Had you stopped to think that it is God's saving grace that has made you what you are?
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, my radio friend, how in the world are you? You doing alright today? I’ve just been praying that God might put His truth, and His power and, most of all, His love into the very tone of my voice and in the words that I say, so that you’ll be blessed and refreshed and helped along life’s way. May God answer that prayer for us today.
We’re in 1 Peter 4, and we’ve gotten into verse 9, where Peter says, “Use hospitality one to another without grudging.” The last broadcast that we had together, I was meditating with you on this idea of using Christian hospitality. When you invite someone into your home and serve them a good meal or a dessert or whatever, they used to call it, “Coffee klatsch evangelism.” When you invite someone into your home that way, you establish a rapport, the barriers are broken down, people cease to be suspicious and ill at ease, and they feel at home with you. And then you have a chance, providing, that is, that your Christianity is real, you have a chance to share your Lord with them. Use it, use it, use hospitality. Jesus said, “I was hungry and you fed me. I was naked and you clothed me. I was a stranger, you received me, you took me in.” You and I can do no better than to follow the example of our blessed Lord in those matters.
Now, he says do it without grudging. That’s an interesting word, I looked at it in my Greek New Testament today just to refresh it in my own mind. Goggusmós. [chuckle] Sounds like grumbling, doesn’t it? It’s a word that means grumbling, grumbling. People who are kind to you because they have to turn out to be sort of an affront, isn’t that true? [chuckle] Oh, dear. When people tell me how much it cost them to be kind to me, I sort of wish they hadn’t bothered. “I want you to know I missed my lunch to do this.” Well, then you should have had your lunch. [laughter] Without grumbling. You see, you don’t get any extra reward when you do kind things because you have to. And people don’t appreciate it. It may be helpful to them and it maybe something that costs you time and energy or money. But if you do it because you have to, with a forced grumbling, grudging spirit, it takes all the joy out of it, and people don’t appreciate it and you don’t get any reward for it. That’s what Peter is saying, “Don’t grumble about it.” [chuckle]
I thought just now of the story about the lady who was having company. The house was clean and spotless, everything was shining, the best silver and the best china was on the table and there was a beautiful floral centerpiece. And the meal was cooked to perfection, everything was perfect, the company was there. And the little girl was seated at the table with her mother and her mother said, “Now, dearie, you can say grace for us tonight, you can pray.” And the little girl, who may have been 5 or 6, I don’t know, in the story, looked up and said to her mother, “Mommy, I don’t really know what to say.” And the mother said, “Well, you can just pray what you heard me pray.” And so, the little girl folded her hands and bowed her head and said, “Oh, Lord, why do we have to have these people tonight?” [laughter] Out of the mouths of babes, huh? Well, without grumbling, without grumbling. Don’t do it because you have to, do it because you want to. Far better if you don’t wanna do it, don’t do it.
But if you want to be helpful to people and it comes out of a heart of love, then it’s helpful, it breaks down the barriers, it gives you an opening for sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Use, use it, use hospitality. The word translated as hospitality, actually means love of friends. You have some friends, show them your love, that’s what it means. And do it without grudging.
Now, in verse 10, he says, “As every man hath received the gift.” Now, God gives different gifts, as Paul says in Romans. I’ll turn to that passage right now and we’ll see what it says. God has given different gifts. “As every man hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Having then gifts, differing according to the grace that is given to us. Whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith or ministry, let us wait on our ministry or he that teacheth on teaching or he that exhorteth on exhortation. He that giveth, let him do it with simplicity. He that ruleth, with diligence. He that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness. And let love be without hypocrisy.”
Gifts that God has given to you as an individual. You see, there is the list in Romans. As every man hath received the gift. Now, “God hath set some in the church.” I’m reading now from 1 Corinthians 12:28. “Apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” Now, he says, not everybody is an apostle, not everybody is a prophet, not everyone is a teacher, not everyone works miracles. Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? “No,” he says, “They don’t all do it. But God has given these gifts.” And so, God has set in the church certain people with certain gifts.
“He that ascended up into heaven that He might fulfill all things, He gave some,” this is Ephesians chapter 4 now, “He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some teaching pastors, for the perfecting of the saints and the work of the ministry.” I always say “perfecting.” Somebody wrote me and said, “Why do you mispronounce that? It should be ‘perfecting!'” Okay, I’ll say it, “perfecting.” [laughter] I don’t know where I got into that habit. Years ago somebody used it and I picked it up, the power of habit’s pretty strong, isn’t it? Now, he says, “As every man hath received the gift.” Now, Peter has a listing of gifts, the gift of speaking, the gift of ministering, that’s all he has there, “If any man speak and if any man minister that God may be glorified.” Alright, think about this. Have you ever thought about what gift God has given you? Now, all of us have certain abilities and thank God we have them. We always wish we had more. I know I do, don’t you? But God has given you some gifts.
