The Gift and the Gifts

1 Corinthians

The Gift and the Gifts

April 24th, 1966 @ 10:50 AM

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
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Dr. W. A. Criswell

1 Corinthians 12:1

4-24-66    10:50 a.m.


On television and on radio you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  This is the pastor bringing the message entitled The Gift and the Gifts.  It is a study in the endowments of the Holy Spirit; the gift of the Holy Spirit, singular, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, plural.  In Acts 2:38:

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ—eis—because of the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift—singular—and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

In Acts 10:44-45:

While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them which heard the word.

And they of the Jewish brethren who believed, and had come with Simon Peter, they were astonished,

they were amazed, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit—singular—the gift of the Holy Spirit.

[Acts 10:44-45]

Then in the next chapter across the page, Acts 11:16-17, Simon Peter— recounting this Gentile Pentecost in Caesarea—as he speaks to the church at Jerusalem he says:

Then remembered I the word of the Lord,

how that He said, John indeed baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Forasmuch then as God gave them the same gift as He did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ—

singular, “gift”—

[Acts 11:16-17]

Now when I turn to 1 Corinthians 12:1, Paul writing to the church says, “Now concerning spiritual gifts,” plural, “brethren, I would not have you ignorant.”  And there is not anything of which we are more ignorant, grossly, densely, darkly.  Nor is there anything of which we are more grossly ignorant than we are of spiritual gifts.  “Now concerning spiritual gifts,” plural, “brethren, I would not have you ignorant” [1 Corinthians 12:1].  Fourth verse:  “Now there are diversities of gifts,” plural, “but the same Spirit” [1 Corinthians 12:4].  And so through all of this work, God makes, the Bible makes, a clear cut distinction, a differentiation, lucid and plain, between the gift of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The gift of the Holy Spirit is the coming of the indwelling presence of God when we are saved, when we are converted.  We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit when we are born again.  According to John 3, “Born of the Spirit” [John 3:5, 8], that He may abide with us forever [John 3:5], according to the promise of our Lord [John 14:6].  We receive Him one time in our lives; by the Spirit are we baptized into the body of Christ [1 Corinthians 12:13]. 

The gift of the Holy Spirit is given to us, bestowed upon us, set into our souls the moment we are saved.  “Repent,” said Simon Peter at Pentecost, “and be baptized every one of you . . . because of the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” [Acts 2:38]; coming into our hearts when we are saved, one time when we are born again.

The gifts, plural, of the Holy Spirit are those endowments that the Spirit of God places within us by which He uses us to glorify the church and do the ministries of our Lord, and to build up the household of faith [1 Corinthians 12:1, 4], as Paul would write to his young son in the ministry, “Stir up, kindle the gift of God that is in thee by the laying on of my hands” [2 Timothy 1:6].

Now we’re going to speak of those this morning; the gift of the Spirit first.  We live in a marvelous and incomparable age; a glorious age!  We live—God hath cast our life and lot in the dispensation—in the age of the Holy Spirit, in the age of grace.  The Lord said of John the Baptist, “Of men that were born of women there is none greater than he: but the least in the kingdom of God is greater than John the Baptist” [Matthew 11:11].

John the Baptist lived in the old dispensation [John 1:15].  He lived before the cross [John 19:17-37].  He lived before the resurrection [John 20:1-18].  He lived before the ascension [Acts 1:9-10].  He lived before Pentecost [Acts 2:1-47].  And John the Baptist, the greatest man that was ever born of a woman [Matthew 11:11], lived and died without ever seeing the outpouring of the Spirit of God in this day of grace.  But it is our privilege, we who are maybe the least in the kingdom, it is our privilege to receive the fullness of this ascension gift from heaven [Luke 24:49].

In the Old Testament, in the old covenant and dispensation, the Holy Spirit of God descended upon men in times and in places.  But in this age and in this dispensation, the Spirit of God saturates men, and baptizes men, and glorifies Christ through the abandonment of our lives to God [John 3:34].  It is written in the days of the old dispensation, of the old covenant, of the Old Testament, that the Spirit of God came mightily upon Othniel [Judges 3:9-10]; and the Spirit of God came mightily upon Gideon [Judges 6:34]; and the Spirit of God mightily moved Samson at times in the camp at Dan [Judges 13:24-25].

