SPIRITUAL GIFTS FOR THE BELIEVER

THE PERMANENT SPIRITUAL GIFTS

Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., Pastor, Grace Bible Church of Costa Mesa, California

Copyright 1995-2014 Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., All Rights Reserved



There are two general categories of spiritual gifts - permanent and temporary. The Church Age is composed of two parts - the Pre-canon period from 30 A.D. to 96 A.D. and the Post-canon period, which is the remainder of the Church Age. The permanent spiritual gifts function during both the Pre-canon period and the Post-canon period. The temporary gifts operated ONLY in the Pre-canon period of the Church Age from 30 A.D. to 96 A.D. After 96 A.D., all temporary spiritual gifts ceased to function as a grace operation because their purpose had been fulfilled according to the Word of God. This is a very important Biblical principle to remember as we proceed in our study of spiritual gifts.

Permanent spiritual gifts are those still operating today in the Post-canon period of the Church Age. Remember, the descent of the Holy Spirit occurred in 30 A.D. The next prophesied event is the Rapture of the Church or Exit Resurrection, which terminates the dispensation of the Church Age. The body becomes the bride at the Rapture which is the resurrection and translation of the body of Christ. What follows is the seven years of the Tribulation. Christ will come for His own at the Rapture, but He will come with His own at the Second Coming. This begins the Millennial kingdom (1,000 literal years) of the Lord Jesus Christ here on the earth under perfect environment. The Great White Throne Judgment follows the Millennium period. The final stage in human history is the Eternal State where all believers will be in resurrection bodies and all unbelievers have been consigned to the Lake of Fire. This is an overview of the Pre-millennial scheme of world events. Pre-millenialism means that Christ returns to the earth before the Millennium.

All spiritual gifts are not listed in the Scripture, but merely representative of categorical concepts. Some gifts require education, training and preparation and are mentioned, such as evangelism, and pastors and teachers. For divine production from our spiritual gifts, we must have the filling of the Holy Spirit and for maximum production from our spiritual gift, we must have the influence of Bible doctrine. Maximum knowledge, metabolism and application of Bible truth is necessary. Our proper attitude toward our spiritual gifts is given in Romans 12:1-8.

I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:1-8)

You are not to feel inferior or feel superior about your spiritual gift. How could we feel inferior if it's a gift and God the Father planned it and God the Holy Spirit disseminated it at the moment of salvation? If we feel inferior because of our spiritual gift, then we are saying that God didn't know what He was doing. God knows exactly which gifts to give, how we can best serve Him, and how we can contribute to the unity of the body of Christ.

Also, don't feel superior if you have a leadership gift - it is still a gift. You didn't earn nor deserve it. You should never use it as the Corinthians did to draw attention to yourself. The problem of many believers today is that they will not serve unless it is in such a way as to titillate their approbation lust. Their egos are as big as the great outdoors and it has to be fed by attention and recognition. They have to be in the limelight and then they feel superior. The simple principle is that it is a gift, not meant to make you feel superior or inferior.

The Gift of Pastor-Teacher

The gift of pastor-teacher is one of two permanent communication spiritual gifts provided by God the Holy Spirit at salvation for a small percentage of male believers only. The other permanent communication spiritual gift is evangelism. Pastor-teacher is the highest communication gift for the Church Age and is designed to function within the local church. The pastor is not an administrator. He is a policy maker.

The gift of pastor-teacher is a permanent spiritual gift. In Ephesians 4:11, where it says pastors and teachers, it is in the plural and refers to the man who is the minister in the congregation in the professional sense of the word. He is the one with the most delegated authority now in the Post-canon period of the Church Age. As the pastor, he is the shepherd and carries on a shepherding ministry which includes counseling the people through Bible truth, being available to them, and accountable to the Lord. He is responsible for seeing that the policy of the local church and administration line up with the Word of God, but he is most importantly a teacher of the Word. A pastor-teacher should be a teaching pastor. Remember, there are also others in the local church who have teaching gifts, but are not the pastor-teacher.

