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PLAYING ON GODíS TEAM
1. Nobody Rides the Pine
Iíve always loved the special joy in a pick up football game as the quarterback. The reason: you can take advantage of incredibly diverse abilities in football. Thereís always a player the other team quickly forgets about. It could be the token girl or, it could be someoneís little brother. These people are perfect for trick plays:
- give the ball to the little guy and have him run behind student body right. OrÖ
- have your studs go deep and little Billy is all alone for the easy 10 yard pick up.
In these situations, Iíve watched a Billy or a Susie run back to the huddle after the big gain or the score, with a special look on their face. This is what I realize in those moments: They are beaming on the inside because they know that who they are was important for the success of the team.
In other words, they realize that if they were somehow different, bigger, stronger, faster, a different gender, the play wouldnít have worked. THE PLAY NEEDED THEM AS THEY WERE, NOT AS THEY WERENíT. Itís this dawning sense of value: Iím useful as me, not as someone else. Who I am is important. I donít have to be anyone else to be needed.
As Christians, and MEMBERS OF CHRISTíS BODY, weíre each needed as we are. There is something about our unique SHAPE, that is required for success in the local church. When Christians not only realize this, but then make their unique contribution, the same thing happens, they beam with an internal glow that says, ďwow, God used me.Ē Lives are changed, eternities are changed society changes and God gets the glory, pinch me it doesnít get any better than thisÖ
Friends, this incredible picture happens when we realize what it means to play on Godís Team. And thatís what Paul spends the last half of his first letter to the Corinthians talking about (series). Letís read:
(SLIDE) I. TRUE SPIRITUALITY: I COR 12:1 - 3 READ (pg 813).
1 Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant.
2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols.
3 Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.
The first thing I want to draw your attention to is that the thing Paul doesnít want them to be ignorant of is not merely spiritual gifts Ė those special divine enablements that all Christ followers get Ė itís something much broader. The word ďgiftĒ is added in the English to make it congruent with the following verses that get more specific but itís not in the Greek. A very literal translation of verse one would be:
Brothers I donít want you to be ignorant about spiritual things, or spirituality.
In other words, as the New Living Translations puts it: ďI want you to know how to discern what is truly from God.Ē Before you can be a player on Godís Team, men and women, you must have an accurate understanding of godly spirituality. Now let me give you some context:
Hereís the situation: Corinth was the San Francisco of the first century world. It was the red light district in Amsterdam, it was Greenwich Village in New York, it was South Central L.A. You get the picture? To live like a Corinthian was an nickname for anyone who lived in total moral laxity.
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