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The Gifts That Keep Giving | Gifts God Gives Us

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
June 5, 2024 3:00 am

The Gifts That Keep Giving | Gifts God Gives Us

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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June 5, 2024 3:00 am

Whether you’re a woodworker, a steel worker or in another form of construction, you know that, the tougher the job, the more the need for power tools. Hard to build a skyscraper with just a tape measure and a good idea. Well, spiritually speaking, with some of our assignments, the Lord gives US power tools. And today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the importance of putting them to work. It’s part of his series in the book of Acts called The Upside-Down Life.

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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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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. For more ways to deepen and challenge your spiritual walk, enroll in Pastor Greg's free online courses.

Sign up at harvest.org. Whether you're a woodworker, a steelworker, or in another form of construction, you know that the tougher the job, the more the need for power tools. Hard to build a skyscraper with just a tape measure and a good idea. Well, spiritually speaking, with some of our assignments, the Lord gives us power tools. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the importance of putting them to work. It's part of a series in the book of Acts, a series called The Upside Down Life. All right, so let's grab our Bibles and turn to Acts chapter 2 and Romans chapter 12.

Acts chapter 2 and Romans chapter 12. And the title of my message is The Gifts That Keep on Giving. Question, how many of you have ever received a gift for Christmas or any other time you did not like? Raise your hand up, okay.

Not everyone's raised their hand. So some of you have always liked the gift you've received. So you get that gift. And let's start with the fruitcake. What is the deal with the fruitcake?

Does anyone here like fruitcake to eat? You think it's good? Get out. No. No, don't.

He's leaving. No, don't. Maybe as a weapon. Maybe as a doorstop or something to step up on. But really, to eat? They're awful. And my theory is there's one fruitcake on the face of the earth.

And we just keep recirculating it decade after decade. Well, question, have you ever seen two fruitcakes next to each other? No, you have not. All right. So fruitcakes, I don't get that as a gift at all unless you don't like the person. But then there's a person that gives you clothes. Can I give you a word of advice? Don't give clothes to people unless they specifically said, I want that dress or I want that shirt.

Because you probably have bad taste, all right. And then you receive the gift. And you open it and you have to lie. Oh, wow.

Oh, thank you. And you're immediately looking to serve. A receipt on this so I can return it. When I give a gift to someone, I say, look, I didn't know what to get you.

I thought you might like this. If you don't like it, please take it back. The receipt's in the box. Get what you want.

Maybe let me know what you got. I'm fine with that. Because I want people to be happy with the gift I gave them.

No, there's a person. First they give you the ugly shirt. That's the first insult. Then a week later, when are you going to wear that shirt I gave you? In your mind you're thinking, never.

Oh, sometime soon. And you never get around to wearing it. It's just those gifts. So then you think, maybe I'll regift it. How many of you have ever regifted? Regifted means you take a gift given to you and you give it to someone else.

How many of you done that? Here's the key. Remember who gave it to you. Don't regift a gift to the person who gave it to you in the first place.

Awkward moment. Yeah. So gifts. We give them.

We receive them. Did you know God loves to give gifts? He loves to give gifts.

And he has specific gifts just for you. We call them the gifts of the Holy Spirit. And in the book of Acts we're looking at the work of the Holy Spirit through the lives of very ordinary people. As I mentioned earlier, sometimes this book is titled the Acts of the Apostles. By the way, the Bible doesn't call it that.

That was added later. I think we could more accurately describe it as the Acts of the Holy Spirit. Because we see the Holy Spirit at work in this book, moving through the lives of people.

And I want to take just a moment to think about what this means. We started out by pointing out these men and these women were filled with the Holy Spirit. And every Christian needs to be filled, refilled, and filled again after that with the Holy Spirit all the time. When you get up in the morning, you should start your day by saying, Lord, fill me with the Holy Spirit. If you're young, you need to pray this prayer. If you're old, you need to pray this prayer. If you're a man or a woman, you need to pray this prayer. Dads need to pray this prayer. Mothers need to pray this prayer.