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, (Ephesians 4:11)

When taking in the Word, believers should concentrate on the message being taught, not on the one teaching the message. This is often a problem for some believers and they get into trouble through their sin nature lust patterns. Personality emulation is not true spirituality and can lead to a form of legalism where certain personality traits and professions are considered better than others. This is not what the Bible teaches.

In every Church Age generation, the Holy Spirit provides some men with the spiritual gift of pastor-teacher. They have all kinds of personalities, just as we all do. Because of that normal human condition, many male believers with the gift of pastor-teacher never become pastors of local churches. Some never discover that they have the spiritual gift of pastor-teacher. This may be due to negative volition toward Bible doctrine. Spiritual growth is the only path to discovery of this gift. This gift is not discovered emotionally, but rationally through the perception of doctrine. Some discover that they have the spiritual gift, but become distracted by romance or an early marriage. They can become distracted by having a family before they can adequately prepare for the ministry. They can become distracted by technical or financial success in business or in another profession. Success can be very stimulating and can be difficult to turn from to prepare academically for the ministry. Of all the professions in life, the gift of pastor-teacher takes more consistent pursuit, energy, and time to prepare for the ministry. Preparation is everything.

Identification of this spiritual gift is not simple, because it demands persistence in the perception of doctrine. It is not connected with emotion. No feeling should lead or guide you. You have to know from Bible doctrine in your soul and have confidence from that knowledge. If you identify your gift too late for proper preparation, don't be concerned because God uses that gift in many other ways. After the individual male recognizes his spiritual gift and prepares for it, then the Bible demands that some local church recognize his spiritual gift through the ritual of ordination. Eventually, some local church will recognize him by calling him to be their pastor.

Some male believers discover their spiritual gift and prepare themselves for the ministry and then find they have no opportunity to use their communication gift. In a nation where negative volition becomes predominant, the demand for grace oriented Bible-teaching pastors diminishes. God honors this category of men in other functions of life. God can bless in many ways, not only in business and professional careers, but also in his relationships in life with wife, family, and friends. In contrast, in positive generations, there may not be enough prepared pastors to meet the spiritual demand. Imagine such a situation!

Also, some male believers may discover their spiritual gift, prepare themselves and even enter some form of Christian service compatible with their gift. They can become pastors of local churches, professors, teachers in seminaries or Bible schools, writers, administrators and teachers in Christian service organizations, or missionaries. From His wisdom related to His omniscience, God the Holy Spirit always over supplies. There are always more men with the gift of pastor-teacher than men who will actually use it.

The spiritual gift of pastor-teacher is God’s method for teaching the mystery doctrines of the Church Age to every believer. The gift of pastor-teacher is a spiritual gift sovereignly bestowed by the Holy Spirit at salvation totally apart from any human merit or ability - as are all spiritual gifts. The gift provides the right for the pastor to go directly to the Canon of Scripture and determine what is and is not divine policy. He then grows spiritually based on his personal study of the Word of God, and communicates Bible doctrine in public after having prepared.

The pastor has the highest authority in one local church only. God's delegated authority is the pastor's means of protecting the sheep. The pastor can abuse this authority by spiritual bullying or by not using his God-given authority. There is no such thing as a denomination where a pastor has authority over more than one local church. Authority over more than one local church was unique to the gift of apostleship which was a temporary spiritual gift. That gift vanished once the Canon of Scripture was completed and the Church established. Pastor-teachers now carry the authority of the local church for the rest of the Church Age.

There are, of course, others in the congregation who have leadership responsibility. They have organizational, governmental and administrative leadership. They are deacons. Then there are others who teach the Word of God besides the Pastor. They have a teaching gift. Those who teach in home Bible studies, prep school and others who have communicative ability.

The Gift of Evangelism

The permanent spiritual gift of evangelism is the second of the two communication gifts conveyed by God the Holy Spirit to only a few male believers in the Church Age as presented in Ephesians 4:11. While the gift of pastor-teacher communicates the whole realm of doctrine inside the local church, the gift of evangelism communicates only the Gospel outside the local church. This spectacular gift gives the evangelist the ability to gain the attention of crowds. The gift of evangelism is like an itinerant missionary, but within the nation. He goes from place to place, town to town, preaching the Gospel. People get saved through the function of this gift. The evangelist gives people the Gospel, then basic Bible doctrine and moves on to a new area. The evangelist must accurately and clearly present the issue of the Gospel, otherwise gaining the attention of the crowd becomes spiritually meaningless. Evangelism is for the client nation internally in contrast to missionary activity which is evangelism external to the client nation.

