Category Archives: Teaching

Is the Mustard Tree a Bad Thing?

Brown Mustard Seeds

Image by FotoosVanRobin via Flickr

[31] He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; [32] and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR come and NEST IN ITS BRANCHES.” – [Mat 13:31-32 NASB]

This parable comes in a line of negative parables about the kingdom of heaven. So I was researching online about the mustard tree, and it seems that there really isn’t a mustard tree, but more of a mustard bush. So it seems that the mustard plant growing to the size of a tree is something unnatural. God did not create it to be a tree, but a bush. A bush should never be a tree. Not only that but the tree is a home to the birds of the air.

[3] And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; [4] and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. – [Mat 13:3-4 NASB]

[19] “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. – [Mat 13:19 NASB]

[2] in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. – [Eph 2:2 NASB]


It seems that this little seed has grown into a great haven for Satan.

Any thoughts on what the mustard seed might represent? It seems to be some small, seemingly insignificant addition to the kingdom that makes a place for Satan.


How to Imitate Christ

[1] Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. – [1Cr 11:1 NASB]

[1] Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; – [Eph 5:1 NASB]

There is a famous book called “The Imitation of Christ”. Many people have tried to imitate Christ and they have found it impossible. Sure, you might be able to do good for days, months, or even years, but eventually you will fail. Why is it impossible? He lived a perfect life. How can we possibly imitate someone who lived a perfect life?

The problem is that we view the life of Jesus of Nazareth through a religious lens. We try to imitate His actions, instead of learning how He did the things that He did. The life in Christ is altogether anti-religious. If you attempt to combine Christ with religion, your religion will be torn apart. There is no power in religious acts, but there is power in living by the indwelling Christ.

Paul said to imitate him as he imitated Christ. Then in Ephesians, he wrote to imitate God. If Paul was imitating Christ, then to imitate Paul would mean to imitate Christ. So, lets look at what it means to imitate Christ.

[19] Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. – [Jhn 5:19 NASB]

[30] “I and the Father are one.” – [Jhn 10:30 NASB]

Jesus of Nazareth lived by the life of the Father.

[20] “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. – [Gal 2:20 NASB]

In Galatians, we see that Paul really did live by the life of Christ.

[56] “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. [57] “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. – [Jhn 6:56-57 NASB]

What the Father was to Jesus, so the risen Christ has become to us. By eating and drinking Christ we are receiving His Life into our being and He is saturating us with Himself. This is what it means to imitate Christ: To live by Life of the God who indwells us.

From Genesis 3 to Revelation 12: God’s Eternal Purpose

[14] The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; [15] And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” [16] To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.” [17] Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. [18] “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; [19] By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.” – [Gen 3:14-19 NASB]

[1] A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; [2] and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. [3] Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. [4] And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. [5] And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. [6] Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. [7] And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, [8] and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. [9] And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. [10] Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. [11] “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. [12] “For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.” [13] And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. – [Rev 12:1-13 NASB]


The Woman

This woman is the one foretold of in Genesis. The woman is the entire Church. She is the beautiful Bride of Christ, awaiting His return. The sun, moon, and stars symbolize the universality of this Woman.

 

The Man Child

The child that comes from the woman, is not only a male child, but a Man Child. This is the Seed of the woman from Genesis that is to bruise Satan. This is the beginning of the New Man. The believers who are more mature in Christ, than the others. They are more mature because they have received more of Christ. Christ has been thoroughly dispensed into them. You may say, “But I thought the Seed of the woman is Christ”. You would also be right, since Christ is the head of the New Man. This is God’s purpose: That we would be His expression. Note that a Woman does not conceive on Her own. The Life of the Bridegroom has been dispensed into the Woman, and She has given birth to this Man Child. He is part of the Woman, and has the Life of the Bridegroom.

 

The Great Red Dragon

Much time has passed since the garden and the Serpent has become a Great Red Dragon. How has this happened? In Genesis, it was said that the serpent would eat dust. Man is made of dust. Satan seeks to devour people. He has devoured many and has grown quite large and strong. This is also why the Dragon is red: From the blood of his victims.

