Oct 06, 2019 | Lee Becknell

Am I using the Gifts God Gave Me?

Ephesians 4:7-16

I came across an old joke about a letter to a neighbor. It reads: Dear Frank. We've been neighbors for six tumultuous years. When you borrowed my tiller, you returned it in pieces. When I was sick, you blasted rap music. And when your dog went to the bathroom all over my lawn, you laughed. I could go on, but I'm certainly not one to hold grudges. So I am writing this letter to tell you that your house is on fire. Cordially, Bob (Van Morris, Mt. Washington, Kentucky; www.PreachingToday. com)

I’m not sure that helped!  We laugh about that, but who would really do that? 

* Beloved, I hate to tell you this but there are many Christians who have never even unwrapped their spiritual gift much less used it!

* Who would really do that?

Theme: “Every one of us has at least one spiritual gift from God to contribute to the success of the body of Christ. The word ‘Charismatic’ simply means that every Christian has been gifted a Spiritual gift. Spiritual gifts are supernatural and come directly from Jesus Christ.  These spiritual gifts allow us to do things that we could not have done before our conversion. Are you utilizing the gift that Jesus personally gave you?”

* This is now the third sermon in the series on Ephesians chapter 4. 

* This morning, I would like to share with you the following lessons.

  1. Jesus saves us and gives spiritual gifts to all Christians.

Ephesians 4:7-8, “But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”

* In our text for today, Paul is talking about the church being made up of persons with different spiritual gifts. In verse 7, he talks about the church receiving grace, by which, he explains further, he means spiritual gifts.

* Have you ever wondered what Jesus was doing during the time His body was buried and when He arose on Easter morning? Our text this morning gives us some insight to what actually took place while Jesus was in the grave.

* There is some controversy of the three days and nights.  Does this mean 72 hour or in the Jewish counting any part of day counts for the whole day? 

* The Jewish method of counting days was not the same as ours. In Esther 4:16, we find Esther exhorting Mordecai to persuade the Jews to fast. “Neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day” (NKJV). This was clearly in preparation for her highly risky attempt to see the king. Yet just two verses later, in Esther 5:1, we read: “Now it happened on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace.” If three days and nights were counted in the same way as we count them today, then Esther could not have seen the king until the fourth day.

* Maybe, Jesus was crucified on Thursday and not Friday.  But I can say this God’s word is true and one day we will now exactly what this means.

Luke 16:19-26, “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’

* Hades is the unseen world of the dead. Before the crucifixion we find that Hades consisted of two areas or kingdoms.  In one part of hades is comfort and in the other only anguish (verse 25).

* The is also no way to cross from one to the other.  No passport will work.

* We also see that there is consciousness after death.  The rich man knew Lazarus and Abraham.  He remembered his brothers and family.

* When Jesus rose on the third day he took with him all those on Abraham’s side of Hades. 

Ephesians 4:8, “Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”

* Paul is paraphrasing Psalm 68:18, “You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the Lord God may dwell there.”

* Now, when a Christian dies they go immediately to heaven to be at home with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 2:8,Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”

Revelation 20:11-15, “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

  1. Our spiritual gifts are to help keep us on course.

Ephesians 4:11-14, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”

* The entire purpose for these spiritual gifts is to strengthen the Body of Christ through the use of our spiritual gifts. Your spiritual gifts are not for the purpose of creating a job for yourself; but for strengthening the Body of Christ.

* Again, it is easy to spot an unstable person. They can be convinced of just about anything. They will follow the trendy, the popular, and the rich. They are tossed around like the waves of the ocean. It takes very little to make them want to give up.

* Beloved, let me encourage you to study 1 Corinthians 12 this week in your devotions.  It has a detail list of the gifts given by Jesus.

* Beloved, if you are a Christian then you have at least one spiritual gift.  They are meant to be used.  What a waste to arrive in heaven with a gift that was never use or unwrapped. I can guarantee you will not hear the words.  “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

  1. Our spiritual gifts help us speak the truth in love.

Ephesians 4:15-16, “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

* Beloved, I believe that the last part of our passage today is extremely important.  If we cannot speak in love, we will miss the power of the gifts that Jesus granted us.

