Spiritual Gifts for Evangelism and Witnessing

Scripture: Ephesians 4:11-12
Date: 04/21/2012 
Lesson: 3
"Spiritual gifts are special attributes given to each member to be used for God's glory and for the saving of souls."
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Welcome to Sacramento central seventh day adventist church - coming to you from Sacramento, California. We've been warming up our voices here in the sanctuary waiting for you to join us - those of you at home, whether you're listening on the radio, watching on our website live at saccentral.org, or on the various television networks, welcome. Pull out your hymnals and sing with us this wonderful song - #448 - 'oh when shall I see Jesus' - and we're going to do all three stanzas. #448. I picked that song this morning so I can thank myself, right? But everybody else agreed they liked it.

I am very sorry to let you know that those of you who did pick that song, I didn't read your names because I didn't have time this weekend - sincere apologies - so I picked The Songs this morning and I hope you really like them. If you do have a favorite that you want to sing with us on an upcoming week, it is very simple. Go to our website at saccentral.org and send in your favorite hymn requests. Just go to the 'contact us' link and we would love to hear from you and sing your favorite hymn with you. Our next one - #452 - 'what heavenly music' steals over the sea enchanting the senses with sweet melody - #452 - we're going to sing all three stanzas of this one as well.

Father in Heaven, what beautiful heavenly music we know is waiting for us just on the other side of eternity. Father, we want to be there. We want to sing your praises and I pray that while we're down here on this earth we will be preparing ourselves for the beautiful music that we will get to appreciate in heaven every single day forever and ever. Thank you so much for loving us, for bringing us together at this time to study Your Word and I pray that you would open up our hearts and you would speak to us in Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by pastor white.

He is our administrative pastor here at Sacramento central seventh day adventist church. Good morning. Thank you musicians. Every week we enjoy that music, don't we? They were going to have some special music for our worship service this morning. You just heard it for family Sabbath school and they had a sound check earlier and one of them was missing and wasn't here yet.

And I said, 'do you want me to fill in?' And they said, 'no, no, no!' And they were right too, they didn't want me to fill in. Well, welcome to all of you here and all of you who are joining us from wherever you are joining us. And we're happy that you're with us. We have a special offer to share with you that's fairly exciting. This is a wonderful offer - it's called 'evangelism pre-work manual'.

Yeah, this is yours free - all you have to do is call up -866-study-more or -866-788-3966. This manual will give you everything you need to know to prepare and get ready to hold a series of meetings. It doesn't have to be big gigantic meetings but this is really a wonderful offer. I hope you take advantage of it. Well, we're on lesson #3 entitled 'spiritual gifts for evangelism and witnessing' - that's what we're talking about this quarter.

Isn't that exciting? That's what we're here for, right? We're here to see the work finished and Jesus come and that includes witnessing personally and evangelism on a large scale. So, help me if you will, read our memory text taken from Ephesians, the fourth chapter, verses 11 and 12 - and this is in your quarterly from the new king James version. Okay? Ready? "And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." Okay. That's a wonderful text. Let's have somebody read something to go along with that.

Somebody has, I believe, Corinthians 12:7-11 - who has that for us this morning? Right back here - manjeet has that - that's 1 Corinthians the seventh - the twelfth chapter, verses seven to eleven. And this is another passage that gives us a list of some of the Spiritual gifts. Now there are several passages and there's several places in the Bible that different gifts are referred to and there are many gifts that are not even referred to in the Bible as - which we will also give consideration to this morning. So first of all, let's read Corinthians chapter 12:7-11. "But the manifestation of the spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

For to one is given by the spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same spirit; to another faith by the same spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another diverse kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will." Okay, thank you so much. I appreciate you sharing that. And as the introduction points out, it is a horrible thing for people to waste their spiritual gifts. Yeah, it's a bad thing. And that's what we really want to zero in overall this morning, but first let us consider the opposite side of that point.

