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The Church: A Place to Call Home | Using Our Gifts for the Lord

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
June 7, 2023 3:00 am

The Church: A Place to Call Home | Using Our Gifts for the Lord

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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June 7, 2023 3:00 am

When you walk through the tool department at your neighborhood hardware store, it isn’t just a collection of hammers. Big hammers, small hammers, funny-shaped hammers, but just hammers. No, there are different tools for different jobs. Well, God has different jobs to be done for His Kingdom and so He’s given His people different tools: talents, abilities, personalities and spiritual gifts to get the jobs done. If we aren’t using our gifts, we may not be used by the Master.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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We're glad you're joining us for A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners.

Get more encouraging audio content when you subscribe to Pastor Greg's Daily Devos. Learn more and sign up at harvest.org. God's giving you gifts, so receive the gift, thank God for the gift, and start developing the gift. When you walk through the tool department at your neighborhood hardware store, it isn't just a collection of hammers. Big hammers, small hammers, funny shaped hammers, but just hammers.

No, there are different tools for different jobs. Well, God has different jobs to be done for His kingdom, and so He's given His people different tools, talents, abilities, personalities, and spiritual gifts to get the jobs done. If we aren't using our gifts, we may not be used by the master. Let me ask you a question. How many of you have ever received a gift you did not like? Raise your hand.

You did not like it? Okay, so there are people that give you certain gifts. Sometimes it's something you wear. And then they ask you, have you worn that shirt, that blouse, or that coat, or whatever it is that I gave you? And you don't want to lie to them, because the reality is you set it on fire one hour after because it was so ugly. And by the way, if you're one of those people, don't give stuff to people and then ask them why they're not wearing it.

Chances are you have really bad taste, and that's why they're not wearing it. And what I always do when I give a gift is I'll say, look, I got you this gift. I know you like this thing, and so I hope you like this gift. But if you do not like this gift, here is the gift receipt. Please return it. I would be thrilled to hear that you returned it and got something you wanted, because I'm not going to be the guy that asked you if you're wearing the ugly shirt that I bought you for your birthday. Or did you eat that fruitcake that I gave you for Christmas? Well, no, but the dog did, and he's dead. So we've all received gifts.

We didn't really like all that much. And then, of course, if you receive a gift and you don't want to keep it, you say, well, I'll return it. And then maybe you miss that window of opportunity to return the gift and say, well, I'll just give it away again. I'll re-gift it, right? And the only thing you have to be careful of, remember who gave you the gift. Because it has happened where people have re-gifted the gift to the person who originally gave them the gift.

That's called a very awkward moment, right? Okay, well, I want to talk to you today about the gifts of the Spirit that God has given to each of us. And I want you to know that the gift or gifts that God has for you are the perfect gifts, and you'll never want to return it.

They're just for you, and it is for you to receive the gift, to develop the gift, and to use the gift for the glory of God. And you know where that happens? That happens right here in the church. And let me just say, I thank God for the church, don't you? I mean, the church is so important. Oh, I know we have our flaws. I know we're not perfect, but we're still the best thing going, okay?

There's nothing like it. And don't forget, Jesus started the church. We call it an organization, and in a technical sense it is, but it's more of an organism. And to be more biblical, it's a family. The church is a gathering of the family. And when I'm a part of the church, as a member of the family, I have a role to play.

I need the church, and the church needs me, and it is here that I discover and develop my spiritual gifts that I can use for the glory of God. Let me distinguish between spiritual gifts and natural abilities. We're all born with certain abilities. Some people are naturally athletic, aren't they? And other people are naturally clutches.

Why is that? Some people are artistic. You know, they have a talent for drawing or painting or design. Some people have a talent for music. Some people that don't have a talent for music think they have a talent for music, right? And then some people are good at details. They're good at crunchy numbers. They're good at other things. Some people are big picture.

Some people are small picture. But everybody is born with certain abilities and talents that are also given to us by God. But I want to distinguish between those God-given talents and those spiritually given gifts from the actual Holy Spirit. Here's what the Bible says in Romans 12 in verse 5. We being many are one body in Christ, individually we're members one of another, having gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them.

Listen to this. Every believer is given gifts of the Spirit if they're filled with the Spirit. How many of you have been filled with the Holy Spirit? Raise your hand up.

Just in case you haven't been, let's get this covered. Pray this after me. Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit.

I want all the gifts you have for me. Boom. You're filled with the Holy Spirit. I'm serious. You are. Wait. No. Greg. We have to lower the lights and sing 12 worship songs. No we don't. Jesus said the Father will give the Holy Spirit to those that beg Him and plead with Him for hours.