* 1 Corinthians 13:1, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

* I don’t know about you but I have a hard time with this.  It is easy for me to say the truth but it is difficult to say it in love.  Just the other day I stuck my big foot in my mouth. 

* What I said was true but I did not say it in love.  I was wise enough to realize my mistake and I quickly asked my fellow Christian to forgive me. 

* I think we can all work on this.  I love the way our passage closes this morning.  Look at verse 16, the phrase that reads, “…when each part is working properly…” 

* Working properly.  God gave us gifts, He will come and help us as we utilize them.  He won’t just leave you hanging but will be there just when you need Him.

* Something I have notice about God.  He doesn’t miss His children’s games.   You will never do an act of service without Him noticing.

On the Beach at Peleliu by Brooking Rouse Gex

In 1944 the world was at war. I was a hospital corpsman. My job was to bandage wounded troops on the front lines, to keep injured men alive until we could get them to the navy hospital ship offshore, where surgeons waited.  On this day in mid-September, as one of several pharmacist’s mates, I was poised at the ship’s rail ready to land with the marines. “God, please protect me so I can tend to the injured.” Men were being massacred as they landed. Bodies floated all around us.  The water surged with explosions. The air was thick with the screams of the dying. Half of our troops were killed on the way to the shore. Amazed to still be alive, I joined a patrol of forty-eight marines crawling tree to tree. After only one hour our patrol was down to eight.  That night ammunition was so low that we had only about four rounds per man. All night we heard the Japanese passing the shallow foxholes as we silently hunkered down to await the dawn.  At dawn I set up my first-aid station at the end of the landing strip near Bloody Nose Ridge. Hopelessness overwhelmed me; the line of stretchers at my station seemed to extend to infinity. “God, help me, I don’t know if I can do anything for these men.”  Four men were gunned down trying to reach a marine.  I got his feet and we carried the marine’s bloody body back to the station and set him down.  He was dying. I put him at the end of the line as I was trained to give care to those who could survive. Just then a marine stopped by to tell me the marines I spent the night with did not make it.  That finished me.  Tears welled up in my eyes. It all seem too much. I tried to hide my face so the injured wouldn’t see my despair. A hand on my shoulder startled me. I looked into the calm face of a middle age man.  He gazed at me with kind eys.  Sand kicked up everywhere. Guns blasted but the man was unfazed. His words puzzled me. “Don’t worry son. These marines will be all right. You won’t lose any of them. He was of average height, with a clean shaven face.  His dress was unusual though. He was wearing a dark gray suit without lapels or buttons made of sweater like fabric. It was unlike any outfit I’d ever seen and seemed odd in the midst of battle. He was not of any culture from that part of the world, nor did he appear to be an American. His words gave me a surge of energy and I returned to the wounded.  As I patched one, and then another, I glanced up to see the man who had comforted me. He proceeded down the line of stretchers, bending over each marine. “Hold on, son.  Doc is on the way.  He’ll be with you soon.” He laid a hand of each man as he moved down the line. Of twenty-five to thirty stretchers. Then he paused over the last man the marine with the huge hole through his belly—he lingered.  When I next looked up, he was gone.  He had disappeared.  Yet I knew that was impossible. It took seventy-four more grueling days before the island was completely captured by the marines. But this day will stay with me forever, because after I passed down that line of men, working with renewed strength and purpose, I stopped short at the last stretcher. It wasn’t possible, and yet there it was, reminding me of a power greater than war, greater that anything we can imagine---God’s power. I was staring at the marine who should have been dead.  And what had been an enormous perforation in his midsection was not a small manageable wound.  In fact, it was no bigger than the tip of my thumb. As for the rest of those men, everyone one of them lived and was transported to the hospital ship, just as promised by the mysterious comforter on the island of Peleliu.

 

 

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