SPIRITUAL GIFTS PART III: Apostles, teaching, helps/service, administration, counseling
- Pastor Mark Driscoll
- 1 Cor. 12:27-31a, Eph. 4:11-13
- August 20, 2006
Father God, we start by acknowledging and celebrating the fact that there is one God. That you are God. That you are our God. That you’re a loving God. That you are a good God and that you are mindful of us. And we thank you for sending the Lord Jesus to live without sin. To die. To rise. To minister to us. And Jesus, we thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to make as Christians. To empower us for new life. To gift us for ministry and service, and so as we study tonight, we ask you, Holy Spirit, to come and minister to us. To reveal to us Jesus, so that we might do ministry like he did, that glorifies God the father. We ask this, Lord Jesus, in your good name, amen.
Well, as we get into it – to catch you up if you’re new – I’ll start by telling you about Jesus and then we’ll go right into the text. And so here’s what we believe, according to the teaching of the Bible.
That there is one God who made this earth and made us, male and female. Gave us this earth to steward and to enjoy and we disobeyed God, we sinned. The result of sin is separation from God and death. God knew that we were in this terrible mess for what we had done and so God, in his great compassion, came into human history as the man, Jesus Christ and he lived a life without sin and he did ministry throughout the course of his life. And you see repeatedly, particularly in places like Luke’s Gospel, where God the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ work in close tandem together so that it is the Holy Spirit who enables Jesus’ mother, though she is a virgin, to conceive and birth him. We see that at his baptism, the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus and we’re told throughout the Gospel of Luke that Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit and filled by the Holy Spirit and guided and empowered and enabled by the Holy Spirit to do ministry. So he taught, encouraged, administrated, preached – all the ministry that he did was by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus then died for our sins and rose. He appeared for 40 days, proving that he had, indeed, conquered sin and death, and then he ascended back into Heaven, where he’s alive and well today and then he sent the Holy Spirit. And so now the Holy Spirit makes us Christians so that we have hearts that love Jesus and minds that understand Jesus and wills that are obedient to Jesus and additionally, the Holy Spirit, then gives each of us who is a Christian the ability to do ministry.
So some of us teach some of us serve and some of us administrate. Some of us encourage, and in doing so, each of us who is a Christian has an aspect of the ministry of Jesus been enabled and empowered and gifted by God the Holy Spirit, just like Jesus was. And that’s what it means when the Bible keeps using the word that a church like ours is the body of Christ, that we are the hands and feet of Jesus here in Seattle today. That Jesus is working in Seattle through the Christians who are filled and enabled and empowered and gifted by God the Holy Spirit to do the ministry of Jesus to the city of Seattle, and that’s our mission. And so today, we’ll look at a few different gifts. It’s gonna take a seven weeks to look at all the gifts. We’re gonna look at one list in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 12, beginning in Verse 27 through Verse 31, and then we’ll look at another list in Ephesians Chapter 4 and we’ll jump from 1 Corinthians, because I want to get all the gifts from the New Testament. Otherwise, if I just do the ones in 1 Corinthians, some of you will send me an email to say, “You skipped things, I want a refund.”
So, we’re gonna go ahead and cover all of them and it’ll just take us a little while. So 1 Corinthians, Chapter 12, Verse 27 is where we’ll find our first list of gifts. It says, “Now you are the body of Christ,” again, you’re the hands and feet of Jesus. That’s what it means to be the church, “and each one of you is a part of it.” So every Christian has ministry to do. They are vitally necessary for their church. You are vitally necessary for our church. “And in the church God has appointed first of all,” so he – he gets into some degree of rank order, showing that some gifts are more prominent and public. Those are more gifts pertaining to leadership. Other gifts are less visible, equally important, but less visible and more support type gifts as opposed to leadership gifts. So first of all, there are apostles. We’ll deal with that today, and then there are prophets. We’re going to push that out in a few weeks and deal with that extensively in 1 Corinthians 14 because it is such a debated issue . “third teachers,” we’ll look at teachers this week. “then workers of miracles,” we looked at that last week. “also those having gifts of healing,” we looked at those last week. “those able to help others,” so gifts of help or service, we’ll look at this week. “those with gifts of administration,” we’ll look at those this week as well. “and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.” We’re gonna push that out for a few weeks and give the majority of the whole sermon to it because it, too, is such a hotly debated issue.
And then he asks a series of rhetorical questions. “Are all apostles?” What’s the answer? No. Not everybody’s an apostle. “Are all prophets?” Answer? No. Not everybody’s a prophet. “Are all teachers?” You say, “I hope not. I don’t wanna teach.” That’s because you don’t have the gift, right? Not everybody has the gift of teaching. “Do all work miracles?” No, some do, but not all. “Do all have gifts of healing?” Well, obviously not, otherwise the world would be a much different place. “Do all speak in tongues?” Does everyone speak in tongues? Should everyone speak in tongues? The answer is no. Some churches will say that all Christians should speak in tongues. No. Some Christians will teach you that you don’t have the Holy Spirit unless you do speak in tongues. We’ll get into this again in a few weeks but the answer is no. Some denominations won’t let you be a pastor unless you speak in tongues. And the answer is no. Some people have certain gifts. Some people have other gifts. Everybody’s different. Everybody’s got their own part to play in the church body of Christ. Everybody’s got a capacity that god has endowed and enabled them with and we’re not all the same, and that’s a good thing. The diversity is what makes for our strength, in fact.
And he goes on to say, “But eagerly desire the greater gifts.” In Verse 31. That verse is of great controversy. I’ll explain it to you briefly. Some say that he is telling them to eagerly desire the great, showy, flashy gifts like prophecy and miracles and healings and tongues. That may be what he’s saying, if he is saying the greater gifts – he’s talking about teaching gifts because in 1 Corinthians 14, he says to long for those gifts that help to build up the church like the teaching and preaching of the Bible.
