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Transformed and Purposeful Living

January 11, 2018

 

 

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice… which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind… Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them” (Rm. 12:1-2, 6).

 

This single unit informs us two things about worship: first, we worship God by living a transformed life (12:1-2), and second, we worship God by living a purposeful life (12:6).

 

Living a transformed life requires us to surrender our mind to God instead of a godless culture (12:2); living a purposeful life requires us to surrender our gifts to God instead of using them for our own benefit (12:6).

 

A life of worship is a life of surrender. Our great motivation for this life of surrender is not God's judgment (“Obey Me or go to hell!”), but God's "mercies" (“I died for you in mercy; would you live for Me in gratitude?”).

 

Worship is surrender because we’re giving back to God the greatest gift we have to offer: ourselves. And we’re giving ourselves back to the one who gave Himself for us. Not to pay back a debt, but to show our gratitude for the debt that’s been paid through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

 

It’s important for each of us to evaluate whether we are truly worshipers of God. The question is not whether we go to church and sing songs. That’s just the icing on our “worship cake”. True worship is giving God the whole cake—our lives—through (1) transformed living, and (2) purposeful living.

 

So are you worshiping God through a transformed life? Have you surrendered your impulses and thought life to Him?

 

Are you worshiping God through a purposeful life? Have you surrendered your gifts to God? Are you using your gifts for yourself—to make yourself look good or feel a sense of worth—or are you using them for God’s glory? Or… are you like the third tenant in Matthew 25 who “buried his talent in the earth”? In other words, are you using your gifts at all?

 

If we want to live with purpose, it’s essential for us to know our spiritual gifts. Do you know yours? Do you know what gifts are listed in the Bible?

 

At Wellspring, we’ve begun meeting for an event called "the Well" on the 2nd Tuesday nights of the month to worship God through song and by growing in our spiritual gifts. This past week, I trained on “the revelatory gifts of the Holy Spirit”—those gifts that focus on receiving divine revelation. See our Facebook page for the live broadcast (which is no longer live!).

 

As part of this training, I offered a packet that lists out all the spiritual gifts, along with definitions, some Scriptural examples, and opportunities to use them. I invite you to read over this packet and comment on the blog if you have any questions or thoughts.

 

Please join us for our next “Well”—on Tuesday, Feb. 13, from 6:30-8:30pm. I’ll be talking about how to receive prophetic messages from God.

 

Additionally, I invite you to join us on Sunday mornings at 10:30am for the next four weeks, as we talk about living with purpose. Last week we talked about spiritual gifts; this week, I’ll be talking about discovering your God-given passion. Our big idea for the overall sermon series is, “You have to truly know yourself in order to fully give yourself to God.”

 

Without further ado, here’s the packet I handed out on Tuesday night. Feel free to use it or share it. My simple goal in sharing this with you is to bless the body of Christ with a greater understanding of our spiritual gifts so that we can use them for loving God and people.

 

Note that the page numbers are irrelevant since they apply to a physical handout, but not a blog…..

 

TRAINER GIFTS (PAGE 2)

Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor-Teacher

 

REVELATORY GIFTS (PAGE 3)

Word of Knowledge, Word of Wisdom, Discernment of Spirits, Tongues, Interpretation of Tongues

 

SUPERNATURAL GIFTS (PAGE 4)

Faith, Healing, Miraculous Powers

 

RELATIONAL GIFTS (PAGE 5)

Serving, Exhorting, Giving, Leading, Mercy

 

 

Note: These categories for spiritual gifts are imperfect. Some gifts fall into multiple categories, and some categories (“supernatural”, “relational”) could in some ways describe all the gifts. Despite their imperfection, we find them overall helpful for simplifying and clarifying the function of each gift.

           Note also that for most of these, we try to describe an area of the church in which you could exercise those gifts. However, none of the gifts were meant to be confined to church meetings and ought to be exercised wherever God’s people gather informally, as well as out in the world.

