Friday, September 22, 2017

The Gift of Serving - 1 Cor. 12:4-14

Introduction
Today is Kaylee Hughey's last Sunday with us as part of this church.  In a couple of weeks, it will be Robbie MacGregor's last Sunday with us followed in a few months by his wife.  So I asked myself what is the best encouragement that I could give to someone who is starting a new phase of his/her life away from us.  I concluded that the best thing I could do was to encourage them to serve the Lord their God in this new stage of life.  Jump both feet into serving God for Christ's sake wherever the Lord takes you.

"For me and my house, we will server the Lord!"  Those were the words of Joshua to the people of God as they prepared to settle into the Promised Land.  For the longest time, God was visibly present among the Israelites.  There was a column of fire by night and a distinct cloud by day.  Now the presence of the Lord will be more a spiritual presence than a physical one.  They can still go to the tabernacle and see the presence of his glory there, but everyday life is going to happen away from the tabernacle, spread throughout the land.  It will take a stronger commitment to stay faithful to their Lord.  So their leader challenges them: "You must decide – serve the false gods of the land or serve the true God who brought us out of Egypt.  I have already decided. I am serving the true God."  That is a decision we have to make as well.  You and I cannot go about life with a divided heart.  Whom will you serve?

That brings us to what serving God is.  We cannot serve God without first being served by Jesus.

Mk. 10:45 – For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

Being ransomed, redeemed, purchased, saved by Jesus Christ is at the root of serving him.  If we haven't drunk deeply at the well of God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ, we are not able to serve him.

Secondly we must see serving God by serving others as a gift.

I.             The Best Gift

Lk. 11:11-13 – If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?  Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!

A.  God gives perfect gifts to his people and these gifts may differ from one person to another – we are not all given wealth or health, families, fulfilling careers, and so on.

B.  But all God's people are given one identical gift – the best gift he has to give us.

1.   We are all given his Holy Spirit – it is through his Spirit that Jesus is with us.

2.   It is through the Spirit that we are, and can know we are, friends and bride and children of God.

Rom. 8:15-16 – For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."  The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God….

C.  The Spirit is an eternal gift who keeps on giving gifts to the Church in order for the Church as the Body of Christ to serve God.

II.          More Gifts

A.  The Holy Spirit is the best gift, but isn't the only gift God has for us.

B.  God is full of generosity, kindness, and love, who has some more great gifts to lavish on his children, 1 Cor. 12:4-14.

1.   He loves us, so he gives us gifts to express that love.

2.   Did you notice that these gifts are things that we use to serve? V. 5 – ministries = services.

a.    If one has the gift of teaching, then "unwrapping" that gift will mean doing some Bible teaching.

b.   If one has the gift of helping others, then clearly the way to "play with" it is to help others.

1)   In other words, being able to serve in the ways you do is a good gift from your Father.

2)   What we sometimes think of as chores to be done, the Father thinks of as gifts to be unwrapped.

3.   The question remains: do we believer these are actually good gifts?

a.    Think of the area of Christian service you feel most burdened by, or naturally dislike the most.

b.   It is one thing to say that these gifts are good because they are from God.

1)   But how are they good?

2)   Why should we enjoy unwrapping and using them as much as a child enjoys their Christmas presents?  The Lord Jesus, as our friend, explains to us.

III.       It Has to Do with Unity.

A.  God made all of us to use our gifts relationally, 1 Cor. 12:7.

B.  The idea is that God's people are meant to use their Spirit-given gifts to serve the rest of God's people.

1.   They create unity, and they depend on unity.

2.   One of the reasons we have different gifts from one another is so that we might help one another and rely on one another.

C.  God's gifts don't just work by themselves.

1.   They rely on the context of the church body.

2.   They cut against the individualism of sinful selfishness and make us enjoy being part of Christ's body.

D.  Next time you are using an ability that God has given you to serve someone else, it's worth remembering that the Spirit could have simply given them that time, or money, or upbeat nature, or physical strength, or whatever.

E.   Instead, he chose to give it to you, so that you give it to them – that creates unity!

IV.        Christ-likeness (Gifts enable us to become Christ-like)

A.  Perhaps when you read the lists of gifts in the Bible and some of the gifts seem to you to be clearly good presents, while others you are best to avoid.

1.   Some of these sound fine, but what about contributing to the needs of others? No one wants this one.

Rom. 12:8 – "… he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness."

2.   We would be in line if the Holy Spirit were giving the gift of healing, but evangelism?  Somebody else can take that one!

B.  Some of the gifts the Spirit gives us can feel hard to use and even harder to love having them.

1.   Maybe you are faced with a gift you are struggling to enjoy.

a.    Maybe you are faced with the conviction from the Spirit that it is time to sell your house and buy in a cheaper area so that you can be more effective in ministry.

b.   Maybe you long to be married and struggle to see singleness as a gift.

