Gifts According to the Grace Given
Brian Kocourek, Pastor
Letís remain standing as we open our bibles to:
†ROMANS 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
Letís bow our heads and hearts in prayer.
Dear Father, we acknowledge you as both our God and as our heavenly Father, as we come to you this morning for help in understanding Your Word, for we know it is you Who has come down in this hour with a Shout, and we do recognize that You have given to us a Message that is changing us in our inner man and we know that this change in our inner man is preparing the way for the change of our bodies which we so long for. Knowing that you have all things under control, and you know all things, even the end from the beginning, we now ask your intercession on our behalf we have a desire to better understand this scripture we are reading from. Therefore, as you spoke to us through your Apostle Paul when you said, ďIf we be any otherwise minded, you would reveal it to usĒ. Therefore, we ask for revelation concerning this portion of your word. And we know that if it is to be revealed, then that means it will also come alive in us, and this we ask in the name of your firstborn son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
You may be seatedÖ
Now we have just read from verse four and five where the Apostle Paul is addressing us collaboratively as one body in Christ. Yet he is telling us that although we are One in Christ, and indeed one body of believers in Christ, yet we are all different and thus we have all been given different things to do, or different gifts from the one True God Who also is our Father.
You might think in your mind, how is it that God says he is no respecter of persons and will treat us all the same, and we know that we must all have The same Faith, and yet here we see that he gives us all different gifts according to the grace that is given to us. What does this mean?
Now, notice that Paul tells us that although we are one in Christ and of One Body,† the body of Christ, yet he tells us that we have callings or offices that are different. Now first of all the word he used here for the word office is a Greek word, PRAXIS which sounds like the English word practice and that is what it means. We speak of a doctor having an office or a practice. We speak of any form of ministry as having an office. In many countries the government titles are the ministry of defense, and the ministry of education, and the ministry of taxation, etc. We call those ministries offices which is short for officials. And thus the same can be said for the body of Christ.
Paul says we are all one in Christ although we have many differing offices or practices. Now, what does our English equivalent practice mean?
The word practice is used of in referring to one who has a certain gift and then exercises that gift. For example, a lawyer has a practice. In that practice he exercises his knowledge of law. A doctor has a practice, and in his practice he is expected to exercise his knowledge of medicine. So we see the word praxis or practice speaks of an exercising of a gift, or special endowment.†
Therefore when Paul speaks to us in Verse 6 he begins to list a few of the different sort of Gifts or endowments that have been given to the body of Christ, and he says basically to all, ďIf you have this gift then use it.
Letís readÖverse 6Ö †Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to usÖ Now what is a gift but something that has been given to you. This does not mean then that the one that has it is any better than the one who doesnít. It simply means that you have been given one thing while others have been given something different. †The Apostle Paul then goes on to list several of these gifts.
He starts by saying, whether prophecy (Now, the Greek word Propheteia means: A Discourse emanating from Divine Inspiration. The way you do so does not matter. Sometimes the inspiration comes in the guise of reproving the wicked, and sometimes it comes in a way of comforting the afflicted, and sometimes it comes forth in a way of revealing things that are hidden or even foretelling future events. As Brother Branham said, a prophet is a forth teller and a teller forth of the word. And he said in the English usage of the word it is simply a preacher. So the word prophet or prophesying does not always mean to tell the future. That is only one of four different ways in which the same Divine inspiration of God can channel its way through man to man.
II TIMOTHY 4:1 ∂† I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season (That means to be ready at any given time.)† As we see this also in I PETER 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:), out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
So we see Paul say to him that has been given the gift to preach,† let us prophesy (which simply means ďlet us preachĒ. In other words if God has called you to preach then preach.) or as Paul says,
I CORINTHIANS For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! 17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation [of the gospel] is committed unto me. 18 What is my reward then? [Verily] that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. 19 ∂† For though I be free from all [men], yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
And knowing that
Paul had taken every statement he made from the Old Testament, we find also in ††the
book of EZEKIEL
34:2 the following description of what a pastor is supposed to do. †Son of man, prophesy (Proclaim forth these words by Divine
against the shepherds of
In other words, if you are called to shepherd, then woe unto you if you preach not the Gospel.
Now notice how Paul qualifies this. He says, whether prophecy let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith. Now this word proportion simply means the amount. Therefore he is simply saying to him that has been gifted to preach, let him preach, but let him do so according to the Amount of Revelation that he has. In other words, if you are not a teacher, then donít try to be one. If you are not a prophet then donít try to be one.