 

        

 

THE “TRAINER” GIFTS (Ephesians 4:11-12)

People with the following gifts are often meant to not just operate in their spiritual gifts, but also “to prepare God’s people for works of service” (Eph. 4:12)—that is, to train.[1]

 

APOSTLESHIP: [2]

Definition: a unique empowerment for planting and overseeing multiple churches

 

Distinction: There is a difference between the original twelve Apostles and a modern-day apostle. The original “Twelve”—as they were called—have a special place in the founding of the church and will be specially honored in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:14).

 

Characteristics: Apostles experience extreme suffering (2 Cor. 11) and extreme power (Luke 24:49). They have been personally commissioned by the risen Jesus for that task (1 Cor. 1:1; 9:1).

 

PROPHECY:

Definition: a unique empowerment to hear God’s voice and communicate it

               

Your place: Prophetic team, Worship Team (for “Spirit-filled songs”, cf. Eph. 5:18-19)

 

EVANGELISM:

Definition: a unique empowerment for leading unbelievers to faith in Christ

 

Your place: Outreach Events, Disciple-making Teams, Hospitality ministry, Mission Trips

 

PASTORAL:[3]

Definition: a unique empowerment for shepherding God’s people

 

Characteristics: A pastorally gifted person has a strong concern for the spiritual, physical, and emotional health of others. Ezekiel 34:4 describes the role of a pastor: to care for the flock, strengthen the weak, heal the sick, bind up the injured, and bring back the strays.

 

Your place: Volunteer Pastoral Team, Men’s/Women’s Council, Young Adult and Youth Leadership teams

 

TEACHING:

Definition: a unique empowerment for clearly communicating the truth of God’s Word

 

Characteristic: One of the least common of spiritual gifts (James 3:1).

 

Your place: Teaching in Sunday School, Youth, Young Adults, and other avenues. Also, curriculum development.

 

 

 

THE “REVELATORY” GIFTS (1 Corinthians 12:8-10)

The first three of these “revelatory gifts” are only mentioned once in Scripture and they are never defined or described. The information for these represents our best guess of the Scripture’s meaning, based on context and word choice.

                “Prophecy” could be listed as one of the “Revelatory Gifts”, but because of its place in Ephesians 4, we included it as one of the “Trainer Gifts”.

 

WORDS OF KNOWLEDGE:

Definition: a unique empowerment for offering divinely revealed knowledge—often secrets of hearts—that are immediately confirmable by the listener

 

Scriptural Example: John 4:16-17. Jesus shares detailed knowledge about a woman’s life that He had no way of knowing apart from God’s revelation to Him.

 

Your place: Prophetic team

 

WORDS OF WISDOM:

Definition: a unique empowerment for offering divinely revealed advice

 

Scriptural Example: Acts 27:31. Paul gives divinely revealed advice that saves lives.

 

Your place: Prophetic Team, Volunteer Pastoral Team (great for counseling situations)

 

DISCERNMENT OF SPIRITS:

Definition: a unique empowerment for sensing the invisible spiritual realm

 

Characteristics: People gifted in this could sense angelic or demonic activity related to a person or environment. They might also sense spiritual gifts that people have.

 

Scriptural Example: 2 Kings 6:15-17. Elisha sees an angelic army in the invisible realm.

 

Your place: Prophetic Team, Prayer Team, Healing Team (useful for casting out demons), Worship Team (useful for sensing the spiritual environment for corporate worship gatherings)

 

TONGUES:

Definition: a unique empowerment for speaking/praying in unknown languages

 

Characteristics: The gift of tongues is “revelatory” because the spoken words are prophetic (Acts 2:14-18).  It’s possible that either human languages (Acts 2:11) and angelic languages (1 Cor. 13:1) are spoken.

