Loving Gifts from a Loving God




Sunday 02/11/18 

Series: He Gave Gifts

Message – Loving Gifts from a Loving God

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If you remember, we began this series with the letter Paul wrote to the Ephesian church and after all the encouragement he gave them, he pointed out that there is only ONE body we have been baptized into, serving ONE Lord and therefore sharing ONE Father Who is in, above and through us all.

He then told us that when Jesus led away our captors into their eternal captivity He gave Gifts to men!

  • What did He mean by that…who were they? The energies in the body… Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists & Pastor-teachers.
  • What were they called to do? Equip the saints for the work of the ministry and cause unity in the doctrine.
  • Paul then said that once the body was equipped each part was to do what? It’s share… Causing growth into Christ’s image by speaking the truth in love.
  • Then Paul warned us not to be conformed to the way the rest of the world thinks and walks – because they are alienated from the life of God due to what? The ignorance that is in them.

So when we went to 1 Cor. 12 to look at those graces for ministry the body has been given, Paul starts off with what phrase?


This is something I mentioned in passing last week, but failed to show how important Paul thought it was because it was in fact the very thing Paul did not want us to be ignorant about.

So are you ready to become less ignorant? Are you excited about it?

Someone read, 1 Cor. 12:1-4,

“(1) Now concerning spirituals, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:  (2)  You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led.  (3)  Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.  (4)  There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.”

Paul did not want them ignorant about the focus and ministry of the Holy Spirit – which is testimony of JESUS.

The Spirit bears Testimony to Christ Jesus

1Jn. 5:6-8,  “(6) This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.  (7)  For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.  (8)  And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.” [See Jn. 3:3-6]

Jn. 14:23-27, “(23) Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.  (24)  He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.  (25)  “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.  (26)  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.  (27)  Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Jn. 15:26-27,  “(26) But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.  (27)  And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.”

Jn. 16:12-15,  “(12) I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  (13)  However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His Own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.  (14)  He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.  (15)  All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.”

The end of the gifts is that the Spirit and the Church speak with one voice. That even as Christ only said those thing He heard His Father say, even so we may only say those things we hear the Spirit say.

Rev. 22:6-17,  “(6) Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.  (7)  “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”  (8)  Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.  (9)  Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”  (10)  And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.  (11)  He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.”  (12)  “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.  (13)  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”  (14)  Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.  (15)  But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.  (16)  “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”  (17)  And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.”

Loving gifts from a Loving God

I was going to do a recap of the gifts but I thought we’d go on to chapter 13 and maybe as we are going, we will recap a little and even expound a little on what we have already learned.

Guzik says,

Have not love: Paul is using the Greek word agape. The ancient Greeks had four different words we translate love. It is important to understand the difference between the words, and why the apostle Paul chose the Greek word agape here.

  1. Eros was one word for love. It described, as we might guess from the word itself, erotic love. It refers to sexual love.
  2. Storge was the second word for love. It refers to family love, the kind of love there is between a parent and child, or between family members in general.
  3. Philia is the third word for love. It speaks of a brotherly friendship and affection. It is the love of deep friendship and partnership. It might be described as the highest love of which man, without God’s help, is capable of.
  4. Agape is the fourth word for love. It is a love that loves without changing. It is a self-giving love that gives without demanding or expecting re-payment. It is love so great that it can be given to the unlovable or unappealing. It is love that loves even when it is rejected. Agape love gives and loves because it wants to; it does not demand or expect repayment from the love given. It gives because it loves, it does not love in order to receive. Strictly speaking, agape can’t be defined as “God’s love,” because men are said to agape sin and the world (John 3:19, 1Jn. 2:15). But it can be defined as a sacrificial, giving, absorbing, love. The word has little to do with emotion; it has much to do with self-denial for the sake of another.

We can read this chapter and think that Paul is saying that if we are unfriendly, then our lives mean nothing. But agape isn’t really friendliness; it is self-denial for the sake of another.

Paul starts off with five examples and three results when void of this love…

  • Tongues – Meaningless Irritation
  • Prophecy or all faith – My very personal & existence is zero
  • Give all or be a martyr – PROFITS NOTHING!!!!!

1Cor. 13:1, “(1) Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not self-sacrficial love, I have become (by means of my loveless gift) a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.”

“People of little religion are always noisy; he who has not the love of God and man filling his heart is like an empty wagon coming violently down a hill: it makes a great noise, because there is nothing in it.” ~ Josiah Gregory

A roaring blast of a trumpet and the loud high pitched cymbal have this in common – they irritate!