It becomes kind of tragic at times when people try to use a spiritual gift they don't have. It wasn't too long ago in a place that I was at that an individual was sharing special music. And this poor individual, I don't think ever hit one exact note. Now, it's really something when I can tell somebody doesn't hit a note, but I could tell and I could tell by watching everybody that this poor individual wasn't - he didn't really have the - he or she, whoever it was - didn't really have the Spiritual gift of music - at least in singing. Well, maybe that's not so tragic to the cause of God because we can all kind of smile and say, 'well at least he or she was making a joyful noise to the Lord', right? And I suspect God was kind of smiling too and saying, 'thank you for trying, I really appreciate that.

' Where it becomes more difficult or problematic for the church is if somebody, for example, claims that they have the gift of prophecy and they don't. And we see that rising its head in our church from time to time. In fact, I understand that there are individuals that appear before the general conference claiming the gift of prophecy and they have to work with them and basically they really find out, of course, they don't. But that's a problem. And then, there's nothing quite so pathetic as somebody claiming the gift of tongues when they only babble stuff that they don't even understand themselves and nobody else understands.

And somebody might come along and say they have the gift of interpretation, but that's a little far-fetched sometimes too. I've actually heard stories where people claim to have the gift of tongues and somebody was present and they were hearing what they were saying and they had no idea what they were saying, but the person present could understand what they were saying in their language was some of the worst cursing that they had heard and everybody was just oblivious to the fact that they were doing that. So these are the kinds of things that, when somebody claims to have a gift that they don't really have, it does become a problem to the church. False gifts come from the adversary. True gifts come from God, right? That's right.

This gives us an indication that spiritual gifts are important though, right? There's nothing - that's nothing to take lightly and they are not something that we should dismiss or have any kind of a warped idea about. That's why we need to study this subject. Now before we go to Sunday, there is something else I believe would do us well to consider. I'd like to have somebody read Galatians 5:22, 23. Who has that one? Way - okay, over there.

Galatians 5:22 and verse 23. And we have something else told to us about the Holy Spirit other than the Holy Spirit giving gifts. There's something else mentioned that the Holy Spirit gives to people in these verses. If you'd share that verse with us now this morning. Galatians 5:22, 23.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." Thank you very much. So you have the gifts of the Spirit and you have the fruits of the Spirit. And I have this theory that God's not really going to start giving a whole bunch of gifts to people who don't already possess the fruits. Does that make sense? I mean the fruits - you really need to have the fruits: joy and peace and love - these good things before God's going to really pour on somebody the gifts. Now, God has given gifts to people - the gifts of the Spirit to some people who have not possessed all the fruits.

I know that's happened because it takes awhile to possess all the fruits and you can't do it without God's help. But it's what made Christ so successful - why? Because he was the embodiment of all the fruits, wasn't he? All the time - he had joy all the time, he had peace all the time, he had perfect love all the time - all the fruits. He embodied those. That's why he was so successful. Now, let's consider something else and have somebody read for us Zechariah - who has that? Zechariah 4:1-6.

"Now the angel who talked with me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of sleep. And he said to me, 'what do you see?' So I said, 'I am looking and there is a lamp stand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps. Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left.' So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, 'what are these, my Lord?' Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, 'do you not know what these are?' And I said, 'no my Lord.' So he answered and said to me: 'this is the word of the Lord to zerubbabel: 'not by might nor by power, but by my spirit,' says the Lord of hosts.'" Okay, thank you so much. That powerful verse that ends that passage is very interesting. We have some symbolism in this passage that is borrowed from the candlestick in the sanctuary.

Now the one in the ancient tabernacle had seven lamps. Solomon's temple had ten lamps - five on the left and five on the right. The one - the present candlestick in this passage is not like the former - it has it's own distinctive lesson to teach. The bowl that's mentioned in this passage, the bowl held the oil which was fed to the seven lamps through seven pipes. Now, according to verse 12, these olive trees supplied oil to the central bowl which, in turn, supplied the lamps.

Right? Did you get all that? All of this impressive language in the passage to lead us up to that powerful verse in verse 6, reminding us the oil representing the Holy Spirit is the only thing that provides divine grace that alone can overcome all obstacles. 'Not by might nor by power, but by my spirit'. And all that is to tell us that very important fact. So, we have recognized the importance of the Holy Spirit, do we not? Without him nothing good can happen, but with him, great things can be accomplished. So now, let's go to Sunday's lesson and have somebody read Peter 4:10.

