Share This Episode
Wisdom for the Heart Dr. Stephen Davey Logo

An Audience of One

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
February 13, 2023 12:00 am

An Audience of One

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 1047 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

February 13, 2023 12:00 am

The only way to stay humble in your ministry is to picture Jesus in the audience and then lose sight of everything else.


I read recently there are churches now that consider themselves Evangelical churches who are actually discouraging their people from bringing Bibles to church, lest the sight of so many Bibles might intimidate the unbeliever. This isn't really for the unbeliever, is it? We haven't gathered for the unbeliever, we've gathered for the believer. We're here to study, to pray, to encourage one another, to provoke one another in the loving who works. In fact, if we did what we're supposed to do, maybe our world would do what they did in Acts where they feared to belong to the church. But God added daily those who were being saved. The unsaved people are welcome in church, and most churches likely have unbelievers in the pew each week. But church services aren't designed with the unbeliever in mind. When the church gathers on Sunday, the purpose is to worship God, be challenged from God's word and to encourage one another in the faith. We're going to learn more about this today on Wisdom for the Heart. Here's our Bible teacher, Stephen Davey, with today's lesson called An Audience of One.

Like a crossword puzzle, there are words here in this assembly waiting to borrow from your vowels and consonants, right? In order to complete themselves, the church as a puzzle is interrelated and interdependent on one another, and we complete each other as a local living manifestation of the body of Christ when, in effect, our words connect or intertwine. The way we do this is through the exercising of our spiritual gifting. I don't think I've done this at this point so far, so let me give you a definition of a spiritual gift as we work our way through this study.

A spiritual gift could be defined as a God-given ability whereby you serve the body of Christ with effective ministry. Did you know there are three times or three elements related to Christianity that the Apostle Paul was very concerned that people would not be ignorant of? The first element of Christian living was as it related to the scheming wiles of the devil.

He said, I don't want you to be unaware of how this lion works. And so he goes on to give them these schemes in 2 Corinthians 2. Secondly, Paul did not want ignorance as it related to future events, specifically related to the rapture, the coming of Christ for the church in 1 Thessalonians 4. And thirdly, Paul did not want ignorance as it related to spiritual gifts.

I imagine most believers, if you interviewed them, would have an opinion about the rapture or maybe other future events. But I fear that at the same time, the average Christian might be absolutely unaware of his own spiritual gift and how it fits him into the body of Christ. So it's no wonder that Paul spent time teaching the church in Ephesus and the church in Corinth and the church in Rome on this critical subject of spiritual gifting. For the sake of time, I don't want you to turn, but listen as Paul reveals this concept to the Corinthian church. He wrote now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware.

That is, I don't want you to be ignorant. There are varieties of gifts, but the same spirit. There are varieties of ministries, but the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things and all persons. But to each one is given that manifestation that is that gifting of the spirit for the common good.

1 Corinthians 12, verse 1, verse 4 through 7. From this passage, clearly we can understand three things. One, there are a lot of different kinds of spiritual gifts to which create a lot of different kinds of ministry three, which produces a lot of different kinds of effects in the body and through the body into the rest of the world. So it becomes altogether critical that you discover your fit. So discovery is all important. We spent time in our last session. We won't go through it all again, of course, but I gave you two key words as related to discovery, discovering your gift.

Exposure was the first word and experimentation. The second, first of all, exposure to the word of God, exposure to God in prayer, and third exposure to the people of God for counsel. You go to God in prayer, and I hope sometime between our last session and this one, those of you who don't know where you fit in the body of Christ asked the Lord to please show you that gifting, that area. And you went to the word of God to be exposed to this for direction. And maybe you talk to a friend.

What do you think I ought to do? What do you think I'm good at? What have you observed in my life? So you can find your place in the puzzle of God's church. Then experimentation in anything you'd like to do.

