Devotion message No.5: Augustus Haokip
TOPIC: How to Differentiate a Natural Talent and a Spiritual Gift?
“So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is to encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. ” (Romans 12:5-8 NIV)
“It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13
“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”(I Cor. 12:7 NIV)
“Each one should use whatever gift he had received from to serve others...” (I Peter 4:10a NIV)
A person (regardless of his belief in God or in Christ) is given some sort of innate talent or natural talent by God. It is God‘s desire to endow certain individuals with certain talents. But, Spiritual gift is given to only those who received Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour and Lord. In this study, the emphasis is given more on Spiritual gifts.
The case of a young woman whom Richard F. Houts of North American Baptist Seminary used as an example in his article “Houts Inventoty of Spiritual Gifts” will be helpful to differentiate a Natural Talent and a Spiritual gift. Houts stated that this young woman aptly put to use a God-given strength—the ability to work with “losers,” teens and others who are suffering, who frequently fail or fall short of society’s standard of acceptable behaviour.
Now the big question is, “Why should such ability, even though bestowed at birth, not be a Spiritual gift?” The answer is, it failed to meet the Biblical criteria. She shows no evidence of Biblical motives in exercising her ability; neither does she seem to rely on the Lord for its use. If she would, the Spiritual gift normally attributed to her would be mercy. As it is she has a talent of mercy, but not the Spiritual gift. Such ability becomes a Spiritual gift and special ability when it meets Biblical criteria through God-given current experience. Prior to this experience the ability lies dormant because of unawareness.
2. The Purpose of the Spiritual Gifts.
The primary purpose of the Spiritual gifts is clearly mentioned in Acts 1:8, Jesus says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witness in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Here Jesus Christ is talking about the Church to be empowered by the Holy Spirit in order to preach Christ to the entire world.
Paul says another purpose of the Spiritual gifts is for the edification of the Church (which is called the body of Christ) and bringing glory to God. In I Cor. 12:7, Paul calls a Spiritual gift a “manifestation (or display) of the Holy Spirit. It is given for the common good. Common good refers to the Spiritual benefit of the members of the body of Christ. Meaning, the church is connected by faith in Jesus Christ and sealed by the Holy Spirit.
3. To whom and When Spiritual Gifts are given?
Spiritual gifts are given to all believers by the Holy Spirit at the time they place their faith in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins (Romans 12:3, 6). At that moment, the Holy Spirit gives to the new believer the Spiritual gift (s) He desires the believer to have (I cor. 12:11).
However, there are certain verses that may indicate God gives Spiritual gives later as well. Both I Timothy 4:14 and 2 Timothy 1:6 refer to a gift that Timothy had received at the time of his ordination “by prophecy.”
4. The Scripture Verses
(Romans 12:6-8, 13; I Cor. 12:8-10, 28; Eph. 4:11) Indicates the Crucial Criteria that Distinguish Spiritual Gifts.
• A Spiritual gift is expressed with a servant motive, to minister to a local congregation or church.
• A Spiritual gift is expressed with a steward motive, recognizing and managing this special ability not as one’s own, but as God.
• A Spiritual gift is expressed as sacred worship, giving God the awe and credit due to him.
• A Spiritual gift is expressed as strengthened “by the strength which God supplies.”
5. Natural Talents
• A natural talent is expressed with wrong motives, self-sufficiency or self-centred,
• A natural talent is expressed with self-exaltation or seeks people’s recognition.
• A natural talent is expressed with selfish interest and desires.
6. Lists of Spiritual Gifts
These are found in the New Testament, mostly authored by St. Paul.
Note: The following lists of Spiritual gifts are found overlap, so in order avoid its repetitions the same word/words which re-appeared in the next verses are ignored in the next list.
• PROPHECY: The special ability to cause the authoritative word of God’s truth to shine (II Peter 1:19; I Cor. 14:3). It includes congregational preaching and lay utterances which explain and apply God’s revelation for correction and edification.
• TEACHER/TEACHING: The special ability to give a detailed understanding of Biblical truth to those willing to learn.
• EXHORTATION: The special ability to come alongside another in need of encouragement, challenge or earnest advice.
• GIVING: The special ability to earn money, manage it well and wisely give for the Lord’s work.
• LEADERSHIP: A special ability to set Goals and to Motivate others towards their accomplishment.
• MERCY: The special ability to aid the suffering or undeserving and to spare them from pun..ishment or penalties justly deserved.
