God's Tool Box
In this lesson we will be examining the spiritual gifts for New Testament believers of this church age .
Every handyman has a toolbox in which his tools are stored. Since maintenance repairs are varied, so are his tools. The box usually does not contain just hammers or screwdrivers. It is filled with all kinds of different tools to help fix whatever may be broken. Most likely, there are wrenches, saws, screwdrivers, hammers, sockets, and a host of others. There is much to be maintained. Just as man maintains what he has, or at least should, God also has tasks around his creation that also need attention. He has angels, and other heavenly creatures that do his bidding, but on earth, he often uses man to meet the needs of mankind. To accomplish what the master requires, God gives his workers certain tools to get his job done. No, the tools are not hammers, wrenches, or saws. The tools given to each of his born-
The tools to meet man’s every day needs, both spiritual and physical, have changed as church ages have progressed. Before God had man compile the complete word of God we have today, God handled man’s needs differently. Since the early church did not have his guidelines, he presented man with other gifts; many of them are referred to as sign gifts. They were "signs" that God was with man. The nine spiritual gifts included:
words of wisdom and knowledge, faith, healing, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12: 8-
GOD IS NOT DONE WITH MAN YET
He still has big plans for those who are willing to turn to and heed him. Although God still does miracles, the believer no longer has need of the sign gifts of the early church, because he has God’s written instructions. Instead of "sign gifts" to do the tasks God desires accomplished, he equips the born-
This gift of prophecy is not the same as the early church had. They were able to foretell the future. We no longer need to foretell the future; as God has recorded all he desires us to know about it in his preserved word. That ability to predict the future has stopped (1 Corinthians 13:8).
Prophecy also can mean , as Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines it, "to preach; to instruct in religious doctrines; to interpret or explain scripture or religious subjects …" This is a very important gift still used amongst today’s believers. This gift from God enables certain believers, who have read and studied the word of God, to help other believers by sharing its meaning. These people can shed light on a dark situation in a person’s life, and can tell a troubled person God’s solution to the problem, according to God’s word. One with the gift of prophecy can tell a sinner that there will be consequences for his sinful actions, and be right, because God’s word promises there are "wages" for sin.
Another essential tool needed to support the needs of God’s people is the gift of meeting the needs of and ministering to others. Many times the service to others does not get the spotlight it should, but the body of Christ surely suffers when the possessor of this gift does not exercise it. The gift of ministry has no limits as to what it can encompass. When a need is seen, service can be rendered by feeding those that cannot feed themselves, bringing children to church that cannot get there themselves, pushing someone in a wheelchair, helping a sick person recover, helping the deaf "hear" the Gospel by signing for them, cleaning the church’s restrooms, and on and on. People’s needs are so many.
Just as a student in school needs guidance to understand required subjects, so does the child of God need a teacher that has the gift of teaching the truths of the bible. God has given some the gift to teach the principles, doctrines, and facts found in his word. As the eunuch told Philip when he could not understand the scriptures, "… How can I, except some man should guide me? …" (Acts 8:31).
Let Go And Let God Have His Way
Exhorting is an important tool that God has given certain believers. This gift is used to encourage and comfort fellow-
Anyone can get and take, but with the tool of giving God has for some, they have the desire to give and give. They give of themselves, their time, and often their finances. Most churches physically would not exist, if givers had not provided for their existence. Many are encouraged to serve and live for God, because someone thought them important enough to give of their time and energy to help them.
Too many want to be boss, but God does not give this gift of ruling the local flock of believers to everyone. With this gift, a leader can lead and encourage the work of God to grow and accomplish much. He also has wisdom in the administration of the church and other ministries.
In a very angry world, this special tool can soothe and aid those in hard times. It is with this gift of kindness and understanding that many are given second chances and encouraged to keep on serving and obeying the Lord, no matter what has happened. It is because of this gift that some have been given, that many lives have been changed.
God loves his people, and wants to help us. He also wants us to help ourselves. With the tools he has given all believers, if they are used the way God intends, the body of believers can be strengthened, encouraged and able to accomplish much for the glory of God. Unfortunately, too many have never recognized their gift, or even taken it out of the "box" and used it. The church is weaker than it should be, because too many believers are not utilizing what God has given them. Today, pray and study the gifts found in Romans 12:6-