Everybody needs to pray this prayer. Lord, fill me with the Holy Spirit. And then having done that, God has certain gifts He wants to put in your life.

And listen to this. The gifts of the Spirit are here for us and God wants to distribute them among us. In fact, He tells us that this is something we should desire.

First Corinthians 14 one says, earnestly desire the spiritual gifts. So why is it that there is an apprehension in us about this topic? Well, probably because we've seen some abuse.

We've seen some excess. We've seen some misuse of the gifts of the Spirit. And maybe you've watched some show on TV and the preacher who usually sounds like this.

He's just always like this, you know. And he's praying for you. Receive the Holy Spirit.

Yay, I say unto thee. They go, wow, what's that all about? It's a holy spirit.

Okay. Now people are falling down. They're rolling around on the ground.

They're barking like dogs. You're saying, if that's a holy spirit, I don't want anything to do with it. That's not the Holy Spirit.

That's weird people doing weird things. Okay. The Holy Spirit's power in our life is a practical power. Acts one eight says, you shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you to become a raving lunatic. No, I don't think I've read that verse. It says, you shall receive power, Acts one eight, after the Holy Spirit has come upon you to be witnesses unto me.

See? It's power that enables us to do what God has called us to do. And with that power comes supernatural gifts or abilities we did not previously have. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are not toys to play with. They're tools to build with. And they're weapons to fight with.

And we want to find out what those gifts are that God has given to us so we can start using them. And I think if we try to stay away from it, we end up throwing the baby out with the bathwater. By the way, where did that expression come from? Did someone actually throw a baby out with bathwater once? I think back in the old days of the West, you know, they didn't have hot and cold running water so they'd heat up the old tub, you know, and and every family member would go in the same bathwater. And by the time the ninth member of the family was in, you'd probably get dirtier being in the bathtub and staying out of it. And I guess the last one to go was the baby. And where's the baby? Oh, she or he was thrown out with the bathwater.

Whatever. We don't want to miss out on this great blessing of the gifts of the Spirit. First Timothy 4 14 says, don't neglect the gift that is in you. Whereas another translation puts it, keep your gift dusted off and in use. I like that translation.

Keep your gift dusted off and in use. So Paul's talking about our place in the church and how we can use our gifts. Here's one word I would use to sum up the early church. Together. They did things together.

Remember my last message was better together. So these folks engaged together. They learned together. They loved together. They worshiped together. They took care of one another. If one believer was in need, other believers would help to meet that need. And this was a powerful testimony to lost people. And in the same way, a unified church is a powerful witness to a divided world.

Let me say that again. A unified church is a powerful witness to a divided world. Because our culture is so divided right now isn't it. Oh we are divided over politics.

We are divided over pro or against vaccine. We are divided over everything. And sometimes that even finds its way into the church.

And these are secondary issues. So together. That was the early church. A story is told of a visitor who came to visit the city of Sparta. And the king of Sparta was boasting about the walls of his famous city. The visitor looked around and said, I don't see any walls. And then the king of Sparta said, see in Sparta every man is a brick.

And then he pointed to his army and the king said, these are the walls of Sparta. And the same is true in the church. Every man is a brick. As the great theologians Pink Floyd once told us, all in all you're just another brick in the wall. Every person matters.

Every brick matters. You are the walls of the kingdom of God. And as we stand together we can get a lot more done than when we're pulled apart.

Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hey everyone, I want you to know about our app called Harvest Plus. Think of it as a harvest version of Netflix.

We have all of our resources in one place. We have our movies like Steve McQueen, The Salvation of an American Icon, Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon, A Rush of Hope, and much more. Then we have our television program, Daily Devotions, and much more.

So go and download the Harvest Plus app. Well as a part of his series called The Upside Down Life, Pastor Greg is presenting a message today called The Gifts That Keep Giving. Let's listen. So let's think now a little bit about the gifts of the Spirit. Let's go over to Romans 12 and see what Paul says.

