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Gifted, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
October 17, 2023 9:00 am

Gifted, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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October 17, 2023 9:00 am

Pride messes up our lives in a lot of ways. But one way you may not have thought about it being a problem is when it keeps you from pursuing your spiritual gifts.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. I thought I was supposed to play every single role in the body of Christ and I was supposed to excel at everything the Christians did and I had to reckon with the fact one day that God just did not make me an omni-competent one-man ministry machine. God made me intentionally limited. He made me depend on other members of the body. He gave me a few gifts and told me to use those because that's the role that I have and I should get after them. Thanks for joining us today on Summit Life with Pastor J.D.

Greer. As always, I'm your host, Molly Vitovich. You know, pride can really mess up our lives in a lot of tragic ways. Sadly, it can keep us from discovering and growing in our spiritual gifts. Today on Summit Life, Pastor J.D. continues teaching from Romans chapter 12 and shows us how pride can not only keep us from pursuing deep connections in the church, but also receiving the benefit of God's help through the spiritual gifts of others. Now, if you've missed any part of this teaching series, you can catch up online at But for now, let's return to Romans chapter 12.

Here's Pastor J.D. God has designed it so that we need each other. You are incomplete.

You are insufficient for the challenges of life, at least for what God wants from those challenges without deep and meaningful involvement in the church. Y'all, there is nothing that is more helpless and nothing more disturbing than a disconnected body part, right? On your way out this morning, you walk and there's a disconnected body part laying there in the parking lot. You are walking around that thing.

That's gross. What's going to happen to that disconnected body part? It's going to shrivel up, rot, and die. That is the future of every disconnected believer. You are going to shrivel up and you are spiritually going to die because you have disconnected yourself from the life-giving connection in the body of Christ that God intends to do his work. Again, I don't want to say this too harshly, but God's almost like, stop praying and asking me to do stuff when you're not doing the very things I told you to do to get the answers you're asking for. What does 1 Peter say? We have an enemy, the devil, who prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Two things you should glean from that.

Yes, when God wants to depict Satan, he chooses a member of the cat family. Do not miss that, okay? But even more importantly, how does a lion hunt their prey? You've watched the Discovery Channel enough to know this, don't you?

Right? What happens? He prowls around and waits for the wildebeest that gets separated from the rest of the wildebeest, the one that lags a little bit behind, the one that's not really connected, and that's the one that he pounces on and goes after. This is what Peter's indicating Satan does. He just prowls around, looking for the person who's not really connected into the covering that God has given to shield you and your family from the attacks of Satan. When you disconnect yourself from intimate connection with the church, you disconnect yourself from the power of God. I'm not telling you that because I'm a pastor with a vested interest.

I'm telling you that because that's what the New Testament says. Number three, it is pride that keeps us from pursuing spiritual gifts. Again, don't miss that Paul introduces this list by telling us that we should not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. See, verse three, because if you think too highly of yourself, you're never gonna feel the necessity of God continuing to work in your life through the spiritual gifts of others, and thus you're not gonna see the intimate connections in the church necessary to experience them. For those of you who were not intimately connected into the church, at the root core of it is pride. Because you think me and Jesus got this thing figured out, and maybe it's not even that's wrong with Jesus, but you're like, given enough time and energy, I can make this thing work. Your pride will mess up your life in so many ways.

C.S. Lewis called it the granddaddy of all sins. He's like, you peel back sins, eventually you're gonna get to the heart of pride. If you are not submitted to God this morning fully, I'll tell you why. At the core of it is, deep in your heart, you think that you know better than God what's good for your life. And that's why you're not submitted to him, it's pride. If you're not the kind of person who fellowships with God and prays regularly, it's because you think, ah, given enough time, energy, creative mind drive, my talent, I'll be able to make this thing work.

