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October 16, 2023 9:00 am


Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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October 16, 2023 9:00 am

You don’t hear a lot about pride when people talk about spiritual gifts. But the truth is, when we think rightly about ourselves because of the gospel, then we realize how desperately we need the spiritual gifts.


Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. God did not save you to sanitize you and set you on his sanctified shelf. God saved you in order to send you into service. His purpose for you was not simply removing you from the world.

He had a purpose and a plan for you and serving unlocks God's deepest purposes for you. So when you begin to use that gift, that's when your Christian life really starts to take off. Welcome back to Summit Life, the Bible teaching ministry of Pastor J.D.

Greer. As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch, and we are glad that you're back for another week of solid biblical teaching. You know, you don't hear a lot about pride when people talk about spiritual gifts. The truth is, when we think rightly about ourselves in light of the gospel, we realize how desperately we need the spiritual gifts and there's no room for pride. Today, Pastor J.D. explains why we need to balance the reality that while God saved us entirely through grace, he also gave us a unique role to fill in his kingdom. And thankfully, his spirit is there to lead us along the way.

Let's join Pastor J.D. for this sermon that he titled, Gifted. Romans chapter 12. It's a turning point in the book of Romans where Paul begins to explain what the gospel's impact on our lives will be. We're going to begin around verse three, where Paul begins discussing the spiritual gifts.

Now, the first thing to note is that this discussion is going to come right on the heels. It's Paul's first application of his great summary of the Christian life in Romans 12, one and two. Paul had said there, if you recall, in light of the mercies of God extended to you in the gospel, you should offer your life back to him as a living sacrifice and you should do this as an act of worship. In light of the incredible grace that God has shown to you because of the love that he has shown to you, you should offer your life back to him without restriction. You should hold nothing back because of what he has saved you from.

He deserves the offering of your life. And even more than that, you should do it as an act of worship, an uncompelled act of worship because in the gospel, you see that God really is worthy of our trust and our utmost devotion. And so for the next five chapters, Paul's going to start painting a picture for you of what that kind of gospel response life looks like. And the first place he starts is with the spiritual gifts. By the way, that is not coincidental that he starts with the spiritual gifts because as you're going to see, a life that has truly been shaped by the gospel depends on the spiritual gifts. Now, before we dive into these verses, let me just acknowledge for you, there is some variance in the body of Christ about the spiritual gifts and among people who believe mostly the same thing about everything else.

I would consider it more of a secondary disagreement, but there is some variance. Some of you grew up in churches, in fact, where spiritual gifts were talked about and practiced literally all the time. For others of you, they were barely mentioned.

And if they were mentioned, it was more in the theoretical sense than the practical sense. Already some of you, just in talking about this, you're getting nervous. You're like, oh no, is this a part of the church life where we bring out the snakes and is that how this service ends?

No, I don't think so. I don't know what Pastor John's got planned, but no, that's not going to happen. One of the things I love about the Summit Church is the diversity of the background of the people who attend here. We've got a lot of you in this room that you have no church background at all. You've got others, a lot of you that come from Baptist background, some from Presbyterian, some from Catholic background, some from Pentecostal background. We've got charismatics in this church. Charismatics are people who really engage in these spiritual gifts and non-charismatics. We got not really sure what any of those words mean, addicts, and then just plain addicts and former addicts here at the Summit Church.

And I love that diversity. I often tell people when they ask that with all the Baptists, all the Reformed people, and all the Pentecostals in our church, we are predestined to speak in tongues at a potluck dinner. That is how that shakes down here at the Summit Church. But it does make people wonder how we approach the subject of spiritual gifts. Now again, only six verses, but in these six verses, Paul gives you at least five crucial principles on how to approach this essential element, essential part of the Christian life.

We're going to glean them from there, but let's go through it first. Verse three, he says, for by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, the gospel should make you think sensibly about yourself. The place that Paul starts this discussion, interestingly, is with our pride.

Don't think too highly of yourself. Now, why would Paul start there? Because Paul is going to explain that if you are filled with spiritual pride or any kind of pride, you're never going to realize how desperate you are on the spiritual gifts for the rest of your Christian life. You see, the gospel Paul is explaining teaches you to think rightly about yourselves. That word sensibly there in the Greek language literally means accurately, or some things we even say sanely. Think accurately.

