GOD’S GIFTS TO HIS CHURCH
Text: Ephesians 4:8
To every believer God has bestowed some spiritual gifts for him/her to use for the benefit of the Church. Unfortunately, some believers are unaware of their gifts and some have refused to use it thereby, they received the grace of God in vain, and the Church is not at the level God wanted it to be and as well in pain.
The Church is a living organism comprising of believers who are interrelated and interdependent. St. Paul addressed Christians as Saints, the redeemed of God through the sacrificial death of Christ. This suggests God gave His gifts to repentant sinners. Not that we deserved these gifts but were given out of God’s benevolent grace. The gifts are given to help build one another. Christ got gifts for His Church through His victory over death and hade. In the gospel read (John 16:12-24) Christ promised His disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit which will be given to them. After His ascension this promise was fulfilled with the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2) who distributed the gifts.
The gifts of God for His Church can be categorized in to three groups (i) prophetic gifts which include any gift associated or involving teachings, encouraging or rebuking others, the second category is Priestly gifts involving giving of care, showing of mercy and prayer/intercession on behalf of others. The third category is kingly gifts involving church administration or government such as gifts of word of wisdom, word of knowledge, distinguishing between Spirits gift of speech/ tongues, interpretation of prophecy and gift of power (faith, healing and miracles). Also the gifts have been categorized into (i) Those that promote the inner growth of the Church such as apostle, prophecy distinguishing between spirits, teaching, word of wisdom /knowledge, helps and administration and (ii) those that promote church’s outer development such as faith, miracles, healing, tongue, interpretation of tongues. Paul in his epistles listed God’s gifts to the church in the following Biblical passage (i) Ephesians 4:11, apostles, prophecy, serving, teaching, Exhortation, giving, Leadership and mercy (iii) 1Cor 12:8-10, word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, gift of healing, miracles, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, tongues and interpretation of tongues.
The gifts of God are given to all Christians without exception but in proportion according to the measure of faith and Christ’s grace (Rom. 12:6); therefore, there is no one in the church without some gifts. All may not have the kingly gifts which are used for the administration of the church but priestly gifts are mostly available to all, such as gift of intercession, care, giving and showing mercy. The gifts are for mutual edification and the growth of the Church. It is to bear each others burden and encourage one another in the faith.
When we use our different gifts as we are interdependent and interrelated, better it is for us and healthier the Church. On other hand when believers do not use their gifts, the church is in pain and its growth and developments are deterred. The unity of the body is broken and its existence is threatened. Therefore, it is important for every one of us to identify our gifts. These are known through seemingly natural abilities and spiritual manifestations. We then use the same for the glorification of Christ and edification of the Church.
Very Revd Adewale Adebiyi Ph.D