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January 5, 2021 5:00 am
Today's program comes with a caution red lights flashing is a serious program we been talking about spiritual gifts, but in the arena of spiritual gifts. At times they are abused. Were going to talk about spiritual gift abuse and how at times your gift can be leveraged in ways that God never intended and you need to be aware of when that is where that is and how to prevent welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with AAA group Living on the Edge features the Bible to others international discipleship program that Christians look like Christians. This program continues a series called the blind is talking about the person God made you possibly know how your design fits into the grander scheme. Good things can always be misused which it was just alluding to know before we get started, let me encourage you to try using chips message notes while you listen they're full of Scripture references and his detailed outline chips message notes are a quick download of LivingontheEdge.org under the broadcast Listeners Fill in notes okay.
If you have a Bible open without first Caribbean's chapter 12 let's join Chip force message warning.
Beware of spiritual gift abuse. If you are indeed the spiritual paintbrush in God's hand by your gift and he wants to dip the pallet and the colors of his grace, so that your life could literally begin to make imprints of grace and change another person's life for all eternity. Something that powerful usually has a dark side. In other words, if gifts do that much good if there are abused. If there misused that their misapplied they have a very, very dark side and the title of this session is going to talk about.
Beware of spiritual gift abuse and want to start with a case study. In fact, five quick case studies.
These are all true stories.
But as I go through these five case studies. Here's what I want you to ask what's wrong with this picture is this biblical and if this happened to me or in a situation where would my mind go biblically to say you know something there, something fishy here.
I don't think this is quite right ready case study number one of this happened to me as a very young Christian I was just about to get married.
I was probably Christian.
Less than five years of treason I gone through a long process of prayer and fasting in getting counseling to get married in about a month and I was in a church and an older lady him and you know when you're 25 years old. Everyone's an older lady but she seemed very wholly dressed very holy was very serious and after the service. She walked over to me sorted with angelic walk ship.
Maybe talk sure you know the lady and she went over to the step of the people coming by, and then you know with this, like, holier than thou. She grabs both my elbows and looks of mange the chip.
I have a word from God for you. Do not marry Teresa if you do, God will never use your life and with a thus says the Lord. Now I'm having read the Bible for about four or five years actually four years the first year I didn't do very well as a Christian I can figure out how to get in and stay in it and I left confused doubting me network to the biggest fur relationship. The biggest decision of my life to that point is God speaking to me.
Is this how the body of Christ works is this a real warning.
Is this the enemy what's wrong with this picture want you to think about because if it hasn't happened to you or someone you know, it probably will how we answer case study number two is in a large large church and it was a very happening place in the parking lot was jammed in the day I had the special speaker and I was floating around a lot of different groups back in those days because I was a young Christian I didn't know much about what different groups believed or why, but I was in this very huge auditorium and we had stood up and worshiped and it was a very emotional service for 45 minutes or an hour and then a guy gave a very dynamic, persuasive message and some of it didn't sound, right on, but whom I knows a lot more than me and at the very end he stop he said not only tell you right now let me tell you right now I have a spiritual gift for every person in this room. Every person in this room there's a prayer room right behind here.
I guarantee if you will get up by faith and leave your seat and get in that room. I will give you a spiritual gift every single person will receive that gift you get up when you get up right now the music is going to play and I mean we started and it was like so I got up I ended up in the back room and he had this whole formula you were supposed to do and if you did this formula and you said what you're supposed to say and believe what he said and did exactly his wife, he guaranteed that you would get this particular spiritual gift that biblical what's wrong. That picture case study number three I was involved in campus ministry. By this time I'm coaching teaching basketball. I'm a teacher, a high school in then at night we would go up on this college campus and I started what was called gospel John Bible study we just take guys with this zero background and get a pizza or go play some basketball and just read to the gospel of John, week by week by week. I would want them discover who who is Jesus what you think he is, what, what's a relation with him like and this one fell after about the fourth or fifth week been through. John one John two John three John four in the Gospels coming out and this guy knew the gospel was very clear and and you could tell he was just angst about and I said what do you want to receive the Lord as your Savior and he said yeah and and I said what do you understand this, what yes and will have you ever prayed to ask Christ to come in your life you will yes I said will what part of this don't you understand. He said what I've been taught back where I grew up that if you're a Christian, this particular gift will be evidenced and if you don't have this outward evidence then you're not really Christian so he goes. I know I'm not a Christian, but I want to be you see the abuse with what's wrong with this picture instead of spiritual gifts being something that build up for the common good. He's been told there's one particular gift that's an outward evidence.