 

The Rapture

The rapture of the Man Child is described as He is called up to heaven, directly to the throne of God. They will be taken by Christ, who has come secretly in a cloud. He has come like a thief in the night. A thief comes secretly and quietly. You will note that this rapture differs from that of the rest of the Woman, since they are to meet Christ in the air. Why won’t all of the believers be caught up together? Some are ripe and some aren’t. The ripe ones will be caught up so that they won’t be over ripe and the unripe ones must wait until they have ripened.

 

The War

What is the purpose of this rapture? It is not to escape The Great Tribulation. The angels are awaiting the authority of Christ, through this Man Child, to cast the Accuser out of heaven. Thus the Man Child is called up to the throne in order to exercise the dominion given in Genesis, and regained by Christ on the cross. God has chosen to use His People to pass judgment on Satan, and Michael and the angels will carry out that judgment. Remember that the angels are to be under our authority.

 

The Persecution of the Rest of the Woman’s Children

The rest of the believers who were not prepared for the Lord, must be ripened. They will incur the wrath of the Dragon, was has been cast down by the Man Child. Through this persecution they will be ripened and ready to meet Christ when He appears in glory on the cloud.

Is Jesus Christ the Strong Angel in Revelation 10?

1I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud; and the rainbow was upon his head, and his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire; 2and he had in his hand a little book which was open. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left on the land; 3and he cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars; and when he had cried out, the seven peals of thunder uttered their voices. 4When the seven peals of thunder had spoken, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them.” 5Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to heaven, 6and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, WHO CREATED HEAVEN AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE EARTH AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE SEA AND THE THINGS IN IT, that there will be delay no longer, 7but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets. (Revelation 10:1-7 NASB)

While listening to Witness Lee’s Life Study of Revelation, he mentioned that Christ would come secretly in a cloud before His coming in glory on a cloud. Rather than wait until Witness Lee got to the full explanation of these verses, I thought that I would take a look at this strong angel who comes in a cloud. While examining what Scripture says about this angel, I do have to admit it seems likes it is Christ.

Coming down out of heaven

We know that Christ will come down from heaven when He returns, since we know that He has ascended there for a time.

Clothed with a cloud

When I read this, the image that flashed into my mind, was that of God leading the Israelites through the wilderness. In Scripture, no one else is ever clothed in a cloud, but God.

The rainbow was upon his head

The rainbow was given by God as a covenant to all flesh on the earth, that there would never again be a flood to destroy the earth. The rainbow seems to indicate that the angel is here for judgment, but will not forget the covenant that was given. Interestingly, the rainbow is God’s bow, another indication that this angel is God.

13I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. (Genesis 9:13 NASB)

His face was like the sun

This reminds me of the shining of Moses’ face after he had been in the presence of God. Also, we know that in the New Jerusalem there will be no need for the sun, because God will be our light. Next, Christ is our Morning Star, but once the Morning Star has fully risen it is the Sun.

His feet like pillars of fire

As I move through the appearance of this angel it seems more and more like it is the One, who Ezekiel saw sitting on the throne.

26Now above the expanse that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, like lapis lazuli in appearance; and on that which resembled a throne, high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man. 27Then I noticed from the appearance of His loins and upward something like glowing metal that looked like fire all around within it, and from the appearance of His loins and downward I saw something like fire; and there was a radiance around Him. 28As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. (Ezekiel 1:26-28 NASB)

He had in his hand a little book which was open

This may be the book from Revelation 5 that could only be opened by the Lamb. At this point the Lamb has already opened all of the seals, and thus the book is open.

He cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars

How wonderful this is: The Lamb who opened the book is also a Lion!

5and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” 6And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. 7And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. (Revelation 5:5-7)

Swore by Him who lives forever and ever

Who has the authority to swear by God, but God Himself?

34“But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING. (Matthew 5:34-35 NASB)

There will be delay no longer…then the mystery of God is finished

The oath of the angel is about the mystery of God. This is a reference to the fulfillment of God’s eternal purpose. The mystery of God is Christ (Colossians 2:2) and the mystery of God is also Christ in us (Colossians 1:26-27). God’s eternal purpose to have an expression of Himself in Christ, through His Body. Christ is all and in all.

After examining all of these symbols attributed to this angel, I have to agree with Witness Lee that it is, indeed, Jesus Christ. If the use of the term “angel”, is difficult for you to attribute to Christ, then it may be helpful for you to understand that the word angel means a messenger. It does not have to be an angelic being, as we know that Christ is much higher than all angelic beings. All of this fits well with the main point of Revelation: The revelation of Jesus Christ. 

