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Dr. Ed Young - Discovering and Using Your Gifts

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    Dr. Ed Young - Discovering and Using Your Gifts
TOPICS: Spiritual Gifts

What if everybody in this church were like you? What kind of church would we have? Would we be able to turn on the lights? Would we be able to sing? Would be able to have worship? Would be able to go on mission trips? Would we be able to care for our children? What if everybody in the church was, was a churchman like you are? What kind of church would we have? So here we are, in the family of God, set aside, and we are transformed from inside and out, and we've discovered in the Scripture about transformation, and transformation leads to humility.

Listen to what Paul tells us. It says, "For through grace (charis) given to me, I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think, but to think so as to have sound judgment as God has allotted to each a measure of faith". In other words, Paul is saying, "Don't sit too high". Do you sit too high? Uh, you know, an obvious braggadocios person, "Well, let me tell you where I've been. Let me tell you who I know... Let me tell you what I have... Let me tell you what I can do.... Eh, eh, eh, eh, eh, eh, eh, eh, eh..." Those kind of folks are kind of obvious. I don't know why they can't figure it out, but evidently we can't, and the braggadocios, we sit too high.

And by the way, a part of being braggadocios is, let's say for example that I was part of the making of that pulpit, and a lady in my church made it, if I'm not mistaken. She does this... And you would say to me, "Boy, uh," and I would say, "You know, that pulpit didn't turn out like I thought it would..." You said, "Oh no, it's really good, Ed. That's a good-looking pulpit". "Well tell me why you think it's good looking. I mean, you know..." We, we play modest... "Oh, that's a good sermon, pastor"! "No, it wasn't any good... you know, what did you think was good about it"? "Well, it was good when you said this..." "Oh, what, what else was good"? "Well it was good..."

You know, we're hunting for people to boast us up in our false humility! Don't sit there so pious. You do that! So we can sit too high, and we can sink too low. Paul says faith gives us the ability to rightly estimate who we are and what we're about, and how we fit into the family of God-our calling in the family of God. It gives us humility-humility, to know who you are, know who I am, what I'm about, what my purpose is, what my call is... We have humility, and we don't sit too high; we don't sink too low. We have humility because we know that God has a plan and a purpose for your life and my life in the body of faith, the church! Also, we see not only does transformation produce humility, but also, transformation produces unity in diversity, and look how that works.

Look at Verse 4: "For just as we have many members of one body and all the members do not have the same function..." Wait a minute. That's the physical body. Okay? We have many members. My big toe has never gotten in an argument with my ear as to who is the most important, never has happened. Maybe it has with you; I've never experienced that. You know, my hand doesn't say, "Oh, I wish I were a nose. I'd love to be a nose! Oh, I'm sorry! Maybe next time"! You know, our bodies, our physical bodies are we fearfully and wonderfully made, or what? Paul is saying the body designed, given by God to function together; we need all the members of it. One part is no better than the other part. They function together, and look, he says, the same thing about the church.

That's why God has built His body, the church, so we who are many are one body in Christ, Verse 5, and individually members, one of another. We lean on one another. It's the body of the church. It's like we're a symphony orchestra for God. All of us have a part in the orchestra. Man, man, man, you have over here, you have the strings. Boy, I love the strings! You know, the violin, uh, the cello, uh, the base violin! Boy, we have strings in orchestra. You can't just have the strings; you also have to have the percussion. It seems like there's more of them than anybody else. That's the drums, that's thy cymbals. That's all-but you gotta have percussion, and you gotta have the woodwinds-the clarinets, the flutes, the sax, the piccolo-yeah, you gotta have the woodwinds, you know, and you gotta have the brass, the trumpets, the trombones, the French horns... It takes everybody in the symphony to produce the beautiful music that is there.

So it is the body of Christ, the church. And we have a, the same score. Hah! We've got the same music, don't we? Right here? And we have the Holy Spirit as the conductor. What if somebody didn't show up? "Owww.... We sure needed that base horn..." Owww, what if somebody's a little sharp? Owww! Boy! That messes up the whole thing we're trying to sing here! What if somebody is out of tune? Owww-it doesn't... But what if by the Holy Spirit, we're using our giftedness as God has given us, whatever that role may be, whatever instrument we play in, in the orchestra of the church-my goodness! It is a magnificent sound! And people want to be a part of it, because the music of the church would be so magnificent, it would be so warm, we'd all be serving and playing our role, people would be trying any way they could to come and be a part of a family of God like this.

