Accept the Gifts of God (Part 3 of Month's series - Road of Acceptance)

Blog Topic: 

Isaiah 62:1-5

1 Cor 12:1-11

John 2:1-11

 PRAYER

We have spent the past couple of weeks on the road of acceptance. So far we have been invited to accept God's love and God's presence. This morning we are invited to accept the gifts of God on the journey. And what are the gifts?

There is:

- the gift of empowerment

- the gift of a change of status

-the gift of replenishment

 

1. On this journey we are offered the Gift of Empowerment

The gifts of the Spirit in 1 Cor 12 has been a subject of contention in Christian circles, the heart of the contention being whether the presence or absence of visible evidence of these gifts is an indication of the presence or absence of the Holy Spirit in the church.

Like Paul concerning spiritual things, I do not want you to be ignorant.

1st I want you to know is that no one can say Jesus is Lord but by the Holy Spirit (v3)

2nd The gifts are given to the people of God to empower them to do acts of service for the common good (v7)

3rd There are 9 spiritual gifts

  1. Gift of wisdom
  2. Gift of knowledge
  3. gift of faith
  4. gift of healing
  5. gift of working miracles
  6. gift of prophesy
  7. gift of discerning spirits
  8. gift of various kinds of tongues
  9. gift of interpretation of tongues
We do not dictate, when, if or what we get. It is the Holy Spirit that makes that determination (v11).
4th There is no superiority in the gifts that are given. In some places you may hear an emphasis on speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues. But these gifts are not lifted up above the other seven (7).
 
The whole chapter is about the empowerment of the body of Christ, the church to fulfill the work of bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to the world. It is about working together, none superior to the other but each understanding their role and respecting the role of the other. Its a celebration of the gift of diversity in the church and an invitation for every person to see that they are important and significant to the church's functioning. Each of us should ask ourselves to what extent have I accepted this gift I have been given to my part in the church?
 
2. On this journey we are offered a Gift of a Change of Status. 

Isaiah uses the imagery of a wedding and the implications and changes that come with marriage to convey the point that when we enter into a relationship with Christ, when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, our status changes. We move from forsaken (Azubah) to precious (Hephzibah). We move from desolate (Shammah) to having the prospect of fruitfulness (Beulah). Just as in marriage we get the gift of rights and priveleges that come with being children of God.

3. Finally we are offered on this journey the Gift of Replenishment.

We can gather some insight from Jesus' first miracle of turning water into wine. At the heart of this story of running out of wine is a truth that we all at some point experience. There comes a day when the wine runs out, nothing is happening but the same monotonous existence. The absence of wine points to a spiritual condition. It is about our inner life more than the circumstances outside of us. Too long we live with the illusion of our own self-sufficiency. That illusion is shattered on the day that the wine runs out and the jars of our life stand empty and dry. Despite our best efforts, good intentions, hard work, if we admit it to ourselves, the wine of our lives is always giving out. In fact despite our efforts overtime we become increasingly aware that we cannot replenish ourselves.

When we get to that day, it presents us with a new truth as old as creation itself. We are recipients and not creators of our lives. We were never intended nor expected to live by the sufficiency of our own resources - Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matt 4).

The day the wine runs out is the beginning of a miracle. Would you be willing to approach Jesus and tell Him that the wine has run out? Are we willing to do what he says to change our situation? To bring our proverbial barrels of mundane, tasteless, meaningless, sameness, I am so tired of doing this and let him transform it? The gift we have in having Jesus among us is that every moment of every day He is available to replenish our resources when they run out. He is willing to runt a day of potential disaster, or embarassment or failure into a day of celebration by giving us the best wine.

The gift of empowerment is available to us

The gift of a change of status is available to us

The gift of replenishment is available to us

The gifts of God for the people of God, may we become aware of these gifts...they are worthy of acceptance.

Amen