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"God's Unique Gifts" 5/16/24

Dear brothers & sisters,

No, we are not all alike and that is a good thing. Yes, we all share the same need for redemption and sanctification and in Christ Jesus we (lit. you) are all sons of God, through faith (Galatians 3:26). We are all human beings, uniquely crafted by a great and gracious God to reflect his image. But in some important ways we are not alike.

For one thing, we all have different stories, and that's normal and good. God made you to glorify Him in your story not mine, and me to honor Him in my story not yours. There is another way that we are not alike. And that is that every one of us (who is born again by the Spirit of God) has been given different gifts. 

Paul writes in Romans 12:3-8

3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4  For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5  so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6  Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7  if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8  the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Paul states first that his purpose in writing is so that we would not think too highly of ourselves. But instead to soberly consider our place in the Body of Christ (see v.3). He gives the analogy of a body and how a body has many members and each is designed for a distinct purpose of function (v4). Then he parallels this to the church which is made up of many members but is one body in Christ (v5).

Having established our common bond in Christ, Paul then discusses the different gifts God has given his people and urges us to make use of the gift(s) he has given. 

These various gifts are more than a natural talent, they are a Spirit-empowered grace to minister. Identifying and growing up into the use of one's God-given gifts is a process, but it is important to note that every member of Christ's body is given a measure of faith (v3) and grace (v6) to serve and benefit the whole body. This includes all of you who believe in Christ.

Only a sampling of the gifts of the Spirit is given here, but the list is instructive.* Some gifts are speaking gifts (e.g. prophecy, teaching, exhorting), others emphasize serving (e.g. giving, acts of mercy). All are for the well-being of the body and the advance of the kingdom of God.

The question, brothers and sisters, isn't "do I have a purpose in the body of Christ?" But "what is my function in the body? How has God gifted me?" Consider these things and consider how you may use the gift(s) God has given you to serve and bless the whole body of Christ. Then go and serve. To not use our gifts would be like an eye refusing to see or an ear refusing to hear or feet refusing to walk; the whole body suffers. The Christian, bought by the precious blood of Christ, does not merely live for themselves, but for God and for the sake of all God's people. Christian, you exist and were redeemed to function as a member of Christ's body here on earth. 

Now perhaps you are nodding your head in agreement up to this point, yet you wonder "How do I know whether or not _________ is a spiritual gift God has given me?"

That is a good question and one that I will seek to answer in my email next week. But I will say this, if your desire is to honor Jesus in every area of your life and you are willing to serve Him wherever He places you, then you need not worry. God will supply the wisdom and grace needed.

*Note for further study: In his first letter to the church in Corinth, Paul devotes an entire chapter (ch. 12) to this image of the many members of the body of Christ working and growing together. 

Your brother in Christ, 

Matt

Matthew Deneault


Pastor at Christ Community Fellowship

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