Summary: The acid test of how I am becoming more effective is ...
How to become personally effective
Last week, we reviewed what it means to become effective for God, we discovered together many Christians are not living effective lives, and for the most part it is because they often stop at the law, when asked, why don’t lie, don’t murder, all they can say, is because the Bible says so.
In my series on freedom in Christ, which I preached on this year, we know that law only brings death, does not give life, does not warm us up to follow passionately after God. The road to being effective is to concentrate on relationship. That is why God gave His Spirit to live in us through faith in Jesus. And that is why God came in the flesh through Jesus, did not come down as a set of rules or he would become a word-processor, or worse a lawyer but he came in the flesh, he met with people, related to them as one who loves unconditionally, who warmed hearts of many, steered away from rigid interpretations of the law, into love of God an neighbor and that is why we need to be taught as Ephesians 4:21 in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. Not truth in law, person of Jesus, who lived life here, who walked here, whom we can relate to as a person, not a set of rules. Today we continue with that thought, how to become personally effective.
Joan Sparks told this story:
One day a wise man came to small town. he needed a place to stay so he went to the first church he found. Inside, a small group of people argued about how they could best please God.
“I’ll help you” the man said, “but you must promise to use what I do to glorify God.”
“oh we will,” the people assured him. “we will”
he gave each of them gifts - one was to be a pianist, another a flutist. To one he gave a cello, to another a violin and yet to another he gave the role of toe-tapper.
The people worked long and hard to prepare a song of praise for the church. The music became more and more beautiful.
One afternoon during practice the violinist said to the pianist, “I’m so glad I have the important job of playing the violin. I’d sure hate to be only a toe-tapper.” The toe-tapper was so hurt he went home.
The next day, when the group met to practice, nothing came together right. Finally, the flutist said, “Without the toe-tapper here I don’t know when to come in for my part.” They started over time and time again, but the music sounded terrible.
It was then that the violinist spoke up in a very sad voice. “I’m sorry. This is all my fault. I thought it was so important that I didn’t need the help of the toe-tapper. I was wrong.”
So he led the way to the toe-tapper’s house and asked him to come back with them. The toe-tapper agreed and once again the music was beautiful. Then, one Sunday, they played their music in church. God looked down and smiled. I think he even winked at the toe-tapper.
This is a great parable. In world wracked with the ugly horrible sounding music of racism, violence, crime, hatred, bigotry, snobbish attitudes, where people think they are good when they are evil comes Jesus. This was the world in which Paul wrote about in Ephesians, a world that is clearly divided between Jew and Gentile, a world of dark given over to sensual lust of every kind, very much like our world
Instead of a wise man coming to a small town, it is God who came to our small world, revealed Himself in the person of Jesus. (Hebrews 1:1-3) “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.” Came to us revealed that the church was his grand idea of making the ugly music go away with the beautiful music of his unconditional love and his romance wooing of the church and he found a place to stay in the church. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:22 that the church is people of God “built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.” Have you not heard that the church is not a building, piece of real estate or some kind of property, but is about people, God’s people. That is why Paul prays “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” That is why Apostle Paul wrote in the Bible in 1 Cor.3:16,17 “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you.”