 

Your place: Prayer Team, Prophetic Team (if you or a team member also have the gift of interpretation)

 

INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES:

Definition: a unique empowerment for understanding and conveying what a “tongue-speaker” is saying

 

Scriptural Reference: 1 Corinthians 14

 

Your place: Prophetic Team

 

 

 

THE “SUPERNATURAL” GIFTS (1 Corinthians 12:8-10)

 

FAITH

Definition: a unique empowerment for believing God to do the impossible

 

Scriptural example: 1 Cor. 13:2. In the context of spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12-14), Paul speaks of a special faith so powerful that mountains are moved in response to it.

 

Your place: Prayer Team, Worship Team

 

HEALING

Definition: a unique empowerment for restoring people’s health

 

Characteristics: Healing can include deliverance from demonic oppression. This is because oftentimes—though not always (Jn. 9:2-4)—the source for physical disabilities is spiritual (Lk. 13:11: “disabling spirit”).

 

Your place: Healing teams, Inner-healing Teams

 

MIRACULOUS POWERS

Definition: a unique empowerment for defying natural laws with supernatural power

 

Scriptural Examples: Jesus calms the sea (Mark 4:35-41), multiplies bread (Mark 6:30-44), etc.

 

Your place: Do miracles 😊

 

 

 

THE “RELATIONAL” GIFTS (Romans 12:6-8)

We use the word “relational” here because although all spiritual gifts are designed by God to enhance relationships, these gifts generally operate on a slightly more person-person basis than some of the others.

 

SERVING

Definition: a unique empowerment for meeting the practical needs of others, often in a behind-the-scenes manner

 

Your place: Communion setup, audio/visual team, Worship Team, Event Planning, Children’s Ministry… and the list goes on!

 

EXHORTING

Definition: a unique empowerment for challenging God’s people to love God and people faithfully

 

Your place: The gift of exhortation pairs well with teaching, prophetic, and leadership gifts. It also works well in counseling and pastoral situations.

 

GIVING

Definition: a unique empowerment for cheerfully and sacrificially blessing others with financial contributions

 

Your place: Give to the church, give to missions, give to the poor, give to friends in need. 

 

LEADING

Definition: a unique empowerment for mobilizing God’s people for action

 

Characteristics: The four actions leaders consistently take for the development of new leaders are: recruit, train, nurture, deploy. These involve abilities to cast vision and devise strategy.

 

Your place: Lead Sunday School classes or groups of classes; Volunteer Pastoral Team; Men’s Council; Women’s Council; Young Adults’ Leadership; Youth Leadership; Children’s Leadership… every ministry has leaders, so there are many opportunities to serve. Additionally, because leaders are generally entrepreneurial, there are many opportunities to start new ministries.

 

MERCY

Definition: A unique empowerment for meeting the needs of the disenfranchised

 

Characteristics: The four categories of people in Scripture who most often are recipients of mercy include: the widow (in our culture, this would likely include single mothers), the fatherless, the poor, and the immigrant. If your heart breaks for these, you likely have the gift of mercy.

 

Your place: Pastoral Team; Outreach Ministry; Inner-healing Team

 

 

 

[1] While these gifts are all described as “trainer” gifts in Eph. 4:12, it’s certainly possible that some “evangelists” and some “prophets” are not primarily called as trainers. On the other hand, if you have one of these five gifts, you should strongly consider the possibility that you are called to train others in your gift.

 

[2] Some argue that to be an “Apostle” is not so much a spiritual gift as it is a position of authority in the church. It is certainly the latter, but undoubtedly God also gifts those whom He calls to positional leadership. Further, it’s consistent to believe that just as “Prophets” are spiritually gifted in prophecy and “Teachers” are spiritually gifted in teaching, “Apostles” are spiritually gifted in apostleship. The same could be said for “evangelists” being gifted in “evangelism” and “pastors” in “pastoring”.

 

[3] The original Greek suggests that “pastor-teacher” is a singular office, rather than two separate ones. However, because Paul does list two different words—“pastor” and “teacher”—we decided it would be helpful to define both.