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Preaching from the Pulpit of Ephraim Church of the Bible

1 Peter 4:10-11; The End is Near – Use Your Gift

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20090531_1peter4_10-11.mp3

05/31 1 Peter 4:10-11 The End is Near: Use Your Gifts to Glorify God

10 ekastov kaywv elaben carisma eiv eautouv auto diakonountev wv kaloi oikonomoi poikilhv caritov yeou 11 ei tiv lalei wv logia yeou ei tiv diakonei wv ex iscuov hv corhgei o yeov ina en pasin doxazhtai o yeov dia ihsou cristou w estin h doxa kai to kratov eiv touv aiwnav twn aiwnwn amhn

4:7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies–in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Peter puts on his sandwich board sign that says ‘the end of all things is at hand’ and because the only thing holding back justice and the final judgment is the mercy of our longsuffering God, because the end could come at any moment, he gives us instruction; four things we should be devoted to in light of the end. The first was prayers – we must keep a level-headed vigilant attitude – we must organize our life and think clearly in order to pray more effectively. Highest on his priority list is love – love for one another – earnest unceasing love – because if we truly love each other the way Jesus loves his church, then we will be able to put up with a lot of things that would otherwise irritate and separate us. We will have the highest good of the other in mind and that will rule all our thoughts and feelings and words and actions. This love must extend to practical acts of generosity and hospitality – and without the complaining that would ordinarily accompany frequent and repeated guests and meals and cleaning and preparation and laundry and all the labor that goes into doing hospitality.

The end of all things is at hand; history is moving toward a fixed goal – the culmination of everything is right around the corner. Because the end is near, we must be disciplined in prayer, earnest in love, cheerful in hospitality, and Peter gives us one last instruction in light of the end; he moves from mutual love to mutual service; he says ‘make use of your gifts to serve one another’.

4:10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies–in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Peter is talking here about spiritual gifts. This is an essential passage to consider when looking at the gifts of the Spirit. Paul gives extensive lists of spiritual gifts in various places. Peter doesn’t give us a long list of specific gifts – he gives much more generalized instruction concerning the gifts. He gives us the big picture ultimate purpose of the gifts.

The Extent:

He starts by telling us:

4:10 As each has received a gift,

His basic assumption is that every Christian has been gifted by God. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you have at least a gift. Every member of Christ’s body has a function and a role. There are no useless members. There is not one of the Lord’s people who has not received some gifts from him that they can use to bring good to their fellow believers and glory and praise to God.

Each has received a gift. The word ‘gift’ is ‘charisma’ [carisma] and the root is ‘charis’ [cariv] ‘grace’. Gifts are exactly that – gifts; gracious undeserved outpourings of God’s goodness as the supreme giver. Free gifts flowing from the undeserved grace of Almighty God.

The Purpose – To Serve

His assumption is that we have all been gifted by God. His admonition is that we use our gifts, and that we use them properly.

4:10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

Our gifts are not for our own benefit. My gift is for your benefit; your gift is for my benefit. God does not give his gifts so that we can boast and gloat and promote and display or draw attention to ourselves – they are gifts that we did nothing to merit. Since all gifts are rooted in the free and sovereign grace of God, there is no room for pride in the one who has received. We must not overvalue ourselves as if we had earned God’s favor; and we must not undervalue our gift and hide it as if it were not important and did not exist. We are to use our gifts. The proper use of our gifts is to serve one another – as Paul puts it ‘for the building up of the body of Christ’

1 Corinthians 14:3-5 … so that the church may be built up.

Ephesians 4:12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,

Peter calls us stewards – someone who manages the resources of their master. We have been entrusted with a responsibility to manage God’s resources. God’s gifts are a weighty responsibility. We are stewards; we can be good and faithful servants or wicked and slothful servants with what God entrusts to us. In Jesus’ parable in Matthew 25, the unfaithful servant buried his gift and returned the exact amount to his master. We are expected to take inventory of what we have been given and wisely invest and risk and creatively explore ways in which we can utilize our gift in such a way that the return is maximized for the glory of God.

We are to use our gifts as we have received them – ‘As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another’ – they were graciously and freely given to us out of the abundant generosity of our great God. We ought to use them freely, graciously, and with abundant generosity for the good of those around us.

Categories of Gifts:

We are to be good stewards of God’s varied grace. God’s gracious gifts are multi-faceted and infinitely variable. Paul in several places in his letters lists some of the various gifts (Rom.12:6-8; 1 Cor.12:8-10, 28-30; Eph.4:11). None of the lists is the same, and even within each gift, there are infinite variations and unique manifestations. Our God is a God who can craft each snowflake with an unique and distinct signature and pattern, and he can gift his people with an infinite diversity of degrees and styles and combinations of giftings. Peter here is not interested in specifying any of the different gifts; he lumps them into two broad categories and focuses our attention on the proper use and ultimate purpose of all the gifts.

11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies

His two major categories are speaking gifts and serving gifts. Speaking gifts would probably include apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, exhortation, wisdom, knowledge, tongues and interpretation. Serving gifts would probably include giving, leading, mercy, service, faith, healing, miracles, distinguishing spirits, helping and administration. [see chart]

Means of Using the Gifts

The one who employs a speaking gift is to use it as one who speaks oracles of God. This phrase is used in the LXX to refer to the words of the Lord revealed to the prophet Balaam:

Numbers 24:4,16 the oracle of him who hears the words of God, who sees the vision of the Almighty, falling down with his eyes uncovered:

It is used in the New Testament to refer to the OT scriptures

Acts 7:38 This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our fathers. He received living oracles to give to us.

Romans 3:2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.

Hebrews 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,

It is an incredibly serious thing to say ‘thus saith the Lord’.

Ezekiel 13:6-8 They have seen false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘Declares the LORD,’ when the LORD has not sent them, and yet they expect him to fulfill their word. 7 Have you not seen a false vision and uttered a lying divination, whenever you have said, ‘Declares the LORD,’ although I have not spoken?”8 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Because you have uttered falsehood and seen lying visions, therefore behold, I am against you, declares the Lord GOD.

God is against the one who claims to speak for him when he has not spoken. James says:

James 3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

This is a weighty responsibility, not to be taken lightly. Paul says:

2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth

Paul tells young Timothy:

2 Timothy 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

He tells Titus:

Titus 2:15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

When the people heard Jesus teach:

Mark 1:22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.

Luke 4:32 and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority.

We have been entrusted with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must authoritatively proclaim God’s truth. The authority is not inherent in the messenger, but in the message. In so far as the message is true to God’s word it carries the weight of God’s authority. The noble Bereans were praised as they listened to the apostle because:

Acts 17:11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

God’s word is our authority. We must be faithful to his word.

2 Corinthians 4:5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

The one who serves is to serve not their own strength but in the strength that God supplies. God’s gifts must be operated with God’s strength that he abundantly supplies in order to be fruitful. Jesus said:

John 15:4-5 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Jesus told Paul:

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” …

We must own our total inability apart from the power of God at work in us. And we recognize that when God’s power is working:

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

When you speak, speak with God’s voice and God’s authority (not your own); when you serve, serve with God’s strength and God’s supply (not your own).

The Goal

What is the goal? The ultimate purpose for our speaking and our serving is

–in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.

‘When those who speak utter God’s words rather than their own and those who serve do so in God’s strength rather than their own, God through Jesus Christ receives the glory … the provider is always the one who is praised’ (Schreiner, p.215). This must be our motivation for everything we do – that we do it in such a way that it is evident that the words are divine words and the power is divine power so that the glory goes to the divine enabler and not to the channel through which the divine work flows. That’s the only way we can obey what Jesus is telling us in:

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

This is the ultimate purpose of everything:

1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

We exist to bring glory to God. We were created to bring him praise. But we can only bring glory to God through the person of Jesus Christ. We cannot come to God on our own.

Isaiah 64:6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

We must have a mediator

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Jesus, fully God and fully man, was the only one capable of satisfying the wrath of God against our sin by his death as our substitute.

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God

It is through Jesus that we are brought to a place where we can give the glory to God that is his due.

The Doxology

Peter is compelled to worship this great God:

To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

God owns the right to all glory. Whenever we glory in a lesser thing, we commit idolatry and treason and rob God of his due. He alone deserves our praise and he demands our worship.

Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.

Isaiah 48:11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.

God’s glory is eternal and his rule will never end. He alone is worthy of our undivided adoration and affection. Let’s give him the glory that he is due.

Romans 12:6-8

1 Corinthians 12:8-10

1 Corinthians 12:28-30

Ephesians 4:11

1 Peter 4:10

apostles

apostles

speaking

prophecy

prophecy

prophets

prophets

evangelists

pastors

teaches

teachers

teachers

exhorts

wisdom

knowledge

tongues

tongues

interpretation

interpret

contributes

serving

leads

mercy

service

faith

healing

healing

miracles

miracles

distinguish spirits

helping

administrating

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

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May 31, 2009 - Posted by | 1 Peter, podcast | , , ,

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