Some of you should have in your translation, though, a footnote that says that there’s an alternative way of translating that verse, which says that they shouldn’t eagerly desire the greater gifts but rather they are eagerly desiring the greater gifts, which means that they’re doing something bad and he is correcting them. And I believe that is right for a few reasons. One, in 1 Corinthians 12:1, he said they were ignorant about spiritual gifts. In the ensuing chapter, after Verse 31 of Chapter 12, the 13th Chapter of 1 Corinthians, he will say that they are being childish. They’re being very immature. So if he says you’re ignorant and immature, he’s not telling you to all want to have flashy, showy, rock star, supernatural, extra cool gifts. He’s rebuking them because that’s what they want, right? Everybody wants the gift of preaching. Nobody wants the gift of service. Everybody wants to yell and scream and hoot and holler and nobody wants to pick up the trash, and that was what was going on in the Corinthian church. Everybody wanted to be a rock star and nobody wanted to be a servant. And so part of his instruction here, it says you were wrongly eagerly desiring the greater gifts. All of you want to be rock stars and instead, you should just want to be good Christians, doing whatever it is that Jesus has indeed asked you to do.
So, we’ll jump from there to Ephesians, Chapter 4 and I’ll give you the next list of gifts. There are four places that the gifts appear in the New Testament. Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4 and 1 Peter 4. Ephesians 4, beginning in Verse 11, gives an additional list of gifts by the same author, Paul. He says, “It was he,” God, “who gave some to be apostles,” again, we’ll look at that today, “some to be prophets,” we’ll push that out for a few weeks, “some to be evangelists,” we’ll deal with that today, “some to be pastors,” we’ll deal with that today, “and teachers,” we’ll look at that today as well. “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” all the gifts exist to make us into a better church that is more and more like Jesus . Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 said that the gifts exist forth the common good in the building up of the body. Those are his words in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14. He echoes that sentiment here, saying that all the gifts exist to build up the church so that the church more and more and more is unified in works together and doing the full ministry of Jesus. That’s what he says, “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” The goal is that together, we’re more and more and more like Jesus. We’re able to do more and more ministry like Jesus and more and more people are able to meet and grow in their relationship with Jesus.
So, we’ll start with the first gift of apostles. And when I say apostles, some of you come from freaky, nut-job backgrounds and you already start thinking, “Oh my gosh, that’s a guy in the white suit who comes into the church, takes 27 offerings, yells at everybody, and bosses people around.” That’s not what we’re talking about. And I believe there’s a lot of confusion around the gift of apostle because there’s a failure to distinguish between the office of the apostle and the gift of the apostle.
So I’ll tell you about the office of the apostle first. First of all, these were 12 men, hand selected by Jesus, and that number 12 was set and established, not to be added to in any way. That’s why, throughout the Gospels and in the book of Revelation, it keeps saying the 12, the 12, the 12, the 12, the 12. This number 12 is established, just like the 12 tribes of Israel in the Old Testament, there are the 12 disciples or apostles in the New Testament.
Now additionally, what we know of these 12 is that they were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life and ministry. They saw him do miracles and walk on water and feed people and heal people. They also saw him die and they saw him resurrect from death. So, when one of them, Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus, murdered himself – he committed suicide – I don’t know if you remember – he hung himself and his intestines spilled out like a piñata when he did that – that’s my translation – Judas the Piñata – when Judas the Piñata was done with his life and his intestines burst forth, and they had to replace him because they needed to have 12 on that particular team of apostles, and so they had two criteria to replace him and they said, “Well, we need to find somebody who is an eyewitness to Jesus’ life and ministry and an eyewitness to the resurrection of Jesus.” Those were the two qualifications of the replacement for Judas in Acts Chapter 1.
So they chose a man named Mathias who was a godly man. He replaced Judas as the 12th apostle, the 12th disciple. The Bible also says in places like Corinthians, and it says as well in Hebrews, that the apostles were accompanied by signs, wonders, and miracles. You could read this throughout the book of Acts. There’s a few other places where it says that they were accompanied by signs, wanders, in miracles. He so, to summarize, these guys were hand-selected by Jesus; witnessed his life, death, burial, and resurrection; had signs and wonders accompany them, and they wrote the Bible, right? That’s why in Acts 2, we see that the early church devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, right? They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles, which we now know as the New Testament, because they were the eyewitnesses to the life, death, burial, resurrection, and ministry of Jesus. And that’s what you see in places like 1 John, where he says, “That which we’ve seen with our eyes, heard with our ears, and touched with our hands,” all about Jesus. That’s what we’re talking about, we were there. We were there.
So let me ask you this. Do apostles, in that sense therefore, exist today? Well, the answer’s no. It was set number of 12. None of us was hand-picked by Jesus. None of us was alive when he was alive to see his life, death, burial. None of us was there for his resurrection, and we don’t have the same the signs, wonders, and miracles accompanying us as they did, their handkerchiefs healing people and such, and also, none of us gets to write a book of the Bible because – we’re not authors of the Bible because we weren’t eyewitnesses. So, in that sense, there is no apostle today but there is a gift of apostle. That’s why other people in the New Testament are called apostles, like Barnabas, in Acts 14, Apollos, 1 Corinthians 4 Andronicus and Junias, Romans 16, James Galatians 1, Silas and Timothy in 1 Thessalonians 1 and 2.
Other people are said to be doing apostolic ministry. They’re doing the ministry of an apostle. They’re not holding the office of an apostle. Let me explain this to you. An apostle literally means one who is sent on a mission. So when I say somebody is sent on a mission, what immediately comes to mind? A missionary. That’s exactly what we’re talking about. An apostle simply means one who is sent on a mission. It’s by definition, the missionary. This is the missionary gift, okay? And I believe – as I’ve studied the Bible on this issue for years – that the apostolic gift works itself out in three ways. One, you can minister cross-culturally. You can go to different countries, learn the language, learn the food, learn the culture and share the love of Jesus with people that are from a different culture.
