When we receive that anointing for ministry, which is the Spirit filling us for the job He’s sending us to do, we receive a gift or gifts from Him. This is the power we need in order to be His witnesses and carry out the task.
Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses…”
The power to be a witness doesn’t just mean evangelism. It’s God’s power to show Himself to the world. Our kindness is a witness to Christ. Our love for each other is a witness to God’s work in our lives.
God’s power, which enables us to be a witness to His life in us, can come in all different shapes and sizes. Here are some verses that list some of the ways we can be gifted by the Spirit.
Romans 12:6-8 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 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.
What gifts do you see listed in the verse above? We can prophecy, serve, teach, exhort, contribute, lead, do acts of mercy. This isn’t an exhaustive list. That means that there can be any number of things God could gift you to do for the body of Christ. That’s what the gifts are for – to serve the body of Christ.
Ephesians 4:12 To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.
They aren’t for ourselves. They are for others. In that list above it mentions prophecy. That’s not primarily about knowing the future. It’s about speaking God’s words. Exhorting means urging people on to follow Christ’s commands. Contributing is giving. You are not the provider for the body of Christ, but you can contribute to meet their needs. An act of mercy could be something like caring for the elderly.
Here’s a different sort of list. We’re assigned jobs, roles in the church, but they come with the gifts to fulfill them.
1 Corinthians 12:27-28 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.
An apostle is one sent out. They are church planters. Administrating is the organizing, having the vision of what needs doing and how to bring it together. This list ordered the gifts. I love that administration and helping are on the same level, so to speak. We need the helpers! Paul, the apostle, needed the helpers. They were vital to him.
We will talk about tongues in the next lesson, but there is such a thing as God gifting someone to be able to speak a language they don’t know. I know a story of someone who preached in a language they never learned. There are also stories of people playing instruments without ever having learned.
God is creative and powerful. He can enable us to do the work He calls us to do.
Paul also teaches in 1 Corinthians 13 that love is the greatest gift. I’ll put that Scripture below, but he then leaves us with this instruction:
1 Corinthians 14:1 Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.
It’s good to desire gifts. We can receive gifts and more gifts later, not just when we are saved. We can ask for them. They are given us by the Holy Spirit, and the Father loves to give the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:31 – 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
…Earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Lesson Point: God gives us gifts to do the job He’s given us to build up the body of Christ.
Challenge Question: Do you recognize any gift or job God’s given you? If not, ask Him to show you what your job is and how He’s gifted you. You can also ask for gifts!