God’s Gifts of Service, Ministry, and Caring for the Needs of Others in the Church
I. Introduction – The List of Service Gifts
A. What Are Spiritual Gifts? (1Cor 12:1)
1. Spiritual gifts can be defined as spiritual drives, and passions given to us by the Lord to achieve supernatural goals. They are spiritual abilities that enable a believer to change people’s lives. Each person who is born again into God's kingdom receives at least one spiritual gift that is to be used to changed peoples lives!
2. These gifts, when used, encourage and motivate other believers into stronger living for the Lord Jesus
3. A church full of people with these kind of gifts is the most blessed!
B. What Is the Purpose of Spiritual Gifts? (1Peter 4:10; Eph 4:11-14)
1. To glorify God and to bless and help others!
2. The Spirit-filled life is lived in service for others – especially for other believers.
3. So, the full potential of a life, a marriage, a family, or a church will not be experienced until there is a clear, Biblical understanding of each person’s spiritual gifts. That’s why we have taken so long to go through them, and sought to understand and start using them!.
C. The List of Service Gifts (Romans 12:6-8; 1Cor 12:28)
1. Prophecy – (Biblical word) Speaking Up for God
2. Ministry / Helps – Holding Up the Brethren
3. Teaching – Instructing People in the Ways of God
4. Exhorting – Urging and Encouraging Others
5. Giving – Sharing With Others
6. Governments / Ruling – Governing and Managing People
7. Mercy – Showing Compassion on Others
D. Who Is Given A Spiritual Gift?
1. Every Christian is given a spiritual gift as soon as he or she becomes born again. At that very moment the Holy Spirit will unite with that person's spirit (Romans 8:16-17).
2. When we are born physically, we possess certain natural abilities.
3. When we are born again spiritually, God gives us the means by which He can work through us supernaturally. Jesus "gave gifts unto men ... For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith..." (Ephesians 4:8, 12-14).
4. God has given each believer at least one spiritual gift to build up the body of Christ and to minister in our hurting world.
a. If our gift is prophecy, we’ll proclaim God’s view of right and wrong.
b. If it is Ministry and Service, we will desire to meet others’ needs and hold them up when they fall.
c. If it is Teaching, we will spend our lives LEARNING how to help people know God’s truth so that they can be not just free from sin, but free “indeed” (John 8:32,36) – really free!
E. All of the spiritual gifts can be used in the workplace, in our homes, and most importantly in our church.
F. There is a companion list of emphasis that goes with each gift in Romans 12:9-21. This list is almost more important that the gifts themselves – they represent the things to beware of and things to develop with a gift. They constrain us! Without this list, the gifts of prophecy, teaching, ministry, exhorting, giving, governing, and mercy won’t work at all!
II. Message – The Service Gift of Teaching – Instructing People
A. Best Definition of the Gift of Teaching (2Cor 3:12)
1. It is the God-given ability to clearly explain the things of God.
2. It is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to communicate truths important to the health and ministry of the body and its members.
3. Teaching involves systematically explaining, showing, leading, demonstrating, repeating, describing, questioning, probing, and correcting, all so that the student understands just what God’s will is and how to fulfil it
4. A Teacher is not a Prophet, announcing new truth, but someone who is able to expound God’s truth already given.
5. As Christians, we collectively are supposed to teach our world around us – our children, our co-workers, our family members, our parents, our bosses, our neighbours, our friends, our enemies… teach them what God says
a. Matthew 28:19,20
b. Col 1:28,29
c. It is part of our soul-winning – there is no automatic salvation of someone who does not know the truths of the Gospel – it is the TRUTH that makes a person free (Jn 8:32)
6. But the Spiritual Gift of Teaching goes further: Matthew 7:28,29; Acts 20:20,21
a. The person who has this gift can’t help but show someone truth from the Bible (Acts 5:25) – it is a drive, a passion, almost an obsession!
b. They love to not only tell what Jesus did for them at Calvary, but they love trying to explain it, and answer people’s questions, and to help people understand ALL the Bible’s truths!
7. That’s the Gift of Teaching in someone. But it doesn’t come easy. This gift, like nothing else, requires a lot of preliminary work for its exercise.
a. Anyone who has the God-given desire to teach has to first train and prepare to teach effectively.
b. And do you know what is funny? They actually desire to study and learn!
B. The Importance of People With This Gift.
1. The importance of proper teaching: The Bible places teaching on an equal plane with preaching – you can’t really have one without the other (Acts 5:42; John 8:31,32)!