But in this age and in this dispensation the Spirit of God is poured out upon all flesh, and even our sons and our daughters can prophesy, and see visions [Acts 2:17], and do work for God, even ringing bells.  All of us, all of us can be endowed, filled, glorified by the Spirit of Jesus in our souls in this day and in this dispensation.  It is a gift.  It is something we receive.  The Lord offers it to us, the gift of the Holy Spirit [Acts 2:38].

In John 20:22, “And when Jesus had said this”—shalom, “Peace be unto you” [John 20:21]—“He breathed on them, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit” [John 2:22]. Labete, the second aorist imperative of lambanō; now lambanō  means “to take.”  It has another meaning, “to receive,” but the first meaning of lambanō is “to take.”  And what the Lord said here was, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, “Take ye,” imperative, “Take ye the Holy Spirit” [John 20:22].  It is a gift from God, take it.  Take it.

“Oh, but Master, my life is so unworthy, and I’m a sinner, and I’m not, Lord, the least of Thy servants, not I, not I.”  And how many times do we withdraw?  “Lord, these hands and this life, unworthy, Master.  I could not be endowed, and filled, and glorified, not I.”  And we withdraw our hands, and we live miserably and miserly.  We live poorly, sorrily.  We don’t take.  We feel that others like those great saints I read about in history, and these great and effective preachers that are in these mighty pulpits in the earth, “They could take but not I, not I, unworthy as I am.  I could not take.”

In the days of the emperor Alexander––the czar of Russia, to whom Napoleon Bonaparte sent a priceless gift––in the days of Alexander, the emperor and czar of Russia, in the midst of his palace guard he just suddenly called forward a humble, menial servant in the palace and bestowed upon him his golden chalice.  And when the emperor placed that cup in the hand of that menial household servant, the servant drew back and said, “Your Majesty, no, I am not worthy.  I could not take it.  I could not take it.”  For a moment the great king was nonplused, the humility of the servant, “I am unworthy.  I could not take it.”  Then he drew himself up to his greatest height and majestically replied, “But sir, it is not too much for me to give.”

That is it exactly.  Sinners as we are, carnal as we are, filled with every unworthiness as we are, it is not too much for Jesus to elect to bestow upon us the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Take it.  Take it [John 20:22].  All that is needed is our consent; just our acquiescence, our yieldedness, and our surrender, our consent.  The disciples, before Pentecost, after the ascension of our Lord [Acts 1:9], waited ten days [Acts 1:3, 2:1].  They waited because of the dispensation that was to begin at Pentecost, for the Holy Spirit had not yet come.  But now after Pentecost, we are not asked to wait ten seconds.  This moment now, the moment that God has our consent, the Holy Spirit will flood, and fill, and glorify our souls; just our consent [John 20:22].

In preparing this message I came across a story of two preachers.  One of them was a great man speaking at a convention.  And after he had done his message one of his fellow pastors listening to him, walked up to him and said, “I bless God, I praise God that I consented.”  And the preacher who had just spoken said, “Well to what my friend did you consent?”  And the brother pastor replied, “I had been agonizing, and weeping, and praying for the Holy Spirit for fifteen years.  Then I heard you preach it is just that I consent and God will give Him me as a gift.  And I consented and the Spirit flooded my soul.  And I’ve been blessing God since the day that I consented” [John 20:22].”

And this man telling the story said, “Every time I saw that brother at a convention, he would always come up to me and say, ‘Bless God, praise God that I consented.’”  And he closed the story by saying, “I do believe,” he said, “when I walk through those pearly gates and down those golden streets [Revelation 21:21], I expect to meet that brother somewhere in the New Jerusalem [Revelation 21:2].  And when I see him, I expect him to walk up to me and say, ‘My brother, bless God and praise God, I consented’” [John 20:22].  Labete, “And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, labete, Take ye the Holy Spirit” [John 20:22].  Now that is the gift.

Now I turn to the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  First Corinthians 12:1, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.”  Concerning, ton pneumatikon, and I’m amazed, I’m surprised, for he uses two words here in this long passage in Corinthians, “of spiritual gifts,” he uses two different words.  The first one here is pneumatika; “now concerning pneumatika,” do you see the word “gifts” is in italics?  Whenever you see a word in italics in the Bible it means it is an added word.  It was not in the original.  “Now concerning ton pneumatika, now concerning things spiritual, now concerning the manifestations of the Spirit” [1 Corinthians 12:1, 7].

