Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ken Hemphill on Spiritual Gifts

I read this article by Ken Hemphill this morning and found the following to be very interesting. It's an excerpt from a longer article (see full Baptist Press article here)

"I believe that any ability that enables one to serve the King in and through the church should be used accordingly when it meets the following criteria:

1. It must be recognized and acknowledged as a gracious gift of the sovereign God.

When you receive Christ as Savior, you receive the Spirit of God, enabling you to understand spiritual truths (1 Corinthians 2:6-16). Rather than receiving new abilities not previously possessed, new believers will often see all of life as what has been freely given to us by God (1 Corinthians 2:12).

You were created for the purposes of God and His Kingdom. Now that you have the Spirit, you can understand that everything possessed, including talents and abilities, is a gift from God. I do not mean to imply that God cannot and does not give new abilities. God does what He desires to enable the church to fulfill its purpose.

2. Our gifts must be surrendered to the Lordship of Christ.

It is at the point of surrender that our gifts are fully empowered by God's Spirit. Most of us have learned this principle in the broader Christian life but have seldom applied it to our understanding of giftedness. We should not be surprised to discover that the first admonition in Romans 12:1 is the exhortation to present our bodies as living sacrifices.

3. Our gifts must be used for the King in and through His body, the church.

The gifts are given by God to enable His church to accomplish its God-given task of taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Many gifts serve within the body to edify the membership. Other gifted members serve through the church to reach the community and the world, and to enable the church to permeate the world and its culture. All gifts are given by the King and are thus indispensable to the mission of His church."

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