Summary: Christianity is a contact sport. The true joy in the journey of faith comes when we get out of the stands and onto the court. Let’s get in the game and play to win!
PLAYING TO WIN: GET IN THE GAME
OPENING TEXT: “24 Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will win. 25 All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” (1 Cor. 9:24-27).
FAN DEFINED: an enthusiastic follower or admirer of a sport, pastime or celebrity
• As Christians, we should all be enthusiasts – en-theos = with or in God.
• ILLUSTRATE: enthusiast – Caleb loves going to football practices & games. Why? Because he is involved – he gets to play!
THE BIG IDEA:
Christianity is a contact sport. The true joy in the journey of faith comes when we get out of the stands and onto the court. Let’s get in the game and play to win!
QUOTE: “Getting involved in your church by using your gifts will accelerate your spiritual growth immensely. God designed us that way. Don’t head for the stands when you enter the kingdom of God. Head for the playing field. That’s where the excitement is. That’s where the action is.” (Wayne Cordeiro, Doing Church as a Team).
• Jesus never called anyone to ‘go to church’ – He called them to follow Him.
• You will never find a bored ‘follower of Jesus.’ Bored church-attenders? Yes.
KEY TEXT: Ephesians 4:11-16
I. THE FIVE FOLD MINISTRY:
“11 He (Jesus) is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.
• The hand symbolically represents the five-fold ministry of gifts from Jesus:
• The Apostle is the thumb because it is the finger that touches all the others; it establishes and brings order to the other ministries.
• The Prophet is the index finger because he directs the Church in the way it should go.
• The Evangelist is the middle finger because it reaches out to save the lost.
• The Pastor is the ring finger because symbolically he is married to the Church.
• The Teacher is the little finger because it balances the rest of the hand and the Church's teachings.
II. EQUIPPING GOD’S PEOPLE:
12 Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ,
• It’s not the job of the pastor to do the work of the ministry, but to equip God’s people.
• Therefore, the pastor is like the coach, designed to help build up the church.
• We firmly believe that every member is a ministry and has a job to do
QUOTE: Nicki Gumbel said: “The Church is a whole lot like a football game: 22 people on a field in desperate need of rest, with 70,000 people in the stands in desperate need of exercise.”
• “God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God's generosity can flow through you.” (1 Peter 4:10, NLT).
• God wants us to discover and develop our gifts and use them to bless others.
• Are you using your gifts to minister God’s grace to others?
“4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Romans 12:4-8).
• This Scripture tells us that we all have different gifts, but we are one body.
• Paul tells us to use our gifts! If you don’t use them, you’ll lose them!
• Seven gifts described here: Prophecy, Ministry (Serving), Teaching, Exhortation (Encouragement), Giving, Leadership, and Showing Mercy. There are other gifts:
• Craftsmanship / Artist Exodus 31:1-11
- work with wood, cloth, paint, metal, glass, and other raw materials
- develop and use artistic skills such as drama, writing, art, music, dance, etc.
• Hospitality 1 Peter 4:9-10
• Intercession / Prayer Ephesians 6:18
• Missionary Ephesians 3:6-8
• Music / Worship 1 Corinthians 14:26