discovery

6 Part Journey For New Believer

Discovery is a great resource for people of all ages who are wanting to know more about Jesus. These scriptures and notes offer great practical keys to living a life in relationship with Jesus and will help you grow in your faith, laying a foundation to take you forward in all that God has for you.

 
 

Part 1 - Why Jesus?

Something is broken.

It doesn't take much to see that the world is in a mess. The cause of the mess is the human heart that is inclined towards selfishness. People's actions simply react to the situation they find themselves in and the way in which they've been treated. The mess we're in is to varying degrees but nevertheless, we're all living in it. The truth is that something is missing, something is broken about our lives.... that's where Jesus comes in.

It's not how it's supposed to be.

In the beginning (Genesis 1) .... humanity was created in the image of a loving God, sourcing life from and depending on our amazing creator, living in relationship with him.

When Adam chose independence from God, we (humanity) had to depend on ourselves. Selfishness (the nature of sin) entered the world and we lost our relationship with God. (Romans 5:12-19)

The word for “sin” originated in archery and literally refers to missing the “gold” at the centre of a target. 
'Sin is a hardened heart, a loss of love for God"
St Augustine
 

Jesus is God.

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God - but the religious people of the day tried to kill him because He claimed to be God. (John 10:33)

He was born to a virgin - a human mother and a divine father. He was 100% God and 100% man. (Matthew 1:18-25) Jesus fulfilled over 60 prophecies from the Old Testament regarding God's personal intervention: one that would 'save' his people - the chance of just 8 being fulfilled by one person is more than one in 100 million billion! (source from "A Ready Defence", Josh McDowell)

The gospel of Matthew highlights many of these prophecies as they become fulfilled.

He said that he and the Father are one, referring to God (John 10:30) and he demonstrated this through the miracles that marked his ministry.

On top of this, death couldn't hold him. (Acts 2:24) He was raised from death and taken up to Heaven in front of his disciples.

"He is the image of the invisible God ... all things were created for him and by him ... He is before all things and in him all things hold together ... he is the head of the body, the church ... For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him."
Colossians 1:15-20 (NIV)

 

Jesus came to rescue humanity.

God is a good God, full of love and mercy, yet completely Holy and just. He couldn’t allow man’s sin to go uncorrected so he sent his son to pay the price for sin on our behalf, the price of which had to be death.

Jesus came and willingly took upon himself the consequence of our selfishness (sin - meaning "missing the mark"). Death for Christ was the price because death for man is the consequence of sin (Romans 6:23). Physical death is the separation of our spirit from our body and spiritual death is the separation of ourselves from God.

"That's what Christ did definitively: suffered because of other' sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all - to bring us to God."
1 Peter 3:18 (The Message)

Jesus came so that man could once again have relationship with God.Christ dying on the cross to bridge the gap between God and man is a FREE GIFT. Salvation is not something we can work for or earn, it is a free gift.

"....he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.."
Titus 3:5 (NIV)
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 5:8 (NIV)

 

A new nature.

When we decided to believe in Jesus and what he did on the cross, we were freed from the state of "sin" to a state of "righteousness", which simply means to be right with God. And this state of righteousness is not dependent on what we do - God sees us as righteous because of who we are in Christ (Ephesians chapter 1)

We now have this new nature. We don't have to do anything else to obtain it. However we do need to discover how to live according to it.

"God's spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is and we know who we are:"
Romans 8:15 (The Message)

 

Making your peace with God.

Regardless of how you're feeling, if you confess that Jesus is Lord of your life and believe that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Jesus has already taken the punishment for all your sins on the cross - you are forgiven.

You should experience a change of behaviour, not because you're trying to be good, but because of an intimacy with Jesus. (John 15:8)

Until Jesus comes back, when we will be transformed "in the twinkling of an eye" (1 Corinthians 15:52), we will live in the tension between our new nature and our old sin nature.

