In this message, we learn that the Holy Spirit empowers us to build and strengthen the body.
Hey friends, good morning. We are in our series called chapter two and we’ve been talking about beginning a relationship with the Holy Spirit, and I hope you’ve been enjoying this series. In my own life, I’ve been having a lot of fun studying about the Holy Spirit and exploring what Jesus has to say about who he is in our lives and as we’re going through the series, I feel like the Holy Spirit is doing something great. I feel like he’s being activated in this church as we’re welcoming him in and giving him an imitation to come in our lives as we are praying and fasting and everyday saying, Holy Spirit come have a relationship with me, God gives me the gift of the Holy Spirit in my life. I feel like he is doing something incredibly profound and powerful in our lives. You see, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom; and so as we’re seeking the Holy Spirit and allowing him to move in our lives, I sense this freedom just bubbling up in us. This week as I was studying, I came across this passage and let me just read it to you. I just feel like this passage is so applicable to us.
First Corinthians chapter 1 starting in verse 4, Paul right into the Corinthian church, he says, I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus, for in him you’ve been enriched in every way and all your speaking and in all your knowledge because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore, you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, God, who has called you into fellowship with his son Jesus Christ, our Lord is faithful. I read that this week and I thought man that applies to our church and just like Paul told the Corinthian church how grateful he was for them, I want to tell you how grateful I am for you. I am so grateful for this church, I’m so grateful that every week you want to gather together to encounter the presence of God, that every week you want to come to worship the Lord Jesus Christ that you want to take your next steps.
I am so grateful to be a part of this church, I’m grateful for you and just like Paul said to the Corinthian church, he said the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ was all over them, the grace of Jesus is all over this church. Do you believe that today? I mean the grace of Jesus is all over this place. He is moving, he is doing incredible things. His love, his goodness and his undeserved favor is upon us in every way, shape and form. Here’s what I want to tell you this morning is, please don’t take this for granted. Don’t take for granted what Jesus is doing in this place because I’m telling you it’s special. Every week we get emails and letters and notes from people who are out of state, who watch online, who follow Valley Creek through the website and all that stuff, and they say all we wish we could be a part of Valley Creek church, we wish we had a church like Valley Creek in our neighborhood. We have people who move from Valley Creek all the time to go to different states for jobs and follow God and the calling on their life and they write back and say we can’t find a church like Valley Creek where we are, we so desperately Miss Valley Creek church.
I hope you never take for granted what God is doing in this place because it’s special and not everybody gets to experience it. You see I think a lot of times my job as Pastor is not to give you this new revelation, it’s just to remind you of what you already know and I know you know it’s special but let’s not take it for granted. Let’s keep in grateful to God for what he’s doing in this place and what I love about verse 7 that Paul says. He says, therefore, you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. In other words, Paul tells the Corinthian church which is true for us, that you have everything you need to reach the city, we have everything we need to reach our city, all of the gifts, all of the passions, all of the talents and all the financial resources that we need to reach our city are already in this house. In other words, we have everything we need to become everything God has called us to be, including every spiritual gift, and that’s what I want to talk about today and so if you got your Bibles flipped with me to Acts chapter 2 and First Corinthians 12.
Acts chapter 2 First Corinthians 12 we’re going to talk about spiritual gifts to set the stage again for you in Acts chapter 2, remember Jesus has now told the disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, but to first wait, to wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit and so in the beginning of the Acts chapter 2, the disciples are in the upper room and they’re waiting for the Holy Spirit who has not yet been poured out upon the earth or been fully released to remain. In Acts chapter 2, the spirit comes with incredible power and in verse four it says, all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. The spirit is released for the first time in the disciple’s lives comes upon them in power and it says they were all enabled, they were empowered, they were equipped to do the ministry that Jesus had called them to do. The moment the spirit gets released into their lives, they have the spiritual gifts they need to do the assignments that Jesus has called them to do.
