Legalistic or not

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by tinytim, Aug 8, 2006.

  1. tinytim

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    I am preparing my Bible study for tomorrow night.

    I have been doing a series on Spiritual Gifts.

    I have been using a series I did a few yrs ago, then I came across this statement I made back then:
    "To please God we must know and use our spiritual gifts."

    Is this a legalistic statement? In the sense that we must please God to be right with him?
     
  2. J. Jump

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    We are certainly going to be held accountable as stewards, so it doesn't sound legalistic to me.
     
  3. Helen

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    Tim, I have a little trouble with the 'knowing' your spiritual gifts part. Let me explain what I mean. I have a daughter who is very talented artistically. But for years it totally escaped her that she was talented in this area. She just didn't understand why others couldn't do what she can do so easily. So, you see, she never considered it something special, or a gift. It was just what she liked to do.

    When I think about the people I know who are gifted in different ways, it seems to be the same. They are often the last to recognize it. I love to teach. I love to explain things. It comes pretty naturally to me, and for the longest time I just didn't really understand what it was so hard for some others to just explain things!

    On the reverse side, I know a woman who has announced to me and to a number of others that she is gifted as an encourager. I want to tell you that that is the LAST woman I would want around me when I was down or discouraged.

    In other words, I think the gifts the Lord has given us are often so much a part of our basic personalities and lives that we use them without thinking "OK, this is my gift and I have to use it!"

    To take it one step further, I do think it is necessary to add that -- for instance in my case -- although no one could actually teach me how to teach, I have found a great deal of good in learning various techniques. The musician cannot be taught to love music -- that is part of who he or she is. But still the piano or violin or whatever lessons need to be learned.

    What I have told my students through the years is "whatever you love to do, learn to do it well. God gave you that love of whatever it is, and it is up to you to keep on keepin' on."

    But from what I have seen of the courses and books and tests regarding 'finding your spiritual gifts', they are pretty bogus.

    Another example. Although I love to teach, I am often awkward with people socially. That's just me. But my oldest daughter, who has a horrible time explaining just about anything, is a people magnet. I cannot count the times I have watched in awe as she introduces herself and makes friends of anyone of any age in about thirty seconds. An encourager? She wrote the book! But it is so much a part of her personality that she would never recognize it as special or a gift. But if I am down, or discouraged, that crazy daughter of mine is one of the first people I would turn to for a good word and a giggle.

    So no, it's not legalistic to talk about spiritual gifts, but to tell people to find theirs is sort of silly in my personal estimation. It's the people around them who can tell you what a person's gift is, often not the person him or herself. But to simply tell people that what they do they should do as unto the Lord will direct them to develop and use the very gifts they may not even recognize as gifts in their lives.

    Probably will get a lot of flak for this, because 'learn your spiritual gifts' is such a big thing now; but maybe this will help add an extra dimension to the idea.

    God bless.
     
  4. whatever

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    Wow, I agree with Helen.

    :eek:

    I'm not sure that trying to "find our spiritual gifts" is useful.

    Besides, that kind of statement can foster pride. Note that I did not say that it has to, only that it can. For example, it could be used for legalistic purposes even if you don't mean it that way, which I'm sure you don't.

    The surest ways that we can please God are to trust Christ and to speak the gospel. I say this based on Heb. 11:6 and on what Paul said about pleasing God in Gal. 1:9-11 and 1 Thess. 2:3-7. He also discusses purity in 1 Thess. 4:1-9 as a way of pleasing God. I don't know of anywhere in Scripture where anyone says that identifying the gifts that God may have given us is pleasing to Him.

    But I could be wrong, so keep in mind that this opinion may be worth what you paid for it.
     
  5. StraightAndNarrow

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    Jesus called us to pick up our cross and follow Him, not just sit in the pew on Sunday. In the parable of the talents each person was expected to contribute based on his gifts. Born again Christians use their talents to further the spread of the gospel.
     