"If we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead we will be saved."
Romans 10:9 (NIV)
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,"
Romans 5:1 (NIV)

To make your peace with God, simply talk to him (this is called praying), and tell him you believe in his Son. We suggest a prayer like this:

“Lord Jesus Christ,
I'm sorry for the things I've done wrong in my life. I ask your forgiveness and now turn from everything I know is wrong. Thank you for dying on the cross to set me free from my sins. Please come into my life and fill me with your Holy Spirit and be with me forever.
Thank you Lord Jesus, Amen.
 

Part 2 - The Church

We can't attend church - we are the church!

In the Bible, the word 'Church' is a translation of the greek word 'ekklesia' which is about people - the called out ones. It suggests a community of people rather than a group of individuals. God has called us out from living in the 'darkness' of not knowing him into the 'light' of a living relationship with him.

We are no longer strangers - we are part of the family of God.

We are the Church.

The Bible teaches that you and I are the church and Jesus is the head of the church (Ephesians 1:22-23). It tells us that God placed all things under Jesus' feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, represents the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. This means that it is through you and your life that He speaks, acts, and brings His presence!

"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit."
Ephesians 2:19-22 (NIV)

 

"When a house has a family it becomes a home..."

The church is the hope of the world, it is what God is using to bring lost people back to relationship with God.

The Bible describes the church as a House or Home (Ephesians 2:19-22) reminding us that we are family and encouraging us to love and support one another. In doing so, we are showing the world who Jesus is and making him known to those who do not yet know him.

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." 
Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)
"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
John 13:35 (NIV)

 

They were together.

In Acts chapter 2 we read about how the early Christians gathered together and what they did. This account in Acts 2:42-47 outlines some great values when it comes to being 'The Church'.

It is God's will for you and I to flourish in life as we plant ourselves in the local church.

To be planted in the House of God is to source our 'nutrients' for life from the church and to have a sense of belonging.

"Remain in me and I will remain in you."

John 15:4 (NIV)

The key to having God remain in you is to decide to remain in him and remain in what God is all about. In other words, stay connected to the source of life.

"They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."
Acts 2:42-47 (NIV)
 
"Those planted in the house will flourish."
Psalm 92:12-13 (NIV)

 

Why gather together as the church?

1. We develop the character of Jesus through being with one another.

We learn humility, gentleness and patience, developing the character of Christ as we relate within the body of Christ.

2. We get to use our gifts to serve one another.

We will discover and realise our purpose when we play our part in the body of Christ. We miss out on the gifts of our "family members," if we choose not to be a part of a local church.

3. Protection & Blessings

Our leaders offer spiritual protection and direction.

God has placed us into the body of Christ for our own protection and blessing. Just like every earthly family, it's not always easy - we don't always find it easy to get along with everyone! But there are so many good things that we will never experience unless we are relationally connected with others in the body of Christ.

4. Jesus went to Church.

Jesus loved going to church and made a habit of it - in Luke 4:16 the Bible tells us that "He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read". He recognised the benefits of being in church and amongst other believers.

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." 

 

"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."
 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

James 5:16 (NIV)

"To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder ... Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock." 

1 Peter 5:1-4 (NIV)


"Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you."

Hebrews 13:17 (NIV)

 

Communion.

For Christians, communion an act of worship that celebrates Jesus. Jesus said it is important for us to practice Communion as a way to remember him and his sacrificial death. When we eat the bread we remember Jesus' body; His body was broken so ours doesn't have to be. There's also an emphasis on our attitude towards each other as we remember that we are all part of the church - the body of Christ. When we drink the wine, we remember Jesus’ body; His blood was spilt so we could live under the new covenant of grace.

There are many benefits to taking communion including;

Remember. It helps us to remember and express gratitude for the death of Jesus Christ, the saving work on the cross and the future hope that we have through his resurrection and coming Kingdom.

Receive. It enables us to receive strength, nourishment and empowerment from Christ as we fix our heart and mind on Jesus and the work of the cross.

Reaffirm. It reaffirms our commitment to Christ.

Relationship. It highlights the communion of believers with Christ himself and with each other.

"After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”  And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”  In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you."
Luke 22:17-20 (NIV)
 

Part 3 - LIVING IN FREEDOM.

