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Summary: Through the grace given by the Holy Spirit, ordinary people become extraordinarily equipped. Through the empowering of the Spirit, the word of God equips us to enrich, edify and equip people to serve the Lord with effectiveness according to the gifts give

Romans 15:14-16

What are the reasons certain believers lack goodness, knowledge, and competence to serve?

Illustration: The great violinist, Nicolo Paganini, willed his marvelous violin to Genoa -- the city of his birth -- but only on condition that the instrument never be played upon. It was an unfortunate condition, for it is a peculiarity of wood that as long as it is used and handled, it shows little wear. As soon as it is discarded, it begins to decay.

The exquisite, mellow-toned violin has become worm-eaten in its beautiful case, valueless except as a relic. The moldering instrument is a reminder that a life withdrawn from all service to others loses its meaning.

Bits & Pieces, June 25, 1992.

Theme - The Spirit fills us with goodness, knowledge, and competence to enrich others.

What makes some people capable of leading believers to higher levels of Christ-likeness?

1. Through the grace given by the Holy Spirit, ordinary people become extraordinarily equipped. Through the empowering of the Spirit, the word of God equips us to enrich, edify and equip people to serve the Lord with effectiveness according to the gifts given to each one. Many people are underutilizing the gifts God gave them because they are yet to understand the way the Spirit fills them with goodness, knowledge and the competence to instruct one another.

Illustration:

Erwin M. Soukup has compiled what he terms "The Seven Steps to Stagnation":

1. We’ve never done it that way before.

2. We’re not ready for that.

3. We are doing all right without trying that.

4. We tried it once before.

5. We don’t have money for that.

6. That’s not our job.

7. Something like that can’t work.

Soukup admits that "there’s probably an eighth step, but we’ve never looked

it up before."

Martin E. Marty, "Context," April 15, 1985, p. 5.

2. People seldom improve when they have no model to copy but themselves. Paul wrote to Timothy, "You followed my teaching, conduct, love, faith and purity." (2 Tim. 3:10) Ask the Lord to help you get around people of godly character so you can learn from their example. Allow the Lord to use you as an example to those who need to learn how to model godliness through your fine example. Do not hide your light under a bushel basket.

3. Stop looking at yourself, your circumstances, or your cultural heroes, for your examples. Too many Americans are following cultural icons not realizing that the qualities of TV and film stars are not empowerd or equipped by the Spirit of God. It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh profits nothing. The secular humanists insist that we can live a moral, upright and respectable life without any supernatural empowerment, but they are dead wrong. Paul wrote, "We all with open face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed from one degree of glory just as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Cor. 3:18) The Spirit of God transforms, sanctifies and edifies us in way that no human theory or philosophy can.

Illustration:

Evangelism

An executive hirer, a "head-hunter" who goes out and hires corporation

executives for other firms, once told me, "When I get an executive that I’m

trying to hire for someone else, I like to disarm him. I offer him a drink,

take my coat off, then my vest, undo my tie, throw up my feet and talk about

baseball, football, family, whatever, until he’s all relaxed. Then, when I

think I’ve got him relaxed, I lean over, look him square in the eye and say,

"What’s your purpose in life?" It’s amazing how top executives fall apart at

that question.

"Well, I was interviewing this fellow the other day, had him all disarmed,

with my feet up on his desk, talking about football. Then I leaned up and

said, ’What’s your purpose in life, Bob?’ And he said, without blinking an

eye, ’To go to heaven and take as many people with me as I can.’ For the

first time in my career I was speechless."

Josh McDowell

4. No man or woman, however how well educated, can conjure up the goodness, insights, and capabilities given to one filled with the Spirit of God. Solomon wrote in Proverbs, "Many a man will proclaim his loyalty, but a faithful man, who can find?" Despite peoples’ best efforts they are incapable of being loving, peaceful, and faithful unless they are controlled by the Spirit of God. The best efforts of humans are in vain unless the Spirit gives them life and the fruits of the Spirit such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. For against these things there is no human law that can contradict or diminish.

5. Supernatural power is given to those who are fully conscious of the Spirit’s enabling. It would be foolhearty to try to teach, lead or inspire a group of people without the empowering, indwelling or controlling of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit that convicts people of sin, righteousness and judgment. It is the Spirit of God who brings life to the lifeless. It is the Spirit of God that brings to bear all the power and authority of God to each person’s situation. He alone, has the ability to point out a person’s deepest need and lead them to the fountain of living waters. Jesus said, "He who believes in me, the works that I do, out of his inner being, will flow rivers of living water." (John 7:38) The Spirit gives us a free flow of nourishment, excitement and anticipation of all the good things that will flow out of our lives each day for the greater glory of God.

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