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Summary: God has created us to be a significant part of the body of Christ, so what is each follower of Christ doing with what God has given to make a difference?

The Search for Significance in the Body of Christ

May 18, 2002

Intro: Show “Essentials” video from NAMB.

Transition statement: If you knew without a doubt that you were on this planet for a reason what would you do? You would want to find out that reason right? We have been answering that question these last several weeks as we’ve talked about our search for significance. I want to read a verse that I think really sums up our journey the past few weeks:

“From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.” Acts 17:26

God determined you would be here! You are here in Portland in May of 2002 for a reason. It is no surprise to God. He has significant things in store for your life. Specifically he has significant things for you to do in a local body of believers—in the church. The awesome reality is that every person is a 10 in some specific area. You might not be the best student in your math class or the best at building stuff but somewhere you have been created to do something well. As part of God’s family there are no second or third strings. We are all on the same plane.

In Scripture the church is spoken of as those men, women, boys and girls, who come from different backgrounds, ethnic groups, etc. who profess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The church is not an institution, and organization, or business—it’s a living organism. That’s why the Apostle Paul uses the word “body” as a metaphor or illustration to describe what the church is. Look at what 1 Corinthians 12:27 says: “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”

Did you know that Jesus is still at work in this world today? He is at work through us. We are his hands and feet. The Bible makes it clear who calls the shots. And that is Jesus. That’s why he is given the title as “the head.” Just like your body reacts to what your brain tells you we do the same with Christ. ILLUSTRATION: When you touch something that is hot your brain is what tells you to get your hand off of there. So, Jesus gives us the direction and we follow. As a follower of Jesus, you are a part of the body!

Let’s look at what 1Corinthians 12:18 says. “But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” You have a specific job to do in the body. We can’t all be fingers or toes, that’s not what God intended. If you are a wrist, God wants you to be a wrist. I think it is so amazing that the church can be made up of all kinds of different people, from different backgrounds and experiences and come together in unity. There is unity in diversity! You have a job to do and the truth is God has given you what you need to fulfill that job! One of the ways he has equipped you to fulfill your job is through spiritual gifts.

What is a spiritual gift? A spiritual gift is __________________________________

Here are some other facts about spiritual gifts:

· There are different kinds of gifts. 1Cor. 12:4

· God determines which gift(s) you get. Vs.4-6

· Every believer has at least one. Vs. 7

· Spiritual gifts are useless without a genuine Christ-like love. It’s interesting to note that

1Cor. 12 and 14 talk specifically about spiritual gifts but there is a break between the two chapters. Chapter 13 is a chapter on love.

Read 1Cor. 13:1-3

Our spiritual gifts should be fueled by love--A love for each other and a love for those without Christ. When we aren’t loving others we are living only for ourselves.

I want to ask a question that I will ask again later—“If you are a follower of Jesus, what are you doing with the gift(s) God has given you? The effectiveness of the church is hindered when it’s parts are not doing what they are suppose to. ILLUSTRATION: If you have cut your finger you have realized how important that finger is when you can’t use it like before. I want to share some common excuses for Christians not using their spiritual gifts:

1). I don’t have any time. Well, if you are too busy not to be using your gifts to serve in the body of Christ you are too busy. But you know there are those who are the opposite of that. They are so busy doing everything in the church they have no time for anything else. If you aren’t spending any time with your family because you are so busy then you need to hold back and re-evaluate. We are not asking you to get involved in everything in the church. But I am asking that you get involved somewhere!

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