Who has that one? Right over here. Okay, 1 Peter 4:10 and what we are finding in this verse is something that is imperative to every single one of us sitting here in this sanctuary and every one who is listening from wherever you are listening this morning. So, 1 Peter 4, verse 10 - I think we are just about ready for that. Just - okay. "As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

" Okay, thank you so much. So, we're pointing out that everybody has a gift. Some of you have more than one gift. Some of us don't like to acknowledge that we have certain gifts, but we need to get over that right here and now because God wants to use the gift he has given you. And we often think, as seventh day adventists, we often think, of course, about what gift? The gift of prophecy, right? And rightfully so, because the gift of prophecy has helped us be who we are and given us our mission of what we have to do.

But there are other important gifts - I want to give you an example of one. The gift of faith is also mentioned as a fruit. Faith is a fruit - so it's a fruit and a gift. One time I lived in Kansas and if you ever lived in Kansas you know that the wind blows one way one day and then you get your breath back because it blows right back the opposite way the next day. But here it was wintertime and it was one of the worst blizzards I have ever seen - and I have seen a lot of them growing up in the midwest.

It was terrible. The bitter cold was below zero, the wind was blowing fiercely, and snow-packed roads and so forth - so we just kind of hunkered down in our home and wait - was going to wait out the storm, but I got a telephone call from a truck driver who was a truck driver who moved people's goods from one place to another and he moved ministers - like a minister got a call to go from Ohio to Utah, he would pack up their belongings and take off and move them to this new location. So he calls me and says he's stranded up on the interstate - his diesel had gelled up. It was so cold that it was gelled and he was saying, 'do you think there's any chance that you could come here and bring me some wood, maybe we could light a fire under it - under the tank and thaw out the gel?' I said, 'well, I'll give it a try.' I did have wood - we had a fireplace. So I loaded up my little car with all the wood I could get and some matches and some paper and some cardboard and I made my way there.

It was a treacherously slow trip but I finally made it to where he was. And so we get out there and I'm telling you, it is so cold I'm just freezing - and I'm dressed for it, but I'm freezing and we're trying to put that wood underneath this tank. And it was so windy there was no way to light a match. So we got some canvas out and we tried to put canvas all the way around us so that we could be inside that canvas and strike a match and light a paper - and after about twenty minutes of trying - totally frozen to the core - we realized this was not going to be possible. No way in the world.

So I'm the kind of guy, under those circumstances, probably would be - if I was in his situation - a little bit frustrated, but this man just shrugged his shoulders and said, 'well, I guess God will have to provide some other way.' And I thought, 'wow! This man who moves ministers just moved me by his simple child-like faith.' I learned a lesson that day - so powerful - because when it comes to vehicles I have been - I'm ashamed to say - I'm trying to fix my own vehicle and it's not going so well - I have actually taken a tool and just tossed it. Ooh. But this man didn't toss any tools, didn't say anything frustrating at all - 'I guess God has another way to fix this problem.' That's faith, isn't it? And so there's different ways - different gifts that all of us can use. He preached a better sermon on faith than I had ever preached in all the churches I'd ever preached in. Yeah, I learned a lot that day.

Well, this is a class - we're going to talk about gifted believers. Everyone has their gifts. And, as I said, this is a class so I've gotten a couple of people to help me again this week - come talk with me - first of all melissa's going to come - if we can have her hand the microphone - who has the microphone? She's going to come up and share a little bit. Melissa is our office manager and melissa and I have had the privilege of working together for almost nine years now, right? That's correct. And nine years ago I would venture to say I couldn't have gotten melissa up here to do this - also correct.

But I've seen the Spiritual gifts in her life grow very wonderfully. I wish, melissa, we would have written down all the strange phone calls that you have fielded in the office - it would be a book to entertain us, wouldn't it? I think we could fill a book. And your spiritual gifts have handled some of those. Just share some things about spiritual gifts you'd like to this morning. Well thank you.

And I'm very glad that pastor harold brought up the fact that some of us don't have certain gifts, because my gift certainly is not public speaking. But, that being said, I didn't know - like the Sunday lesson said, I didn't know what my spiritual gifts were. So we have spiritual aptitude tests that you can take and I took one of those tests and I discovered that I had two very strong spiritual gifts. One was hospitality - which I had no idea I had that one - and teaching. So yeah, some of the phone calls and e-mails that we've received have tested that hospitality because I don't think hospitality is confined to just opening your home and having people in.

And as this spiritual gift has been grown and developed I've realized that hospitality reaches to my driving habits, standing in line at the grocery store, dealing with some of the interesting phone calls and e-mails that we receive and just generally letting the holy spirit lead and guide because I really don't know what the phone call is going to entail, or what that person is going to need when they call us or what their question is or what their spiritual walk is - and without the Holy Spirit leading and guiding when - whatever spiritual gift he provides you - it's impossible to use it fully. So if you don't know what your spiritual gift is, take one of the tests - we have them available in the office. Take one. Find out what yours is, because I never would have discovered what that beautiful gift is if I hadn't taken the test and if I hadn't let the Holy Spirit work - and it's a daily work. It's a daily walk.

But - so anyways, that's - thank you. Can you say 'amen' to that? Yeah, we really appreciate melissa so much around here. We couldn't operate as we do without her, that's for sure. I asked one more person, whose name is Matthew - where did Matthew go to? Did he run out? Oh there's Matthew - come on Matthew. This is the other end of the pendulum a little bit - Matthew's a young fellow and he hasn't been around here that long.

He is graduated from theology in college and now he wanted to work as an intern for a few months. I guess you're going to be here until the end of may - and I'm sure that you've learned a few things from us saged men around here. I learned so much from you and pastor mike - I've learned so much. The thing is you've learned - I bet you learned right off the bat - that people who are older in age like we are - pastor mike and I - need the Holy Spirit just as much as somebody coming out of college, right? True. True that.

So what's the question, pastor? Well, what do you - what have you found out about spiritual gifts in your life? And just share from your heart anything you'd like to say. Sharing from my heart - what I found out about my spiritual gift. I guess we've all been searching for what our own identity is. I was always wondering - I was a young man, you know, I bet there's other young men listening. You know, how could you truly know your identity in Christ? I always wanted to know what I was, who I was, why I was here and things of that nature.

So as I've grown up through the trials and tribulations - I come from a divorced home - I realized, as having a single mother gave me like innately - it gave me the Spiritual gift of compassion. It's something that young men don't have and need to nurture. Having a single mother kind of taught me to start to empathize - really connect - to fully know someone. A true friend is someone that knows everything about them and yet still likes them anyways. To be fully known and to be fully loved is a really beautiful thing.

So as I was looking at the gifts that I think - now that I'm comfortable in my own skin - now that I've confirmed my call to pastoral ministry and my elders have confirmed that also in me - that they see certain gifts - it's the Spiritual gifts of proclamation, teaching, and my particular thing is compassion. And just one thing that I want to read - it's a quick sentence and if I didn't - wasn't nurtured from my elders to do things in this manner, I would not be called to pastoral ministry. This - the role of the clergy says, 'the minister' - and we're all ministers in our own degree and in our own way and I guess that's why we're studying this - 'the minister who does not have the gift of training does not belong to the pastoral ministry but to another part of God's work.' So, I praise the Lord for this opportunity to hone my skills as a pastoral ministry - minister - and learn from my elders. Thank you very much. Can you take this over - back to the gentleman sitting over there? Thank you.

Can you say amen to that one? I know you'll pray for Matthew as he - the Lord finds that specific spot for him to labor. And he's been a delight to have around here, I must say - just full of enthusiasm. Well, getting back to our lesson, what about prophecy? How many of you would like to have the gift of prophecy? Would it serve our church well to have a hundred people raised up to be prophets? Well, I think that would be a bit confusing, don't you think? Yeah, that'd be a bit confusing. Would it serve God well and his church to raise up another monumental special messenger like we've already had? And again I say, I don't think so - personally. Here's why I believe it wouldn't.

Prophetically, I don't think we have any indication that there's going to be another major messenger that God will send to his church. And I know the texts that talk about - in Joel 2:28 - that old men will dream dreams and young men will have visions and so forth. And that text is reiterated again in acts 2:17. And, yes, they are for the last days and I believe God will give the gift of prophecy to individuals in the last days. I think it will be a little bit different than what we've been used to.