  6. Revmitchell

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    Amen!:thumbs:
     
  7. Spoudazo

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    Also, be sure to distinguish between spiritual gifts and talents.

    Singing is a talent, not a spiritual gift, for example. :)
     
  8. tinytim

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    Helen I understand what you are saying. And for the most part we agree.. a test is just to be used as a guide... Others must recognize that gift in them...

    Helen, when did you find out that you could teach with ease... don't you wish you would have known sooner... you wouldn't have wondered why others couldn't.

    Here is the heart of the lesson tomorrow evening.. (to all my members that visit here... you get a heads up!)

    How will Knowing your Spiritual Gift help you?

    Knowing your spiritual gift will:

    1. Help you know God’s will for your life.

    2. Help you understand how the Holy Spirit works Through you.

    3. Help you know what God has “Not” called you to do. So you can focus on what He has.

    4. Relieves you from serving out of Duty. You will serve because you want to. It will come naturally (well, supernaturally)
    (Stress that we shouldn’t serve God out of duty or guilt but because we want to. Sometimes we feel guilty when we shouldn’t for not doing something because we’re not gifted for it. It is always OK to say no. When we know what our gifts are, we can concentrate on serving the Lord by using what he has equipped us for. EX. If we don’t have a gift of teaching we shouldn’t feel guilty by saying no to someone who asks us to teach.)

    5. Gives you Confidence in your ministry area.
    (When you know God wants you to do something, you know you will succeed! (Phi 4:13) I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.)
     
  9. tinytim

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    We went over that 2 weeks ago.
     
  10. tinytim

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    Here is why I feel that Knowing what God has gifted you with is important. This is the lesson from last week:

    Why are gifts given? The Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts for 3 reasons:

    1. That the Body of Christ may be built up in unity and maturity.
    (Eph 4:11-16)
    Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
    Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
    Eph 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
    Eph 4:14 That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
    Eph 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:
    Eph 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

    2. That Christians may minister to others. (I Pet. 4:10)

    1Pe 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, [even so] minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.



    3. That God may be Glorified. (I Pet. 4:11)

    1Pe 4:11 If any man speak, [let him speak] as the oracles of God; if any man minister, [let him do it] as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.


    What happens when a Church ignores spiritual gifts?

    1. An Uninvolved Membership
    2. An Overworked minority (Burnout)
    3. A Lack of Spiritual growth (Knowing God’s Will -Maturity)

    Have Students give Examples of each.

    What will happen when a church uses spiritual gifts?

    1. Stagnant congregations will come to life.
    2. Leadership will become stronger.
    3. Unity will come to the church.
    4. Outreach will become more effective.

    Read Rev 3:14-16
    Rev 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
    Rev 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
    Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
    Using Spiritual Gifts will get us out of our lukewarm State.
     
  11. tinytim

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    I didn't mean for this thread to turn into a debate over knowing spiritual gifts, or even the use of tests, but that's OK if that is where God is leading in this thread..

    I just wanted to see if my quote in the OP sounded legalistic or not.
    For me to say that you must know what your gift is to please God, I feel would be legalistic. I am not going to make God love me anymore than He does now...

    What do you think?
     
  12. whatever

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    Sorry, that's really what I meant to address, I promise.

    Here's 1 Thess. 4:1 - "Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to live and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more." So, it is not wrong or "legalistic" to urge those in your care to seek to please God. No, God will not love you more (or less) based on what you do (or don't do) but to call believers to try to please God with their behavior is appropriate. To call believers to try to please God by doing things that He has not commanded is legalistic. I do not think God has called us to determine what our spiritual gifts are. I do think God has commanded us all to be ministers of the gospel and that He gives us whatever we need in order to accomplish His work for the moment. Identifying that work (and doing it) is appropriate, but identifying His gifts is not necessary, in my opinion.

    Does that make sense? Or should I just give up and go to bed?
     