When you tell people who you are what do you say? Do you identify yourself with your job, your family, your nationality, your relationships, your successes, your failures, your sickness, your past....? What do you identify yourself with?

"It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for."
Ephesians 1:11 (Message)

WHO ARE YOU?

There's only one way to determine your identity, a foundation that cannot be shaken; I AM A CHILD OF GOD. 

We didn't choose how we were born. We were each born into this world as a human being with characteristics we did not choose: nationality, parents, even our spiritual condition. Furthermore, we were born spiritually dead and sinners by nature...our inheritance from Adam!

But when we hear the good news of Jesus Christ and trust him as our Saviour and Lord, we are instantly identified with Christ as part of his family in God's eyes. We are 'in Christ'.

This is something that happens instantaneously to every Christian the moment of our spiritual birth: we are totally identified with Jesus Christ! We can then live according to his identity.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free."

Galatians 5:1 (NIV)

 

sons and daughters of God

The Bible records the baptism of Jesus in Matthew 3:17 when a voice from heaven was heard saying....

"And a voice from heaven said, “this is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Matthew 3:17 (NIV)

In this account we see and hear 3 things...

IDENTITY

(This is my Son)

ACCEPTANCE

(whom I love)

APPROVAL

(with him I am well pleased)

As sons and daughters of God, we too have IDENTITYACCEPTANCE and APPROVAL because of Jesus.

We no longer need to live for acceptance and identity. 

We can now live from acceptance and knowing who we are!

"The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."
Romans 8:15-17 (NIV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

 

WATER BAPTISM.

Water baptism could be described as an outward declaration of what has happened in your heart.

WHY SHOULD WE BE BAPTISED?

1. Jesus was

Jesus himself was baptised. He was not a sinner, yet he humbled himself in obedience to identify with us and give us an example to follow. 

"At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordan."

Mark 1:9 (NIV)

2. An act of obedience

Water baptism is an act of faith and obedience to the commands of Christ.

"Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

3. A public declaration

Baptism declares that you are a follower of Jesus Christ. It is a public confession of your faith in and commitment to, Jesus Christ. It is the next step after salvation through repentance and faith and is an important foundation for the Christian life

"Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."

Mark 16:16 (NIV)

"That’s what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we’re going in our new grace-sovereign country."
Romans 6:3 (Message)
"At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordan."
Mark 1:9 (NIV)
"Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."
Mark 16:16 (NIV)

 

WHAT IS THE MEANING AND SIGNIFICANCE OF BAPTISM?

1. A move from death to life

Baptism is a symbol of Christ’s burial and resurrection. Our entrance into the water during baptism identifies us with Christ’s death on the cross, His burial in the tomb, and His resurrection from the dead.

"...having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead"

Colossians 2:12-14 (NIV)

 

2. A brand new life

It is a symbol of your new life as a Christian. We bury the ‘old life’ and we rise to walk in a ‘new life’. Baptism is like a wedding ring, it is the outward symbol of the commitment you made in your heart, a commitment that has to be followed through and lived out on a daily basis.

Baptism does not make you a believer; it shows that you already are one! Baptism does not ‘save’ you; only your faith in Christ does that.

"...having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead"
Colossians 2:12-14 (NIV)
 
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast."
Ephesians 2:8,9 (NIV)

 

HOW ARE WE TO BE BAPTISED?

We should follow the example of Jesus and be immersed in water.

"As soon as Jesus was baptised, He went up out of the water."

Matthew 3:16 (NIV)

"As soon as Jesus was baptised, He went up out of the water."
Matthew 3:16 (NIV)

 

WHO SHOULD BE BAPTISED?

Every person who has made the decision to believe in Christ should be baptised.

"Those who accepted His message were baptised…"

Acts 2:41 (NIV)

"Those who accepted His message were baptised…"
Acts 2:41 (NIV)

 

WHEN ARE WE TO BE BAPTISED?

As soon as a person decides to believe in Christ he can be and is encouraged to be baptised.

 

"When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptised, and about three thousand were added to their number that day."