If you're not generous, the reason you're not generous is because ultimately you think you're primarily the one that's responsible for all the blessings that you have. You see, the same way, if you're not intimately connected to God's church, it's because you think that pretty much you're self-sufficient to be able to make life work the way that you need it to work, and God says that pride will kill you. Y'all, pride, that's why Paul starts with it. Pride will mess up your life in so many ways. And the gospel teaches you to think rightly about yourself. Pride will keep you from getting the help that you need, and it ends up just making you look stupid. I've heard it said that pride's a funny, strange disease, because when you have it, it makes everybody around you sick, right? It's like Paul says in verse three, when you walk around in pride, you literally look insane to others.

You don't think sensibly. You look like you're crazy. It's like the story I heard about the army officer who got promoted to colonel, and you know how he's feeling, right? He's feeling like, I'm the colonel now.

I'm awesome. He's sitting in his office. He finds himself looking in the mirror every once in a while and saluting himself and say, hello, sir, and you're a colonel, right? Well, just then, somebody knocks at the door, and he says, who is it? It's Private Andrews, sir.

I need to see you for a second. And so, the colonel's like, oh, I'm going to impress this young man. He says, come on in. Right when he comes in, he picks up the phone and says, oh, yes, sir, Mr. President. Yes, sir, Mr. President. I understand, Mr. President. I'll get right on that, Mr. President. Thank you for your trust in me, Mr. President.

I'll take care of it. Hangs up the phone. Looks at Private Andrews and says, what do you need, son?

Private Andrews says, I was just sent over here by the comm office to connect your phone. That's what I'm here for, right? So, pride, it will mess up your life because it keeps you from getting the things that you need. It will mess up your life, and it keeps you from that life-giving connection that you need in the church in order for God to continue to work in your life. Friend, the grace of God did not stop when he saved you. You need the grace of God as desperately today as you did then.

And if God's grace pulls back from you, then your life will spiral into the place where Satan can just ravage it, humble yourself. And the way that you'll show that is by pursuing deep and intimate connection in the church, number four. Number four, from this passage, we learn that spiritual gifts are usually a specialization given to a duty to all Christians. Spiritual gifts are usually a specialization and a duty that's given to all Christians. Notice the things that Paul lists out.

Do you see them? Teaching, encouraging, giving, serving, showing mercy. Aren't those things that are commanded of all Christians? Yes, but that's where that phrase in verse six, according to the grace given, that's where that phrase becomes so important.

Because what he's telling you is that God, yes, commands believers to do all these things, but God gives certain believers an extra measure of grace in those things. We are all supposed to evangelize. Have you ever noticed that God has given to some people the ability to write what to say, when to say it, how to say it?

I've known some of these people in my life and it's absolutely amazing. By the way, they're not always extroverts, but they just have an ability to know how to speak the Gospel to somebody at just the right moment. All of us are commanded to give, but there are some, like I told you, that just seem to have this knowledge of knowing when to give in a way that just ministers in ways that people feel like they're being touched by God. We all serve, but God equips some people to know when and how to serve best. We all pray. All of us pray, right?

But there are some people, you ever known these people? They just have an ability to know when to pray and what to pray and how to pray. And it's divine. My wife, if she stood up here and told you her testimony, she would talk about one of the crucial moments in it is when there was a woman who prayed over her, praying things that Veronica, my wife, she had no way that she would know. And she just began to pray out the Gospel and began to pray God's love. And my wife knew that she was being exposed before God. And that's what changed my wife's heart and brought her back to Christ. I had a pivotal moment in my own life.

There was somebody doing this. I was 16 years old and I'd taken a little overnight trip with some friends to go skiing. And we were supposed to be done at 10 o'clock and drive home. I was supposed to spend the night with my friend, but we found out they had this special package where you could, for like $10, you could ski till three in the morning. You know, when you're 16 years old, all this stuff just makes sense. Like, why would you not do that?

So, you know, looking back now, you're like, what an idiot. So we skied till like three in the morning. We hopped in the car to drive back. We had to be at church the next morning.