Romans 12 3, Paul says, 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.

Yes that's an actual sermon point. You are not all that in a bag of chips. You've heard that expression right? And some people think they are.

They just think they're the cat's meow. Whatever that means. But you know they may be gifted but they are arrogant. And if you want to see God work in your life you cannot be an arrogant person. God gives grace to the humble you see. And goes out of his way to use unexpected people. You know I've had the opportunity to meet famous people and powerful people.

And so many of them I think of are very down to earth humble people. I think of Darryl Strawberry. The guy's an icon you know.

I interviewed Darryl Strawberry at Angel Stadium. Darryl's walking around. He's a pretty noticeable guy. When you walk with Darryl you feel very small. Because Darryl's very tall. And everyone recognizes him.

That's Darryl Strawberry. People are running up to him shaking his hand. And he's such a chill person. Oh he takes time for people. He prays for people.

He uses that theme if you will well. I find that interesting. Here's a really gifted talented person who's genuinely humble. Then I meet someone who isn't really that talented or gifted and they're arrogant. My attitude is dude you're not even talented enough to be arrogant. You should be the most humble person of all. You know why? Because you're not all that and a bag of chips. And if you want to be used by God you need to see yourself as you really are.

Know this. Cemeteries are full of indispensable people. You think God's dependent on you? I know God's not dependent on me. He could replace me in a nanosecond. So it's a privilege when God works through me or when God works through you.

So here's what Paul is saying. Don't think you're better than you are. Don't think you're worse than you are. Think realistically. If you are given a gift by God use that gift.

Point number two. Whatever gift you have is just that. A gift. Whatever gift you have it's been given to you by God. It's a gift. Romans 12 verse 5. We being many are one body in Christ having gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us so let us use them.

Listen to this. If God has given you a gift or gifts and more likely it's a few gifts. Most people I know have multiple gifts of the Spirit. And I'm only going to touch on the topic in this message but in future messages we'll go a little more in depth on some of these other gifts. But if you've been given these gifts it's irresponsible to not use them.

Let me take it a step further. It could even be sinful to not use the gifts that God has given to you. Because we're told over in the book of James chapter 4 verse 17, to him that knows to do good and does not do it to him it is sin. So you got to use that gift that God has given you.

Number three. We all have a part to play in the church with our spiritual gifts. We all have a part to play.

Romans 12 4. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function so it is with Christ's body. We are many parts of one body and we all belong to each other. Think of the human body. Now when you meet someone you might notice their eyes. You might notice their hair. You might notice whatever.

And you don't notice internal organs. But the reality is what's more important how beautiful my hair is or how well my heart is functioning. I can tell you you can function without hair. You miss it. You wish you had it. And any bald person that says, oh I like being bald.

They're lying. Right. We wish we had hair but we don't so we have just accepted it. Other people don't accept it and they wear like a little bird's nest. Also known as a toupee. Or a hairpiece. But you know you can function without hair to be technical. You can function without sight. You can function without the ability to hear. But you cannot function without your heart beating properly.

You cannot function without certain organs functioning as they should. So the point of it is I don't know what part you are in the body of Christ but we all have a part to play. We are not all the same. Some are more outgoing. Some are more reserved. Some are more big picture. Some are more detail oriented.

But everyone has a role. So let's look at a partial list of the gifts of the Spirit. By the way if you have a pen or you are taking notes on your phone or tablet or whatever if you want to read more on the gifts of the Spirit go to 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4. 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4. So let's read a few more verses. Romans 12 verse 6. In His grace God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. If God has given you the ability to prophesize.

Speak out with as much faith as God has given you. Prophecy. Is that gift still for today?

I believe it is. When we think of a prophet we think of someone that predicts the future. And the gift of prophecy can include this. However if you claim to be a prophet and I don't know if we really have what we would call prophets today. But if we do and you claim to be one of these prophets you better be accurate in your predictions. Otherwise yes you are a prophet with one word in front of it. False. So I see these people making these predictions. This won't happen. And it doesn't happen. False prophet.