Acts 2:37-41 (NIV)

"When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptised, and about three thousand were added to their number that day."
Acts 2:37-41 (NIV)
 

 

TALKING TO GOD 

We often think that prayer is us asking God for things but it is much broader, varied, deeper and more interactive than that; prayer is a conversation between us and God. It involves both us speaking to God, and God speaking to us.

When we pray we gain:

Intimacy with God. Prayer results in the kind of intimacy and relationship that comes when two people engage in loving, personal conversation.

Transformation in Us. We bring our needs, our world and ourselves into relationship with God through prayer. He speaks to us about them, and as a result we are changed.

Change in our World. We seek God in prayer over the circumstances and challenges that we and those in our world face. When we do, God moves and brings change to the world around us.

 

TALKING TO GOD ON YOUR OWN AND IN COMMUNITY.

There are numerous references calling us to seek after God (Isaiah 55:6) seek God’s face (2 Chronicles 7:14) and to call upon his name, and these references have both an individual and a corporate dimension (Ephesians 6:181 Tim 2:1-2.)

 

JESUS TAUGHT US HOW.

"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

Mark 1:35 (NIV)

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “This, then, is how you should pray: “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ’ For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:5-17 (NIV)
 

Part 4 - TRANSFORMATION.

Living right begins with believing right - our behaviour is a direct result of what we believe. Being a Christian is about much more than changing the way you behave or philosophy, it's about transformation. When we are saved, our relationship with God is restored and he begins to fix us on the inside.  However simply knowing God doesn't make us good citizens with perfect behaviour - instead God begins the journey of transforming our character by working on us from the inside.

"The conversion of a soul is the miracle of a moment, but the manufacture of a saint is the task of a lifetime." Alan Redpath

"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Philippians 1:6 (NIV)
"Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognise that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognised as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him."
2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (Message)

 

TRANSFORMED THROUGH GOD'S WORD.

Though written by men, the Bible is God’s Word to man and therefore holds weight and authority. God is the master author and the final edit. Thankfully today access to the Bible has never been easier and more people than ever have the opportunity to hear God speak to them through it, allowing His Word to transform them personally.

The Bible contains 66 books divided among the Old and New Testaments. There are 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament. The word testament simply means "covenant" or "contract."

The Bible was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit by over 40 different authors from all walks of life: shepherds, farmers, tent-makers, physicians, fishermen, priests, philosophers and kings. Despite these differences in occupation and the span of years it took to write it, the Bible is an extremely cohesive and unified book.

It was written over a period of some 1,500 years, from around 1450 B.C. (the time of Moses) to about 100 A.D. (following the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ).

Knowing that the Bible is God speaking to us, it makes sense to read the Bible every day. Just imagine how your life would change if you heard from God each day.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)
"Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things."
2 Peter 1:20-21

 

READING YOUR BIBLE.

The Bible is a big book and can be quite daunting when you first pick it up. Understanding how to read it is important and will help you get the best out of every time you open it. 

Reading your Bible daily will give you clear direction (Psalm 119:133), wisdom in our everyday (Psalm 119:99-100), provides a source of comfort (Psalm 119:49-50) and change you (Hebrews 4:12Romans 12:2).

The Bible was originally written in three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek. Today the Bible is translated into many different languages including English. The Bible has been translated into English many times and each fits broadly into one of these three categories below. Choose one you enjoy and begin reading it daily.

1. Word-for-Word

Some Bible versions translate as literally word-for-word as possible. They take the Hebrew and Greek words and translate them into the closest corresponding English words as possible. Examples of Word-for-Word translations include: The King James Version, The New King James Version, The English Standard version, Revised Standard Version.

2. Thought-for-Thought

Some Bible versions translate less literally, in more of a thought-for-thought method. Examples of Thought-for-Thought translations include: The New International Version, The New Living Translation, The Amplified Bible, New English Translation.

3. Paraphrase

Others paraphrase and can be used to gain a different perspective on the meaning of a verse, but they should not be used as a primary Bible translation.  Examples of Paraphrase translations include: The Message Bible, The Good News Bible, The Living Bible.

BIBLE ON YOUR SMART PHONE.

