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Summary: A CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE pastor preaches that we must be "spiritual" men and women before we can be an effective part of God’s plan.

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A Wide Door for

Effective Service:

Let God’s Spirit "Move In"

Author: Dr. Neal Gray

Passage: 1 Corinthians 2:12-3:3, KJV

Purpose: We must be "spiritual" men and women before we can be an effective part of God’s plan. Every Christian is "saved;" but only a grown-up Christian works effectively in God’s kingdom.

INTRODUCTION

Opening

With this message, I am beginning a 5-part sermon series titled, "A Wide Door for Effective Service." The key passage for this series is:

"I will tarry...until Pentecost; for a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries." (1 Corinthians 16:9)

The emphasis for the series is this: EACH CHRISTIAN MEMBER OF THIS CHURCH IS, IN FACT, A MINISTER. And the time has come for you to find a suitable-- and enjoyable--service in your church. In fact, the time has now come for you to lovingly contribute--in ways more than you have practiced until now. The Church of Jesus Christ needs YOU. And as a Christian person, YOU NEED TO BE IN THE SERVICE OF THE LORD. Amen? Of course, amen.

==> Don’t worry, the truths I will present over the next several Sundays will help you see that providing a service to Christ’s Church is the easy and enjoyable thing for you to do. Great satisfaction comes from serving God.

Scripture

Our Scripture for today is found in 1 Corinthians chapters 2 and 3.

2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.

3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? (1 Corinthians 2:12-3:3)

WHAT MAKES A GREAT CONGREGATION?

Introduction

If somebody came to you today and asked you what you felt THE MOST IMPORTANT STATISTIC the church could give to demonstrate the vitality and the health of that church, what would you say to them?

Does Membership Indicate a Great Church?

Probably most of us would answer that the membership of the church gives the best clue as to her healthiness. We’d say, "Well, our church has so many members."

==> But, MEMBERSHIP IS NOT THE GREATEST WAY to really gauge the greatness of a congregation! In fact, some churches may have 500 members, but only 200 of them come to church. When you look closer, another 200 of those members may be dead--some of them physically!

The Best Indicator of a Great Church

No, membership isn’t the way to tell the greatness of the church. I will tell you how to gauge the greatness of a church: BY THE PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE A WEEKLY MINISTRY IN THAT CHURCH.

Just one year ago (February 18, 2001) when I came to our church, I took notice of how many people in the church had a weekly ministry. I looked at who was doing the work of the church that has to be done for us to even function as a church.

I can tell you that I found what I expected to find. About 20% of the people who attended our church were doing about 80% of the work. Now folks, that means that not too many people had a "ministry" that they did each week!

Today, that number has increased. There are more people who "do something" each week to contribute the greatness and vitality of this church!

==> I’ll say it again: the GREATNESS OF A CHURCH IS BASED ON HER PEOPLE FINDING OUT WHAT THEIR GIFTS ARE, AND USING THEM FOR THE GLORY OF GOD. That’s what makes a great church!

Find Out How to Use Your Spiritual Gifts

I want to talk to you for the next five weeks, about finding out how to be a spiritual man, or a spiritual woman; and then using your spiritual gifts that God has given you. We’ll explore together ways you can use your gifts.

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