Your Gift is Not Yours

Exploring The Topic Of Spiritual Gifts And Why We Receive Them.

Dan Franklin
Oct 22, 2023    44m
A spiritual gift is something that you get from the Holy Spirit when you become a believer in Jesus. God has given each of us different spiritual gifts, but we're all one body. We are a unified diversity that together can glorify God. Video recorded at Upland, California.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Intro: [00:00:00] Hey there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. And also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Linda Young: [00:00:18] Good morning! My name is Linda Young, and I am involved with the Monday Night Women's Bible Study, it's truly been my privilege to be part of that. This morning we have had an opportunity to worship a holy God, a faithful God, and a good God. How blessed we are. I'm reading this morning from First Corinthians chapter 12, verses 4 through 7, "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good." This is God's word.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:10] Amen. You can grab a seat. So I'm excited about this Sunday, we do this every so often where we kind of in advance keep a Sunday open because we're normally in a part of series that we're going through. And so next week we'll be back digging into the Gospel of Matthew, which we're going to end up being in most of 2023 and a little bit into 2024. We just finished last week our six-week series through the Lord's Prayer, moving through line by line as we look to lean into the area of prayer right now at LBF church, and really look to see what God has for us.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:47] And I did want to pause and say, I hope that we all recognize that just because our series on prayer is over does not mean our emphasis upon prayer is over, because it is not. We really think that God has called us to lean into this area because we're so distracted, we have so much noise in our lives, and prayer is how we experience union with God, and we want to lean into that. So we still, out in the lobby, have our prayer area where you can grab brochures and all kinds of information about digging into your prayer life. We're still, each week, going to have the prayer ministry team up front as we look to as a church family to lean into that.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:29] And I want to give like a mini sermon before the big sermon on this. And just to say, I want to give you an opportunity, maybe to think about prayer and how it relates to Sunday morning specifically. So for most of us, if we showed up on a Sunday and there was no sermon, we might be sort of like, was that even church, like, there was no sermon? Or if we didn't sing at all, we might be sort of like, was that even a church service, no singing and no sermon? I would love for us to begin as members of Life Bible Fellowship Church, to think of Sunday mornings and say, if I went through an entire Sunday morning and never paused and prayed with a brother or sister in Christ during that time, was that even a Sunday morning? I would love it if we did that. Whether it's that we have some opportunities formally with the prayer ministry team, or sometimes when we break into groups, or if it's something where you're just sort of out between services and you initiate it, that you go up to somebody and you say, hey, you know, right now we have this upcoming trip and we're kind of stressed out about it, and we're asking God to work through it, can you guys just pray with us about this? Or, you know, hey, our daughter has this upcoming surgery and we're kind of stressed about it, can you pray for us? Or we just saw this answer to prayer, can you just join with us in praise? And I know some of you right now are thinking like, well, gosh, like, I don't know, that might seem kind of forced. Maybe it's okay to force prayer, like, maybe that's not a problem. Maybe it's not a problem for us to be a little bit overly assertive with saying, let's pray together. So I want to encourage you to think of the opportunity that we have on Sundays, what an amazing thing if we said, you know what, I'm going to have my eyes open, and sort of my Sunday is not done until I've prayed over someone else or I've asked them to pray over me. End of sermon number one.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:19] Now we're going to move into sermon number two. Because what we're going to focus on today is one of the things I get most excited about talking about, and that is the church. And I recognize that some of you are like, sure, you're excited about church, you're the pastor. The church doesn't get everybody that pumped up, and I think maybe part of that is because we misuse the word church, and so we think of it as a building or as a campus. Or maybe when we say the church, we just sort of mean the leadership or the organization of the church. I've been actually trying to get out of bad habits with how I use the word church, and I've tried to be really on top of it with myself, and the last several years, really, I've tried to change the way I talk about the church in two specific ways.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:13] One of them is that I've tried to eradicate from my vocabulary the term, go to church, or going to church. Now, I want to be sensitive because I know some of you are like, we use that phrase this morning. I'm not trying to make you feel bad about it, some of you were like, hurry up, we got to get to church. The way I've tried to replace it, and especially on Saturday nights when we pray as a family about Sunday mornings, is to pray, Father, prepare us as we get ready to gather with our church. The church is the people, we're not going to a place, we are gathering with the people of God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, indwelt and led by the Holy Spirit. We're not going to church; we're gathering with our church.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:01] The second thing that I've really tried to do is that the majority of the time that I even use the word church, I've tried to add to the end of the word church, the word family. Church family because we are brothers and sisters in Christ, and because every time that I say it, it just reminds myself in my own heart, it reminds me of the fact that we belong to each other and that the church is not just an organization that we're a part of, it is a family that we belong to. The church is the blood bought people adopted by God the Father and indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:40] And even here's the other element of it, the church, in a sense, we belong to the church, but the church doesn't belong to us. I know for most pastors this drives them crazy, but sometimes there will be a pastor that gets kind of well known, and so we start referring to the church as their church. Like in Texas, that's Matt Chandler's church. Like over there in Florida, that's H.B. Charles's church. They would both be mortified with the church being referred to that way, the church, every true church in the country and in the world is the Church of Jesus Christ, we belong to him.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:20] And so just think for a moment, and maybe if you came in and you're like, I'm not that excited to talk about the church, maybe you can at least see why I am. I'm excited to talk about the church because this is the people that belongs to Jesus, and we get to be a part of it, and he is spreading his fame and his light to the world through what we do on what feels like very ordinary Sundays. And the other thing about the church that I want to make sure that we get, that we don't always see, is that the church is a unified diversity. This is one of the amazing things that we get to experience, that we are one in Christ, nobody comes to faith in God in sort of a special way, we all come as sinners through the shed blood of Jesus. We all come to pray to the same Father, in the name of the same Son, in the power of the same Spirit. We are one, but we're different; and when those differences are overcome and we're united, that's part of God's showing his glory to the world. And so part of this, in the New Testament, has to do with ethnic diversity and racial diversity that we say that's not going to keep us apart. It's good that we have different ethnicities, but we celebrate when that becomes secondary, and what becomes primary is that we're one in Christ. So we love in any church around the world and in our church, we love when we see some of that ethnic diversity and we get to experience that we're one through that. And then we also have just diversity in all kinds of backgrounds, we've got some of you in here are really blue-collar folks, and some of you in here are much more white-collar folks, and some of you are home-schooled, private schooled, public schooled; we have sort of all sorts of different backgrounds, and that doesn't divide us, that's part of God's beauty that he is saving people from all different backgrounds.