He defines that ton pneumatika in verse 7, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal” [1 Corinthians 12:7]; tou pneumatos, the things of the Spirit, the manifestations of the Spirit.  That is, we’re not talking about natural endowments.  We are not talking about talents.  We are not talking about things that we are born with, gifts as you see on Broadway, on the movie screen, or in the political world, or in the business world, the merchandising world.  Oh, how men are gifted, and talented, and able!  We are not talking about that at all.  It is something else and all together different.  “Now concerning the manifestation of the Spirit, pneumatika; the things of the Spirit” [1 Corinthians 12:1].  That’s the first word he uses.

Now in the fourth verse and thereafter he uses the word de charismatōn —charisma, charismatic gifts—de charismatōn, “Now concerning the gifts of the Spirit” [1 Corinthians 12:4], gifts, charismata, charisma, singular.  When you look at the word you know immediately it is built upon the Greek word charis, “grace.”  They take the accusative form of that Greek word charis, charin.  Charin and many of our girls here, little girls here in this church are named Karen, Karen.  Well, that’s the name of one of your girls and isn’t that the name of the girl you have?  Karen, Karen, grace, grace.

What is charis, the Greek word charis?  It is a very plain and simple but gloriously beautiful word.  Charis, translated “grace,” is unmerited favor.  The love, the devotion, the kindness, the goodness, the mercy of God upon men for which we did not work, we do not deserve it.  It is a favor, a charis of grace; something God bestows upon us out of the fullness of His soul and heart.  Now a charisma then is a gift that is underserved, unmerited.  It is something God does out of the goodness of His heart, a charisma, a gift of God undeserved, unmerited.  And of course the plural, the charismata; I emphasize that plural because that’s the word you’ll see when you read about these things, the charismatic gift, the charismata, the gifts of the Holy Spirit [1 Corinthians 12:4].  And if you are alive at all, if you’re not dead, if you’re alive at all this whole world is seething with discussions concerning these charismatic gifts––Charismata, the gifts of God unmerited and undeserved.

Here again we are to emphasize, because you keep this in your mind if you have any understanding now concerning pneumatika, concerning charismata, “brethren I would not have you ignorant” [1 Corinthians 12:1].  But we are grossly stupid.  Now you have to remember these things, if we have any intelligent approach to what God is doing for us at all.  These are not, again, endowments, carnal, natural, fleshly, congenital talents.  Any man is endowed with some things, born that way, carnally that way, fleshly that way.  He’s not speaking of them at all.  He is talking about pneumatika, the manifestations of the Spirit [1 Corinthians 12:7].  He is talking about charismata.  He is talking about the gifts of God—unmerited and undeserved—that the Lord pours out upon His people [1 Corinthians 12:8-11].

Now there is one place that I found in the Bible where both of those words, charismata and pneumatika, are used together.  “For I long to see you,” says Paul in Romans 1:11.  “For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some charisma pneumatikon, some spiritual gift.”  Now if I could translate that just literally, taking those words, “I long to see you,” says Paul writing the church at Rome, “that I may impart to you some charisma, some undeserved gift, pneumatikon, impartation of the Holy Spirit [Romans 1:11].

Oh, what are these gifts?  What are these gifts sovereignly bestowed of the Lord God, manifestations of the Spirit in every life of every believer.  And what could mine be, Lord, and what of the church?  And not knowing, do we lose most of the glory and the victory of our faith and of the power and the thrust of our church?  Lord, these spiritual manifestations, these gifts, whence come they?  And how are they bestowed?  And what are they?  We shall learn, we shall learn.

First of all, they are ascension gifts.  They come out of the distribution of the spoils of our Lord when He wasted Satan, and wasted the powers of darkness, and destroyed death, and the grave, and the hosts of hell.  Look at this.  In the fourth chapter of the Book of Ephesians:

But unto every one of us is given charis—grace—according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

For it is said—

it is written in God’s Book—

When He ascended upon high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men . . .

And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors; and some, teachers;

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the household,

[Ephesians 4:7-10]

and on, and on, and on.