And if you don't have it you not even a Christian.
Others will use that same particular gift to talk about whether you're in right relationship with God or not, whether you have God's power not is that biblical is that what the Bible teaches about spiritual gifts case study number four.
I don't have a spiritual gift. I'm not worthy one yet but Sunday I hope to this happened in the Midwest was a pastor by this time, this gal thought she was being very holy and she looked at all the people of the visible gifts and she thought spiritual gifts were a reward for like really good Christians and if you are really good Christian you in the Bible more and you really prayed and let the more moral life than her that I guess someday some way if she got really good. She could earn a spiritual gift, but I know I don't have any, and so therefore result. She's not involved in ministry. She is a very low self-image and that she's wasting what God gave her is a perspective what we learned so far. Is it possible to be a believer but you don't have any spiritual gift.
What's wrong with that picture. Case study number five I don't care what the Bible says the young pastor said from the group I am God's prophet for this church and he's revealed that to me on the West Coast. This was one of the more bizarre ones and others.
A young dynamic pastor and I think he was watching a lot of TV.
Unfortunately, and little by little he amended groups were beginning to grow and pretty soon he was talking more and more, and he got a little farther out and farther out, and he was telling people who is going to be healed of what and anybody who wasn't healed just didn't have enough faith so he was never on the line and pretty soon he was getting more and more famous and more more dynamic and the crowds were growing and he just got more and more and more full of himself and was an area near where I was, so I could get some firsthand information and then pretty soon he began to teach some things that were just blatantly. This is what the Bible says, but this is what I say and some people some good biblical background went to them as a pastor, wait a second.
The Bible says this and you you say this and this doesn't quite add up, and his response was I don't care what the Bible says I am God's prophet.
He's giving new Revelation for this church and what I say is the very word of God. What's wrong with this picture is that biblical nearby. The way that sounds wild when you hear it over here but what if you are a person in that church and little by little by little, and what if you saw things you didn't understand. And what if God actually was doing a lot of good in that church. And what if you know this is the man who actually was used by God to lead you to Christ. How do you know when people are telling the truth.
How do you know when these case studies are you know may be partly good, partly bad when can you begin to have the spiritual radar pop up and say wait a second, something's wrong here. All five of those are cases of spiritual abuse.
Can anybody think of some times in your experience of spiritual abuse in terms of gifts. Now one of the warning signs like you to open your teaching handout if you will, and I want to go over what I think of the 10 most common abuses of spiritual gifts. They certainly aren't the only ones, but I call these the 10 most common abuses of spiritual gifts.
I want you to imagine you driving your spiritual car and on the dashboard. You have 10 red lights and as you're walking with God in the spirit of God is filling your life and you're involved in a local church you're asking God to use you as you are going through your life. If any one of these red lights begins to flash on the dashboard of your spiritual car you say wait a second. You know what, I'm not sure, but this could be a sign of spiritual gift abuse number one. Beware when spiritual gifts are used as a means of manipulation, power or control in personal and/or church relationships and notice they're all going to start with. Beware that's a warning sign.
Beware when spiritual gifts are used as a means of manipulation, power or control, and personal and/or church relationships. If you have your Bibles open. If you will. The first printing chapter 12 in the first printing chapter 12 verse four. It's a common thing we talked about if I keep your finger in first drink is 12. A lot of the abuses were happening in the Corinthian church, and so a lot of the corrections again to be there pick up in verse four. There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There different kinds of service but the same Lord. There different kinds of workings but that same God who works all of them in all men, not to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good for the common good. Did you notice the repetition of the word same same same.
There's unity when God is working in the Lord Jesus is exalted in the spirit of God is bestowing gifts and operating in the body of Christ. It's for the common good. It builds people up.