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:16] We have a diversity of ages within the church. And so one of the ways that I love when we get to see this put on display is when we do our baptisms. Because frequently in any given baptism Sunday, we'll have some kids, we'll have some of the youngest members of our church. We'll have like a seven-year-old who has a real, genuine, childlike faith in Jesus. And then frequently we have some folks that are a little bit older that are saying, gosh, I kind of feel like I should have been baptized a long time ago, but here I am in my 70s and I'm getting into that water. You know, and some of us, some of us who are older might think, all right, if you're older and you're set in your ways, I'm not sure how much Jesus is for you. Jesus is for you. Jesus came to save us even when we feel like we sort of have lived most of our lives, he still brings redemption. And if you're younger and you feel like, well, I'm young, maybe I'll need Jesus when I'm older, but I'm not sure I need him now, I've kind of got it now. I just want you to know, that you don't got it now, you need Jesus like all the rest of us. And the older people in here would tell you, that the sooner you commit your life to walking with Jesus, the less regrets you're going to deal with down the line. We get to be together in our diversity of age.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:35] And then what we're going to focus on a lot today, is that we get to be unified in our diversity of gifts. You heard it read in the passage that Linda read for us, that we're going to focus on, but we have each been given a gift or a collection of gifts from the Holy Spirit in order to be used for the good of the church. And the big emphasis of First Corinthians 12, where we'll be camped out, is that God has given different gifts, but we're all one body, we are a unified diversity. Does anybody in here have a part of your body not working right now as well as you would like for it to be working? You know that that's miserable when you're dealing with that. The same is true of the body of Christ, we want the whole body functioning as a unit.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:29] And so here's what we're going to do, we're going to go through those four verses that Linda read earlier. If you're looking to follow along in your Bible, First Corinthians chapter 12, verses 4 through 7. And here's how it's going to break down, we're going to spend some time in those first three verses and verses 4, 5, and 6, and we're really going to focus in on this idea that's up here on the screen, that as the church, we are a unified diversity. And we're going to see that come through in verses 4 through 6. And then we're going to really camp out in verse 7, and in verse 7 we're going to get to see Paul guide us on how we respond to the unified diversity that we are as the church.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:10] So let's start in verses 4 through 6. In verses 4 through 6, we get the idea that the church is a unified diversity. And the clicker isn't moving things forward, there we go. We've got verses 4, 5, and 6 up here, and I'll read them in a moment, but just have your eyes open for the parallelism that Paul uses in these verses. Because he says, "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work." So do you pick up on the parallelism, different kinds, but the same, you've got sort of diversity but unity.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:59] So let me just highlight the first part of this, different kinds, different kinds of gifts. What Paul is talking about here is what we typically call spiritual gifts. And a spiritual gift, it's not the same as a natural talent that you're born with, even though there tends to be sort of some carryover, there tends to be something where the gifts that we're born with, or the talents that we're born with, end up carrying over into the way that God uses that in the church. But a spiritual gift is something that you get when you get the Holy Spirit when you become a believer in Jesus, and it's a gift that God gives you in order to benefit the church family.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:40] So he says there are different kinds of gifts, and then he says there are different kinds of service. And the progression here might be sort of like, well, you have a certain gift or a certain set of gifts that God has given you, and so because of that, you serve the church in a specific way. Maybe it's through a formal position where you have a title, and you have a name tag. Maybe it's not, maybe it's that you're using the gift and you're serving in some informally recognized way, but you're still serving in that way. So different kinds of gifts, different kinds of service, and finally, different kinds of work, and the idea here seems to be that because we use different gifts in different areas of service, there are different outworking and effects of the gifts that we use.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:28] So let me just do a test case with this, with how this works out. So say, we're going to see in a little while, we're going to see a list of spiritual gifts up on the screen. But let's say, you've determined that you have one of the gifts named in the New Testament, the gift of helps. And the gift of helps is this amazing spiritual gift where you're usually doing things behind the scenes that could get missed if other people didn't notice them, but you notice them. So let's say you look at this and you're like, I see the list of gifts, I think I have the gift of helps. And so because you have the spiritual gift of helps, you're looking for a specific way to use that gift to serve within the church family, and you discover that we have a ministry called New Commandment Ministry. And New Commandment Ministry is really about helping out some of the people in our church and in our community who need some extra help, often widows or single moms, and it's a group of people that go around and do practical things that end up helping them and really help them to feel seen when they might largely feel like they go unseen.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:38] So I got the gift of helps, and I'm going to be serving in that with New Commandment Ministry, and then you get to experience the effects, the outworking’s of that. And maybe the outworking’s of that, is that there's a widow who really feels sort of unnoticed, largely in her life, but she recognizes that she has the full attention of some brothers and sisters in Christ who are helping her, and that gives her just the faith to be able to believe that maybe God is paying that kind of attention to her also, and it draws her nearer to him. Different gifts, different services, and different outworking’s of those gifts. And I'm not going to spend time going through all the different gifts. But in the rest of First Corinthians 12, and in some other passages, Paul lists off a whole bunch of gifts, and you can see them up here on the screen. First Corinthians 12, you can see is the largest section where he goes most into this. In Romans 12, he names a bunch. In Ephesians 4, there's debate about, are the things named their spiritual gifts or more sort of positions and leadership offices held by the church, but it still is often included in there.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:55] First Peter 4, I love First Peter 4, and here's why. Is anybody in here like me, and you really like it when things are simplified? I love simplicity. Judge what you will about me by the fact that I love simplicity, but I love simplicity. And so I imagine, I don't know if Peter actually thought this, but I imagine Peter saying, hey, anybody out there a little bit overwhelmed by all of these different, you know, ministration, gift of tongues, you know, service, helps, mercy, teaching, encouragement, anybody a little bit overwhelmed by that and would say, gosh, I don't know how to find myself in that many gifts. Peter says, let me make it nice and simple, there are speaking gifts and there are serving gifts. Some of you have spiritual gifts and the main way you're going to use them is through being up front and using your words in order to benefit others in the church family. And some of you, the main way, you are going to talk still, but the main way that you are going to benefit the Body of Christ is through doing things behind the scenes that largely go unnoticed.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:05] And I don't have time to get way into this, but if you read through the rest of First Corinthians 12 today, here's what you're going to see Paul say, I'll paraphrase it for him. He says the parts of the body that are up front are the ones that we're tempted to think are the most important parts, but he says, in the human body, the most important parts are not on the surface, they're under the surface. It would be a bummer to lose a finger or a toe, but it would be much worse to lose your large intestine. The unseen parts of the body. and I'll say, even with our church staff, we totally see this, if I'm gone for a week, everybody's like, we'll see you when you get back, everything's fine. But if we lose some of our admin people or some of our technical people for a week, we kind of scramble. We're like, how are we going to do this? And what they do largely is unseen until it's not done, and suddenly we recognize how much is going on. So for the rest of this message, I just invite you, if you feel sort of stuck, if you're like I've heard these lists before, and I've never been able to quite find myself, I'm confused by this. Maybe you just say, all right, I'm going to try to start with the idea of do I think God has given me primarily a speaking gift or a serving gift?

