Sunday, February 20, 2005.

 

The Gifts of Grace

 

By Nick Bibile

 

Eph 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

8 Wherefore he saith, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

 

We have been studying unity in the church and we saw oneness of this unity in Godhead and in the church and now we see Apostle Paul under the guidance of Holy Spirit is focusing from unity in the body to the individual.

 

Verse 7) Here we see to each one of us grace is given. To all true believers grace is given, this is the ministerial grace in equipping the saints and this is the gift of grace not the grace of salvation but the fruit of it comes the gift of grace which we also do not deserve.The distributor of this gift of grace is Christ. He gives the gift of grace to equip the body. He measures it according to his will and purpose and distribute to each individual in the body.

 

This gift of grace is just like the grace of salvation which is not earned. So there is no boasting.If you want to become a nurse, a doctor, engineer, welder, chef, mechanic or any job you need to go to school and get an education of that line of work then you become a professional in that job. Once you become a professional you can contribute your part to your company. This is how the world operates but it does not operate that way in Christianity. In Christianity we are living in a world that is opposed to Christ, oppose to Godís will. The gift of grace is given to mutually help one another, grow in Christ and to evangelize, to witness, to make disciples.We can go to a Seminary or Bible College to learn of Christ and how to evangelize the world but education alone cannot accomplish this; we need the gift of Godís, the gifts that come from God and the Spirit of God to accomplish the will of God.We are talking of souls who are lost, in darkness, dead in sin, and there is no way we can bring them to life by our own strength by our own education, it has to be done by the grace of God alone and we are his tools to accomplish this purpose and we need to be equipped, God gives us in Christ the gift of grace so we will be equipped for his service.

 

This gift of grace comes from Christ Jesus as he is the head of the body. The head decides what is good for the body.

 

Joh 3:35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.

 

He imparts this grace for us and all the fullness of his grace we receive from him.

Joh 1:16 And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.

 

This should bring humility to us as we do not deserve anything but our work in Christ is because of this grace he has given us and there is no room for pride and our flesh to glorify.Man cannot receive anything except it is given from heaven.

 

Mt 11:25At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.

 

1Co 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

 

Eph 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.

 

This should teach us to rely only on Christ and not in ourselves. Without him we cannot do anything. Oh! How precious is the grace of Christ and his mercy for us.Christ gives these gifts to the body and they are not the same. He does not look to our education and qualifications to give these gifts. He gives according to his will and not according to our ability. God can make a donkey talk if he wants to and even the stones praise God if he wants to, he is God and we are just made out of dust of the earth and these gifts are given for his glory. There are different gifts but it comes from the same God.

 

1Co 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.

6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

 

Some of these gifts are very noticeable, like the Pastors, evangelists, teachers and others are not. Itís like your body as we see our hands, feet parts of the body where we can see but the heart, liver, kidney and other organs like these are not noticeable but very important to the body. If one of these organs become weak then our body cannot function. I take my wife as an example. If not for her I cannot spend a lot of time in studying and doing the work of a pastor. She cooks for me, does my laundry, gives hospitality to people etc.

 

God will not give the same gift to everyone one. Example is all you can see me is a mouth, then all what I can do is talk for the rest of my life. If all of us were Pastors then we all preach and there will be no one to listen.

 

Ro 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

 

8 Wherefore he saith, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

 

Apostle Paul now tells us when these gifts were given He quotes a portion of Psalm 68:18.

 

Ps 68:18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men;

Many of the Jews believe this scripture is speaking of Moses ascending up to Mount Sinai and giving of the law. And some Jews say it is talking of David, David never ascended up on high.

 

Psalm 68 is a psalm of triumph, yes there was a celebration of the bring of the ark of God which really a symbol of the presence of God. The ark was brought to Jerusalem.Yes, historicallyit does shows how God was victorious over his enemies but prophetically this was fulfilled byChrist Jesus on the cross he defeated his enemies and ascended triumphantly to the right hand of the Father.

 

But this scripture is talking of the Messiah ascending up to heaven, note the word Ďhighí. The height here is his sanctuary of heaven.

 

Ps 102:18 This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD.

19 For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth;

20 To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death;

21 To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem;

22 When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.

 

Now when Christ descended from heaven to earth it showed his humility and then the word ascend has to do with his glory. How he was glorified.

 

Our Lord finished the work which was given to him on the earth.

 

Joh 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

He ascended up to heaven not as a spirit but literally with his glorified human body.

 

Ac 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

 

Once he was ascended up to heaven he would be exalted in glory like before.

 

Joh 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

 

God saved us from the death of sin; he raised us from the grave.He also took our names, the believers name to heaven with him.

 

Eph 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

 

He went to prepare a place for us.

 

Joh 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for

 

Christ did engaged in a warfare in our, believers behalf as we were in captivity with the devil, the world, sin, death and hell. He gained absolute complete victory over all of our enemies as he is the head of the body and this is the greatest story we can ever tell.Look at the following scripture.

 

Ro 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36 As it is written, for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Sin cannot rule us anymore as Holy Spirit in us gives us the power to walk in Godís will as Christ conquered sin.

 

Ro 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

 

Death will not take us to hell and the power of death was conquered by Christ.

 

1Co 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

He delivered us from captivity and triumph over all our enemies. Then he gave us gifts of grace to edify and to bring others to Christ.

 

Joh 15:26But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

Joh 16:7Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

 

When the Holy Spirit came God gave those gifts and the disciples were fired up, no more fear of man, there was boldness and Godís power was manifested in their preaching and lifestyle. They were able to bring many souls to Christ without computers, hi tech or any kind. And today God has blessed us with all kinds of communication and hi tech how much more we can be used for the glory of God.

 

Then the question is why is it that most Christians today are different than the early church and why is that they are so slow in preaching the gospel to the unsaved?Most of the Christians are sleeping today. Why with all the hi tech and we donít have even persecution in this country, then what is the reason that many are not doing what Christ told them to do? Where is the power of the Holy Spirit? Where are the gifts of grace?

 

The answer is they are conforming to the world, there is sin.

 

Mt 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

 

And due to this the Holy Spirit is grieved.

 

Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

 

In the morning when you wake up give thanks to the Lord for giving another day and ask that the Lord will bless your day that the Lord will bring someone into your life so you can be a blessing to that person. At the end of the day before you sleep meditate on the things that you have done for that day, how you spent your time, and see what you have done in service for the Lord.

 

May the Lord bless you and profit you in spiritual growth

 

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