Today on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. When you pray about a need in your life, God does not typically answer it by sending down a zap of power from heaven, yet that's how you expect Him to do it. No, He moves a member of His body to do the work by means of a spiritual gift.
We, the members of that body, are literally His hands and His feet and His mouth. Welcome to Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer.
I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch, and we're so glad that you're back with us today. Okay, I have a newsflash for you. You can't be a lone ranger Christian and be spiritually healthy.
There, I said it. The truth is, if you want God to fully be at work in your life, you need to be a part of the church because when you are connected to the church, you are connected to God's power in a way that you can never achieve on your own. And today Pastor J.D. shows how God works in your life, not just through your spiritual gifts, but also through the spiritual gifts of others.
If you missed the first half of this particular teaching yesterday, you can always catch up at jdgreer.com. Now let's jump back in where we left off with Pastor J.D. in a message he titled, Now Concerning the Spirit Stuff. A spiritual gift is simply when the Spirit of Jesus comes on you to accomplish something He once done in the world, which leads me to my first point. Number one, spiritual gifts are how Jesus continues His ministry on earth. Jesus promised that after He was gone, He would continue to build His church by His Spirit through His disciples. The same power that was at work in the physical body of Jesus is now at work through us. And whenever Jesus, through this Spirit, empowers you to do His work in the world, that's what we call a spiritual gift, manifestation, pneumatic cone, Spirit stuff, empowerment for service, and energy, which leads me to number two. A spiritual gift can either be a lifelong calling or it can be a temporary empowerment. Mark very clearly says that it was when Jesus saw their faith, that is, the faith of the friends that were lowering down the man to Jesus' feet, that's when He healed the guy. He said, I'm doing this because of your faith. They had been given the gift of faith in that moment, perceiving that Jesus was ready and willing to provide that healing.
That can happen to any of us when we pray. Number three, here's your third conclusion. You got one. You got one. Verse seven, to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To each, to each what? To each believer. Who in here is an each?
Raise your hand if you're an each. If your hand is up, you have a spiritual gift. God has given you something for the common good of His body. He's got a special role in the church for you. I think of our kids department like the liver of this church.
Nobody sees it, nobody thinks about it, but if it stopped working, this mouth up here wouldn't have a chance to speak because those ears out there wouldn't be able to hear, right? So everybody's got a part. Number four.
Number four is a big one. You want to know God's will for you? Discover your gift. Y'all, if God's given you a part to play in this body, then isn't it fair to assume that you will never really know His will for your life until you know what that gift is?
The way that you discover His will is by looking at the gift that He's put in your hands, right? So number five, the gifts are for service, not for show. The gifts are for service, not for show. Again, verse seven, to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
Why are they given? Not for others, to admire how spiritual you are, but so that you can work or be used by Jesus in somebody else's life for their good. One of the many problems the Corinthians had is that they felt proud about their spiritual gifts, using them as a reason to think of themselves as spiritually superior to others.
I see and experience things that you don't experience, so I'm on a different class than you. They thought of spiritual gifts like Christian Marvel superhero powers. I got tongues. I got, I'm Prophecy Man. I got, you know, Jesus Spidey sense about your needs.
What do you have? Oh, you only got the gift of administration? That's boring.
Doesn't feel very spectacular. I'm clearly more important in the body of Christ than you are. I'll pray for you not to be depressed about what a loser gift you have, because luckily for you, I got a powerful dose of the gift of faith, too.
Paul just shakes his head. He's like, what is there to be proud of when it comes to a spiritual gift? It's not your power. It's God's. The boxing glove does not boast of its power to punch.
The hand in it has the power. It's not my ability to stand up here and persuade you that is effective in your life at all. I'm just a glove that God wears for his work in your life. If you're thankful for how God used me, yes, you can say a quick little thank you to me, but say a long thank you to God. The gift that God gave to you was not to puff you up before others.