That's the orchestra! What if everybody in the church were like you, or like me? What kind of church would we have? Man, Paul says-Man, use the giftedness He's given every one of us. And then he gives a list of gifts in the Bible, four clear places. Uh, I Corinthians Chapter 12; Ephesians 4; I Peter 4; and Romans 12. And these are all partial lists, but they're long lists. By the way, you say, "Well what can I do in the church"? We have hundreds of positions here just waiting for you to show up and claim. You say, "Well, I went there and tried that, and that didn't work". Well, hello! "I went and tried the violin. I took two lessons, and you know, I couldn't play the violin. I eh, eh, eh..." Maybe you ought to play something else. Other words, there's an instrument, there's a role that will use your gifts.

You say, "Well, I think my gift is this..." It may not be that. My gift and your gift has to be affirmed by the body. That helps us. But there's a role we could play. You say, "Well, this gift is so small..." Listen-little is much when God is in it. Have you discovered that? It's much when God-whatever that gift may be. I know people that are totally incapacitated, and now they've become tremendous prayer warriors! I call ém and say, "Pray about this..." and I know, man, Heaven's fortress is being bombarded with people who are interceding. You see, we have ministry here, and here's seven of those gifts that are there that God gives the church. There are many in the other listings here. Let's look at them. And this means that-remember where we are, because we've been transformed-presented our body, renewing our minds. We know the will of God, and transformation gives us genuine humility.

Transformation shows us unity and diversity in the body, in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, and now transformation gives us ministry. We have a role to play. What are some of these ministries? Let's look at them. He lists them. "Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to each one of us to exercise them accordingly; if prophecy, according to the proportion of our faith". Prophecy. Prophecy in the New Testament does not mean to predict. It's not to predict. It is not to-it is to proclaim forth. It is to speak. The gift of prophecy. We have the ability to speak. A lot of people think, "Well, I can teach". Well, the gift of speaking, prophecy will be affirmed by people. And we know that when we have this gift, people listen to us. That's a good test.

Look over in I Samuel 3, it says, "Thus Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him. Let none of His words fail". And really, one translation, "None of his words fall to the ground". When you speak as I speak, I know sometimes my words go Puuuuuu-boom! Other times, I know my words go, Pshew! Like an arrow. You see, the gi, the person who has the gift of prophecy, you know intuitively that there are words that God gives and God speaks and Shweww! They go like an arrow-like an arrow, and they hit home, and they have power in them. Not of the speaker, but this is a part of the gift, part of the gift of prophecy. Look at the next gift that we have here, a list of them.

Go back to Romans Chapter Number 12, if you flipped over there with me. It says, "If service, in serving then..." The gift of service. Say, "Well, I don't know if I have that gift or not". You see something that needs to be done and you start doing it, you may have that gift. And look at the service gifts that operate in this church. My goodness! It's unbelievable! Who turned the lights on? Who cleans up? Who moves out over here? Who does this? Who's on that mission project? Who went to that home? Who was at that rest home? Who was ministering to that kid? What happened in that death? What happened in that divorce? What happened in that heartache? What happened in the economic crisis? We've got people serving a multiplicity, thousands and thousands of ways every day! The gift of service is being used.

Do you have that gift? And by the way, you need to operate primarily inside your gift. A lot of times, I'm studying, and I go up to the church, and, and I know I have to spend time in the Word. I spend 20 to 30 hours every single week alone with that Book. I'm a slow learner. I have to do it. I really am, and therefore, a lot of times, I'm going, somebody be going off and say, well this week, said, "We're gonna build some houses. Come help us, Pastor"! I'd love to! A lot more thrilling out there than in the Book, seeking God's voice and mind to deal with me first, and then what He would have me to say on behalf of the Lord. That's overwhelming to me, overwhelming to me. I'd lot rather go build a house.

You see, I'm a shepherd. A shepherd loves to be with sheep, but I have to exercise inside my gifts. I'd love to go to that mission trip's going to India. Man, I would be thrilled to go! I know I can't do that. So you gotta decide your gifts and find out what they are and use your time, your effort and energy to use those gifts. Doesn't mean we don't have more than one gift. It doesn't mean that all of us will not just do anything we have to do to, to enhance the church. Certainly we work outside of our gifts; but find out what our gift is and use it.