And in Acts chapter 2 you watch as a lot of these gifts are an operation, they have the gift of tongues, they have the gift of teaching, they have the gift of prophecy. They are equipped or enabled or empowered to do the ministry that Jesus has called them to do and what I love about the disciples is literally the Spirit comes upon them and they just go for it. I mean they don’t sit there and try to analyze it, logically break it down or study it. The Spirit comes upon him and they’re like this is the thing Jesus told us was coming, let’s go for it and they jump out there and they let the gifts start flowing through their life. Do you remember the first week we started this series, we said that we want to be a chapter 2 church and live a chapter 2 life. You remember that? Chapter 2 church and chapter 2 life and we said that a chapter 2 church is a church with passion and power in the presence of God, that’s the same for chapter 2 life, passion and power in the presence of God. Well, if we’re going to be a chapter 2 church and you’re going to have a chapter 2 live, we need to activate the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The part of the thing that Jesus has given us to live the chapter 2 life, and what I love about these guys in Acts chapter 2, I mean Acts chapter 2 church they just got it. When you study and you read Acts chapter 2, I mean they just get it. They knew they needed each other, they knew they were interdependent, they knew they were a community, they knew they were bound together by the Spirit of the Living God, they knew they all had a spiritual gift and they were all willing to use those. In verse 44, it says all the believers were together and had everything in common. And everything in common, in other words, they all had gifts and they all put those gifts on the table and they were willing to be used by God to do incredible things. And as I read that this week, I prayed and thought, Oh Lord, let that be true Valley Creek church, let us activate the spiritual gifts in this place so we can live a chapter 2 life. You see, if you’ve been in church for any period of time, by now you’ve probably heard the term spiritual gift. Anybody ever hear that before, spiritual gifts, right. We hear about spiritual gifts if you hang out in church and usually it’s in one of two veins that we start talking about spiritual gifts, both of which are unhealthy.
The first vein is we talk about spiritual gifts to make you feel guilty to get you involved in ministry, it’s that right. If you have been to a church for any period of time, we make you feel guilty and we talk about spiritual gifts and you’re like, I don’t really care what kind of spiritual gift do you say I have, I am not wiping no babies bottoms. All right, I’m just telling you right now, don’t make me feel guilty about it, don’t talk to me about spiritual gifts, I am not interested in serving in that role. We talk about gifts to make people feel guilty like you got to go and do something, which is completely unhealthy and then the other vein we talk about spiritual gifts, is a lot of times people seek the gifts but they forget about the giver. They want the gifts to be flowing in their lives as if they’re somehow elite or super spiritual or incredibly mature. They want this emotional experience or this emotional encounter, but they totally forget about the giver. Both of those are completely unhealthy and wrong and they warp our view of what the Spirit is really trying to do in our lives. So, if you’re taking notes, let me just give you some real basic stuff about spiritual gifts and then we’re going to get into some real practical stuff, okay.
In the Bible, the word spiritual gift, it’s translated charisma, okay. The Greek word for spiritual gifts in the Bible, it’s the word charisma. The New Testament was originally written in Greek. The Greek word for spiritual gift, it’s the word charisma and the word charisma means a movement of grace. In the original language spiritual gifts, it’s the word charisma, the word charisma means a movement of grace, so a spiritual gift is literally a movement of grace. It’s when you release the grace of Jesus Christ into the world around you and you know that the word grace it means undeserved favor. It’s undeserved or unmerited favor, so a spiritual gift it’s a release and it’s a movement of God’s undeserved favor, his undeserved goodness. It’s a movement of grace into the world around us or in other words it’s a supernatural empowerment by the Holy Spirit to build or strengthen the body of Christ. You see when you’re functioning in the spiritual gifts, you’re releasing the grace of Jesus into the world around you and you’re literally doing what Jesus would do if he was standing there in that situation.
Catch this, when spiritual gifts are flowing through your life, you’re literally doing what Jesus would do if he was standing there in that situation. You got a supernatural alignment with Jesus Christ, which means if the gift of wisdom is flowing through your life, you’re giving the wisdom that Jesus would give us if he was standing there in that situation. When the gift of mercy is flowing through your life, you’re literally giving the mercy that Jesus would give if he was standing there in that situation. If you have the gift of healing, you’re giving the healing that Jesus would give if he was standing there in that situation. You’re literally releasing the grace of Jesus Christ doing what he would do if he was standing there in that situation and that’s pretty incredible. When we’re bringing heaven to earth, we’re bringing the kingdom of God into that situation or circumstance or to that person, or beating back the kingdom of darkness with the kingdom of light, that spiritual gifts, it’s charisma, it’s a movement of grace and that’s some good stuff.
And a lot of times we get all bent out of shape by this word charismatic, right. Charismatic, are those charismatic people, is that a charismatic church? People ask me that all the time. Are we a charismatic church because I just need to know, are we a charismatic church? And I don’t like labels or definitions, I don’t like to define us because they mean different things to different people. In fact, if you’re going to define Valley Creek, here’s how we’ll define it. We’re a life giving, spirit filled and Jesus focused church, okay. That’s who we are. Life giving, spirit filled and Jesus focused church. We don’t want to put labels or limits on us, but if you think about the word charismatic and it means charisma, a movement of grace, the spirit moving through our lives to bring grace into the world doing what Jesus would do if he was doing with the power of the Spirit, that’s a pretty good thing. Don’t you think? Some of my Baptist friends are looking at me and they’re like no, that’s still not a good thing, I still can’t get there. It’s a release of grace, it’s a good thing. You got to just laugh, you got to have fun in church, man, come on.
