Summary: A look at how "member" is never used in the Bible to mean "a name on a roll," but rather "a part of the body."
The drama: "The Orchestra."
There's a band director and three musicians.
Director talks to each member one at a time and each says that they're ready, but then says they have one little problem.
First one. At the piano. "Ready, but my right hand isn't working right." Director asks shocked but then says we'll just hope for the best.
Second one. Maybe a flute or woodwind. "Ready, but my lower lip isn't working." Maybe she could be talking funny throughout. Same response from the director.
Third one. Guitar. "Ready, but two of my fingers aren't working." Same response from director.
Director says let's go through them one at a time. Piano comically bad. Flute comically bad. Guitar comically bad. (All three are enthusiastic though and positive about themselves.) Director: "All together now!" Comically bad.
Director: "That's terrible. Terrible! Nothing could redeem that!"
One of the musicians: "Maybe it'd be better if our violinist was here."
Director: "Which one is she?"
"She's the one who looks like this." Flops neck over to the side. "Her neck isn't working."
Director: "I give up!" And walks away. The three musicians say, "I don't know what her problem is. Let's play some more!" And play a little more horrible music.]
THE SPIRIT'S PLAN FOR A CHURCH OF IMPACT: Everyone does what they’re gifted at.
- Verse 20 tells us that there is one body. That is the body of Christ. That’s the collective efforts of the church as all the people work together.
- We talked last week about what a spiritual gift is: a divinely-chosen ability for divinely-empowered service. Every Christian has at least one spiritual gift.
- Verse 20 tells us that there are many parts but one body. That means that we’re all supposed to be working together to bring together a unified effort.
- To sum that up (as the sermon outline says): everyone does what they’re gifted at.
BUT I'M A CHURCH MEMBER: The word “member” never appears in the Bible in reference to “a name on a list” but always “a part of the body.”
- “But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.” – 1 Corinthians 12:20 (NKJV)
- Some will argue against everyone doing what they’re gifted at. “I’m a church member,” they’ll say. “That’s all that’s asked of me.”
- Well, that may be what we talk sometimes like within the church, but that’s not what the Bible teaches.
- In the NIV, it uses the word “part” where some other translations use “member” (like NKJV and NASB). Both are solid, valid translations.
- Let’s talk about the word “member” for a minute though.
- When we talk about someone being a “member of the church,” we mean that that person has their “name on the roll.” They walked forward at the close of worship, expressed their desire to join, and then become a “member” of the church.
- The word “member” is never used that way in Scripture.
- When it speaks of a “member,” it’s speaking in the context of the body of Christ. It means that we’re an active participant. It means that we’re doing something.
- This is a significant and unfortunate change. It makes us believe that by putting our name on a list that we’ve done our duty. In truth, our duty needs to include serving.
WHAT'S EXCITING: The Spirit looked at you and thought, “This is how I want to use him.”
- There is a negative aspect to the idea that your spiritual gift was chosen by the Holy Spirit and not you. There’s a part of us that wants to make the choice ourselves.
- But there’s an excitement to the idea that the Spirit who knows us better than we know ourselves has selected our spiritual gift.
- Along with that, it is also an exciting thought that the Spirit looked at us and thought, “This is how I want to use him.” “This is how I want to use her.”
- First of all, that He saw value in us.
- Second of all, that He’s chosen a specific role for us that fits us.
- Unlike the kid on the baseball team that’s told to “just go stand in the outfield somewhere,” each of us are designed for impact.
WHAT IF I DON'T USE MY SPIRITUAL GIFT?
1. THE CHURCH WILL HAVE LESS IMPACT.
- I noted in week one of this sermon series that the church is not the back-up plan. Likewise, using you is not the back-up plan. This is how God intends to run things.
- The church cannot be what God wants it to be with you sitting on a pew. You have a gift that is necessary to the full potential of the church.