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Unwrap Your Spiritual Gift Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
October 1, 2020 1:00 am

Unwrap Your Spiritual Gift Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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October 1, 2020 1:00 am

In the body of Christ, everyone has a gift with which to serve others. Knowing what that gift is, and putting it to work, are keys to satisfaction and joy. As each believer does his or her part, the result is a marvelous harmony. In this message we learn to unwrap and use our spiritual gift. 

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. In the body of Christ, everyone has a gift with which to serve others.

Knowing what that gift is and putting it to work are the keys to satisfaction and joy. As each does his or her part, the result is a marvelous harmony. Today, coming to grips with your gift from the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, as you ask each of us to unwrap our spiritual gift, you liken the local church to a symphony with each of us playing one of the instruments.

You know, Dave, I do that because that is scriptural, but I have to say also that in the church, oftentimes there are differences, but those kinds of differences should not shatter the basic unity that we have in Jesus Christ our Lord. And if these messages help people to understand their role within the church and to find their spiritual gifts and to be energized by those gifts, why then indeed I shall be abundantly satisfied. But I also need to tell you, Dave, that I've written a new book that we are making available to our people. It is entitled Pandemics, Plagues, and Natural Disasters. And I have to say that the subtitle is very important, What is God Saying to Us? In this book, with a Bible in one hand and looking at natural disasters and the pandemics and plagues in the other, what I try to do is to expound indeed what God has to say about these events. We've all been shattered to some extent as a result of COVID, but that actually is only one part of the total picture of what is happening on our planet. And so for a gift of any amount, this book can be yours.

Ask for Pandemics, Plagues, and Natural Disasters. And I also encourage you to remember the subtitle, What is God Saying to Us? Here's how you can receive the book. For a gift of any amount, you can go to

That's, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. And now let's open our Bibles once again as we inspect what the Bible has to say about our operations, our gifting within his church. You may come to church sometime and not, quote, get anything out of it. Vance Havner says that he's not yet heard a sermon where he didn't get anything, but he said he's had some mighty close calls. Maybe you've left here sometime with a mighty close call.

But did you know that that's not the biggest issue? When you leave here today, rather than saying, was I blessed? Did he say what I wanted him to say? Did this edify me?

Why don't you ask this question? Was God glorified by my being here? Was the symphony that I contributed to one that gave him praise? Rather than asking whether or not I'm blessed, ask whether or not the Lord was blessed. Bless the Lord, O my soul, through my confession, through my devotion, through my single-mindedness, through my worship. That's the question that we need to answer is, is the Lord pleased? Third, first, same source, same purpose for the symphony, and then we have gifts with different functions.

I just need to read this to you and make comments as we go through. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom. Some people have real ability to apply God's Word to situations where the Bible might not even speak directly because they understand the principles. To another, knowledge. They know a lot.

They are oftentimes resource people. This, by the way, is not a complete list of gifts. Seven or eight, depending on how you count them, listed.

For example, my primary gift does not even occur in this list. You'll notice it says to another, faith by the same Spirit. We all need faith to be saved, but there are some people who can really believe God in the midst of circumstances, and this leads me to say, those of you who are listening to this by radio, through the internet, and you perhaps no longer can serve in these capacities, you can exercise the gift of faith through your praying. You can pray for us.

For example, I know that I make frequent references to my parents, but my father's 103, my mother is 97. They don't go to church anymore, but they pray a lot. They almost pray all day, and they're exercising their gifts for the good of the body, especially praying for their youngest son, whom they know needs it.

I'll not mention their oldest. That's a whole different story. Gift of faith by the same Spirit, gifts of healing. There may be those who had the ability to heal certain diseases, but not others, or there may be groups of people who work together in this. The idea of there being one man who has the gift of healing, traipsing throughout the country, healing people, that's a later development.

You don't find that in the New Testament. These gifts existed within the congregations. To another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish spirits.

God knows we need that today, discernment. To another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit who apportions to each individually as he wills. Please notice very quickly that there are three groups of gifts, and this would include the other lists in the New Testament.

In total, there are about 19 or 20, and that might not even be all there are. The apologists saying this is the way the Spirit works. But there are speaking gifts, there are sign gifts. They're the ones that cause the controversy, some of them listed here like miracles and so forth.

And I say controversy because they seem to disappear very early on in the Christian church after the first century. Maybe one reason is because Paul says in 2 Corinthians chapter 12 verse 12, I was able to do the signs of the apostles. So it's maybe that the apostles had certain giftedness and certain signs. But obviously this is not the place to discuss all of the sign gifts, which may still be an exercise today, but what you see on TV usually is not this. That's something else. And then you'll notice service gifts. At the end of the chapter, Paul talks about those who have the gifts of helps and the gifts of administrating. That doesn't mean that your gift can't be developed.