Think of Peter in Acts chapter 2, the Spirit comes upon and what’s the first thing he does, he stands up and he preaches the gospel with the gift of tongues. There’s a bunch of people there who don’t know his language and he’s empowered by the Spirit to stand up and preach the gospel in a different language, and that’s grace. That’s a movement of grace flowing through his life, that’s pushing back the kingdom of darkness with the king of light, that’s doing what Jesus would do if Jesus was standing there because Jesus would communicate the gospel in a way other people could understand. It’s a release of grace and we got to get to this place where in our church we desire the spiritual gifts, where we activate them. Paul tells Timothy fan into flame, the gift that has been given to you. We need the fan into flame the gifts that have been put in this church through the Spirit of the Living God. It’s a movement of grace.
Now, it’s really important to know the difference between a talent and a gift, okay, huge difference. Really simple, real quick, talents and a gift. A talent is a natural ability that draws people to you, a spiritual gift is a supernatural ability that points people to Jesus, it’s the difference. A talent is a natural ability that you possess that draws people to you and they look at you. A spiritual gift is a supernatural ability that points people to Jesus. Talents draw people to use, spiritual gifts point people to Jesus, and what I love about the Holy Spirit is he never draws attention to himself. Do you know that? The Spirit is never drawing attention to himself. He’s here to point people to Jesus, to continue Jesus’ teaching, to draw people to Jesus Christ. John 15:26, Jesus says about the spirit, he says when the council or the spirit comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father. Ready? He will testify about me. Jesus says the spirit is coming for one reason to testify about me, to point people to me to continue my teaching to draw people to Jesus Christ.
The spirit never draws people to himself, which means if anyone is drawing people to themselves, it’s not the Spirit working in their life and I think it’s really important to catch this because sometimes we can get out of balance and get over here and it’s our natural talents flowing through our lives or we’re trying to create this emotional experience. If people are being drawn to you, codependent upon you and totally dependent upon you for their spiritual life, that’s not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit doesn’t draw people to assert himself, he always points people to Jesus. It’s charisma, movement of grace, okay. So, flip over with me to First Corinthians 12. First Corinthians 12, this is kind of where we’re going to stay. I want to get some real practical stuff for you. First Corinthians chapter 12, starting in verse 1 here’s what Paul says to the Corinthian church, now. If you have your Bible, circle the word now. Now, about spiritual gifts brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. It’s an interesting statement that he starts, now, about spiritual gifts brother, I do not want you to be ignorant.
In other words, Paul makes it sound like you can’t understand spiritual gifts until you understand what’s just been said. You can’t understand spiritual gifts, it’s now I can tell you about spiritual gifts that you understand what I’ve just said. Well, what is he just said? You see, in chapter 12 if you just back up one chapter, he spends the whole chapter talking about communion, talking about the Lord’s supper, the body and blood of Jesus Christ, the bread and the cup, which we’re going to do next week to break our fast together. He’s talking about communion, the cross of Jesus Christ, the grace of Jesus. So, in other words, Paul says, if you don’t understand the grace of Jesus Christ, you’ll never understand spiritual gifts. If you don’t understand the grace of Jesus, you can’t understand the moves of grace, the charisma. He says now about spiritual gifts, because now you understand the cross, the revelation of grace in your life that Jesus has taken your sin, that you are now righteous and Jesus Christ that the Spirit is there to convince you that you’re righteous, like we talked about last week.
Until you understand the grace of Jesus Christ, you’ll never understand the charisma, the movements of grace and a lot of us want to focus on the spiritual gifts without ever really getting a true revelation of the grace of Jesus Christ. He says you got to make sure you get these things right, you got to get this before you can get that. Now, that you got that he says, I don’t want you to be ignorant. We’re way too ignorant about the spiritual gifts. Jump down to verse 4, he says there are different kinds of gifts but the same spirit. There are different kinds of service but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working but the same God works all of them and all men. Now to each one, the manifestation of the Spirit is given for common good, to one there is given through the Spirit in the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by the 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 into still another and the interpretation of tongues, all these are the work of the one in the same Spirit and he gives them to each one just as he determines.
A couple of really simple thoughts for you about spiritual gifts. Now that you got that foundation, here’s what we need to know about spiritual gifts. His gifts are needed, okay. Number one, his gifts are needed. Paul says it’s the same Spirit who works in all of us to release his gifts, his moves of grace into this world and if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, you have the spiritual gifts available to you. Their charisma, their moves of grace. I mean, I can just look at your faces, a lot of us will say well I don’t have spiritual gifts. I mean, I’m not that mature, I’m not that worthy, I’m not that elite and I haven’t figured out this whole Bible thing. In fact, I’m just trying to figure out how to walk with Jesus. Man, I don’t have spiritual gifts. Listen, it’s charisma. It’s a move of grace, which means undeserved favor flowing through your life, you’ve been saved by grace undeserved favor, so it’s undeserved favor charisma flowing through your life. Yeah, you may not think you’re worthy of it, but in Jesus Christ you are, it’s charisma, it’s a move of grace.