What Paul is saying there is that when our Lord destroyed death, and destroyed the powers of Satan, and destroyed the kingdom of darkness, when He ascended back up to glory, He entered that golden city in triumph, leaving captivity itself captive, and He distributed gifts unto men [Ephesians 4:8].  The picture of it is very plain.  When a nation conquers and when a man is victorious, then it is his right to distribute the spoils of the battle.  And that’s what Christ has done.  Having just foiled Satan and the kingdoms of darkness, when He ascended up into glory He took the spoils of His victory and He poured it out upon men.  He distributed gifts unto men.  So they are ascension gifts.  They are the endowments that come from our glorious Lord in His victory, in His cross [Matthew 2:32-50], and in His resurrection [Matthew 28:1-7], and in His ascension, His return back to glory [Acts 1:9-10].  That’s one thing that I have learned about them.

All right, another thing that we learn about them; they are sovereignly bestowed.  Look, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal” [1 Corinthians 12:7].  And in verse 11, “But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, as He divides to every man, to each man severally as He will” [1 Corinthians 12:11], bouletai, as the Spirit chooses, as He wills, as He desires, as He shall say.  Well, what an astonishing thing, these gifts of the Spirit.  All of these are the gifts of that selfsame Spirit who divides to every man, who gives to each one of us, each one severally as He will [1 Corinthians 12:11].

Well, then there’s several things to be remembered from that concomitant corollaries that follow after that.  First, then I do not choose my gift.  It is not in my prerogative.  It is sovereignly chosen for me by the Lord [1 Corinthians 12:11].  I do not pick out and say, “I want this one,” or “I want that one,” or “I want the other one.”  It is God who chooses for me [1 Corinthians 12:11].  And to each one in the church, the Spirit chooses the spiritual manifestation, the charisma that shall be in your life.  It is not by choice [1 Corinthians 12:11]

Second, then it is not by reward.  It is not because I am sanctified or I am spiritually superior that I have a gift.  I do not earn it.  I do not work for it.  I do not deserve it, and it is not something that I choose.  That’s why in 1 Corinthians 4 and [7] when Paul says:

Who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? and if thou didst receiveth, why dost thou boast, why dost thou glory, why art thou proud in thyself, as if thou didst not receive it?

[1 Corinthians 4:7]

These gifts of the Holy Spirit of God are not something that comes from our superiority or merited by our great devotion.  Therefore they are nothing for us personally to boast of.  They are the endowments sovereignly bestowed by the Holy Spirit of God [1 Corinthians 12].  Now we must continue.

If I do not choose it, if I do not merit it, if it is not something that I work for, then this third one also; then I am not to seek it [1 Corinthians 12:11].  It is not to be sought after by me.  If the Spirit of God sovereignly bestows it, if He chooses which one and what gift you shall possess, then I am not to seek it.  It lies in His sovereign will [1 Corinthians 12:11].  .  Oh, the people in this world, and I don’t mean a million of them, I mean the people in this world, the millions of them who pray, and agonize, and weep, and castigate themselves every way begging, and crying, and pleading for the gifts of the Holy Spirit; this gift or that gift or some other gift!  Oh, when the Lord says, “It is not by our works of righteousness, it is not by our spiritual superiority, it is not by our seeking, or our choosing, or our meriting, it is by the sovereign choice of God that these are bestowed upon His people” [1 Corinthians 12:11].

“Now pastor,” you say, “But wait pastor, one other thing, this great chapter of number twelve in 1 Corinthians closes with, ‘But covet earnestly the best charismata.’  Well, you say we’re not to seek it, yet Paul says there, ‘but covet earnestly, importune for the best charismata’” [1 Corinthians 12:31].  Well, now you’ve got to remember the context.  You can never, ever, ever take a passage and lift it out of the context and have any meaning from God at all.  All these passages are in a context, what’s before, what’s after, and what is he speaking about.

Now in this passage here, “covet earnestly the best charismata, the best gifts” [1 Corinthians 12:31].  Paul is writing to a church.  He’s writing to a church at Corinth.  And what were they doing at Corinth?  Of all of these separate gifts of the Spirit bestowed upon these several people in the church, there were some of them that Paul says are way down here.  They are inferior gifts.  And there are some of those gifts that are way up here.  They are magnificent gifts.  Now the church at Corinth was magnifying the inferior gifts, these down here.  And they were neglecting these glorious, celestial, and heavenly gifts, these up here.  And Paul is saying, now among these gifts that are bestowed upon the people in the church at Corinth, don’t covet, don’t magnify the cheapest, the most unworthy gifts.  But magnify the glorious gifts; the first of which, Paul says, is preaching [1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11].

