Well, the London 2012 Summer Olympics; the XXX Olympiad is almost upon us, starting July 27 to August 12, 2012. Although I’m not personally a TRACK and FIELD guy, the Men’s Decathlon competition is simply amazing to me. There are a total of ten events over a two-day period, even going into the darkness of night before they’re through competing. Here are the events:
1. 100-meter run.
2. Long Jump.
3. Shot put.
4. High Jump.
5. 400-meter run.
6. 110-meter hurdles.
8. Pole vault.
9. Javelin throw.
10. 1500 meter run.
The achievement of completing all ten events in two days is worthy of great honor in the athletic world. It seems overwhelming to me that the human body functions in this capacity. Most people can barely get their BODY up out of bed on Sunday morning, ease it over to the chair and sit it down; ease it out to the kitchen and set it down. Then sit it down in your car, get to church and sit it down there, trying to stay awake. Then return home and sit it down and take an afternoon nap. That is NOT God’s intention; not what He had in mind in making our bodies.
Some of us don’t understand what it means, “That we would have strength; renewed like eagles.” We can’t RELATE to it. We’re sort of PHYSICAL SPARROWS at best!
What is amazing to me is to see the human body FUNCTION at MAXIMUM output. It is incredible! You can only see that kind of specimen in action, to see the POTENTIAL God has placed within the human body for activity; the capacity and productivity in the Olympiad. That’s EXCITING.
If only the body of Christ could operate like that. Every CELL and every MEMBER, every CAPACITY. What a tremendous influence that would be to the surrounding Church community of your area.
BUT, that is exactly what God intended as when God intended the physical body used to that MAXIMUM OUTPUT. So does He intend the Church body to be capable of the same? You say, “But how?”
Well, like the athlete, if he’s going to OPERATE like that; every cell, every muscle, every tissue, every fiber, every capacity in his/her body has to ALL come together from the mental to the physical to operate. It is the same in the Church. If the church is going to be all that God intended it to be, to GIVE GLORY to Christ Jesus, as the athlete’s body gives GLORY to himself, then the body is going to have to FUNCTION with every single part. The body has to be doing what it has to do at MAXIMUM OUTPUT! that’s exactly where the MINISTRY of the SPIRITUAL GIFTS comes together.
FOR WE ARE A BODY:
“For just as the body is a unity and yet has many parts, and all the parts, though many, form [only] one body, so it is with Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). For by [means of the personal agency of] one [Holy] Spirit we were all, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, baptized [and by baptism united together] into one body, and all made to drink of one [Holy] Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13 AMP).
The apostle Paul speaks to the Church at Corinth and goes down and discusses the members of the body; how the MEMBERS of the BODY are to COOPERATE to make the Church function and the way it should function.
Spiritual Gifts Are Vital–If the Body of Christ is to HONOR Christ.
This will happen when we’re WHOLE, FUNCTIONING, MAXIMIZED BODY. That will only happen when ALL of us are MINISTERING in the area and with the GIFTS of the SPIRIT of God graciously given to us.
When the body functions as it should be, FOUR BASIC things that occur as a result. They are very IMPORTANT because all of us are RESULT-ORIENTED. These are FOUR RESULTS when the body FUNCTIONS PROPERLY:
NUMBER ONE–The People Receive The Blessing.
You will be BLESSED when you MINISTER and see the FRUIT of your labor. God never intended the ministry to be carried on by professionals while everybody else watched. God intends ALL of us to minister so that ALL of us see FRUIT; ALL of us UNDERSTAND JOY and BLESSING in response to these.
SECOND THING–When Everybody Does His/Her Part, the Body Really Functions.
WITNESS is really DYNAMIC! When Peter EXERCISED his GIFT of PROPHECY, proclaiming on the day of Pentecost, 3,000 people were saved (Acts 2). When other believers EXERCISED the GIFT of GIVING, shared what they had, the Lord added DAILY to the church people. They saw that kind of LOVE and wanted to be a part of it.
There is an illustration all the way through the life of the early Church in Jerusalem in the Book of Acts. It shows how the MINISTRY of the GIFTS of the believers created response in the unredeemed, non-saved community.
A THIRD RESULT.
Not only that the people receive the BLESSING and the WORLD receives the WITNESS but thirdly, LEADERS are made APPARENT. In a FULL-FUNCTIONING body of believers, leadership RISES TO THE TOP. It just emerges!