A Look at Fasting Pt. 1

Considering that we are entering into the time when some people participate in Lent, I thought I would take a look at fasting. (I will look at fasting in parts, since I really don’t like long posts.) This is not only in regards to fasting during Lent, but fasting at anytime. If you fast during Lent do it for Christ and His eternal purpose. If you fast some other times, do it for Christ and His eternal purpose. What I do respect from Lent is that it is a corporate fast of the Body, for those who wish to participate. I do think fasting has been neglected in our times, although it is important in the life in Christ. We will start with what Christ had to say about fasting, since He is Everything to us.

Jesus fasted.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
(Mat 4:1-2 ESV)

Jesus prophesied that we would fast.

And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.” And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”
(Luk 5:33-36 ESV)

Christ, as our example, fasted in the wilderness. He also expected us to fast after He had been taken to His Father. We wait for the return of our Bridegroom, when we will have no need to fast. For now, He has not returned, so we continue in our prayers and fasts.

True Christians Walk Like Jesus

but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
(1Jn 2:5-6 ESV)

Christians are “little christs”. We are created anew in Christ, and we bear the image of the living God. If we are truly in Christ, we will walk in the same way that He walked. None of us can show the entire image of Christ. The entire Body of believers comes together to show the full image of Christ to the world. Our hearts should be set on being like Jesus. If we aren’t growing more and more like Jesus, how can we claim to belong to Him? Chris Sligh, in his song, sings, “…empty me of me so i can be filled with you”. We desperately need God to empty us of ourselves, so that we can be filled with Him.

True Christians Keep God’s Commandments

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:
(1Jn 2:3-5 ESV)

I suppose the question we must answer is: what are the commandments of God?

And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.
(1Jn 3:23-24 ESV)

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
(1Jn 5:2-3 ESV)

Many people will say that the commandments of God are this or that. The ten commandments of the Old Testament are often suggested as guidelines for our lives. The Christian life is one of simplicity, not one based on a multitude of rules. We are to believe in Jesus and love each other. Take a look at your heart. Do you truly trust Jesus with all that you are and all that you have? Or is your belief in Jesus only skin deep? Likewise, are you growing in your love for God’s children? Is your love for them true, or are you faking it? We must examine ourselves to know that we are in the faith. If we are true Christians, our lives will show the evidence. We believe in Jesus because of the testimony of His Spirit inside of us. Let’s offer all that we are and all that we hold dear to our beloved Lord.

True Christians Know Their Sin

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
(1Jn 1:8-10 ESV)

These verses address two problems. If a Christian claims that they don’t have a sin nature, why would he or she need a savior? We are deceiving ourselves if we think we are without sin. Second, if we do something that is a sin, and say that its not a sin, we are calling God a liar. Both of these actions are rejections of God’s Spirit. The Spirit convicts us of the evil inside us and brings our sins to light.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
(1Jn 2:1 ESV)

Note that, sinning itself, does not necessarily disqualify you from God’s kingdom. Jesus, Himself, is the advocate for those who are in Him. But, if you say that you don’t have sin, then there can’t be forgiveness for you. Let’s confess all of our sins to God, and pray that He keeps us from anymore sins.

True Christians Walk in the Light

If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
(1Jn 1:6-7 ESV)

This is second part of True Christians vs. False Christians. True Christians walk in the light, not in the darkness. If you claim to have fellowship with God, while you walk in darkness, John says you are a liar. So what does it mean to walk in the darkness?

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
(1Jn 2:9-11 ESV)

If you hate a brother or sister in Christ, you walk in darkness. Notice, that there is no gray area given between loving and hating your fellow saints. Take a good look at your heart. Do you help other saints in need? Do you care enough for your brothers and sisters even to pray for them?

Let’s reflect on this in light of the words of Jesus:

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
(Mat 25:34-46 ESV)

If you have failed to love your fellow saints in the past, can you see how your love for them has grown since then? If, over time, you are not walking more and more in the light, you don’t have fellowship with God. Let’s ask God to pour out His love in abundance on us, so that His light will consume us.