In fact, in verse 7 he says now to each one, which would include you as a follower of Jesus, the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. Since every follower of Jesus Christ has access to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the movement of grace, and every time in the Bible spiritual gifts are talked about, they’re always talked about in terms of the common good, that the gifts aren’t given to you for you, they’re given to you for us, that they’re for the common good, they are for the church, they are for the building and the strengthening of the body. Everywhere in scripture, it always talks about that therefore they are building up and the strengthening of the body of Christ. You see, the spirit empowers us to do what we could never do by ourselves, we need his gifts and we need his grace, which means we need you because these gifts flow through you. There is grace that Jesus wants to release through you into this place, we need you.
Look at the person sitting next to you and say, you’re gifted. Man, that was weak, you don’t think anybody in this place is gifted, try it again. Look at the person sitting next you and say you’re gifted. Now, look at the other person and say we need you. You’re gifted and we need you, alright. You have spiritual gifts that the Spirit wants to release, a move of grace that he wants to bring into this place, we need it. What I love about what Paul does is he goes right on starting in verse 12 and he talks about the body of Christ, you know that analogy right that the church that where the body of Christ, Jesus is the head and we’re the body and he assembles us exactly the way that he wants us to be to reveal Jesus Christ to the world. In verse 18, he says, but in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them just as he wanted them to be, which means Jesus Christ himself has placed you in this church and in this body.
I hate to break it to you, but you aren’t enjoying a great burger over at Red Robin and thought, hey, let’s go check out that church with the pond, that sounds like a great idea, that’s not how you got here, okay. You may think it is, but it’s not. You didn’t get here because you went on the website or because somebody or your kids ball team invited you to come to church, that may have been the invitation that got you here, but you’re here because Jesus Christ himself said, you are a part of my body and here’s where I’m going to assemble you and I’m going to place you exactly where I need you to be so you can reveal me to the world, and until you get that, you will never understand the importance of church. Until you get that, you will never understand the importance of church because you’ll just go from place to place. I got bored over here, I like the worship over there, I like the children’s ministry over here, I like the preaching over there, I got offended over here so I’m going to go over there. Until you understand that Jesus himself has placed you in this church to be a part of the body that you’re encircled, that you need to be rooted here that if you’re going to grow and flourish in your spiritual journey, you need to be a part of the body where Jesus has placed you, you’re never going to get it, you’re never going to enjoy church until you choose to believe that.
See, every part matters, which means you matter. Did you ever hear of the 80/20 rule, it’s kind of like a principle that you can apply to a lot of things. It says 20% of the people do 80% of the work. All the moms are like yeah that’s true in my home. Right? 20% of people do 80% of the work, it’s almost always true in most churches, 20% of the people do 80% of the ministry, the giving and the participation. It’s not true at Valley Creek, which is awesome. Our ratio is way higher than that, but if you think about what Paul’s talking about here, the body of Christ. Imagine if 20% of your body worked. Think of this, one toe, this knee, one kidney and this eye, that’s it, that’s all you got. How are you gonna function in life?
Yes, I’m going home and take a nap, right. I mean, what are you gonna do? Imagine if it was just that foot, this thigh bone, your liver and this hand and that’s all you got. I mean, you’re not going to get through life, right, but that’s exactly what we do to Jesus’s body when we decide that we’re not going to participate. We’re saying, Jesus you go figure out how to reveal yourself to the world with 20% of your body functioning. When you step back and say I’m not going to participate, I’m not going to flourish, I’m not worthy to be used and you’re saying Jesus you go figure it out, that’s just not true. We need every part, every part of the body is important, okay. Even the pinky toenail. Anybody feel like the pinky toenail sometimes. Yeah, nobody’s gonna raise their hand to admit that one right, but listen here’s the deal, I talked to you and I know in your heart a lot of you feel like the pinky toe now, and you look back at me in conversation and then you say John, I got nothing to offer, I’m just trying to figure this thing. Spiritual gifts, I don’t know what that even mean. Man, I’m happy if I read my Bible once a week and come to church twice a month, I mean, I can’t be a part of that, I’m the pinky toenail, I don’t have much to offer.
