Summary: God has given the church what she needs. The diversities of talents and gifts are intentional. When everyone serves, the Body of Christ is built up and grows, until we become mature in Christ.
We are the church. We are the Body of Christ.
• By now, I believe you do know that. The church is not a building. It is not even the activities that make the church. It is the people.
• You and I form the church. It is not an organization, although it is organized. It is an organism because it has life and it grows.
The church takes its life from Christ. He is the Head and without Him, the church is dead. Without Jesus, this place is just a clubhouse.
• But with Christ, this church can be an influence. It can impact people and change lives. It is the hope of the world (Bill Hybels).
• The church is the Lord's idea. It is the plan of God to reach a lost world.
And we are all in it. We want to do church well and do it better each year.
• By the grace of God, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we believe we can become a greater blessing to more and more people.
• We can be confident of this because the church is God's idea.
Listen to what the Scripture says in Eph 4:11-16.
11 It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
God HAS GIVEN to the church the people that she needs.
• Mentioned here particularly are the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. They are given BY God TO the church.
• We can be confident today because God supplies the needs of His church.
In order words, among us are people that are gifted to serve God, in particular ministries.
• Listed here are the trainers or the equippers, for they PREPARE God's people for the works of service.
• They are people with the heart, the maturity, the experience, the gifts, to TEACH and TRAIN others to serve God.
In a sense, you can see them as coaches. Coaches that train players for the games.
• They teach them the rules of the games, helps them to sharpen their skills, guide them through the course, and get them to play together as a team.
• When the game comes, everyone works together and win the game.
• For the church, the difference is the coaches themselves play in the game. They are all in it together. Some are called to teach others.
The goal is to PREPARE God's people to serve the Lord together.
• It is clear that the few cannot do it alone. It is not God's plan to have the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers do the work.
• It is God's plan to have these people trains the rest to do the works of the ministry. Frankly this is the only plan that works.
We cannot have the apostles doing it alone. The evangelists alone sharing the Gospel. The pastors running around preaching the sermons, teaching the classes, knocking on doors, visiting the sick, fixing the toilets and locking the doors.
• It won’t work. You have a few playing the game and the rest watching from the sidelines.
• The whole body works as each part does its works. You are important!
The church will grow because God provides what the church needs.
• Today we are the fruits of the labours of those who have served as “coaches”. We are the fruits of our predecessors!
• I am blessed to have them trained me – my pastor, my SS teachers, my seniors in church. I learn to serve, to teach, to preach, and to share the Gospel through them!
• They groomed us to be who we are today! We need to thank the Lord for GIVING them to the church, and we need to thank them for being WILLING TO SERVE.
This song came to mind when I was preparing this sermon and I want to share it with you - THANK YOU by Ray Boltz. In the song he wrote about the people he dreamed he met in heaven... [play videoclip 5:52]