THE COST OF NEGLECTING WHAT GOD HAS GIVEN
By Rodney W. Francis.
The need for us to know the Bible and follow its teaching has never been more urgent than today. So many professing Christians do not know what is in the Bible and simply rely on what the preacher tells them on Sundays.
If we look more closely into the Scriptures and understand the necessity of living according to the New Covenant revelation (rather than trying to keep the Old Covenant law), the more we see that God has given to His people (the Church) all that is necessary for us to fulfil our purpose and destiny here on the earth. When Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” Jesus’ answer was: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:1-4 ). Notice the devil is always trying to sow doubt into people’s hearts so they will not discover the power of positively believing what God has said, and says to us today. Jesus’ answer to the devil’s words of doubt was to declare what God has said. Jesus did not say, “You shall live by some words from the mouth of God, but every word”.
Whatever God says to us today will always be confirmed by the principles of the Scriptures (the Bible).
We need to know the whole principle and truth of Scripture so we can build our lives on a firm and strong foundation. That way we shall never fall.
In today’s world of Christianity, so much of what has been declared has been forgotten, or over-looked; or not believed to be important enough to take to heart. One bad example of this is the teaching that the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the Spiritual Gifts all passed away with the Early Church. That teaching has robbed multitudes of Christians of a greater ministry with God in the power of the Holy Spirit. Another of the classic examples of this is the neglect of the Spiritual Gifts (1 Corinthians 12 to 14) and the Five-fold Ministries (Ephesians 4:11-16 ). With regards the operation of Spiritual Gifts, the Bible very clearly tells us to not be ignorant of them (1 Corinthians 12:1 ). It has been my privilege to travel to many nations and preach around the world. I have observed that very few churches make room for the Spiritual Gifts to function. They are ignorant of the importance of what Spiritual Gifts in operation achieve. Through the Spiritual Gifts we see things happening that we see happen no other way. If we honestly and sincerely look at those nine Spiritual Gifts, we cannot really say that we do not need them today (see 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 ). When they are sincerely and honestly exercised they make a very positive difference in the lives of those the words are for; the faith, healings and miracles that happen as a result. For me, the operating of the Spiritual Gifts has helped me tremendously in recognizing and knowing the voice of God in my life. Why is that? It is because the Spiritual Gifts operate as a result of us sensing, hearing, receiving a prompting and/or knowledge about someone else that we did not know naturally. It is the Holy Spirit giving us knowledge and how to speak, minister, or pray for others. The nine Spiritual Gifts are The Gifts of The Holy Spirit.
When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the nine Spiritual Gifts also are resident within us.
Our task is to be available to the Holy Spirit in such a way that those gifts can be operating through us to bless others.
There is no better way to encourage and build up others than our ministering Spirit to spirit to people.
It is far more effective than our operating out of Biblical head-knowledge.
God has not given those Gifts to lie dormant inside of us.
They are always given for a reason, and that reason is so we can be used of the Holy Spirit to birth ~ and to confirm ~ the plans and will of God into other people so they can rise up and fulfil their destiny.
I have seen scores of Christians released into their ministries as a result of God using me in the Spiritual Gifts. All praise to Jesus! We are urged to “not neglect the gift that is in us” (1 Timothy 4:14 ), and “to stir up the gift of God which is in us . . . for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power (“dunamis” meaning “act of power; miraculous power, ability; natural capability, inherent power; capable of anything; ability to perform anything; power in action”) and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:6-7 ).
There is a responsibility on our part to keep ourselves in a place with God where these gifts can operate though us as the Holy Spirit guides and leads us.
LEADERS HAVE A HUGE RESPONSIBILITY
With regards the exercising of the Spiritual Gifts, Pastors and Leaders have a huge responsibility to make sure their people are taught what God has given us; their purpose, the necessity for the people to function ~ and also make room in the services to allow the Gifts to operate. Generally speaking, people do not rise up above their Leaders, and so Leaders need to lead by example through teaching the Gifts positively and also exercising the Gifts themselves; as well as making room for their people to function. It has been my privilege to see and hear thousands of people around the world step out in the Spiritual Gifts for the first time in their lives ~ and it never ceases to amaze me at how accurate those people were, after having been given some positive teaching from the Scriptures on the Gifts.
Let me remind you that Spiritual Gifts are God’s ideas and He has given them to us to help us to encourage and build people to bring them to maturity in their Christian walk.
The Five-fold Ministry Gifts in Ephesians 4 are for the same purpose. The Spiritual Gifts and the Five-fold Ministries of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (v.11) are given by God to the Church so that through the operation of these Gifts and Ministries, people can grow to proper spiritual maturity to the glory of God. Today, sad to say, it is almost entirely about pastors, with very little or no Spiritual Gifts operating. That is a neglect that has cost the Christian Church hugely over the years. If we are genuine in our love for, and walk with God through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, then we need to give urgent attention to recognizing the importance of these Giftings and releasing them to function. I am not talking about having a title with these names, but the functioning of them in their proper Holy Spirit empowered anointing.
If you want to be used more by God, then I encourage you to stir up the gift of God that is within you and fellowship with those of like-mind where your gifts can be exercised and developed. You will be so much more fulfilled when you are functioning in the Gifts that God has given you.
It is so important that we know what God has given to us, so we can give ourselves to those giftings and be used by God to touch lives in ways that can happen no other way. The Apostle Paul exhorted us with this prayer and desire of his heart: “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might (“dunamis”) through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height ~ to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him Who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:14-21 , NKJV).
Let us not be neglectful of that which God has given to us. Let that Holy Spirit power work in and through you! God bless you ~ Rodney W. Francis.