1Cor. 14:4-13, “(4) He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.  (5)  I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.  (6)  But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching?  (7)  Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played?  (8)  For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?  (9)  So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air.  (10)  There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages in the world, and none of them is without significance.  (11)  Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me.  (12)  Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.  (13)  Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.”

1Cor. 13:2, “ And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”

I exist as not even the least – as nothing at all.

1Cor. 13:3, “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.”

  • Giving all earthly possession
  • Am martyred for my faith


All of these offer instruction even if read apart from the context of this chapter, but we must remember that these are said IN THE CONTEXT of Spiritual Gifts.

1Cor. 13:4-8,

  • Love suffers long and is kind
  • love does not envy
  • love does not parade itself
  • is not puffed up
  • does not behave rudely
  • does not seek its own
  • is not provoked
  • thinks no evil
  • does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth
  • bears all things (covers – 1Pet. 4:8 “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”)
  • believes all things – the best of others unless absolute known facts demand otherwise. James, Fausset & Brown say, “unsuspiciously believes all that is not palpably false, all that it can with a good conscience believe to the credit of another. Compare James 3:17, easy to be entreated; Greek, easily persuaded.”” Inclined to believe – we might say!
  • hopes all things – Love has a confidence in the future, not a pessimism. When hurt, it does not say, “It will be this way forever, and even get worse.” It hopes for the best, and it hopes in God. Jesus told us as much in His parable that men ought always to pray and not loose heart.
  • endures all things –  Bears up under all things! Ill-treatment from both friend, foe or family alike!

Love never fails!

1Cor. 13:8-13, “(8) But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.  (9)  For we know in part (with limitations) and we prophesy in part (with limitations).  (10)  But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part  (with limitations) will be done away.  (11)  When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  (12)  For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.  (13)  And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1Cor. 14:1, “(1) Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.”

***For Reference***

  • Gifts are an instantaneous, supernatural enabling given by the Holy Spirit to ANY and ALL believers for the edification of other.
  • Ministries are locations and “jobs” in the body with “sphere” authority. What that means is everyone in the body of Christ has a location they belong in the body, jobs through which their “gifts” find expression and people concerning whom the Lord as given them authority to speak into their lives. So…using Paul’s example of the members of the body to illustrate ministries….”a finger” on a natural body, has a place it belongs and MANY places it does NOT belong. It serves a function for the other members of the body and it has authority (responsibility with power) to act for the benefit of others.
  • Energies are certain people given AS gifts to the body. They have an “energizing effect” on those within their “sphere” of authority. They equip for ministry, encourage grown into Christ’s image and unify the rest of the body in sound doctrine. These are the ones who minister to the true ministers – which are the rest of the body of Christ.

The Gifts

Really one three of these are not super clear in their meaning and so it is for these that I will offer a clarifying definition.

  1. Word (logos) of wisdom (Sophia) = In a higher sense, wisdom, deep knowledge, natural and moral insight, learning, science, implying cultivation of mind and enlightened understanding. Sophía stands for divine wisdom, the ability to regulate one’s relationship with God.
  2. Word (logos) of knowledge (Gnosis) = has more do with comprehension.
  3. Prophecy = a inspired discourse declaring the purposes of God, whether by reproving and admonishing, or comforting, or exhorting, edifying or revealing things hidden.

A bullet list of points regarding gifts:

  • Gifts are something everyone int he body has.
  • They are given & directed by the Holy Spirit as HE wills – not based upon our whims.
  • They are for the benefit of the body of Christ at large.
  • You should desire the to be used by the Holy Spirit in these gifts.
  • All of the gifts are not equal in their power to edify.
  • You should earnestly desire the best gifts – especially prophecy (1Cor. 14:1).


As stated above, everyone in Christ’s body has a place in the body where they belong and a “job” to do which will facilitate their gifts. This is SO diversified that it would quite literally be impossible for man to list, since they can be expressed nearly anywhere, but that there is A PLACE and A SPHERE is clear from scripture and we will spend time with this in future lessons.


Much has already been said of this group which include the Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor-Teacher, Workers of Miracles and perhaps others. In the last several week’s lessons we’ve spent quite some time with these so I would encourage you to go back and listen and read those weeks if you have not already.


This service had content that is NOT written out here, so I would encourage you to listen to it WHILE you read…Blessings! 


I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. If you do not know Him, please use our ‘Contact Us‘ page and reach out so we may have the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will be mentioned.

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Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!