Ministry Resources

Spiritual Gifts

Spiritual gifts are very important to the body of Christ. It is exciting to learn about these gifts which God has made available to His children. Without these gifts the church cannot exist or move ahead. As believers we must learn all we can about spiritual gifts. Series written by Robert L. Brandt.

Other Ministry Gifts, Part 1: Ministering, Teaching, Exhorting

We have now completed our study of the four gifts we have called gifts of ministry. While the list in Ephesians 4 names five gifts, we have considered pastors and teachers as one.

In our last lesson we studied about evangelists and pastor-teachers. We learned that while every believer is to do the work of evangelizing, certain members have a special call to be evangelists. We saw also that more believers are likely to be pastor-teachers than any of the other three. Special attention was given to learning the purpose Christ has for giving us the gifts of ministry.

Now we are ready to study another grouping of the spiritual gifts—other ministry gifts. While there are many pastor-teachers, there are many more members of Christ’s body who are not gifted for that office or for any of the others which we have considered. That does not mean they do not have spiritual gifts. In this lesson we will learn about other ministry gifts and see that many believers can have them.

You may not have sensed any special leading of the Holy Spirit in relation to one of the gifts of ministry. If not, it is very possible that before this lesson is finished you will recognize a gift which God has already given to you. Pray as you move through the lesson, that the Holy Spirit will guide you.

The Gift of Ministering

As we prepare to move into this lesson, based on the list of gifts named mainly in Romans 12, a bit of explanation is necessary. It is very difficult to make exact groupings of spiritual gifts. Therefore, as we go from lesson to lesson, we will notice some overlapping. This need not worry us, for all of these gifts come from the same source.

In Romans 12 the list of gifts begins with prophecy. Since prophecy is named among the gifts of the Spirit, we will not give attention to it in this chapter. Near the end of 1 Corinthians 12 is a list of spiritual gifts. This list includes gifts from all three groupings.

The Gift Defined

“. . . If it is serving, let him serve” (Romans 12:7). In the King James Version, the word for serve is “minister” or “ministering.”

The word ministering is used several times in the Greek New Testament. First it is used in Romans 12:7. Also, it is found in 2 Corinthians 8:4. “they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.” In this case a group of people from the church in Macedonia wanted Paul and those who worked with him to join them in supplying the needs of some believers who were going through hard times.

The only other place the word ministering is used is in 2 Corinthians 9:1, (KJV). “There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the saints”. . . the idea there is the same as in 2 Corinthians 8:4. We conclude, then, that the gift of ministering generally has to do with serving the needs of others. This can have a very broad application. In one way the gift of ministering covers all of the other spiritual gifts. This is because all of the gifts are given to help us minister to others. In this lesson we will consider the gift mainly as it relates to serving the material needs of others.

The Gift Explained and Illustrated

In Acts 9:36-41 is the story of Dorcas. She had the gift of ministering. She “was always doing good and helping the poor” (Acts 9:36). What kind of thing did she do? She sewed garments for poor widows. When she suddenly died Peter went to her house. “All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them” (Acts 9:39).

There are still many widows and orphans in the world. There are many needy people all around us. They can be found in nearly every community. How wonderful when some of God’s people have a gift of ministering like Dorcas had.

It is probable that Dorcas had natural talent for sewing and garment-making. Then, God, by His Holy Spirit, added to her talent and deep concern for people in need. The result was the gift of ministering. Just to have a talent is not enough. When God, through the Holy Spirit, can have our talents, He has a wonderful way of turning them into gifts of ministering.

We have already studied about Stephen and Philip. Both of them became evangelists. However, before the gift of evangelism came to them, they had the gift of ministering. We noted that they were chosen to handle the church’s finances. Very likely each of them had some talent for handling money, but this was not a gift of ministering until the working of the Holy Spirit was added to it. Then they ministered to the need of the widows in the church.

Almost any natural talent can become a gift of ministering. This can happen if the person with the talent is filled with the Holy Spirit. For example, think of a person who has a talent for singing. Singing is not a gift of ministering. It is a talent. Yet, when the person with the talent is filled with the Holy Spirit, his talent can become a gift of ministering.

Do you have a talent? Give it to the Lord, and He can use it as a gift through which you may bless many people.

The Purpose for the Gift

The gift of ministering is given to meet the need of people both inside and outside of the body of Christ. One of the most effective ways of winning people to Christ is, first, through ministering to their needs.

In John 9 we are told that Jesus healed a blind man. The blind man had a great need and Jesus ministered to it. Then Jesus, having won his confidence, said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him” (John 9:35-36, KJV). What Jesus had done for the man in ministering to his physical need made him ready to believe.

When we truly minister to others’ needs, their needs are met, and the work of God prospers because of it.

The Gift of Teaching

The Gift Defined

“. . . if it is teaching, let him teach” (Romans 12:7).

Teaching as it is used here means “showing how to do certain things: training, educating.” Therefore we understand that the gift of teaching means: (1) the gift of showing others how to do certain things, (2) the gift of training others how to do certain things, and (3) the gift of educating others, including giving knowledge.

The difference between the pastor-teacher and the gift of teaching is that the pastor-teacher gift is related to a leadership ministry. The gift of teaching, on the other hand, is not limited to certain church leaders. Any member of the body of Christ could have the teaching gift. Some are naturally talented to teach. When a person who has this talent is filled with the Holy Spirit, it is very possible he will discover that his talent has become a gift of teaching.