Listen, did you every rip your pinky toenail off? Okay, because I have, it’s incredibly painful, I didn’t sleep for 3 days, it hurts so bad. Even if you think you’re the pinky toenail, we need you. We need you so we can run and flourish and walk without pain, we need you. And the truth of the matter is we can’t be everything God has called us to be unless you’re becoming everything God has called you to be. We need you and you need us, and we’re not okay without you. Can you hear me? We’re not okay without you and you’re not okay without us, and you got to stop letting Satan deceive you into thinking, they don’t need me, I’m not that important. They got enough people doing Ministry of that. I mean, it’s just too big and it’s too hard to get involved anyways. Listen, that’s a lie from the pit of hell. We need you. We need you.
Sometimes as the church grows, we start to get afraid and we say the church is growing and man there’s a lot of people coming and like what does that mean and the real question behind that fear is this. Am I still going to be important, the real question that we ask when we get afraid of church growth is, am I still going to be needed, are they still going to want me. Yes, you’re a part of this body and as a body grows the parts of the body grow, and as the parts of the body grows the body grows, we need you even if you’re the pinky toenail. It doesn’t matter how big we get, every part is important. If you’ve ever walked in this church, even one time and enjoyed anything from the cafe to just the lights being turned on, to the worship and to the children’s ministry, it’s because somebody else released grace into this place, allowed the spirit to move through their lives and we need that. We got to get to this place where we start calling that out and each other.
Guys, this week it merged, before you even get in anything look at each other and say, hey, where are you releasing grace into this place. Hebrews 10:24, we got to spur each other on delivering good deeds. Soul sisters, before you get your great study look at each other and say, hey, where are the spiritual gifts flowing through your life because we need the grace that Jesus wants to bring through your life into this place. Your serving teams, the people you know they kind of come and go a little bit look at them and say, man, there is grace that the Spirit wants to release through you into this place and we need it, and if you don’t do it, you’re keeping grace from flowing into this church, the grace that we need, okay. His gifts are needed. Can you tell I’m passionate about that, getting a little excited and starting to sweat here in the morning. All right, second thing is this. His gifts are fulfilling, okay. His gifts are fulfilling verse 11, all these are the work of the one and the same Spirit and he gives them to each one just as he determines. Paul says the Spirit gives you gifts, moves of grace to build and strengthen the body and the truth of the matter is this, we’re never more alive than when we are revealing Jesus Christ to the world around us.
Romans 14:17 says where the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy. When the Spirit is flowing through your life, you live a life of righteousness, peace and joy, and a lot of us find very low fulfillment on our spiritual journeys because we’re always taking and never giving. If you always take and never give, you’re not going to be fulfilled. There’s no peace and joy flowing through your life. If you’re always taking, you’ll find yourself quickly becoming negative, critical and complaining about things that are happening, but all sudden you find another person in the same exact situation as you are and they’re grateful and happy and full of peace. Why? Because they’re letting the spirit move through their life, they’re releasing grace, which is bringing a peace and fulfillment in their soul. Acts 20:35, Jesus says it’s more blessed to give and receive. In other words, happy is the person who releases grace through their lives.
Listen, I don’t know about you, but I’m never more alive than when I know the spirit is flowing through my life. I mean, there’s times when I’m up here on a morning and we’re teaching through the word of God and I know the spirit is moving through my life, and it’s like, man, that the grace is being released into the atmosphere of faith, I never feel more alive than in those moments and about the same is true in you. See, I love walking around our hallways and trying to thank our volunteers for serving in Ministry and I love it literally every time I walk up to somebody and thank them almost without fail, here’s what they say back to me. I say thanks for serving in Ministry, we couldn’t do without you and they look back at me and they say thanks for giving me the opportunity to serve. They don’t just say you’re welcome. They say, thanks for the opportunity to let me serve. Why? Because grace is flowing through their lives, the peace and joy of Jesus, the Holy Spirit is coming up and there’s a fulfillment. I’ve never one time thanked to volunteer and had them look back at me and say, I’m only here because my wife made me. Well, I got suckered into signing up on a signup sheet. now I can’t get out of this thing, I mean never one time. Why? Because they’re fulfilled, the spirits moving through their life.
Our all staff meetings, every time we have an all staff meeting here at church, we started with something we call because of you and we spent the first 20 or so minutes going around the room and just saying because of you this that or the other thing happened. Hey, Brian because of you and the facilities team this that and the other thing happened and this person met Jesus. Hey, Mary and Melissa because of you this that and the other thing happened. Hey Cynthia, because of you this that or the other thing happened and literally 20 minutes and you watch it, and when somebody gets called out, you literally see their whole countenance change. It’s like they come alive and they kind of lift that they puff up a little bit and not like, well I’m so great; but like, wow, the spirits moving through my life too and there’s a fulfillment and a peace and joy that comes with that. There should be people all over this church looking at you saying because of you grace got released into this place and here’s what happened, we need you to release grace and it’s incredibly fulfilling when you let the spirit do it, okay.