The focus is on the Godhead not on the gifts. The focus is on what God is doing in the group, not on people's particular passions or beds personal control manipulation and use by gifts are always assigned to the abuses occurring. I don't know where case study number one. That lady was coming from but she has no relationship with me.
She has no investment in my life and and she tells me something that doesn't produce common good causes me to doubt the biggest decision of my life. Any time someone comes to you or someone you know and says God revealed to me that you're supposed to do this or do that. A big red light on a flash on the dashboard. I don't care who they are now doesn't mean that God never reveals through other people, but you and I came to the conclusion that on a major life decision about who to marry where to work, what job to take what to do with one of your kids you would just think that God might want to tell you, rather than tell someone else write when I got a phone and it doesn't mean that God might not bring someone into your life to say no.
I'm concerned about this and here's 45 reasons why you know I've watched this relationship that's a little different story. But this thus says the Lord, and people end up in rural high power, you know, I'm very important and often this happens in the leadership of churches. Second warning, beware when anyone claims to have the ability to give or bestow any particular gift.
If you follow their formula. Notice what it says in first Corinthians chapter 12 verse 11. He goes on to say all these gifts are the same Spirit, and he gives to each one, just as he determines the speaking of the spiritual gifts. He says God gives or bestows gifts literally. It's as he wills. The Greek word is a very interesting one.
It means as he chooses. After careful deliberation member.
We said we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them. If God has a plan for your life and he's going to gift you to fulfill the plan for your life.
Then the gifts that he gives you are not going to be given through some other person somewhere sometime some way. What we learn is that when the ascended Christ. He gave gifts to men. And he chooses to give you the gifts that he wants you to have so you can fulfill the purpose that your call to and so when someone comes up and basically says hey I have the power to distribute the gifts he's taking the role of the Holy Spirit, or she's taking the role of the Holy Spirit. Beware whenever anyone claims to have the ability to give or bestow any particular gift.
If you follow their formula often are using the power of suggestion manipulation of peer pressure. By the way, when I went in the back room. Mrs. case study number two. Almost everyone quote to goes in the back room does experience something I'm not sure how much of God, but I can tell you what they do and it's it's it's it's mine control manipulation. They tell you this this this this this new get a whole roomful of people. And guess what. If you're one of the persons that doesn't do what they say. Guess who feels like they're out of step with God you and so what is it the huge peer pressure manipulation type thing and they can get you to do certain things different places. Now this is kind of the wacko element of the body of Christ.
Most churches are like this at all. I can't tell you how many Christians and even pastors and people that are running around that feel like second-class citizens that went in the back room somewhere that heard someone guarantee they can have this gift or that gift and if you don't get it. Guess who has the problem no one ever says a pastor that had an off day. You only 94%. Given this gift of life. I mean, it's always the person you don't have enough faith.
There must be sent in your life and this whole manipulative. But you know what you've got to know the truth and the truth is people don't bestow gifts got this third morning, beware when any particular gift is made universal evidence of spiritual spirituality, salvation or other spiritual blessing skip down to verses 29 and 30 chapter 12, by the way, as I read this to and in English we can't quite do it.
But he's can ask questions, but dramatically you can ask a question and you can you know you can use just the one little word that automatically tells you that it's a rhetorical question and answer is no, and that's this case so as not. These are not just questions are all apostles's are all apostles emphatically know okay so it knows what it says. Verse 29 are all apostles know are all prophets know are all teachers know do all work miracles know you all have gifts of healing, no do all speak in tongues. No. Do all interpret is making the point point. First Corinthians 1229 and 30 that no one has all the gifts. Now this is where I'm going. Of this is gentle but you know, let me say this because I've kinda been through both my parents came to Christ to the charismatic movement right my personal experience. I've been in very very word centered ministries but had the privilege of traveling all around the world and just teamed up with Pentecostal and charismatic brothers and sisters, and I'm gonna tell you about 90% you know very balanced great teaching, but there is some teaching and pockets especially. I guess what I call some older school. Pentecostalism charismatic groups that will teach that if you don't speak in tongues you are not saved or you don't have salvation. Others will teach if you don't speak in tongues you don't have the Holy Spirit.