This also works itself out in different subcultures. Some of you have friends from all kinds of groups. You can hang out with indie rockers and hip-hoppers and old and young and rich and poor and black and white and urban, rural, suburban, and you can fit in with all kinds of groups. You can get to know them, observe how their subculture works and their lingo and just fit right in, love them, share the love of Jesus. That’s a cross-cultural missionary capacity. Secondly, it’s a church planting ability. Now, depending upon who’s statistics you believe, roughly 80 percent of those who go to begin a new church fail and I believe the reason is that they’re good pastors but they’re not good apostles. A pastor’s one who comes into an existing church to love the people that are there, to care for the building that’s there – you know, to continue the ministry that already exists. An apostle, a church planter in that sense, starts with nothing.
All right, the church planner is the one who starts from nothing, which is totally different than taking on a pre-existing ministry. And thirdly, it’s the ability to be raised up by God. To be a pastor to pastors and to be a movement leader, who oversees and influences a large network of pastors – and those are the three aspects. Cross-cultural ministry gifting, church-planting ability, and the ability to pastor pastors as a movement leader. These people often have many gifts, like evangelism, teaching, leadership, faith, exhortation, and are motivated by new tasks.
How does this relate to Jesus? As I said, everything needs to relate to Jesus. Well, Hebrews, Chapter 3, Verse 1 says that Jesus Christ is our great apostle. He calls Jesus our apostle, right? And so Jesus is the one who literally crosses cultural barriers, right? Jesus reaches out to all the people of the earth, every nation, language, tribe, tongue, culture, subculture. Jesus is cross-cultural. Jesus is global in his love for the whole world. He is reaching out as we speak to people from diverse backgrounds from across the globe. He also, too, is the church planter. Every church that is faithful is planted by Jesus. And then thirdly, he is the pastor of pastors. 1 Peter 5 says that chief shepherd, which means senior pastor. That’s why I don’t use the word senior pastor because I believe senior pastor is Jesus and all the other pastors work under Jesus and are supposed to do what he says and follow in his example. So in that way, Jesus is the apostle who works across cultural barriers, plants churches and pastors pastors. And then those of us with a gift of apostle, we work under Jesus doing the same thing. Trying to reach into new cultures and subcultures; trying to help start new churches; trying to pastor other pastors.
Biblically, there are people who obviously come to mind with this gift and it’s good for you to look at them, if you feel that this may be a gift that God has given you. Paul is one of the most clear. On nine occasions in his New Testament letters, he opens up by saying, “Hi, my name is Paul, I’m an apostle.” Right, he just says it over and over. I mean, he’s the guy at the church picnic with his you know, nametag on, “Hi, I’m Paul the Apostle.” I mean, he just – he identifies himself as Paul the apostle. Peter has this gift as well, as well as do some other people that I’ve mentioned in your notes.
Now, some of you may still be reticent because you’ve seen this abused and let me say this – that false teachers and cult leaders and heretics – they love to use the word apostle, right? They’ll say things like, “I don’t go to any church, I’m an apostle,” right? Or, “You need to do what I say because I’m an apostle,” meaning I’m just – I have as much authority as the Bible. And some people will actually act as if they have the same authority as the eyewitnesses to Jesus, the apostles who wrote the New Testament. They don’t. The Bible tells us that such people are false apostles. False apostles. The Bible also speaks of – through Paul in 2 Corinthians – that they are delusional, “super apostles.” He’s mocking them, okay? So when the Bible says that there’s false apostles, there are. Just because somebody says they’re an apostle doesn’t mean they are. All right, they may be a cult leader who’s pretending to be equal in authority to the Bible, abusing spiritual power and leading people astray. So you have to be very discerning in dealing with people who claim to have these gifts.
So how about you? Can you minister effectively cross-culturally? How many of you love to go overseas, you’re thinking about relocating to another country? Even in our own city that is very tribal and fragmented. You can work with different people groups. Are you called to plant a church, right? How many of you young dudes feel like God has called you to plant a church, right? Can you start a church from nothing, right, from nothing? Are you an entrepreneur? Has God given you leadership and influence over multiple churches and movement leaders? Can you pioneer a ministry where others have failed? Now, once the apostle has planted the church, then the teachers rise up in the church to get all the people and make sure they know Jesus and know their Bible, so the second gift is teaching.
It’s in Romans 12:7, 1 Corinthians 12:28. The gift of teaching is a natural talent. It’s also a supernatural ability to teach the Bible, about Jesus, which requires the Holy Spirit to accomplish. The gift of teaching is the ability to understand and communicate Biblical truth in a clear and relevant manner so that there is understanding and application. I’ll stress that because there are people who think they have the gift of teaching and they don’t because no one knows that the heck they’re talking about, right? All right, I mean, it’s just like the teacher from Peanuts, some dudes, right? They’re like, you know, “Wacca, wacca, wacca. Transubstantiation. Wacca, wacca, wacca. Consubstantiation.” You know, it just – nobody knows what they’re talking about. Nobody knows what they’re talking about. Some guys think that because they read big books that they have the gift of teaching. They may have the gift of knowledge, but not necessarily the gift of teaching. The gift of teaching means that the people who are listening know what in the heck you’re talking about, right? And this is the big problem sometimes that those with the gift of knowledge teach but if they don’t have the gift of teaching, they don’t – “Duh?”
Like the worst I’ve seen – I saw a guy at an evangelistic rally, literally get up to a bunch of non-Christians and get up and said, “Today I’m gonna talk about presuppostionalism.” Dudes were like, “Who? Who’s he talking about?” You know? He goes, “I’m gonna talk about the difference between Van Til and presuppositionalism and Schaefer, who believed that our presuppositions could be tested and John Frame, who has a moderate position between the three.” I thought, “Oh boy. They’re all gonna get saved today, Billy Graham. This is going right to the throne.” What a lugnut. I mean, you know, there’s two guys in this room who know what half those words mean and they’re total geeks that no one will listen to anyways, right? And I’m one of them. So, you know, it – it’s the ability to explain things in human terms, right? Pace picari, non-pace picari. People start using Latin and all this stuff, right? Redneck jokes. That’s the shortcut to be a good teacher. NASCAR, right? Go for the easy money. Make it, make it fun. Gift of teaching does that.
