We have explored and dived into spiritual gifts. If you are a born-again spirit-filled believer, you have a gift. It is your responsibility to discover it, develop it and deploy it for the benefit of the church.
We have been doing the gifts assessment tests in the GYM. So find out what your gifts are.
There are 78 organs in the body. We don’t know all the organs, but we need all of them. There are 2 muscles that hold the retina together without which we will not be able to focus on the objects that are far away and near. We don’t know them, but we really need them.
We are going to look at 4 gifts
1. Gift of Singleness / Celibacy – 1 Cor 7:7 “
1 Corinthians 7 “Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 I say this as a concession, not as a command. I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.”
Why does Paul want people to be single? Why is it a gift? He says if you are single, your focus is on pleasing God. But if you’re married your focus is on pleasing God and your spouse. In V. 28 he says “But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.” In fact he goes on to say in v. 40 “In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is—and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.”
When we are single we have the gift of singleness. All of us have this gift for some time. But some people have this gift for all time. Even married people when your spouse dies you will need the gift of singleness again. As a single person, you have more time to serve God that married people with children might not have. This gift should not be made compulsory, it must be a choice.
2. Gift of Hospitality - 1 Peter 4:9-10 “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 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.” Heb 13 also speaks about this gift of hospitality.
Over time the meanings of words change. Hospitality means to having your friends over, eating some good food etc. But hospitality is derived from 2 greek words – Xenos and Philos – means being friends with strangers. Rom 12:13 “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” It does not have to do with how much money you have. The poorest people are extremely hospitality. It is more a matter of the heart than the matter of the purse. Abraham and so many others in the Old Testament are hospitable.
It is a gift that needs to be cultivated in us. Some have the gift of hospitality, but all of us are called to do this. Hebrews 13:2 “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Relationships spanning continents and decades were built through this simple act of hospitality.
3. Gift of martyrdom and gift of suffering for the gospel - 1 Corinthians 13:3 “If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast” Here Paul is referring to the practice at the time when Christians were burnt at the stake for believing in Jesus. Acts 7:59- 60 “While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.” This is not normal behavior, it is supernatural and spirit led.
Matt 5:11 -12 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” Romans 12:14 “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” You might think you do not have it, but the grace of God will come to empower you to respond in a Godly way. Paul himself talks about his life of persecution. 2 Corinthians 11:23 – 29 “Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.” Paul endured all this for the sake of the gospel.
4. Gift of voluntary poverty: 1 Corinthians 13:3 “If I give all I possess to the poor”. These are people who are saying I have no worldly possessions. In 2 Corinthians 8: 9 “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” Jesus could’ve been born in the kings family and be very rich, but he chose to be in a poor family.
It is not Godly to be poor. God want us to be blessed. But some people who choose to live poor for the sake of the kingdom. Hudson Taylor, the great missionary to China. He chose to live simply so that he can give what he has to the poor. We need to make sure we’re not just increasing our standard of living, but increasing our standard of giving.
So we’ve looked at 4 unique gifts – the gift of singleness, hospitality, martyrdom and voluntary poverty.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking 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 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 about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.