Summary: A sermon about spiritual gifts.

"What Should I Do with the Life God Gave Me: Use Me!"

Ephesians 2:1-10

1 Peter 2:9-10

After 40 years of faithful service to the company he worked for, Jerry was finally getting his reward.

His colleagues were throwing him a huge retirement party.

After dessert, the CEO of the company got up to speak in order to give all kinds of accolades to Jerry--but where was Jerry?

He had been at the party.

He had mingled and laughed while everyone was hanging out before dinner.

He had sat at one of the tables.

He had been the center of everyone's attention.

He had even been seen eating dessert.

Suddenly, he was nowhere to be found!!!

A couple people went looking for him.

And, can you guess where they found him?

In the kitchen!!!

Jerry was up to his elbows in soapy water!

He was doing the dishes.

I've been at this church going on 6 years.

And you know what?

I could really embarrass quite a number of you right now--because I could point out a bunch of folks who are just like Jerry.

If you went missing during a party in your honor, the first place I'd look for you would be in the kitchen...

...doing the dishes!!!

That's one of the things I love about East Ridge United Methodist Church--You act a lot like Jesus!!!

I feel like the most blessed and privileged pastor in the world.

We may not be the biggest church in the world.

We may not be the richest church in the world.

But this church is a church that serves!!!

That's one of the reasons we need to get the word out to a lost and dying world: "Here is a legitimate representation of the Body of Christ--come and be found by the One Who died to save you!!!"

Now, that's not to say we are perfect.

And I'll be the first one to say--I got a lot of growing to do.

I want to be the best I can be for YOU, THIS COMMUNITY, and especially for JESUS CHRIST!!!

And I got a long way to go.

But Praise God!!!

We are in this together.

The success of this church doesn't just rest on me.

We all have a part to play.

When we joined East Ridge United Methodist Church, we made a promise to God, to ourselves and to the Church that we would uphold this particular Church with our SERVICE!!!

Which means every single one of us is accountable to God, ourselves and this Church as to whether or not we kept our part of this bargain.

And think of what is at stake if we don't uphold our part of the bargain:

--We will be accountable to God

--Persons will not hear the Good News of Jesus Christ

--The Community of East Ridge will not have the opportunity they could have to be transformed by the saving knowledge of Christ

In the Scripture Passage from 1 Peter that Brandon read earlier Peter spoke to people just like you and me:

"You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who are God's own possession.

You have become this people so that you may speak of the wonderful acts of the one who called you out of darkness into his amazing light.

Once you weren't a people, but now you are God's people..."

When you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are immediately adopted into God's family.

And you know what?

The Holy Spirit takes up residence, or makes a home in you.

When this happens, you become a priest--serving under the High Priest, Jesus Christ!!!

And as priests, every one of us has a function to perform for the Church--a priestly responsibility--to perform for the rest of us!!!

It's the highest calling in the world, and it goes out to every one of us.

So what does a priest do?

* Well, a priest prays for his or her people

* a priest encourages the people

* a priest confronts her people

* a priest grieves and rejoices with his or her people

* And more than anything, a priest serves his or her people!!!

At the Last Supper Jesus had with His disciples, He was the guest of honor, the Supreme Leader, the King.

And what did He do?

Well, this is what we are told in John Chapter 13:

"he got up from the table and took off his robes.

Picking up a linen towel, he tied it around his waist.

Then he poured water into a washbasin and began to wash the disciples' feet, drying them with the towel he was wearing...

...After he had washed the disciples' feet, he put on his robes and returned to his place at the table.

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