Somehow you have part of Christ and the only way you know for sure if you have the Holy Spirit is if you speak another language. And here's my point. Study the gifts carefully. Tongues are a what we looked at it. It is a ability to speak in another language, for the glory of God for the common good in a language you haven't learned now what you'll find is people will go to the book of acts and safe will look what happened in the early church. I would suggest that is descriptive, not prescriptive. Yes, that is what happened and can God give a known and unknown language to evidence the working he did when the Jews came to Christ.
Unknown language when the Samaritans halfbreed came to Christ. Unknown language when the Gentiles came to Christ, unknown language, but Paul would say it's an outward evidence assigned for unbelievers and all I'm saying is your view on the gift of tongues should have nothing to do with sanctification or your walk in holiness. Okay, it's a spiritual gift, but is not a spiritual gift that needs to be tied with evidence of salvation or evidence of your spiritual state. There are people and I've been down this road. There are people that feel like you not. I don't have all of God because I don't have this gift and by the way, in some groups, it's tongues, and other groups.
It's it's other gifts and so anytime anyone says there's some universal gift, it's a sign that really makes you salvation or spiritual blessing always had that red light go off and say wait a second that's by the way, with the guy was telling us in the back room is that if we wanted certain things and if we wanted to know for sure whether we were Christian, you would have this experience spiritual gift abuse God gives the gifts and God can give the gift of speaking another language you haven't learned, but the purpose is not for some guy to get in front of a group and manipulate people to back room, spiritual abuse, number four, beware when the focus of the church service ministry or religious event is on spiritual gifts and their manifestation rather than on the giver of the gifts and his agenda for the church. This is where you hear about the miracle service as advertised. When the focus gets on.
Come see the show.
Here's what you can get. Beware miracle service is what happened at the service. So, does it happen and this is where you another line in the parking lot. I been in place for the charge 10 or $15 for parking by the way, this is not someone throwing stones out there somewhere. I been all that stuff okay this is these are the kind of places where you know 2020 and 48 hours are doing research and finding out that the people were walking in but you know you must be very tired will give you a wheelchair while you wait. It's amazing that incoming wheelchair to get a wheelchair when they get there and then they get up out of the wheelchair and and wow, look what happened.
This is this is these are the kind of places where the guy has a little earpiece and the interview and screen the people and people that have clearly you know non-psychosomatic illnesses. You know what you know over there. You know you get over here people that you know point lower back pain and you nothing coming down deep. I think my gallbladder stones course they don't have an MRI. They don't know but I'll take what you can get people in a frenzy to believe just about anything. When the focus is on the show when the focus is on the miracles when the focus is on the person. When the focus is on what you can get get get you know what just read the Gospels and ask yourself is this how Jesus did ministry. In fact, look at Ephesians chapter 4 verses 11 and 12.
It's very, very clear just just put back up a couple books right he gave gifts why why did he give spiritual gifts they give spiritual gifts of people getting a make a lot of money, put on a show.
Tell people how awesome, miraculous and wonderful their deal is. He gave some as apostles to get some as prophets, he gave some as evangelists to get some as pastors and teachers, why for the work of service to build up the body of the work of service, spiritually gifted people are to equip us regular believers and saints so that we can do the work of service into every single Christian grows up into maturity to all, the measure of the fullness of Christ.
The goal and the role of gifting men and women is to help other believers mature in Christ. And so anytime the focus is off the giver of the gifts and onto the the show anytime.
It's about showmanship instead of Christ likeness. You better have that flashing red light and say you know something. It may be electric in the air and people may make all counterclaims but it doesn't pass the test of New Testament biblical Christianity warning number five.
Beware of comparing your gifts with anyone else, it always leads to carnality. Do not compare your gifts and even as I say that I like to say that I never do the eye on their you will because you're human right see that the member case study number four, the young gal.
