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Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.

LESSON 12 - CONVERTING SPIRITUAL GIFTS INTO MINISTRIES

      

     Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.  All Scripture references
     are to the NIV unless otherwise noted. Suggested answers are
     found within parentheses. These lessons are taught from a
     computer screen, therefore upper case is used throughout for
     visual clarity. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a
     blackboard.

INTRODUCTION: SO FAR THIS QUARTER WE HAVE MADE THE JOURNEY FROM
LEARNING ABOUT WHAT SPIRITUAL GIFTS ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE HOLY
SPIRIT, TO DISCOVERING WHICH OF THOSE SPIRITUAL GIFTS ARE OURS. IF
YOU ARE STILL NOT CERTAIN ABOUT YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS, THE PASTOR
SUGGESTED THAT I REMIND YOU ABOUT HIS DISCOVERIES PROGRAM BY WHICH
YOU CAN FIND YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS.  WITH THE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR
SPIRITUAL GIFTS IN HAND (I HOPE), THIS WEEK WE STUDY HOW TO PUT THE
SPIRITUAL GIFTS THAT YOU POSSESS INTO ACTION.  SO LETS GET INTO IT!

I. THE CHURCH FRAMEWORK

     A. WHAT ARE THE PRINCIPAL THINGS YOU THINK THE MANASSAS SDA
     CHURCH SHOULD BE DOING? (LIST)

          1. FOR US THE ISSUE IS A LOT EASIER, WE HAVE A "VISION
          STATEMENT," OR A STATEMENT OF PURPOSE. THAT IS:

               a. BUILDING
               b. CARING
               c. SHARING.

          2. HOWEVER THIS IS PUT, WE HAVE THREE MAIN OBJECTIVES,
          OBJECTIVES THAT I HOPE ANY BODY OF BELIEVERS WOULD HAVE:

               a. GOSPEL OUTREACH
               b. SPIRITUAL NURTURE TO OUR MEMBERS
               c. SERVICE TO MEMBERS AND COMMUNITY.

               d. AND THEN THERE IS A FOURTH: COORDINATION OF THESE
               THREE, RIGHT?

     B. LOOK AT THIS FRAMEWORK A MINUTE: THESE FOUR AREAS OF 
     CHURCH WORK. WHERE DO YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS FIT IN? 

          1. IF YOU HAVE THAT, LETS MOVE ON TO THE NEXT STEP.

II. FINDING YOUR NICHE.

     A. YOU HAVE IN HAND THE GENERAL CATEGORY INTO WHICH YOUR GIFTS
     FALL, LETS READ SOME ADVICE FROM PAUL TO HELP US FIND OUR
     SPECIFIC NICHE.

     B. READ 1 COR. 12:11-19.  PAUL HERE IS SPEAKING OF SPIRITUAL
     GIFTS. WHAT IF YOU DECIDED GOD GAVE YOU THE GIFT OF
     ADMINISTRATION, BUT THE CHURCH ALREADY HAD AN ADMINISTRATOR?
     C. LETS TURN THIS AROUND. OUR LESSON SAYS THAT MOST ADVENTISTS
     MEET IN CHURCHES OF 100 MEMBERS OR LESS.  WHAT IF THE "EYE"
     POSITION OR "HAND" POSITION IS OPEN, BUT YOU DO NOT FEEL THAT
     YOUR STRONGEST GIFTS ARE AS AN "EYE" OR "HAND?" 

     D. WHAT IF YOU ALREADY HAVE A MINISTRY IN THE CHURCH, BUT A
     MUCH BETTER "EYE" OR "HAND" JOINS THE CHURCH?  SOMEONE WITH
     STRONGER SPIRITUAL GIFTS IN THAT AREA. DO YOU FIGHT TO
     MAINTAIN THE MINISTRY THAT YOU HAVE HAD? (I THINK THAT WE NEED
     TO CONSIDER THE ENTIRE WORK OF THE CHURCH, AND TRY TO FIT IN
     WHERE GOD LEADS AND WE SEE NEEDS.)
     
III. HOW TO START.

     A. TURN WITH ME TO 2 CHRONICLES 31:20-21. HOW DOES THIS SAY
     THAT KING HEZEKIAH UNDERTOOK TO APPLY HIS SPIRITUAL GIFTS?

          (1. SOUGHT GOD'S WILL; AND,
          2. WORKED WHOLEHEARTEDLY.
          3. THE RESULT WAS "HE PROSPERED.")

     B. HOW DO WE FOLLOW HEZEKIAH'S EXAMPLE? 

          1. IN SEEKING GOD'S WILL?
          2. IN WORKING WHOLEHEARTEDLY?

     C. LETS TURN NEXT TO PROVERBS. THIS TEXT DOES NOT APPLY SIMPLY
     TO SPIRITUAL GIFTS, BUT GIVES US GENERAL ADVICE ON APPROACHING
     TASKS. PROVERBS 27:21-24.