I Corinthians 12:8-10
• WISDOM: A special ability to use knowledge effectively coupled with a reverential awe of God.
• KNOWLEDGE: The special ability to master God’s revealed truth in Scripture.
• FAITH: An (unusual) ability to trust in the presence and power of God and to act on this trust.
• DISCERNMENT: The special ability to distinguish between truth and error, good and evil, the Spirit of God and the spirit of Anti-Christ.
I Corinthians 12:28
• ADMINISTRATION: The special ability of working with and through followers towards achieving Biblical goals and organizational objectives.
• HELPS: The special ability to provide timely assistance that releases other Christian workers for direct Spiritual ministry.
• EVANGELIST/EVANGELISM : The special ability to act as a productive instrument of God in soul-winning.
• SHEPHERDING/PASTORING: The special ability to effectively Guide, Feed, and protect a flock of followers in Christ.
• HOSPITALITY: The special ability to provide an open home to those in need of food, lodging and fellowship, of a refuge to a bruised individual.
It is clearly mentioned in I Cor. 12:7; I Peter 4:10 that each and every Christians received a special gift from God. But, no matter how much we have been gifted with one gift or another, we are all call upon to develop a number of areas mentioned in the lists of Spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are given by God to be used for His glory and to minister to others. So, everyone is a special part of the body of Christ. If you are a Christian and are not serving in some way, the Church as a whole suffers.
St. Paul says that one can earnestly desire the best gift or seek a Spiritual gift from God and be zealous after it by seeking to develop that area (I Cor. 12:31). At the same time, if it is not God’s will, you will not receive a certain Spiritual gift no matter how strongly you seek after it. God is infinitely wise, and He knows through which gifts you will be most productive for His kingdom.
Mr. Augustus Haokip, Evan.KWS (C)
Hindustan Bible Institute & College, Chennai.
The 9th Feb. 2015
Devotion Message No.6
Sermon Topic: "The Two Foundations" Texts: Matt 7:24-27.
V.24: Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. V. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. V.26 Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will e like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. V.27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell- and great was its fall.
In this parable, Jesus talks about a wise man and a foolish man, that is, a true Christian and a false Christian. Both men think that they are true Christians; both think that that they are building their houses on the rock. The only difference was: one had a foundation and the other didn’t. Therefore the most important part is the foundation; the beauty of the house does not matter. Today Christians are hard to understand as we have come across so many mission agencies in the name of Jesus, but we can differentiate by understanding the teaching of Jesus in this text.
The false Christians are like the false prophets who wear sheep’s clothing, that is, true Christians but are actually wolves. If our greatest desire is to get security, comfort, and peace from this world, then we are building our house on the sand. The false Christian seeks his own good first, does not seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, loves God’s blessing, but does not put Christ first, he does not make Christ the foundation of his life. His house is built on sand.1 Corinthians 3:11 tell us “for no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ”. Blessed is the man whose hope is in the Lord and put his trust in Him.
But if our greatest desire is to know Christ and to be like Him, then we are building our house on the rock. The true Christian is the one who knows Christ and obeys Him and hears the words of Christ and puts them into practice.
The difference between a true Christian and a false Christian can be seen when trials and troubles come. Only their foundation can be determined.
There are three kinds of trials: basing on the passage in vs.25
The Rain: stands for various kinds of trouble such as persecution, loss of property, loss of health, and finally lead to death.
The floods: stand for worldly desires, worldly pride (If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.1 John 2:15). These are the temptations that arise within us.
The winds: stand for Satan himself. If the first two kinds of trials fail, Satan attacks us directly with doubt and fear and despair. These are the flaming arrows Paul mentions in Ephesians 6:16. Satan is an evil wind.
Therefore, those who laid foundation on the rock nothing can destroy the house, so also if you lay foundation on Christ, nothing can snatch you away from Him, will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness...Romans 8:35.
Many marvel at the teaching of Jesus, but blessed are the people who heed the teaching and put into practice. These are the people who lay their foundation on the rock.
May we heed and act upon the teaching of Jesus.
God bless all the readers
In His Service
Pastor Thensem Singson
Chaplain, Satribari Christian Hospital,
NB: Hiche sermon hi, 15-2-'15 jingkah leh
devotion msg.ahin, akimanpen in post anabol
tauvo.Sunday jingkah leh, kapotdoh ding jeh'
a Pastor pa koma advance a msg.kathum ahi.