True Christians vs. False Christians

I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
(Rev 3:15-16 ESV)

For a long time, my heart has felt heavy for false Christians. It is my opinion, that the majority of false Christians legitimately believe that they are saved from the wrath to come. What a sad fate it is for a person to believe that he or she is saved, when there is no true salvation for him or her. I would rather a person fully embrace the life of Christ or admit that he or she hates God, than to sit on the fence. In spite of all the claims, there are only two choices in this life: follow Jesus or follow Satan. In the coming days, I plan to take a look at what the letters written by John, say about true Christians and false Christians. The purpose of this study is not so that you can judge the salvation of others, but so that you may judge your own salvation correctly. We must be diligent in making our calling and election sure.

How the Spiritual Gifts Work Together

In our look at the Spiritual Gifts, we’ve explored the Motivational Gifts, the Manifestations of the Spirit, and the Ministry Gifts. Let’s take a look at how the different type of gifts work together. We’ll use 2 imaginary people, named Joe and Jane, as examples.

First, Joe has the motivational gift of exhortation. Joe gives words of wisdom and prophecies to encourage others to grow spiritually. God gives Joe the ministry of teaching. Joe’s teaching focuses on helping other Christian’s grow spiritually.

Jane has the motivational gift of contribution. Jane has powerful faith to give in the face of great adversity and is able to discern between which ministries God is working in and which aren’t. God gives Jane the ministry gift of shepherding. Jane helps guide God’s sheep. She, especially, enjoys giving her time, giving her money, and opening her home to care for God’s sheep.

I hope this brief study will help us look at our brothers and sisters in a new light. They may have different focuses in their Christian walks, compared to ours. That is OK. We have to understand that our way of living Christ is not the only way. It takes all of us to form the complete and perfect image of Jesus Christ.

Let’s thank God for the great gifts which He has given to us in abundance. Also, let’s use the gifts God has given to build each other up, not to tear down.

Ministry Gifts

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
(Eph 4:11-12 ESV)

Previously, we looked at the Motivational Gifts and the Manifestations of the Spirit. Now we will look at the Ministry Gifts. Remember, this is a quick overview and is not meant to be an in-depth study. I don’t think that everyone has one of these ministries. Some Christians spend their entire lives doing the work of one of these ministries. Other Christians perform certain ministries at certain times. Unfortunately, we lay the burden of being the “jack of all trades” on pastors (shepherds), when that is not what Jesus meant for His Church. No one person is called to perform all of these ministries at one time.

Apostles

  • Plant churches (must be sent by a group of believers)

Prophets

  • Inspired speakers

Evangelists

  • Preach the gospel

Shepherds

  • Watch out for God’s sheep

Teachers

  • Instruct God’s people

There are two purposes listed in the text for these ministries: Equipping the saints for the work of ministry and building up the body of Christ. Those people with these gifts are suppose to use their gifts to help other Christians in their ministries. These gifts should not be elevated to special offices. They are given to form the saints into the perfect image of Jesus Christ. In light of this, they should not even be thought of as gifts for an individual, they are gifts through individuals for the Body of Christ.

In our final look at the Spiritual Gifts, I will show how the different types of gifts work together in a Christian’s life.

Manifestations of the Spirit

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
(1Co 12:7-12 ESV)

In our last look at spiritual gifts, we saw the Motivational Gifts. These were the gifts that motivate our lives in Christ. Now we look at the Manifestations of the Spirit. First of all, I don’t completely understand all of these gifts because I have not experienced them all. I do know that God gives us these gifts at various times to fulfill His purposes. You may experience one of these manifestations all of your life, for a season, or even sporadically. Each Christian may be given any combination of the manifestations of the Spirit. A person may have one or many manifestations of the Spirit. It is important to recognize that these gifts are given for the common good of the saints, not for an individual’s own benefit. Also, don’t boast about the greatness of your gifts, because these aren’t done in your power. Instead, they are done in the power of God’s Spirit. That is why they are manifestations of His Spirit.

Words of Wisdom

  • Wise word of advice for a given situation.

Words of Knowledge

  • Special knowledge given to you by God that you don’t have naturally.

Faith

  • Amazing faith for particularly difficult circumstances.

Healing

  • Healing the sick and wounded.

Miracles

  • Special act of power from God.

Prophecy

  • Knowledge of future events.

Discernment of spirits

  • Special wisdom to discernment between good and evil spirits.

Tongues

  • A language given by God that is not ones own.

