Summary: Should everybody be serving in the church or is it just for paid pastors?

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Intro – Week 3 of “In the army now” series. Weve looked at:

• 1 – Enlistment: Being a full-time soldier

• 2 – Equipment: What weapons and defenses we have in our armoury

• This week: Development.

• Defined as: “Stage of growth or advancement”

• You see, everybody who is recruited into the army gets there equipment and then they are put into training.

• As part of each soldiers training there CO (Commanding Officer) is looking to identify specific areas of excellence

• Some people are strongly skilled in one area while others are strongly skilled in other areas. Because of that, they are drafted into a specific squad after basic training and they undergo advanced training and development.

• This is where they develop and fine-tune their advanced skill and work with others who have the same skill.

1 Peter 4:10-11

• Context. V1: Peter has just been talking about being a soldier, putting on your equipment and arming yourself for battle.

• “each one” – not some, but everyone has a gift.

• Lets say this is true, because Peter said “each one”. If we look around the room its pretty clear we are all different. I couldn’t do for a job what most of you do, and most of you couldn’t work for the church like I do. Well if everyone isn’t supposed to be employed by the church, why do we have at least one gift? Maybe Paul and I are supposed to be “chief cook and bottlewasher”

• Peter goes on to give us our answer. He says “we are given gifts to serve others”. Hold on though, that doesn’t seem to make sense. I mean, surely God made us the way we are and empowered us with his Holy Spirit and gifts to make us better people at what we do.

• This is what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:7 in NLT, it puts it succinctly.

• “A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church.”

• Now Paul has just told us that our gifts are not for ourselves but for others, to serve the church, for a common purpose.

• I mentioned earlier that in the army a CO is constantly looking for soldiers excelling with a particular skill, then being put into advanced training to develop their skill and be placed into the relevant squad.

• This process is about putting the right people, the right gifts, in the right place.

• The expression goes “putting the round pegs in the round holes and the square pegs in the square holes”. You see a round peg may go in a square hole but it wont be a very good fit.

• Lets use an analogy from the army. Its like using a medic as a footsoldier and a footsoldier as a medic. They might partly be able to do the job, not sure about the medic, but there not going to do a very good one. It just doesn’t make sense…

• They wouldn’t operate to their full potential unless they were serving in the right area.

• Its exactly the same with the church. If we try to fit round pegs in round holes, they may fit… but not very well. If you try to get someone who loves kids to play the piano and the person who plays the piano to work with the kids, you can imagine whats going to happen.

• People will lose their passion and their willingness to serve. We are not in God’s army to be “chief cook and bottlewasher”, we are in God’s army to serve the church where we can do our best.

• Well that seems to make sense, lets put the right people in the right place, then we’ll be effective. What about me though, I don’t really want to use my gifts?

• Read 1 Cor 12:12, 14-20

• Lets put this picture that Paul has described for us into our army terms. I did a little research into the parts of the Australian army and found there are 59 units plus additional corp and reserve units. It gets a little confusing when we work out how they all work together so lets keep it nice and easy.

• If the defence force didn’t have the navy, how would they defend the sea? If the defence force didn’t have the air force, how would they defend the sky? If the defence force didn’t have the army, how would they defend the land? They might be able to cover a little bit for the other force but not very well. They must work together or they will not function effectively.

• That’s what Paul is saying about the church, if we don’t have all our parts working then we will not be efficient.

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