People with this gift, they love to learn, research, communicate, illustrate the truth. People with this gift, you’re always reading, thinking “I could teach this to these people. I’d explain it this way. These’d be my notes, my outline.” And you’re looking through your whole life, all the time, for illustrations and stories to spice it up so you can do a good job. This is my gift. I love this, but my whole life, I’m looking for crazy, silly stories. I’m the guy – I’ll go to the bank and I’ll be like, “So who’s the weirdest person that’s ever been in the bank?” I’m just looking for crazy stories to tell you guys. I’ll do that with the checkout counter at the grocery store. “So who’s the biggest weirdo that’s ever been through the line?” And I just shut up and they give me gold. They give me gold for illustrations.
I’ll give you one this week. Doesn’t pertain to anything. I should tell you, but it’s funny, so I will. This week, I was explaining the spiritual gifts to my nine-year-old daughter Ashley and I said, you know, “Sometimes you could tell what a person’s gift is because you know, maybe they don’t like certain things, you know, they’re not good at certain things and that tells you what their gifts are and I’m trying to explain it to her and my son, Calvin, who four and-a-half years old, turns around while I’m teaching my daughter, Ashley, right in the conversation about the gifts – and he’s four and-a-half – and Calvin looks at me. He says, “Hey dad!” I say, “Yeah, Calvin, what?” He says, “Can I punch you?” Just totally outta the blue. I said, “I appreciate you asking first, but no, you can’t do that.” I said, “Calvin, why would you wanna do that?” He said, “I just wanted to see what your face would look like.” And I looked at Ashley, I said, “See, I don’t think he has the gift of mercy, because the guy with the gift of mercy would never ask that question. So Calvin doesn’t have that gift, apparently.”
But you’re always looking for illustrations and stories and how to make the Bible fun and interesting. How about Jesus? We take everything back to Jesus. Did Jesus have a teaching gift? Absolutely. They called him what? Rabbi, which means what? Teacher. Bible teacher. Jesus was a great Bible teacher. The greatest teacher and the greatest Bible teacher who has ever lived. It says in Matthew 4:23, Jesus went throughout Galilee teaching. It says in Matthew 7:28, 29 that the crowds came out to hear Jesus preach and they were just amazed because they’d heard a lot of teachers that bored them to death but Jesus was totally different. He captivated their attention. He taught as one with authority and they loved listening to him because he was a great teacher, right? I mean how wonderful is it to have good teachers that teach you the Bible? It’s just such a gift to have this, this kind of giftedness in the church as some of you are great teachers and we’re all benefitted because the knowledge of Jesus grows as the Bible is made plain.
Now, let me say this, too. The gift of teaching is given to men and women. All of the gifts – leadership, apostles – all of the gifts are given to men and women, okay? Now, one of the examples of a husband and wife team that both have the teaching gift is in Acts 18 and they appear throughout the New Testament, but it’s a couple named Priscilla and Aquila and they bring, for example, this guy, Apollos into their house and they teach him and he becomes one of the greatest preachers in the New Testament. So it is possible for husband and wife teams to both have these gifts and if you do, you’re like two barrels on the gun for Jesus. I mean you’re both just firing truth in the same direction. It’s beautiful.
If you’re a married couple, to teach together, if God would give you both that gift, what a special thing that is. There’re also men who have this gift. Paul has it in the Bible. He teaches on-on-one in homes, informally. He teaches in the hall of Tyrannus, he essentially sets up a college at one point for a few years and lectures there. He goes to places like the open air of the Mars Hill Marketplace in Acts 17 and he lectures to all the non-Christians about philosophy. He goes into the synagogues and he lectures to the Jews about the Bible and Jesus and, and Paul’s a guy who’s teaching a lot. That’s a big part of his ministry.
Women, too, are told to teach. In Titus 2, it says that older women should teach younger women and so the Bible acknowledges that some things just aren’t well taught by men, right? Like there’s certain things you young ladies are like, “I wish somebody would teach me that,” but you don’t want me or any dude to get into it with you. I won’t list those things because they’re scary for me. But you know what I’m talking about, right? You can go to an older woman who loves the Lord and she’s perfect to teach certain things because as a woman, she knows what you’re talking about and as a dude, I just don’t. And so there are some things that are most fit for men to teach men and women to teach women. So there’s lots of gifted teachers that God raises up – some are men, some are women, some are married couples – all teaching the Bible and about Jesus. Additionally, this is a requirement to be a pastor in God’s church. 1 Timothy 3:2 says that an elder must be “able to teach.” If you don’t have a teaching gift, then God hasn’t called you to the office of pastor and to be a pastor because part of the job description is teaching.
Do you have this gift? Do you love to study and research? Do you like to read? Do you put, you know, lectures together more naturally than other people? When you study, can you easily communicate that? Are you the person that, when you read, you’re just, “Hey I was reading this, let me explain this to you,” just naturally always teaching? How about this next question – do you enjoy imparting the truth to other people? Third question – when people “get it,” is that when you get excited, right? Like the light bulb goes on, “Ding!” That’s what the teachers love, is when the students get it. Somebody says, “I had no idea and that redneck joke, that cleared it all up. Now Ephesians makes total sense.” You’re like, “There you go. Glad to help, you know?” And do others come to you for insights on Scripture? Do you have people walking up to you, going, “Look man, I was reading, and I don’t get it. Here, now, explain this to me” You may have the gift of teaching. You say, “Oh, I’d love to. Here, let’s sit down, lemme explain this. Here, read these books. I’ll send you a couple articles. Here’s a website.” Maybe you have the gift of teaching.