YouVersion is a simple to read Bible that brings God's Word into your daily life. You can download the free YouVersion Bible App in many different versions onto your mobile device so you'll have your Bible with you no matter where you go. You'll also find daily Bible reading plans to help you get started.

Fix your attention on God and His Word and let Him change you from the inside out.

"So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognise what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."
Romans 12:1-2 (Message)

 

TRANSFORMED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit is God. He is a person (not an 'it' or 'force'). He is our counsellor, He guides us in truth and gives us gifts to help us contribute to his purposes through the church.

Jesus introduces the Holy Spirit in chapter 14 to 16 of the book of John

The personhood of the Holy Spirit is affirmed by His role as the third person of the Godhead. He is coequal with the Father and the Son of God. Only a being who is equal to God and possesses the attributes of omniscience, omnipresence and eternality could be defined as God.

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"

Matthew 28:19 (ESV)

See also Acts 5:3–42 Corinthians 3:17–18.

 

“If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you and will even be in you!"
John 14:15-17 (Message)

 

THE HOLY SPIRIT LIVES IN YOU. 

He is present in the world to make people aware of their need for Jesus Christ and He lives in every Christian. He provides Christians with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth and guidance in doing what is right. He gives every believer spiritual gifts and as Christians we seek to live under His control daily.

 

"And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit"

Ephesians 1:13 (NIV

"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies."
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)
"Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit."
Galatians 5:25 (NIV)

 

THE HOLY SPIRIT EMPOWERS YOU.

The Holy Spirit gives us the power of God to carry out what God has called us to do. The Holy Spirit brings God's presence into our lives and leads us into all truth. Because of The Holy Spirit we can flourish in life; be empowered as a witness in our personal world; equipped to build the church.

The key to Jesus’ overcoming life was that he operated in the power of the Holy Spirit without measure. The outcomes of his life were spectacular because his spirit was filled with supernatural strength which overflowed across every area of His life.

 

The power of the Holy Spirit is supernatural; He miraculously empowers us to live a life less ordinary.

 

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 1:8 (NIV)
"For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit"
John 3:34 (NIV)

 

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit works in us to develop Godly attributes and character. The Bible calls these the fruit of the Spirit. The word fruit is used frequently in the Bible to denote what God expects of our character. The fruit of the Spirit is God’s expectation in our lives. Although many people emphasise the experiential, external and emotional dimensions of being filled with the Holy Spirit; the Bible emphasises the internal work of producing fruit that flows from a changed inner world.

 

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."
Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

 

TRANSFORMATION IS A JOURNEY.

It's important to remember that Christianity is a lifestyle, a journey we must work on every day. We are to constantly acknowledge our limitations and weaknesses and turn Jesus in times of need.

Jesus said....

"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me."

Luke 9:23 (NIV)

The goal of our transformation is to be mature in our faith and more like Jesus. Maturity in your faith is nothing to do with how long you've been a Christian, your gifts, your age or even how much knowledge you have. It's about consistently putting God first and living for him.

"For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters."
Romans 8:29 (NIV)
"He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ."
Colossians 1:28 (NIV)
 

Part 5 - GIFTED.

The Bible lists many different kinds of gifts given to us to serve others and the Church. Although not an exhaustive list, here are some places in the Bible we can discover more about our gifts. Some are characterised by obvious supernatural manifestations and are beyond the natural ability of the individual. We can read about some of them in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11.

Others differ from the gifts above since they are not exclusively supernatural, but may also involve an individual’s God-given natural talent. We can read about some in Romans 12:6-8.

"We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."

Romans 12:6-8

In Ephesians chapter 4 there are a set of gifts often referred to as the Ministry Gifts. They differ from the gifts of 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 in that the gifts here are not abilities but people. These represent particular gifted ministers who are given to the body to equip all believers for service, so that the church may be strengthened to fulfil its purpose, reflecting the fullness of Christ into the world.

"So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."

Ephesians 4:11-13

"Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines."
1 Corinthians 12:7-11

 

ABOUT SPIRITUAL GIFTS.

Spiritual Gifts Are Not...