Dan Franklin: [00:19:30] But the other thing just to notice, as you look at the list of gifts up here, is once again, Paul is saying there's a whole bunch. I mean, this is great, he's not even trying to name them all. There's a whole bunch of gifts that God has given his church so that all can be unified in the diversity of those gifts. Now, some of you will have noticed that as we go back to verses 4, 5, and 6, there was a different level of diversity also mentioned there at the end of each verse. Different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. Different kinds of service, but the same Lord. And almost always in the New Testament, when the word Lord is used, it's referring to the Lord Jesus, the Son of God. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them, and in every one of them, it is the same God at work. And most of the time in the New Testament, when just the generic word God is used, it's referring to the Father. So do you see what we've got here? We've got the Holy Spirit in verse 4, we've got the Lord Jesus Christ in verse, and we have God the Father, in verse 6. We have God Himself, the ultimate unified diversity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:56] Now, if you walked into this sermon a little bit confused about the Trinity, I want you to know you're going to walk out of this sermon still confused about the Trinity. Like we are never going to not be confused over this amazing reality about God, that he is one God, but that he is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and that they're not each other, but they are one, and that they're three, it's this amazing reality. But part of the beauty behind all this is that even God himself exemplifies this idea of a unified diversity. And there are other passages that bring this out, there are a whole bunch, but I'm just going to share a few that give us a glimpse of this Trinitarian beauty.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:40] So the last verse of the Book of Second Corinthians, Second Corinthians 13, verse 14 says, "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all part of the blessing that Paul gives us. Peter talks about this too, First Peter chapter 1, verses 1 and 2, he is speaking of God's elect, that's us, God's people. He says, "God's elect, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father..." The Father is the one setting the plan in motion, "...through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit." Because the Holy Spirit is the one who makes us new, " be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood." Jesus, our Savior, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all a part of our work of growth. And one more, because this one relates to prayer. And this is a passage where Paul is talking about Jews and Gentiles, both brought into the family of God. So he says, "For through him..." And that's Jesus, he's referring back to Him, he was just talking about Jesus, "Through Jesus, we both have access to the Father through one Spirit." Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, once again, all in the context of prayer. We get to see God Himself, and we get to recognize that God Himself exemplifies unified diversity.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:20] And here's how part of this works out, you have the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit doing the same thing, but slightly different elements of the same thing. And here's what you never see, you never see one jealous of the other, you never see any jockeying for position, you never see any resentment where one is given more of a highlight. In fact, there have been times at our church when people have come to me and said, I know we talk and sing about Jesus a lot, but shouldn't we talk more about the Holy Spirit? And I've always said there's some, there's definitely some validity to that, and we do try to talk a lot about the Holy Spirit. But if you read the New Testament, here's what the Holy Spirit's ultimate desire is, the Holy Spirit's ultimate desire is that our entire focus would be on Jesus. And so if we are focused on Jesus, the Holy Spirit isn't sitting back in the corner being like, hey, what about me? Why aren't you guys talking about me? He's saying, this is who I'm putting the spotlight on, if we're focused on Jesus, the Holy Spirit is rejoicing. So how amazing would it be for us as a church family if nobody's jockeying for position, nobody's trying to make sure they're the one who's noticed, but if everyone is saying, I just want to see God glorified and people drawn to him, and I'm willing to use my gift to make that happen. As the church, we get to experience the unified diversity as we all bring our gifts.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:03] And now we're going to spend some time on verse 7, and I just want us to be able to dig into the question, well, what do we do to respond to that reality? Verse 7, this is my favorite verse in the passage and may be my favorite verse in the whole book of First Corinthians. I love this verse, "Now to each one..." Now the each one is each Christian, each believer. "To each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given." And by manifestation of the Spirit, he just means the Spirit has shown up through bringing a spiritual gift. "To each Christian, the manifestation of the Spirit is given for..." What? "For the common good." And here's what that means, that means that your gift doesn't belong to you, your gift is common property. Your spiritual gift wasn't given in order to highlight you, your spiritual gift was given for the common good of the Body of Christ.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:11] I mean, in Acts 2, and in Acts 4, there are two passages where this happens. There's something amazing that happens with the early church, where people are coming to faith in Jesus, and they're becoming a part of the family of God. And what a bunch of people do is they go out and they sell all their possessions, and then they bring the money to the apostles and just sort of set it in the middle. And they say anybody who needs it can go ahead and take it, what I have is now common property. In fact, the passage says, they held all things in common, they considered all their possessions common property. It doesn't say that every single church did this, but in the early church, this happened. Now, some of you right now are like, uh oh, what's about to happen? What's Dan about to say? Peter makes clear in Acts chapter 5, this was purely optional, this was not required or necessarily expected. So this isn't what we're calling for today. But there's something significant about that idea of common property, and we don't experience a lot of that today in our culture, we don't experience a lot of that whole kind of what's mine is yours. But I was thinking about it, and there is one American holiday that we celebrate where I think we really do get a taste of this. We really do get to experience the idea of common property, and what's mine is yours, and that holiday is Super Bowl Sunday. On Super Bowl Sunday, even if you're not a football fan, you usually go to a Super Bowl party and some of us are there actually trying to watch the game, and some of you are there just to watch the commercials. And even more important than the commercials, you're there to do one very important thing, you're there to eat. And what typically happens at a Super Bowl party is everybody brings their gift to the feast, everybody brings something. And usually, you bring the thing that you're best at making to the feast, the sort of the thing that you're known for. Like you're just like, oh, they make the best guacamole ever, and they're going to make it and bring it all in. And she makes these amazing mozzarella sticks and brings them every year. You can tell my favorites by the examples I'm giving just in case you're wondering. Somebody else is making a great batch of cookies. Somebody else is making their special meatballs. Whatever it is, everybody is bringing their best dish to the group, and the person who made the mozzarella sticks doesn't look over if others are grabbing them and say, hey, that's mine, it was your gift to bring to make the feast great. In fact, you celebrate if you go home empty-handed and your mozzarella sticks were all eaten up because that means more people benefited from what you brought.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:16] What if we began to recognize that our spiritual gifts are common property? What if we began to look at the church as where the feast is happening, and we all said, I am bringing my best to make this the greatest feast ever? Now the church is much more than what just happens on Sunday mornings, but let's just even just talk about Sunday mornings for a minute because Sunday mornings are really important. We gather on Sundays because the Lord Jesus was raised on a Sunday, so we celebrate, basically every Sunday is Easter for us, because we're celebrating the resurrection. So it makes sense that Sunday is a big deal. So let's say before we thought about all of the midweek things that we did, we just thought about Sunday. And what if each member of this church family said, when I'm approaching Sunday, the question that I'm asking is, how can I bring the greatest contribution that I have to the feast? How can I bring my gift of teaching, my gift of administration, my gift of encouragement, my gift of helps, my gift of mercy? How can I bring my gift so that when we gather on Sundays, it feels like a feast? You know, those of us who are up front, we do things like that because we long for that to happen. Those of us who preach the Word, we want you to feel fed by God's Word. And those who lead in worship, want your soul to feel fed by the time in worship. But each one of us has a gift to bring. And what if on Sundays more and more we showed up and we said, I don't want to miss a Sunday, I'd be missing a feast of everybody bringing their gift to the table and all of us benefiting from it. What if we all started to view our gifts as common property?