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, (Ephesians 4:11)

The male believer with the gift of evangelism has the God-given ability to communicate the Gospel in such a way that he can hold the unbeliever's attention. This spiritual gift allows the one using the gift to assemble many people to listen to the presentation of the Gospel. These unbelievers will give their attention and listen to the evangelist where they would not listen to anyone else. While listening to something "religious," the unbeliever often is on his guard and can be resentful. All of this is overcome by the spiritual gift of evangelism while communicating the Gospel.

The evangelist exercises his spiritual gift in groups of unbelievers. His gift is designed to reach the unreachable with the Gospel message of salvation. The gift of evangelism provides the ability to teach and express the Gospel so that unbelievers will have a clear understanding of the issue of salvation. The evangelist usually has a speaking talent that goes with his gift, but it is the spiritual gift that provides hearing from the unbeliever. When this spiritual gift functions, the unbeliever will listen to the Gospel almost by compulsion.

The man with this gift can be sensational in the presentation of the Gospel to the unbeliever. He is usually a sensational speaker with a sensational personality. This is necessary to get a hearing from unbelievers. Pastors do not have this gift, but they are mandated to do the work of an evangelist as in 2 Timothy 4:5. Although we may not all have the gift of evangelism, we are all commanded to do the work of an evangelist. Timothy was a pastor-teacher, yet he was commanded to do the work of an evangelist.

But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:5)

All believers are mandated by God to evangelize as stated in 2 Corinthians 5:19. This is because we are royal ambassadors for Jesus Christ. As such, every believer represents God before the human race. Therefore, we are personally to witness for Christ and give the message of reconciliation as opportunities present themselves. The gift of evangelism must be distinguished from personal witnessing, which is the responsibility of every believer.

namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:19)

Every believer is given hundreds of mandate commands from God in the New Testament. You can get disappointed and discouraged with all these commands, if you aren’t careful. You may wonder just how you can fulfill all of them. Just stick with the Word and the power of the Holy Spirit will enable you to fulfill them! This is the spiritual life!

The apostle John summed it up so beautifully in 1 John 5:3-5 when he stated that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments which are really not that hard to do. When you're filled with the Holy Spirit, it is like falling off a log to execute the mandate commands of God. This, of course, is being filled with the Holy Spirit a maximum amount of the time which requires the intake and application of doctrine on a daily basis.

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world- our faith. And who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:3-5)

Though we don't have all of these spiritual gifts, you might or might not have the gift of evangelism. If you do, you must be trained to use it properly. The gift of pastor-teacher requires training. Evangelists must study the culture of the people they are going to visit and they have to know the background of the people to whom they are going to present the Gospel. They have to learn something about the original languages of the Bible and have a good working knowledge of doctrine and Theology because when they evangelize, they also teach basic Bible truth. As in all leadership spiritual gifts, preparation is very important. God graces out every believer at the moment of salvation with talents and abilities that He determines will be best for that believer.

The Gift of Administrations or Governments

The gift of administrative leadership is sometimes called the gift of governments because it has delegated authority from the pastor. This gift is given to male believers only. The gift of administrative leadership is found in Romans 12:8 and in 1 Corinthians 12:28. Romans 12:8 presents leadership with diligence which relates to authority while 1 Corinthians 12:28 mentions administrations which can also be translated as "governments." Therefore, the gift of administrations involves both authority and leadership in the local church.

or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:8)

And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:28)

This spiritual gift is held by the deacons in the local church who hold leadership positions such as the chairman and vice chairman of the deacon board. Some believers may serve as deacons without this gift, but must possess the gift of ministry or service. The spiritual gift of administrations is also held by those who hold positions on missionary boards, leaders of Christian service organizations, and those who manage training of children in the local church. Those who serve on committees must have the gift of ministry or service. The gift of administration is, therefore, linked to the operations of the local church.