The third thing is this, his gifts are powerful. Because gifts are powerful, Acts 1:8, Jesus says but you will receive power when the Spirit comes upon you. Man, it’s the Spirit of the Living God that changes things. We need the power of the Spirit flowing through this place. Jesus says I will build my church in Matthew 16:18. How does he build it? By the power of the Spirit of the Living God. In fact, the Spirit doesn’t show up, we got nothing. You know that? The Spirit doesn’t show up in this place, we got nothing. Who cares what somebody up front has to say or how great the building is? I mean, we got nothing if the Spirit of living God doesn’t show up. We got to be desperate for his power and the world is waiting for us to just release that power. You see, you hear the spiritual gifts and you think about it right, I mean the gift of healing, the gift of miracles, the gift of prophecy, discerning of spirits and words of knowledge.
Man, that’s powerful stuff. Don’t you think? That’s powerful, but you know what’s just this powerful, the gift of mercy and the gift of hospitality and the gift of serving and the gift of encouragement, it’s the power of the Spirit flowing into this place. A few weeks ago, Saturday night service, both Saturday night services were done and I was walking out to the parking lot, it was the end of the night, I mean I was just really discouraged. I felt like my message didn’t go the way I wanted to, it just felt flat and so I was kind of just beat down and walking out to my car kind of my head hanging low a little bit and listen, you think it’s bad when it’s a bad sermon, you got to listen to it once for 30 minutes, okay. I got to preach it three times and watch it twice on video, I got more incentive than you will ever know to make sure the messages are relevant and connect. So, I’m walking out to the parking lot feeling really beat down and there’s nobody like left, and this lady in our church she pulls up next to me in her car she rolls down her window and for 30 seconds she just talks to me, and she releases the charisma, the gift of encouragement flows into my life and she just says a few words and I’m telling you it wasn’t words from her, it were words from Jesus filling up my soul.
She did what Jesus would do if Jesus was standing there and she filled up my soul. In fact, the word spirit has actually translated breath in the Bible, it’s what it actually means is breath. It was like the breath of God breathing on me fresh air and she filled me up with this power of the Spirit as she let the charisma move through her life. That’s what the spiritual gifts do. They’re incredibly powerful and we need them. I need your gifts flowing into my life and you need my gifts flowing in your life, we need each other and every weekend something like that happens 1000 times over in this place and the spirit is just waiting for us to release him. I don’t know about you, I need his power. Listen, I need the gift of wisdom flowing through my life when I’m trying to parent my kids, I just do. I need the gift of prophecy when I’m trying to love my wife and speak truth over her, so she can become everything Jesus has called her to be.
I need the gift of mercy when I’m hanging out with my friends and somebody is hurting or broken. I need this power flowing through my life, and the crazy part about it is, there’s always a reason not to isn’t there. There’s always a reason not to. I’m too busy, I’m too tired, I gotta run to the next thing, I’m ill equipped, I’m unprepared, I’m unworthy, not me or maybe next time. Listen, are you a new creation in Christ Jesus? Okay, then you’re worthy. If you’re a new creation in Christ Jesus, you’re worthy to let the charisma, the undeserved favor of God, with power flow through your life. We’ve got to get to this place where we just say, spirit move. We say we want to see the supernatural and the power of God in church, there are way too many powerless churches. Why? Because we stop the gifts from flowing through our life. You can stop the spirit saying I ain’t doing that or you can say spirit just come and move. If you don’t let the gifts flow through your life, you stop the power of God from flowing into us. It’s not just you, church is always bigger than you, it’s all these people sitting around you, we need that power, which is the last thing and it’s this, his gifts flow through us, okay.
His gifts flow through you. Verse 7 one last time, now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. Listen, you are God’s plan. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about it this way, you’re God’s plan and he has no plan B. You’re his plan to build and strengthen the body of Christ to advance the kingdom of God. He doesn’t need us, but he chooses us. We are his plan. He has no plan B and he gives you all the gifts you need to do the assignment that he has called you to do, and we’ve got to get past this place. This is what tradition has often taught us. We got to get past this place where I have one spiritual gift and that’s all I have. A lot of times we think we have one spiritual gift or two and that’s all I have. Listen, you got to catch this, the Holy Spirit can give you any gift at any point in time.
