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DISCERNING GIFTS AND GRACE: A KEY TO UNITY AND CHURCH GROWTH

I like to think about the early church, how on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came on everyone. Waiting for this blessing were unschooled and ordinary people, for that’s what they said about the apostles. I’m amazed that God would trust His whole plan for the church with those who were waiting in the Upper Room.


After the Spirit came, Peter and the Eleven stood up in the midst of the crowd that gathered because of the supernatural stuff going on. Peter explained what was happening by quoting the Prophet Joel. Now many of us put the focus here on the supernatural manifestations. And these manifestations are certainly worthy of notice. But there’s something else going on here which is maybe even more intriguing. The Word says:


“‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Acts 2:17 (NIV)


On all people. God is pouring out His Spirit on all people, not just the chosen few. Now before Jesus came God usually selected just a few people in each generation to be filled with His Spirit. People like His prophets and His judges, who would move in the Spirit from time to time. But on the day of Pentecost, God announced something much larger, something much more generous! Here God says:


Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.


It states as fact that God’s people will prophesy, they will see visions, and they will dream dreams. And that’s not all! The Scriptural testimony is clear: no matter your age, gender or economic status, God has placed the power of the resurrection inside you [Eph.1:19-20].

This supernatural power is for everyone, not just the elite few. It’s notable too that the power of the Holy Spirit this passage is talking about is not merely to regenerate us for entry into heaven. It’s talking about giving us power while we are still on this earth, before we die, so we can be witnesses of Jesus’ love and power [Acts 1:8]!

For years many of us have acted as if there are two classes of Christians – those with a super anointing and then the rest of us. But the Bible clearly states that we have all received an anointing:


But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. 1 John 2:20 NIV

What are we to do with all of these believers walking around with resurrection power? How can we unleash this power to bless others, build up the body of Christ, and make Jesus even more famous?


Well, the first thing we have to do, pastors and non-pastors alike, is to recognize that this is God’s desire for His church. We then have a responsibility to recognize the grace and giftings in ourselves and each other. For example, pastors should ask God to help them recognize what God is doing in their church members, husbands should identify the giftings in their wives and children, and we all should seek to discover and recognize the grace that God has put in us and everyone around us.


When the Apostle Paul presented his ministry to the original apostles they could have been suspicious of him. After all, he had a history of going around killing Christians [Acts 7:58, Acts 9:13]. But instead, they discerned the gifts in him and gave him the right hand of fellowship:

James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. Galatians 2:9 NIV


Not only did they recognize God’s call on his life but they got out of his way and gave him both encouragement and freedom to do what God called him to do.


I want to encourage all of us, and specifically pastors and church leaders, to treat your church members and all under your authority as James, Peter and John treated Paul.


They did not see Paul as either non-useful or as the competition. On the other hand, they realized the touch of God on Paul’s life to reach the Gentiles, and the touch of God on Peter’s life to reach the Jews. In this way, they could remain one in spirit and fellowship because nobody was treading on anybody else’s turf.


It was also God’s way of lightening their load. Some of us are so burdened for the lost that we try to do it all. But if we will look for and find the grace of God in others we will see that they are better at some things than we are, because God has gifted them in that way.


What happens when I’m not seeing you as without purpose or competition? There’s a much better chance of working together in God’s Kingdom for His glory. And that glory was given to us for this very purpose: that we would work together and be one in everything!


I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. John 17:22-23 NIV

We have received the glory, the power, the Spirit and the giftings that Jesus received from the Father. When we recognize that glory and spiritual giftings in others and celebrate them, then the whole world will see our unity and give God the Glory! God bless you as you look for the good He has placed in others.


©2021 Heart of Titus Ministries, Inc.

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