Summary: This message deals with the reality that we are all making a difference, but we need to ask the question what kind of difference are we making in the body of Christ.
You Are Making A Difference
Let me introduce you to Stephen and Joseph. They were twins but very different from each other. Stephen started hanging with the wrong crowd in high school, and got involved with using and selling drugs. He caused his parents undo headache and heartache. By the time he was 22, Steve had 3 kids by 3 different women and spent two years in jail.
Joseph went into sports and was MVP of his high school basketball team. He was an honor student and by age 22 he had graduated with his BA degree and already had landed his first job making $45,000 dollars a year. He will be married this coming June. When it came to their family, which of them really made a difference? They both did.
Everybody is making a difference. The question is not are you making a difference, but rather “what kind of a difference are you making.” If you are a believer, you are called to make a difference for Jesus Christ who is our commanding officer. Before today’s Old Testament reading, most of you had not heard of Josheb-Baashebeth, Eleazar, Shammah, Abishai or Benaiah.
That is because they were not out to make a name for themselves, but to do what was necessary to support the kingdom of King David. They were men who were equipped to do extraordinary tasks, but there goal was to make a difference for the king. They were known as David’s Mighty Men. God has equipped us with different talents and abilities, not for us to shine as stars, but to make a difference for Jesus Christ. We are to be Jesus’ Mighty Men, Mighty Women or Mighty Youth.
We have been studying Spiritual Gifts, for the last 6 weeks in Life-Sharing and Pioneers. This past week we took a test to find out what our sprititual gifts were. Some of you were surprised to discover your gifts, and others of you had confirmed what you already believed were true. The word of God makes it clear, that you were given a spiritual gift by God, to make a difference in the body of Christ. That is why it is ridiculous to try to be a Christian without being a part of a church. You were made to fit in somewhere in order to build the body of Christ.
The use of our spiritual gifts in the way God intended for us to use them, keep us from becoming bored and useless in church. What happens to the football player who learns all the plays, all the defenses, and shows up at the games, and always declines the opportunity to go and play in the game, but finds ample time to criticize those who do play.
After a while they start complaining about the team, the coach, and start thinking if only they were on another team, things would be better. If you do not use the spiritual gift God has given you, for the building of the church, you will get bored and disillusioned with the church. You will be making a difference, but it will not be a positive one for Christ. That is why our New Testament reading command us, whatever our spiritual gift is, use it to the glory of God.
Spiritual gifts are also not a substitute for obedience to Christ. Never be amazed and dazzled by someone’s spiritual gift, whose life is not in accord with the word of God. Jesus warns us that, in the day of judgment, many people will boast of the miracles they did and the demons they cast out in the name of Jesus. But Jesus will say to them, “I never knew you.” Remember, every spiritual gift can be faked by Satan.
Spiritual maturity is not determined by how well we use our gifts. Spiritual maturity is based on how much we allow the word of God to shape our attitudes, our actions, our behaviors, and our willingness to serve in the life of the church. Using our spiritual gifts is evidence that we are willing to make a difference for the cause of Christ. Our spiritual maturity requires that we use our spiritual gifts, otherwise we will become stagnant and turn into complainers. Show me a person who constantly complains in the church, and I will show you someone who is not actively using his or her spiritual gift.
Using your spiritual gift, will help you in your desire to be found pleasing to God as an act of worship. Worship is not simply singing songs and hearing prayers. Presenting our bodies to God as a sacrifice, to be used by God, in the way God wants to use them, is considered our reasonable worship. To worship God is to utilize our spiritual gift.