The presence of the Holy Spirit will manifest itself in certain ways often called the fruits [or indicators] of the presence of the Holy Spirit, which will develop more and more over time, as we overcome more and more and grow in godliness.
The scriptures contain a list of the Fruits of God’s Spirit and also a list of the Gifts of God’s Spirit. Fruits means the evidence of God’s Spirit in a person. The Gifts of love, wisdom, knowledge and faith are the same as the fruits, but the gifts of healing, prophecy and tongues are additional special gifts for the edifying of the whole assembly. This series will present identical Fruits and Gifts together in the same articles, and will place those specific Gifts [healing, tongues and prophecy] not included in the list of Fruits in their own articles.
In Romans 12:1-8 the apostle Paul addresses the subject of the gifts of the Spirit similar to what he had to say in 1 Corinthians 12 .
In essence, Paul is saying the same things about the gifts in Romans 12 as he did in 1 Corinthians 12, that there are many members in the Body of Christ and that different members are given different gifts to do different tasks. Like a human body, each organ has a unique function and when the organs work together and each contributes its own unique operation to the whole, then the body stays in good health and can function as a body.
Compared to 1 Corinthians 12 list, Paul’s list in Romans 12 adds a few additional gifts, leaves out others and a few that are listed in 1 Corinthians are repeated in Romans 12.
Romans 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 12:7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 12:8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
The seven gifts that Paul lists in this chapter are prophecy, ministering (one who serves), teaching, exhorting, giving, ruling (one who leads and manages) and mercy (one who shows mediates or reconciles).
The next gift listed after prophecy in Romans 12 is the “gift of ministering” or as Paul calls it in 1 Corinthians 12:28 “helps”.
1 Corinthians 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
The spiritual gift of ministering or (or the gift of helps) covers a wide range of activities and can apply to a variety of different ways of serving. There are two Greek words for this gift of doing service. The first one, found in Romans 12:7, is diakonos. The basic meaning of this word is “to wait on tables,” but it is most often translated in the Bible as “ministry.” or even “deacon”. It refers to any act of service, no matter how menial it may seem, done in genuine love for the edification of the Ekklesia, the congregation.
The Greek word for a servant is diakonos (Strong’s #1249) and means: a servant, minister: definition: a waiter, servant; any one who performs any service, an administrator. (Strong’s Concordance.)
This word then can be used for any kind of service or ministering and can also mean “deacon”.
Word Helps presents a vivid mental image of this word for us…. as “stirring up dust”, moving in a hurry (with eagerness)…. to minister or to help others.
HELPS Word-studies 1249 diákonos (from 1223 /diá, “thoroughly” and konis, “dust”) – properly, “thoroughly raise up dust by moving in a hurry, and so to minister” (WP, 1, 162); ministry (sacred service).1249 /diákonos (“ministry”) in the NT usually refers to the Lord inspiring His servants to carry out His plan for His people – i.e. as His “minister” (like a deacon serving Him in a local church).
[A. T. Robertson, “1249 (diákonos) properly means ‘to kick up dust,’ as one running an errand.” 1249 (diákonos) is the root of the English terms, “diaconate, deacon.” This root (diakon-) is “probably connected with the verb diōkō, ‘to hasten after, pursue’ (perhaps originally said of a runner)” (Vine, Unger, White, NT, 147).] (Word Helps)
The other Greek word is antilepsisand is translated as “helps” (Strong’s #484) and is found in 1 Corinthians 12:28. It has a similar meaning: to help or aid in [agape] love within the Ekklesia or the congregation, a laying hold, one who aids. (Strong’s Concordance)
The Hebrew word for “help” is ezer (Strong’s #5828) ezer is from a primitive root; azar (Strong’s # 5856) to help, to surround, i.e. protect or aid — help, succour. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance).
Ezer simply means: “help” or “helper” and sometimes can even refer to God as being our Help or Helper. This word also is used in describing a “wife” for Adam as a helper or help meet for him.
Psalm 33:20 Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help [ezer] and our shield.