Interpretation of Tongues

  • Ability to interpret someone’s tongues.

By no means, do I believe that Paul meant for this to me an exhaustive list of manifestations of the Spirit. Considering our God is infinite, I am sure that He manifests His Spirit in so many ways that we could never keep track of them all.

Through the spiritual gifts we can see the amazing diversity in which God has made us in Christ.

Motivational Gifts

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
(Rom 12:6-8 ESV)

This study is not meant to be comprehensive. 7 gifts are presented in Romans 12. These are the motivational gifts, meaning that these gifts are what motivates us in our life with Christ. It is my opinion, that each Christian only has one of these gifts. My understanding of the gifts are limited, in that, I only have one. You may feel you relate to some of the other gifts, but only one will be the gift that drives your heart. In Romans 12:9-15, Paul gives advice to the people who have each gift. You don’t get to pick your gift. God has already given it to you when you were created anew in Christ. In order to discover your gift you may have to pray and do some self-evaluation. Your gift may even be shrouded in darkness, if you are not walking with God.

Prophecy

  • Driven to reveal sin.
  • Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. (Rom 12:9 ESV)
  • These Christians are often not well-received because they bring the evil deeds to light. It is easy for them to forget to love the people, whose evil deeds they bring to light.

Service

  • Driven to serve others.
  • Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Rom 12:10 ESV)
  • These Christians don’t want to be the leader. They want to help others with whatever needs to be done. They are encouraged to serve with brotherly affection and outdo each other in showing people honor.

Teaching

  • Driven to deep study for the purpose of teaching.
  • Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. (Rom 12:11 ESV)
  • These Christians study a lot, so that they can teach others what they learn. They must be passionate in their studies and teaching. Also, they must remember their teaching is for the Lord, not themselves.

Exhortation

  • Driven to encourage others to grow spiritually.
  • Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Rom 12:12 ESV)
  • These Christians want to see others grow spiritually. Since, not all the other gifts are so driven to grow spiritually, these Christians must have hope, patience, and pray constantly for the spiritual growth of others.

Contribution

  • Driven to give.
  • Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. (Rom 12:13 ESV)
  • These Christians want to give as much as they can to others. They find great satisfaction in giving. They should direct their giving primarily to the saints and try to show hospitality.

Leading

  • Driven to organize and administrate.
  • Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. (Rom 12:14 ESV)
  • These Christians are driven to organize the Body of Christ, so that it can act together. They may organize the people necessary to assist a Christian in the hospital. These Christians can have a hard time, because other people want to do things their own way. These Christians should remember to bless those who are mean to them.

Mercy

  • Driven to show empathy.
  • Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (Rom 12:15 ESV)
  • These Christians want to cry with you, when you cry. They want to laugh with you, when you laugh. They can experience the emotions of people around them and therefore, relate to that person in a special way.

Then, Paul gives direction to all the Christians:

Live in harmony with one another.
(Rom 12:16 ESV)

Each of these spiritual gifts reveal to us a piece of Jesus Christ. We must understand that each Christian has been uniquely created in Christ. We are each driven in a unique way to perform the good works that God has prepared for us. Your way of living the life of Christ may not be the only way.

Spiritual Gifts

Over the coming days, I will present a short study on the spiritual gifts. In my humble opinion, understanding our spiritual gifts are important for a few reasons:

  1. We can give God thanks for them.
  2. To understand why we are the way we are.
  3. To understand why other Christians are the way they are.

I don’t want to tell you what your gifts are. Your spiritual gifts will come naturally if you are walking with God. They don’t need to be forced. Instead, as God shapes us in His image, we will continue to grow in the gifts, which He has given us.

There are different spiritual gifts listed in the Bible.
These gifts can be broken down into 3 categories of gifts:

  1. Romans 12:6-8 are the Motivational Gifts.
  2. 1 Corinthians 12:7-9 are the Manifestations of the Spirit.
  3. Ephesian 4:11 are the Ministry Gifts.

Not everyone agrees on spiritual gifts and that is alright. I especially anticipate questions about the motivational gifts. If you want a better explanation of them, please order the free materials about them by Russell Kelfer at Discipleship Tape Ministries. If you don’t feel like ordering the materials I will attempt to address anyone’s concerns myself.

We must remember that not a single one of us can fully show the image of Jesus Christ alone, but all of us together are His complete and perfect Body.

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