How about this? How is the gift of teaching expressed? Some of you, when you hear teaching, you may think, “Classroom. Whiteboard. Notes. PowerPoint. Ding! Ding! Ding!” some of you are like that. You love to teach that way. Let me say that this to you that teaching is a very broad, broad term in Scripture, right? It’s a very broad term. For example, teaching can be one-on-one. Mentoring, discipling, accountability partners. Some people like to meet one-on-one to teach one-on-one. Some of you are more informal, small groups. You ask leading questions. You keep people on track. You help to teach them. That’d be a great place for you. Some are more formal teachers. Some of you may work well one-on-one, informal groups of 10, 20, 30, more formalized groups of 10, 20, 30, more medium-sized groups and larger groups – maybe 100 people. Some of you have communication abilities to 1,000 or thousands of people and this also includes the gift of preaching, wherein I think it’s 1 Timothy 5:17 that says that the elders who labor in preaching and teaching are worthy of double honor. That preaching and teaching are almost synonymous in the New Testament.
Preaching is a form of teaching. What I do is a form of teaching.
Next gift, helps or service. I put these together. I don’t think some of the gifts are totally different. I think some of them are so close that, that they’re essentially, you know, related. So you help people by serving them. 1 Peter 4 says that some of us serve and do our ministry with our mouths of teaching encouragement. Some of us use our hands. Those are the gifts of helps and service. They’re the people who like to use their hands, right? They think of ministry, they don’t, they don’t wanna speak, they wanna serve. They wanna serve. And so, here is the definition. The gift of helps or service is the ability to joyfully – the key is joyfully. Some of you serve, but it’s reluctantly, right? You’re not happy servers. You’re unhappy servers. You work joyfully alongside other people and help them complete their tasks. They like to work behind the scenes. Some of you are like, “I don’t wanna be up front. Help me – let me get behind the scenes. Let me, lemme do my thing. I don’t wanna be up front.” They tend to find joy in helping alleviate the burdens and responsibility of others. They usually have an attitude of humility, sacrifice and they’re always looking for people who need help, right?
Now you know you don’t have the gift of helps or service. Let me tell you how you – maybe you know you don’t have it, right? Like, let’s say for example, somebody comes up to you and says, “Could you help me?” and you go, “Pffft, of course not.” You probably don’t have this gift, right? If you’re coming out of the grocery store and grandma trips and the groceries go flying all over the parking lot, and you step over them, like, “What a mess! Can’t you pick this up?” You probably don’t have the gift of helps and service or Jesus in your life anyway, okay? Some people just –they’re just not big on helping, right? Some of you had this dad. I understand.
How about this? These people have a serving attitude, loyalty. They’re attentive to detail and they function well in positions of assistant leadership and coming alongside of those who do lead. Now how about Jesus? Did Jesus have the gift of serving or service or helps? Yeah, Jesus said, “I didn’t come to be served but to serve.” He says that in Matthew. He says in Luke, he says, “I am among you as one who serves.” And in places like John 13, you get vignettes of Jesus’ ministry where he’s washing his disciples feet. I mean, here’s God doing the lowliest job. I mean today, it’s still the lowliest job. Right? I mean, how many of you, for a living, would wanna wash people’s feet. I mean that is a lowly job of a slave and Jesus did it. Those of you with the gift of serving and helps, you esteem serving as a good thing because you think, “Well, Jesus served. I’ll serve. Jesus, you know, did menial tasks. I’ll take out the trash and do the dishes. That’s what Jesus did and I love Jesus and if it was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me.”
Now in the Bible, when it goes to studying those with this gift, which is another thing to do in addition to looking at the ministry of Jesus, oftentimes the names of those who are good servants and helpers aren’t listed, because they’re working behind the scenes, they’re not up front but there are some people, like in Romans 16. Phoebe, Priscilla, Aquila, Tryphena, Tryphosa are mentioned as great servants. John Mark in Acts 13:5 is a servant and also, in the church, those who are deacons, 1 Timothy 3, beginning around Verse 8 or 9, if memory serves me correct, speaks of deacons, which are official leaders in the church, men and women, who are great servants who serve and help and they, they minister to the church with their hands, doing the work of the ministry with their hands.
Now, if you have the gifts of helps or service, you’re like a utility player on a baseball team. Any of you guys play baseball? In baseball, there’s always a guy on the team who’s the utility guy. He could play all the infield positions – third base, shortstop, second base. He could play first base. He can catch a little bit and if need be, in a total blowout, he can come in and pitch. And he comes to the ballpark with seven gloves and a good attitude, right? That’s this gift. These are the people who show up and say, “What do you need? I’ll do anything. I just wanna be on the team and I like to help and serve. I don’t care. Whatever you need, that’s what I’m willing to do.” My wife has this gift. She’ll help and serve. She just likes to serve. I didn’t know this when we first got married. I’m like, “Well what’s your gift? What’s your ministry? What do you wanna do? What’s on yours,” she goes, “I don’t care. My gift is service.” I was like, “Oh! So you’ll do whatever needs to be done?” “Yeah.” “Are you cool with that?” “Yeah, it makes me happy.” Hm. I apparently don’t have that gift. She does. We’re different that way.
So, do you enjoy helping others become effective in their work? Do words like “assistant” make you encouraged, right? You don’t mind coming alongside and helping somebody? That was actually my wife’s job before we started the church and we had five kids – now she’s mom – but she was the assistant to the president of one of the major media outlets here in Seattle. She was an assistant because she had gifts in helps and service and she was great at it. Do you like to labor behind the scenes? When someone is doing a job poorly, is your first instinct to criticize or help? Some of us are like, “Man, that was terrible, what’d you do that for?” and others of us with the gifts of helps and service say, “Hey, it looks like you’re struggling. Could I help you?” It’s just a totally different response to the same need.
Do you like to work in a supportive capacity? Do you hear of someone who has needs and your first instinct is to go help? And here’s the bottom line – do you have a hard time saying no? Servants and helpers, they volunteer for everything, right? There’s some of you, it doesn’t matter what we’re doing, you sign up for it. All of it. We’re gonna do seven services in three locations. At your service. You’re like, “No dude, look. You’re not like Jesus.” You gotta pick a place, right? You gotta pick a place to be and sometimes the best thing to do is be careful not to commit yourself to everything but to prayerfully think through what it is God would have you do and being married to someone with the gift of service and helps – here’s another thing I’ve learned – you like to serve but you don’t like to be served. You’re the giver, not the receiver. So if somebody comes up and says, “Here, let me help you.” “No, no, no, no, no! That’s my job.” And maybe you’re married to this person as well.