Pastors are responsible for identifying men who have this gift and appointing them to appropriate positions in the local church. The very existence of this permanent gift emphasizes the fact that the primary responsibility of the pastor is not administration. One important point should be understood. A male believer may be good at running some business or organization, but that ability does not mean he has this spiritual gift. The gift of administration calls for more than simply effective administrative function. It is a spiritual gift which is sensitive to the needs of the local church and how they are best administered.

The Gift of Ministry or Service

The permanent spiritual gift of ministry or service is a spiritual gift of service given to both men and women believers. This gift functions in the administration of the local church. The Greek noun diakonia found in Romans 12:7 means ministry or service and does not refer to the office of deacon in the local church. Those who have the gift of service should serve on committees and in specific administrative functions in the local church, on mission boards, and in Christian service organizations. The deacon, however, who should be the chairman of local church committees, should have the gift of administration. Those who serve on the committees should have the gift of ministry or service. The combination of the gifts of administration and service provide the effective administrative function in the local church.

if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; (Romans 12:7)

The spiritual gift of service or ministry is one of the more common spiritual gifts among believers. It is from this gift that so many things are done in the local church. The gift of service involves the little things that keep the local church running smoothly and works right along with the gift of helps.

The Gift of Exhortation or Encouragement

The gift of exhortation or encouragement is presenting an argument or giving advice to someone such that they are prompted to action. This is a permanent spiritual gift and involves counseling, comforting, warning, and advising other believers from Bible truth resident in your soul. Mutual exhortation or encouragement, as stated in Romans 12:6-8, is also the responsibility of all believers as stated in Romans 1:12 and 1 Thessalonians 5:14. In Romans 12:6-8, the Greek word for exhortation is paraklesis which is made up of two words - para which means alongside and klesis which means to call. The connotation is that you are called alongside to help, encourage, console and many times to challenge. However, this spiritual gift provides a far greater ability to advise others from doctrine in their souls.

And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:6-8)

that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other's faith, both yours and mine. (Romans 1:12)

And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men. (1 Thessalonians 5:14)

This is the type of individual who can preach, communicate and really get through to the sheep by challenging and exhorting them. The gift can be present in pastor-teachers or any other believer and does not depend on other gifts which you may have. However, it requires spiritual growth to be effective as their counsel or exhortation to others is to be based on Bible doctrine. They are able to do so in unconditional love such that the true issues are discussed. This can involve talking with and exhorting other believers, warning others of potential problems that can be solved with consistent intake of the Word of God. You can always learn from other believers around you.

I remember a man in our church a few years ago who thought he might have the gift of pastor-teacher, but he couldn't stand the languages. He hated Greek, the thought of Chaldean gave him nightmares, and obviously, under spiritual growth, he came to realize that he did not have this gift. If you do have the gift of pastor-teacher, you will have the gift of "gab" and a facility in the original languages. It's a part of having the gift of pastor-teacher. This facility is not necessary for the gift of evangelism, nor do you need it for the gift of encouragement. This fellow realized that he has the gift of encouragement. He realized that he can sit with others in a personable way and help, encourage, and even exhort or rebuke them under unconditional love. He can share divine viewpoint in such a way that it challenges them to take action in their own life from the Word of God. This involvement really encourages spiritual growth.

I have found in my ministry that most people with the gift of encouragement have the gift of exhortation to hang in there in the spiritual life. Those of you who have the gift of encouragement might also have the permanent gift of the word of wisdom. This is the ability to give a message of wisdom. A message of wisdom may be that you have applied doctrine in such a way in your life and you have seen that it work. Your message should be that you've put God's problem solving devices to the test. You have proven them out and from your wisdom and common sense and can relate that information to others. This would be akin to counseling, but doing so from the mind of Christ or Bible doctrine. The Lord Jesus Christ is our Wonderful Counselor and the Word of God is the mind of Christ or His very way of thinking. For some, the gift of wisdom accompanies the gift of exhortation and as the gift of wisdom is used, it becomes an encouragement to other people. You won't necessarily have both of these gifts. You might simply have one or the other. Whatever your gift is, it is still a gift. Don't feel superior. Don't feel inferior. It is God who gets the glory!