Psalm 121:2 My help [ezer] cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
Genesis 2:18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help [ezer] meet for him.
God’s Spirit endows some believers with this gift of “helps”, or ability mixed with eagerness, to serve, to fill the many gaps of ministry and to meet the needs of the church as it fulfills the Work of God and the furtherance of the Gospel. There are many believers who have the gift of helps within the Ekklesia. Some are called to serve in leadership positions while others serve quietly outside of the spotlight behind the scenes. The gift of “helps” is the willingness and ability to give aid and assistance in accomplishing tasks no matter how trivial or mundane they may seem.
These gifted believers attend to practical tasks that need to be done and this in turn frees up others who have other gifts and allows these others to use their various gifts to the fullest.
This keeps the operation of God’s Work running smoothly and efficiently, making use of all of the gifts that are dispersed among the members of the congregation or the group. The result is the continued edification and sooth operation of the Ekklesia as a whole body AND the fulfilling of the need to preach and do outreach work to the unconverted and the world at large.
We see such people in the New Testament who are called by such names as deacons, fellowservants, succourers, faithful ministers, fellow-laborers who are endowed with this gift in passages like Acts 6:1-7, Romans 16:1-23, 1st Corinthians 16:15-16, and many others.
Those with the gift of ministry and helps, are committed to the spreading of the Gospel but they often serve in ways that assist others with different gifts and ministries.
These people who have a heart for service are content with serving in the background knowing that their contributions are benefiting the brethren or that their work is helping others to take the Gospel to the world. They can see that the cooperation of all members working together in whatever capacity God has granted them, whether large or small, will ultimately bring glory to God and help Him to accomplish His plan and purpose for humanity.
An individual believer who has this spiritual gift is very zealous in giving assistance to whatever job needs to be done. He or she simply wants to help and has a cheerful willingness to roll up their sleeves and “pitch in” to do whatever needs to be done with humility and grace, no matter how menial or tedious the job appears to be. If a job needs to be done, whether its setting up chairs or sound equipment, working in the kitchen, cleaning the meeting hall and bathrooms, helping out with infants and small children, helping the widows and the disabled, etc., etc. they are ready and full of zeal to make it happen and they are the ones that generally ensure that those things get done.
Ministering, or helping others, is a very common spiritual gift found in the Ekklesia. These believers often prefer to work behind the scenes without having others even knowing about their efforts rather than to hold more visible leadership positions.
The word translated “helps” means literally “to relieve, succor, participate in and/or support”. Those with the gift of helps are those who can aid or render assistance to others in the Ekklesia with compassion and patience. This gift gives those that possess it a broad range of possibilities for ministering in the body of Christ.
Helpers are often those who labor in obscurity, perhaps volunteering to work regularly at services or during the Feast with the practical things that need to be done. Others see helping as assisting those who are elderly, or widows, or single moms, to accomplish daily tasks, or perhaps help them in maintenance or repairs; coming alongside to render assistance in those areas where help is needed.
Such helps also serve the ministry by aiding them with nonspiritual matters so that the elders can focus their labors on spiritual matters. For example far too many elders are engaged in organizing sports activities or socials; which should be left to others, freeing up the ministry to labor in the Word.
Even those who feel they have no abilities or who have afflictions that prevent them from being able to serve can pray for others and for the Work of God. They can encourage others with kind words or wise advice and thereby are serving their brethren.
Helpers render gifts of service in the broadest sense, assisting and supporting the Body of Christ. They, along with those who do the other kinds of works of service, will receive their reward for edifying and building up the church. They serve from the heart and not for public repute.
Matthew 6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 6:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
Qualifications for Deacons
The spiritual gift of helps may or may not be necessarily synonymous with the office of someone ordained to be a deacon. Again, there are non-leadership roles (perhaps not so visible) and then there are leadership roles (that are more public) and God is the one who decides to what capacity and in what role His children are to minister. Those who are called to deacons, are expected to adhere to certain standards which Paul spells out in 1 Timothy 3.