Gifts of helps and service. We need to be careful that we don’t abuse and take advantage of these people because sometimes they’ll do things that we should be doing and sometimes we can dump things on them and not be gracious, which is a sin.
The next one, then is administrators and administration because if there are all these people who wanna help, somebody’s gotta organize the thing. Here’s the gift of administration. The God-given ability to give direction, to make decisions for efficient operation, accomplishment and goals. It is a natural talent. It’s also a supernatural gift and here is the bottom line of those of you who have the gift of administration. You’re probably diagnosed mild obsessive-compulsive disorder. You love highlighters and sticky notes and files and you are a bit of neatnik and your favorite verse is 1 Corinthians 14:40 where everything is to be done in an orderly fashion. You love that. That’s your life verse. You have that tattooed on your calf and occasionally you look at it when you’re sitting in your cubicle.
Those with the gift of administration have a keen eye for detail. They like to organize and here it is, man. You love to just bring order out of chaos, right? Did Jesus have this gift? He sure did. He organized his ministry, chose the 12, appointed 70, appointed 120. He told them to go out two by two. He appointed the team of three for his closest leaders. He sent them out on tasks. He gave them job descriptions and orders and Jesus managed the finances of his ministry and Jesus was a guy who had the gift of administration.
How about biblically? Joseph has it. At the end of Genesis, he administrates the whole nation of Egypt. That’s a huge administrative capacity. There’s a guy named Jethro in Exodus 18 who had this gift. Moses is just holding court all day and everybody’s waiting to meet with Moses. Jethro comes and says, “You need to have a different plan, different layers of leadership. You need to have other courts where cases are tried. You need to raise up essentially other judges and he puts together a whole administrative plan. He’s a great administrative consultant for Moses. That’s one of his gifts. Titus 1:5 says that Titus is sent as well to churches to bring order and to cause structure to come into existence.
Do you have this gift? When things are poorly organized, do you freak out? “It’s disorganized! It’s a total mess!” You’re the person you can’t go on vacation ‘til you’ve cleaned your whole house – which we don’t understand because there’s no one there, right? You’re the person, you can’t go to bed unless all the dishes are cleaned and all the laundry’s out of the dryer, “Because it’s not done yet! It’s a total mess. Everything’s a total wreck.”
How about – do you like to bring order out of chaos? Do you naturally organize? Do you have a schedule? Some of you are like, “I go to work. I come home. I drink beer. I go to bed. I go to work.” I guess I could hit “repeat” every day indefinitely on the Outlook but I don’t think I need to schedule that. Well, maybe you need to pray about doing more, so you actually need a schedule, right? Some of you know what I’m talking about. Some of you now have a schedule, right? Some of you have a budget. This is where people plan to spend their money, by the way, for those of you that are new to the concept of a budget. And these are people who naturally like to organize. You, also, too, you love to go Office Max and Office Depot. This is you, right? You’re just walking around. They come up – do you need something? No, I think I got most of it but I was just wondering if there was any new stuff and I’m just looking. Right? I mean, you just like that stuff. “Ooh, spreadsheets, charts, graphs, budgets, software, new computers. Oh this is wonderful. Those are colored files. Ooh.” You know? “And they have small ones and big ones for legal-size. Brilliant.” Right? You dig this stuff, right? You dig this. You love a tidy desk.
Efficiency, promptness matters. This is your gift.
He next gift is evangelism these are people who do most of their work outside of the church. These are people who sometimes don’t even like the church. They’re like, “Why go to church?” They already are all Christians. “I’m gonna be stuck with them forever in heaven. I’m going to Hemp Fest and I’m going to talk to those people.” The gift of evangelism is the desired ability to speak clearly and effectively about Jesus to non-Christians. This means, you can still speak English. If you’ve been a Christian for a while, sometimes you lose the capacity to speak English, right? You ever been around your non-Christian friends after you been a Christian for awhile and you start using words that they look like a Basset hound that just heard a high-pitched whistle? You know, they’re like, “Huh?”
Some of you are in evangelist, because like, you go to your friend who’s not a Christian and you want him to become a Christian and you tell him things like, “I think you need to be justified.” They’re like, “Justified?” “Well, then you can be sanctified.” They’re like, “Huh?” “And then eventually, you could be glorified.” And they’re like, “I don’t know, man. Those are big words. And the people with the gift of evangelism, they could speak English to non-Christians and explain sin and Jesus in terms that they understand.
If you have this gift ,you love non-Christians and the weirder the better. Right, if somebody says, “I believe in UFOs,” you’re like, “This is great. Let’s talk.” You know? This is great! Some of you who are Christians, non-Christians annoy you, right? You’re like, “Oh my gosh, they just – they don’t know the Lord and they say nasty words like Pastor Mark and they just drive me crazy.” If you have the gift of evangelism, you love the non-Christians. You love their crazy ideas, right?
Talked to a gal, yesterday, at Hemp Fest. She’s like Jesus did magic. Awesome. Let’s just go. This is awesome. Jesus was a magician. Okay, cool. You know? I love talk- this is one of my gifts. I love talking to non-Christians. I was a non-Christian ‘til I was 19. Over half of my life, I wasn’t a Christian. I remember having crazy ideas and stupid opinions about things I didn’t know and misperceptions about Jesus and it’s fun to talk to people and to tell them about Jesus in and loving and coherent way. And also, you just love hanging outside of the church and you know what? Jesus had the gift of evangelism, didn’t he? He says in Luke 19:10, he said I didn’t – he said “I came to seek and save those who are lost.” All right, people who are lost. They’re not anywhere near Jesus. They’re lost.
