Summary: An appeal for active involvement in Christian service
What Are You Doing--For Heaven’s Sake?
I. God’s Grace to the Church - v. 1-7
Notice Paul’s position - ’prisoner of the Lord’
We know that he was the prisoner of the Roman Emperor Nero; yet
Paul knew that God is sovereign over Nero, and that he had no power over Paul, except what God had given him. He was God’s prisoner!
• Fulfill your vocation - v. 1-3
Paul’s assumption - every believer has a calling and vocation!
We are to remember our mission -
“To bring people to Jesus Christ and membership in his church family, develop them to Christlike maturity,
equip them for their ministry in the church
and life mission in the world, in order to magnify God’s name.”
In other words - discipleship, fellowship, worship, evangelism, ministry
We are to fulfill our mission -
• with humility - v. 2
we are to remember that we are what we are because of Christ!
• and patience - v. 2
"forbearing one another in love" means "putting up with each other" - all are different, yet we serve the same Lord
• and unity - v. 3
We all serve for the same purpose....we’re on the same team!
In the essentials - unity
In the non-essentials - liberty
In all other things - charity
Why is this important? Because there is one church - not many; just like there is ONE Lord, ONE faith, and ONE baptism!
Next --- let’s talk about the way God equips us to fulfill His purpose for us
II. God’s Gifts for the Church - v. 8-14
A. The positions - v. 8, 11 - apostles, etc.
V. 11 talks about the victory Christ won over the grave, by leading ’captivity captive’. This gave Him the spoils of victory.
The victor often distributed the spoils of victory to those in His forces.
Notice that the "gifts" in this passage are men - and they are given unto men (mankind) - specifically == the church of Jesus Christ.
The leaders are not to carry the full load of the ministry; their purpose is to help the body of Christ reach its full potential.
For example, a pastor is a coach - to teach and encourage the team!
Quote: "The job of a coach is to make people do what they don’t want to do, in order to achieve what they’ve always wanted to be." - Tom Landry
B. The purpose - v. 12 ... let’s pull over and camp here for awhile
1. The "perfecting" of the saints
Before salvation we are crippled and misshapen by sin; after salvation, as we grow spiritually, we are remolded and reshaped to be conformed to the image of Christ.
2. The work of the ministry
The work of ministry is for ALL believers; not just those who are supported financially by the church.
When the Lord left this earth, He left the work of ministry in the hands of amateurs - volunteers -
Every believer has a gift that is to be used in His ministry
Romans 12:1-8 - I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness.
Have you ever served in a ministry and been frustrated because you were ineffective or felt that you couldn’t do the job well?
Perhaps you were serving in an area that didn’t fit your gift!
Illustration: "The Coach Knows What He’s Doing"
One of the winningest coaches in our area turned what was once a team known for losing into a team that was usually in the championship series. He was a genius at knowing what position each player would play best. Many times they disagreed with the coach, of course - they saw themselves as being a star at some position they really wanted. But he could size up their capabilities like no coach you had ever seen. And invariably, the guys who thought he was wrong about the position he gave them, well, they would end up being all-conference and all-county in that spot.