1 Timothy 3:8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; 3:9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. 3:10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. 3:11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. 3:12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 3:13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Here, the Greek word for “deacons” in this passage is diakonos (Strong’s# 1249) the same word we looked at earlier.
There are offices and positions that have the function of ministering in an official capacity often referred to as ministers, servers, elders or deacons. Neither method of ministering or helping others, whether unseen or visible, is inferior to the other; it is God who places His children where He wants them and the various roles have different responsibilities and different operations, but all should work in harmony with each other to build up the Body of Christ.
For example, there may be certain individuals who volunteer hours of their personal time in the back of the church to work a sound system, or women helping in the mother’s room to assist mothers with their small children during services. Perhaps their efforts go completely unnoticed by the others within the Ekklesia; however, many of these people are just fine with that as they prefer to keep a low-profile.
Then there are others who are more extroverted who like to be out there in the open helping in more visible ways, they may serve as examples to others concerning ways that they, too, can serve. But no matter what the personality types, whether we are extroverts or introverts, it is God that determines who He will use for any ministry role and He will use individuals as He sees fit regardless of their personalities or temperaments.
Our job is to do whatever God has given us to do or shown us to do and then do it wholeheartedly unto Him with all diligence. Even in doing the smaller type jobs we are learning to be responsible and dependable and that, too, is important in the eyes of God.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
Romans 12:4 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 12:5 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, 12:6 whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 12:7 Or ministry [serving and helping], let us wait on our ministering [let him serve others].
The Office of Deacon in the Early Church
We have a perfect example of this gift being played out in the early days of the assemblies when the certain services needed to be be set up in an organized way.
Acts 6:1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
6:2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
6:3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
6:4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
6:5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:
6:6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.
6:7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
In the sixth chapter of Acts, we read that a problem arose that needed to be taken care of in the early days of the Ekklesia. It seems that there was some mismanagement of how the widows were being taken care of and some felt that they were being neglected. The twelve apostles promptly called a meeting of the rest of the disciples to address the problem. During the meeting they wisely came to the conclusion that if they (the apostles) were to devote their time in managing the distribution to the widows that it would take time away from what God had called and had gifted them to do, which was to preach and teach the Word of God.
The apostles assessed as to what could be done to alleviate the problem and made an administrative decision to appoint seven capable men to oversee this business; this would keep the apostles free to do the jobs which God had appointed them to do and would give other disciples an opportunity to serve in the Ekklesia. For these positions the disciples sought out men “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” and set them before the apostles and the apostles ordained them to the office of serving and ministering (the first deacons).
And the Ekklesia was blessed for setting things in their proper order, for right after Luke adds:
Acts 6:7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
As we read through the Book of Acts and the Epistles we see many, many people who were helpers and assistants to Paul and to the other apostles. Their service was greatly appreciated for they served in ways that brought relief and much needed sustenance to Paul and others. They also contributed much in helping the church in many practical ways and in this way helped others to further the Gospel; their service in all of these areas was of paramount importance.
Acts 19:22 So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season.
Philippians 2:25 Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. 2:26 For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick.
Philippians 4:3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
Colossians 4:7 All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord:
In the Gospel accounts we read of certain women who ministered to Jesus and most likely to His disciples as well, which in turn freed the men’s hands to do the work of teaching, preaching, traveling and attending to the spiritual needs of others.
Mark 15:40 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; 15:41 (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem.
Luke 8:1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, 8:2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, 8:3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.
There were many in the Old Testament that served as assistants to others such as Aaron to Moses, later Joshua to Moses; David first became a servant to Soul; Elisha was Elijah’s assistant; Ruth served and ministered to her mother-in-law Naomi, and Nehemiah waited on King Artaxerses; and there were many others who served in a servant/ministering capacity.
As we read these accounts we see that many who were faithful in their service positions later went on to become leaders in their own right and in time were given much more responsibility. Joshua served as Moses assistant for many years and when Moses died he became the leader of the children of Israel; David served Saul faithfully and then became king after Saul died; Elisha became prophet in Elijah’s stead after Elijah was taken up in the whirlwind; Artaxerses granted Nehemiah leave from his service to go to Jerusalem to lead the Israelites in building the wall.
