Saturday we had some friends over for dinner and we decided on a whim to make an apple crisp for dessert. We dove in wholeheartedly peeling and slicing apples, melting butter and mixing it all up. All was going well until we discovered we were missing baking powder. Who knew you needed baking powder in an apple crisp? I knew we had some in an unpacked box SOMEWHERE!
As I looked at the mountain of boxes in the garage, I decided I didn't have the courage to face
that task so Shanda decided to call the neighbors and borrow some. She called and they had just left for the evening but told us to go on in and get what we needed. They said that if the door was locked just go around back and go in one of the two there, surely one was bound to be open. Shanda sent me off and reminded me to hurry it up! Well, you guessed it, every door, window and crack was locked tight. (Paranoid I guess!) I peeked in the kitchen window and there were all the supplies I needed but to my dismay I could not gain access to them.
This makes me think of how different it is when we are sent on a mission by Jesus. Here's what Jesus said:
"Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you." Then He
breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit." (John 20:21-22 NLT)
When the Father sent Jesus, He had everything necessary to accomplish His mission.
1. He knew exactly what He was supposed to do and why. (Luke 19:10, 1Jn. 3:8)
2. He had access (authority) from the Father to do what needed to be done. (Matt. 28:18)
3. He was thoroughly equipped to accomplish His mission. (Matt. 3:15-17)
4. He was passionate about His mission. (John 2:16-17,Luke 19:41)
5. He accomplished His mission. (John 19:30)
When Shanda sent me to get baking powder, my mission was clear, I knew exactly what I needed; I had lots of passion because I love apple crisp; the problem was I was not equipped properly with the authority to access the place where the provision was. I had permission but no authority (the keys) to do what needed to be done.
When the Father sent Jesus here to do the work of Redemption, he not only provided everything Jesus needed, He was given authority and access to the provision in order to get the job done (Matt. 16:19). Jesus does the same for us. He has given us His Holy Spirit, we have the same power and authority He had. We now have access to all that we need to accomplish His mission.
"For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father." (Ephesians
So, let's be determined about out our mission since Jesus died to fulﬁll it. Let's be thankful because God has provided all we need to accomplish our mission. Let's be bold because Jesus gave us His authority when He ﬁlled us with His Holy Spirit.
This is kingdom living.
As for the apple crisp, we skipped the baking powder. It turned out just ﬁne, tasted great but just a little watery. (I ate most of it myself!)
Spiritual Gift Mandates
1 Peter 4:10-11
"God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to
serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God
himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all
the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to
God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen."
There are six declarations that Peter gives us here in this passage. When it comes to
spiritual gifts, we look at them like we would a birthday present or any other gift given to
us. We are honored and grateful to receive them but we feel that they are given to us for
our enjoyment and betterment we believe that we can use them at our leisure; when we
choose, how we choose and IF we choose. Unfortunately, God doesn't see it that way.
He sees them more as an investment and a responsibility. More like a stewardship. God
is a wise investor and He expects a good return on His investment read Matthew
chapter 25 for more about that. When He deposits spiritual gifts in us, He expects us to
use them and grow them.
Peter's declarations on spiritual gifts in this passage are:
1. Be accepting! God HAS given you gifts whether you realize it or not.
2. Be responsible! He expects us to use them and manage them well.
3. Be intentional! When we use our gifts appropriately, God is pouring His love, favor
and generosity out upon all whom we minister to while using those gifts. It is Him
working His will and power through us. His strength and power become ours.
4. Be bold! When we speak about Jesus, realize that God Himself is speaking through
5. Be assured! When we bless, help and encourage others; the Holy Spirit supplies the
grace, energy, strength and provision needed to do the job. You won't burn out or go
bust because He supplies everything needed
6. Be joyful! When we bless and serve others for Jesus' sake, He is gloriﬁed and made
great in the eyes of the world and those who don't yet know Him are drawn to Him.
Pastors Phil Harris of Epikos Church in Bend, Oregon.