Brother Branham gave an illustration of what it is like to have the visions working in his ministry. He said its kind of like when you were a boy and wanted to see the circus and couldnít afford to get in, so you and your friends went over to the fence and because you were the tallest you could pull yourself up to a certain place on that fence, and look through the peep hole and then your friends would say, what do you see, and you would look and strain and then say, I see a giraffe.
Now, you might have had some friends that were with you that might even have been stronger than you, but because they were shorter, they couldnít jump high enough to reach the top of the fence to hold on, so they would have you do it just because you could. And so you would pull yourself up and hold on and look through that hole in the fence and they would say what does it look like, and so you would begin to describe it to them. But the longer you were holding yourself up there the more tired you become, and so you would have to come down (like coming down from the vision) and then when you came down you would tell it to them, every detail you could think of. Now, it is much easier to tell it if you are planted on your own two feet or you are sitting around and talking about it, but then you are depending on your memory. But if you can hold on up there, and keep looking while you are talking, then it becomes more clear to those who are down below. And so when you come down and then tell it,. You are depending upon your memory, and so after awhile the details become a little unclear, and so they would say, go back up there again and tell us what else you can see. And so you would jump up again and take hold of the top of that fence and lift yourself up to peep through again and then they would say, what do you see now, and you would say, I see a camel or I see an elephant, and then they ask you what they look like, and you begin to tell them, but your arms are getting so tired and so you come back down to earth and then tell them what you saw. And that is how the people pull on that gift. They desire to see what you alone can see, and so you tell them.
And that is the way it was with brother Branham. He could pull himself up to that peep hole and look beyond the curtain of time and then he would come back and describe to us what he saw, and then the teacher would teach that, and because of the gift that he has, he can conceptualize it in such a way that he can take it back to the scriptures, and place it very deep in there until you get a good Bible foundation of what brother Branham saw through that peep hole. And then the and the preacher, he gets a hold of it, and he preaches it like a wind over a grass fire, and the evangelist, he gets a glimpse of it, and he sets the country side on fire with it, and the Apostle, he studies it word by word, and he has a gift to break it down. He can plumb the depth with the teacher, but his ministry is to take that and break it down to where peoples everywhere can understand it. His gift is simplification. He uses a simple straight forward approach that does not use subterfuge, but is basic and simple, and this is necessary in order for the revelation to cross language barriers. That way, even those who do not understand the language can grasp it, because it has been made very clear and recognizable, and made it easy to understand. And then he can take that to other countries and to other peoples. In this way, all the five fold ministry will take what the prophet saw, and then use the gifts that they have been given, and exercise them, or put them into practice in order to get the same message to as many people as they are being pulled on from.
I go to some places around the world and the brothers are really pulling, and it becomes very exhausting because they are operating that gift. And they just keep pulling and pulling and pulling until you just have to somehow end the service. I remember in Manila, we met in the late after noon, and met for 5 hours and then many of the brothers wanted to talk more, and so we went up to my hotel room, and met for another 3-1/2 hours until I was finally so exhausted that I had to go to bed.† Other places, I go and they are not pulling as much and I can meet and we can talk and I really donít even get tired. Thatís me operating the gift.
FAITH ONCE DELIVERED TO THE SAINTS †55-0501 †E-64† Then God went up and give gifts to men. Now, what does gifts do? Some of them are first apostles, after that prophets, teacher, evangelist, is that right? All gifts put in the church, it was in the early church at the beginning. Now, it's been dark two thousand years, it's coming out over here in the last age, in the western country, alpha, omega.
God said He set in the church all five. I know a lot of people will say there are pastors, and evangelists and teachers, and then deny God still has prophets and apostles, but God has set in the church and if God set them in the church they are still there as long as he is the same yesterday, today and forever.
TESTED FAITH PRODUCES GOODS 58-0518 How many believes that gifts and callings are without repentance? The Bible said there's five gifts in the church. God has set in the church Apostles, or missionaries, apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelists, pastors. Truly. If there's apostle, there's a prophet. If there's a prophet, there's a teacher. If there's a teacher, there's a pastor or a evangelist. See. You can't just say there's a pastor and evangelist, no prophet or apostle. God still sets... As long as He's got His church, He's still got His church setting. Certainly.