Dan Franklin: [00:31:18] Some of you will remember the Valvo family, who used to be a big part of our church here until they moved out of state. But if you remember the Valvo family, you'll definitely remember Tanya Valvo, who's just an awesome, awesome lady. And Tanya, she was a part of a team of people that was kind of similar to our Next Steps area now. Where on Sundays, she would frequently be at a table, and if people had questions or needed to know where things were, they would come up and she would direct them and show them where to get to things. And Tanya was a part of a leadership program that we did, and as part of the leadership program, she shared something with all of us and she said, you know, when I'm there at the table on Sundays, I feel bad because I notice the people who are out and about and there are people who clearly kind of look lost and they're probably new, they don't know where things are. And then there are other people who just, they look sad, and they look hurting, and they probably need somebody to reach out to them. By the way, some of you always notice that some of you, you just look around the room and you can tell right away like, hey, she's hurting, he's hurting, and they need a touch right now. Just so you know, most of us don't notice that. If you notice that, that's an amazing contribution. But here's what Tanya said, and I love this. She said, what I frequently do is I sit there at the table, and I look around, and I wish that I could find a pastor so that I could send them over to go and talk to that person who's hurting. And suddenly Tanya said, I don't need to wait for a pastor, I don't need to find an elder, I don't need somebody with a name tag, and she just started abandoning her post and going and finding those people and ministering to them and praying with them, and she had a profound impact because she was fully bringing her gift to the feast. What if just on Sundays we did that? Let alone what if we did that beyond Sundays?