That was our like target point. So we're driving down Highway 421. I'm in the back seat of this car. I'm fast asleep. One of my other best friends is in the passenger seat. He's asleep. My other best friend is in the driver's seat and he's asleep. That's where the story got interesting because we're cruising down the Highway 421 about 60 some miles an hour. When my friend falls asleep, starts going off the side of the road, he hits a, don't ask.

I have no, you cannot make this stuff up. He hits a mattress. Why is there a mattress on the side of the road? Nobody, I don't know if anybody was sleeping on it or not, but he hits his mattress and starts to fishtail and skid, goes off the road, goes into this little ravine.

It was about an eight, nine foot ravine, little creek at the bottom and a V. He goes in, the car flips and this tree catches it, keeps it from crushing the top of the car. Well, okay, by this point, I'm awake, right? As one does. And, but you know, it's like, it's the middle of the night. You just got woken up.

And so, you know, it's just like, it's like, bam. And I remember the first thing is I was feeling like, like, well, this doesn't feel like the back seat anymore. This is a little odd. And I look at the numbers on the clock.

Those are the next thing I remember seeing, because again, it's all kind of groggy. And I see the numbers of the clock are upside down. And I thought, that's weird.

Why are the numbers of the clock upside down? Then I saw the gear shift hanging out of the ceiling. I thought that's really weird.

And then all of a sudden, what my friend was saying suddenly made sense. He was like, we wrecked, we wrecked, we got to go. I'm like, oh, we wrecked. Now y'all, I grew up on the 18th, right?

Remember that? And every time a car wrecks in the 18th, what happens? It blows up. So I'm like, we got to get out of this car. It's going to blow up. So I'm kicking the window. We're trying to get out. Me and my friend, we're panicking, except for my other friend who's in the passenger seat.

He's just like, just like totally calm. He's like, you guys seen my shoes? I'm like, man, forget your shoes. We're going to die. So we kick the window out. We call up the thing. We look back, make a long story short. We showed up to church the next morning.

Okay. I come in looking like death warmed over. We walk in and I had to fess up to my mom about what actually happened. And she said, what time that happened? I said, 5 18. Cause I remember the numbers of the clock being upside down.

5 18 is when it happened. She said, you know, that's not, she said, I knew that. She said, because at 5 15, she said, I suddenly woke up. She said, and the spirit of God was just on my heart telling me that I need to pray for you. I didn't know where you were. I had no reason to think you were in danger, but I got up and I prayed for you from 5 15 to about 5 30. And then I went back to sleep. Now I'll tell you that for two reasons. Number one, if God ever wakes you up in the middle of the night and tells you to pray for me, I would really appreciate it if you would do it.

Okay. Cause there ain't no telling what I got myself into. Number two, number two, we need more of that kind of spirit moved, gifting of intercession as people move in the body and are using those spiritual gifts. Cause it's how God does his work in the world. We are all called to do everything on that list, but we're not all called to do everything equally.

And we're not all equally gifted. The way that we say it around here is not everything that comes from heaven has your name on it. Something does, and you need to figure out what that is and you need to get to get with it and devote yourself to it in the church. Now listen, what I'm about to say next only applies to about 10% of you, but 10% of you really need to hear this because some of you struggle because you think you're called to everything equally and your life is one big guilt complex.

If you type a people pleasing overachieving people, that was me. I thought I was supposed to play every single role in the body of Christ. And I was supposed to excel at everything that Christians did. And I had to reckon with the fact one day that God just did not make me an omni competent one man ministry machine. God made me intentionally limited.

He made me depend on other members of the body. He gave me a few gifts and told me to use those because that's the role that I have, and I should get after them. Thanks for joining us today on Summit Life. We'll get back to today's teaching in just a moment.