Jesus also was accused in Matthew 11:19 of being a “friend of sinners,” because he had just the worse friends, right? How many of you, are Christian friends are like, “What do you hang out with them for?” You’re like, “Because they need Jesus. That’s why.” They’re like, “But they’re a mess.” “They need Jesus.” You know, Jesus said “I didn’t come for the healthy, but the sick.” You know, it’s the sick people that need a doctor. You bring them Jesus, the Great Physician. Jesus had friends who were alcoholics and nutjobs and dirtbags and weirdoes and freaks and people who thought wrestling was real. I mean, he hung out with the weirdest people and he loved them and they loved him, actually. Those people did love Jesus because he would actually talk to them, whereas most religious people would never talk to him. And so he’d invite them over to the meal he was having with other people. He’d go over to their house for dinner and they said, “Well, he’s a gluttonous sinner and a – a glutton, a drunkard, and a friend to sinners. He hangs out with the wrong people.” Now Jesus didn’t sin with them. Jesus never did sin but he was able to love them and to be involved in their life in a very inextricable way.
Now those of you with this gift, you can also be mildly annoying. I’ll just say that, even though I love you, because no matter what we’re talking about, you bring it to Jesus. It doesn’t matter what we’re talking about, right? You’re the person at work – somebody comes up, “Where’s the copier?” “It’s over there. Jesus is omnipresent. Did you know Jesus is by the copier?” They’re like, “Come on, man. I just, you know, come on.” Everything’s at about Jesus. You’re the person nobody wants to sit next to on an airline flight across the country, right? You’re sitting there, saying, “Jesus bring a lost one. Don’t bring one of those deacons. They already know you. Bring a lost one.” Somebody sits down. “Hi, how are you?” “Good.” “If this plane goes down and you stand before the Lord Jesus Christ, and he asks you ‘Why should I let you into my heaven?’ what will you say?” They’re like, “Ding! I need a new seat. I got stuck next to an evangelist,” right?
Those of you with the gift of evangelism, you can’t help it. You have to talk to people about Jesus. You need a fix. If you haven’t talked to somebody about Jesus, you just go to the food court at the mall because it’s a captive audience. You’re sitting down. “Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?” they’re like, “Huh, I’m eating some pizza.” “Well, time’s a-wasting. What if you choked and went to hell. What would that be like?” Right? George Whitfield, the great evangelist, he said, “I can’t talk to somebody for more than 15 minutes without telling them about Jesus so they’ll get saved.”
How about this? Biblically, Phillip and Timothy had it. Acts 21:8. 2 Timothy 4:5 Paul says, “Do the work of an evangelist.” Those of you with this gift, you love that verse. You love non-Christians. You could speak to them in English. We love when people become a Christian – you’re freaking out! You’re, “Woo! Jack got born again!” I mean you, you even use that word, man. Nobody else does but you’re fired up. You feel frustrated when you haven’t shared your faith in a while, right? You’re like, “I gotta go save somebody. I’m freaking out. It’s been a day since somebody cried and said Jesus save me.” You love to share your faith. You’re always talking about Jesus and I think my son, Zach, who’s seven – just turned seven last week – my buddy Zach – I call him Buddy Zach.
He’s my boy – I love this boy. We get along really good. We’re super close. I understand him and I think he’s an evangelist because he told me a while back. He said, “Daddy, I wanna be a pastor.” I said, “Great, then you need to learn how to disciple people. Calvin, your little brother, Buddy Calvin is four and-a-half. He’s your disciple. You’re discipling Calvin.” So, every night, he’s reading the Bible to Buddy Calvin and he’s praying with Buddy Calvin and he’s talking to Buddy Calvin. Well, last week, it was his birthday and I took him to a Mariners game. We had a miracle, speaking of gift of miracles, they won and then after the game, Buddy Zach ate for four innings. I mean, he’s a skinny kid but he’s not gonna be and he’s eating for four innings and we’re talking, hanging out. This is what I love – he’s seven – and we’re talking theology, watching baseball, eating nachos. It’s incredible. I’m like, “This is, this is a great kid. Nachos, Jesus and baseball. That’s amazing!” And then after the game we come home and we had a birthday party as a family and a cake for Buddy Zach and we all prayed for Buddy Zach and we all talked about the reasons we love Buddy Zach and then we tucked Buddy Zach into bed and I kissed him and prayed for him and I’m laying in bed for about 45 minutes, watching ultimate fighting and in walks Buddy Zach. My Buddy Zach walks in. He’s like, “Dad, I think I just got Calvin saved. I need you to come double check, make sure I did it right.”
True story. I’m laying there, I’m like, “No kidding, you closed Calvin. Good. Good for you, Buddy Zach.” He’s like, “Yeah, it’s my birthday and I wanted Calvin to get saved for my birthday.” How many seven-year-old kids, their birthday present is to see their brother get converted, you know? He said, “Yeah, I been telling him for 45 minutes he’s a sinner. I told him all about Jesus and the resurrection and I made him pray twice so I think I did it good. I made sure.” He said, “But I need you to double check, Dad.” “Okay, buddy.” So I go in there, Calvin’s crying. He’s laying in bed. He’s four and-a-half. I’m like, a real conversion experience. He’s like, “Zachie told me I’m a sinner and I’m going to hell and Jesus died for me and made me pray twice. Did he do it right?” I’m like, “Yeah, he did a good job.” Give Buddy Zach a high five, give Buddy Calvin a high five in the top bunk and the lower bunk. And yeah, you betcha, Zach closed his brother. He’s like, “Yes!” He was really excited. He closed his brother for his birthday, right? But if you have the gift of evangelism, this is how you are. Somebody comes to you, says, “What do you want for your birthday?” “Converts.” That’s what you want. You want people to meet Jesus, man. You’re fired up.
And then once people do become Christians, you know what they need? They need a pastor. They need somebody to disciple them, mentor them, hold them accountable, teach them the Bible, help them overcome sin, help them grow in their faith. That’s the next gift is pastor. Biblical counseling. Shepherding. We’ll use all of those words in conjunction and again, I would make a distinction, like apostles, between an office and a gift. Now the office, 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, again, get the leadership booklet on the way out, are the qualified men whom God appoints to be pastors in the church. So, in addition to the office, which is held by a handful of men, there is the gift that is poured out on a multitude of men and women who do shepherding, counseling, Biblical counseling, pastoral work, pastoring work. Much like the office and gift of apostle, there is the office and the gift, I certainly believe, of pastor or shepherd or Biblical counselor.