We see this time and again with faithful individuals who were given servitude positions, later going on to take on jobs that required leadership responsibilities. In the case of Stephen who was selected to help out with serving the widows; it was said of him that he was “full of faith and power and did great wonders and miracles among the people” (Acts 6:8).
As Stephen served the widows and the rest of the people he did these kind of works and he must haven spoken words of wisdom concerning the truth of God. His actions and words aroused the attention of certain members of the synagogues and they became very envious. These men set themselves against Stephen and provoked the religious leaders to seize him and to bring him before the council (Sanhedrin) to answer their charges.
God gave Stephen the words to say before them all with great wisdom as he gave an eloquent rendering of the history of the nation of Israel and of God’s promises. God gave him a mouth to indict the people for their propensity for going astray after other gods and for refusing to listen to the prophets (including the greatest Prophet of all) but rather persecuted and killed them. Stephen’s opponents were no match for him in the debate. “They were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spake.”
It was not really Stephen with whom they had to contend, the Holy Spirit was empowering Stephen and giving him the words that they needed to hear as a testimony of what God had been doing throughout history and that Jesus was the fulfillment of the prophecies. Stephen was being inspired by the Holy Spirit when he stood before his opponents and gave one of the most stirring witness of all time. In this way he was still ministering and serving his Lord but in a different way than when he waited on tables. (Please see whole chapter of Acts 7)
Stephen, who was ordained as one of the first deacons, willingly took on the job of waiting on tables to help distribute to the needs of the poor widows, and then went on to become a martyr for the testimony and cause of Christ.
Acts 8:2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
Stephen, who was ordained as a deacon, has the legacy of serving right up to his testifying in the name of the Lord with His powerful witness and his martyrdom. His works and words are recorded in the Scriptures and the events of that day have been witnessing to all who read the book of Acts until this day.
Right after the ordeal of Stephen’s martyrdom, we read of Philip who was another one of the seven selected to be deacons. He, too, became a powerful servant in other things besides ministering to the widow and in the distribution of food.
Since the apostles remained at Jerusalem (Acts 8:1), it appears that this Philip was the deacon Philip who did such mighty works through God’s power in Samaria. This is the first instance of the disciples preaching directly to the Gentiles, as Samaria was a Gentile city.
Acts 8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. 8:6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 8:7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. 8:8 And there was great joy in that city.
Later on God sent Philip to minister to the Ethiopian who was the treasurer under Candace the queen of Ethiopia. The Ethiopian was traveling in the area between Jerusalem and Gaza and God was calling him to repent and to believe the Gospel and to take the Gospel message back to his own country.
It was Philip who was told by an angel to go meet this man and Philip did as he was told. Philip was given the mission of helping the Ethiopian to understand the words that he was reading in Isaiah and to guide him to the conviction of the Messiah-ship of Jesus Christ and the need to repent and be forgiven of his sins. He became so convicted that Phillip was able to baptize him that same day.
Acts 8:31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. 8:32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: 8:33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. 8:34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 8:36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 8:38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
What the Apostles Had to say About Serving our Brethren
Here are some exhortations given by the apostles on how we are to all serve each other from the heart.
James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
1 Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Acts 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. [Not just to give money or things but to give of our time, energy and talents to help others as well.]
Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
Philippians 2:1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
James 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 2:15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 2:16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
Romans 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 12:13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
What Jesus Had to Say About Serving Others
When the disciples argued about who would be the greatest, Jesus rebuked them and explained how godly leaders should see themselves.
At His last Passover Jesus instituted the foot washing ordinance to show what it meant to be humble servants to each other rather than to seek the preeminent positions and to try to exert authority over others.
Matthew 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Luke 16:10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
Luke 22:25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 22:26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
John 13:12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? 13:13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 13:14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
If we serve diligently in small things in this life there is no guarantee that we will be given high positions of leadership in this life, but God does promise that if we faithfully serve wherever there is a need and we do it cheerfully and without expecting favor in return; that He will reward us at the time of the resurrection to spirit.
Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works
Luke 14:12 Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. 14:13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: 14:14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
Ministering To Others is God’s [Agape] Love in Action
We have a loving Father who knows us and what all our needs and challenges are. He has given the gift of serving and ministering to certain individuals, those who want to come alongside others with their merciful [agape] love. These precious called out ones can lift the heart by assisting and helping to carry an assortment of burdens that their brethren are unable to carry all by themselves.
Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
But there is an additional spiritual significance to the gift of ministering and helping others. Since it is one of the spiritual gifts that is granted by the Holy Spirit, all of which gifts are given to benefit the whole Body of Christ, there is sometimes a different aspect of the gift of ministering which can help and build up in other important ways other than just the practical aspects.
As we have seen in our studies of the spiritual gifts there are some gifts that work in conjunction with other gifts (for example the gift of faith working with the gift of healing and/or miracles). The gift of wanting to help others and to ease their burdens often goes right along side of the gift of mercy or the gift of generous giving or perhaps exhortation.
All of the gifts and the people who have them, work in tandem with other gifts and God sometimes gives more than one gift to an individual if He sees a need to.
Those who have been given the spiritual gift of helps may also have the gift of mercy and are given the unique ability to identify those who are hurting or who may be struggling in life with hardships, poverty, health problems; things that have a way of causing discouragement and disillusionment. Those going through trials may be battling spiritual battles of fear and discouragement other than just the obvious physical trials and those with the gift of helps sense their spiritual need for encouragement and want to help them in that area as well.
Those with the gift of ministering and helps sometimes do more than just the practical things that are needed. Because of their compassion and understanding nature, they often assist those with spiritual needs by giving a kind word, an understanding and compassionate presence, and the unique ability to speak biblical truth and wise words, that is both helpful and comforting. These gifted individuals may also have the gift of being able to uplift and bring restoration of the spirit. “A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!” (Proverbs 15:23)
Proverbs 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
Those who minister in this way strive to quell anxiety and encourage the hearts of the downcast. They minister with cheerful and confidently spoken words of truth and comfort. They often instill a sense of calmness in those who have fears and doubts by reminding them of God’s promises and that this world is not all there is and that God has something much more valuable in store for His faithful children.
Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
And further down the chapter we have these comforting words that we can offer to each other; that all these trials that we have to go through are working out something that is far more useful than we realize and that they will eventually work out for the good. God through the prophet Isaiah says that it is He that gives the wisdom to speak words of comfort to those who are weary and hurting.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Isaiah 50:4 The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.
Overall, the spiritual gift of ministering, or helps, is the Holy Spirit giving to certain believers the desire and ability to attend to the needs of others, whether those needs are practical or in the way of comforting and thereby edifying and building up the Ekklesia. The believer’s ministry is a service given for the ultimate purpose of glorifying and bringing honor to God.
When it comes to all the members of the Ekklesia, it does not matter if a believer has been given the gift of ministry as a spiritual gift, or not, all of God’s people are to serve and minister to others. It is like the “gift of faith” or the “gift of knowledge”, those things may be a spiritual gift given in extra measure given to some, but all of God’s children are to have faith and knowledge. All believers are to serve and give help to others to the degree that they can when they have opportunity.
When one receives the Holy Spirit, he receives God’s Spirit of love for God is love and His divine nature is all about giving and serving others. If we are walking in the Spirit we will want to fulfill all of God’s law which is the whole Word of God and this includes showing [agape] love toward others. The good Samaritan may not have had the gift of ministry as his gift, but he did what he could out of love and concern for one that desperately needed to be helped. And Jesus uses the good Samaritan’s example to teach us how to show love toward our neighbor. Serving and being a help to others serves as a testimony of God’s [agape] love abiding within us.
Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 5:26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
That is why the Ekklesia needs pastors, teachers, prophets, servants, administrators, those with great faith, those who have wisdom and knowledge, etc.