And that fit well. You remember what the context of Paul has said, is your mind is being transformed by the renewing through the word of God, as you're following after God, as you're pursuing purity, as you're desiring to please God. When you do those things, then do whatever you'd like to do.

Just do something, right? And maybe right now you might be tempted to think, well, you know, who am I that God would use me? I mean, I look around and I see people that God is using and I say, well, yeah, of course, but you don't know me, you might say, or you don't know my limitations. You don't know my background. You don't know my life before I was saved. You don't know the sins that Christ has forgiven. What do you I send this encouraging article that was sent to me a few days ago begins the next time you think God can use you in some ministry, in some way in the body of Christ.

And there are millions of moving parts, right? Lest you think that this article said, remember Abraham was a little old to start a new nation. Isaac was a daydreamer. Jacob had trouble telling lies.

Lael was unattractive. Moses murdered his enemy. Gideon was fearful and faithless.

Rahab had a past as a prostitute. Peter attempted murder. Fortunately, he missed with his sword, but he later denied the Lord. The disciples fell asleep when they'd been told to pray. Mary Magdalene had been demon possessed. The boy with fishes and loaves was obscure.

The Samaritan woman had been divorced. Zacchaeus was too small and Lazarus was dead. It's my favorite one. No wonder Paul wrote the following words to the Corinthian church, a church filled with problems, a church filled with problem people and people with problem pasts. And I want to read it to you from Eugene Peterson's paraphrase, the message. Take a good look friends at who you were when you were called into this new life. I don't see many of the brightest and the best among you.

Not many influential, not many from high society families. Isn't it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that our culture overlooks and exploits and abuses? That God chose these nobodies to expose the hollow pretensions of the somebodies. It makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have, right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. Isn't that wonderful? No matter who you are, no matter what your past, no matter who your parents or your heritage was or is, no matter if you grew up on the right side of the tracks or the wrong side of the tracks, by the grace of God through Jesus Christ, you have a place in the body of Christ.

No child left behind. It's not original. God came up with that long ago.

None of his children get left out of the puzzle. We all have gifts. Every Christian has received this from the Lord, this special endowment whereby you can have effective ministry. Now the word Paul uses for gifts is the Greek word karismata. It's transliterated charisma or charismatic.

It's literally grace, gifts, karis, which is the Greek word for grace and the latter part of it which signifies favor or gifting. It has become a title for the charismatic movement. But according to Paul in this text, every believer has a karismata. Every believer is a charismatic. Every one of us, as strange as it may sound, has been given a gift in the biblical sense of the word at conversion. You were given a karismata which made you a charismatic by the spirit gifting of God. Now obviously the word in our generation has been twisted by the charismatic community to refer only or primarily to those sensational gifts, those supernatural manifestations. But listen, every spiritual gift that we're going to look at in this text is a karismata. Every one of them is a supernatural gifting of God. Every Christian born of faith in Christ and dwelt in by the Holy Spirit has been given a special charismatic gift and it may have nothing to do with a public display.

It may have nothing to do with personal charisma. It might be mopping the floor of a classroom in the basement of a church. It might be changing the oil in the van belonging to the church. It might be taking a handicapped child to a park.

It might be fixing a meal or writing a letter to someone who is discouraged or ill. It's time we took that word back and used it correctly. It's our word too. Every believer is charismatic. Go ahead and spread the rumor. Colonial has gone charismatic, okay?

That'll fly out there. Well I do hope and pray that as a result of our exposure to texts like these that it will make a difference. I fear that we have taken only a few and we have made them more special when in the economy of God, in the puzzle of God, in this mystery, every word fits and it makes other words complete. But maybe you're saying under your breath, you know, I appreciate that Steven that God will and can use me and I hear the word that the Spirit has gifted me in a special way but I actually need a little more direction than that. Can you give me some clues?

I mean even the puzzles at times give you some sort of clue. Well the Apostle Paul I think sort of anticipates that in chapter 12 by saying in effect, okay, I'll give you seven clues. I'll give you seven of them.

