217. Redemptive Gifts (1)

Mike Parsons

In this series on ‘destiny’ we have looked at ‘who I am’, and it is time now to move on to our redemptive gifts or ‘how I am made’. After that we will go on to ‘what I am made for’.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28).

If we want things to work together for good (and not just our own good but for the good of everything and everybody), then we really need to know that we are called and that we have a purpose.

Do you know His purpose for your life?

Have you accepted His call?

His purpose and His call will work together to enable us to see our lives outworked for the glory of God and bring transformation to this earthly realm. If we know His purpose for our lives and know what He has called us to, both in this realm and in heaven, that will enable us to be a gateway of heaven on earth.

Transformed or conformed?

‘A redemptive gift is the grace of God woven into who we are; that when we are made right with God we become able to honour Him with how He has made us to be’.

Sadly there may have been other threads ‘woven into us’ which have affected us negatively.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is… (Rom 12:2).

God’s will is for an open heaven over us, for us to engage with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in intimacy, and for that we need to be transformed (not conformed). The world wants to conform us to a particular pattern and rob us of what God intends us to have and experience.

The world may have masked, damaged or perverted our identity, our gift and our destiny, because of our own experience and that of our generations. If we don’t know who we really are we will forever be asking ‘where do I fit?’ and ‘where do I belong?’

God desires to transform us to outwork who we really are, in His service. In that way we will be able to fulfil our part in restoring the whole of creation.

Redemptive gifts

Redemptive gifts are different from the spiritual gifts of 1 Corinthians 12 (healing, words of knowledge, wisdom, distinguishing of spirits, tongues etc.), and from the offices appointed for the church in 1 Corinthians 14 (apostle, prophet, teacher, miracle worker etc.), and from the ministry gifts of Ephesians 4 (apostle, prophet, teacher, evangelist, shepherd).

Redemptive gifts are found in Romans 12.

Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy , according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who rules,  with diligence; he who shows mercy , with cheerfulness (Rom 12:6-8).

There are seven different gifts, and these are given to ‘each of us’, which leaves nobody out. We are to line up with what God has given, rather than what the world has attempted to impose on us. Each of us is to exercise the gift(s) He has given us; and as we do we are to be that gift to the rest of the body.

The seven gifts are: prophet, servant, teacher, exhorter, giver, ruler and mercy.

Paul writes that faith is intrinsic to being a prophet and that a servant will actually serve (you cannot be a servant in theory). The same with teacher and exhorter – it is only in teaching or exhorting that they express themselves. The next three are interesting. ‘With liberality’ describes how a giver gives. ‘With diligence’ describes how a ruler rules. Finally, mercy operates ‘with cheerfulness’, indicating that the mercy gift may perhaps struggle to be cheerful. We will look at each gift in more detail in coming posts.

Why ‘redemptive’ gifts?

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be redeemed from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God (Rom 8:19-21).

Everything God created, both in the spiritual realm and in the physical realm, is waiting for God’s sons to be revealed, and to bring back to creation what is missing. So ‘creation itself will also be redeemed’, and we are called to be part of God’s plan to do that. That plan includes the gifts God has given us, and when we discover who we are then we can discover how we fit in to God’s overall purpose. The way we are wired and designed enables each of us to fulfil our destiny and engage in the process of restoring creation.

Redemptive gifts are dealt to each person in differing measures of faith.
God gives people as the different gifts.
God gives these gifts as necessary to fulfil his redemptive will on earth.
Each of us is a gift, differing according to the grace given to us by God.

Each person is and has a primary gift, but will have others as well, and the mix and degree of the various gifts in each of us is a unique combination.

Received at conception

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5).

Redemptive gifts are received at conception, rather than salvation. We are born with them and they will influence the course of our lives, regardless of whether we become Christians or not (though they will be more effectively expressed if we do). Psychologists term these differences in people ‘basic temperaments’ or ‘personality types’.

We are designed on (and with) purpose.

Redemptive gifts tend to shape our personality. They also affect the way in which we may receive or express one or more of the spiritual gifts, offices or ministries.

So my redemptive gift is how I am intrinsically made to function, ideally with spirit and soul in harmony. But because of separation from God, my soul or heart personality traits developed independently of my spirit. I need to discover the gift, then purify and refine the heart to define and polish it, so that it begins to shine.

There are some common behavioural characteristics which can help us identify our redemptive gifts (primary and secondary). Compassion, for example, may come more easily to servants and mercies than prophets and rulers. However, we must not use our gift as an excuse for not growing in love! We are all called to walk out the fruit of the Spirit, whether it comes naturally or not.

