A Vessel of Higher Use

  

Growing in the Grace (Giftings) of Ministry

By David Durrett

1 Corinthians:4-9 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

MINISTRY GIFTING

A spiritual gift is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit enabling one to minister to the needs of Christ's body, the church. The Greek word stresses that it is a gift of grace.

1 Corinthians 12:1-11 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

Giftings – Applied in Love

Love is the expression of our faith and our hope to others and should be central to our conduct, our speech, and our attitudes.

1 Corinthians 13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

THE PURPOSE OF MINISTRY

Teaching and sharing the gospel of grace so that our hearers will share and teach the gospel of grace and truth. In turn, their hearers will participate in ...THE ONLY PYRAMID SYSTEM THAT WORKS!!!!

2 Corinthians 3:2-4:18 You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. The Spirit, Not the Letter

And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.

Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech — unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed — always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you.

And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed and therefore I spoke," we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

2 Timothy 2:20-21But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.

THE PERIMETERS OF MINISTRY

A. Home

B. Workplace

C. Place of fellowship

D. Extra curricular activities - WHEREVER WE GO!!!

REGULATORS OF MINISTRY

There are three personal regulators that will enhance and strengthen our giftings, or (negatively) will degrade and may even disqualify one from ministry.

A. Conduct – how we act and react (Romans 8, Galatians 5)

B. Speech (James 3, 2 Timothy 2:14-16, 24-25)

C. Attitudes (Phillipians 2:1-18)

HOW DO I KNOW MY SPIRITUAL GIFTINGS?

Remember – a spiritual gift is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit enabling one to minister to the needs of Christ's body (the church). The Greek word stresses that it is a gift of grace. As we seek God through the study of His Word, prayer, fellowship, giving, witnessing –

A. Our giftings will begin to pronounce themselves naturally.

B. God's Spirit of peace will encourage us.

C. God will speak encouragement through others.

D. We will learn by experience through the practice of stepping out in faith.

HOW DO I STEP OUT? HOW DO I START?

Remember – as children of God, we are called to walk by faith (believing what His Word says).

A. Depend on God's grace.

B. Surrender your will to what His Spirit speaks to your heart.

C. Believe what He says He will do in His Word and step out in obedience.

Remember – we are simply the conduit that the water of God's Word flows through. We must rely on His grace to equip and strengthen us and realize that it is His Spirit that does the work in each individual's heart.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE (GOAL) OF MINISTRY?

The purpose is to grow so that we can teach others to grow, so that they can teach others to grow, so that they can:

A. Unity in faith.

B. Knowledge of God's Word.

C. To become mature attaining to the whole measure of Christ.

Read Ephesians 3:14 – 5:21.

WHAT HINDRANCES CAN WE EXPECT AS WE STEP OUT IN OBEDIENCE?

Spiritual warfare. When we accept Christ into our lives, we become a pawn of God's grace, truth, and righteousness on the chessboard of life. As we step out in obedience towards ministry (becoming a vessel of higher use), we become a greater threat to the opponent of darkness and death.

The enemy will use weapons that appeal to our pride and feelings. Sometimes he will fling his arrows one at a time, and sometimes in a volley or a series of volleys.

Some of the most recognizable arrows are: doubts, irritability, anxiousness, comparison, laziness, insecurity, and busyness. Some of the heavier guns are: discouragement, complacency, procrastination, and compromise.

His main trick tripwire in ministry is pridefulness in either how well we are doing or not doing.

Remember, his focus is to try to get our eyes off Christ and on to ourselves or onto others.

Our focus is to be ON Christ, our ability is by His grace, and the praises go to Him and to Him alone!

OUR DEFENSE AGAINST THE ONSLAUGHTS

A. Check our focus.

B. Run to the Word of God.

C. Pray.

D. Ensure we are properly dressed for the battle.

Ephesians 6:10-18 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

2 Peter 1:2-11 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 1:6-11 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.