2. Preaching and standing up for the Lord is the work of the highest leaders in a church – it is what God has ordained for people to get saved through – not just through teaching. All preaching should instruct the hearers. But preaching doesn’t always make sense – it is very often, very foolish to the hearer (1Cor 1:18)
3. The devil wants Christians to think they have nothing to offer – Oh yes you do!
a. In the home – Fathers… TEACH! Ladies… TEACH (Titus 2:3-5)
b. In our country – we ALL must open our mouths and start teaching people again the truths of Scripture
c. In our Church Meetings, everything we do ought to be some sort of helpful instruction (Col 3:16)
4. Teaching the Bible is a special honour. Because it bears fruit. Things left to themselves only rot, and grow weeds, and fall apart. Teaching restores, and rebuilds, and repairs broken lives and hearts!
C. Examples of this Gift in Action - God has given to some the gift of teaching.
1. In Acts 18, we find Aquila and Priscilla. (Acts 18:24-27)
a. Apollos had been instructed in the teachings of John the Baptist
b. He was busy proclaiming those truths
c. But his understanding was incomplete – had not heard of Jesus yet
d. So Aquila and Priscilla took him under their wing, and taught him about Jesus
e. Apollos had the gift of teaching
f. Aquila and his wife Priscilla had the gift of teaching
g. Apollos had the desire to keep learning – didn’t think he knew it all
h. And so Apollos went on, all the much better and started pasturing the church at Corinth!
2. An Amazing Example of Teaching - Helen Keller’s Teacher – Ann Sullivan.
a. Helen Adams Keller was born on 27 June 1880 in Tuscumbia, a small rural town in Northwest Alabama, USA.
b. Less than 2 years later, in February 1882, when Helen was nineteen months old, she fell ill. To this day the nature of her ailment remains a mystery. The doctors of the time called it “brain fever”, whilst modern day doctors think it may have been scarlet fever or meningitis.
c. Whatever the illness, Helen was, for many days, expected to die. When, eventually, the fever subsided, Helen’s family rejoiced believing their daughter to be well again.
d. However, Helen’s mother soon noticed how her daughter was failing to respond when the dinner bell was rang or when she passed her hand in front of her daughter’s eyes.
e. It thus became apparent that Helen’s illness had left her both blind and deaf.
f. The following few years proved very hard for Helen and her family. Helen became a very difficult child, smashing dishes and lamps and terrorising the whole household with her screaming and temper tantrums. Relatives regarded her as a monster and thought she should be put into an institution.
g. Enter, Anne Sullivan, the daughter of Irish immigrant farmers.
1) Anne Sullivan had lost the majority of her sight at the age of five. By the age of ten, her mother had died and her father deserted her. She and her brother Jimmie were sent to the poorhouse in February 1876.
2) Anne’s brother died in the poorhouse. It was October 1880 before Anne finally left and went to commence her education at the Perkins Institution. One summer during her time at the institute, Anne had two operations on her eyes, which led to her regaining enough sight to be able to read normal print for short periods of time.
3) Anne graduated from Perkins in 1886 and began to search for work. Finding work was terribly difficult for Anne, due to her poor eyesight, and when she received the offer to work as the teacher of Helen Keller, a deaf-blind mute, although she had no experience in this area, she accepted willingly.
4) On 3 March 1887 Anne arrived at the house in Tuscumbia and for the first time met Helen Keller. Anne immediately started teaching Helen to finger spell. Spelling out the word “Doll” to signify a present she had brought with her for Helen. The next word she taught Helen was “Cake”. Although Helen could repeat these finger movements she could not quite understand what they meant. And while Anne was struggling trying to help her understand, she was also struggling to try and control Helen’s continuing bad behaviour.
5) Anne and Helen moved into a small cottage on the land of the main house to try and get Helen to improve her behaviour. Of particular concern were Helen’s table manners. She had taken to eating with her hands and from the plates of everyone at the table.
6) Anne’s attempts to improve Helen’s table manners and make her brush her own hair and button her shoes led to more and more temper tantrums. Anne punished these tantrums by refusing to “talk” with Helen by spelling words on her hands.
7) Over the coming weeks, however, Helen’s behaviour did begin to improve as a bond grew between the two. Then, after a month of Anne’s teaching, what the people of the time called a “miracle” occurred.
8) Helen had until now not yet fully understood the meaning of words. When Anne led her to the water pump on 5 April 1887, all that was about to change.
9) As Anne pumped the water over Helen’s hand , Anne spelled out the word water in the girl’s free hand. Something about this explained the meaning of words within Helen, and Anne could immediately see in her face that she finally understood.
10) Helen later recounted the incident: “We walked down the path to the well-house, attracted by the fragrance of the honey-suckle with which it was covered. Someone was drawing water and my teacher placed my hand under the spout. As the cool stream gushed over one hand she spelled into the other the word water, first slowly, then rapidly. I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motions of her fingers. Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten, a thrill of returning thought, and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me.”
