all the endurance to go through hardships, but if one doesn't have love, it is nothing. The labour and work of love is God-kind, we truly represent Him when we love. The most quoted verse in the world “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son...” shows us God’s character, that He is Love in deed.

We are recipients of God’s love, we are subjects of His Love, we love because He first loved us. Let us revel in His love, rejoice of this amazing privilege and be encouraged to labour in Love, so that the world may know we are Christians.

In conclusion, I want to remind each one of us, that we are Loved by Him, that His Spirit within us gives us the power to stand firm in faith, and produce work of Faith , to labour in Love and to have endurance in Hope, in so doing to build a lasting building on the strong foundation of Jesus Christ.

Closing prayer.



 Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service.  Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org. 

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Gifts Of The Holy spirit - Part 5

This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on July 4th 2021 by Lasya D via zoom. For the audio please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.

 UNLOCKING THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT DURING LOCKDOWN

 

When the lockdown was declared last year, Andrew and I had just returned from our honeymoon. We had a wonderful wedding and had been blessed with so many people coming and celebrating with us and a lot of them gave us presents. I had a stack of new clothes, sarees and jewellery and things I never owned before and I was excited to wear on different occasions – I even planned it – for special Sunday meetings, for other weddings and celebrations, etc. 2 days into our return back to Pune, the lockdown was declared and it started the never-ending saga of sweatpants. It is frustrating to be given a gift and not being able to use it isn’t it?

 

We’ve been in a series about the baptism of the Holy Spirit and when the Holy Spirit comes, he comes bearing gifts from the Father. How many of you have felt like I did with my wedding presents – glad you have the gift but frustrated because you’re not able to use it? My message today is unlocking the gifts of the spirit during the lockdown.

 

Let’s pray.

 

So before we talk about unlocking the gifts of the spirit, let me just lay some groundwork.

 

What are the gifts of the spirit?

 

Paul says to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 12: 1 “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed.” So it is important for us to know what these spiritual gifts are.

 

The bible has several references to gifts of the spirit, which is different from the fruits of the spirit. The fruit of the spirit – the evidence that we are walking in intimacy and obedience to the Holy Spirit following the leading of the Holy Spirit, is the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control...” These are produced in our life through intimacy with Jesus and working out our salvation. We produce the fruit of the spirit, but we receive the gifts of the spirit.

 

Spiritual gifts are broad of 2 types – Charisma which means a grace endowment and Doma which is just the Greek word of gift. 

Charisma gifts are listed in several places in the Bible – 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 (Prophecy, Ability to distinguish between spirits, Teaching, Word of wisdom and word of knowledge, Exhorting, Working of miracles, Various kinds of tongues, Interpretation of tongues and Gifts of healing;  but within this, there are motivational gifts which are the gift of Service, Helping, Leading, Administrating,, Giving, Faith, Mercy) whereas Doma gifts are given in Ephesians 4: 11-12 ( Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, Pastors, Teachers). These gifts are for walking in positions of governance and equipping of saints for the work of ministry.

 
There are 4 things I want to highlight about the gifts of the spirit:

1.      They are gifts of grace – they are an expression of the love of the Father. We can never earn it or deserve it. Romans 12:6 “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them” They are irrevocable – Romans 11:29 “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”

 

2.      They are distributed according to His will – Hebrews 2: 4 “God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”  

1 Corinthians 12: 11 “All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” The church is referred to as a Body of Christ several times in the Bible but it is mostly in the context of exercising spiritual gifts. This helps us to not be envious of someone else’s gift. 1 corinthians 12 : 14- 18 “14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many.15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. ”  So God is the one who distributes gifts according to his will and his purposes.

 

3.      They are for the building up of the church and glorifying God– 

Most gifts are given to benefit the receiver but the gifts of the spirit are given for us to be a blessing. Our gift set is unique and is required in a specific way for the building up of the church. 

This is called body ministry and it is a conviction for us at Word of Grace. 1 Corinthians 14: 12 “So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.” 1 Peter 4:10 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace” 1 Corinthians 12:7 “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

God is committed to the building up of the church and he gives us the privilege of being a part of that, by exercising the gifts and abilities he gives us.  So we don’t use a gift to become important in our own eyes – we do it to glorify God. 

1 Peter 4:11 “Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

 

4.      Gifts are not eternal – We cannot build our identity on the gifts we receive because as 1 Corinthians 13:8 says “Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

 

 
What are we to do with the gifts of the spirit?

1.      Eagerly Desire the gifts – I Corinthians 12: 31” But earnestly desire the higher gifts.” 1 corinthians 14:1 “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” 1 Corinthians 14: 39 “So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.” Wishlist the gifts – even though the gifts of the spirit are distributed according to His will, we are commanded to desire the gifts eagerly. The illustration of creating a birthday wishlist.

 

Action point: pray and ask God to give you the gifts. We are commanded to eagerly desire the gifts and specifically, the gift of prophecy. Is that something we can do in lockdown? Yes, there is no restriction on desiring the gifts of the spirit.

 

2.      Fan it into flame – 1 Timothy 4:14 – 16 “Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”. 2 Tim 1:6. “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”. So how do we know that we have a gift? We put it into action by faith. Start with what you know – example of speaking in tongues and prophetic words. How do you fan something into a flame? You don’t take a big blower and blast the wind – in the same way, the first time you bring a prophetic word is not at a conference with 1000 people. You start at home.

 

Action Point: Use the gift you have received in small settings – GYM, Living Room, Arrow – come to these prepared to use your gifts – whether it is a prophetic word, a word of encouragement etc. – give for JOG and other initiatives if you have the gift of giving, serving, mercy. Ask the leaders, how can I help? Your gift is meant to fulfil the need that arises in the body of Christ and in the community. You can be activated in most of the gifts of the spirit from wherever you are!

 

3.      Use them with love – The sign of maturity is not just the gift that someone has developed – but the fruit that they have developed alongside it. 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” Your gift has no value in the eyes of God if it is not done with love – love for God, for His Body, for people.

 

Action Point : So insert whichever gift you have and test and see if it fits bill 1 Corinthians 13: 4- 7 “4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

 

I believe that in the Body of Christ the gifts of the spirit can have a full expression in every season as each member does its part. It is possible for the gifts of the spirit to be fully manifest in this season – the word of the Lord and the work of the spirit are not in lockdown. Different gifts get highlighted in each season as is required for the building up of the church – we’ve seen earlier revivals that highlighted mass healings, an incredible move of the spirit in power through the laying on of hands, miracles, signs and wonders, etc. I believe in this season that the gifts that are being highlighted are Gifts of Service, Helping, Leading, Giving, Faith, Mercy – and I believe that the next move of the spirit is going to be accompanied by the radical operation of these gifts. We will see radicals acts of service, of helping, of mercy, of giving…

 

What will sustain this move is the fruit we develop and the anointing we walk in. Christine Caine says “The fruits that grow as a result of trusting the Lord through pain and suffering are the essential ingredients we need to sustain the anointing that God gives us. So when we get on stage, it won’t just be us and our gifts, but the character, endurance, and hope to back it up, paired with the anointing that breaks chains and shifts atmospheres.

 

So let us ready ourselves. Let us eagerly seek the gifts, let us play the unique role we are called to play in the body of Christ and let us do in tandem with the fruit of the spirit.

 


 Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service.  Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.