But first I wanted to tell you about our featured resource this month. It's a Bible study through the second half of the book of Romans called In View of God's Mercy, written by the late Tim Keller. Pastor Tim was one of Pastor JD's biggest ministry influences. And if you've listened to much of his teaching throughout Romans, you know how many times Pastor JD has referenced the thoughts of Pastor Tim. This guide is a great way to get an even better perspective and understanding of one of the Bible's richest books.

And it would make an incredible study to do with a friend or even a whole group. Each of the book's seven studies walks you through passages of Romans, along with application questions and prayer prompts. To get a hold of your copy, just give us a call with your gift at 866-335-5220 or visit Now let's get back to today's teaching from Pastor JD right here on Summit Life. About 10 years ago, my wife and I were so moved by these stories of people who have the gift of service and the gift of hospitality and how they open their homes for fostering and adoption. Because we thought, what a beautiful picture of the God.

Is there really any better picture of the gospel than that? So my wife and I were like, well, obviously we've got to do this. And so we had three children at the time and we were like, hey, let's spend a day of prayer and fasting. Let's ask God what he wants us to do with our next kid, right? And so after a day of prayer and fasting, that makes it spiritual, right? After a day of prayer and fasting, April 28th, 2009, at the end of the night, we're like, you know, I feel like God, we're going to go forward with this adoption thing. So I was like, tomorrow morning, I'm going to start the process.

Okay, we go to sleep, we get up the next morning, Veronica goes into the bathroom and she throws up because she's pregnant. And I was like, I've never had a prayer answered that quickly, that definitively. Wow. And it was just obvious that God, at least at that time in our life, and even so now, that's not what he had for us, right? As much as we knew it was an awesome gift, it's not what he had for us, but he's allowed us to be part of a body where a lot of you, I think 245 families here at the Summit Church are involved in fostering and adoption. And he's allowed us to walk alongside you and hold your arms up.

He's allowed us to be financially invested, giving to a number of you that are in that adoption process. Not everything had our name on it, right? But we're a part of a body that is involved in all these things.

And we're supposed to play our role and others of you are supposed to play your role. Not everything that comes from heaven has your name on it, but something does. And you need to figure out what that is and you need to get after it, which leads me to number five, the question, the million dollar question.

Everybody's like, when are you going to get into this one? How can I discern my gifts? How can I discern my gifts? You supposed to read that list over and over and wait till you have a warm, fuzzy feeling about one of them and that's the one? Well, you know, I think I've already told you a lot of people like the spiritual gifts test. Think like personality quiz, but with Bible verses attached to it. And those are fine. They're fine.

But I'm telling you, they got limitations. Paul did not put any quizzes in his epistles in the New Testament. Pastor Joby, who was here last week, was telling me that early on in his ministry, he went into a charismatic church where they, you know, do a lot of these things. He said, in the Bible study, they handed me a spiritual gifts test. He says, I didn't even understand the questions. He said, I think one of them was like, if your left foot is possessed by a demon, do you cast a demon out or do you cut it off? He was like, I don't, I reject the question.

Okay. He said, I have no idea. He said, we got the results back. He said, I had the gift of martyrdom.

That was my number one gift. I was like, what do I even do with that? You use it once and then you're done. He says, I'm not sure what to do with that. Again, I'm not saying there's no value in those spiritual gifts tests.

There can be. I'm just saying, let me give you a tool that I've used over the years. It's not original with me.

Nothing helpful. I say rarely is it original with me, but this is one that I've found just so, so helpful. A Venn diagram, obviously here, three circles. Ability, that's what you're good at. Affinity, that's what you're passionate about. Affirmation is where other people tell you that God uses you in their lives. Where those three things can come together, that's where you're going to find a spiritual gift.

So let's talk about those three. Affinity, what are you passionate about? What do you find yourself praying about a lot? What kind of ministry really excites you? What kind of ministry makes you feel the most satisfied?