11) Helen immediately asked Anne for the name of the pump to be spelt on her hand and then the name of the trellis. All the way back to the house Helen learned the name of everything she touched and also asked for Anne’s name. Anne spelled the name “Teacher” on Helen’s hand. Within the next few hours Helen learnt the spelling of thirty new words.
12) Helen’s progress from then on was astonishing. Her ability to learn was far in advance of anything that anybody had seen before in someone without sight or hearing. It wasn’t long before Anne was teaching Helen to read, firstly with raised letters and later with braille, and to write with both ordinary and braille typewriters.
13) Oh that Christians would take their ministry of teaching so far!
h. The greatest example of the Gift of Teaching was found in Jesus (Matthew 5:1,2)
1) He taught out of love and compassion (Mk 6:34)
2) He taught with authority (Mt 7:29) – not guessing, but having rock-solid truths from the Bible
3) He taught using parables (Mk 4:2) – object lesions and allegories and simple stories of infinite truths
4) He taught through His life (Lk 11:1)
5) He taught what He had learned (Jn 8:28) – even though not from a university (Mk 6:1,2)
D. Distinctives - People with this gift:
1. They are Organized. Whether in conversation or in a more formal setting, they will seek to communicate information clearly so the listener can follow it.
2. They are Thorough. They want others to understand not simply the conclusion, but the steps leading up to it. They desire to help people think things through.
3. They are Accurate. Their priority is to know the truth, so they test themselves, and ask the questions that others will ask, and make sure they are right before they teach something! They give attention to details and accuracy – not feelings and fears. This is what gives them their authority when teaching!
4. They are Studious. They prepare themselves through extended times of study and reflection in God’s word. They derive great delight from studying and researching, and are strongly motivated to share what they learn. Truth is presented not simply to share knowledge but with the goal that God will transform the hearer’s life.
5. They are Bible-oriented. With this gift comes a strong desire to know what the Lord has to say. While we may recognize the value of others’ experiences, reading about them is not our main concern. Nor are we especially motivated by personal illustrations.
6. They are Burdened. They focus on changing lives by helping others understand the Bible better
E. Cautions - People with this gift:
1. Need to keep their material simple and practical;
2. Should avoid pride that may result from their superior biblical knowledge and understanding (1Cor 8:1);
3. Can easily get angry at those who appear uninterested.
F. Mobilizing for ministry - People with this gift are needed in the church for:
1. Sunday school teaching
2. Youth Leaders
3. Church elder – every mature believer needs to be able to teach others (2Tim 2:2)
4. Leaders of home Bible studies and Discipleships
5. Ladies Ministry Leaders
6. Soul-Winning Director – to make sure we are all well-equipped to go and present the Gospel
7. Parenting – parents need help in training up their children
G. The Importance of “Waiting on Our Teaching” (Rom 12:7) – Teaching is not a quick-fix!
1. Ministering and Teaching are slow processes and require the teacher to remain faithful at it – waiting like a waiter at a table, not rushing off to other things, but committed to finishing what they have started in a life (Philp 1:6).
2. Meditation is the KEY to being a good teacher – the mind focused on truths (not on gossip, and filth).
3. All seven spiritual gifts are for serving -- those who have these gifts must never forget that! The attitude of a teacher or any leader must be that of a servant, or he is abusing his gift to his own and the church's loss.
4. Those who do not have these gifts must never forget that if it is necessary for the Leaders to serve, it is equally necessary for those ruled to follow submissively in their serving. We need to follow those who lead us as much as they need to lead us (Heb 13:7)
H. How to Tell if you have the Gift of Teaching.
1. You don’t believe things until you have verified them as actual truth
2. You love to study and learn new things from the Bible – you have loads of commentaries and Bible handbooks, and helpful study tools to help you understand what the Scriptures is saying
3. You are thorough in your study of Scripture (2Tim 2:15) – truths don’t just come naturally to you
4. You love to see people converted to God’s way of thinking and living – not just moral, but Biblical
5. You are very detailed in your explanations – sometimes too detailed for people!
6. You are not impressed with personal experiences of yourself or of others – to you, truth is truth
7. You tend to argue over minor points – you easily see minor flaws in other people’s arguments
8. You love preaching best of all – teaching is second place to preaching (2Tim 4:1-4)
A. The greatest gift given to this world, was the gift of the life of God’s Son, Jesus Christ – a substitute – His life for yours (John 3:16)
B. There is no other gift worth comparing to Jesus! Fame, success, wealth, family, health – all is lost at the grave
C. Accept the gift of God this morning!
D. For the Christian… Have you identified the gift that the lord placed in you?
1. Maybe prophecy
2. Maybe service and ministering to people
3. Maybe teaching?
E. Allow the Holy Spirit to direct your teaching ability for God’s glory and others’ gain.
F. Tell God Thank You for gifting you with a very special gift
G. Start developing that gift – Discipleship, Bible Institute training
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland