The Gift of God (Part 2)
‘One man in a church was boasting to his friend, “I could give $1,000.00 towards the building and not even feel it.”
His friend replied, “Then give two or three thousand and feel it!”’
Everyone likes gifts. Receiving gifts is a blessing but it even more blessed to be able and to actually give a gift to others. Acts 20:35 tells us to: “remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
One anonymous person aptly stated: “What you are is God’s gift to you. What you make of yourself is your gift to God.” Good thought. We should give our lives back to the Lord in service.
Let us continue our consideration of the “Gift of God.” There are 3 more passages with this insightful phrase. Each of these have more to do with using the gift that God has given to us – to serve and minister to other people.
- God’s Gifts Cannot Be Bought: Acts 8:20 instructs, “But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.”
Peter is in Jerusalem when the news from Samaria concerning the preaching of Philip and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit is spoken about. Phillip is casting out demons, healing people, and preaching the Gospel – all in the power of God. Peter and John are sent by the Apostles in Jerusalem to confirm the testimony they were told, and together these two men walk to Samaria.
When Peter arrives, a man named Simon is determined to talk with Peter. Simon formerly had been a sorcerer, but had renounced demonic powers and had turned to Jesus with faith in the Gospel.
By the Way: There is much temptation for Christian families to be entertained by evil books and TV. Harry Potter, and many similar books and movies that portray sorcerers and wizards as the hero should be avoid, discarded, and not allowed to influence our kids. Demonism is real and is growing in popularity today. It is now mainstream and even popular. What kid would not like to have supernatural powers? Satanic activity is real and we must guard our homes in active ways lest our kids be led astray.
Well, this man Simon, had demonic power before, and now that he was a believer in Jesus he realized that the prestige and power he once had was gone. I do not believe he was regretting turning to Jesus. He was however coveting what he saw in Peter.
Part of Peters purpose for this journey was to see how the Holy Spirit of God was working in Samaria. When Peter laid hands on these people who had previously believed in Jesus for salvation – the Holy Spirit came upon them. This study could diverge into the doctrine of the Pneumatology (Holy Spirit) but we will not now. These saved people had not yet received the Holy Spirit.
Simon sees this tremendous moving of the Holy Spirit and he wanted the power to give the Holy Spirit to other people too! He was still thinking in occultist terms. Peter directly tells him that the Holy Spirit cannot be bought.
The Spirit of God is a gift that God gives to Christians when they are born of the Spirit, or born again. The Gift of God cannot be bought. While Simon wanted to serve others by giving them the Spirit, that is not the way it works. The Holy Spirit of God worked through Phillip and Peter and He can also work through you. Our main problem is that we tend to think in humanistic terms. We tend to try to live the Christian life and conduct the work of the ministry in the flesh or with our intellect.
Thank God for His Holy Spirit who will lead, guide, direct, and empower you to fulfill the will of God.
- God’s Gift Should Be Cherished: 1 Corinthians 7:7 teaches, “For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.”
Most of us are not like the man in the following story: “Probably the only man in history who never saw a woman was Mihailo Tolotos, a monk who died in 1938 at the age of 82 in one of the monasteries atop Mount Athos, Greece. As his mother passed away when he was born, Mihailo was taken to Athos the next day and never once, throughout his life, left this monastic colony which has excluded all females, animals as well as humans, for more than 900 years.” (Signs of the Times)
The context of 1 Corinthians 7 is marriage and family. Paul is teaching the Corinthian believers who lived in a sex-crazed, and immoral society how they should remain celibate if unmarried and how to remain pure through marriage.
While Peter was married, had a family, and a mother in law, Paul was never married. Paul, the iconic missionary, had tremendous freedom to travel and be away from home for years at a time because he was not married.
As 1 Corinthians 7 develops we find that the gift of God that Paul is speaking of concerning personal marriage relationships differs from person to person. Consider the following:
If a specific man is supposed to be married and it is God’s will that he has a family – then the wife God gives to him is a special gift from God. In this case – marriage is a gift of God.
If a particular man is not to be married and it is God’s will that the man remain single – then singleness is a gift of God.
If a man marries and it is not God’s will, or he marries a person that the Lord says not to marry (according to clear Bible teaching) then becoming a husband would become a nightmare instead of a blessing.
By the Way: Living together before marriage is like unwrapping a gift before it has been given to you. There are many spiritual and psychological reasons this is a harmful practice. Perhaps that could be a post on another day. Until you are married – the gifts included in the broader gift of marriage (sex, kids, family, accountability, leadership, and union) are not yours – yet. Wait until the “I Do.” To unwrap your marriage gift.
Many people are living a nightmare in relationships because they marry outside the will of God, the Word of God, or do not accept the specific gift of God – the gift of marriage or the gift of singleness. Whichever of these two gifts God gives to you – cherish it. Both gifts are temporary in nature. Embrace whichever one God has for you at this moment.
- God’s Gift Should Be Remembered. 2 Timothy 1:6 encourages, “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.”
With each gift we receive of the Lord, we should be deliberate to remember, and be thankful for those gifts. Should we not consistently remind ourselves of all that God has given, we will forget. Human nature is good at tucking blessings away into forgetfulness, and merely thinking on problems or things we do not have.
May God help us to frame our minds with consistent thinking of God’s gifts as Ephesians 1:3 tells us, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”
In 2 Timothy 1, Paul is reminding young pastor Timothy about how the Holy Spirit of God had called, equipped, and empowered Tim for the task of Christian service. Timothy was a preacher, a pastor. Does The Holy Spirit do the same in our lives? The answer is yes.
Even if you are not “paid time” in the ministry, we are all to be “full-time” in the ministry. Remember the gift of the Holy Spirit in Acts 8? The Holy Spirit has gifted each believer with a specific “Spiritual Gifts.” Do you know what your Spiritual Gift is? There are 6 Spiritual Gifts listed in Romans 12:6-8. We have a “Spiritual Gifts” test at our church office if you want to stop on sometimes to discover your specific gift. Utilizing your gift will help you be more effective in Christian service.
When God’s people all prioritize faithful service much good is accomplished. Our family enjoys flying kits on warm breezy days. When a kite is flown into the air, the question could be asked: “Who Flew the Kite?”
“‘I did,” said the wind!
“I did,” said the paper!
“I did,” said the string!
“I did,” said the boy! But in reality they ALL flew the kite! If the wind had lulled, if the paper had torn, if the sticks had broken, if the tail had caught in the tree, or the boy had fallen, then the kite would have come down! EACH HAD A PART TO PLAY!
God has placed you in a strategic role! You are important to your church ministry. Just use your gift to the Glory of God and leave the results to Him.” (Communicating Biblical Truths)
Be stirred up, excited, and focused on the good work that the Holy Spirit of God can do in your life. There is much to complain about, and many problems that we could be pre-occupied with, but by God’s grace, you can remained stirred up and focused on the specific ministry and service God has for you.
Thank the Lord for each gift He has given.