2.   Why should you joyfully use a gift that you didn't ask for?

3.   Why shouldn't you envy the person who has the abilities, the circumstances, the time, the money that you would have chosen if you were given free pick of God's gifts?

C.  The answer to these questions is that Christ's gifts are good and enjoyable because they draw us to him.

1.   Christ, through the Spirit, uses the gifts he gives us, especially the ones we think are the hard ones, to draw us to him.

a.    So, spending week after week with the children in Sunday school, needing to prepare, dealing with a seeming lack of response from them may feel hard.

1)   But Jesus can give you love for them.

2)   He can give you the grace to get on your knees and plead to love them and to love teaching them.

3)   And each Sunday, he will stand by you as you show little (chattering, distracted, infuriating) people his goodness.

b.   And the closeness to Christ won't only be in the Sunday school room.

c.    It will be there when these little (chattering, distracted, infuriating) people give testimony to Christ's love as they grow.

D.  If the gift feels bad, we need to unwrap it more and see that it is given to draw us to Christ.

1.   If we were given gifts that enabled us to serve in ways we naturally found easy or fun, we wouldn't learn to depend on Christ, to lean on Christ, to ask him for help.

2.   We need gifts and service that lead us to draw closer to Christ.

3.   That is what a naturally unwanted gift can do as long as we don't look at it and think that God must be cold-hearted in giving us what we didn't ask.

E.   Hard gifts are also good gifts because they make us more like Christ.

Rom. 8:28-29 – And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

1.   As we serve, we are conformed, reshaped, to the image of the greatest Servant of all.

2.   So all gifts from the Spirit are good because they draw us to Christ and help us become like him.

V.           Significance

A.  God's gifts are good because there is significance in using them.

B.  In other words, there is real meaning and real results in serving Christ in the church.

1.   When we use a gift that Jesus gave us for his sake, we are serving him.

2.   We can do something today that will have eternal significance simply by using an ability or circumstance that Jesus gave you to serve him,.

Mt. 25:34-40– When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.  All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides hissheep from the goats.  And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me."  Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, "Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You,or thirsty and give You drink?  When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?  Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?"  And the King will answer and say to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me."

3.   And the greatest thing is that God blesses us for what he did through us.

Phil. 2:12-13 – Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for Hisgood pleasure.

Eph. 2:10 – For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

VI.        The Purpose of God's Gifts of Service in This Life: The Building of the Body and Conformity with Christ.

A.  A passage that brings these together is Eph. 4:11-16.

Eph. 4:11-16 – And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

B.  So, when you ask yourself, "Why did God make me this way?," the answer is always, "So that you could be part of building the Body of Christ."

1.   God has not made a mistake in gifting you the way he did.

2.   He gifted you in such a way that when you use your gift to serve his people for his glory, you are helping Jesus transform his church.

Conclusion


One of my favorite Brazilian singers when I was a teenager was a guy by the name of Lulu Santos.  He was not a particularly good singer, but I liked his songs.  My favorite song by him had line that said, "Nada do que foi será do jeito que já foi um dia.  Tudo passa Tudo sempre passará."  A translation into English would be, "Nothing that was will ever be the same as it was.  Everything changes, everything always changes."  That is true of life and when we go into a new phase of life, things don't remain the same.  When the Lord moves people away from us, things won't be the same.  Things change for the people leaving and for the people staying behind.  New relationships are formed, old ones change.  But one things remains the same for those who leave and for those who say behind – we have all been gifted to serve in whatever place the Lord has placed us.


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Monday, September 18, 2017

MEMORY WORK: This Week's Catechism Questions (9/17/17)

This Week's Memory Work:

First Catechism Questions:
FCQ. 38 – Can you go to heaven with this sinful nature? No – my heart must be changed before I can be fit for heaven. 
FCQ. 39 – What is the changing of your heart called? The new birth, or regeneration

Shorter Catechism Questions: 
SCQ. 33 – What is justification? Justification is an act of God's free grace, wherein he pardons all our sins,
and accepts us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by
faith alone.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL PDF DOCUMENT

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UPCOMING EVENTS: This Week's Announcements (9/17/17)

Upcoming Events / Announcements 

September 26 - WRS 2017 Convocation at OBPC at 7pm
September 27 - Great Western Presbytery Meeting
October 9 - Women's Fellowship at 6:30pm
November 10 - Church Talent Show at 7:30pm 
Last Updated 9/17/2017

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Real Letter to Real People - Pastor Tito Lyro - Colossians 4:7-15

AUDIO LINK -- If you find these lessons helpful, or if you have questions please write to us at contact@olympiabp.net or visit us at facebook.com/olympiabp. We would love to hear from you and learn how we can serve you. 








#OBPC #OlympiaBP #BiblePresbyterian #Sermon #Bible #TitoLyro #Malachi #Colossians

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