Certainly, God has so richly blessed the Church. She is the betrothed, the Bride-to-be of Jesus Christ. She is the Body, purchased, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. We have been baptized by one Spirit into the Body of Christ. She waits, expectantly, assuredly, and hopefully for the Day when He will receive her unto Himself. She has been entrusted with the greatest message of life to mankind: The Gospel. And she has been endowed with gifts to nourish and build up that Body unto the glory of the Lord.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” — Jesus died upon the cross to pay for the sins of mankind, to reconcile us to the Father. He descended. He ascended to the right hand of the Father. The Holy Spirit was sent; the Holy Spirit convicts the world in regards to sin, righteousness, and judgment.
With conviction comes, illumination; with illumination comes repentance; with repentance comes faith; with faith comes salvation; with salvation comes eternal life. With eternal life comes spiritual gifts, and with the administration of spiritual gifts comes … The expectation of obedience to use them for the building of the Body in love.
Many passages address spiritual gifts in greater measure; they can be studied in detail in 1 Corinthians 12:1-31; Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Peter 4:10-11; Romans 12:3-8. Again, the point here is that they are expected by the Giver to be used “for the common good.” Interpretation: if these gifts are not being used by those who have received them in the Body, then the health of the Body will suffer; when the gifts are stagnant, the “proper working” will be compromised.
The gifts, as can be seen in 1 Corinthians 12, are “triunely” sanctioned by… the Spirit, the Lord, and God the Father. However, it is the Spirit who is credited with the what and where of the gifts – “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” The fruit described in 1 Corinthians is that there are a variety of gifts, a variety of ministries, and varieties of effects. I believe that is a beautiful way of describing the fruit which emanates from this beautiful, healthy body. The expectation is that every member is to be a faithful steward of the manifold grace of God.
“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:14-16).
The gifts are many; I am not addressing each gift here in this article, but rather the encouragement in each passage to be utilizing these gifts:
“… according to the proper working of each individual part” (Ephesians 4:16).
“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10).
“Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly.”(Romans 12:6).
Christ, the Head of the Church issues directives to the members of the Body, intended to be received and obeyed (with joy I might add) that the Body would be built up. Yet, I have heard too many times, “Oh, I did my part. I did that for years. Now, let someone else do it!” To which I want to say, “Really!? So, now you’re done?”
The expectation is sure that these gifts would be recognized, valued, and personally employed to the benefit of the Flock. When this happens the Flock is nourished, and mechanized to perfection; when derelict the Flock is short-changed… people end up doing things for which they have not been gifted, or things just get neglected altogether.
The Holy Spirit has given each of us a gift to be used for the glory of the Lord. It is a talent. And yet, how many choose day after day, in such a time of need to pull some earth aside, dig a hole, place this gift in the ground, and cover it up.
Are you using your God-given gift to the glory of God, and to the benefit of the Body?