  13. Pipedude

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    "To please God we must..." may be a little stronger than the truth. "An important Christian duty is..." might say the same thing a little more accurately.

    Just a suggestion.
     
  14. Helen

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    I understand what you are saying, Tim. To respond, briefly, to a couple of points: no you are not being legalistic. You are encouraging people to get serious about what God is doing in their lives.

    When did I discover I could teach? I think it started in kindergarten when I was explaining things to other kids....and I don't think it could have started much earlier! What is funny is that in high school I though that being 'just a mom' or 'just a teacher' were total wastes of my incredible talents, as I was God's gift to humanity (you are allowed to throw up here...).

    God must have been chuckling. I was spending a good part of my time in classes and during lunches explaining things to other kids which they didn't get...

    My first experience teaching was an emergency volunteer effort for kids from the Watts riots of the sixties who had been placed in a special 'setting' for those who were considered retarded and delinquent. I loved it. I wanted them to learn and I had a ball teaching them what I could. I was a student in college then and had been doing some volunteer work at a youth facility to fulfill a requirement for my juvenile delinquency course.

    In other words, like my one daughter's artistic skill, like my other daughter's social skills, it just sort of grew with me! I didn't have to 'discover' it; it was part of me all along.

    One other comment about something that was said on the last page. "Born again Christians use their talents to further the spread of the gospel." While this is part of it, please, folks, don't forget that Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians that we are to use our gifts/talents/skills to build up the body and support it. We are to encourage, help, teach, laugh with, cry with, pray with, walk alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ. There are those who actually go out to mission fields. Most of us witness with our lives primarily, right here at home. And our care for our Christian siblings is a good part of that.
     
  15. tinytim

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    very good post.

    "God's gift to humanity"...... hmmm.
    I have known a few girls that thought they were God's gift to MAN!
    I even used to date a few like that.

    I guess a good lesson on humbleness is in order when teaching on gifts.

    Remember God gifted you to serve others and to build HIS kingdom, not to please yourself.
     
  16. Aaron

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    Yes, that is a legalistic statement. Scripturally, what pleases God is our faith. Heb. 11:6. My pastor is fond of saying, "When God is dissatisfied with Christ, He will be dissatisfied with me."

    One problem I see with recent studies on spiritual gifts is that it tends to take one's focus off the Scriptures and to turn it inward looking for some kind of "spiritual" experience. My approach would be to direct one's focus toward obedience to Christ and create a hunger for the sincere milk of the Word that they may grow thereby, and by degrees, their calling and election will be made sure.
     
  17. EdSutton

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    Absolutely correct. Helen, I believe previously was not making this distinction correctly. Obviously, her daughter has tremendous talent in the fields she was talking about. But that is not the same as a spiritual gift of the 20 some-odd listed in Scripture.

    We are certainly accountable in our use of 'talents' (not to be confused with the examples of "talents" given by Jesus which were amounts of money). But that does illustrate stewardship, and stewardship goes beyond the bank account, certainly.

    Ed
     
  18. EdSutton

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    Pretty good summary, there TT. Let me tack on something not re your post, here. Helen previously wrote about some lady she knew claiming to be"an encourager". I'd put that babelbility or ability, real or imagined, along with the musical ability. A natural talent, and wonderful to have around, but it is not listed Biblically as a spiritual gift. (BTW, I accidentally mistyped 'ability', earlier in this post, with a "b", and decided to put in the whimsical part, as it is something I have run across.)

    Ed
     
    #18 EdSutton, Aug 11, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2006
  19. EdSutton

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    I don't necessarily think the quote sounded "legalistic" per se. Is so, would Paul's statement to Timothy also be legalistic?
    I do not think that Paul is here saying that he had a part in imparting the gift, but rather in confirming or recognizing it with Timothy.

    Ed
     
  20. EdSutton

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    Go to bed! :laugh: :laugh: :tongue3: :sleep:

    But it is a pertty good post.

    Ed
     

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