Now if I had an hour I would just expatiate on that for some aught, and I’m not doing this because I’m a preacher.  I’m doing this by the Word of the Lord.  Wherever you see a church magnify something else other than the preaching of the gospel of the Son of God, that people live in gross ignorance.  And they become feelings worshippers, and idol worshippers, and they are dense, and they are prey to every ideology that comes along.

Well, wherever you see a people that have been preached to by the Word of God, there you will find the spiritual men free and the foundation of the building of a great nation.  I’ll never forget Myron Cowen when we were his guests in the embassy in the Philippine Islands.  He said, “These people go to church, and they listen to services in a foreign tongue, and they are as grossly dense and ignorant as if they had never heard or been converted.”  He said, “What we need is preachers.  We need preaching to in the Philippine Islands.”  And he was pleading with us, “Won’t your denomination send preachers, missionaries?”

Now I repeat, I’m not saying that because I’m a preacher.  I’m just preaching to you the Word of God.  I never invented that.  And we’re going to see a whole lot of these things as this series progresses.  I’m learning like I never learned in my life.  And what the end of this is going to be I don’t know, because I’m still a-learning.  And whatever God shall say, that shall we accept; I don’t care what it is.  If God says it, it is final and mandatory for us and our souls.

Well now, what I was a-talking about was this: when he said, “Covet earnestly the best gifts” [1 Corinthians 12:31], Paul was saying to that church at Corinth, “Among all these gifts that are bestowed upon the people, don’t magnify these, but magnify these that the church may be edified, and the congregation built up, and the lost be won to Jesus.  All right, that’s another thing we learned.  They are sovereignly bestowed.  The Holy Spirit chooses for us what manifestation of the Spirit shall be in our lives [1 Corinthians 12:11].

Now not all have all the gifts.  Well let me turn it around.  No one has all the gifts, but all of us have some of the gifts, all of us.  No one of us has all the gifts.  As Paul says in this twelfth chapter, “Are all apostles?” [1 Corinthians 12:29]  No, there were only twelve and then Paul was added by the Lord.  Isn’t that strange?  The disciples chose Matthias to be an apostle [Acts 1:26].  God chose Paul to be an apostle [Romans 1:1], and look at the difference when God does it.  Are all apostles?  No.  Are all prophets?  No.  Are all teachers?  No.  Are all workers of miracles? [1 Corinthians 12:29].  No.  There is none of us that has all of the gifts, none of us.  And that’s why Paul expatiates so long in this twelfth chapter that it takes all of us to make a great church [1 Corinthians 12:18-20].

There never was a great church in the history of the world that was a one man church, never, never!  A one man church is a weak, anemic member of God’s brotherhood and congregation of churches, because one man doesn’t have all the gifts.  He may have forty dozen of them, but he doesn’t have all of them.  It takes all of us to make a great church.  I have a gift.  God’s given me a gift.  You have a gift.  God’s given you a gift.  And the hand can’t say to the foot, and the foot can’t say to the hand, neither one of them say to the either one “I don’t have any need of thee.”  There is a place in God’s household He says here, for all of our gifts [1 Corinthians 12:14-26].

Now we may not all have, no one of us may have all the gifts, but every one of us has some gift.  Why, he says that expressly, “For the manifestation of the Spirit, the charismata, the pneumatika, the charisma is given to every man, each one of us to profit withal” [1 Corinthians 12:7].  There is a gift for you, and one for you, and one for you.  There is a gift from God for all of us.  And some of us have several gifts.

Now I want to pause here to take a famous story and to illustrate this to you.  How can I know, how can I know the gift that God has given me?  How can I find it out?  Well, I have two things, briefly, to mention now, and then we’ll speak of it at length later on.  First, there is an inner witness, just as there is being a Christian.  My spirit bears witness with the Spirit of God.  Or turn it around.  The Spirit of God bears witness with my spirit when I’ve been saved.  It is an inner testimony, an inner witness, and you’ll have that in your life.  There will be affinities.  There will be lights.  There will be providences in your life.  There are things that you like to do, and there are things that God and the Holy Spirit has given you the ability to do.  Well, we must expatiate but that’s one, the inner witness.