I think it will be given - personally I believe - that when we perhaps have to flee for our lives, God will give direction through prophecy perhaps to where we should go, when we should go, how we should get there and so forth - giving us direction. That's somehow, I think, the way it will be poured out, but I don't see, biblically speaking, another major messenger being raised up. We have had a special messenger - the messages given by God through this special person have been thorough and comprehensive. If you really want to read them all, they've been very thorough and very comprehensive. What I believe we need now, more than that particular gift being manifested in that way, is we need many people who actually believe in the outcome of that gift.

We need people to believe in the things that God has given us through that gift. For, you see, God's remnant church is being challenged by various groups on various issues - some of them really, basically, an insubordination against the policies and church standards. They are attempts to have us follow the footsteps of some other denominations and we can't even be surprised to know that there will be groups, as you probably know, pushing for gay clergy or gay marriages - there'll be groups pushing that. There already are - and to have that accepted within the church. Well, that's not something we ever want.

And, you see, there isn't the need for a new messenger to be raised up to help us understand that, we just need all of us adhering to what we already should understand. So that's what we need. Prophecy is a big thing. It has been a wonderful gift. What most people need when it comes, though, to the gift of prophecy is not the gift itself but the Christian integrity to follow the light given from the gift.

I think that's an important concept, don't you? Yes. That certainly goes along with the statement found in Sunday's lesson - it says this, "not only does the Holy Spirit distribute spiritual gifts among believers, but also as acts 1:8 reveals, "he empowers us to use our gifts." So there's kind of a double meaning to that sentence to be sure. When God gives us a gift, he will empower us to use that gift in the way it's supposed to be, but he will also empower people to follow through on the intention of that gift. And that's where we fit into mostly - to follow through on the intentions of the gifts that God has already given to this church by way of prophecy. Okay.

So we can see that the work of the Holy Spirit is very, very comprehensive. Let's move on to Monday's lesson where it talks about the Spirit and his gifts. It starts out by talking about people who have been chosen to an office in a church only to realize, sometime down the road, that they aren't fitted for that position. Now, what does that tell us? Well, first of all, it reminds us that when it comes to gifts of the Spirit, it can be a very complicated thing. Secondly, it takes sometimes steps and learning and education and understanding to lead us up to a gift - to embracing a gift.

And it takes time, sometimes. And as we move on to this particular day, let's have somebody read - I believe they have for us - acts 13. Who has that text? Acts 13? Right up here in front. Okay. Acts 13, verses 1 through 3.

And this is an experience that is - becomes very practical on a day-to-day practical revelance - oh, it's very relevant for us - get that word out. This is a very relevant passage for the church on a day-to-day passage. So that's again, acts 13, verses 1 to 3 - and I think we're just about ready. Okay, go ahead. Acts 13:1-3.

"Now in the church that was in antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: barnabas, simeon who was called niger, lucius of cyrene, manaen who had been brought up with herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, 'now separate to me barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.' Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away." Thank you very much. So the gift of the Holy Spirit is given to those who are fasting and praying to give specific guidance on kind of a day-to-day basis. Where to go, who to go, and when to go and what to do and things like that, so the Holy Spirit does that. That's why, in all of our committees and all of our boards and conferences and everything that we come together as, we should pray for the gift and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes it may take awhile to see just how God is going to answer our prayers but we'll eventually know. The problem at times, of course, we've probably all experienced this - some groups come to the table with their own agenda in a given committee or board or whatever. They come with their own agenda - oh yes, they pray about it but when they only come with the agenda that they want, then they sometimes miss the point. I cringe sometimes when I hear certain people say, 'well we prayed about this a long time and we've come to the conclusion' - no, they didn't come to that conclusion after they prayed, they came to the table with that conclusion. And that's when we begin to have problems in the church sometimes, when that happens.

I don't suppose there probably could be a higher kind of hypocrisy than that kind of thing. But, yes, God does give direction to the answer of prayer when we come together. Do you believe that? Yes. I personally believe without a shadow of a doubt, that God led me to Sacramento central. And it's kind of nice to know in your heart and your mind that you know that you are where God wants you.