No. He said the Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. I think we way overly mystify the Holy Spirit Himself. We overly mystify the gifts of the Spirit.

But it is a very simple thing. I ask God to fill me with the Spirit and then I ask Him to reveal to me what my gift or gifts are. We are told over in 1 Timothy 4.14, don't neglect the gift that is in you. Or as another translation puts it, keep your gift dusted off and in use.

Here is the problem. Sometimes we envy the spiritual gifts that God gives to someone else. You know maybe God has called you to be a preacher but you really want to be a musician and a worship leader. Or you are a worship leader and you really want to be a preacher. Or you are leading the class but you really want to be working behind the scenes.

Or you are working behind the scenes and you want to lead the class or whatever it is. And so we envy. I remember years ago when I was a little kid I received whatever I got for Christmas that year. I don't recall. But I was pretty happy with it. Until he went to my friend's house and his parents gave to him a skin diver toy. It was plastic.

This is like mid 60's so we are talking low tech here folks. Basically he put two batteries in him and he just sunk to the bottom of the pool with little bubbles coming out of his head. I thought that was the coolest thing I had ever seen in my life.

And suddenly whatever gift I received was worthless compared to the ultra-cool plastic skin diver who sunk to the bottom of the pool. So in the same way we can say, oh I am so thankful Lord for everything you have given me and all of the gifts you have given me. Oh why don't I have that gift? I want to be that person.

But no. Be content and thankful with the gift that God has given to you. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12, concerning spiritual gifts brothers and sisters I don't want you to be ignorant. And this is the problem is there is a lot of ignorance about the spiritual gifts. And because we don't understand them or because we neglect them we miss out on them. And maybe one of the reasons is because we have seen excess in this area causing us to recoil.

Some pretty strange things are done occasionally in the name of the Holy Spirit. So we see that and we say, well I don't want that in my life. So we throw the baby out with the bathwater. By the way did anyone ever really throw a baby out with bathwater? I mean what happened there? Where is the baby?

I don't know. He was in the bath the last time I checked. Oh he is sitting in the yard.

He is okay. I mean I don't know how that expression originated but the idea here is we miss out because we don't understand something. Yet the Bible specifically tells us that we should not come behind in any spiritual gift as we are waiting for the return of Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 1.7. Don't lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for Christ to be revealed. So we should eagerly desire these gifts. Going back to Christmas for a moment. Remember when you were a little kid and you wondered if your parents actually got you what you asked for? So you went searching because we all knew where our parents hid the presents didn't we? Right.

So parents we are not as clever as we think. And if you were smart you learned how to kind of peel the wrapping paper back without ripping it and taking the tape back. Oh they got it.

And then you put it back very carefully again. And you could hardly wait until Christmas Day to open your gift. That is how we should be with the gifts of the Spirit. We should be desiring them. 1 Corinthians 14.1 says desire which means especially want and cultivate spiritual gifts.

And listen to this. To not want these gifts, to not discover these gifts, and to not use these gifts could be quenching the Holy Spirit. Because we are told over in 1 Thessalonians 5.19 quench not the Spirit and don't despise prophesying or literally.

Don't appreciate prophetic utterance or spurn the gifts. Do you know what the word quench means? If you are camping and you have your fire going and you break camp you extinguish the fire. Pour water on it.

Maybe shovel some dirt on it. You quench the fire. So maybe the Spirit is working in your life and he has gifts that he wants to happen in your life. And you say I don't want any of that. Listen that is not only a bad idea that could even be a sin.

Because we are told that to him that knows to do good and does not do it to him it is sin. So let's desire these gifts. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. It's a joy to hear when Pastor Greg's message of hope and his movie Jesus Revolution have made a difference in people's lives.

Hello. I listen to Greg Laurie. My church showed the Jesus Revolution movie. It was so awesome. I think Greg Laurie how he came to the Lord in high school was so super wonderful to hear.

I listen to him all the time. Well during the Jesus Revolution I found the Lord at a church down the hill that I lived at. I am so thrilled to be a Christian. I'm a widow for four years and nine months and God got me through that. And I give God all the glory for how he's changed me and made me so grateful thankful and blessed. So I just wanted to thank Greg Laurie for doing such an awesome thing on the radio.

And I thank you so much. Do you have a story to share? If so would you consider calling us and letting us know? Call 1-866-871-1144.

866-871-1144. Well we're talking today about the spiritual gifts God has given to us. And Pastor Greg is explaining the importance of putting those gifts to work. Let's continue.