Does that mean that women, too, can teach? Yes. Some have had a question when they have read 1 Timothy 2:11-12. But Paul does not say a woman cannot have the gift of teaching. In writing to Titus, he says, “Likewise teach the older women…to teach what is good. . . .”

Paul’s statement is based upon the principle that women are not to have administrative authority over men in the church. If in a certain situation having women teach is not acceptable for this reason, then it is better not to give them this responsibility. It is not wrong for a woman to teach, but whenever a problem exists, it is better not to offend anyone. If a woman has the gift of teaching, she will seek the Lord for guidance, and allow the Holy Spirit to properly develop her gift.

The Gift Explained and Illustrated

Teaching can be done in many ways. We will consider here only two of the most important ways.

Teaching Can Be Done by Example

Paul wrote to the pastor-teacher, Titus, about this in Titus 2:3-5. Part of Titus’ work was to teach. He was to teach the older women how to teach the younger women. He was to do this by showing the older women how to be good examples to the younger women. Here is a list of things he told the older women to do:

They must behave as women who live a holy life.

They must not be slanderers (that is, they must not tell lies to hurt someone else).

They must not be slaves to wine.

They must love their husbands.

They must be self-controlled and pure.

They must be good housewives.

They must submit to their husbands.

They must not speak evil of God’s Word.

The older women could teach by speaking to the younger women. This they should do, but they could teach best by their example. This could be done in any culture. Teaching by example is showing others how to do things. For a Spirit-filled person, this can be the gift of teaching.

Teaching Can Be Done by Imparting Knowledge

This is what Jesus did so often. His “Sermon on the Mount,” in Matthew chapter 5, says, “His disciples gathered round him, and he began to teach them.” In His teaching He gave them knowledge about the kind of living that pleases God. Earlier in the course we saw how important knowledge is. We learned that it is the foundation for faith. Those who impart knowledge by teaching, are making faith possible. This is one of the most important functions of the gift of teaching.

The knowledge which the teacher is to give must be mainly knowledge of the Word of God. The teacher gives the meaning of the Word of God. The gift of teaching can be in operation when a parent teaches the Word of God to the children. It can be in operation when a Sunday school teacher or a Bible school teacher is teaching a class. Or it can be in operation when any believer teaches a friend or group of friends.

We should not overlook the possibility that a teacher in a public school, if he is filled with the Holy Spirit, can have the gift of teaching.

The Purpose for the Gift

The function of teaching is to impart knowledge. The purpose is to make faith, right-living, and doing possible. We know how important faith, right-living, and doing are to members of the body of Christ. Without them the body of Christ could not even exist. This helps us understand the great value of the gift of teaching.

The Gift of Exhorting

The Gift Defined

Exhort means “to call near or to call for.” When applied to the gift of exhorting, it means to call believers near to God, or to some purpose of God. It also means to call believers for certain action. The believer with the gift of exhorting, then, calls people near to God or to some purpose of God.

The Gift Explained and Illustrated

“. . . if it is encouraging, let him encourage” (Romans 12:8). The word for encourage in the King James Version is “exhort.”

Thus far we have not given any attention to Paul’s instructions in Romans 12 regarding the gifts we are now studying. We do not want to overlook this. In the King James Version he urges that those who have these gifts should wait on their gifts. What does he mean? He means they should develop and use their gifts. We should try to make our gifts as useful as possible. “He that exhorteth, (let him wait) on exhortation” (Romans 12:8, KJV). This means he should use his gift and try to improve it.

Many in the body of Christ may have the gift of exhortation. We will understand this as we look more closely at how the gift functioned in the early church. As we examine the Scriptures using the word exhort (KJV) we find it related to a call to believers. They are called:

1) to be faithful and true to the Lord (Acts 11:23).

2) to continue in the faith (Acts 14:22).

3) to perform a certain task (2 Corinthians 9:5).

4) to abound more and more in pleasing the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:1).

5) to warn the unruly, to comfort the feebleminded, to support the weak, to be patient toward all men, to not render evil for evil, to follow that which is good (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15).

6) to work and eat their own bread (2 Thessalonians 3:12).

7) to make supplication, prayer, and intercession for all men (1 Timothy 2:1).

8) to be sober-minded (Titus 2:6).

9) to contend for the faith (Jude 3).

All of these Scriptures together give us a good idea of the meaning of exhorting. Any believer who can help his brethren in some of the ways listed, can have the gift of exhorting. Apostles can exhort. Prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers can exhort. Almost every Spirit-filled believer can have the gift of exhorting.

All believers need to pay attention to Hebrews 3:13, “You must help one another every day.” The King James Version says, “But exhort one another daily, while it is called today.” Those believers who help their brethren daily and who are filled with the Holy Spirit will surely experience joy in the Lord.

The Purpose for the Gift

Exhortation serves many useful purposes in the body of Christ. Almost every believer needs to be exhorted often. Some people need to be exhorted quite often, especially those who are facing life’s trials and tests. We can say, then, that the purpose for the gift of exhorting is to call believers to a closer walk with God, or to call them to some purpose of God. Exhorting also means to call believers to some action which will help themselves or others in their walk with God.

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