Now, some people may be listening and say, 'well I don't really know if I'm where I'm supposed to be. Maybe I'm supposed to do something else.' Well, I say, believe that you are where God wants you right now or else you would have been someplace else, right? And if he wanted you someplace else he will open doors one by one and lead you to that place. But believe right now he's where he wants you - you are where he wants you, I mean. Now Saul and barnabas probably had no idea that their world was going to change so abruptly. But, knowing in their hearts they were pure - they were seeking only to do God's will - they moved forward, with God's leading, confidently.

And as we go to Tuesday's lesson, it talks about discovering our gifts. The first sentence says that discovering our gifts is not difficult and I would agree to that. Melissa has shared that you can take a little test and you can find out very quickly what some of your spiritual strengths are and your gifts could be. And I believe, if you really think about it, you can ascertain what your spiritual gifts are - even without taking that test, if you really seriously think about it. Okay, let's have someone read Corinthians 12:28-31.

Who has that? Right up front here - and we're talking about a specific thing here about some gifts and it's interesting the way it's put and that's 1 Corinthians, chapter 12 and verses 28 through 31 and I think we're ready. Okay. "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excEllent way." Thank you so much. Maybe we should ask ourselves what are some of the best gifts - because it says, 'covet the best gifts.

' Well, one way to think about what the best gift might be is the one that is most urgently needed. Wouldn't that be the best gift? If you were in a group of people and they wanted to know the Gospel and you were the only one there that could tell them what the Gospel was and how to be a Christian and how to be saved - you were the only one there that knew that and they all wanted it but they all spoke a different language than you - do you think it might be imperative that God would allow the gift of tongues to take place in that particular instance? That they would all hear you? As you attempted to try to explain, lo and behold you find out that they're understanding every word that you say. That would be a proper place for the gift of tongues, would it not? What if somebody you know was trying to maybe commit suicide? Would it be important - would one of the best gifts under those circumstances be compassion and kindness and love and some of these things? Of course. So the best gifts are the ones that are most urgently needed. And the ones most urgently needed by seventh day adventist Christians is - one of them is, I believe, to be a genuine living witness for him, right? Be a spokesman for God.

Now, another concept on Tuesday's lesson is it points out that others may be influential in helping us know our gifts - what our gifts might be. I've seen that many times. When you see somebody that is affecting other people's lives in a very very positive way, would it be right for you to let them know? And encourage them? Absolutely. Not in an attempt to flatter them or anything like that, but to give them encouragement. Yes, I believe you will make a good minister.

You have some good qualities, Matthew, yes. Praise God. You know, God is leading you, and throw your heart and soul into it. And then the lesson threw the nominating committee into the mix and that's a good thing to think about because nominating committees do place people in certain positions and it's good to place people in positions that they are kind of qualified for, right? That they have aptitude for. It's very important.

The caution we need to take is not to try to convince somebody for a position just because you're having a hard time filling a position even though they may not possess any qualities for that position. Sometimes that has happened. If you've ever served on a nominating committee, you know that. But the question at the bottom of Tuesday's simply asks the question, 'what do you think your own gifts are and why?' If nothing else out of this lesson this week, that question makes you think, then this lesson is worth it. I hope you really, seriously take time to answer that question and understand it.

Moving on to Wednesday, 'other gifts'. I absolutely marvel at some of the people here at central that use their gifts week after week after week in our divisions out there with the children. We have some spectacular people. If you've never been to visit our classes, you should do that sometime, just to see God in action through these people. And it takes a major commitment and they get very little recognition for it.

I know, I just see carrie - she did it for years around here and very little recognition, but praise God there are people that are willing to do that week after week. And there are people right here in this sanctuary that volunteer themselves every week so that these programs can be out there online, all over the world, volunteering on cameras and in the studio and so forth. I wish I could bring up here the person that is responsible almost every week to make sure we have the right microphone at the right place at the right time and the right number of microphones. But this person is humble and she wouldn't allow me to bring her up here in front of all you - I know - but I wish we could do that because there're people like that every week that do their jobs of service. Deacons doing their job opening this place up on Sabbath morning.

That just reminds us that we all have gifts that can be used in God's church. Usually you know what happens though, right? All these people doing all these works and who gets the recognition? The guy standing in front of this pulpit only sometimes. That's not right. There are so many people who do things to make this possible. So praise God for these gifts being used every every week.