Think in your right mind. What has the gospel taught you about you? Well, first, the gospel teaches you that you were so needy and so helpless that God had to save you entirely through an act of his power, right? Through an act of his grace. If you had what it takes to please God, Jesus would not have had to come and die.

If you had what it takes, then he might have dropped an instruction manual, or he might have dropped you some coaching tips from heaven, but instead, he actually had to come and live in your place. He had to live the life that you were supposed to live but didn't, and then die to death that you were condemned to die, and then he was raised from the dead so that he could through his resurrection put his spirit inside of you because you were never able to live the Christian life, so that then you're supposed to say with Paul, I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I. It's Christ who lives in me. I don't have the power to live the Christian life.

He's got to do it in me. That should permanently destroy any sense of self-sufficiency or pride that you've got what it takes. That should shape how you approach the rest of your life because just as you were dependent on God's grace to save you, now you're dependent on God's grace to sustain you. The same grace that started your Christian life is the same grace you're dependent on, so don't think too highly of yourself. On the flip side, the gospel teaches you to think not too lowly of yourself either because after all, God has saved you, and he's put his spirit inside of you, and he's given you specific gifts and a unique role corresponding to those gifts in his kingdom.

So let's keep going. Verse 3, think sensibly, he says, think sensibly as God has distributed a measure of faith to every single one of us. Now most people assume that little phrase measure of faith there means that God has given different amounts of faith to us, and Paul is telling us to base our opinion on ourselves on how much faith we have. That word measuring Greek, however, doesn't mean that. What it means is a standard measurement.

Metron is the word in Greek, and we get the word meter from it. It means a standard measure that God gives to all of us. What God gives to every follower of Jesus is faith in Christ. It might be weak faith, it might be strong faith, but it's faith in Christ, and that faith makes us all equally righteous in God's sight, right? Because no matter how strong you are as a Christian, how weak you are as a Christian, if you have accepted Jesus, Jesus's righteousness is now yours. And along with that righteousness of Christ, you've been placed into the same body, and you have received the same spirit. You are as righteous as the most righteous saint who has ever walked the face of the earth, because you have the righteousness of Christ attached to you, and you have the same spirit that was inside that saint, now living in your heart. So again, he says, don't think too highly of yourself.

You were such a desperate sinner that Jesus had to die to save you. But don't think too lowly of yourself either, because through faith he has given you all his righteousness, and he's put his spirit into you. And along with that spirit came specific gifts, and those gifts correspond to a special and unique role that he has for each of you in the kingdom of God and in the body of Christ. Verse four, now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function in the same way, we who are many are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. According to the grace then given to us, we have been given different gifts.

I love how C.S. Lewis illustrates this in the Chronicles of Narnia right after the children go into Narnia through the wardrobe, which represents their conversion. They are greeted by Father Christmas, who distributes to them mysterious gifts. And Father Christmas tells them that when the time is right, they will know what these gifts are for. And so Peter, the older brother, is given a sword, and he discovers later that he is supposed to lead the army in battle.

Lucy is given a healing ointment that she can apply to people in the midst of battle that will immediately heal their wounds and get them back into service. What Lewis was showing was that through these gifts, God shows us the unique role that he has for us in his kingdom. He has put gifts into you that show you what he intends for your life.

And so Paul then starts listing out a few of the gifts. Verse six, he says, If prophecy, then use it according to the proportion of one's faith. Let me stop here real quick, because a lot of people get confused about prophecy. But prophecy means at least four different things in the Bible.

The word is used in four different ways. Some prophecy is when you foretell the future. You predict things that are going to happen by God's inside. That's what most of the Old Testament prophets are doing. The second use of the word prophecy means you're writing the words of Scripture. So the New Testament authors, Old Testament authors writing down what God said. That gift of prophecy is no longer in operation, because when the apostles died, the Bible was finished.