Think about this. If there are the gifts of the Spirit and the Spirit resides in you as a follower of Jesus, he can give you any gift at any point in time to do the work of Ministry. He can give you any gift there is. I mean, think about Acts chapter 2, you see these guys functioning in a whole lot of gifts. It wasn’t about going and taking a spiritual questionnaire and this is my gift that it came up on. I mean, imagine Peter, right. The guy’s there and he needs to be healed and Peter walks up and sees it and the guy needs healing. He’s like hang on a second, I gotta go take a questionnaire to figure out what spiritual gift I have. Scantron number two pencil, answer a bunch of questions, okay, yep, came back give of encouragement. Sorry, buddy, can’t do anything for you. Find somebody with the gift of healing, I’ll send them over. No. What did Peter do? He walks up to the guy and he’s like Spirit if you want to release the charisma the move of grace through my life, I’m gonna pray for this guy, you do it, you give me what gift do you want to flow through my life whenever you’re ready and he prays and the guy gets healed. Spirit can give you any gift at any point in time.
Did you ever try to fix something with the wrong tool, right. We all know what that’s like. So, if you had a flathead screwdriver, projects done in 30 seconds. But you got a wrench, a pair of pliers, a Phillips screwdriver and a hammer and three hours later you still haven’t fixed that project if you would just had that one flathead screwdriver and that’s how a lot of us function in our spiritual journey. The Holy Spirit is like that friend who has every tool there is and he will give you the tools that you need to do the things he has called you to do. He can give you any gift at any point in time. Just ask him. We got to stop with this, I’m a wrench. Okay, I’m a wrench that’s all, like I have the gift of serving, all I can do is a wrench and that requires a different gift, I don’t have it. You’re not just a wrench, you’re not just the gift of serving and you’re not just the gift of hospitality, you have the Spirit of God inside you and he can give you any gift at any point in time. One of the Spirit wants you to go to that hospital to pray for that person because he wants to release the gift of healing through you, the charisma.
Say, I don’t have to gift of healing, I can’t do that. What if it’s the spirit that wants you to walk across the room to go find that teenager to give them a word of encouragement because that teenager is thinking about suicide and you know nothing about it, and you think I can’t do that spirit, I only have the gift of hospitality. But what if it’s the spirit that wants you to give a word of prophecy to somebody in your life, a word of prophecy that will change their lives but you say I can’t do that I only have the gift of giving. I mean, I can’t go in and give a word of prophecy. It’s just not true. You can’t sit there and say, I don’t have that gift, that’s actually inaccurate. Here’s what you can say is, I’ve never operated in that gift that gift has never flown through my life yet. The Spirit hasn’t chosen to release that gift through me, but you can’t say I don’t have that gift, because you have the spirit and he can release any gift at any point in time. He’s like the janitor that has the key ring with every key that can unlock any door that you will come up in contact with and we got to start believing that that the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead is inside me and he can release anything at any time.
In fact, first Corinthians 14:1, follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts. Eagerly desire. He wouldn’t tell you the desire spiritual gifts if you could only have one or two gifts and that’s all you could function in. In fact, he goes on to say especially the gift of prophecy, equally desire. Do you desire the gifts for us, do you pursue them, do you activate them in your life and are you ready and open? The spirit won’t force it upon you and I think a lot of times the spirit doesn’t flow through our lives, can I just say it, because of pride. It’s pride. It’s like, man, I don’t know, I’m not gonna pray for that gift of healing. I don’t have it, I’m not gonna pray for that person, what if they don’t get healed, I’m not gonna do that prophecy, I don’t even know what prophecy means, I can’t do that spirit, I can’t go give that person the word, what if it’s the wrong word or the gift of tongues. I mean, tongues, oh tongues, that’s the one we’re all afraid of that we’ll get creeped out about like I can’t do that. It’s like embarrassing, I don’t want anything to do. Or the gift of serving, I’m gonna have to humble myself too much to go to.
I mean it’s pride that kind of shuts the Spirit down or an ambivalence or an apathy and you say, man, if you just open yourself up and watch what I will do. So, we got to choose to just say, we will be open, we will be willing and we will ask by faith. Just ask him, what kind of move of grace does he want to release in this place through you. Let me close with this, of course, every message so far of the series is with a story, because the spirit isn’t meant to be studied, he’s meant to be experienced and he’s meant to have a relationship with. Seven years ago, Colleen and I were living in Colorado and we were trying to figure out what our first Ministry assignment was and so we were wrestling through a lot of different options and we had a lot of options all over the country, a lot of things that look really good and one of those at the time was Valley Creek church, to be an associate pastor here in a different role, and to be honest with you, it was the last one on our list, okay. This was the one we were least excited about, we’d never even visited Texas.