I'll give you seven words to write in the puzzle. You work with those. I want you to circle them as we work through this just briefly. In verse six you have the gift of prophecy. In verse seven, the gifts of service and teaching. In verse eight, there are four of them, exhorting, giving, leading, and showing mercy. Now this list is not exhaustive. In fact, there are four times in the New Testament where we're given a list containing a variety of gifts. You could jot in the margin or maybe on your notes Ephesians 4, 1 Peter 4, 1 Corinthians 12, and Romans 12.

There are 18 or 19 listed. Some words may refer to the same gift, like mercy and compassion. Perhaps the easiest way to think of the gifts is by arranging them in your mind along the lines of three categories.

The first category would be support gifts. These are the gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher. This first category of support gifts could also be called speaking gifts because they have to do with the ministry of the word. They carry then with them a greater authority that brings greater accountability. In fact, before you sign up to teach, you might remember what James said as he warned the believers, let there not be many teachers among you because you ought to know you'll receive a stricter judgment.

The writer of Hebrews exhorted the believers to obey your leaders and submit to them for they keep watch over your souls and they will give an account. He goes on to say then to the body, let them do this with joy and not with grief. The second category of gifts would be service gifts. You have support gifts or speaking gifts and then you have support gifts. This is the larger body of gifts.

This is what makes the church move forward. You have the gift of administration in this list, exhortation, encouragement, leadership, faith, giving, helping, mercy, hospitality, and speed writing. Okay, if you don't have that gift, I've given you the texts where you can do your own study. The third category could be called the sign gifts.

Now, these are the interesting gifts and we're not going to take a lot of time, but I do want to address this subject some this morning. The sign gifts had a specific temporary function, a function that preceded, I believe, the completion of the New Testament. Paul wrote that the gift of speaking in tongues, for instance, is a sign. He wrote that it was a sign in 1 Corinthians 14, not to the believers, but to the unbelievers. It was a sign gift, not to those who believe, the implication of the context is believing Jews, but to those unbelieving Jews.

It was a sign that they had rejected the true Messiah. That particular gift had been prophesied by Isaiah centuries earlier. And he said, because you have rejected the one who promised rest, I'm going to send to you men with stammering tongues, unlearn languages by them, the languages somewhere in the world because you rejected the rest giver. Now, in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, Paul clearly identifies three gifts that are temporary. In fact, why don't you take your Bible and turn ahead to 1 Corinthians chapter 13? I want to give you the pleasure of turning ahead in your Bibles, okay?

1 Corinthians 13 verse 8, love never fails, that is, it never stops. But if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away. If there are tongues, and there are, they will cease. If there is knowledge or the word of knowledge, it will be done away. Keep going, verse 9, for we know in part, and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. In other words, when the perfect comes, the need for partial truth, which comes to mankind through prophecy and tongues and knowledge will then be unnecessary. Paul is clearly stating that these three gifts will cease because something perfect is coming.

It was in the process of coming, but it would yet come. Many would say, well, that's obviously a reference to the second coming of Christ, or at least the rapture of the church. I mean, look down at verse 12, for now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. I mean, that's a title of a hymn that talks about singing Christ.

Obviously, Paul knew Fanny Crosby's hymn and sang it regularly. Well, there are those who would say that the perfect thing is the coming of Christ. And then when he comes, the partial things of prophecy and tongues and knowledge will cease.

At first glance, it seems that it may be that, but I believe that's wrong for a number of reasons. First of all, the word perfect in verse 10 simply could be translated complete. In fact, it's used often for the believer. Early in James 1, he refers to the believer who allows trials to come into his life so that he becomes what?

Perfect. It means mature or complete. Trials have a way of completing you or maturing you.