The Gift of the Word of Wisdom

This gift of the word of wisdom in 1 Corinthians 12:8 is the supernatural ability to divide rightfully both human and divine knowledge. This is the ability to apply doctrine in such a way within your own life that you can see how the Word of God works and how God’s solutions to personal problems really apply. You can relate this information to others. It is counseling, if you will, on the basis of the Word of God. The Word of God is the thinking of the Lord Jesus Christ. One of His titles is "Wonderful Counselor." The people with this gift have wisdom, tact, practicality, the common sense to take what has worked for them and share it with others through a counseling ministry.

For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; (1 Corinthians 12:8)

The Gift of Helps

The permanent spiritual gift of helps, as listed in 1 Corinthians 12:28, is possessed by a great many believers. It is given to both men and women at the point of salvation. This gift is very important because it is the most sustaining gift and provides stability in a local church. This gift functions by helping and visiting the sick, those in hospitals, the disabled, and those unable to care for themselves. This is the spiritual gift that really supports all the other spiritual gifts.

And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:28)

This spiritual gift can be extended inside or outside the church and can function toward both believers and unbelievers. The difference between the gift of ministry or service and the gift of helps is that ministry or service functions within the church, whereas the gift of helps functions both inside and outside the local church.

In my experience in the ministry, I've seen the gift of helps in just about everyone. It is very likely that most if not all Christians have this gift which is the ability to serve the local church. This gift involves faithfulness in doing all of the little things that make a local church run properly. These are people who come early to help before Bible class and get everything set up. These are those who come early to church and have the heart of a servant. They have a great attitude while setting up chairs, passing out hymnals, making coffee, or putting out cookies. They are faithful and loyal to these details. They are faithful as they cart all the electronic equipment to Bible classes and Sunday morning services. For mobile electronic churches like Grace Bible Church, it takes a lot of people willing to serve faithfully in the little things. I think most believers, whether they know it or not, are using the gift of helps.

The Gift of Giving or Ministering

The spiritual gift of giving appears to be conveyed to relatively few believers. This gift is not synonymous with every believer's responsibility to give as unto the Lord. As we are worshiping the Lord in the confines of the worship service, we are to give as God has prospered us. This is for all believers. Giving is to be an expression of our love for the Lord and a commemoration of God's grace. Romans 12:8 states that this gift is giving with liberality which means above and beyond normal giving. Each one of us is to give something from our finances based on whatever we are able to give as God has prospered us. This is to be an expression of our love for Him and as a commemoration of His grace toward us. God gives the gift of giving to some at the moment of salvation. Those with this gift love to give of their finances to the work of the Lord. They do it in a wonderful and special way, even over and above what the universal priesthood is able to do.

or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:8)

This is a spiritual gift given to both rich and poor for the "liberal" giving of their earthly possessions in providing for the needs of the local church, to missions, to those who are financially helpless, and to individual believers. The Bible does not teach that you must give all your money through or to the local church. Giving to any people in need, even though not by means of the local church, it still true giving. You have a right to give your money directly to any number of organizations or people in need, and it is legitimate Christian giving.

Some people recognize the needs of others and dig deeper of their own volition. They do not do so through coercion or begging as some churches have been known to do. Some churches send bills if your tithe has not been received! This is wrong! This is not giving as unto the Lord based on the Word of God resident in your soul! Spiritual giving in both the Old and New Testaments has never had any percentage attached to it. Tithing commanded in the Old Testament was taxation to support the government of the Nation of Israel just as we are to pay our taxes in the United States as required by law.

Some people with the gift of giving are thrilled to exercise their gift when someone is in need. They give over and above their regular giving under their priesthood. God graces out a few people in the congregation with the gift of giving, making it possible for them to give in a marvelous way. Spiritual giving is first of all a mental attitude. You can give even though impoverished. You can still have the mental attitude of a giver even if you're not able to give because of the superseding mandate from the Scripture which is to provide first for your family. Before you give to the local church, you have a responsibility to provide for your family! If a person has the spiritual gift of giving and he has a family, he is limited in how he can use his spiritual gift.