It was to enable you to lift them up above you. The gifts are for service, not for show. In verse 13, Paul tells them that their pride in their gifts shows that not only do they understand the nature of the spiritual gifts, they don't even really understand the gospel itself. They don't even understand the gospel itself. Verse 13, by one Spirit you were all baptized into one body, Jews or Greeks, slaves or free. We were all equal, and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
We were all equally lost. We all needed the same salvation. The Spirit and his gifts were not given to you as a reward for your awesomeness. The Spirit was a free gift that God gave to all of us as a part of salvation. All of us, Jew, Greek, slave, or free, we were all hopelessly condemned when God made us his children. You're looking for something to boast in, boast in that. Luke chapter 10, the disciples, just come back from a preaching tour.
Man, they're all bragging like guys do when they get together after something, trying to one-up each other. Well, I cast out a demon with my eyes closed. Jesus shakes his head, and he's like, don't rejoice that the demons are subject to you. Rejoice that your names are written down in the Lamb's book of life, because the greatest gift that God ever gave was not the ability to cast out a demon.
It was forgiveness of sins and sonship in him. Your identity is now based on Christ and Christ alone, not how many gifts you have. I'll tell you, human nature is always trying to find something that sets us up above others. That's what's happening. We do it. I'm smarter than you. I'm more athletic than you. We're always trying to find something that makes me just a little bit head and shoulders above you. Now the Corinthians are finding that significance in their spiritual gifts.
Is that not ironic? I'm valuable. I'm worth something, because I can do this. Paul says, no, your value is because Christ has made you his son or daughter. Your gifts are now to serve others and to lift them up, not to lift you up above them.
I'm not a fan of Christian self-help material that seems to be only focused on helping you discover your inner awesomeness, as if that's where all your value lies. You're unique. You're special.
You're a snowflake. There's nobody like you. Be a narcissist. Yes, God made you special.
I get that. I read Psalm 139, but your awesomeness comes not from the gifts you possess. Your awesomeness comes from the fact that the giver of those gifts possesses you. The purpose of a spiritual gift is never to boast.
It's only to bless, never to show, only to serve. Now, I will admit, possessing that mentality is way more easily said than done. My own fallen heart is constantly gravitating for ways to feel special. Sometimes, yes, my preaching gives me an inflated sense of importance. That's just, quite frankly, stupid, because I'm just a glove. I've told you, for example, that somebody on the way out of church said to me, Pastor, that was a phenomenal sermon.
And you do this every week. Pastor, you are truly a great man. On the way home in the car, I'm still kind of basking in the glow of that affirmation.
And I'm like, why? As I say to my wife, I'm like, babe, how many truly great men do you feel like there are in the world? She responds, probably one less than you think.
That's how many there are. I know my gifts are not given to me to distinguish me or make me special. I've got all of the specialness I could ever need in Christ. These gifts are for service, not for show, to bless and not to boast. And if you Corinthians could ever get that, Paul says, you'd stop feeling proud about your gifts and acting like jerks to one another.
I'll just go ahead and say this right now. When your gifts cause division with others, you know you're using them in the wrong way. Number six, is this right?
I've lost count. Number six, God works in your life through the spiritual gifts of others. Verse 25, Paul says, members care for one another.
Each member of the body is taken care of by other members of the body. I've used this example before because Paul uses it all the time, so don't hate on me. You're like, yo, I got six illustrations.
Paul had like three, so I'm coming back to one of his. All right, when my left elbow itches in my body right here, what happens? It sends a message up to my brain and the message says, hey, I'm dying over here.
I can't literally live another second. I itch, please help. What does my brain do? Does my brain send out a magic brain power zap to fix the itch on my left elbow? No, it sends a message to the fingers on my right hand.
They're like, hey man, go take care of your brother left elbow. It's not a difficult analogy. In the same way, yet so many people miss this. In the same way, when we pray about a need in our lives, God does not usually zap power straight down from heaven to fix it.