Some of you may have the gift of teaching and you don't even know it because you've never been put in a situation where you need to teach, you've not been trained to teach, and gifts can be developed. But it has to do with your hard wiring. Your hard wiring. My hard wiring is not administration.

It's not administration. I've got other things that burn in my soul. It's the way God put us together.

And now what I'd like to do is to ask this question. Why should we be changed forever because we heard this message? Why should some people here today look back on this day and say I shall never be the same again? By the way, some of you are not fulfilled in your Christian life because you're not exercising your gift. You're not a part of the body.

You're just instantly related. You're an observer only. First of all, because number one, everybody has a gift.

You'll notice that the text is open there. Keep your finger on the verse. It says in verse seven, to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit. To each is given. Notice in verse 11, all these are empowered by one and the same Spirit who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

Wow. When God formed you in your mother's womb, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit were determining your particular bent, your primary giftedness. That doesn't mean that we can't exercise other gifts. You can't say, well, you know, after a banquet, I can't help clean up downstairs because I don't have the gift of helps. You can't say, well, I don't have to give because I don't have the gift of giving.

Sorry. But it does mean that there is a primary function for which you were created in the body of Christ and you will never experience a sense of fullness and completeness until you find that you become integrated and you begin to be able to make some sacrifice on the part of the body in accordance with your giftedness. It's interesting to me that Paul makes no distinction between men and women when he lists these gifts. I believe that women have all the same gifts that men do.

Now, that would be a place for some of you women to clap, I would think, but it's up to you. Now, when it comes to various offices such as elder, that in the scripture is always indicated that this is a male leadership role. But in terms of service and giftedness, what would Moody Church or any other church do without its women, their devotion, their sensitivity to the Spirit.

Romans chapter 16, Paul lists many women and thanks them for their role in helping him with ministry. So everyone has a gift. Don't be agnostic regarding gifts. Secondly, if you're dissatisfied with your gift, you're dissatisfied with God. To be dissatisfied with your gift is to be dissatisfied with God because you'll notice it says all these are empowered by one and the same Spirit who apportions to each one individually.

I love this as he wills. Some of you don't like the way you look. You look into the mirror and you wonder where God was when you were put together.

You're looking exactly the way in which God wanted you to look. Are you content with who you are? Are you content with your gift? Or are you going to take God's gift and you're going to keep it under the tree, keep it unwrapped because you say, if I can't have somebody else's gift and if I can't do A, B, C, D like somebody else does and if I don't do that, I'm just going to take God's gift and I'm going to bury it. Jesus told a parable about people like that and he wasn't very pleased about people who took their gift and said, I don't like it. I'm going to bury it.

No, don't be angry with God. Accept it and use it. Number three, giftedness is, I'm inventing a word here, but why not? Giftedness is giving-ness.

It's giving-ness. Now Moody Church is a large church and we often have people who come from other churches or transfer and they want to look us over for six months or a year. Sometimes I've had people say, I can't get involved in anything. I just need to heal because of the toxic situation out of which I came in some other ministry and we understand that. Some of you are checking us out. You know, you've been checking us out for a couple of months.

Now I'm talking to some of you who've been checking us out for the last 10 years and I'm not talking about those who are elderly and incapacitated or unable to serve anymore for some reason, but I'm talking about everyone involved in some way connecting through adult Bible fellowships, connecting through small groups in some way a part of what God is doing, developing, learning and growing together. Well, if you think that I've been strong so far, put on your seatbelt. Keep it going. Thank God.

Thank God. I don't believe that it's just a bad idea. I don't believe it's just wrong. I believe that it is a sin for people to say, preach to me. Sing to me. Keep the church warm in winter for me.

Keep it cool in summer for me. Build the Christian life center for me. When I'm sick, visit me. When I'm dead, bury me, but I will sign on nothing. I won't become a part of anything. I will not sacrifice. I'm not going to become a part of what God is doing in his body. I think that's a sin. Now, why didn't you clap there? I don't believe Jesus is ever going to say, well done, thou good and faithful servant, for thou has listened to 2,421 messages and nearly twice the number of choir anthems, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.

I don't think so. Many churches in the lobby, they have a list of people who died in World War I, died in World War II, soldiers from the church that went out. There's a story of a little boy who looked up and said, mommy, who are those? And she says, oh, she said, sweetheart, those are a list of names of people who died in the service.

Am I going too fast for some of you? He said, morning service or evening service? Have some of you died in the service? That's the question. God here at the Moody Church has given us a huge challenge. We're on the cusp of some very, very wonderful times, the building of the Christian Life Center, the advance of the gospel through the outreaches of the church, the mission work.

