God’s Spiritual Gifts to Believers at the Beginning of the Church Age
A. The RECOGNITION of spiritual gifts.
1. There is a difference between "the GIFTS of the Holy Ghost" (Heb. 2:4) and "the GIFT of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38; 10:45; cf. Luke 11:13).
a. The GIFT of the Holy Ghost is the Holy Ghost HIMSELF coming to indwell the believer at the point of conversion.
b. The GIFTS of the Holy Ghost are abilities given to believers by the Spirit to enable them to function within the Body of Christ.
2. They were not developed skills or natural talents like:
a. Musical abilities (singing; playing an instrument);
b. Artistic talent (drawing; painting);
c. Mechanical skills (carpenter; plumbing; electronics; auto repair)
d. Oratory abilities (speech abilities).
3. God may use these talents in conjunction with exercising of other gifts like the gift of helps or governments, but they are not supernatural gifts!
4. DEFINITION: Spiritual Gifts are a divine enablement that was lacking in a person's life prior to salvation, and are given to be used to serve God through their church.
5. These are gifts of God’s GRACE (1 Peter 4:10)–Received by someone without any merit of his own.
6. Gifts are not earned. Spiritual gifts are not dependent upon superior intelligence, physical power, spiritual maturity, moral character, or the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
a. The Corinthian Church was carnal, contentious, confused, immature, immoral, selfish, and heretical. Yet, they came behind in no gift!
b. Spiritual gifts do not mean a person is spiritual – GET THIS! However, being spiritual will enable a person to exercise their gift effectively for God’s glory! When you see me preach, you are watching me exercise my gift, not my spirituality!
7. Spiritual gifts are given according to God's will, not our will (cf. 12:11, 28). Nowhere are Christians told to pray for specific gifts (1Cor 14:12)!
B. Three groups of Spiritual Gifts – there are lots of Spiritual Gifts – but it is important to see them in their proper groups!
1. The Lord separated the gifts into three specific Scriptures: 1Corinthians, Romans, and Ephesians
2. They each have a specific focus
Word of wisdom
Word of knowledge
Working of miracles
Discerning of spirits
Interpretation of tongues
All other people are of their own accord
Prophecy – Preaching
All done in Love…
For Reaching the Jews
For the Church to do the Work of the Ministry
For All People to Reach All People
C. Two groups of Servant Gifts
1. Those that were available at the start of the Church Age
a. Apostleship and Prophets were studied last time
b. They have passed away
2. Those still available today
D. Tonight we will look at Evangelists
A. A Unique Office
1. The Church Starter
a. We are familiar with the office of the “pastor” – the shepherd of a church
b. But there is something that we neglect, and that is the office of the “church starter”
2. It is what has been called in our modern age, the Missionary – a man on a mission
3. This person is the most important person in the New Testament
a. He goes where the Gospel has never been preached
b. He sacrifices everything so that a Church gets started everywhere
c. He is not just interested in seeing people get saved – He is desperate to see people saved, Biblically taught sound doctrine, bound together in a Church (Heb 10:25), and soul-winning themselves (1Thes 1:5-8)
d. Philip started off as a deacon in Acts 6:5; he was a church starter now (Acts 21:8)
e. Paul commanded Timothy, the pastor of the Church at Ephesus, to also do the work of an Evangelist while pasturing (2Tim 4:5)
4. Without Evangelists, the world would have fewer and fewer churches – they die off
5. Christianity is like a living organism (not an organisation) – it has to grow and multiply – the world is growing and multiplying – so must we!
B. A Vital Work
1. The work of Evangelism
a. Is for every Christian (Mk 16:15)
b. It is the presenting of the Gospel to every person in our area
c. To evangelise does NOT mean win every person to saving faith in Jesus Christ
d. It means to teach and instruct everyone in the truths of the Gospel, and the provoking of them to make a decision
e. We know that even when they have not made a decision, they are lost
1) Because they are sinful by nature - depraved
2) Because they are condemned by their own conscience
3) Because they neglect getting saved – don’t even have to reject it
f. Evangelism is the effort of Christians to correct their apathy about their condition!
2. The Work of the Evangelist
a. More than Soul-Winning, Preaching, Praying, Fellowshipping, Giving, and Growing, God gave us Christians the awesome task of Church-Planting
b. Evangelism …
1) In its simplest form is winning individual souls to faith in Jesus Christ.