Not going to listen to you anymore. But the word prophecy means to speak for another. So the gift of prophecy is a supernatural insight into something that didn't come from your mind. Something the Lord shows you. The gift of prophecy. So if you have this gift 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 encouraging others that is a gift of exhortation. Be encouraging. If your gift is giving then give generously.

If God has given you leadership ability take that responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others do it gladly. I will stop there.

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

Gladly. Take this responsibility seriously. So the gift of service is mentioned right next to the gift of prophecy. Now we might think of the person who prophesies or speaks for God as having the more important gift. And the one working behind the scenes has the less important gift.

The Bible doesn't make that distinction. They're right next to each other. To serve behind the scenes is just as important as being up front. And who is this person? This is a person that finds a need and meets it. That's what it means to have the gift of serving.

You find a need and you meet it. I think some people honestly think they have the gift of criticism. I always find myself I don't like this and I disagree with this other thing and and I wouldn't do it this way. All right. What would you do?

I wouldn't do anything. I remember hearing the story of some woman that criticized the great evangelist D.L. Moody. She said Mr. Moody I don't like the way you do evangelism. He said well ma'am I'm always open to suggestions. How do you do evangelism? She said well I don't.

He said well I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it. The church isn't perfect. We're not going to do everything perfectly every time. So you see a need. How about helping to meet that need? Hey I'll step in there.

What is your need? One of the best ways to find out what your spiritual gifts are is literally volunteer for everything. You'll know quickly if you're good at something or if you aren't. You know you might say I want to help out in children's ministry. So you go and help and teach a class and they find you at the end of the class tied up to a chair. Maybe this isn't your gift. Try to help people out in the parking lot.

Cars are running into each other. You don't seem to be that person. You think you're gifted in music. A lot of people think they're good musically who aren't. I have to tell you.

They think they have a great voice and they don't. So maybe that's not your gift. But maybe you have a gift in another area you never thought of before. So the main thing is you volunteer for everything.

It's like process of elimination. Mark that off. Mark that off. Mark that off. Mark that off.

Oh whoa. I'm gifted at this? Why would I be gifted at this?

This is like not what I would normally do. The supernatural gifts are different than your natural talents. You might have natural talents in certain areas but then a gifting from God in an area you never thought you would have a gifting. And sometimes other people will tell you what your gift is before you even know. You might say you know I love it when you do this. Or well you have a real ability in this one area.

Well I never thought of that before. Maybe that is your gift. Some very practical insight today on a new beginning. Pastor Greg Laurie is leading our study of Acts 2 and Romans 12 in his message called The Gifts That Keep Giving. As we talk about the gifts God makes available to us we should mention the most important gift He gave His Son.

John 3 16 says for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life. That's God's most important gift. A way to have our sins forgiven.

A way that we can enjoy eternal life. Pastor Greg what would you say to someone who wants to accept that gift today? What I would say is He's only a prayer way. Which means if you will call upon the name of the Lord right now through prayer He will hear your prayer and answer your prayer. Listen if you want Jesus Christ to come into your life. If you want Him to forgive you of your sin.

If you want to know that you go to heaven when you die just pray this prayer right now after me. Just pray Lord Jesus I know that I'm a sinner but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin now and I choose to follow you from this moment forward as my Savior and Lord as my God and my friend. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Amen. And listen if you have just prayed that prayer and you've meant those words sincerely we want to welcome you into the family of God. And let us help you get started walking each day with the Lord. Pastor Greg wants to send you his New Believers Bible absolutely free along with some other helpful resources. They'll help answer your questions and get you started off right as you live for God each day. Just let us know you prayed with Pastor Greg and that you want the New Believers Bible when you call 1-800-821-3300.