And so none of us have that gift anymore. But prophecy has a third meaning in Scripture. Sometimes when you see it, it means what I do up here. I'm not giving you new revelation. What I'm doing is taking the revelation that was given and I am explaining it to you and proclaiming it to you. That is sometimes referred to as the gift of prophecy.

There is a fourth use of the word prophecy, which is what Paul seems to indicate here. And that means that sometimes the Spirit of God puts inside of your heart some encouragement, some warning, some exhortation, some promise of Scripture that he wants you to share with somebody else. You just really have this sense in your spirit that God wants to communicate something to somebody, to encourage them, to warn them, to guide them. And so you go to them, and this should always be done with humility, but you say, I feel like the Spirit of God may be saying this for me to tell to you, and you shared that with them. You never want to do it in a way that communicates you're speaking with the authority of the Bible.

You just say what you believe the Spirit of God has put into your heart. That appears to be what Paul is talking about here. The reason I say that is because when he uses the phrase according to the proportion of one's faith, scholars say that what he means there is in ways that go along with the faith that God has already given you, or in other words, in ways that don't go beyond what God has already revealed in the Bible. There are times in the body of Christ, crucial times, when God will put something into the spirit of one of us to be able to share and encourage one another with. That's what Paul, I think, is talking about. Paul continues, verse seven, he goes, it might be service. That means you have a sense of when and how to meet somebody's physical need. Then you should use that in service.

If in teaching, then you should use it in teaching. That, of course, means explaining doctrine and making divine things accessible. If exhorting, then an exhortation. That's where you not just explain the Bible to somebody, but you urge them to obey it in giving. If that's you, then you should do it with generosity. By the way, giving obviously includes people who are wealthy, and God gives them the stewardship so they can take care of others who don't have those, but there's more to it than that. Sometimes it has something to do with wealth. Some of the people that had this gift the most didn't have that much money, at least the ones that I know of, because they just had a sense inside of them when God wanted to do something for somebody.

I've had people do that with me. They didn't have a lot of means, but they just said, I feel like God put this in my heart to share this with you, to give this to you. It was something that God used to communicate to me in a way that humbled me and just blessed me. Throughout Scripture, you see people with this gift, five loaves and two fish, and the woman with the two mites, these are all illustrations of people that just know, even though they don't have a lot of resources, God speaks to them and shows them how to give. You should do it with generosity, of leading, with diligence, showing mercy, working with the poor, the sick, and the broken. You should do that with cheerfulness. Thanks for listening to Summit Life with Pastor J.D.

Greer. For more information about this ministry, visit us at Did you know that Pastor J.D. has a brand new book coming out? It's called Twelve Truths and a Lie, Answers to Life's Biggest Questions. In this newest work, he unpacks what the gospel has to say about some of life's biggest questions, like, what's my purpose?

And how do I know for sure I'll go to heaven? There's also a special podcast you'll want to listen to that coincides exactly with this new book as well. So be sure to check that out too. The book actually releases on December 5th, but we have a very special offer for our Summit Life listening family. If you reserve your copy right now, you'll receive early access to additional bonus material from the book.

So to pre-order your copy of Twelve Truths and a Lie, just head over to But right now, let's get back to today's teaching. Once again, here's Pastor J.D. Now, whenever people see a list like that, I don't know what it is about American culture, but we love us some lists. And when we see a list like that, we want to read that like a spiritual gift enneagram, right? You're like, oh, I got leading with just a wing of generosity and that kind of thing.

And so we'll get to that, okay? But for now, realize that this is not intended to be some kind of exhaustive number one through nine list. There is no real exhaustive list of spiritual gifts in the Bible.

In fact, the New Testament talks about them in six different places. No one place has all of them. Some, you know, gifts are listed in one place and not another. There's nowhere that you have them all in just one big catalog.

All in all, there are 22 listed out. The Apostle Peter kind of lumps them generally into two basic categories. He said there are those who speak for God and there are those who serve for God. What I think that is showing you is that spiritual gifts are not some tightly defined catalog of items that you got to get one or two of or you get assigned like an enneagram number.

Here's why I say that. In 1st Corinthians, when Paul talks about the spiritual gifts, he actually makes up a word. The word he uses, it means spirituals.

