We are in a series of lessons called Body Language. We are using the word Body to refer to the church body and the word Language to refer to how to treat and speak to one another. In this series of lessons we are focusing on the “one another” statements in the Bible. So far we have looked at how to encourage one another, love one another, forgive one another, and accept one another.
Today we are going to examine what it means to serve one another. It’s important that you serve others and to let others serve you. God designed you to need others. You need others in your life to help you grow, think, feel, and do what God has called you to do. There are people in your life who you are perfectly designed to bless, encourage, and serve. You bring to their table exactly what they need. On the other hand there are people in your life that are exactly what you need. They bring to your table exactly what you need.
Our key statement that we want to focus on is 1 Peter 4:10 which says, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another” (NLT). Let’s think about some basic truths regarding serving others.
Serving one another involves gifting
Number one, serving one another involves gifting. God’s Word says, “God has given each of you a gift….” This gifting is referring to spiritual gifts. If you are a believer, then you have at least one spiritual gift. This is also emphasized in 1 Corinthians 12:7 “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other” (NLT). Let me give you some Biblical observations about your spiritual gift.
- First, your spiritual gift is a spiritual ability. Notice the Bible calls these gifts a “spiritual” A spiritual gift is not a physical ability. For example, the person with great athletic ability has been blessed with a physical talent, but running or jumping extremely well is not a spiritual gift. A person who has the ability to play a musical instrument well has been blessed by God with that ability, but it is not a spiritual gift. There is no such thing as the spiritual gift of auto mechanics, swimming, writing, painting or carpentry. Those are physical talents, not spiritual abilities. Even though physical talents are not spiritual gifts they should always be used to glorify God in some way. Spiritual gifts deals with the spiritual and supernatural matters, that’s why they are called spiritual gifts.
- Second, your spiritual gift is given by God. Notice the Bible says, “God has given” you and me a spiritual gift. 1 Corinthians 12:11 clearly states this, “It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have” (NLT). There is no spiritual gift buffet. There is no spiritual gift flea market. The Holy Spirit himself determines and chooses what gift you will have. It is by His sovereign choice, not by your choice. The reason He chooses is because He knows why you exist, what your purpose is, and what good works He preplanned for you to do (Eph. 2:10). You need a certain spiritual ability in order to accomplish what He wants you to accomplish in your life, so He chooses what gift you get and what you don’t.
- Third, your spiritual gift is given to you by grace. You don’t earn your spiritual gift. The word “gift” carries the meaning of grace. These are gifts of grace. Gifts of unmerited favor. We don’t deserve them and we can’t earn them. Out of God’s grace and kindness and generosity He gives us a spiritual gift. Your gift is to be seen as a blessing from Him.
This takes us to our second observation.
Serving one another involves variety
Number two, serving one another involves variety. 1 Peter says, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another” (NLT). Let’s talk about this variety.
- First, spiritual gifts come in a variety. Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 give us two list of spiritual gifts. Some of those gifts include the gift of service, the gift of teaching, the gift of encouragement, the gift of giving, the gift of leadership, the gift of kindness, the gift of faith, the gift of discernment and others. There are about 20 different gifts listed in Romans and 1 Corinthians. They come in a variety.
- Second, spiritual gifts come in a variety of styles. You can take two believers with the gift of teaching and their style of teaching will be different. You can take two believers with the gift of leadership and their leadership style will be different. You can take two believers with the gift of kindness and their style of kindness will be different.
- Third, spiritual gifts are given for a variety of needs. This is why one believer with the gift of teaching in their style meets the need of group A rather than that group B, but another believer with the gift of teaching in their style meets the need group C. Spiritual gifts are given for a variety of needs. This is why the person with the gift of leadership is designed to lead Group A, but not Group B. But Group B needs this other believer with the gift of leadership to lead them. Variety of needs.
- Finally, spiritual gifts are given for a variety of purposes. All the gifts in general have some common purposes for the church, but each gift has its own unique purposes. The gift of teaching educates believers in God’s truth. The gift of encouragement motivates the discouraged. The gift of leadership moves believers forward.
We serve one another when we use the gifts God has given to us.
Serving one another involves excellence
Number three, serving one another involves excellence. 1 Peter says, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another” (NLT). God has given you a spiritual gift and He wants you to use that gift well. He doesn’t want you to waste the gift, ignore the gift, or abuse the gift. When it comes to using your gift well, I like to recommend three things.
- First, discover your spiritual gift. How do you do that?
- Begin by studying what God’s Word says about spiritual gifts.
- Begin doing ministry and pay attention to what you do well and what you don’t. Your spiritual gifting will come to the top of the list.
- Talk to others believers who have a good understanding about spiritual gifts and get their advice.
- Also, do some research on spiritual gifts and read about what others have to say about spiritual gifting.
- Second, develop your spiritual gift. This means use it. Do something with it. Learn from others with the same gift and apply whatever helps you to effectively use your gift.
- Third, deploy your spiritual gift. Whatever your spiritual gift is, discover it, develop it, then use it faithfully. All believers have the responsibility to use their gift. Every Christian is accountable for his or her gifts, abilities and talents whether physical or spiritual.
Serving one another involves selflessness
Number four, serving one another involves selflessness. 1 Peter tells us, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another” (NLT). Listen carefully, your spiritual gift is not for your personal enjoyment, but for your spiritual employment (1 Cor. 12:7). You will enjoy using your gift to serve others, but your gift if primarily for you to do the work God has designed you to do in His kingdom.
Using your spiritual gift to serve others does several things:
- Using your gift reveals the presence of God. Listen to 1 Corinthians 12:7, “A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial” (HCSB). When you are using your gift to serve others you are demonstrating the presence of God in that situation. Listen to how this Bible translation explains it, “Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits” (The Message, 1 Cor. 12:7). When you teach others using the gift of teaching, you show God as a teacher. When you encourage, using the gift of encouragement, you show God as an encourager. When you show kindness, using the gift of kindness, you show God as a kind God.
- Using your gift reinforces other believers. Look at 1 Corinthians 12:7 again, “A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial” (HCSB). The idea behind beneficial is to strengthen, reinforce, support, help, useful, and constructive.
Let me give you an example of how this works. Someone with the gift of evangelism leads someone to the Lord and they are born again. He then joins a Life Group listening to a believer who has the gift of teaching and explaining the Word. The new believer begins to grow, but he stumbles in his growth and is discouraged. Along comes a believer with the gift of encouragement and says the right thing that motivates his heart and life to continue living for Jesus. His journey of spiritual growth continues because of the help of the various people with various types of gifts were used in his life.
God’s Word tells us we are to serve one another using the gifts He has given to each one of us. What is your gift? What is it that you do well when it comes to serving others? You have a gift. Discover it. Develop it. Deploy it.
- If you would like to talk with someone today about your spiritual gift or serving others there will be people standing up front you can come talk to. There are here for you.
- If you would like to talk about having a relationship with this God who gives these gifts they would love to tell about what Jesus did for you on the cross so you have a relationship with God called eternal life.