PERSEVERANCE 62-0218 †244 †††Now, if you couldn't take my word, you'd just have to go, or I couldn't take your word, it'd have to go. But God's not that way. He sends gifts into the church, apostles. What is an apostle? A missionary. A missionary, is a word "missionary" means "one that's sent." An "apostle' means "one that's sent." A prophet, that's "a seer." A pastor, a teacher, evangelist, all those things, they rightly divide the Word of God, bring It down, and then the gifts of the Spirit to work in the church, to confirm the Word, to show that Jesus Christ lives in the church...
You see, that is what it is all about. Like my illustration of the prophet climbing up the fence and looking beyond the curtain of time. He sees by vision and then uses words to declare what he saw. Then the other gifts in the church must take those words, and retell them using the very gifts they have to retell what has been told.† And what does that do? It shows you by that declaration that Jesus Christ is in our midst, and He is still alive after 2000 years. Thatís what all these gifts are to do, by showing you the day and hour of His visitation, it makes that visitation more real to you, just like when the boy looks through that hole and by words he tells you what is there. It just makes it more real to you. You can close you eyes and hear the description and actually see it with the eyes of your heart because the word enlighten the eyes of your heart, as Paul said, in Ephesians chapter 1.
EPHESIANS The eyes of your understanding (thatís your heart) being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
DEUTERONOMY ∂† Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
MATTHEW 13:15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
GIFTS 56-1207 †E-28††† Now, we have the Spirit by these gifts, by portions. But Christ had It without measure. We have It by measure. To one is given knowledge, to another one is given wisdom. There are in the church five offices: Apostles or missionaries, either one, both the same thing, word means "one sent." And apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelists, and pastors, God sets them in the church. But because one would be an apostle, the prophet couldn't say, "You're not in it." Or the pastor to the evangelist or so forth. But they're all little lines of God that's put into the church for the perfecting of the saints. And in every local body is nine spiritual gifts, in I Corinthians 12, nine spiritual gifts in--in each body. They operate separately, but of the same-self Spirit. Now... But in Christ was the fullness. Now, if you see a man here prophesying, and another a pastor, one evangelist and another a teacher. Now, you can't say you're not in it, because it's just one of them rays off of God. It all points right back to God, that big master diamond. Don't forget that.
You see, it doesnít point back to self, it all must point back to God from whence cometh the Light to begin with. And remember, the greatest gift is to get yourself out of the ay. Then if you are able to get yourself out of the ay, it would never boast, nor would it ever point to self, but it would surely point to whence the light comes from, and that is God.
INFALLIBLE PROOF OF RESURRECTION† 57-0114 ††E-101† It's yielding yourself to the Holy Spirit, and He anoints. Just like any minister comes to the platform, he's got his subject on his mind, he yields himself to the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit preaches through him. That's a pastor, or teacher, or evangelist. An apostle operates in the same way.
HEAR YE HIM 57-0125 ††E-28††† But Jesus was transfigured before them, God placing His Son. And He robed Him with a garment that glistened like the sun shining in its strength. And a voice from heaven said, "This is My beloved Son; hear ye Him. Moses is gone. The law is gone. But this is My Son; hear ye Him." That ought to tell you. God placing His own Son... So the law has finished. And all of the Old Testament has been lived. And there's none left but Christ. And God's someday, if the people who are born again of the Spirit of God, and the Tutor brings message to Father one day it's called to the side, and visited by God, and positionally placed into the body of Christ as a teacher, prophet, evangelist, teacher, pastor, whatever you have been obedient since he's been born, God places that person. You see it? E-29 Now, then if the authority comes from God, then his message comes from God. Now, we have a lot of impersonations, but God backs up His message. When God does it, God proves it. God stands by it. The father stood by his son in the Old Testament. The Father stands by his Son in heaven. "Whatever He says, I'll do it." See? It's what? Hear ye Him.
Now, notice then in closing, in Romans 12 and verse 7 Or ministry, [let us wait] on [our] ministering: (now, the words, let us wait are not in the original text. I have checked over 26 Bibles, and basically what this is saying is that if you have been given a gift to minister, which means to serve, then serve.) or he that teacheth, on teaching (And if you have been given a gift to teach then teach); 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation(and if God has given you a gift of public speaking, then use it.): he that giveth, [let him do it] with simplicity (and this simply means that if God has given you the means to give, then donít hold back, but do it with simplicity, in the measure you have received, give back in that measure.); he that ruleth, with diligence (he that has been placed in a position or office of leadership, then be diligent about your duties, and not a slaggard.); he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.. And this last one I believe does not even need an interpretation. Be cheerful about showing mercy, for God loveth a cheerful giver.
Let us pray.