I don't think you understand it. When you pray about a need in your life, God does not typically answer it by sending down a zap of power from heaven, yet that's how you expect him to do it. No, he moves a member of his body to do the work by means of a spiritual gift.
We, the members of that body are literally his hands and his feet and his mouth. So you're like, God, I need direction in my life. And God says, oh, the wisdom that you're looking for comes from the spirit. And that spirit speaks to members of my body. God, I need help in my marriage.
It's falling apart. He's like, I put the resources to heal your marriage into members of my body. You're like, God, I am lonely.
I'm confused. And God says, I put all the help for all those things into members of my body. If you want God to work in your life, you got to be part of the church. And when you disconnect yourself from the church, you disconnect yourself from the power of God. I'm not trying to be a jerk or self-serving in this, but stop asking God to work in your life. If you're not willing to put yourself in the portal of his power. Ethics and more.
It's short in length and perfect for a morning commute or while you're delivering kids to their next event. You can find this program wherever you currently get your podcasts or visit our website at jdgrier.com slash podcasts. Don't miss out on this opportunity to hear biblical wisdom and practical advice from Pastor JD on the questions that matter to you the most. Subscribe to the Ask Me Anything podcast today and saturate your faith with the life changing truths found in God's word.
Now let's return to today's teaching. Once again, here's Pastor JD. You see this church, like a lot of churches, has a problem with what I call ninja Christians. Now you slip in silently unnoticed. You sit right along the aisles. I'm not trying to call anybody out, but you sit right along the aisles. And the reason you do that is because when I bow for prayer at the close of the service, you're gone. You take off out of this place like a horse out of the gates of the Kentucky Derby. You should stand outside in the lobby sometime and just watch. When I say, let's pray, we still have 10 minutes left in the service. And you got people trucking out, headed to the parking lot.
I don't know if they're trying to get to the restaurant faster than everybody. I don't know what it is, but you never get to know anybody. You're not really involved in anything. You barely know my name. I mean, you definitely don't know how to spell it. I mean, at least my last name.
My first name is easy, but my last name. Somebody asks you where do you go to church? You're like some, some, some mountain, I don't know, summit maybe? You're like, cool, who's the pastor there? And you're like, D-L-D-J, Nicholas Cage, I'm not sure.
By the way, a little pro tip here. Whenever I talk to somebody on a plane and ask them if they go to church, if they say yes, my second question is always, what's the pastor's name? Because if they don't know that, I know they're not serious at all. And of course, the point is not you knowing my name, the point is knowing and being known by others, not that God uses you in their lives and he uses them in yours. Y'all ninjas are cool, but they make bad church members. And the tragedy is that ninja Christians miss out on the majority of what God wants to do in their lives and through them in the lives of others. You might make it out to the Mexican restaurant first after church, but you're missing out on some of the best thing God wants to do in your life. God does his work through the church, sitting on the sidelines of this church or continuing to stay home, even if you could be here. And I know, I want to say this very clearly, I know that some of you have to be home for medical reasons.
I'm only talking to those of you who are doing everything else, going to ball games and going to the mall and to the movies, just not the house of God. I'm telling you that even if you are hearing the best sermons in the world, and you are not, but even if you were, you are only experiencing a small fraction of what God wants you to know. You have got to be involved, very involved. There are so many times in my life when God has spoken a life-saving word of encouragement to me through a member of this church or a word of warning. People have spoken into my marriage. They've spoken into my parenting. They've spoken into my kids' lives. They've given me direction and counsel when I needed it. Y'all, I would not have to walk with God that I have today if it were not for members of this church. People are like, oh, me and God are great. I listen to great messages, and I'm really growing. You cannot be a Lone Ranger Christian and be spiritually healthy. God puts the spiritual stuff, the pneumatic cone, the spiritual stuff, he puts it in the members of his church.
You're like a big toe lying over there in the corner somewhere, and that's not going to go well. Number seven, which one have you experienced? Which one have you experienced? I want to conclude this message with a special message to our church. I've told you that all in all in the New Testament, there are six different spiritual gift lists containing 22 different gifts. Let me just list them out for you.