Now the second is the testimony of the congregation.  The people will see it.  Now this is my far famed and world publicized illustration.  The pastor of this church before me, as you know, was Dr. George W. Truett, the greatest Baptist preacher that we’ve ever produced.  And he preached here in this pulpit forty-seven years.  When he was a youth, when he was a young man in Whitewright, Texas, the congregation there, the church there in Whitewright gathered together and voted to ordain George W. Truett to the gospel ministry.  And they called him in and said, “Young man, we have voted to ordain you to the gospel ministry.”  And the young fellow said, “Well, I’m not going to be a preacher.  I’m going to be a lawyer.  All my thinking days I’ve wanted to be a lawyer, and I’m going to be a lawyer, not a preacher.”  And the congregation at Whitewright said, “Not so, for God hath selected, appointed, ordained you to be a preacher.”  And to the astonishment of Dr. Truett and to his own amazement he found himself in the ministry.  The church ordained him right there on the spot.  Now I’m using that as just an illustration.  When the Spirit is manifested in a man’s life, the congregation will see it.  The congregation will know it and they’ll be sensitive to it.  We must hasten on.

No one of us has all of the gifts, but all of us have some.  Now I have one last little word and then we’ll pick it up the next time I preach.  All of the gifts of the Spirit are bestowed for the work of the faith, for the evangelization of the world, for the building up of the household of faith, for the strengthening of the ministers of the Lord, for the blessing of the congregation.  Now you look.  In the first chapter of the Book of Acts, look at the Great Commission of our Lord.  He does not say, “And ye shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and the other parts of the earth.” He didn’t say that.  Now you look at what He said.  With golden ears pay attention, “But,” said our Lord, “ye shall receive power, the charisma, the pneumatika, the presence, ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and then ye shall be witnesses unto Me in Jerusalem, and Judea, and Samaria, and the other parts of the earth” [Acts 1:8].  Our work is not to be done in human strength but in the strength of all mighty God.  Our defense, and our program, and our thrust, and our march lies in the ableness of Almighty God.

That is why in this world when so many are thinking science has just about plowed us under and modern technology is about to rid the world of God, and even these far-famed theological professors say, “We don’t need God anymore; He was a crutch back there for medieval and darkened ages but it is an enlightened time.  We don’t need the Lord.”  And some people are afraid that the whole world is going to wash out in defeat, and disaster, and dismal failure, and despair, and unbelief.  Don’t you believe a word of it.  Don’t you ever fall into the dismal miasma of a syllable of it.  For our strength and our power does not lie in what you can find in test tubes, or what you can demonstrate with telescopes.  But our spirit and our power lies in the ableness of Almighty God.  That’s where we do our work and that’s wherein God blesses us.

“Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and then shall ye be My witnesses” [Acts 1:8].  And that’s why Paul wrote to Timothy, “Now Timothy, you stir up, you kindle the gift of God that is in thee” [2 Timothy 1:6].  “For it is not by strength, and it is not by might, and it is not by power, but it is by My Spirit, said the Lord” [Zechariah 4:6].  God is able, oh, to do the most fantastically, wonderful, amazing, astonishing things the world ever saw!  Just imagine the conversion of Saul of Tarsus on the way to Damascus [Acts 9:1-18].  Or imagine the conversion of Billy Sunday.  Or imagine the conversion of Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  Or imagine what God has done in a thousand ways in a thousand times.  And imagine what God’s doing today.  Why, brother, just look around you.  Open your eyes and rejoice in the greatness of God our Savior.  Stir up the gift of God that is in you [2 Timothy 1:6].  And when we become a flame and a fire in our souls, look at the church glisten, and glow, and go, and shine, and simulate, and glorify God.  Now as I say, we have to stop.  But we’ll pick up there, and we’ll go through these gifts of the Spirit.  May the Lord reveal ours to us, and do marvelous things through us in His blessed name.

Now  Brother Lee Roy, let’s hoist us a tune.  Let’s sing us a song.  And while we sing the song “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” while we sing the song, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” somebody you, come down this aisle to the Lord.  Make it this morning.  Do it now.  In the balcony round, you; on this lower floor, somebody you; a couple, a family, as the Spirit of Jesus shall press the appeal to your heart, “Pastor, today I take Jesus as my Savior [Romans 10:8-13].  I give my heart and life to God” [Ephesians 2:8].  Or, “Today, Lord we’re putting our lives in the circle and circumference of this precious congregation” [Hebrews 10:24-25].  Whatever God bids you do, do it.  Do it.  On the first note of this first stanza come and when you stand up, stand up coming.  “Here I am, pastor.  I make it now”; while we stand and while we sing.