Texas was like a whole, you know, bigger and better in Texas meant nothing to us at that time, we thought. Man, ladies with big hair and bling and all that kind of stuff, we didn’t understand it, right, none of it. So, it was way down on our list and so we were going all these other things, but we decided we’ll go through the interview process, so we came, and we came to the interview process here and we went through, it was like a 3 day interview process. It was crazy. About halfway through the 3 days, we just knew this wasn’t for us, that this isn’t what God’s called us to do, we kind of decided in our hearts, we were good, we’ll go through the rest of the interview but this isn’t what God has for us. We get to basically the end of the interview process and we have one last interview with a group of people, and when it’s over, a man says to me, he says can I talk to you for a minute, that was in the interview. I said sure, he pulls us aside. He said, hey, because we were in this interview, I just felt this on my heart and I just want to share this word with you. So, you take it to the Lord, you see if this is from God, but I just feel like this is something that God would want to share with you, like a prophetic word that he wanted to share. I said, sure, I’m open to it.
He looked at me and he said here’s what I saw. He said I feel like God’s telling me to tell you that Valley Creek is really your launching pad, that God wants you to come here and he said I saw it’s like a launching pad and you’re like a rocket ship and God wants to light the Ministry that he has for you, but Valley Creek is your launching pad and all those other opportunities that you see that’s not where God wants you to go. He wants you to come here because there’s stuff he wants to do in you in this next season, there’s character things he needs to shape in you and things he needs to work in your heart that can only happen here and if you will come here, this will be the launching pad and God will light the rocket and you will take off and you will become everything God has called you to be. I said, man, that’s great thank you. So, Colleen and I got in the car and we looked at each other. He was excited about it. We got in the car and we looked at each other and I kid you not, we said, this is where we’re supposed to go. Just like that, we knew it why, because he released grace into my life, a movement of grace, a charisma. He said to me what Jesus would have said to me if Jesus was standing there.
It was like the breath of God, the words of Jesus coming over me saying John, this is what I have for you, not all that other stuff, this is what I have and I’m so glad he let the move of grace flow through his life because if he didn’t, I wouldn’t be here getting to preach to you about spiritual gifts today starting this message and how grateful I am for you. You would have a different pastor and I’d be somewhere else in the world and I would have missed what God had for me in this incredible journey, all because a man was willing to say, spirit flow through my life. Let your grace come move through me, he wasn’t embarrassed, he wasn’t nervous, he didn’t take the ownership on himself and he just said, I’m open, I’m willing, and I’m going to ask by faith for the spirit to move in my life. That’s what I want for you. That’s all I want for us.
So, close your eyes and bow your heads with me and let me just ask you that simple question. What’s the Holy Spirit’s saying to you today? What’s he whispering in your heart? Some of you maybe, he’s whispering to you and just telling you you’re needed. You haven’t felt like you’re needed or like you’ve been wanted, the Spirit is telling you today you’re needed and wanted. Some of you he’s telling you it’s time to step off the sidelines and get in the game because there’s grace he wants to release through you, that the lack of fulfillment that you’re finding in your journey is because there’s no peace and joy flowing through your life in the Holy Spirit. Some of you he’s saying let’s pop that bubble of that box that you’ve placed the Holy Spirit and that you only have one or two gifts and start believing and asking by faith that anything can flow through your life at any time because the Spirit of God resides inside you.
What’s he saying to you? So, here’s what I want pray, I just want to pray right now, Holy Spirit, would you activate the gifts of the Spirit in this place, would you stir up the gifts of the Spirit in our hearts. Holy Spirit, would you come and release the moves of Christ, the charisma, into this place that we need to build and strengthen the body and point people to Jesus; would you release the gifts of leadership and teaching and prophesy; would you really lease the gifts of discernment and words of knowledge and the gifts of healing; would you release the gifts of hospitality and encouragement and giving; would you release all of your gifts into this place and may we be open and willing and may we ask by faith. In fact, in your own way right now will you just tell the spirit if you want to say Spirit I give you permission to release your gifts through my life and then just be open and available and watch what he will do, and when he puts that property on your heart, just say okay Spirit I’m nervous and I’m scared, but I’m going to believe that you’re going to flow through my life.
So, Holy Spirit, we receive that, we believe in the Lord Jesus we are grateful that we are here because of the cross of Jesus Christ and the grace you poured out on us. If you’re here and you need prayer for anything come up here, these people want to pray for you. Maybe you just want hands laid on you to pray the release of the spirit in your life, that’s what Paul says to Timothy because the hands that have been laid on you, maybe you need prayer for anything, let these people pray for you. If you’re new to Valley Creek church, I’d love to invite you over to Guest Central. I’ll be in there with some of our leaders, we just want to introduce ourselves to you and tell you that we’re glad that you’re here, but I pray you go this week allowing the moves of grace to flow through your life. I love you all, have a great week, blessings.