Summary: The foundation of ministering under the anointing of the Holy Spirit is understanding how to exercise our Spiritual gifts through sacrificial love.
Turn your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 12:31b-13:7
Title: Sacrificial Service
Theme: Influential Church Membership
Series: Essentials for Church Growth
Listen as I read 1 Corinthians 12:31b-13:7, “…And now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Let us pray!
Introduction: It is imperative that you remember that today’s keys text precedes chapter 12, which records some of the endowments of the Holy Spirit given gifts. (Thru the Bible) In chapter 12 the Holy Spirit moves the Apostle Paul to write about edification for the Body of Christ through Spiritual gifts. He used the illustration of the human body to show the necessity of the gifts working with one another in a Biblically healthy way. Today’s key text records the display of true love, especially on how to exercise Spiritual gifts in a way that is pleasing to God, through Christ as Head of the church, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Proposition: I would propose to you that the child of God may possess any one of the Holy Spirit endowed gifts, but if he or she is not surrendered to the Holy Spirit’s influence of love, he becomes useless in edifying the Body of Christ, in reaching out to lost souls, and worse yet, unable to minister to Christ. The foundation of ministering under the anointing of the Holy Spirit is understanding how to exercise our Spiritual gifts through sacrificial love. Christians who are going to be led of the Holy Spirit of Christ for the edifying of the Body of Christ and receive direction in the governing affairs of the church are those who have a Biblical understanding of sacrificial service.
Interrogative Sentence: Just how do Christians prepare to exercise their Spiritual gifts? Just who are the ones who are going to catch Biblical revelation for making key decisions for the church of Christ? Who should be the influential members of the Body of Christ in a local church?
Transitional Sentence: In bringing truth to determining who the influential church members are, there must be a Biblical understanding that in this dispensation there is no such thing as the perfect church. 1 Corinthians 11:17-19 says, “In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval.”
The Apostle Paul is not advocating factions and divisions, he is simply stating that in this sinful world and because of the sinful nature there will be conflict. Just as there were factions in the Corinthian Church there are going to be factions today. (Dr. Paul Hamar)
It is inevitable even among Christians there are going to be problems. The reason God allows it is so those who are living the Holy Spirit filled life will be made evident for all to see. Those who are living according the flesh and under the influence of the world will be exposed for who they are and those who are submitted to the Lordship of Christ will be made manifested for all to see. (The Expositors Bible Commentary)
Holy Spirit illuminated Christians will stand out because they will be loyal to the whole counsel of God’s Word. They exhibit a trust not in their own strength but in the Lord’s strength, and they will be seen as a people who constantly seek counsel through examination of God’s Word, prayer, and Godly leadership.
Dr Jay Vernon McGee writes, “To tell you the truth, churches throughout America [have many members who just attend church] and they [do not know Christ].” (Thru the Bible) Matthew Henry writes, “It is not until divisions arise that those who have God’s approval, [those] who are genuine, those who passed the test, can be made known. Divisions separate those faithful to God’s Word from the rest [who do not seek the counsel of God’s Word].” This key truth found in 1 Corinthians 11:17-19 takes us from second grade, immature Christianity, to mature Christian truth. As long as there are public meetings and as the numbers grow there will always be that conflict between those who live according the influence of the flesh, the world and the lies of the devil and those who seek the counsel of God’s Word.