Dan Franklin: [00:33:23] I know there's a bunch of you in here from Exit83. What if you went on Wednesday nights and weren't just going and saying, I can't wait to hear what Jeff is going to teach us, but if you went on Wednesday night saying whether I have a nametag or not, I have a gift to bring to the feast. What if some of you who are in Kids and Life Kids and some of you are going to go to Life Kids next service didn't just say, I can't wait to hear what the lesson is, but said, I actually have a gift and I'm going to look to see how I can bring my gift to the feast. What if we looked at our midweek ministries, and what if we looked at life groups and looked at the different organizations that we partner with Upland Community Resource Center, Assure Pregnancy Clinic, and the different community organizations and said, I am going to bring my gifts to the feast, wherever that may be.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:11] In fact, I actually want to pause right now and do something. Some of you know that our final Go Team of the year just left today for Kentucky to do disaster relief after a hurricane that took place two years ago, where they are still rebuilding there. Tim Longo is leading that team, and they are headed over there right now. So, you know, let's just pause what we're doing right now, and let's pray for our final go team and for their impact. Father, thank you that we have a set of people looking to bring their gifts to those who are still hurting and rebuilding in Kentucky. Father, bring your blessing to people through that team, impact others, bring relief and help and hope. And Father, beyond the physical relief that they bring, bring gospel opportunities where the name of Jesus can be lifted up and praised. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen. What if we all were bringing our gifts to the table, wherever it might be?