So before we identify some of those gifts and maybe you'll find yourself here in one of these categories. Let me come to point number one. First let's read Romans 12-3. I give each of you this warning. Don't think you're better than you really are.

Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves measuring yourselves by the faith that God has given us. Point number one. You are not all that in a bag of chips. You're not as good as you think you are. You're not as talented as you say you are. You're not as smart as you tell us you all are. You're not all that in a bag of chips. So get realistic. See yourself honestly.

That's exactly what Paul is saying. You know some people love to tell you how well educated they are. Or how successful they are. Or how wealthy they are. So if you're like having a discussion whatever your story is they're going to top your story. They're going to do better than you. And so they boast a lot about themselves. They know more than you.

And on and on it goes. They think they're just God's gift to humanity. But as I heard it said, cemeteries are full of indispensable people. You're not as great as you think you are. And that's what Paul is saying. Don't think clearly. Have a balanced realistic view of yourself. Don't think you're better than you are.

But now the other side. Don't think you're worse than you are. God's given you gifts. So don't say well I don't deserve this gift. Well you know you don't deserve it. You never deserved it. You don't deserve salvation.

But it's not about that. He's given you this gift. So receive the gift.

Thank God for the gift. No I just don't I don't want to do this. I don't feel I'm worthy. And I want to be humble. In fact I want to be so humble. I drop the H. I want to be humble. I want to be humble.

No you're just. You're being prideful. People that talk all the time about being humble. Isn't that a form of pride?

I'm so proud I'm humble. If God gave you a gift. Develop and use your gift. It's disobedience to not use that gift.

So start by having an honest evaluation of yourself. Point number two. We all have a part to play in the church with our spiritual gifts. We all have a part to play in the church with our spiritual gifts.

Verse four. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function so it is with Christ's body. We're many parts of one body to each other. We're not all the same.

And aren't you glad of that? Some people are outgoing. Some people are more reserved. Some people have what we call the gift of gab. Other people they don't have a lot to say. Some are big picture.

Some are small picture. God loves diversity. He created us differently. You see it reflected in His creation don't you? All the amazing flowers out there.

It's in the ocean. All the amazing animals that He created. Such diversity. Here's just some of the great animals God has made.

This is probably my all time favorite. The dolphin. I love dolphins. My grandkids asked me the other day Papa if you could have any animal for a pet what would you want? Any animal? I would have a dolphin. And the reason is because when I was a kid I used to watch a TV show called Right? And so you know it was the story of these guys that had their own personal dolphin and it was amazing what Flipper could do.

Well that would be great. And there are many other incredible creatures that God has created and put down here on this earth. I mean you have got to love a horse.

Probably some horse lovers out there. And a magnificent creature made by God. Then there is an eagle who is not impressed by a soaring eagle. Especially a bald eagle.

And I emphasize bald. So now here is a partial list of the gifts of the Spirit. And by the way this is not an exhaustive list.

It is just one of many. Another list is found in Ephesians 4 if you want to try to discover what God has gifted you to do. Romans 12 verse 6. In His grace God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.

So if God has given you the ability to prophesy speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others serve them well. If you are a teacher teach well. If your gift is to encourage others be encouraging. If your gift is giving then give generously. If God has given you leadership ability take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others do it gladly.

Certain phrases bubble up here. Do it well. Generously.

Gladly. Give responsibility seriously. Let's start with the first gift that Paul identifies. The gift of prophecy. Prophecy is defined different ways in both the Old and New Testament.

In one instance it means to speak for another. A representative of God. A mouthpiece for God. In the Old Testament God raised up certain prophets. The prophet Isaiah. The prophet Ezekiel. The prophet Jonah.

And many others. And so in some instances these prophets foretold the future. Daniel foretold the future in graphic detail. So did Ezekiel. So did Isaiah. So sometimes a prophet predicts the future. Well we find prophets in the New Testament as well. Agabus was called a prophet. And he predicted the future for the apostle Paul. Basically a prophet or a prophecy is speaking for God. But the prophet must always be held accountable to Scripture.

I have to be honest. I am a little suspicious of someone if they come to me and say I am a prophet of God. Because sometimes I have seen abuse in this area and the Bible does warn us that there will be false prophets in the last days. However there is a spiritual gift of prophecy where you speak for the Lord and God speaks through you. Then there is the spiritual gift of serving. The spiritual gift of serving. He says here that if you serve others then serve them well. Serve them well.