She looked at other people's gifts stop the visible ones were rewards and a lot of the reason she had abused her gift by neglect is that she made her whole orientation about gifts comparing herself with what other people did have, and she doesn't have. I'm gonna read a passage that's a little extended but it's so important, I think it's worth reading and have you noticed that were still in first grade. Since 12 you go back a couple books. Some of you may be thinking, you know, I think this Corinthian church sorta had some struggles of gifts because of all the directives about how to do it writer in first Corinthians 12, you know, part of 13 and 14. He goes on to say first commitments 12 beginning at verse 11.
All these are the work of one and the same spirit and he gives them the spirit gifts to each one. How did just as he determines the body is a unit he's gonna make a metaphor, though it is made up of many parts, and though it's all its parts are many form one body given the human body with a hand we have ahead. We have eyes we have years we have feet and so it is with Christ, for we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body, whether Jew or Greek, slave or free in. We were all given one Spirit to drink.
Now the body is made up of not one part, but many.
And then here's where he goes through the analogy if the foot should say because I'm not a hand, I don't belong to the body. Would it not for that reason cease to be any part of the body and the last know and if the ear should say because I'm not. And II don't belong to the body would not for that reason cease to be a part of the body, would it will no the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be if the whole body were near where the sense of smell be, but in fact God has arranged the parts in the body. Every one of them just as he wanted them to be.
Don't compare your gift to someone else's don't get thinking about the way it's human nature. Certain churches in certain backgrounds will gravitate to honor certain gifts more than other gifts.
I was in one parachurch organization that will tell you what. If you have the gift of exhortation Van you are a winner. If you have the gift of service.
It was, like, well, you know, someone does need to pick up the chairs that would be nice if you had the gift of teaching or leadership actually was threatening to the group because they had a real cookie cookie-cutter formula about how they were gonna raise up leaders what they wanted was facilitators delete these small groups and anyone that kind wanted hey why are we doing it this way, a rebellious anger, would you just shut up and sit over there and lead your group by size and pretty strong leadership gifts and I was saying hey you know basically this seems kind of dumb if you want to get this job. And we ought to go this way. Anyway, you know, and I was dealing with the pride issues in my life now. I have a lot of pride issues in my life, so that what was wasted. You know, but I've been in other churches where it's this visible gift you know and if you can ever get up in front of the stage and so boy you know the little kids by the time there, seven, eight, nine, 10, or if the if a kid in junior high or high school cast any speaking ability even called of God into the front of the group porches know what they're saying.
It all goes back to comparing our gifts rather than realizing God's perfect plan and you know something I don't know that I want to say to much higher to my ear to my knee that one's more important, their all-important they're all interdependent and I just want to say I think you wrestle with this.
There's there's a passage it's been helpful. Second Corinthians 1012 you might jot that the corner of your notes with the apostle Paul will say when we compare ourselves with ourselves and measure ourselves by ourselves. We are without understanding and I just want to say for your encouragement. I think you'll struggle with this your whole life because I do believe that all of us are desperately insecure.
Even as believers. I mean, I know were going to grow over desperately insecure Moody Bible Institute, when my sons went there, they have this big conference they've had since the days of DL Moody and you go into this historic church and it's all wooden and it's round and there's thousands of people and I got to be one of the speakers in your first night. Joe stole speaks in man was good. Then the next night, Tony Evans and Howard Hendrickson coming up next, and you know and it was like and I'm sitting there going. This is ridiculous.
Ingram why are you so unbelievably intimidated. Why are you having these thoughts in your mind, and I me I just had to go off in a corner and said oh God. God what these people think everything in my flesh wants to compare myself and every time I do you know on my really kind of normal days I feel like a weenie and there's these great speakers and then on my not so normal. Days like it for myself and think what you up. I think I can hit the ball like that speaker. Maybe if I could go after him. It would be okay and you then finally just get the point you all God. Woe is me, and if you don't speak I don't have anything to bring and what I understand is you've gifted each of these people and you have a plan in this week and you want to help thousands of people in this room and the tens of thousands listening. I want to be a part of what you're doing and I had to get before God and literally just cleanse my heart and just begged him to help me see I'm desperate for you. We help all I want to say is I don't think anyone gets to the point were you mature II think that will be something but don't don't compare yourself.
