Monday, February 15, 2010

Notes from Part One of Free Gifts

We have been given so much.  God has given us everything from the very breath we breathe to our eternal salvation.  His motivation for giving us so much is summed up in John 3:16, "For God so loved that He gave..."  It comes as no surprise then that He would expect the same of us. 

Romans 12 lists other gifts that He has given to all of us.  After Paul lists the gifts in verse 8, the very next word is LOVE.  He says, "Love must be sincere."  Then, the passage instructs us to care for others more than we care for ourselves. 

Ephesians 4 lists some other gifts that Jesus gave the Church.  He gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.  These gifts are instructed to "speak the truth in love."  That's a familiar phrase to most of us, but has it worked for us?  Verse 16 tells us that the effect these gifts will have is that "from him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up IN LOVE, as each part does its work."  The Church is supposed to GROW and be BUILT UP as each member fills his or her role.

The last list of gifts are the ones the Holy Spirit gives the Church.  These are found in 1 Corinthians 12.  Verse 7 says that he gave them to benefit all of us.  As we use these gifts, we are to demonstrate the character of God.  (For God so LOVED that he gave.)  That's why Paul follows the passage about spiritual gifts with one of the most familiar chapters in the Bible. 

He says that if I possessed all of the gifts God has offered me and took full advantage of them but did so without being motivated by love, I might as well clang two garbage can lids together.  My words and actions would have no more effect than that.  But the good news is that we can make an impact on our world when our actions are tempered by patience, kindness, humility, and a lack of jealousy or narcissim; when we aren't rude, or self-important, when we aren't easily angered, and keep no record of wrongs; when we rejoice in the truth; when we are safe, trusting, hopeful, and faithful.

As we build Transformation House and grow in Christ, we want to be motivated by love.

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