They grow you up. So Paul is saying here that there is something to be completed. And when it is completed, when that completion comes, these gifts that communicate revelation by bits and pieces will no longer be necessary. Secondly, furthermore, the word perfect here in 1 Corinthians 13 is also the same word used in the New Testament as a reference to the Bible. It's called the perfect law, the completed law, the completed, we call it canon or rule of scripture. It's a description of the scriptures. And when Paul was writing to the Corinthian church, the Roman church, the church in Ephesus, the scriptures were not yet completed.

They were not yet perfected in their completed form. And so God was giving his revelation through a variety of means and methods. Now, would you notice in 1 Corinthians 13 eight that all of these gifts that he says will stop, they are temporary, that they all have one thing in common. They are all connected to the principle of receiving revelation from God. One more thing. To say that prophecy in tongues and the word of knowledge cease when Jesus comes again is in a way humorous.

Think about it. What gifts will not cease when Jesus comes and we're in heaven? Where will the gift of evangelism go? There are no converts to win in heaven. Where will the gift of faith go?

It'll be unnecessary. Where will the gift of mercy be? We'll all be confirmed in the pleasure of heaven. My job's done and those of you who teach were through, right? Who in here is going to go up to the Lord and say, you know, you've been going strong for three weeks.

Let me fill in the gift of teaching. In fact, all of these are temporary in a sense, but these three will end before the others do. And they end, I believe, when the scriptures become completed revelation. And we know from our study of scripture that occurred somewhere before the end of the first century. You're going to see immediately why I spent time dealing with this issue of revelation because the very first gift Paul lists here in Romans chapter 12, verse 6, the first word he gives is the gift of prophecy. You see, when Paul was writing this text, prophecy was still a means of receiving and communicating those bits and pieces of revelation. And you have a piece of it in this letter called the book of Romans.

So it was a fitting inclusion in the list. The scriptures were not completed yet. Prior to the completion of scripture, there was the ability of gifted ones to predict the future, to communicate truth from God. And a genuine prophet, by the way, was never what? Never wrong. I mean, if somebody claimed to be a prophet and prophesied something didn't come true, what happened to them?

They were stoned to death. The writer of Hebrews didn't think we were missing anything. He said it this way. God spoke long ago in the prophets, but in these last days, our days, he has spoken to us in his son. What would you rather have? The words and works of Jesus Christ given to us in detail or the prophets? Well, we have both, but we can revel in the fact that God has allowed us to live now with a completed scripture.

You hold it in your lap. It's all yours. We have not been given a bum deal. We have not less truth. We have more. We have the completed word of God, which has replaced the bits and pieces of the prophet. The gift of prophecy would cease.

It would be the one thing in this list that would not be something to pray about doing. We don't need to pray for God to give us revelation. We need to pray for God to give us illumination based on revelation he has given.

Let me give you two thoughts to summarize this discussion. Number one, while new revelation of truth from God has ceased, the repetition of truth has not. There is now a growing movement in the modern evangelical church, which is even more fearful to me, where the Bible is being set aside. Explicit references to teaching or expounding the scriptures has now become rather out of date. In addition, people are not asked to turn to a passage of scripture in churches that are now being touted as the model.

They're not being asked to turn. You never ask somebody to write in their Bible. You never ask them to turn ahead or back because that could embarrass the unbeliever, make them uncomfortable.

I read recently there are churches now that consider themselves evangelical churches who are actually discouraging their people from bringing Bibles to church, lest the sight of so many Bibles might intimidate the unbeliever. Well, this is the place to intimidate the unbeliever. This isn't really for the unbeliever, is it?

We haven't gathered for the unbeliever. We've gathered for the believer. We're here to study, to pray, to encourage one another, to provoke one another in the love that works. In fact, if we did what we're supposed to do, maybe our world would do what they did in Acts where they feared to belong to the church. But God added daily those who are being saved. And to say, leave your Bible at home, this is the point. Why would we want to meet?