Here they are. They are apostle, prophet, teacher, miracles, healings, helps, administration, tongues, the interpretation of tongues, utterances of wisdom, utterances of knowledge, world of Warcraft. Just kidding.
I just want to see if y'all are paying attention. Okay, that's not really on the list. Faith, distinguishing between spirits, evangelists, pastor, teacher, serving, encouraging, generosity, leadership, mercy, marriage, and everybody's favorite, celibacy. Now, like I said, this is not an exhaustive list.
The apostle Peter lumps all the spiritual gifts. He was a little bit more of a broad thinker. He just lumps them all into two categories, those who speak for Jesus, those who serve for Jesus. That's it. You got to be at least one of these.
You are at least one of these. My hope is that you're going to plunge yourself in and figure out what yours is, and the best way to do that, y'all, is just to start serving. God steers moving ships.
He guides pedaling bikes or whatever, however you want to think about it. Before I close, I want to at least bring up the gifts that Paul lists out in chapter 12, because that will really set us up for the next few weeks, and because I would really love to see us grow in these. I think, in general, the ones Paul lists out in 1 Corinthians 12, we're pretty unfamiliar with and, quite frankly, a little scared of.
That's, in large part, my fault. Let's take a minute and at least familiarize ourselves with them, since Paul introduces us to them in this chapter, and we'll get into them in future weeks. Verse 8, for the one who is given, he says, to the spirit, the utterance of wisdom. The utterance of wisdom is when the Spirit of God gives you insight into his will in an area not directly spelled out in Scripture. To another, the utterances of knowledge. According to the same Spirit, the utterance of knowledge, a word of knowledge, is a special knowledge from the Holy Spirit about somebody's life directing you to pray or speak into their lives. Jesus, in John 4, like when he knew about the five marriages, previous marriages of the woman and the fact that the guy she was living with now was not her husband. That's an example of a type of word of knowledge. Paul refers to that in 1 Corinthians 14.
We'll see that. Verse 9, to another, faith by the same Spirit. That's a special bestowal. All Christians have faith, but to some, God gives a special bestowal of faith at a certain time when he wants to do something miraculous through you. He gives you the ability to perceive what he wants, like the men lowering down the lame man at Jesus' feet. You get this perception of what he wants, and then the urge to ask him for it.
Some of you are going to feel that way about the men's conference. You're going to be like, this is what God wants to do, and you're going to start praying it, and that's the gift of faith. To another, gifts of healing by one Spirit. To another, the working of miracles.
That's pretty straightforward, praying and asking God for healing and him granting it. You say, does this work just like it did in Acts? I don't think any of it ceased.
I think you can, and I'll try to show you this. You can show that there were different times when God would highlight and elevate certain gifts. Hebrews indicates that, but there's nothing that says that these things have gone away. To another, prophecy. Prophecy, verse 10. Prophecy is the ability to speak God's will into a situation at just the right time, or to know how to apply Scripture to somebody in just the right way. To another, the ability to distinguish between spirits. That's the ability to know whether what somebody is saying is really from God or not. To another, various kinds of tongues. To another, the interpretation of tongues. The word for tongues is glasileia, which sounds like you're speaking in tongues.
What it means is that you give praise to God in a language other than Hebrew. That's what it means. We'll unpack that more in the coming weeks.
This should be a really fun message. For now, serve. That's what you need to know. That's what we walk into.
What do I need to know? Serve. First time guest surveys consistently note here that the joyfulness and helpfulness of our guest services teams are a primary reason people want to return to Summit for a second time. That's why we say the sermon starts in the parking lot. Before they ever get in here and listen to me, you have a sense of who Jesus is by how they're greeted in the parking lot. Our kids volunteers, both the weekend volunteers and our wild-up volunteers, they play a significant role in every single child that comes to faith here.