Arthur Burk has done a great deal of research into redemptive gifts. Here are some of the characteristics he has identified and how he correlates them with other sevens in the Bible (click here or on either image to view or download them both in one PDF file):

slide-1-hd
slide-2-hdGod is your Father and designer, and He desires to call forth your identity as His child. He desires to reveal your redemptive identity. He wants you to know who you are and how you are designed. You are called to be a world-changer.

As you exercise your own gifting you are free of the need to compare yourself (favourably or unfavourably) with anyone else. You can be comfortable in your own skin, not having to try to be like other people.

You are you.

You are unique;
Everyone else is also unique.

You are messed up in some way;
Everyone is messed up in some way.

You are a mixture;
Everyone is a mixture.

Every one of us is in a process of being refined, purified and transformed so that we can be ‘us’ as designed by God.

We must learn to respect and honour the differences and uniqueness in each other. As members of the body we will not all see things the same way, but when we put it all together we (as a body) will see things as Jesus does.

Next time we will begin to look at each of the gifts in more detail.

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89. Seed Wars

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

When Satan fell, he was seeking to overturn God’s eternal plan that Man should inherit the heavens. He wanted that place of rulership for himself.

Here is a diagram I used when I taught about spiritual warfare in Freedom Church:
I realise that some of the writing is quite small to read, so you can click on the image above to view or download it as a PDF file, if that helps.

Time and Eternity

On the left you see eternity, the setting for Genesis 1:1. Before time, if you like. God created the earth to be inhabited, but then Lucifer rebelled, as we saw last time, and was cast down to the earth, where he brought down God’s judgment upon it in the first flood.

Moving to the right, you find Genesis 1:2. Inside the bracket of time, now. The earth is without form, and void (that’s really just another word for ’empty’). God begins again, He recreates the earth. How long is the time between verse 1 and verse 2? We have no idea. Nor do we know how long a time elapsed between verses 2 and 3. It could have been microseconds; it could have been 14 billion years. We don’t know.

The Fall of Man

Then comes the week of (re-)creation followed by the story of Adam’s fall, as Satan now engages with Adam and Eve. And what he is offering them is the only thing he has to trade with: information. He offers them the opportunity to become like God, but without God. The opportunity to know, without God. To rule, without God (he would later try the same thing on Jesus in the wilderness). This is the root of humanism.

Trading for Seed

He offers to give them information in return for something. They did not trade by eating a piece of fruit from a tree – that is very symbolic language when you go back into the original Aramaic. Satan overshadowed them, and took their DNA. He knew that DNA was the only thing that could inherit the heavens.

Now that he has DNA, he produces a seed. That may be an unfamiliar idea, but it is right there in scripture. In Genesis 3:14-15 we find the first prophecy of the coming of a Messiah, a Redeemer, and in verse 15 we read about Satan’s seed: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel”. God is talking to Satan, and says, “Your seed and her seed”. It is made really clear that Satan has seed.

Seed Wars

This is how he came to get that seed. Cain and Abel, who were twins, had different fathers. Abel’s father was Adam, and his DNA was to produce what is called ‘the seed of woman’. Except that Cain killed him, and God had to reinstitute that line through Seth. Cain’s father was Satan. Cain was the seed of Satan. So you can view this whole period as one of seed wars, during which Cain’s seed seek to rule.

Polluting the Seed

Then, in Noah’s time, we have fallen watcher angels – Ben Elohim (sons of God) – falling to earth, leaving their proper place (Jude 1:6). They do a similar thing with human women, overshadowing them (this is not sex as we know it, but overshadowing of their DNA) to produce the race of giants called the Nephilim. Spiritual warfare becomes intense, fighting for the purity of the seed. Judgment comes again in the flood, but God preserves the seed of woman.

Jesus the Seed

We know that Jesus was the prophesied seed who was coming, who was to crush Satan’s head (though he would bruise His heel). Satan did not know that, but every scheme and intention of his was to prevent the fulfilment of that prophecy by eliminating or corrupting the seed line before it could happen.

Abraham and his Seed

Remember the covenant God made with Abraham. It was a covenant with Abraham ‘and his seed’ (Gal 3:16). And throughout the Old Testament period, Satan threw everything he had at frustrating God’s plan. From genocide under Pharoah to the massacre of the innocents under Herod, he tried everything to prevent the fulfilment of God’s words in Genesis 3:15. Even when Jesus was ready to enter His ministry, as I mentioned earlier, he attempted to derail His destiny in the wilderness.

The Prophecy Fulfilled

The cross, he thought, was his moment of crowning triumph. Only to find that, despite his best efforts, all he had done was fall in with the eternal purpose of God, and co-operated in bringing down that promised crushing blow upon his own head.

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