Now, if you have this gift, here’s how you work. You love Christians. Sometimes evangelists necessarily don’t, right? They’re not into Christians like those with the gift of pasturing are into Christians and you love Christians and you want to see them mature in their faith. So words like discipleship, mentoring, accountability. Those are good words for you. You read books with those words in the title. You like to meet with people, ask them questions, hear their story, get to know them. Open the Bible and give them counsel. “Well, here it talks about where you’re struggling and that sin is spoken of clearly right here. Let me explain this to you and maybe we could meet at Starbucks every week and we could go through a book together. We could do a Bible study together and I could be a person who prays for you and who speaks into your life. I want you to grow in your relationship with Jesus. I want you to overcome sin. I want you to have joy. I want you to mature. And I really would love to do that for you.”
That is the gift. It’s a deep love for people. It’s an empathy and a compassion. It’s a Biblical knowledge. It’s an encouragement ability to meet with people and to help them become more like Jesus. And it’s seen in the ministry of Jesus, right? Is Jesus a shepherd? He’s the good shepherd, we’re told repeatedly. 1 Peter 5, he’s the chief shepherd. Again, he’s the senior pastor. All right, that Jesus is our pastor. You go to Jesus for prayer and accountability and help and comfort and teaching and support and he’s the one who will, indeed, take your hand and lead you to maturity and as you read the Gospels, you see Jesus having pastoral or Biblical counseling appointments. Like in John, Chapter 4, there’s the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus sits down with her. It’s just the two of them. He says, “You’ve had five husbands. You’re shacking up with another dude. You worship some wacky god. Let’s talk about that.” And she does, she opens up, they have a conversation, she becomes a Christian, I mean, that is a pastoral activity that Jesus is doing, right there. He’s meeting with someone and he is drawing out their life story. He’s telling them the truth and their life is changing by meeting with him. That’s the pastoral giftedness. Biblically, Paul had this, as well. This is what the elders in the church are supposed to do. So any church, we have real elders, they’re doing real shepherding, real pastoring.
Do you have this gift? Do you deeply love people and just are compelled to help and serve them Biblically, growing in their knowledge of God, praying for them, helping them to mature? Do you like meeting with people and listening to their story? Not everyone does, right? How many of you, just sitting for 40 hours a week and meeting with people, hearing the plain, hard truth of what they’ve done and what has been done to them. Praying for them. Speaking truth into their life. Giving them the Bible. Pointing them to Jesus – that just sounds exhausting. If you have this gift, it is fatiguing but it’s also got an aspect by which it’s very energizing. You like to meet with people, and oftentimes, this is one-on-one by the way. Because to draw people out and to get their story and to get the truth, sometimes you need a safe place to do that. So this is often a one-on-one capacity.
When you hear that someone is hurting, is your first instinct to try and help them? Someone is struggling. They got diagnosed with cancer. Their kid walked away from the Lord. They haven’t been to church in a while. I need to call them up. I need to take them out for dinner. I need to ask them questions. I need to pray for them. I need to talk to them. I need to, I need to pastor them and lead them with loving affection. Do you like meeting with Christians and do you – do people pursue you? People come up to you and say, “Could we get together? I’m just going through a really hard time.” “Could we get together? I’m just really struggling right now.” “Could we get together? I just, I just am totally stuck. I don’t know what to do.” And they need to meet with you and they’re coming to you to do pastoral work.
So in summation, let me tell you how this all works. Right, we’re gonna look at the gifts for an additional four weeks, seven weeks total but this is how we all work together, just like the parts of a body. The apostles are guys like me who plant the church. The evangelists are the ones who go out of the church, introduce people to Jesus, bring them to the church, plug them in so that then they could be taught by the teachers, right? That order can be brought out of chaos in their lives by the administrators. That they could overcome sin and grow in their relationship with Jesus as they meet with the teachers and the pastors. So the evangelists bring people in. The apostle leads and lays down the foundation of the church, which is Jesus and the teaching of the Bible. People come in and the teachers tell them about Jesus and the Biblical counselors help them overcome sin and sin that’s been committed against them. The administrator organizes everyone’s gifts, bringing order out of the chaos and all these gifts work together and the more we work together, the more the church is getting to do the ministry of Jesus and more people can be affected for Jesus.
And so at this point, let me close with this. And the evangelists have been waiting for this the whole time. Are you a Christian? Do you know Jesus? That’s the bottom line. Everything begins between you and Jesus entering into an unbroken, unending relationship of trust and love. Will you turn from your sin – that’s the essence of repentance – you turn to Jesus. You acknowledge that he’s God who has ministered to you, right? That Jesus is our apostle. That Jesus is our evangelist. He is the one who makes us Christians. That Jesus is our teacher. Anything we know that is true, ultimately, is connected to Jesus. Jesus has served us and helped us by dying for our sins and rising for our salvation, right? That Jesus, as well, is our administrator who brings order out of the chaos of our lives and Jesus is our pastor, our senior pastor, whom for the rest of our life, helps us to mature and grow to be less about sin and more like him.
Do you know Jesus? Do you love Jesus? Have you turned from sin to trust in Jesus? That’s the first question. If not, you can become a Christian tonight. You could become a Christian tonight because God knows your heart. God knows your thoughts. God knows even the secret longings that you don’t utter. Even if you, in your seat, ask Jesus to forgive you of sin and make you a Christian, he will. If you’re not sure, you can come up afterward. We have people with the gifts of pasturing and evangelism to help you. They’ll pray for you. Answer your questions. Tell you about Jesus. Or encourage you if you already know him. That’s part of their ministry here at the church. For those of you who are – become Christians, when you’re ready, you can come forward for communion remembering Jesus Christ. Body broken, blood shed to take away sins. To give us the Holy Spirit. To empower and enable and gift us to do ministry like him, which is a great delight and joy and we will then scatter when we are done to do ministry according to the gifts that God has given.