Ephesians 1:18-20 (NIV) – “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.”
John 15:5-8 (NIV) – “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
God has given us unlimited resources- “the riches of his glorious inheritance and his incomparably great power” – because of the mission He calls us to. We don’t own these riches – they belong to Jesus. We don’t own the power – Jesus was given all authority and power. We don’t own the gifts – the blessing of the gifts flows through us. We have access because Jesus dwells in us, but how do we access?
Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches.” We are to believe by remaining connected to Him. The key to access is to remain connected moment by moment to Jesus. Everything about us is now wired to perfectly fit with God – our DNA, our heart, mind, soul, strength – our entire being. We are now designed to engage our whole being for the glory of God and to hear, see, learn and live by His presence. Everything about us is to be incorporated into what God is doing through fellowship with Him. When we remain in Him, we are made ready to exercise the gifts to love and edify others when the Spirit calls and leads us.
Let’s pray and ask that our hearts would change even more and embrace more diligently remaining in Christ through His word, worship, prayer and community life. Let’s also continue to pray that God would lead us to experience and witness greater blessings of healings, transformation and salvation among us!
1 Corinthians 12:14-20 (NIV) – “Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”
When we look at one another, we can have the tendency to associate the differences we see with inferiority. But in God’s world, every person and the gifts we have been given matter, because God has redeemed us and arranged it all to fit and function together just as He wants it to be. Now some parts may strengthen more quickly, some may be more out in the open while others are more hidden from the public eye. But without this diversity, what would the body be? The redeeming power of God’s salvation is more than able to enable us to function together in His power and minister as Christ in the world.
So, let’s not neglect or resist the gifts that God gives us. Instead, let’s be thankful and ask God for humility to make our hearts and minds even more together with what He has arranged. Let’s also ask for the redeeming power of God’s salvation to fill us and to manifest in greater healings, more miracles, more salvations!
1 Corinthians 12: 8-14 (NIV) – “To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.”
Paul is using the analogy of the physical body to illustrate how we are together the body of Christ. It’s not a common style or mission that binds us. What binds us together is far more powerful and eternal – each one of us has died with Christ and was raised with Him – “For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body…and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”
God did not give Spiritual gifts to us so that we would shine and function individually. Nor are we just “community”. We are the body of Christ, redeemed, empowered and gifted to display and share Christ in the world. The gifts of the Spirit work most effectively out of this unity.
Let’s ask God to purify our hearts to see and understand who we are as His church from His eyes, Let’s also thank and praise God for the beautiful and powerful unity of being His church, and may the Spirit fill us even more to strengthen and empower this unity so that gifts of the Spirit may be fruitful as we minister.
Acts 2: 36-38,41 (NIV) – “‘Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.’ When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?’
“Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit…’ Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”
“I had such an experience of His love,” D.L. Moody recalled later, “that I had to ask Him to stay His hand. I went to preaching again. The sermons were not different; I did not present new truths, and yet hundreds were converted. I would not now be placed back where I was before that experience if you should give me all the world.” Moody was already actively involved in preaching the Gospel, but his experience provided new power for ministry. [R. Nathan, K. Wilson, Empowered Evangelicals]
When Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, his words cut people to the heart, and about three thousand believed and were baptized. D.L Moody experienced the filling of the Holy Spirit and received new power for ministry and hundreds were saved. We too can ask for and welcome the Holy Spirit to empower our sharing of the Gospel, so that persons we share with are cut to the heart and saved.
Let’s pray today and ask God for more of His empowering to come upon us. Let’s ask God to stir up the gift of evangelism among us, and to fill us with His love and anoint the very words we speak when we share the Gospel so more may be added to God’s family.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7,11 (NIV) – “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good…All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”
What wonderful grace God gives to us. He gives Spiritual gifts to His believers, to the body of Christ. The gifts are abilities or tools given to us by the Spirit’s empowering to enable us to minister in specific ways to advance God’s kingdom. And it’s a gift! It’s not a reward or a merit badge. Spiritual gifts are not to elevate us or be some measure of our spiritual maturity. The gifts are given to us for service, for the common good, to lift up others, to edify others and build up God’s church. It’s not about us. It’s about Jesus. This is the marvelous grace of God at work in our lives.
Let’s seek God in prayer concerning the gifts He has given to us – may He stir them up and strengthen them. Let’s also ask God to help us step up in faith and exercise the Spiritual gifts so that God’s church would be built up.