Summary: This sermon is about using your gifts to serve others. It examines that God controls our very purpose for exisiting, everything is created by jesus, everyone has a gift to share, all gifts must be exercised, all spiritual gifts must be used in love, we mu
Spiritual Gifts part 1
Using your gifts to serve others
One of the most influential Christians who lived in 1700 and early 1800’s is John Newton, the writer of “Amazing Grace.” His own evaluation of himself was, “a wretch who was once lost but then was found, saved by amazing grace.” God’s grace began in Newton’s life through his mother, who died when John was a child, but not before she had given him some Christian training. Like most young people he gave up his mother’s Christian teaching and surrendered to a life of bondage that led him to be abused, become a servant on a slave ship and eventually the captain of his own ship that also carried slaves. While living a life that had given up Christian convictions, God allowed him to experience His grace once more, no doubt because of the prayers of his mother. While steering his ship through a violent storm, John Newton experienced what he called his “great deliverance.” He recorded in his journal that when all seemed lost and the ship would surely sink, “I prayed, ‘Lord, have mercy upon us.’” God answered that prayer and as he sat in his cabin John became convinced it was God’s grace that got them through. For the rest of his life he observed May 10, 1748 as the day of his conversion, a day of humiliation in which he subjected his will to God’s directions. During his days as a sailor he had begun to educate himself, teaching himself Latin, among other subjects. After serious health problems he quit sailing and finally ended up where he could become a disciple of Christ through teachings of George Whitefield, evangelistic preacher and leader of the Calvinistic Methodist Church. He also became influenced by the Biblical teachings of John Wesley. The “Grace Living” of these two great men of God inspired John Newton to learn Greek and Hebrew. After persistence, John became an ordained preacher of the Word of God. Many were influenced by his teaching and writings about the Word of God, by his speaking in the local church and holding meetings in other places. He started weekly prayer meetings and became the author of over 280 Hymns. Hymns that speak for the Word of God through songs like, “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds,” “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken” and one of his favourites, “Amazing Grace.” John preached until the last year of his life even though by this time in his life he was blind. John Newton knew the grace of God upon his life and he extended “Gracious Living” by exercising his Spiritual gifts diligently.
He is an inspiration for us to use our Spiritual Gifts for the kingdom of God.
Ironically even our current Prime Minister Kevin Rudd urges us to use our spiritual gifts wherever God has given them. The Leader of the opposition calls us to examine the bible to understand our place in Australia.
A Christian perspective, informed by a social gospel or Christian socialist tradition, should not be rejected contemptuously by secular politicians as if these views are an unwelcome intrusion into the political sphere. If the churches are barred from participating in the great debates about the values that ultimately underpin our society, our economy and our polity, then we have reached a very strange place indeed. (Kevin, Rudd Prime Minister of Australia 2006)
"Everyone should have some familiarity with the great texts that are at the core of our civilisation That includes, most importantly, the Bible." (Tony Abbot, Leader of the Opposition 2009)
It is fair to day that life is not about you.
The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfilment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.
The search for the purpose of life has puzzled people for thousands of years. That’s because we typically begin at the wrong starting point—ourselves. We ask self-centered questions like ‘What do I want to be?’ ‘What should I do with my life?’ ‘What are my goals, my ambitions, my dreams for my future?’ But focusing on ourselves will never reveal our
life’s purpose. (from Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Life, 2002)
Read 1 Peter 4:7-11
16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. Colossians 1:16
“Unless you assume a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless.”
Bertrand Russell, British atheist (1872 – 1970)