Summary: God has given us all that we have and he has given us gifts so that we may encourage, strengthen, and equip the body of Christ.
Faith Expectations Part 9
[This lesson and this series are drawn from the writings of Tom Allen in his book “What to expect now that you believe.”]
This lesson is another in the series titled Faith Expectations. This series purpose is to explore those things our faith brings to us as we strive to walk in the way of Jesus. It is probably fair to say for many of us, if not all, that when we obeyed the call of the gospel, accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and been Baptized into Him there were some expectations of what our faith would do in us, for us, and through us. And we are justified in these expectations:
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
John 10:10b “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
As believers we should never lose the “great expectations” of our faith especially since the greatest expectation is yet to come, that being the return of our Lord and Savior. Until that day it remains for us to balance our expectations with the reality of living as sojourners in this world. And so let us consider a great expectation of our faith: Expect Service.
Have you ever been in a situation where you expected service and your expectations were not met? Ever been in a Department store and found yourself invisible to everyone working there? Or have you ever paid big bucks to stay at a nice hotel or resort and been treated poorly by the staff? Here you are giving them your hard earned cash and they are acting like they are doing you a favor by taking it. How did that make you feel?
How about this one, you’ve volunteered your time to serve some cause, you name it, whatever it may be, and the “regulars” treat you like an outcast, a lower class citizen. Here you are giving of your time and talent and you are being given short shrift by the very people you are trying to help! How does that make you feel?
How do you think God feels when you do not use the time, talent, and treasure that He has given you towards the work He has prepared for us?
I.Gifts For Every Believer
A.Everyone has something.
1.1 Corinthians 12:4-7 “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
2.The body of Christ is as diverse as our physical bodies, as complex as any organism found in nature, with many parts which each serve their own purpose:
3.And knowing that we all have some gift, or gifts, we must also know that God expects us to put them to use:
Romans 12:6-8 “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”
B.The Purpose of Our Gifts
1.Romans 12:4-5 “For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
2.1 Corinthians 12:7 “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
3.1 Corinthians 14:12; 26 “So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.
(26) What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.”
4.Read Ephesians 4:7-8; 11-16
5.Consider the key phrases from these passages: “for the common good”, “done for edification”, “so the body may be built up”. It is clear that the purpose of our gifts is to serve the body of Christ.
[Christ asks us to follow His example…]
II.Christians Are To Serve
A.Jesus came to serve, not to be served
1.Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
2.His example of washing the Apostles feet
John 13:16-17 For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. “Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.