It means like spirit-ish stuff, spirit things, a spirit manifestation. Here's how I would define spiritual gift when you put all the data together. A spiritual gift is whatever God wants to do in the world through his church. A spiritual gift is just when God uses a member of his church to do something in the world that he wants to do. Sometimes the giftings that he gives are more permanent. For example, I believe that I have the gift of teaching and exhortation. I hope I don't give out halfway through a sermon one weekend and boom.

Some of them are more permanent, but sometimes they're temporary. They can come upon you for a moment or for a season when God wants to accomplish something. Here's a few things that we can learn about spiritual gifts from these verses.

Here we go. Number one, you can learn that every Christian has one. Every Christian has one. The context of what Paul says here is, verse three, to each one. Whenever Paul in the New Testament talks about spiritual gifts, he always speaks this way. First Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4. Every single follower of Jesus gets at least one spiritual gift.

So the obvious question here is, do you know what yours is? Because I'm telling you, your Christian life will not take off until you start discovering that gift and still you start using it. God did not save you to sanitize you and set you on his sanctified shelf. God saved you in order to send you into service. His purpose for you was not simply removing you from the world. He had a purpose and a plan for you and serving unlocks God's deepest purposes for you. And when you discover that gift and when you begin to use that gift, that's when your Christian life really starts to take off. Honestly, the reason that Christianity is so boring for some of you is because the extent of your Christianity is coming in here and let me yell at you once every couple weeks and then you're trying to cuss less and trying to come to church more and that's not what God saved you for.

God saved you because he had a purpose for you and there is nothing that will light you up spiritually like seeing yourself used as an instrument in the hands of God bringing life to somebody else. That's why Paul says in 1 Corinthians that when we come together as a church everybody should come into the church with something to offer. There shouldn't be anybody that comes to church just to recharge their spiritual batteries so they can get on with their self-focused lives. When you come into church you shouldn't walk in saying well I wonder what the pastor's got for me today.

I wonder if he's going to be on or off. I wonder how good the worship is going to be. When you come into church the primary question in your heart ought to be what role am I supposed to be playing in this body?

How am I supposed to be serving? Again, God didn't save you to sanitize you and set you on a sanctified shelf. He saved you to send you into service which leads me to number two. No one Christian has them all. That's why we need each other. Number one was everybody's got one. Every Christian's got one. Number two, nobody one Christian has them all.

We all need each other. Paul's favorite analogy to illustrate that that he uses here in these verses his favorite analogy for the church is the body. It's actually kind of a brilliant example if you ask me because how does the body take care of itself? Through other members of the body. So when my stomach feels hungry what does it do? It sends a message up to the brain that says feed me. My brain does not just send down like magic brain power and make food materialize in my stomach. No, my brain sends a message down to my feet and says you need to take J.D.

somewhere where you can get something to eat. So my feet carry me to the refrigerator and then my brain tells my hand reach in that refrigerator and get out something and pull it out and then it tells my mouth to chew the food. All these things are in the process of taking care of the stomach's need for food in the same way Paul says. Listen when God wants to do something in your life he uses another member of the body. Thus if you separate yourself from intimate connection with the body you got no right asking God to do anything in your life.

And a lot of you this is exactly opposite because you're like oh Lord, Lord I just feel so lost why don't you guide me? And God's like I can't because you cut yourself off from my body. You're like God why don't you work in my kids lives?

Why aren't you at work in my family? And God's like what am I supposed to do to send down like magic power and zap microwave them in the middle of the night and like change them? No you've cut yourself off from the instrument that I use to execute my will in in the world and if you cut yourself off from my body you're cutting yourself off from me. People sometimes say well I just I don't need a church in order to grow my relationship with Jesus and I guess I kind of understand what they mean by that but I always want to say do you know how a body works?

The body works when it is connected. We are interdependent. We are members of one another and when God wants to minister to one part of the body he does that through other members of the body and God has set that it up that way intentionally so that we need each other and it's one of the ways that he combats our proclivity towards self-sufficiency and pride because pride and self-sufficiency is the root of all sins.