A person with the spiritual gift of giving will give sacrificially. Both rich and poor believers have this gift. If they have this gift, they will give sacrificially. The gift will begin to function when they reach a certain stage of spiritual growth even though they may not know they have the gift. Remember, as with most of the spiritual gifts, you don't have to identify the gift. You simply have to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and it will function automatically.

2 Corinthians 9:6-12 presents the principle that the believer is to give generously in contributing to the needs of the local church. This applies to pastor salary, church building rent or payments, missionary support, charities, and other functions of the local church. The principle is not to sow sparingly so that you reap sparingly, but to sow bountifully so that you reap bountifully. This also applies to those few people in the congregation who are able to give generously under their gift of giving.

Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written, "He scattered abroad, He gave to the poor, His righteousness abides forever." Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. (2 Corinthians 9:6-12)

Giving sacrificially poses no problem for those who are single, wealthy, or have already provided beautifully for their family. If you have this gift, God will provide for the poor and for the rich to give sacrificially. Keep in mind that this is a spiritual gift provided to relatively few. If you do not have this gift, then God only requires that you have the mental attitude of a desire to give whether you are able to give or not. This is the grace attitude of true giving.

The Gift of Showing Mercy

The gift of showing mercy is a permanent spiritual gift and is found in Romans 12:8. Showing mercy is an expression of virtue love grace for all believers, but the gift of showing mercy is quite different. Romans 12:8 implies that the believer that has been given the gift of mercy will automatically show mercy, but only if there is virtue love in their soul through spiritual advancement. Many believers often show mercy to others as an expression of virtue love, but this is actually a spiritual gift that goes beyond this normal function of the spiritual life. This gift might be considered the same as the gift of helps, except that it extends primarily to the afflicted, to the persecuted, and to those believers and even unbelievers who are victims of tyranny. Therefore, it can be more dramatic than the gift of helps. When Romans 12:8 was written, the gift of showing mercy was helping Christians who were under persecution or imprisoned. This put the one showing mercy in situations dangerous to their own well-being. Hence, this spiritual gift is always related to courageous acts of mercy.

or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:8)

Those with this gift have that special spiritual ability to let you know that you have been forgiven any offense you may have given them or others. They make it very evident they are merciful. Some believers can make the doctrine of forgiveness clear. This is God's grace in action. He has forgiven and cleansed us and we all should be merciful. We are to forgive others on that same basis. Some people have the ability to communicate this truth in the exercise of this very important spiritual gift. When schisms take place in the congregation, these people can come forth and help those involved to understand that they are all part of the local church and the body of Christ. It is a wonderful spiritual gift and these people do it cheerfully. No matter how many times it seems necessary, they do it as an expression of their inner happiness.

Our Attitude Toward Our Spiritual Gifts

1 Corinthians 9:22 tells us to become all things to others so we might win some to the Lord. However, in doing so, you are not to compromise the integrity of the Word of God. The message is all important, but the method should not bring dishonor to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is essential that we use all our spiritual gifts in this manner because our contentment and tranquility is related to our love relationship with Jesus Christ, not to other people. This enables us to have "the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy and peace" as in Galatians 5:22-23. Spiritual growth enables each of us to use unconditional virtue love toward other people. This should be your attitude. You should be willing to do God's will, whatever it might be, because you have put it to the test already and found it to be of God’s will which is good and perfect.

To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. (1 Corinthians 9:22)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Whatever you are doing for the Lord, you must do it with love toward other people. If you do not love other people, your utilization of your spiritual gift will be hypocritical. You will just be a pretender. You might even be serving and utilizing your spiritual gifts to the maximum. As concerning production, those who serve and do a lot because they love the martyr complex, do so selfishly. That is not serving with unconditional virtue love. When you are growing spiritually and have unconditional virtue love toward all the brethren, then you will not feel inferior toward any spiritual gift. You will not feel superior about any spiritual gift. Why? It is a gift from the grace of God. You should find it impossible to feel either superior or inferior.


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