Dan Franklin: [00:35:18] You know, Jesus told a parable in Matthew 25, and it's funny because it's frequently called The Parable of the Talents. We think of talent as a skill, but the talent was a unit of money, but it actually really works as a parable for thinking about our gifts and our talents. And if you know the parable, what happens is that there's an owner of an area and he gives it to his servants, he entrusts them with some different talents, with some items of money. He gives one of them five, and one of them two, and one of them one. And he says, hey, use these to the best of your ability while I'm gone. And when he returns, the guy that he had given five to says, hey, I put your money to work, and I had five, and I got five more. And he says, way to go, well done, good and faithful servant. And the guy that had two said, hey, I put yours to work, and I have two more. I started with two, and now I have four, and he says, great job, well done, good and faithful servant. And the last one says, well, I was afraid of you. So I took the talent, I buried it in the ground, I got it back out and here it is, just as you gave it to me. Things do not go well for that servant, that's not why he entrusted him with the talent. And how sad if some of us left our spiritual gifts buried in the ground and are just waiting for Jesus to come back so we can say, oh, I've got to right over here. We are meant to bring our gifts to the feast, and what a feast it could be if we all were.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:49] So here's what I want to do. I want to talk for a minute about what's next, about the next steps in this. And it's going to be different for different ones of us. In fact, I'll put three things up on the screen because I think different ones of us are at different places. So here's what I want to say, sometimes when we do a message like this, we have like a ministry fair outside or a handout that says all the different ministries. We don't have that here, but I still want to guide you towards what might be next.

Dan Franklin: [00:37:17] And so the first element is this, if you know then act. And here's what I mean, some of you, even when I started this sermon, some of you were like, God's already made it clear where I'm supposed to be serving. Like, I know, and I just haven't done it yet, maybe I started to move toward Life Kids, but then there were some hoops to jump through and I kind of got distracted. Or I felt led to Exit83, but I haven't met Jeff, so I kind of never quite got going in that. Or I felt a calling to be part of the usher team, but I didn't know what to do. If you know, then act. Talk to that person, talk to whoever it is who is in charge of that ministry God has called you to. If you're confused about who it is, go to Next Steps, and ask them and they'll be able to tell you exactly who it is. But some of you right here, you don't even need specific guidance, you just need obedience. If you know, then take that next step and act.

