Summary: We need to be a church that accepts one another...even if we don't always agree on each and every little thing. That takes work...and forgiveness...and a desire to put God's will above our own. Today I want to continue on with the next ingredient, and for
INGREDIENTS OF A HEALTHY CHURCH-PART 2
Last week I began to look at the ingredients of a healthy church... and I began with the unity that must take place if we are to ever experience the move of God that is promised in these last days.
We need to be a church that accepts one another...even if we don't always agree on each and every little thing. That takes work...and forgiveness...and a desire to put God's will above our own. Today I want to continue on with the next ingredient, and for a text I am using 1 Cor. 12:7 READ
To be a healthy church we must be in the business of ministry. But what exactly is "ministry." I believe a good biblical definition of ministry would be "meeting the needs of others through the exercise of spiritual gifts."
The central function of ministry is for each person in the body to be personally committed to meeting the needs of others in the body. And the motivation for ministry is to achieve the common goal...which is the equipping of the saints for the spread of the gospel.
But there is no way we can ever find the necessary motivation, let alone the ability to adequately meet the spiritual, emotional, relational, and even financial needs of this fellowship the Bible calls the body...not in our own power. I have come to believe that ignorance of spiritual gifts may be the major cause for the lack of church growth today...not only here but across the whole country.
And it is also likely to be the source of much of the discouragement...insecurity... frustration...and guilt that plagues many Christians and stifles their effectiveness for God. Is this really the church God wants it to be? Are you really the Christian God wants you to be? If we were all to be perfectly honest in our evaluation of those questions, we'd probably have to answer in the negative.
And that simply means that we must discover the most basic step any Christian needs to take in determining God's will for his or her life...and that is to know your spiritual gift...or gifts!
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "All Scripture is God-breathed...and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness...but why? So that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
So just to have an understanding of the Bible is not what it was given for...it was given to equip us for work...for service in the kingdom! And that brings up the question that I am asked more than any other.
What is it that I am to do personally...where do I fit in... how can I be a real part of the ministry of this church...What is His specific will for me?
One of the verses most often given to new Christians to memorize is Romans 12:1-2. It was one of the first that I memorized when I got saved...and I've never forgotten it. READ Rom 12:1-2
I believe that the last phrase of this passage is what makes it so appealing to new Christians. Doing His will...His good, pleasing and perfect will is the sincere desire of every person who has truly been born again.
When a person realizes that Jesus paid the ultimate price to save them, when it really sinks in...the first thing they normally say is, "Thank you God. I love you for what you did for me...and I want to serve you. Just tell me what you want me to do." At least that's the way it was for me...and many others I know.
But just what do we actually learn from these verses about finding His will for our lives? Now, I can see that the more I tried to follow these verses and kept myself from the world...the more I would be closer to Him and able to better understand His will.
And as I look back I can see that God, by His grace, did give me guidance as I tried not to conform to the world but rather tried to renew my mind and bring it more in line with His Word. But in order to understand the really practical way of finding the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God...we need to look forward to verses 3-6...not back to verses 1-2. READ 3-6 a
The key to coming to practical terms with the will of God for our lives is to "think of ourselves with sober judgment" as it says in verse 3. That means each of us needs a realistic self-evaluation as a starting point. I like the way the Phillips translation says it, "try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities." And in order to do that two steps need to be taken...one negative and one positive.