All of the spiritual gifts working together are needed to produce the full potential of the Body. Since the gifts of the Spirit are gifts of God’s love toward His beloved cherished Bride and for her growth and benefit, the use of our gifts must be controlled by the rule of [agape] love; the greatest of all the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 13). It is the greatest, for godly love is the underpinning of every other fruit and gift of the Spirit, all of them are expressions of God’s love.
God’s Word teaches us that all God’s spiritual gifts are necessary for the work of God to be accomplished through the individual believers, each doing what God has called him or her to do in the Ekklesia. We need to ask God for His gifts and when He gives them, we must work at increasing and growing in them.
The more of the Spirit of love we have, the more joy we possess, the more peace of mind we will have etc., the better we will be able to work to God’s glory at whatever calling God has placed us in.
The more we exhibit the fruits and gifts of God’s Holy Spirit, which is the very nature of God which motivates us to love God and man; and the more we diligently exercise our spiritual gifts in the Body, the more we will shine for all the world to see.
The unconverted will see a godly people who put God first and are obedient to all of His commandments, who are also loving, kind, hard working people of God who esteem and respect each other, and who show forth the love of God in all that they do. They may not like who we are or what we represent, and they may mock and persecute us for what we believe, but we will be making a positive witness to all who come into contact with us.
Seek to Grow in the Gifts of the Spirit
In our modern day, the Body of Christ has become dysfunctional, it is not performing the way it should as a whole at this time. They have embraced false traditions and have followed teachers that have led us astray. The Body of Christ is scattered, divided and over-run with tares and false leaders in our Laodicean times. Regardless of all that, as individuals, we can be striving to do our best to obey God with all of our hearts, seeking His truth, and reaching out to others who are also striving to obey God in all things and who perhaps are separated and are all alone.
We may have a spiritual gift but are unable to use it properly in such a scattered condition. Many of us do not have a congregation in our local area to get involved with where we can use our gifts. Yet we can still ask God to show us how we can use our gifts, and how we can personally get involved, even if we and perhaps just a few family members are all alone in seeking to live faithfully for God and to live His way of life. We can use our gifts in our family, in the work place, sometimes as helpers to our unconverted neighbors who may need our help. We can make use of modern technology to do good and to minister through the Internet and by way of telephone. We see the example of Jesus who went about doing good to whoever crossed His path.
Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
If the Holy Spirit has granted us certain gifts, that Spirit will guide us as to how we are to use them in this life. If we are learning about gifts and seeking to develop them now while we can, there may come a time in this life – or the next – when we will have an opportunity to exercise our gifts and learn how to cooperate in harmony.
And whatever spiritual gifts we have received and have developed in this life, we will carry over to God’s Kingdom for we are in training to use those gifts; and with the experience we gain by using them, to rule perhaps one, five, or ten cites, in the Kingdom of God.
Matthew 25:14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
25:15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
25:16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
25:17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
25:18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
25:19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
25:20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
25:22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
25:23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
25:24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25:25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
25:26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
25:27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
25:28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
25:29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
All of God’s Gifts are Important, Including the Gift of Helping Others
Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
To be a servant in those things that many think of as menial and unimportant are some of the noblest jobs in the eyes of God. The preaching of the Gospel and leading in ministries that are doing great things is important, but so is helping a poor widow or a handicapped person or a small child important; or perhaps sending a card of encouragement to someone in prison. God gives to each believer the things He wants them to do and we are told to help others as if we were serving Him and not man.
Matthew 25:32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
25:35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
25:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
25:38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
25:39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Colossians 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 3:24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
The called out, as members of the Body of Christ, must be serving in proportion to the gifts which he or she has received and then cooperating with each other in order for the body to be fully-functional.
One thing we have been very much indoctrinated with is tied in with this “primacy of Peter” teaching and that is: that those with the top positions in an organization are the ones that are most gifted by God and that they are somehow more special and have more clout than others. This is just not true.
All of God’s people are special, God says that He has called us to be a special and holy people to serve as examples for the people around us. We are all brethren and we are to esteem all of our brethren as God’s children with unique gifts and callings of their own; each and every one, BELOVED of the LORD!