We can take your call anytime at 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org and click the words Know God. Well we're excited about the new animated cartoon series called the adventures of Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog. Maybe you've watched one of the episodes already. You know Pastor Greg our local police department each year sends out warnings about coyotes in the area as a public service and it tells residents to pay particular attention to empty boxes of Acme explosives and coyotes in possession of giant magnets.

Yes. And a coyote in possession of a catapult or or perhaps dropping an anvil from a hot air balloon and you know everybody gets it. Just about everyone has seen the Roadrunner cartoon and they remember it. Well that's the thing about cartoons they stick with us don't they?

They do. Oh yeah you're talking about Wild E Coyote of course and Roadrunner and Roadrunner never really said anything just maybe and off he went. But yeah those are great cartoons. They're so simple and hilarious and all of those little gags that they did and so when we're writing these cartoons the adventures of Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog there's a number of times where we have things similar to that happen to Yellow Dog. Unfortunately he's the one that usually gets himself into trouble and his little ideas go awry.

He's always calling out to Ben to help him and we want to have a little fun. You know I think when you write a cartoon or you do a movie it needs to be entertaining. First of all it needs to be very well done. It needs high quality and it needs to be entertaining and then I believe it needs truth. It needs the gospel but I think if you don't do something that is executed well with quality people aren't going to stay to hear your message.

I don't like cheesy productions. I like to do things with excellence and artistic integrity but at the same time with theological underpinning and strength. Theology is just a word that is about the study of God okay. So all we do when we bring theology without apology to people is we're just taking the truth of scripture and bringing it in an understandable way. When Jesus walked this earth of ours he spoke in what we call parables. Parables were just stories. He would tell a story about a boy that ran away from home, a woman that lost her ring, a farmer who was sowing a crop, and birds that would not worry and flowers that would not fade and things that everyone could relate to even to this present day.

And so we also will use stories, parables, films, cartoons even to tell these stories of the gospel and reach people in an understandable way. You know this generation the millennials especially Gen Z are filled with anxiety. I just read that they're the most anxious generation of all time and the most depressed as well and certainly one of the things that feeds that depression are these little devices we carry in our pockets. The smartphone and they scroll away and and they find themselves numb by it all and frightened by it all.

And so I want to go in those platforms because we use all these social media platforms as well as things like printing and and just try to reach these young kids. And we even have a new episode of Ben Bourne getting yellow dog coming out the title don't be afraid. And we deal with fears. Fears well that yellow dog has one of his fears are cats and strollers but we also talk about fears that young people and children have today.

The fear of being rejected, the fear of being abandoned, the fear of the future and much more. So through humor and cartoons and such we seek to address those issues and in every one of these little cartoons we tell a bible story and we bring it to life in a way that kids can understand but it always comes back to the bible because it may be a sermon it may be a movie it may be a cartoon but the power is in the gospel. The power is in the word of God because the Lord himself has said my word shall not return to me void but it will prosper in the place where I send it. And so that's why I always want to get the word of God in everything that we do but do so in a way that will also engage people.

Yeah yeah that's so important. And we're so thankful for your investment in the work we do especially with these innovative new outreaches. And to thank you tangibly Pastor Greg would like to send you a new resource that has come from this animated series. When you invest today we'd like to send you our new Ben Born Again New Believers Growth Book. It features the latest Ben Born Again and yellow dog design. It's perfect for elementary age kids and older.

They'll laugh but they'll learn at the same time. It walks them through how to read the bible how to pray how to know the will of God how to resist temptation and more. So get in touch with your investment and be sure to ask for the Ben Born Again New Believers Growth Book. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300.

That's a 24 7 phone number 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org. Well next time more insights on how we can use the spiritual gifts God freely makes available to believers. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and bible feature Greg Laurie. The preceding podcast was made possible by Harvest Partners. Helping people everywhere know God. Learn how to become a Harvest Partner. Sign up for daily devotions and find resources to help you grow in your faith at harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-05 05:27:22 / 2024-06-05 05:38:39 / 11

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