          1. WHAT DOES VERSE 21 REFER TO WHEN IT SPEAKS OF SILVER
          AND GOLD? (PURIFYING. A COMMON BIBLICAL REFERENCE)

               a. HOW DOES PRAISE FIT IN HERE? (THAT PRAISE IS A
               TEST! IF YOU THOUGHT CRITICISM WAS A TEST, THE
               BIBLE SAYS PRAISE IS A TEST.)

                    (1) WHY IS PRAISE A TEST?

               b. WHAT DOES THIS TEACH US ABOUT APPLYING OUR 
               SPIRITUAL GIFTS? (THAT IF IT GOES WELL, THAT GOD
               PROSPERS OUR WORK, WE SHOULD NOT FORGET THE BASICS
               OF SEEKING GOD'S WILL AND WORKING WHOLEHEARTEDLY.)

          2. WHAT DO YOU THINK VERSES 23-24 ARE TEACHING US? (PAY
          ATTENTION TO THE NEEDS OF THE CHURCH. YOU NEED TO BE
          CONSTANTLY ASKING YOURSELF, "DOES MY MINISTRY SERVE THE
          PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH?" IF YOU DO NOT MAKE CHANGES TO
          MEET THE NEEDS, THEN "RICHES DO NOT ENDURE FOREVER" AND
          YOUR "CROWN IS NOT IS NOT SECURE" MEANS THAT YOU MAY
          BECOME IRRELEVANT. (THIS IS NOT SPEAKING OF SALVATION.))

     D. LETS GO TO THE NEW TESTAMENT NOW. TURN TO 1 TIM. 3:1-12.
     BEFORE WE READ, DO YOU THINK THAT BEING AN ELDER OR DEACON IS
     A SPIRITUAL GIFT? (YES. 1 COR.12:28)

          1. READ 1 TIM. 3:1-12.

          2. WHAT DOES THIS TELL US ABOUT STARTING CERTAIN
          MINISTRIES, EXERCISING CERTAIN SPIRITUAL GIFTS? (THERE
          ARE SOME OBJECTIVE STANDARDS.)

          3. IS THIS A SELF-ASSESSMENT OR THE ASSESSMENT OF THE 
          CHURCH? (CHURCH)

          4. DOES THIS APPLY TO ALL SPIRITUAL GIFTS?

               a. WHAT IF SAUL/PAUL ASKED FOR A VOTE OF CONFIDENCE
               BY THE CHURCH BEFORE HE BEGAN HIS WORK? HOW WOULD
               THE VOTE HAVE COME OUT? (PROBABLY AN UNFAIR
               QUESTION. I THINK THAT THE LORD CAN WORK
               INDIVIDUALLY WITH A PERSON TO BEGIN A MINISTRY, BUT
               IF IT NEVER HAS APPROVAL AMONG THE BELIEVERS, YOU
               NEED TO DO SOME SOUL-SEARCHING.)

     E. READ 1 COR 14:12. PAUL TELLS US EXPLICITLY THAT HE IS 
     DISCUSSING SPIRITUAL GIFTS IN THIS CHAPTER.

          1. LETS READ ON 14:26-33a AND 40.

          2. IF THERE IS ANY SPONTANEOUS GIFT, THIS IS IT: THE HOLY
          SPIRIT SPEAKING THROUGH INDIVIDUALS IN TONGUES AND
          PROPHECY. RIGHT?

          3. FOR PURPOSES OF OUR DISCUSSION, WHAT IS PAUL SAYING
          ABOUT THE USE OF GIFTS IN THE CHURCH SERVICE? (ORDERLY,
          COORDINATED GIFTS USED TO BUILD UP THE CHURCH.)

          4. WHAT HAPPENS IF GOD GIVES A MESSAGE IN TONGUES TO MORE
          THAN THREE PEOPLE?  WHAT IF HE GIVES A REVELATION TO MORE
          THAN THREE PROPHETS? (1 COR. 14:27. THEY SHOULD LIMIT
          THEMSELVES TO ONLY THREE.)

               a. WHAT MESSAGE, WHAT GENERAL INSTRUCTION, DO WE 
               FIND IN THIS? (THAT ORDER IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN
               EVERYONE SPEAKING THEIR MIND -- EVEN IF THEY THINK
               THE MESSAGE IS FROM GOD!)

     F. GIVEN THESE TEXTS, IS THERE ANY ROOM FOR A SLOPPY, HALF-
     HEARTED, ILL-PREPARED, DISORDERLY MINISTRY? (NO! THE MINISTRY
     REPRESENTS GOD. MAKE IT YOUR VERY BEST! (1 TIM.2:15))

IV. NEXT WEEK: USING YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS IN YOUR CHURCH. STUDY!