1. Natural Aptitudes, Strengths or Abilities

We all have natural abilities that we’ve learned from those around us regardless of Christian faith. Many times our natural abilities and strengths are redeemed by the God to become spiritual gifts.

2. Character Traits

We are all called to have character and our gifts should produce the nature of Jesus Christ in each person. A person should not say he has the “gift of peace” when we are all encouraged to develop that characteristic. Spiritual gifts offer opportunities for us to live like Christ.

3. Titles or Positions

Spiritual gifts often lead to titles or positions but a person may have the gift without the role or the role without the gift. Regardless, we should serve whenever we are given the opportunity. Working in the area of your gifting will allow you to “be” the person that God has called you to be rather than just “doing” good things.

4. Self Promoting

Spiritual gifts are endowments given by God to His people for accomplishing His purpose on the earth. Spiritual gifts are given for the glory of God.

"Now about spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed."
1 Corinthians 12:1 (NIV)

 

"Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts… try to excel in gifts that build up the church. "
1 Corinthians 14:1 (NIV)

 

DISCOVERY YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS

The following is not a test - there is no right and wrong answer. Instead, use this exercise to help identify and better understand more about your gifting. Follow these simple steps;

A. Print the sheet below and answer the questions honestly.

B. Add each score on each row left to right. E.G. 1(+__?____) 19(+__?____) 37(+__?____) 55(+___?___) = Total (___?____)

C. Identify your highest total with the corresponding letter and the spiritual gift it represents.

D. Using the descriptions learn more about your main gifts.

 

QUESTIONS

Answer Key: (1) Almost Never (2) Little (3) Sometimes  (4) Frequently  (5) Almost Always
 

  1. I enjoy working behind the scenes, taking care of little details.

  2. I usually step forward and assume leadership in a group where none exists.

  3. When in a group, I tend to notice those who are alone and help them to feel part of the group.

  4. I have the ability to recognise a need and to get the job done no matter how small the task.

  5. I have the ability to organise ideas, people and projects to reach a specific goal.

  6. People often say I have good spiritual judgement.

  7. I am very confident of achieving great things for God

  8. I enjoy giving money to those in serious financial need.

  9. I enjoy ministering to people in hospitals, prisons, or rest homes to comfort them.

  10. I often have insights that offer practical solutions to difficult problems.

  11. I enjoy encouraging and giving counsel to those who are discouraged.

  12. I have an ability to thoroughly study a passage of Scripture and then share it with others.

  13. I presently have responsibility for the spiritual growth of one or two new believers.

  14. Other people respect me as an authority in spiritual matters.

  15. I have an ability to learn foreign languages.

  16. God often reveals to me the direction He desires the church to move.

  17. I enjoy developing relationships with non-Christians with the hope of telling them about Jesus.

  18. Whenever I hear about needy situations, I am burdened to pray.

  19. I would like to assist pastors or other leaders so they can focus on their priorities and responsibilities.

  20. When I ask people to help me with an important ministry for the church, they usually say yes.

  21. I enjoy entertaining guests and making them feel at home when they visit.

  22. I take initiative to serve and enjoy serving others, no matter how small the task.

  23. I am a very organised person who sets goals, makes plans and achieves goals.

  24. I am a very good judge of character and can spot a spiritual phony.

  25. I often step out and start projects that other people won’t attempt, and I usually succeed.

  26. I joyfully give money well above my tithe to the church.

  27. I feel compassion for people who are hurting and lonely, and I like to spend considerable time with them to cheer them up.

  28. God has enabled me to choose correctly between several complex options in an important decision, when no one else know what to do.

  29. I am very fulfilled when I encourage others, especially if it is about their spiritual growth.

  30. I enjoy studying difficult questions about God’s Word and I usually find answers quickly.

  31. I enjoy being involved in people’s lives and helping them grow spiritually.

  32. I would be willing and excited to start a new church.

  33. I can adapt easily to cultures, languages and lifestyles other than my own and would like to use my adaptability to minister in foreign countries.