I mean I love people that love what they do. I was at a Chick-fil-A yesterday getting some gourmet food with the grandkids and they are so polite and so well trained as you know it is a Christian run organization right. And I also happen to like Chick-fil-A as just a sandwich too. Because I wouldn't just eat her because Christians own it. It has to taste good.

And it does. But the training amazing. She was so cheerful. My order was bizarre with all the grandkids and things I was asking for. And I get up to the thing and she recognized oh you are a Gregorian. Oh yeah. How are you. We talked a little bit. She is a Christian.

So I even understood more why she was the way she was. I said do you like your job. She says I love my job.

And I thought that is how we all should be whatever you are doing. You know if you own a Chick-fil-A or if you work in a Chick-fil-A. If you are in the front.

If you are in the back. Whatever you are doing in the church in business. If you are called to serve serve well. Notice that this word serve is put right next to prophecy. So we think of someone prophesying as now that is a super cool gift but serving behind the scenes. Well that is not as important.

Well God puts them right next to each other. So if you are teaching the class in Sunday school that is great. And if you are wiping the noses of the kids who are listening that is great too.

Whatever you do it matters. So if you are called to serve serve well. Pastor Greg Laurie with great encouragement today about our part in God's plan.

We have each been gifted by God in a special way and we need to put those spiritual gifts to work. And Pastor Greg has more to say about that as this study continues here on A New Beginning. Well we are making available the new film Jesus Revolution on DVD.

Yes it is available on DVD now. And Pastor Greg you have probably seen the film more times than nearly anyone having been there during the entire production of the film from start to finish. Let me ask you what scene in particular stands out to you?

What is a memorable moment to you? One of my favorite scenes in the film Dave is when Chuck is with his daughter Jen. And Jen wasn't really walking closely with the Lord in the film version of her life and in the story of Jesus Revolution. And she was a believer but she was disillusioned. She was wondering why Christians weren't more loving. And one day her dad comes home from a church service and he was a little discouraged at that particular moment in the story.

And he's getting ready to eat the food that's left on the table for him by his wife Kay. And then there's Jen standing there and they have a conversation. And I love what she says to her father.

So picture this for a moment. Jessica's sitting at the table. Across from the table is his daughter Jen. And she says this to her father.

She had the thing. I was like where's the love you know? What are we even doing here? Where is Jesus in all of this? He seemed like a radical dude.

I'd like him but this I don't know. But then you did what nobody else would even dare to do. You let the hippies in.

Come to find out Jesus came in with them. And you know what? I'm proud of you. You opened yourself up to something you didn't understand. And I've changed because of it.

Thousands of us. But you don't have to carry it all. Okay? Don't lose yourself in all of it. Don't carry it.

Also don't do drugs. I love that statement Jen makes to her dad. When the hippies came in Jesus came with them. Now that is not to imply that Jesus wasn't in their church and wasn't working in their church.

But it's sort of showing how Jen was seeing things. That she was a disillusioned church kid. But these young people coming to Christ impacted her.

And then she wanted to be closer to the Lord and made a recommitment to Christ as a result. Beautiful story. Beautiful scene. And we want you to see it instead of just listen to it. And that is now possible because the Jesus Revolution film is available on DVD and we want to send you a copy. Now I know it's out there streaming already. Some of you may have already watched it on some streaming platform like Apple or Amazon.

But listen. The Jesus Revolution DVD is special for a couple of reasons. Number one it has bonus content.

Including something that I think is very important. It's a special message I filmed as the sun was setting on the beach where I present the gospel and I even have a prayer that a person can pray to accept Christ. There's other bonus content on this film as well. And you can show it to as many people as you want. And we will send you this special Harvest edition of the Jesus Revolution film for your gift of any size. That helps us to continue to preach the gospel and teach the word of God. So order your copy right now. And you can see that scene with Chuck and his daughter in your own personal copy of Jesus Revolution on DVD.

Yeah that's right. So get in touch with us today. Our phone number is 1-800-821-3300. We'll send the DVD your way along with a free streaming code to thank you for your donation right now. And thanks for keeping in mind that this resource costs us more than is generally the case. So your generosity is certainly appreciated right now. Again call us any time at 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside, California 92514.

Or go online to harvest.org. Well next time Pastor Greg walks us through a number of specific spiritual gifts described in Scripture. We'll discover what they're all about and learn ways to determine if any of those gifts have been given to us. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. Hey everybody thanks for listening to A New Beginning. This is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. So for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make him known to others or to learn more about how you can become a Harvest Partner just go to harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-07 05:38:31 / 2023-06-07 05:49:17 / 11

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