Dan Franklin: [00:38:15] And if you don't know, then ask. Some of you saw that list of spiritual gifts up there and you were like, I have no idea. I have no clue what my gift is. I'm not sure what to do with this. If you have a willing heart and you're willing to dig in and try to figure out how God is leading you to contribute to the feast, then ask. Ask any one of us on staff, ask somebody at Next Steps. Ask anybody outside with a name tag, they will help you get to that next step. If you feel like I just don't know what to do, then don't stay waiting for something to happen. If you know, then act. If you don't know, then ask.

Dan Franklin: [00:38:57] And finally, if you're not sure, then experiment. Has anybody ever heard of paralysis by analysis? Some of you are like until I know my precise gift, and until I know the exact spot where I'm supposed to use it, I'm not moving. It is time to start experimenting, it's time to say, I don't know, but I'm going to try this ministry over here; and if it doesn't work out, that's going to be okay. This would be a little bit like if you were heading to the Super Bowl party and you were like, I don't know, like I don't know what food I'm good at making, maybe it's guacamole. Like, I'm going to make some and I'm going to bring it, and then if the people are like, nope. Like, we appreciate the effort, you are not good at guacamole, so next year, try something different. And you can shrug it off and not be offended and say, okay, it's not guacamole, next year I'm going to try this, next year I'm going to try a chicken dish, I'm going to keep trying and I'm going to find my spot. Most of us can at least narrow it down to the speaking or serving areas. But if you don't know, then experiment. And here's what you're going to find if you sort of get it wrong, it's not going to be a tragedy, it's not going to be a train wreck. It's going to be a stop along the way of you getting to your contribution. And at the very least, if you try something and you're like, nah, it's not that, you can cross that off the list by order of elimination. If you're not sure, then experiment. And even if you're not in the ideal spot, God is still going to work through you. And not only that, do you think if you're genuinely coming to God with an open heart, saying, I am ready to bring my gift to the feast that he's going to hold out on you, and that he's going to say, I'm never going to show you. He's not going to do that; he will guide you toward the spot. If you know, then act, If you don't know, then ask. If you're not sure, then experiment.

Dan Franklin: [00:41:05] And so here's what I want to do. I want to invite our prayer ministry team to come up front to each side of the stage, as we've been doing, and as we continue to do. And by the way, this is another area in our church of men and women exercising their spiritual gift and bringing it to the feast. The folks that you're going to see up here, they want Sunday mornings to be a banquet where you get to experience a brother or a sister lifting up your burdens in prayer. So let me say this, for some of you, the reason why you're not bringing your gifts to the feast right now, it's actually, it's not practical, it's spiritual. Some of you are like, I did this before, and I got burned and I got hurt and I am never doing it again. Some of you are like, I am so filled with anxiety that I would do the wrong thing, I just can't do it. Some of you are filled with anxiety, or you're filled with bitterness, and you're just not willing to take that next step. It's a spiritual issue, and so for some of you, you need to come up and you need to pray through that spiritual issue.

Dan Franklin: [00:41:05] But let me also say this, the thing you might need to bring to the Lord today might have very little to do with what I've even talked about today. You may just have a burden, you may just have a praise, you might have something coming up and the folks who are up front want to be part of you experiencing the feast of God removing your burdens and carrying those with you. So let's respond to this by drawing near, in praise and in prayer and in request, in response to what God has called us to do.

Dan Franklin: [00:42:48] But let me ask you to stand and let me pray over us as we look to walk forward in obedience to this. Father, thank you that in your mercy and grace, you have given each of us the manifestation of the Spirit. We haven't earned that, and we don't deserve it, but you are so gracious. Thank you for the things that you could very well do on your own, but you choose to do through us. Father, give us the vision and the joy of bringing our gifts to the feast. And Father, may our gathered times be true feasts for those who are hungry and those who are in need. Father, work us through our indecision, work us through our anxiety, work us through our bitterness, work us through our uncertainty, and give us a willingness to bring our gifts to the table and to see you do profound and beautiful things through that. I pray this in the great name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:44:00] Once again, the Prayer Ministry Team is up here for all of you. Let's go forward in the name of Jesus. God bless you the rest of this Sunday.

Recorded in Upland, California.
Read More
Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848