Same with our student volunteers. Just two weeks ago at our Chapel Hill campus, one of our small group leaders there led two girls in her small group to faith in Christ. Every week during every service at the Summit church, we have a team of people who stand in the gap for us and pray during the entire service that the Lord would speak to people through preaching and worship.
We call that the boiler room. Those are people a lot of times with the gift of faith. This church is what it is because of people who say, God, I just want to be used by you wherever you want. JD's not the only minister.
All of us are. I'm thinking of Malik at our Chapel Hill campus. A man serves wherever, and I mean wherever, he single-handedly led the relaunch of our kids ministry there. He's a small group leader and serves in men's ministry or Kelby and Connie at our North Durham campus who asked. They just said, one of the campus pastors said, where can we serve with the most lost people?
They figured that the greatest percentage of lost people at the Summit church were in the kids area. So now they serve as elementary leaders there working among the unreached people group known as your children, okay? Listen, I want you to serve not just because it makes a difference in others lives, which it does, I want you to serve because it makes a difference in yours also. Our church engagement survey, we do this once a year, we know that people who serve on the weekend are the ones who feel most connected here and the ones who say they're most growing in their faith.
Did you hear that? What is the best indicator for us that you are growing in your faith, that you will self-identify you're growing in your faith and that you feel connected? It's not those of you who do your quiet time, not even those who are in a small group, as important as those are. The most common characteristic are the ones who are serving. They're the ones who feel known by the pastoral team. People say, well, I just don't know anybody here.
It's so big. I can't… Whenever somebody says that to me, and listen, I'm not trying to be sarcastic, but just know that when you say that to me, my very first question about you would be like, okay, where are you serving? Inevitably. They're like, well, I don't want to serve anywhere. Listen, I'm not trying to come down on you, but how do you think people get to know you? Stop staring at your belly button wondering why nobody is ministering to you and start focusing on ministering to others, and you'll find that a lot of people start knowing and ministering to you.
If you aren't focused on yourself all the time, you find that God takes care of your needs as you start taking care of others. Does that mean…? I didn't mean that to be mean. It sounded like a jerk.
I didn't mean that to be like a jerk, but it's true. Seriously, you will find that nothing helps you grow in your relationship with Jesus like helping somebody else with theirs. about our current teaching series, Cutting Through the Noise. I really wanted to ask him what the book of 1 Corinthians tells us to do when life just seems so chaotic.
Yeah, I think all of us are looking for a way out of the noise and distraction. Listen, I know I sound like a broken record, but the answer is the gospel. What we see is that in every chapter of the book of 1 Corinthians, Paul takes the noise of what they're in, whether it's interpersonal conflict or theological chaos, and he just says the gospel cuts through this and gives you a compass that will help you navigate through all the noise and live with peace and security and confidence and strength. We're studying 1 Corinthians right now in Summit Life, and in every message we are seeing the unique challenges that the people of Corinth are facing that are not altogether different than what we face. There's so much for us to learn as followers of Jesus. This is a book that will surprise you in how relevant it is, and I want to encourage you to dig in for yourself. This month we've got a study guide. We often provide stuff like this at Summit Life because we really want you to get everything out of this book.
It's like Martin Luther said, he wanted to climb to the end of every branch in the Bible and shake it vigorously until every bit of fruit had gotten off of it. That's what we want to help you do. And so we have a study guide that'll take you through some key questions and passages in 1 Corinthians. We'd love to give you a copy.
Just go to jdgrier.com and you can get one. We would love to send you a copy of Cutting Through the Noise, 14 five-minute studies in 1 Corinthians today. You know, we rely on the generosity of listeners like you to keep this program on the air and share the good news of Jesus around the world.
And these gospel-centered resources are our way to say thank you. To partner with us and receive your copy of this valuable resource, call 866-335-5220 or give online at jdgrier.com. I'm Molly Vidovitch inviting you to join us again on Wednesday for a new message from our teaching series, Cutting Through the Noise. Don't miss it here on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
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