Summary: This is the fourth message in a series of sermons called "On Purpose." Part of our responsibility as God’s Church is to train people to use their God-given gifts and then unleash them to serve.
EQUIP GOD’S PEOPLE FOR SERVICE
A. We’ve been talking about being God’s Church on Purpose
1. Instead of just meddling along in our comfort zone hoping that something will happen, we want to be a church that is doing things for a reason
2. We stated that our purpose is to evangelize the lost
ILL> I always think about the guy who visited the very large Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY. He said he didn’t like the church because it was too big. When asked what kind of church he was looking for, he stated, "I want to go to a small, friendly, highly evangelistic church."
a. The goal of a congregation should never be to remain small
b. Our goal should always be "one more"
c. That is God’s hope–God’s desire
d. 2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
B. In addition to reaching the lost, our purpose is to edify the saints–that is, to help people grow in their relationship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ
1. We do that in a variety of ways–worship, fellowship, preaching and teaching, prayer
ILL> One of the most exciting times in a couple’s life is a baby being born. The parents are all excited and everyone "oohs" and "ahs" over it. So the couple takes the baby home and then reality sets in. They are constantly changing diapers and losing sleep and trying to figure out why the baby is crying.
The joy of the new birth is followed by the responsibility of caring for and raising that child.
2. While babies are cute and all that, nobody thinks it great when a person remains a baby for too long
a. If a small child never learns to walk and tlk, never figures out how to feed himself, never outgrows his need for diapers, it’s asign that something is terribly wrong
b. We love babies, but we expect every baby to grow
3. 1 Peter 2:2
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,
4. Maturity takes time
a. God can grow a squash in 3 months, but He’s not interested in growing Christian squashes
C. Today we want to look at the last part of our stated purpose
1. "To equip God’s people for service."
a. To help people to find their gifts and to unleash them for ministry
D. Putting it all together
1. "Our purpose is to evangelize the lost, to edify the saints, and to equip God’s people for service."
2. John’s version
a. "MGCC’s purpose is to simply chill...to just exist and maintain its course until Christ comes again so that we can rightly say that we didn’t waste the one talent God gave us - but rather buried that sucker deep in the sand for safe keeping."
b. "Our purpose is to evangelize the lost, to edify the saints, and to equip God’s people for service."
E. READ: Ephesians 4:7-16
I>EXPECTED TO SERVE
A. Every person in God’s family is expected to serve
1. VS 7
a. To each one of us–no one has been left out
2. The Bible plainly states that it is by God’s grace that we are saved by grace–it is a gift that God offers to every single individual
a. In VS 7 Paul is not saying that we are saved in differing amounts
3. But, he is saying that we do receive differing gifts and abilities from God
a. Paul says the same things when writing to the Christians in Rome
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,  so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.
B. We need to understand something about God here–God does not give us something that He does not expect us to use
1. That is what the parable of the talents is all about
a. A man called his servants together and gave to one man 5 talents, another 2, and another 1
b. When the man returned, the servant that had been given 5 talents had doubled that amount to 10
c. The one that had been given 2 now had 4
d. The one that had been given 1 talent brought that single talent back–he had hidden it in the ground
e. He was called a wicked and lazy servant
2. Yes, when we first believe we have a lot of growing up to do, but there comes a time when we need to take off the bib and put on an apron