Greetings church family,
Please find attached my sermon outline from Sunday. I want to encourage you all to read through it as we embark on the joy of serving in the Body of Christ. Truth is, we belong to one another. For the church to be full of life and vibrant, it requires that we all participate in the work of the ministry. We can never confuse our gifts with our service. We might be gifted in a certain way and have an aptitude toward certain skills and ministries but that does not exempt us from serving where there is need in the Body of Christ. God asks us to use our gifts in the body and in so doing, we will reveal the grace of God in all His hues and colors. I look forward, with joyful expectancy, to watching our church family rally around the ministries made available in our body.
Please take the time to read my sermon outline below. Also, in a few days you should receive a link to a motivational gift test that you can take online. This test is just a few questions that will help identify your motivational gift in the body enabling you to better understand how you can serve and how others serve alongside you.
I love and appreciate you all so very much!!
I. Romans 12:3-8 “3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”
A. Paul is speaking to the church in hoping to champion the Body of Christ into unity. In light of the mercies of God (his acts of kindness and compassion) We are to bring unity through service manifested through our gifts. Those individuals who have received the gift of God are to band together in community. When we serve through an understanding of the motivational gift God has given us in not only builds up the Body of Christ, but it refreshes us.
II. What we have is from God, what we have been given is to serve others.
A. We are all called to service. Paul encourages the body to come together and serve one another. He draws out the motivation behind what we do. The uniqueness of our gifts is that we can do the same thing but different ways. This diversity is important. God gave this to us to serve others.
1. Peter says it this way: I Peter 4:10 “10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”
a. This speaks to God’s diversity. It is the word” manifold”, which communicates God’s ability, His grace, and His work in the body expressed in all His hues and colors.
b. Each believer has a different gift, and God has given these gifts so the local body can grow in a balanced way. But each Christian must exercise his or her gift by faith.
2. Although we can have an aptitude toward certain things, we are to take on a posture of service in the body of Christ. The way that God makes me is diverse and unique. Some are better musicians than others, some better at math, some people develop craftsmanship differently than others. These are forms of gifts in that they are given, but they are more about your personality, your makeup. I believe God calls some to specific things, but it is rare. The overarching play in God’s Word is, “if you see a need fill it.” Why? We are one body, and we belong to each other. What is the overarching development here is the motivation behind it.
3. We all are called to serve the nursery. My motivation to do it might be different. For example: I would serve in the nursery from a motivation to encourage and lead it. I would walk in there and see immediately things we could do different and ways it could become more efficient. I would also encourage, exhort, and champion those around me.
a. What Paul is talking about here is not a gift that specializes you to a certain ministry or service in the body of Christ, but rather a recognition of what motivates you to do it.
4. Real quick let’s talk about these gifts that motivate us to do what we do. See if one surfaces for you as we talk about them.
a. A declarer of truth, black and white, they see where things are wrong and want to see change immediately, see things that are right and champion it. They generally are perceivers and declare truth.
2. Teaching (Romans 12:7)
a. The ability to educate God’s people by clearly explaining and applying the Bible in a way that causes them to learn. The ability to equip and train other believers for ministry.
3. Exhortation, Encouragement (Acts 14:22)
a. The ability to motivate God’s people to apply and act on Biblical principle, especially when they are discouraged or wavering in their faith. The ability to bring out the best in others and challenge them to their full potential.
4. Service (Acts 6:1-7)
a. The ability to recognize unmet needs in the church family, and take the initiative to provide practical assistance quickly, cheerfully, and without a need for recognition.
5. Mercy (Luke 10:30-37; Romans 12:8)
a. The ability to detect hurt and empathize with those who are suffering in the church family The ability to provide compassionate and cheerful support to those experiencing distress, crisis or pain.
6. Giving (2 Corinthians 8:1-7; Romans 12:8)
a. The ability to generously contribute material resources and /or money beyond the 10% tithe so that the body may grow and be strengthened. The ability to earn and manage money so it may be given to support the ministry of others.
7. Leadership (Romans 12:8; Hebrews 13:7 & 17)
a. The ability to clarify and communicate the direction (vision) of a ministry in a way that attracts others to get involved. The ability to motivate others by example to work together in accomplishing a ministry goal.
III. What can hinder us from engaging in our motivational gifts? Outside of being completely ignorant to your gift, there are a couple of things Paul brings to light here:
A. We think of ourselves more highly then we should:
1. Romans 12:3 “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” : To serve the body requires service and humility.
a Jesus Christ exemplified humility, Philippians 2:1-11 John 13:12 washing feet
2. A sober use of the gifts that God has given us. As we must not on the one hand be proud of our talents, so on the other hand we must not bury them. Be careful that under a pretence of humility and self-denial, we would not be lazy in laying out ourselves for the good of others. We must not say, “I am nothing, therefore I will sit still, and do nothing;” but, “I am nothing in myself, and therefore I will lay out myself to the utmost in the strength of the grace of Christ.” God has given each believer some faith by which to serve Him, partly because all natural abilities and spiritual gifts are from God. As a result every Christian should have a proper sense of humility and an awareness of his need to be involved with other members of Christ’s body
B. We do not see ourselves in community:
1. Although our faith is personal, it is manifested corporately.
a. Romans 12:4 “4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others
2. In Christ we who are many form one body. We are not our own.
a. When we look at ourselves honestly, we realize we need others in the body of Christ and others need us. Christians are interdependent persons. Like members of a human body, we need to be in place to be effective and to function as God intends. Don’t isolate yourselves from other Christians. You must engage the body of Christ and be significantly involved in sharing faith and life with others.
b. When our motivation is manifested with others it becomes balanced, God’s manifold grace is revealed in all its hews and colors
3. In this context it is speaking of the work of the ministry. Not only the to-do list of corporate worship, but the life one to another.
a. Often I hear “Pastor I just do not feel called to…” truth is, we are all called to serve, we are all called to the work of ministry whether that be the nursery, children’s ministries, ushers, greeters, taking meals to someone in need, and a variety of activities the local body does in service to its community.
b. Each member has its place and office, for the good and benefit of the whole, and of everyone else in the body. We are not only members of Christ, but we are members one of another, v. 5. We stand in relation one to another; we are engaged to do all the good we can one to another, and to act in conjunction for the common benefit
IV. Conclusion: Paul yearns to see the Body of Christ unify. When it functions as the Body it was called to be, it has huge spiritual impact in the individual lives of the local church and the community it lives in. We need to be careful not to confuse our gifts with service. We are all called to serve, our motivation for doing it combined with our personality is what makes service unique. I want to challenge our church family to be the chief of servants. Our campuses are in need of men and women who will step into the service of our church.