2) In its fullest form, (i.e., when it is in full operation), evangelism is the starting of strong, vibrant, New Testament Baptist-type churches throughout a city and nation!
c. It is the goal of there being churches throughout every nation on this planet (Eph 5:25)
d. It is the task of every preacher to be involved in church-planting, in EVERY city, village, county and nation (Titus 1:5)
e. Timothy was the pastor of a very large church called the Church at Ephesus.
f. And yet Paul said he needed to make sure he was not only pastoring, but also doing the work of an Evangelist – a soul-winner, who was determined to group those new believers into Churches – a church starter
g. Timothy was to be busy starting more churches than just the one in Ephesus
h. THAT is what our Lord commanded us to be doing
i. THAT is what the apostle Paul spent his Christian life doing – planting churches throughout Europe!
j. THAT is what WE need to be doing as well
k. It is MY calling, and our task together as a church
3. The Historical Path of Evangelism churches, churches, everywhere!
a. Acts 1:8 Our command to GO is given
b. Acts 8:1 The Christians had only gone as far as Samaria
c. Acts 8:4 Persecution by Saul drove the Christians into the surrounding areas like they should have been doing
d. Acts 8:5 Philip went to Samaria
e. Acts 8:25-27,39,40 Philip is lead away from Samaria to win the Ethiopian, who then goes home to win his nation!
f. Acts 10:1,44-48 Caesarean church started
g. Acts 11:26 Antiochan church started
h. Acts 13:1-3 The Calling out of the first official Missionaries (Church-Starters)
i. Acts 13:14,42 Pisidian church started
j. Acts 13:44-52 Persecution hits again, and just moved them on!
k. Acts 14:1 Iconium church started
l. Acts 14:2-7 Lystra and Derby churches started
m. Acts 15 A Break – back to Jerusalem
n. Acts 16:1 Back to where they left off - Derby and Lystra
o. Acts 16:4,5 Strengthening the local churches
p. Acts 16:29-34 Philippian Jailor – Philippian church started
q. Acts 17:1-4 Thessalonican church started
r. Acts 17:10-12 Berean church started
s. Acts 17:13-15,32-34 Athens church started
t. Acts 18 Corinthian church started
u. Acts 19:8-10 Ephesus – three years in total (Acts 20:31)
v. Titus 1:5 Titus was supposed to be starting churches
w. Acts 20:26; Col 1:3-6, 23 The world heard the Gospel in the first century
4. Now you see the beginnings of all the churches started in the first century
C. A Rare Man
1. It was the result of the following actions on the part of very determined believers
a. Hearing God’s call to go
b. Obeying God’s call to go
c. Getting trained and experience in their local church
d. Go to an area – directed by the Holy Spirit of God (Acts 16:6-10)
e. Preach (1Cor 1:17,18) to absolutely everybody in that area (Mk 16:15) the whole counsel of God, but especially the resurrection – the power of a changed life
f. Accepting good and bad reactions
g. Grouping the believers together into a body of believers, called the local Church (Acts 13:43; Heb 10:25)
h. Train them to obey all the commands of Christ (Matthew 28:20)
i. Train the men and women also to do the work of the ministry in that Church (Eph 4:11,12)
j. Specially train men to take over the leadership of that Church (2Tim 2:2)
k. Then, Going on to the next town when led (or forced), and start another church
2. The concept of Team-Work
a. Jesus always sent out His church starters in twos, and in multiples of people – never only as just one person
b. A husband and a wife don’t make the right kind of team
c. God usually uses two men to do His work:
1) Allows for breaks
2) Enables checks and balances
3) Shows Christians how to work together instead of only as lone rangers
A. Two groups of Servant Gifts
1. Those that were available at the start of the Church Age
2. Those still available today
B. The offices still available, that need to be filled are:
3. And teachers
C. God is still calling men to fill those vacancies! Who will respond?
D. The world needs churches – loads and loads of churches – Bible believing and Bible preaching churches. Not just will Spirit filled pastors, but Spirit-filled people, who are determined to win their world for Jesus Christ!
1. Are you willing (Isa 6:8)
2. Are you ready – to go through the worst of times (Eph 4:1-3)
3. Have you been trained – to train pastors, leaders of every church
4. You have to keep moving – this is no easy, cushy job – it is a monumental task
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland