The Clear Word 

A Ministry Of Mid-State Ministries  

 

Evangelism for the21st Century

Lesson Five
Mid-State Bible Institute
Paul Dodson

 

In past lessons we have learned exactly “what” Evangelism is, different types of Evangelism, some things that hinder effective Evangelism and the perfect model that Jesus Himself gave us.  Today, we are going to look at Evangelism from a “spiritual gift” perspective.

Scripture is very clear that God gives each of His children special gift, talents, or callings.  



Please read the following verses and take note of the different spiritual gifts that are mentioned, and who gives them….


Rom 12:6-8 1Co 12:1-11  Ephesians 4:11-13



Notice that among the different gifts and callings, Evangelist is mentioned.  From this we can conclude that doing the work of an Evangelist is something that God calls us to do.  Making excuses, then, is nothing more then that…just an excuse.


What is a “spiritual” gift you might ask.  In 1 Corinthians 12:1 the phrase “spiritual gifts" in verse one comes from the Greek word “pneumatikos” and literally means “spirit” or “spiritual things”.  The Apostle Paul uses another word in verse four to refer to spiritual gifts, and that word is “charisma” meaning “grace”.  Thus, a spiritual gift is a “grace gift” given to an individual by the Holy Spirit to accomplish the work of the Lord.  They are not earned, but are given as God desires.


God told the early disciples that after the Holy Spirit came upon them, they would be witnesses throughout the whole world, starting first I their own home (Acts 1:8).  This method of spreading the Gospel has never changed and neither has God’s use of evangelism to spread that Gospel.

A discernment must be made here between a spiritual gift and natural abilities.  While natural talents are God given, they have nothing to do with a person being a member of the body of Christ.  There is no such thing as a spiritual gift of fixing automobiles, gourmet cooking, painting or playing baseball. However, these natural abilities that we are born with can be used in conjunction with Spiritual gifts.  For example, a person with the spiritual gift of mercy could use that gift in conjunction with their natural ability to work on cars, and help someone by fixing their car. A person who has the natural ability to articulate a thought might combine it with a spiritual gift of discernment or prophecy to preach or teach.  


Another discernment regarding spiritual gifts is that it differs from the “fruit of the Spirit”.  The Fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance {Galatians 5:22,23}) is to build character.  The Gifts of the spirit is to build the kingdom of God.  Fruits are developed as you grow and mature in your faith. Gifts are discovered as you walk by faith and exercise your faith day to day. Spiritual gifts are about what you do for Christ…Spiritual fruits are about who you are in Christ.


The purpose of Spiritual Gifts….


In 1 Corinthians 12:2-6 Paul mentions four purposes of spiritual gifts.  Let us take a look at the verses first, and then use the acronym G.I.F.T to explain them.


1Co 12:2  Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. 

1Co 12:3  Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. 

1Co 12:4  Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 

1Co 12:5  And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 

1Co 12:6  And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 


---  Grace, Spiritual gifts are a sign that God has redeemed you (V.2)

Notice in verse two that Paul reminds them where they came from.  Along with this is the recognition that by “grace are ye saved”.  Receiving a spiritual gift from God is evident that God’s Grace has been poured out upon you.


I  ---  Identification,  Spiritual gifts identify you with Jesus (V.3)

When a child of God uses the gift of the Spirit properly, people will know they are of God.  It is this spiritual Gift that identifies us with Christ.  When the disciples were first called “christians” in Antioch (Acts 11:26), what was it that identified them with Christ?  It was the Gifts of the Spirit working through them.  The gifts of prophecy, the gifts of healing, the gifts of mercy, and so on.  The people of Antioch identified those gifts as being from God. 


F  ---  Function, Spiritual gifts are given to us for service in the body of Christ. (V.4-6)

Notice the words “different, diversities”.  The thought here is that each of us have different functions within the body.  Just as the human eye does not do what the foot does, but it is part of the same body, so the Pastor does not do what the administrator does, but both are working towards the same goal….evangelizing the lost.


T  ---  Teamwork,  Spiritual gifts demonstrate unity in diversity.

Notice the word “same” in verses 4-6.  In spite the diversity in the body of Christ, we are all saved by the same God, sealed by the same spirit, and preach the same message. (V.4-6)


In Ephesians 4:11, Paul list five foundational office gifts given to the church by Jesus Himself.  In that list we find the Evangelist mentioned.  The reason God has given these gifts to the church is for “the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (V. 12).  From these two verses we see that evangelism is a spiritual gift that is given to individuals and to the church.


As an individual we are to share the gospel whenever and wherever we can in whatever godly way we can.  As previously discussed, there are many ways to share the gospel.  This is where combining natural talents with your spiritual gifts may come in handy.


From a “church” perspective, evangelism as a spiritual gift brings about unity and purpose.  A church that does not evangelize is a dead, or soon to be dead church.  The very DNA of the christian, and of the church is “Sharing the Gospel”….evangelizing.  When all of God’s children properly use God’s gifts individually, working in unity with the rest of the local body of believers, the great commission is fulfilled and the body of Christ grows.


In conclusion, Evangelism is a spiritual gift, an office of the church, and a personal responsibility of every single believer.  Those with the gift of evangelism have the ability to boldly share their faith and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to teach and inspire others to do the same.  

 

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