When I was asked to preach again back in the summer, I decided that I didnt need to pray to God about the subject matter then because it was ages away. A short while later I realised that I’d just put my own time-scale onto God! Regardless of when I asked God to reveal His message, He would lead me in the direction He wanted for the occasion.
During that prayerful time, I was led to the many Scriptures which teach us about Gods love and gifts of the Spirit. We have been given the free gift of Gods love and there is only one thing you can do with a free gift – accept it unconditionally. “For He fordained us to be adopted as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will” Ephesians 1:5
God loves us because of who He is, not because of who we are. God loves us as we are …… but He loves us too much to leave us that way!
God loves us and wants us to be all He has designed us to be. We are new creations in Christ and should not be hiding our lamp under a bowl. God wants us to have faith-filled expectations of his goodness. Let Him know that you expect to see His goodness in your life, not because you are good but because He is. The Bible teaches us that God is waiting to bless people but He is looking for those who are expecting and believing for His favour.
Have high expectations. Sometimes we expect nothing; we wait to see what happens and nothing does because we have been expecting nothing. Sometimes we expect to be disappointed because in the past we have been disappointed, so when we dont get what we’ve asked for, we’re disappointed. Aim higher than that; allow your faith to build hope. Your high expectations can be met by God in a way that this earthly world cannot.
As Christians it is our duty and our privilege to spread the good news and what better way than by demonstrating Gods love in us through our gifts? Do you know what your gift is? Maybe you think you dont have a gift. Let me ask you this; do you believe that the Bible is the truth? That it is the Word of God? Yes Glad to hear it. So lets see what the Bible says about gifts.
2 Romans 12: 4 – 8 For 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, through many, form one body and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith. If it is serving, than serve. If it is teaching, then teach. If it is to encourage, than give encouragement. If it is giving, then give generously. If it is to lead, do it diligently. If it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
God uses holy vessels, so He uses those who are willing to be changed by Him. Jeremiah 18-6 “Can I not do with you, Israel, as the potter does? declares the Lord. Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel”. Be willing to let God mould you. Be prepared for Him to use you as an instrument of His will.
To find and use our gifts is what God wants us to do; He didnt bless us with a gift for it not to be exercised in bringing Him glory. And that doesnt mean we cant be a bit wary too; after all, who knows what a gift is until its unwrapped? The biggest obstacle to using your gift is fear …… and we’ve talked about fear before. Fear can really intimidate our faith; fear can try to make you put away or hide your gift. Be careful that you do not allow fear to rob you of Gods gift.
All of us have different gifts. Some time ago, I had a conversation with one of my sisters. She was feeling upset because she wasnt able to ‘speak in tongues’. At her church, she’d been told that everyone can speak in tongues if they just pray and try; that the Spirit would come upon her and give her this gift. But what if speaking in tongues wasnt her gift? All of us have different gifts according to the Spirit; we’ve been talking and reading all about that this morning.
If we believe that Christ is in us, then the Spirit is also in us, which means that our gift of the Spirit must be in us too! But that wont be the same gift as someone elses. After all, Oscar Wilde once wrote “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken”
Release it; free your gift, which will, in turn, free you. We need to be all we can be; all that God has designed us to be. With God all things are possible; we already know this to be true. Then what are we waiting for?
Dont leave this world without finding your gift. How many musicians in the world never find out that’s what their gift is because they never pick up an instrument? How many athlete’s have we missed because their parents couldnt afford running shoes? But be assured that its never too late; how old was Abraham when he received his gift? How old was Moses? How old was Noah? Age is not a barrier to the discovery of your gift. Ask for help in identifying yours. Does a friend or family member see your gift more readily than you can? Can they help you release it? Do you want to free it? I hope so, because it is a gift from God.
During the time I’ve been preparing for today, I was also busy searching for my gift. It took a dear friend to point out to me that I may have already found it! (D’oh)
There are so many mentions of gifts in the Bible that my sermon might have been too long if I’d included them all! So I’ve focused on those that I feel will help and encourage us to discover and use our gifts. At the beginning, we read from 1 Corinthians;
1 Corinthians 12: 4-11 There are different kinds of gifts but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working but in all of them in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom; to another a 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, prophesy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another, speaking in different kinds of tongues and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All of these are the work of one and the same Spirit and He distributes them to each one, just as He determines.
and we’ve read from Romans 12, so here’s another couple just to finish
1 Corinthians 14: 12 So it is with you. Since you are eager for the gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.
Ephesians 4: 7 & 8 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says when he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.
Don’t leave this earth until you have found the ministry God has called you for. Are you able to encourage others to be the best they can be – thats a gift. What about hospitality? Welcoming people to your home; making them feel comfortable and feeding them – thats a gift.
Find your gift, set it free, Be the ‘You’ God means you to be.
Here’s your “homework” – find your gift! Be prayerful, talk with others if needed and be prepared to share your gift in the New Year. Let God stir you, let your gift free you, let your soul be on fire for The Lord.