  34. I will always speak up for Christian principles with conviction, even when it isn’t popular.

  35. I find it easy to invite a person to accept Jesus as their Saviour.

  36. I have a passion to pray for the significant issues of God’s kingdom and His will for Christians.

  37. I enjoy relieving others’ routine tasks so they can get important projects done.

  38. I can guide and motivate a group of people toward achieving their goal.

  39. I enjoy meeting new people and introducing them to others in the group.

  40. I am very dependable for getting things done on time and I don’t need much praise or thanks.

  41. I easily delegate significant responsibilities to other people.

  42. I am able to distinguish between right and wrong in complex spiritual matters when other people can’t seem to figure it out.

  43. I trust in God’s faithfulness for a bright future even when facing significant problems.

  44. I wouldn’t mind lowering my standard of living to give more to the church and others in need.

  45. I want to do whatever I can for the needy people around me, even if I have to give something up.

  46. People often seek my advice when they don’t know what to do in a situation.

  47. I feel a need to challenge others to better themselves, especially in their spiritual growth in an uplifting, rather than condemning way.

  48. Others listen and enjoy my teaching of scriptures.

  49. I care about the spiritual welfare of people and do my best to guide them towards a godly lifestyle.

  50. I am accepted as a spiritual authority in other parts of the country or world.

  51. I would like to share Jesus in a foreign country.

  52. I feel a need to teach the Bible so that people will know about Christian living.

  53. I like to tell others how to become a Christian and to invite others to receive Jesus into their life.

  54. Many of my prayers for others have been answered.

  55. I enjoy helping others get their work done and don’t need a lot of public recognition.

  56. People respect my opinion and follow my direction

  57. I would like to use my home to get acquainted with newcomers and visitors to the church.

  58. I enjoy helping people in any type of need and feel a sense of satisfaction in meeting that need.

  59. I am comfortable making important decisions, even under pressure.

  60. People come to me for help in distinguishing between spiritual truth and error.

  61. I often exercise my faith through prayer and God answers my prayers in powerful ways.

  62. When I give money to someone I don’t expect anything in return and I often give anonymously.

  63. When I hear people without jobs can’t pay their bills, I do what I can to help them.

  64. God enables me to make appropriate application of biblical truth to practical situations.

  65. People respond well to my encouragement to become all they can be for God.

  66. I am systematic in my approach to presenting the Bible to a group of people.

  67. I help Christians who have wandered away from the Lord find their way back to a growing relationship with Him and get involved in local church.

  68. I would be excited to share the Gospel and form a new group of Christians in areas where there aren’t many churches.

  69. I have no racial prejudice and have a sincere appreciation for people very different from myself.

  70. I find it relatively easy to apply biblical promises to present day situations and I’m willing to confront in love if necessary.

  71. I have a strong desire to help non-Christians find salvation through Jesus Christ.

  72. Prayer is my favourite ministry in the church and I consistently spend a great deal of time at it.


D. GIFT DEFINITIONS

While not meant to be dogmatic or final, these definitions and supporting scriptures do correspond to characteristics of the gifts as expressed in this questionnaire.  

A. HELPS

The ability to work with and support other people and their teams.

Mark 15:40-41; Acts 9:36; Romans 16:1-2; 1 Corinthians 12:28

 

B. LEADERSHIP

The ability to influence people at their level while directing and focusing them on the big picture.  

Romans 12:8; 1 Timothy 3:1-13, 5:17; Hebrews 13:17

 

C. HOSPITALITY

The ability to make people feel at home, welcome and cared for.

Acts 16:14-15; Romans 12:13, 16:23; Hebrews 13:1-2; 1 Peter 4:9

 

D. SERVICE

The ability to identify and meet the practical needs of others.

Acts 6:1-7; Romans 12:7; Galatians 6:10; 1 Timothy 1:16-18; Titus 3:14

 

E. ADMINISTRATION

The ability to coordinate and organise people and projects.

Luke 14:28-30; Acts 6:1-7; 1 Corinthians 12:28

 

F. DISCERNMENT

The ability to spiritually distinguish between right and wrong motives and situations.

Matthew 16:21-23; Acts 5:1-11, 16:16-18; 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 John 4:1-6

 

G. FAITH

The ability to believe in God for unseen supernatural results in every area of life.  