Deuteronomy 7:6 For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar [a special possession] people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
It seems that there has been this idea that there is some kind of hierarchy of positions and gifts with some more special than others. This just should not be, as the gifting and callings are of God and they are always for the benefit of the Body as a whole. No one should be viewed as more important than others and if one has a certain gift such as an apostle, pastor, prophet, that does not make that person better than than God’s other faithful children.
Matthew 20:25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 20:26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 20:27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
Yes, we do need to esteem pastors and teachers for their works sake and to view them as helpers of our joy and those that we can turn to for advice or help in various matters. And we need to be supporting those who are faithfully teaching and preaching the Word of God. Nevertheless, those that have the gifts of helps, for example, are just as important and special as those with any of the other gifts. To help others who are in need is just as noble as teaching a class or leading a group. Every one must do the part to which he was called and all should be respected for fulfilling their calling well.
We must always remember to treat each person with respect and honor no matter what station they have in life. Jesus taught that if we show kindness to those who seem to be the least esteemed in the Ekklesia and in the world, we are showing kindness to Him.
James 2:1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. 2:2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; 2:3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: 2:4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
2:5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? 2:6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? 2:7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? 2:8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: 2:9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
Both Stephen and Philip were chosen to be among the first deacons to wait on tables and help the poor widows, and they would be considered to have the gift of “helps” yet just like the apostles, they were filled with faith, wisdom and good works.
With this series on the gifts we are trying to dispel previous myths and mind-sets in regard to the “gifts of the spirit” that were imposed on the brethren in former days and which are still having a lasting influence.
In fact, the ministry just didn’t seem to teach that much about spiritual gifts or encourage the members to seek out their gifts, develop them, and then give them opportunities to exercise them. Rather, we were taught to look to the ordained ministry do just about everything for us.
We can read and study about many of God’s servants that assisted Paul who did not become famous but nevertheless these believers made it possible for Paul to do what God called him to do. These were people like Tychicus, Aristarchus, Marcus, Jesus Justus, Epaphras, Luke the Physician, Phebe, Lydia, Rhoda, Eunice, Lois, Damaris, Tabatha/Dorcus and many others.
Here is almost a whole chapter with a list of some of the people that Paul had come to know and lovingly spoke of them as his fellow-servants and fellow-laborers in the Lord.
We don’t hear much about these people other than a mere mention of them but they were real and they assisted Paul and his companions and they gave of themselves in what may have seemed at the time mundane and tedious jobs. And yet their work of assisting Paul possibly made it possible for us to even have many of the books and teachings of the Bible.
Their names may not be known by many but God knows their name and for those who remained faithful to the end they will have a good reward some day when God sets up His Kingdom and resurrects fellow-laborers to assist Him in bringing the whole world into the Family of God.
Romans 16:1 I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:
16:2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.
16:3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:
16:4 Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.
16:5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well-beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.
16:6 Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us.
16:7 Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
16:8 Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord.
16:9 Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.
16:10 Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus’ household.
16:11 Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.
16:12 Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord.
16:13 Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
16:14 Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them.
16:15 Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.
16:21 Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you.
16:22 I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.
16:23 Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.
Brethren, there is so much work that has to be done and yet it seems like there are so few laborers at this time; who are really doing the work of preaching sound doctrine, warning the Ekklesia to come out of the traditions of men and false doctrine (like the Primacy of Peter doctrine). Pray that God will bring a revival to the Ekklesia and that He will pour out His Spirit and raise up people full of the FRUIT of the Spirit and give us his Spiritual Gifts to begin to revive his dying Ekklesia.
Pray that God will inspire a desire to exercise the GIFTS of the Spirit; and raise up people who will be willing to roll up their sleeves and do the remainder of the Work that needs to be done before the return of Jesus Christ to this earth.
Matthew 9:37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 9:38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Constance Belanger and James Malm
~ Featured Scripture ~
1 Peter 4:11
If any man speak, let him speak [the Word of God Faithfully] as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.