We have a lot of leadership; “leadership material” available to the Church today because there’s a real NEED for LEADERSHIP. That’s the GREAT NEED in the Church. You can’t get people to do what the people ought do UNLESS you’ve got somebody to help them along, show them, work with them. And LEADERSHIP is a PRIORITY and it’s amazing how the Church tries to find its leaders.
You can go to LEADERSHIP seminars, read books on leadership, find a great amount of material that is simply an adaptation of the world’s system of getting leaders. Oh when the church says, you know, “We’ve got to EDUCATE our people,” they want to GET A GUY or GAL with an education, a degree in education. Or the Church says, you know, “We’ve got a lot of problems. We’d better get somebody with some psychological training to handle OUR problems.” Or, “We’ve got a lot of young people who have needs. We’d better find an EXPERT in the youth area.” And so the Church opts out for STYLIZED LEADERSHIP; what the world offers.
The TRUTH of the matter is that all God ever expected out of leaders were certain GIFTS of the Holy spirit; certain moral and spiritual qualifications. All these things become manifest in the MINISTERING COMMUNITY. As people MINISTER, they simply EMERGE as LEADERS. Spirit-filled leadership ALWAYS emerges rapidly when God is freely at work in His body, the CHURCH. That is another one of the benefits.
And FOURTHLY, One of the Other BENEFITS of a FUNCTIONING BODY is When UNITY DEVELOPS.
When UNITY develops there is a beautiful LOVE and wonderful FELLOWSHIP in the body. And this fulfills our needs and reaches out, touching the lives of those who would like to have the same.
So these BENEFITS, resulting in the body is the KEY to making it function in the use of these spiritual gifts. All of us have received them; we’ve talked about them in endless details in Church circles, so I will move away from that point for now.
Ephesians 4:11 Terminology:
This passage discusses the GIFTED MAN; the apostle, prophet, evangelist, teaching pastor, teacher. These five individuals are the gifted people given to the Church by God and empowered by Holy Spirit to lead the Church.
The Edifying Gifts.
There are TWO CATEGORIES presented in Scripture that are permanent, edifying gifts. Look at 1 Peter 4:10:
“As each of you has RECEIVED A GIFT (a particular spiritual talent, a gracious divine endowment), EMPLOY it for one another as [befits] good trustees of God’s many-sided grace [FAITHFUL STEWARDS of extremely diverse powers and gifts granted to Christians by unmerited favor].”
Whatever your GIFT is, most likely it is a combination of the various enablements that makes up your gift. But as you receive the GIFT, so “EMPLOY it for one another.”
USE your gift, this is vital as good stewards of the multicolored GRACE of God, literally. If you’re a steward, minister your gift!
Now then he divides the GIFTS into TWO CATEGORIES in 1Peter 4:11:
“Whoever SPEAKS, [let him do it as one who utters] oracles of God; whoever RENDERS SERVICE, [let him do it] as with the strength which God furnishes abundantly, so that in ALL THINGS God may be glorified through Jesus Christ (the Messiah).”
Speaking Gifts and Serving Gifts.
You can have “speaking gifts” and serve also; these are but general categories. Again, these type of gifts are mentioned in either/or one of them in both passages; Romans 12:6-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:8-10:
“Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, LET US USE THEM: [He whose gift is] prophecy, [let him prophesy] according to the proportion of his faith; [He whose gift is] practical service, LET HIM GIVE himself to serving; he who teaches, to his teaching; He who exhorts (encourages), to his exhortation; he who contributes, let him do it in simplicity and liberality; he who GIVES aid and superintends, with ZEAL and SINGLENESS of mind; he who does ACTS of mercy, with genuine cheerfulness and joyful eagerness” (Romans 12:6-8 AMP).
“To one is given in and through the [Holy] Spirit [the power to speak] a message of wisdom, and to another [the power to express] a word of knowledge and understanding according to the same [Holy] Spirit; To another [wonder-working] faith by the same [Holy] Spirit, to another the extraordinary powers of healing by the one Spirit; To another the working of miracles, to another prophetic insight (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose); to another the ability to discern and distinguish between [the utterances of true] spirits [and false ones], to another various kinds of [unknown] tongues, to another the ability to interpret [such tongues]” (1 Corinthians 12:8-10 AMP).
In PART 2, Operating at MAXIMUM Output, I will try to convey the meanings and the usages of the specific gifts in the Church today. You might AGREE with my findings and you may DISAGREE, and that’s okay too. My emphasis is for you to not just identify your particular gifting but to be Operating At MAXIMUM Output through the POWER of the Holy Spirit.