What kind of things do you complain about that the church is not doing? You see, that's a lot of times real evidence that God is stirring in you with that. For some of you, by looking back into your history, you will see that God has given you unique experiences. He's given you seasons of pain, and those things He allowed to happen because He wanted to use you in people's lives in similar situations later. I know people in our church that have walked through cancer, the loss of a child, a divorce, sometimes a sin, a tragedy like abortion.

In 2 Corinthians 1, 4, you're going to say with Paul, God, let me go through this so that I could one day comfort others with the comfort wherewith I've been comforted. And that's why you have an affinity there because God wrote your story in that way. By the way, when you see something lacking in the church, why don't you recognize that as maybe the invitation for you to get involved? Rather than sending me a nasty email about what's not going right in the church, maybe you're supposed to get involved and fix it. It doesn't take a genius to walk around here and figure out what's wrong.

All you need is two eyeballs, a pen, and a piece of paper. But maybe you should look at it like, hey, maybe the reason I'm noticing this is because God is stirring in me and he wants me to be a part of this. I'm not coming just to receive what is it that I can serve, and maybe that's the place I start. You're like, oh, I don't like that church because everybody is just not friendly.

Fine, see you on the First Impressions team next weekend, and maybe you can help us be more friendly as a congregation. That's your affinity, ability, ability of what you're good at. Let's tie that one with affirmation, right? Because the church is there to help you see strengths that you didn't know that you had.

That's how I do what I do, that's how I do what I do. People begin to say, hey, when you explain the Bible, I learn and I benefit. It's something beyond your personality. God uses the church to call out things in you when they affirm that. On the flip side, the church can sometimes help you see that you're not nearly as strong in something as you think you are.

Just because you like it doesn't mean you're good at it, am I right? We've got a lot of church planters at the Summit Church who come in like, I got the gift to preach. Unfortunately, I don't think anybody's got the gift of listening to you preach, and that's kind of where the breakdown is. The second year of my ministry here at the Summit Church, a woman comes up to me in the end of the service like, oh, pastor, God has given me a song for the Summit Church. I'm like, I'm pretty sure God gave you a song, I'm pretty sure it's not for the Summit Church because I've heard you sing, right? And God has not given us the ability to listen to that, so you just keep answering you and God with songs and hymns and spiritual songs, but not for us, right?

Because God uses the church to call that out. Now, sometimes that affirmation is supernatural. Paul talks about this, where he talks about, you know, through the laying on of hands, and there's like a supernatural revelation. I believe in that.

You can definitely go wrong with it. I think I might have told you that when I was new, before I was pastor here, one of my best friends, Bruce, I went with him to preach one weekend because he was preaching and I didn't have to, and so there's a little church down in South Carolina, a little Pentecostal church, had about 30 people in it, at least it did that day, and so Bruce gets out there to preach and the pianist was sick. Now, he and I had this little deal. It wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done in my life, but he had this little deal where if one of us said the other one, said something about the other one when they were preaching, you had to go along with it, no questions asked. And so he said, he said, hey, I know your pianist is sick.

I brought my friend JD with me. He's actually a great pianist. I'd like for him to come up here and play the offering. Now, y'all, I do not play the piano. I can play three songs on the piano after four years of piano lessons when I was, you know, 10 years old. And so I can play Alleluia, you know, it's just three chords, Alleluia, da, da, da. I can play As the Deer Pants for the Water, and I can play Faithfully by Journey. Those are the three songs that I can play. So I went up and I sat down and I played Alleluia.

It was all I played. And, you know, I mean, nobody booed or anything, so I went back and sat down. He gets to the end of his sermon. I can see the look in his eye. I knew it was coming.

He said, hey, I'd like for JD, my friend, to come up here, and he's going to play the invitation here. I walk forward, I sit down, and I'm like, Lord Jesus, please help these people not to recognize Faithfully by Journey. Help them not to see that.