Acts 11:22-24; Romans 4:18-21; 1 Corinthians 12:9; Hebrews 11

 

H. GIVING

The ability to cheerfully and generously contribute personal resource to God's work.  

Mark 12:41-44; Romans 12:8; 2 Corinthians 8:1-7, 9:2-7

 

I. MERCY

The  ability to feel empathy and to care for those who are hurting in any way.  

Matthew 9:35-36; Mark 9:41; Romans 12:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:14

 

J. WISDOM

The ability to apply the truths of Scripture in a practical way in order to make right choices and help others move forward.

Acts 6:3,10; 1 Corinthians 2:6-13, 12:8

 

K. EXHORTATION

The ability to encourage others with words of encouragement or challenge.  

Acts 14:22; Romans 12:8; 1 Timothy 4:13; Hebrews 10:24-25

 

L. TEACHING

The ability to study and learn from the Scriptures primarily to bring understanding and depth to other Christians.  

Acts 18:24-28, 20:20-21; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11-14

 

M. PASTOR / SHEPHERD

The ability to care for the personal needs of others and help them grow spiritually.  

John 10:1-18; Ephesians 4:11-14; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 1 Peter 5:1-3

 

N. APOSTLESHIP

The ability to pioneer new churches and ministries through planting, overseeing, and training.  

Acts 15:22-35; 1 Corinthians 12:28; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Galatians 2:7-10; Ephesians 4:11-14

 

O. MISSIONARY

The ability to reach others outside of your culture and nationality.  

Acts 8:4, 13:2-3, 22:21; Romans 10:15

 

P. PROPHECY

The ability to boldly speak and bring clarity to scriptural and doctrinal truth, in some cases foretelling God’s plan.  

Acts 2:37-40, 7:51-53, 26:24-29; 1 Corinthians 14:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 1:5

 

Q. EVANGELISM

The ability to help non-Christians take the necessary steps to giving their lives to Christ.

Acts 8:5-6, 8:26-40, 14:21, 21:8; Ephesians 4:11-14

 

R. INTERCESSION

The ability to stand in the gap in prayer for someone, something, or someplace, believing for profound results.  

Hebrews 7:25; Colossians 1:9-12, 4:12-13; James 5:14-16  


 

Part 6 - PURPOSE.

Many people get consumed and confused with finding God's purpose for their lives, but it's not something that God has hidden from us.

Questions such as "what job does God want me to do?" and "where does God want me to live?" are often the result of an unfounded fear that we may step out of God's will if we choose the wrong career or place to live!  We are called to be salt and light wherever we are and whatever job we end up doing.

God is more concerned about WHO you are becoming than WHAT job you choose.

Instead of trying to find out God’s purpose and plan for your life, align your life with God’s purpose and plans.

 

AMBASSADORS.

We are Christ's ambassadors, representing Him in our world.

 

"We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God."

2 Corinthians 5:16-21 (NIV)

“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavours of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:13-14 (Message)

 

EQUIPPED FOR PURPOSE.

God has gifted us all uniquely.

"We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."

Romans 12:6-8

EMPOWERED FOR PURPOSE.

God has empowered us by the Holy Spirit.

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Acts 1:8 (NIV)

ON MISSION.

Make disciples baptising & teaching them.

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"

Matthew 28:19 (ESV)

"Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines."
1 Corinthians 12:7-11

 

QUESTIONS.

Ask yourself these simple questions to help you discover more about your purpose in life. 

What makes you sing?

What makes you cry?

What makes you frustrated?

What makes you dream?

 

KEEP MOVING FORWARD.

God doesn't want you to be stagnant;- afraid to make a move;  fearful of stepping forward in case you get it wrong. Throughout the Bible people moved in faith, made decisions and took risks. For example, in Genesis 13:6-9 we read about Abraham - he wasn't concerned which direction he would take as he knew God would be with him either way. Also in Acts 16:6-10 we can see how the apostle Paul simply got on with the purposes of God and then God directed him.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
John 10:10 (NIV)
 
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free."
Galatians 5:1 (NIV)