God made you beware of spiritual gift abuse series your divine design. If you build a list or to Living on the Edge for any length of time you know that our mission is to help Christians really live like Christians in this series, your divine design helps you take one of the most important steps on your spiritual journey toward that goal. Knowing your spiritual gift gives you increased confidence in a true sense of direction. Many have found that doing this series with a small group is been fun and encouraging either as a family devotional or sitting around with a few friends over coffee. The insights in this series will get you on the road to a life of greater purpose and satisfaction to help you do that the small group video teaching is currently discounted. We want to help you get off to a great start this new year to check out the small group video and see a sample of the study guide.
Visit us online at http://livingontheedge.org or tap special offers on the app. For more information just give us a call a 8883336003 that's AAA 333-6003. I hope you'll take advantage of this great offer today will ship as we start off the new year. One of the big questions. A lot of us tend to ask is what's the plan this year. We might even sit down with some paper and pen and get very specific and the underlying question is God. What do you want me to do in light of all that's brought me to this point. One day, that is what I try and ask every single year and I have people come to me and say chipping I'm looking for God's will and I want to do what God wants me to do, but I'm just not sure and I always remind them that God prepares us for the things he wants to accomplish, and one of the things I think is so messy and so many Christians lives is they don't take seriously this idea that God has deposited in them a spiritual gift or a set of spiritual gifts.
In other words, if God has a purpose. Doesn't it make sense that he would equip us. I me with the gift of leadership or mercy or hospitality, or very specific gifts to communicate or to love or to meet needs in ways that are supernaturally empowered by his spirit. And so what were talking about here is how to discover your divine design.
God has a wiring for every single Christian in the key, or at least one of the keys and discovering your purpose is discovering what that spiritual gift is and then how to deploy it how to get it into practice. And so I would just encourage people find one or two friends and say let's take a few weeks together and discover how God wired us. What's our spiritual gift and I will tell you this from past history. Thousands of people have told us when they went through your divine design. They discovered something special. What their spiritual gift is and how it actually works. One of the best ways to deepen your understanding of spiritual gifts is together a few friends or your family and go through this series together as a small group whether you use online streaming or the DVDs ship gives an introduction to each session he does the teaching and then will get you started. As you talk it through. There's a study guide that will help you dig deeper with great insights and questions to keep the conversation going right now for limited time video resources for your divine design are discounted all that to say were doing everything we know to help you discover, develop, and deploy your spiritual gift, to take advantage of the current discounts go to LivingontheEdge.org or tap special offers on the chipping remap for more details. Just give us a call at triple late. 333-6003. Without your strip with his application. As we close today's program. I can only imagine that some of you had pictures go through your mind and you thought back to experiences that you've had and things were happening in the past and you never thought oh that spiritual gift abuse. You probably assumed you did something wrong or you were a bad person.
So let me just go through in the end of today's program and review the five cases of spiritual abuse, the symptoms we covered today and then in our next broadcast. I'll cover the last five number one. Beware when spiritual gifts are used as a means of manipulation power or control and personal or church relationships number two warning beware whenever anyone claims to have the ability to give or bestow any particular gift. If you follow their formula 3rd warning, beware when any particular gift is made universal evidence of spirituality, salvation or other spiritual blessing warning number four, beware when the focus of the church service ministry or religious event is on spiritual gifts and their manifestation rather on the giver of the gifts and his agenda for his church. Finally, beware of comparing your gifts with anyone else's. It always leads to carnality in our next broadcast him to talk about the five more warnings that you need to be aware of and if there's no way that you can make the program go to the Internet. Log on to LivingontheEdge.org and you can get the notes with all 10 of them listed.
Our goal is to help you protect you and love you will find the message notes trip just mentioned are the couple places online. Just go to LivingontheEdge.org and click the broadcasts tab Listeners.
You'll find by tapping fill in notes the charts on spiritual gifts and all the details. Chip shared throughout this series all of the Scripture references and much more. Are there to help you get the most out of each message and get your spiritual gift into action will be sure to join us next time which you continue your divine design.
Until then, this is the saying thanks for listening. this Edition of Living on the Edge