And so there you have it. Now, after the service is over, this sweet lady comes up, pastor's wife, and she was just full of the Spirit, you could tell. And she comes up and she's like, oh, boys, I got a word from God from you. And she grabs her hands and she looks at Bruce and she says, you, you're going to be the next Billy Graham, and you're going to preach, and thousands of people are going to come to Jesus. And she looks at me and says, you, you're going to be his worship leader. You're going to be his concert pianist that travels with him, and you're going to play, and God's going to bring people in. And I was like, ma'am, you're going to have to lay hands on these hands and anoint them with oil. I don't know what's going to happen, but it ain't in me right now, right?

Now, obviously, that's not the right thing, so it can go wrong, but I don't mean that to discourage you altogether from it, because just because you see something abused or used wrongly doesn't mean it doesn't exist. We need a church where people are listening and moving by the Spirit to be able to speak and affirm each other, because that's how God does his work in the world. God, you all listen, God saved us by his grace. And if we're going to become, if we're going to become effective spiritually, it's the same kind of grace and spiritual power that is at work within us, that is every bit as a gift, and we are as dependent on those gifts for success in the Christian life as we were the grace of Jesus for salvation.

Maybe the most important thing about all this is you're like, I don't know what my gift is. Just get involved. Pastor Wes Smith, he's our college pastor, he probably teaches us better than anybody here. He always tells college students, don't waste time trying to figure out what your spiritual gift is.

Just get involved, and God will reveal it. God steers moving ships, right? You ever try to steer a boat that's not moving in the water? I don't care how expensive the boat is. You turn the rudder all you want, it's just going to sit there. It ain't doing nothing, right? But you start moving that boat a little bit, get a little gas to that engine, and you can turn it whatever way you want to.

Well, it's the same way. God will reveal these gifts, but he does it in the context of you serving. So as you get serving, as you get in relationship, God uses those relationships to reveal the way that he's shaped you, the kind of gifts that he's given you, and that shows you the role that you have. Hey, the best part of your Christian life is ahead of you. It's the part where you start to get used by God, and there's nothing that's going to light you up more for Jesus when you see Jesus using you in the lives of others.

So just get involved. Just start, and just wait till you see what God, the feeling, the affirmation, the purpose that you feel like you're created for. It's a whole new chapter of your life. Ask yourself, when did I learn the most about God? When did my life change the most? How has God used me recently? Through those questions, God can reveal ways that he's gifted you, and then you just need to get involved doing just that. You're listening to Summit Life with Pastor J.D.

Greer. So J.D., we recently jumped back into part three of our study through the Book of Romans. Remind us again, where does the Book of Romans fit into the whole story of God's Word? Well, Romans was written by the Apostle Paul around AD 57, that's after Pentecost, and before Jerusalem will be destroyed, and before some of the final books of the New Testament, including the Book of Revelation.

I've always found it interesting to kind of know the timing of some of these things. Around AD 53, that's when Paul began his third missionary journey, where he went through modern-day Syria, Turkey, and Greece. A couple years into that journey, AD 55, Paul writes 1 and 2 Corinthians, and it's after he's written those books that Paul writes this letter to the church in Rome, possibly from Corinth. And what you see is him just having distilled how the Holy Spirit has brought into his mind all the themes of the gospel, and he brings them together in one book.

There's a reason that it has been the definitive text on the gospel since the days of the early church. We would love to give you part two of a study guide that will take you through the last chapters of Romans, chapters 8 through 16. If you'll reach out to us at, we'll show you how you can get part two now, and if you miss part one, how you can get that also. We'd love to send you this second part of Tim Keller's Romans Bible study today with your gift of $35 or more to this ministry. To donate, simply call us at 866-335-5220 or visit to give your gift online. As always, we thank you for your generous support. This ministry would not be possible without our incredible partners. I'm Molly Bidevich inviting you to join us again Wednesday as we learn to love one another just a little more deeply, right here on Summit Life with J.D. Greer.
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