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Summary: We serve such an incredible God who gives us good gifts. Paul explains in Ephesians 4 that one of God’s greatest gift to His people, are gifted and called men to lead them.

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Live Out Loud – Our GIFTS June 3, 2007

Ephesians 4:7-16

Video: Church of One – www.sermonspice.com

Trans: It is amazing how many people attend the church of one where they believe everything revolves around them. I could tell you stories of the shenanigans people have attempted to ensure the church is about them.

Funny: This week I heard of a pastor who went on a cruise, accidentally fell of the boat and washed up on a deserted island where he remained for some six months before getting rescued. When the helicopter arrived, they noticed three huts and curiously inquired. The pastor explained that the first hut was his house, the second hut was his church, and the third hut was the church he used to pastor that split b/c they couldn’t agree on anything.

Trans: So let me set the record straight? The ministries and priorities of the church aren’t intended to revolve you or me – but around God, His mission, and the lost world in need of a Savior.

Trans: I realize this might be a hard pill to swallow w/ our lazy boy church mentality that feels entitled to sit in our spiritual recliners sipping iced tea and doing nothing but watching the show, all the while expecting someone else to do all the heavy lifting for Jesus. But I can assure you that Jesus never intended for His church to become a spiritual country club where membership has its privileges. He has called His people and expects them to sacrifice their lives for His glory.

Insert: Do you think the brand of Christianity we live today would’ve produced the Book of Acts in the 1st century? Why not? What are the barriers preventing us from experiencing such impact in the world?

Insert: I recently heard a sermon on church growth by a consultant at NAMB. He said pastors are always asking, “What do we need to do to grow?” He said the question is – what are the barriers preventing growth? If we can determine what they are and change them, then we would grow.

Note: I think we have an ignorance barrier – we don’t understand Jesus life, death, resurrection and mandate. We have a following barrier – we don’t want to follow the leaders God has given us b/c it would require a life change. And we have a maturity barrier – we don’t want to grow up b/c if we do, then we’ll have to get busy about the Father’s business. We have a priorities barrier – we want things done our way.

Note: The issue isn’t b/c we don’t have the right resources, medium, need, or ability – it is b/c we don’t have the right focus and priorities. We have a, “I’ll have it my way” Burger King, mentality. But Jesus expects us to have a, “I’ll do it God’s way,” Savior King, mentality.

Insert: Pull out a piece of paper – what is the purpose of the church? What is the pastor’s job? What style of music should we have? What kinds of events and programs? What would make you happy? Wad it up! What matters more – what we want or what God needs us to be?

Trans: I came across an interesting poem from a 9-year-old entitled, “If I Were in Charge of the World.” Listen and see if you can relate to it.

Insert: If I were in charge of the world, I’d cancel oatmeal, Monday mornings and allergy shots. If I were in charge of the world, there would be brighter night-lights, healthier hamsters, and basketball goals five feet high. If I were in charge of the world you wouldn’t have lonely, you wouldn’t have clean, you wouldn’t have bedtime and you wouldn’t have “Don’t punch your sister.” In fact, you wouldn’t have sisters at all! If I were in charge of the world, a chocolate sundae w/ whipped cream and nuts would be a vegetable, all movies would be rated “G”, and a person who sometimes forgot to brush, and sometimes forgot to flush would still be allowed to be in charge of the world.

Trans: I thought that was cute, but poignant. I think if I were in charge of the world, one of the things I would change would be people’s idea about church. I would want people to see church as God intended rather than as a consumer through the stained glassed sunglasses. I would want them to understand God’s design and determination for His people.

Trans: We’ve been looking at the elements involved in experiencing unity w/ God’s church. So far we’ve seen that we are to be unified in God’s call that we are each to live in a manner worthy of His sacrifice. Second, we’re to be unified in the foundational convictions God has given us in His (7) pillars of grace, that we are one body, in one Spirit, w/ one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father. Today we’re going to look at the next item we’re to unite around – God’s appointed leadership to His people. God has given us His H.S. and His Word, and Paul points out that He has also given His church a grace gift of gifted leaders that they might be used to grow us up in our understanding of the faith and unite us in accomplishing His mission.

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