I remember a series of evangelistic meetings, one time, by a major big-name evangelist and - in evangelist meetings, one of the most important things that takes place is the divisions for the children. People who are responsible for having these children while their parents sit in the meetings and soak in God's Word. So it was no different in these meetings and I remember after this first meeting this first night, I heard these - this little boy I think it was - run up to his mom and dad after coming out of that class and they were coming out of this sanctuary having heard the message for the night and this little boy came running up to his parents and said, 'mommy, daddy, we planted some seeds today and we have to come back tomorrow night so we can see if they're going to grow.' And I thought, wow, you know that's exactly what those people do. They plant seeds in the hearts of those little children - just as important as the seeds that that evangelist is placing in the hearts of the people listening in the big sanctuary. Their work is just as important - in fact, maybe sometimes more important because if the little children are happy and excited and enthusiastic and want to go back, guess what they're going to do.

They're going to encourage mommy and daddy to go back the next night when mom and day are tired and maybe say, 'oh, I don't know.' 'Oh, come on mommy, I've got to go see if that seed's growing.' 'Okay, we'll go.' Oh, we just can't take too lightly any gift that God gives his people, right? We're all to be used. All to be used by him. Now acts 2:40 - who has acts 2? Does somebody have that one? I'm not sure I gave that one out. Acts 2:40 through 47 - talks about the day of pentecost when three thousand people would be baptized, right? Now, the important thing about this passage was - well, that's important - three thousand souls added to God's church - that's very important, but something had to happen after that. There had to be people that were involved in just plain old friendliness.

Do you realize it's a fact - a proven fact - that if a person who joins a church doesn't connect with at least six or seven people by a certain amount of time, that the likelihood of that person leaving the church becomes very, very high. So, one of the best gifts after a series of meetings or after somebody joins a church, one of the best gifts to be demonstrated by God's people is being friendly and loving and embracing new people. It takes a lot of work. It takes as much work sometimes to keep us in this church as it does to get us into this church. And I know, back when I first joined the church, that was true.

I was so shy and timid - of course I still am - but I was so shy and timid in those days that if they hadn't embraced me like they did I would have probably ran down the road, maybe, I don't know. But it just takes a whole lot of us working together. And we work hard at that - we work hard at that at this church. That's why we have things like disciple university program going on - so that we can implement things in our lives that will ground us. And we have a new believers class.

Pastor Luke - we're so happy to have pastor Luke - he takes that class so serious. Those people have a delightful time over there. They get grounded in the church and in fellowship. And there are other areas where a whole host of spiritual gifts are needed. We have a food closet here - best food closet I have ever seen in any church I've ever been in.

The best. Giving out lots and lots of help to lots of people. I'm telling you, you ought to be around here every other Wednesday when our food closet people are using their spiritual gifts for God. It's wonderful - and they can always use more help. Ministering to those in need is a special ministry that takes caring people with the Spiritual gift of kindness and compassion.

Now, we are also getting very close to opening up a thrift store. That's going to take some special gifts. In fact, it's going to take some special gifts right now - it's called elbow grease gift - you ever heard of that elbow grease gift? It's getting a building ready to inhabit a store with a thrift store. If you would like to help, we need all the manpower we can get to help that store be ready to open within a month or so, okay? You let me know, let buddy harper know - it's going to be exciting. We're looking forward to it.

But if you have two hours a week - four hours a week - please come and volunteer. A busy church is what? A healthy church. You know why? Because people won't be sitting around thinking about who they can complain about or criticize because they'll be too busy working hand in hand with people that - 'hey, they're just pretty neat people too. I'm not the only neat person around here, there's some other neat people around here.' Yeah, that's the way churches should be. Well, Thursday's lesson is entitled 'gifts and Christian responsibility'.

Well, we've already touched on this concept a little bit, but there must be a purpose for spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts - the biggest purpose is to finish the work of God - to win souls to Jesus so Jesus can come. The outcome of all spiritual gifts is that. And sometimes we may not like to own up to a spiritual gift because it does require responsibility, right? I have actually had people say, 'oh, I don't think I have any spiritual gifts.' You know why they said that? Because they didn't want to own up to any responsibilities. It does - you have to be responsible when you realize you have a gift.