If it's prophecy, tell forth. If it's service, serve. If it's teaching, that's another skill. Uh, teaching has an unusual calling about it. It means that you really spend time in the Book here. It says in teaching-teach. Teachers who teach. By the way, after every one of these gifts, there is a verb. You don't just have prophecy; you prophesy. You don't have the gift of teaching; you teach. I saw last week, a man who taught for several years in our church. I mean, he was a terrific Bible teacher, but he's no longer teaching. He hadn't taught for about 4 years. You see, his children left home. He and his wife go places on the weekend. They may go to football game; they may go here, and there, and yon, and, and they say, "You know, we're just doing so many things, I don't have time to teach right now".

Now under the years here, "Wait til' my children leave. I'll really have time to give to the church". No, they have time for themselves. I can tell you, he hadn't taught for 3 or 4 years; I can tell you, his gift of teaching has begun to shrivel up. When you use a gift, it gets bigger, it has more significance, whether it's teaching, or prophecy; whether it's service-oh yeah. That's the way God operates. He gives us, this Book says, just as much faith we need to handle the gift that He's given to you and me. So teaching is a very, very important gift that has tremendous responsibility with it.

Look at the next gift they have. "If exhortation..." What's exhortation? It's to comfort people. It's to encourage people. Barnabas was the Biblical example of the exhortation. Did you know the Apostle Paul, ten years after Damascus Road experience, was on the bench? He wasn't on God's team. He went home to mama. He was hiding out in Tarsus. Barnabas had the gift of exhortation. He said, "Where is that guy, Saul? Let's go get him! We need him. He's a Roman citizen. He's familiar with the Jews. He knows the Greeks", and Barnabas encouraged Paul to come back and get in God's game, and he did, and became the most effective instrument perhaps the Lord has ever used in His church.

You see, Barnabas had the gift of gift of exhortation. He was a cheerleader! You cheer people. You encourage people. You build them up. But you always see something wrong. It was a delicious cake, but the icing was a little thick. Well, hurrah for you! The gift of exhortation, how it needs to be exercised in the church, and we all can do that. Some are exceedingly gifted in it. Doesn't mean phony stuff, real stuff. All right. And then he who gives with liberality... By the way, this is not just giving of our means. This is giving of ourselves. A lot of people are reticent to make new friends, to get involved with new people, to ask leading questions because it may cost you something. They may have some need that you can meet. They may have a problem you can counsel them about.

Therefore, we sort of don't give ourselves... We, you know, "Hello, how are you"? "Fine..." If they said, "No, I'm not too good..." You say, "Well, I'm sorry..." eh, eh, eh, eh.... You know... "How are you"? "Fine". "How are you"? "I'm fine". "How are the children"? "Everybody's fine..." and man, the bottom's falling out of your life. "When somebody has the gift of giving, they, get, well what, what's going on? How may I help"? Let's listen. Let's be a part of the healing, see? That's, you've got the gift of giving. Everybody doesn't have it, but you have it. That's giving. All right... Look-give with liberality. And then, "He who leads, lead with diligence". Leadership is the most misunderstood gift I know anything about. It really is.

People think, "Well, teach me how to be a leader". You don't learn how to be a leader! It is a gift! If you have the gift, your giftedness can be enhanced, but it's a gift, and how we need leaders in the body of Christ, leading in the market place. Do you know the principle of gleaning? Gleaning? Very few people do. It's an Old Testament principle. You read about it in the Book of Ruth and in other places. In Jewish days, when you would own a field, you could harvest only the center of your field. You left the corners of the field that you own for the poor, for other people to come and harvest. Now, it was a principle of gleaning. In other words, you don't take all the profits for yourself; you share the profits with others.

Francis Schaeffer said if corporations, and companies, and businesses would do that because they are Christian, it would be the strongest witness we could give to a pagan world. What am I talking about? There have been big banana companies, and big coffee companies gone down to Central and South America for years, and there, the people, the underclass in those countries have harvested-grown the coffee and the bananas and other products, and the big corporations in America have paid off all the politicians, and they have brought all the profits back over here for their companies and their corporations, and for ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty-maybe a hundred years, those peasants are just as poor as they ever were!

