Summary: BIG IDEA: We need the body of Christ in order to mature in Christ
INTRODUCTION: "White Line Syndrome" is a phenomenon I first encountered when playing basketball in a kid’s league years ago. How it works is, late in the game our coach would call a time-out, and instruct us in what we were to do once play resumed. I remember how clear his instructions sounded in the huddle--but once we broke the huddle and crossed back over the white line on the side of the court, it was as if his instructions just evaporated. His words would just fall right out of our heads! We’d run the wrong way, the wrong guy would take the shot, and more often than not, we’d do something completely unlike what our coach told us to do.
You’d think "White Line Syndrome" is only an issue in kid’s league? Not true. Coaches at every level--high school, college, the NBA--are familiar with the problem. And I’m here to tell you that there’s not a church in America that doesn’t suffer from White Line Syndrome. You know what I’m talking about—God meets you in a sermon or a worship experience, and you vow to make some changes in your life—but then on the way out to your car, you cross that white line in the parking lot, and it falls right out of your head. Anyone know what I’m talking about? It’s a real impediment to spiritual growth, isn’t it? And year after year goes by without any real growth or transformation.
There is an antidote to WLS, a way to undertake and sustain spiritual growth that we often miss, and we find it in Ephesians 4:11-16 [READ]
I. PEOPLE ARE GOD’S GIFT TO THE CHURCH (11-12)
Notice that Paul doesn’t describe the gifts as “prophecy” or “apostleship” or “evangelism,” but as apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors. He alludes here to people, not functions. So one inescapable implication is that
A. You are God’s gift to others
1. Some of you are thinking: “THANK YOU. Hear what he said, hon? I’ve known it all along. I hope everyone else gets it now.”
2. Others of you are thinking: “Really? Some gift.” But you’re here for a reason. You have a part to play, and you are important.
3. (ILLUSTRATION)The movie Drumline explores the maturation process of a talented percussionist from Harlem who receives a full-ride scholarship to play in Atlanta A&T University’s marching band.
As the scene opens the incoming band members are on the football field. The Atlanta A&T marching band is going through drills and orienting the incoming freshman. Dr. Lee’s section leaders are huddled in various sections of the football field divided according to instruments. Each leader articulates with a sense of pride the uniqueness of their instrument and their indispensability.
a. The trumpet section leader states with brassy confidence, "Trumpets are the voice of the band. We are the melody. We are the clarity."
b. The tuba section leader similarly boasts of his instrument: "Tubas are the most important section in the band, boy. Tubas are the boom."
c. As the camera pans the field we hear the saxophone leader rallying his troops: "Saxophones are the truth, the funk and the hook."