Do you realize - you know there's been a frenzy this week? You know what that frenzy was, last night, I don't know if they won or not, I didn't get to hear, but the mega-ball - megapower thing that was going to give away 600 million dollars - do you realize if somebody gave you 600 million dollars what responsibilities you would have as a Christian? Your responsibility list would just go skyrocket and you wouldn't be able to live up to those responsibilities probably and that's why you didn't win. I hope you didn't even buy the card. I hope you didn't even buy that little thing. Anyway, that's why you didn't win if you did. Well, anyway, let's see.

Where are we at? Corinthians - let me see - I'm going to read Romans 12, verse , it says, "for we - as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:" churches have their services and ministries, but as a body has its parts - the hand, the foot, the nose and ears, so on - so the body of Christ - the church has its individual members all, supposedly, working in harmony. I'll never forget a little illustration that elder floyd brezee preached when I first interned with him back in collegeview church in lincoln, Nebraska. He was speaking on unity and he gave this little story - made up story - about the nose and eyes having a conversation one day and the nose says to the eyes, 'I am so sick and tired of wearing these glasses - I don't like them. They're a nuisance, they're annoying and they're heavy - they're heavy on my nose' - the nose is speaking - and he says, 'I'm not wearing them anymore.' So he takes the glasses off and before the eyes could protest, off walks the nose - but guess what? He runs right into the door post and he breaks his nose because the eyes weren't being used. And so it is with God's church - if one part of the church isn't doing and fulfilling its responsibility, the whole church is going to suffer.

That person that isn't doing is going to suffer the most - with the broken nose. But the rest of the body suffers likewise. And so it is with the body of Christ. This isn't true just within the confines of a church, the lesson brings out that experience with Philip and the Ethiopian treasurer. What a tragedy if Philip hadn't allowed God to use his gift through him that day.

And we can only just guess at what the snowball effect was for that person becoming converted and baptized that day. His family members, his friends, those who were encouraged and influenced by his experience in the Lord is unreal how - we might never know until we get to the Kingdom. Unity is important. Unity will and can only be - real unity though when it is around a 'thus sayeth the Lord', right? And God-ordained policies of the church. Let me read a little passage from testimonies volume 9, 261.

It says, "God has ordained that the representatives of his church, from all parts of the earth, when assembled in a general conference, shall have authority. The error that some are in danger of committing is in giving to the mind and judgment of one man or a small group of men, the full measure of authority and influence that God has vested in his church in the judgment and voice of the general conference assembled to plan for the prosperity and the advancement of his work." So, what that's saying is, when the general conference comes together in world session, there is great authority in the voice of that session making policy compared to a few men trying to push their agenda forward on any kind of an issue. And once we get away from that concept, then our church will experience problems. It's a powerful point of truth that if we would all adhere to, we would save ourselves a lot of trouble. Unity cannot be found if groups here and there ignore the authoritative point on different issues.

The prophet Ezekiel had an impressive vision where he saw wheels within a wheel - remember that vision he had? And the appearance of living creatures connected with them? It all seemed intricate and unexplainable but it shows how God's church should be - allowing God's authority to have its way in all of our actions, working together in heavenly harmony. Well, I'm reminded to share again with you that the offer - free offer - 'evangelism in - evangelism pre-work manual' - that's this one - you can order it free by just dialing -866-study-more or -866-788-3966. Thank you all who have joined us this morning and all you here who have joined us. Get this book, I'm sure you'll be glad if you did. In six days God created the heavens and the earth.

For thousands of years man has worshiped God on the seventh day of the week. Now, each week, millions of people worship on the first day. What happened? Why did God create a day of rest? Does it really matter what day we worship? Who was behind this great shift? Discover the truth behind God's law and how it was changed. Visit Sabbathtruth.com. Thank you for joining us for this broadcast.

If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at amazingfacts.org. There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs including Amazing Facts presents, central study hour, everlasting Gospel, Bible answers live, and wonders in the word. You'll also find a storehouse of biblical resources geared towards answering some of your most difficult questions and our online Bible school is just a click away. One location. So many possibilities. Amazingfacts.org.

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