Do you want to hear my opinion? We want to know what God has to say through the scriptures. I had a seminary student come up to me a month or so ago and say everything I just preached had been point blank, discouraged in his seminary class. An evangelical seminary, I'm not going to name it. His class had been basically told in their homiletics studies to basically dumb down the gospel, to never use theological terms in the pulpit. He said, I can't believe to me, he said, I can't believe you were up there this morning using terms like inspiration and justification. You even use the word theology. Imagine that.

What a disaster. Listen, if we don't teach and preach throughout this campus from the Word of God, we forfeit the only true source of wisdom. And so we have churches across our landscape that are voting about all kinds of horrible things.

Why? Because the Word of God is no longer the objective truth. Leave it at home, leave it under the car seat for all we care. Now, we want you to bring it in here. We want to study it word by word, verse by verse, even if it takes us years. Amen? Kind of weak. All right, let me say it a little differently.

Here's another one. While the gift of prophecy has ceased, the need for Christians to speak for God has not. One author wrote, whether a preacher boldly proclaims the Word of God or not is ultimately a question of authority. Who has the right to speak to the church? The preacher or God? Whenever anything is substituted for the preaching and teaching of the Word, God's authority is usurped. Not to mention, it robs people of their true source of hope and healing, encourages indifference to the Word of God and divine authority, and elevates the feelings of people over commitment to God's truth.

I think that's well put. No wonder the Apostle Paul told Timothy these words, Timothy, I urge you, I commend you, I charge you in the presence of God, preach, that is communicate, talk about, explain, expound what? Preach the Word, the revealed Word of God.

And the interesting thing is for Timothy, a New Testament preacher, most of what he had to preach was Old Testament. But I love the context here. Timothy, I charge you in the presence of God. In other words, there are other people watching you. There are other people who give you their opinion. There are other people who won't appreciate what you're doing. There are other people who will give you their thoughts on the subject.

They're in the audience, and they'll give their opinion too, but that really doesn't matter. Timothy, I charge you in the presence of God. In other words, Timothy, don't ever forget that while you might have an audience or a classroom or a student, your audience is really God. The minute you remove the Word of God from your lesson, you might think, you're not going to offend anybody, but I want you to know you've offended God. I realize my message today might be offensive. There might be people who don't come back. I mean, we've talked about the temporary nature of prophecy and the cessation of the tongue's gift and the wrong use of the term charismatic by the charismatic community and the error of the modern church movement into entertainment and away from exposition.

I'm going to offend probably somebody. I hope so. But I think we ought to be simply overwhelmed with the truth that God happens to be watching. God happens to be listening. And we want to please Him more. May I add, whether you're a preacher or a teacher or an usher or a helper or you happen to cut the front lawn or you paint or whatever you do where you serve in the body of Christ, you must become equally overwhelmed with the truth that God is watching. And unlike that popular song, it is not from a distance. He is watching and it is up close.

He misses no detail. He sees it all. And I praise God for that. And He who sees in secret will reward every little thing you do in secret.

And we need Christians to believe that if God is in fact the only one watching, that He would be enough. I'd like to be a little more like Jim Elliot. And I want to close by reading something he wrote in his journal. This man was martyred, as many of you may know, by the Alka Indians as a missionary decades ago. He lived a lifetime in his short years, though. He wrote this prayer in his journal.

Father, bring those I contact to a decision. Let me not be a milepost on a road. Make me a fork in the road that men must turn one way or another when they face Christ in me. I'm glad you've joined us today here on Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey.

Stephen's in a series called Divine Design. He's taking a look at where you fit in the body of Christ. Today's lesson is called An Audience of One. If you haven't seen it, I encourage you to install the Wisdom International app to your phone or tablet. That app is a powerful discipleship tool. It contains hundreds of biblically faithful lessons that will help you grow in your faith. You'll find the Wisdom International app in the iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play stores. Install it today, then join us back here next time on Wisdom for the Heart. I'm Stephen Davey, and I'll see you in the next lesson.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-21 23:50:34 / 2023-02-22 00:01:04 / 11

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime