October 5 sermon manuscript

You are invited to steward your gifts to build God’s kingdom.

Ephesians 4:1-16 – “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

 11And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

You are invited…

Ephesians 4:1-16 – “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—

You and I are invited to do numerous things in Ephesians 4. We could probably spend 4 weeks simply talking about this chapter. On June 29, I gave you an invitation…

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If you missed that sermon, or simply wish to revisit it, you can find it at www.chrispeoples.org. Click on audio or video links and you can catch up.

That message taught us how to individually promote Jesus in our everyday lives. In our spiritual gifts series, we are focusing on the WE. In week 1, we learned that IT’S NOT ABOUT ME. Even though it’s not about me, I have a responsibility to make sure the WE is the best it can be. Because that is true, we have been dedicating portions of the last three weeks to learn about specific spiritual gifts. I hope you have been discovering new information! We will finish the last 8 gifts today. Over a free lunch, we will invite you to take a spiritual gifts test so you can discover what your gifts are. This is important even if you have done a different test in the past because verse 4 states there is ONE BODY.

You are invited to steward your gifts…

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11And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,

As we have been learning over the past few weeks, verse 11 is not an exhaustive list. There are many other gifts the New Testament addresses. I want to discuss why it is important to use our gifts.

  1. Paul tells us to use our gifts.
    1. Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10; 28-30; Ephesians 4:11
    2. Many church attenders view Paul as this “super disciple” that sets a standard we can never achieve. Some of us understand that Paul travels around investing in churches, watches them grow and corrects their path when a group of Christians gets it wrong. Those things are all true about Paul.
    3. This is a little different than everything we think about Paul. Paul has been arrested and put in prison. Some of his prison time was house arrest, where he could have guests and small groups and touch base with other people. Some of his prison time was in a jail. Either way, Paul is waiting for his execution to happen. The Caesar happened to be a guy named Nero. Nero didn’t like Christians very much at all. In fact, Nero was well known for using Christians as the lamps that supplied lighting for his parties. Paul is in prison waiting for Nero to decide his fate. That’s a bad story. Each of us has a story, but it might not be that bad. We don’t live like this hour could be our last hour. This was the reality that Paul faced for years, and yet he chooses to continue using his gifts to build God’s kingdom.
    4. I think if Paul were sitting here today, he would tell us to use our stories and use our circumstances as a way to build God’s kingdom.
  1. The church in America will die if we do not use our gifts.

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The data reveals if current trends do not change, many churches in our country will be forced to close their doors in the next 10-15 years. The reason is unsustainable income because people aren’t attending church, aren’t giving to church or a combination of both.

The best opportunity for our grandchildren and children to connect with Jesus as they grow and become adults is to become part of an environment that expects church members to give of their gifts, financial or spiritual. It doesn’t matter! The church needs both in order to build God’s kingdom.

You are invited to steward your gifts to build God’s kingdom.

  1. God’s kingdom cannot expand without your gifts.

11And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

We have the responsibility to build God’s kingdom until:

  • Our community has attained unity in faith.
  • Our community has attained unity in Jesus.
  • Our community has become mature followers of Jesus.
  • Our community no longer act as spiritual children.

 

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Sources:

The ESV Bible

“The Great Evangelical Recession” by John S. Dickerson

Various Commentaries