I'll get to that in a minute. I'll just tell you that my most valuable earthly gift I think God has given to me outside of my marriage is the community of this church. Y'all I learn more about God and my walk with God from my deep involvement in the community of this church than I did at seminary and that's not a slight against seminary. I love seminary.

We encourage all of you to go if you can do that but but I learn more about walking with God from this church because that's how God intends it. God uses his body to shape us and to teach us. There are times in this church that God raises up somebody at just the right moment to speak just the right word of warning or counsel or exhortation or guidance to minister to me and my family. The working together of this body is also how God does his best work in the world. Y'all my favorite my favorite stories of hearing how God works you know in somebody's life um outside of the church always involve these like strange kind of multiple layers of the body of Christ where God's like a puppet master just pulling the strings and he's wearing us like a hand and a glove. It's amazing.

I heard one um just the other day from our Briar Creek campus. There was a lady from Afghanistan um full headdress and everything uh comes at the first night of vacation bible school she comes to check her five-year-old son in. She can barely speak English. Her English is very broken but she communicates. She says um a lady who she called Amanda um Amanda our kids were playing at the park and she invited my son to come to vacation bible school at the summit church. She said it caught my attention because a couple years ago when I was resettled here as a refugee she said it was a group from the summit church that helped me get into the apartment that I'm in and she said so I thought I need to go check out what this summit church is and why these people are being so kind to me so I'm here. All right but again she can barely speak English. Well as she's trying to explain this um another summit member walks by totally disconnected looks over and just stop and says hey are you fluent in Urdu which is her original language and the woman says yes gets very excited and starts to speak in Urdu. This woman says why also fluent in Urdu because I used to live in that part of the world how random is that and so she begins to you know um just help her explain walk her through vacation bible school explaining everything to her. On the fourth night of VBS um the this uh this woman her Hadiya what I'll call her. Hadiya is uh is there and she's checking her son in for the fourth night and all of a sudden she gets really excited she actually starts to jump a little bit and she runs up to this this other woman right not part of the story yet and begins to hug her neck and says to this you know through our member who speaks Urdu she's like she's like this woman about two years ago she said I was at a thrift store and I was trying to buy clothes for my kids because we'd just gotten here from Afghanistan and I didn't have enough money and this woman suddenly just stepped out from behind me and said I'll take care of everything this woman needs get her all the clothes that she needs she said I couldn't even say thank you back then and I wanted to ask her a question for two years and she says can you so now through our member who speaks Urdu she says ask her why she did that for me and so now this other summit member's like well I did that because and she explains the gospel to her Jesus has been generous with us and Hadiya says that sounds similar to the people that first helped me move in when I came as a refugee from Afghanistan three years ago so just to review a summit small group moves Hadiya and her family into their apartment when they first came here another summit member randomly buys her kids clothes at the thrift store another summit member invites her to VBS when their kids were playing together at the park yet another summit member speaks her language when she arrives do you believe in predestination or what okay am I right right I've seen it happen this way so many it's just how God does his best work we need each other don't we we need the church in our lives to truly be complete as a Christ follower you're listening to pastor JD Greer on summit life today's teaching was titled gifted and it's part of our teaching series through the book of Romans if you'd like to catch up on previous messages or if you want to view the transcripts you can find them online at Romans is an important and powerful book and in this letter Paul invites us to mind the depths of the gospel like never before as we journey through this book together we'll grow to understand God's righteousness our unrighteousness apart from him the significance of God's son Jesus Christ and the implications of the gospel message for our everyday lives and that's the subject of our newest featured resource written by the late pastor Tim Keller called in view of God's mercy which takes you through the second half of the book of Romans we'll send you part two of pastor Tim's Roman study as an expression of thanks when you donate today to support this ministry you can give now by calling 866-335-5220 that's 866-335-5220 or you can give online at you can also request volume one when you give today and complete your set i'm molly vidovich inviting you to listen again tuesday as we conclude this teaching on spiritual gifts from romans chapter 12 on summit life with jd greer today's program was produced and sponsored by jd greer ministries
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-18 13:48:44 / 2023-10-18 13:59:54 / 11

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