Summary: This sermon examines how you discover your S.H.A.P.E. for ministry.
For the past two Sundays we have been looking at Romans 12:3-8, in which the Apostle Paul has been teaching us how Christians are to serve in the body of Christ. The first Sunday I gave you a general overview of the text. Last Sunday we looked at what the Bible has to say about ministry. Today, I would like to examine how you discover your S.H.A.P.E. for ministry.
So, let’s read Romans 12:3-8:
3For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:3-8)
A few years ago Eric Swanson surveyed the church he serves to see if people saw a relationship between ministering to others and spiritual growth.
When asked, “To what extent has your ministry or service to others affected your spiritual growth?,” 92% answered “Positive,” 8% answered “Neutral,” and 0% responded that ministry had a negative effect. Ministry to others enhanced their spiritual growth.
Sixty-three percent indicated that active involvement in ministry was equally significant in their spiritual growth compared to other spiritual disciplines, such as Bible study and prayer. And 24% responded that active involvement in ministry to others had been “a more significant factor” to their spiritual growth than Bible study or prayer.
Over half (58%) of those who were not actively ministering to others felt either “not satisfied” or only “somewhat satisfied” with their level of spiritual growth.
If you have been born again by the Spirit of God, you want to grow and mature as a Christian. You want to grow in your love for God. You want to become more like your Savior, Jesus Christ. And one of the ways to do so is by getting actively involved in ministry. Swanson discovered that active involvement in ministry was a significant factor in the spiritual growth of Christians.
So, to help you understand what Christian ministry is I am taking you through what we call Class 301, which is also called “Discovering My S.H.A.P.E. for Ministry.” Today, I want to help you discover your S.H.A.P.E for ministry.
I. God Has Shaped You
Let me begin by saying that God has shaped you for ministry.
The Old Testament saint, Job, said to God, “Your hands fashioned and made me” (Job 10:8a). The Good News Translation puts it this way, “Your hands formed and shaped me.”
God has been forming and shaping you for ministry since you were born. In fact, God started shaping you uniquely before you were even born. King David said in Psalm 139:14-16 (in the Living Bible), “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous. . . . You were there while I was being formed. . . . You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. . . .”
I want you to notice three truths from this text. First, you are wonderfully complex. Now, at this point husbands are saying quietly to themselves so as not to be heard by their wives, “No. I am a simple man. It is my wife who is complex!” Well, I want you men to know that it is King David—a man—who says to God, “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex”! David is affirming that God has created each one of us with astonishing intricacy and delicacy. We are stunningly composite and multifaceted.
Second, you are unique. There is no one else in the world quite like you. Even if you are an identical twin, you are a unique creation of God.
When I was a young boy I sometimes used to wish that I had different hair or eyes or so on. However, after I was born again and read King David’s words I realized that God created me to look and be exactly who I am. I am unique. And you are too.
And third, you were shaped for a purpose. God has scheduled each day for you before you ever began to breathe. God has a plan for your life, and he has shaped you to fulfill the plan that he has for your life.