July 16, 2017
Gifted 2 Serve – Week 1 – You are a gift
Gifted 2 Serve – Week 1 – One body, One Mission
Today we begin a new series called Gifted 2 Serve. We have spent the first half of this year looking at how Jesus was the Servant King. Now we are going to look at how we as His disciples are called to serve, and how he has empowered us and gifted us 2 serve.
Read Eph 4:1-16
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.8 This is why it says:
“When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.”
9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves,and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
You are a gift. God has given you to the the church as a gift to accomplish what he desires. He has not just gifted you with stuff, He has made you the gift
Think about worship, we think Sunday, not just a song or event but also and primarily our life being Given (Rom 12:1) Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
As we give ourselves to God it is an act of worship and so service is an act of worship.
You are the gift God wants to give to the church, to this community, to your neighbors. Not just the stuff you have (ie stewardship) but you yourself is what God hads a plan to use to further His mission here.
If we don’t embrace that simple fact then we will never accomplish what God desires to accomplish through us.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
God didn’t just rescue you from the prison of Sin in your past, but he rescued you to a future. He calls us to a work that he has rescued us for. A life of purpose and meaning.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
Whatever God does to you he wants to do through you. – Jeff Vandersteldt
The way this works is that whatever God calls you to do requires His power and work for you to do it. It requires dependency on the Holy Spirit. This is one o the reasons many people do not step into service. Because they rarely feel competent and able to do what God is calling them to do. So they let the enemy tell them they can’t ad they believe His lie. But the truth is it is not a full lie it is a half truth. It is a lie mixed with the truth. Because we cannot do what God wants us to do in our own power and strength because if we could the we would get the glory not God. That does not mean we should not attempt to serve God but that we need Him to do it through us.
Cool part is… I am going to go ahead and obey God, so that he can use me to to wok in and through my life. Our obedience to His call to serve brings us a closer relationship with Him and we learn to trust Him more intimately and know Him more tangibly in our lives.
2 Be completely humble
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others…
7 rather, (Jesus) He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant,
When we think of ourselves as a gift to the church, we must do that in humility.
I don’t deserve to be used by God like this. It is a gift that God calls me… it is a privilege to be used by God at all let alone to be welcomed into His presence to serve Him directly. But also that God would use someone so broken and messed up to bring wholeness and restoration to others. That is humbling.
Here is the problem we don’t really believe that! We believe that God calls the best, the most talented, the most dedicated, the most spiritual to use in the kingdom. So God looked around and saw Rod and says “He’s perfect, I can use him.” If that is what you think, you don’t know me very well yet. God is not up in heaven saying I don’t know how we can figure this thing out. I need to find some people who are really talented to turn this church around. NO, God has given you to this church to turn it around, You are the gift. But you need to be humble
This is a danger we all can fall into. We look at someone else and we see them and see all the positive traits they have and we think God could really use them. Like God needs help.
How many times have you looked at someone and thought man if they just turned their life over to God they would make an awesome Christian. But God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise.
God uses the broken thing like you and me to bring about wholeness and restoration in others and our selves if we will just be open and ask Him.
Matt 12:20 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory.
We are to also ministry and service with gentleness not thinking we can brow beet people into submission. That is not how God does with us. No he is gentle with us.
Patience. I wish they would change… I wish my circumstances where different… I wish could grow faster… Patience is all about believing God’s timing is perfect. And the situations I am in are perfectly designed to produce what he is try to work into my life. I don’t need to try and get out of it. I need to try and see what I can learn out of it. Patience is believing God knows what He is doing and that He is in much more control of the situation than I ever could be.
There are times when I wish I was a better leader… where I always had the right thing to say and the right way to lead and that nothing difficult would ever be a problem to deal with. But that is where I have to rest in my patience with what God is doing in me.
bearing with one another in love.
I need this constantly. In fact all of us do. We all need to bear with one another in love. this is where we get tripped up when we serve together. When we forget to love the other person. We think we know more than they do so we feel justified in criticizing there service and how they do what God has called them to do. LIT: We tolerate them.
3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Sometimes the hardest part of serving together is keeping unity of Spirit. But notice it in not through the flesh it is through the bond of peace (bond of peace – “the bondage” of Shalom) the idea is that of a separating of a body part. Knowing that if we do not maintain unity of THE SPIRIT we may be cut off from the body and that will not bring peace.
4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
What is the word you hear there more than any other? ONE We are one! One body called of one purpose to one mission. When the church sees itself as a bunch of individuals doing there one thing that is when it begins to fail. We are one. We wont be humble, we wont be gentle, we wont be patient, we wont bear with each other if we see ourselves as our own individual people doing our own thing, not understanding we are all part of one body. When one part hurts we all hurt. Finger.
We will bear with one another if we believe we are one!
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