Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Fourth in a series on our church's Discipleship Path. The church works best when every member works


In just a week, the Super Bowl will be on television. And while a lot of people will tune in to watch the game, many more will be watching primarily to see the commercials. And undoubtedly there will be some car commercials among all those high priced ads. While I don’t know exactly what cars will be advertised or the exact nature of the commercials will be, what I do know is that if those commercials show anyone driving one of those vehicles, in small print at the bottom of the screen will be a disclaimer that will read something like this: “Professional driver on closed course. Do not attempt”.

I still remember a commercial for a Ford Fusion from a few years ago that showed the car “flying” after it drove off the edge of the cliff that had this disclaimer: “Fictionalization. Professional driver on closed course. Do not Attempt. Cars Cannot fly.”


Unfortunately, it seems like a lot of people have come to view the ministry of the church like that. They think it is to be done by the “professionals” in the church and it is not to be attempted by the rest of us. We’ve even developed language that reinforces that idea by dividing the church into “clergy” and “laity” a distinction that is not found anywhere in the Bible, by the way. For many, Christianity has become a “spectator sport” where we hire professional “clergy” to do the work of ministry and then come to church to cheer them on.

But as we’re going to see this morning, that concept of ministry is completely contrary to what we find in the Bible.


Today’s message is the fourth of five messages that we’re using to teach about our church’s discipleship path.



We began with the first step in the process – Come. We learned that our invitation to others to “come and see” Jesus ought to be the natural outflow of our own personal relationship with Jesus.

Then we focused on the second step in the process – Commit. There we learned that being a genuine disciple of Jesus requires us to be “all in” and to relinquish control of our life to Jesus.

Last week, we discussed the third step – Grow. We saw that spiritual growth is a matter of knowing, doing and being. It is not just getting me into the Bible but getting the Bible into me.

Today, we come to the fourth step in the discipleship process – Serve. Like growth, this step involves so much more than we could possibly cover in just one message, so all we’ll be able to do here is to focus on one aspect of what it means to serve and how that fits into the process of becoming a mature disciple of Jesus.

And like last, week, we’ll only have time to answer this one question:

1. What concrete actions can I take right now to take this next step in my relationship with Jesus?

Once again, this week, we’ll turn to the apostle Paul for some answers to that question. Today we’ll look at just a few verses from Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus. Paul had been instrumental in planting the church in Ephesus and had spent 3 years ministering there during his third missionary journey. He writes this letter to the church while he is imprisoned in Rome for the purpose of encouraging the believers there to live in unity so that they might bear fruit for the cause of Christ. In the first half of that letter Paul establishes basic doctrine and then in the second half of the letter he shows how that doctrine ought to impact the way that they live. This morning we’ll look at a passage from that second portion of his letter. Although I’m going to focus on verses 11-16 in chapter 4, I need to begin with verse 7 first:

[7] But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift…

[11] And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, [12] to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, [13] until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, [14] so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. [15] Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, [16] from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

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