I’ll tell you this just for a chuckle, okay? I remember being in meetings in Sioux City, Iowa in the early 1950s, it must have been 1950, maybe ‘1 or ‘2 or ‘3, around in there. And the meetings were going rough and I brought everybody I could to bring extra people in. I had Rudy Atwood there from the Old Fashioned Revival Hour. He played piano for Dr. Fuller. You remember that? And I had some other people there to sing. I brought Stewart Hamblen, and some other people, I forget who all, to try to get a crowd. And then, of course, all I know, then and now, is to pray, work like everything and pray your way through. I was working, but I said to the fellows on the team and other friends, I said, “We’d better have a night of prayer and seek God and break through here.” Two things happened in that night of prayer. My good friend Kelly Beale, who still lives out in the Long Beach area and I think he’s still on the radio; you may hear him now and again, he was with me there and he was praying and didn’t seem really to get very far in his praying, and finally in complete frustration he broke off and he said, “Hey, Lord, I’m Kelly Beale, remember me? Here in Sioux City!” [laughter] He just felt like he wasn’t getting anywhere.
Well, then it came time for someone else to pray, Rudy Atwood, the piano player, a dear man and a great friend. Well, he prayed and he made a very good prayer, then he got around to praying for Bob Cook. And he prayed for me, that the Lord would bless me and fill me, and then he broke off and thought a minute and he said, “And, Lord, here’s this man that’s got this great executive gift and he thinks he wants to preach. Help him, Lord.” [chuckle] Well, that broke us all up. We had a little break there to chuckle before we went to praying again. “Here’s this man got this great executive gift and he thinks he wants to preach.” Well, I didn’t think I had any executive gift. I hadn’t discovered anything about that. I was just busy trying to keep things going.
Beloved, listen, give some thought and prayer to what God has specially given you. Some of you have such precious qualities. I know many of you, of course, from having met you, and some of you are dear friends through the years, and I sense that you have such wonderful, precious qualities from God, and I just long for you to use them fully for His glory. Some maybe have a gift at writing, but you don’t do much of it, you keep thinking you’ll get at it, and some of you have the gift of just encouraging people. People feel better when you come into their presence, they get encouraged because you’re there. And some of you have a great, loving heart that takes up the burden of other people’s concerns and helps them and comforts them. Some of you can manage, and some can sell, and some can sing, and some can preach, and so on and so on. Different gifts.
Oh, he says, “As every man hath received the gift.” Now, Paul says in Corinthians, “What hast thou that thou didst not receive.” Anything you have is not yours in a proprietary sense, God has just loaned it to you. Preacher, God could take away your voice and you wouldn’t be able to say a word, and a preacher without his pipes is bad. That’s tragic. All that God has to do for any of us is just look away from us for an instant and we’re ruined. What you have is loaned to you by the grace of God, always remember that. “As every man hath received the gift.” So, on that basis, that it’s yours to use but not to own, on that basis, he says, “Even so minister to one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” The grace of God not only gets you to heaven but equips you on the way.
Had you stopped to think that it is God’s saving grace that has made you what you are? Here’s a man who’s an attorney and he’s the head of a great corporation and he can write beautifully and speak effectively. And I look at him and I think, “Oh, boy, has he got gifts, has he got abilities.” But the purpose of all of that, my beloved friend, is that you use that as a steward of God’s grace. It’s His saving and transforming grace that has given you the ability to administer and the ability to interpret the law and apply it and the ability to speak effectively to others, and the ability to write beautifully. That’s just one package of one life that I know down through the years. Manifold grace of God’s stewards. What does a steward do? He takes something that belongs to somebody else and he invests it for a profit. That’s what a steward does in the biblical sense. Something that belongs to somebody else. You see, your gifts are not yours, they’re given you to use from your blessed Lord. And you’re to invest them for His glory. You think and pray about that, will you, as the days go by? We’ll get back to this momentarily the next time we get together.
Well, dear Lord, we love You and we’re thankful for Your blessing. Oh, wilt Thou help us to use Your gifts today. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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