I read the bulletin every week and I'm amazed at all the opportunities. So I have to leave you with this. If you have a passion for Jesus, you'll have a passion for his church.

That's where this all leads. In a few moments, we're going to be having communion together and we're going to say, this is my body which was broken for you. This do in remembrance of me. How precious do you think the body of Christ is? Well, so precious that the Bible says that when you do it, do it in a respectful manner. Do it having examined yourself for sin.

That's how important it is. But God comes along and says, and you're my body too. You're a part of what I'm doing in the world. And if you're here today and you've never embraced Christ as savior, before you talk about these kinds of gifts, you have to receive a different kind of gift, the gift of eternal life which is given freely.

But here's the deal. When you receive the gift of eternal life, you immediately become a part of what we've talked about today, the larger body of Christ and the head from which we get our orders. Would you join me as we pray? Father, I pray by the Holy Spirit, help us to give up our cheap and shallow views of the church.

Help us to understand that you have gifted us to function within a body. You have blessed this church with so many fine and committed Christians, but we long for others to join us in the great task that you've given to us. Help us, O God, we pray. Make us a people that burn with passion for your people and for what you are doing among them. Give us a love for one another as we shall be discovering in future messages so that we be all that you want us to be. We long for that, Father. And now, before I close this prayer, what do you need to say to God?

Whatever he's talked to you about, you tell him. Father, you've shut us up to utter helplessness. We've never changed anybody's mind about anything. We've never changed a human heart.

We've never taken uncommitted people and made them committed. All that is your work. So we throw ourselves helplessly in your presence, trusting you to do what only you can do. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Amen. Well this is Pastor Lutzer and if you've been listening to Running to Win for any period of time, you know that the centrifugal force of this ministry is the gospel of Jesus Christ. But we also want people to understand larger theological questions. That's why I've written the book entitled Pandemics, Plagues, and Natural Disasters, subtitle, What is God Saying to Us? Five chapters in this book have to do with what God says in his word about these experiences and then two chapters are devoted to what we should say to God. I deal with all kinds of questions that people have been asking not only as a result of the COVID pandemic, but as a result of earthquakes and mudslides and tidal waves.

What is God's relationship to these kinds of experiences that the earth has? Ask for the book Pandemics, Plagues, and Natural Disasters, What is God Saying to Us? And for a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to That's or if you prefer, call us at 1-888-218-9337. I wrote this book so that you might have answers to questions but also that you might be comforted in the midst of a planet that has been pounded with one disaster after another since the beginning of time. Here's what you do.

You can call us at 1-888-218-9337. It's time again for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. What Bible translations are appropriate? There is serious disagreement on this as noted by Kathleen, who writes, I follow your teachings so much and now have a question regarding Bible translations. I've been hearing a lot of negatives about all but the King James Version. Can you tell me if you've studied this or taught about it at all?

Kathleen, I want to speak to you very personally and thank you so much for asking this question. And, it is a prominent question in the minds and hearts of many people. It is true that the King James Bible is a wonderful translation and it does have an interesting history. But we must understand that all translations have their limitations. None is perfectly accurate. And throughout the years as scholars have studied the various manuscripts of the New Testament they have concluded that some of the manuscripts from which the King James were translated are not necessarily the best manuscripts. There may be others that may be more accurate.

Now we should not be concerned about this because the changes are very insignificant. Most of them do not have anything to do with doctrine. But these manuscripts that are used by many scholars today it is generally believed that they are a more accurate reading of what the originals said. So you have various translations and there are many different translations and all of them have their strong points and their weak points.

For example there are paraphrases and those paraphrases can be used and they can be of value. I don't preach from a paraphrase because it is much more contemporary and does not translate the original as literally as some other translations. I personally use the ESV, the English Standard Bible. It's a new translation of a few years ago that has been revised and it also is based very much on a literal text and probably more contemporary. You see language always changes and that's why even within the King James Version there have been many many changes since it was translated in the 1600s. Most people don't know that. So the bottom line is this. If you want to use the King James, use the King James.

But I would caution you to not judge those who use different translations other than the King James. Thank you Kathleen for your question. Thank you Pastor Lutzer for that perspective. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer. Or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life.

Are you a square peg in a round hole? The body of Christ involves accountability to those who have the rule over you. Only when we're part of a local fellowship can accountability take place as we find where we fit. Next time on Running to Win, we turn to 1 Corinthians Chapter 12 and learn what the local church is all about. Thanks for listening. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-25 11:12:13 / 2024-02-25 11:20:34 / 8

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