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Your Divine Design - Warning: Beware of Spiritual Gift Abuse!, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
September 27, 2022 6:00 am

Your Divine Design - Warning: Beware of Spiritual Gift Abuse!, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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September 27, 2022 6:00 am

Chip begins a discussion about spiritual gift abuse. What is it? How can you avoid it? And what to do if you are facing it.

Line of Fire
Dr. Michael Brown
Line of Fire
Dr. Michael Brown
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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 gifts 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 the mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians, the Bible teaching Dave Drury were nearing the end of our series your defined the past several program strips for describing the unique God has made you to be and how the gifts he's given you fit into his master plan for this trip alluded to good things can be corrupted when used in the wrong way.

That's where he's going in these last two program so if you have a Bible open down to first Corinthians chapter 12 let's join trip for his talk. If you are indeed the spiritual paintbrush in God's hand by your gift and he wants to dip it in 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. If there misapplied they have a very, very dark side and want to start with a case study. In fact, I quit 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 and getting counsel and reading to get married in about a month and I was in a church and an older lady a man 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 I know the lady and she went over to the step of the people coming by, and then you know with us 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, but 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. It 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. What you 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 ahead.

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 stopped. 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 you. I guarantee if you will get it 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 upright map of the music is going to play and I mean we started and it was like so I got up and 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, teacher, a high school in bed 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 in the sky 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 I said what do you understand this, what yes and what have you ever prayed to ask Christ to come in your life. This will yes I said will what part of the staunch understandings of 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 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 or 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 are 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 has a very low self-image and that she's wasting what God gave her is a perspective biblical 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 once 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 it 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'm 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 and by 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 solve 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 and 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 still in your life and you're involved in a local church you're asking God to use you that 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 can 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 are all gonna 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 and a 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.

That 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, you know, 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 of 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 knocking to be given through some other person somewhere sometime some way. What we learn is it when he 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 you're called 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 in this whole manipulative. But you know what you've got to know the truth and the truth is people don't bestow gifts God. 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 notice 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, know, do all speak in tongues know do all interpret he's making the point point. First Corinthians 1229 and 30 that no one has all the gifts. Now this is where I'm going up.

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. Write 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 in 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 at all and things 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 know 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 want to know for sure whether we were a 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 in the 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-and-so's good happen and this is where you another line in the parking lot. I been in place with a charged 10 or $15 for parking by the way, this is not someone throwing stones out there, it somewhat 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 to 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 get some as pastors and teachers, why for the work of service to build up the body for 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 to that member. Case study number four, the young gal.

She looked at other people's gifts thought 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 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 maintenance 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 to form one body given the human body with a hand we have ahead. We have eyes we have ears 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, and 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 novel and if the ear should say because I'm not an II don't belong to the body would not for that reason cease to be a part of the body, would it will no if the whole body were an eye wear with a 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 and by 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 there we can raise up leaders what they wanted was facilitators delete the small groups and anyone that kinda wanted hey why are we doing it this way, a rebellious anger, would you just shut up and sit over there leisure group by size some 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 another church is 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 cats any speaking ability to even call 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 my 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 for 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 the six-story 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 accordance 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 then finally does 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. I mean, 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 me and all I want to say is I don't think anyone gets to the point were you mature you II think that will be something will live with the rest of our days but don't don't compare yourself with other don't compare your gift God made you unique listening to Bart Jeff's message warning. Beware of spiritual gift abuse right back with this application for this teaching from his series your divine design. Did you know God has given you a set of spiritual gifts or tools to help you fulfill his calling on your life. Are you actively using them or are you unsure what they even are in the series Jubal help you discover, develop, and deploy your spiritual gifts to make an eternal impact and if you want to dive deeper into this meaningful topic. Let me encourage you to order chips. Book your divine design. It will really open your eyes to the incredible blessing and responsibility of your unique gifts to get your hands on this new book go to call AAA 333-6003 app listeners tap special offers chips. Join me in studio now and ship you talked a lot in the last week about becoming a monthly partner with Living on the Edge.

Could you take just a minute and explain why those types of commitments are so critical to our ministry days. I'd be glad to. When I look back on the summer. I realize we train thousands of pastors in the three major cities of Mexico and now that's mushroom to 30 more cities we done pastor training in Kenya, Malawi in India. I mean it's expanded in ways internationally like never before. And then on the home front. I'm creating new resources right now for discipleship to reach the next generation, and to help pastors here in the United States, as well as what I call disciple makers take their walk with God to a new level. As we create those resources. It's just created a lot more expense and so in this season were asking those people that are on the team or who benefit from Living on the Edge.

Would you partner with us, you know, one time gift would be absolutely wonderful, but those of you that could on a monthly basis regardless of the amount say I'm in each month. You can count on me, that makes such a huge impact over the long haul. I just ask you to ponder today and asked the Lord. Is this something he might want you to do and if he says yes, let me say in advance. Thank you very much. Will is you've heard God is called this ministry to help Christians really live like Christians both here in the US and all around the world. So if you'd like to help us fulfill that mission. We'd love to have you join the team by becoming a monthly partner set up a recurring donation of or via the Chip Ingram map or you can now text the word donate 27 4141 that's donate to 741 41 we greatly appreciate your support over that chip. Let's get to that application. We promised 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's 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 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 morning, 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, I'm gonna talk about the five more warnings that you need to be aware of. Our goal is to help you protect you and love you fixture will before we go the points chip just reviewed come right from his message notes, which is a great resource to help you get the most out of every program. It provides you with chips outline all of the Scripture re-references lots of fillings to help you remember what you're learning. So before you listen again. Let me encourage you to download chips message under the broadcasts tab app listeners tap fill in notes will join us next time as chip wraps up his series your divine design from all of us here, this is Dave Drewry thanking you for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge

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