What's wrong with that picture, if we are leaders in Christianity? It is that certainly, people should be paid according to their area of responsibility, but somehow, in these Central and South American countries, there's only the real rich and the real poor. There's no middle class because mainly, American corporations have gleaned and taken out all the profits and have not shared with the people who did the work, and therefore, their lifestyle has not been uplifted. That is an abomination to God, ladies and gentlemen!

Now I'm a capitalist, don't misunderstand me, but I am saying this should be a part of a Christian business. Chick-Fil-A-they operate like that. Hobby Lobby, they operate like that. A lot of little businesses operate like that. That's the way to operate. If the boat rises, everybody in the boat goes up with it proportionately to their contribution and their responsibility. That is how we need to lead as Christians in the market place. Now, you see how these gifts work? Not only in the church, enhancing the church, but in all areas of life? And the last gift mentioned is the gift of mercy. It says we are to be merciful with cheer. We gotta be cheerful people who have the gift of mercy. Say, "What is that talking about"?

Well, you know, sometimes we hear someone who's been caught in an unseemly thing, and you go and say, "Oh, I'm so merciful. I'm sympathetic with you, but it's about time you got caught"! You, you, know, there, there can't be mercy with judgment; there has to be mercy with cheer and encouragement. Say, "Man, I'm broken with you. I want to be here. I want to help you. I want to sympathize. I want to get down there with you. You know, you can get back up. You can recover". That's the gift of mercy and compassion. If you have that gift, it needs to be exercised. The body of Christ needs that gift. So we look at all of these gifts that we have, and we see how we all have a role in the church, and we have to go back to the question, "What would this church be like if everybody were like you, or everybody were like me"?

Scary, isn't it? Therefore, we need to beter, determine what is your giftedness? What is my giftedness? And we need to utilize that gift in the Kingdom of God, especially in this moment in history. Kathy was 11 years old. She went with her mother to the store and noticed the perfume her mother particularly liked. But it was pretty expensive; but Kathy waited and saved her money from her allowance, and had a chance to go back to that store and buy that special perfume for her mother and got a little faceted bottle to put the perfume in. It was a little, sort of a specially shaped bottle, you know, sort of like a little, little, little pump-like look, and she wrapped that perfume up in some beautiful, light-blue paper and found a satin ribbon and put on it.

I mean, it was a beautiful gift. On her mother's birthday, all the presents were there, and her mother opened this one and that one, and she looked at that gift from her daughter-11 year old daughter, Kathy, and said, "You know, I know what's in that one. I'll open it later..." and Kathy was sort of disappointed, but, you know, a few weeks went by and she saw that little pink, that little uh, blue gift there on the counter in her mother's room and said, said, "Mama, when are you gonna open my gift"? She said, "Oh, I know what's in it. I'll open it later..."

And then suddenly Kathy was 16, and she was running around, and there was that same gift she gave when she was 11 and said, "Mom. I'm 16. Why don't you open my gift"? She said, "Oh, I know what's in it. I'll open it later..." Years went by, and her mother died. Kathy went back home, going through all her mother's things and saw the gift she'd given as an 11 year old girl. That little beautifully wrapped, light-blue bottle wrapped up with perfume, and her mother never opened it. She was tearful. Why? She knew her mother got to experience the fragrance that she knew would, her mother would have loved.

She knew her mother had never got a chance to share that fragrance with others around her, and she herself, Kathy, felt hurt and deprived because she'd never had the joy of seeing her mother experience and use the gift that she'd so carefully planned for, and saved for, and given to her, because it had never been opened! Listen-listen! God has given every single one of us here a unique gift. If your gift is not used in the church, nobody else can fill that gap. Nobody else can! Nobody else can...

Discover what the gift is. Open up that gift. Maybe another one will be there. Try out this gift, and you'll discover that you're in the orchestra of God, the body of the church, and you'll be part of a music, and a message, and a mystery, and a magnificence that you never imagined! Open the gift! Discover your gift! We're transformed! Transformation leads to humility. Transformation discovers in the church there's unity, but there's diversity. We all have an instrument to play for God! And then finally we see that there is ministry in transformation. Discover your gift. If it's not opened, nobody else can play that part. What if everybody in the church were like you? What kind of church would we have?
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