Unwrapping Spiritual Gifts
The Holy Spirit’s Call to Serve
Ephesians 2:10, Matthew 20:25-28
I Corinthians 12:4-6,
January 12, 2019
Intro: The Wizard of Oz has been a family favorite for many of us. What a fun story. How many of you were not just a little afraid of the lion, the wicked witch or the flying monkeys. It had it all, rebellion, destruction, family problems, a long quest fraught with doom at every turn. Did we watch the same movie?
In the end 4 characters realized that they had what they sought. A brain, a heart, courage and a home. They went on this long journey thinking at the end they would have what they desired. They discovered that what they wanted had developed in their lives as they searched for it.
The truth is, life does mold us and shape us. However we can think that life wants to defeat and destroy us. Some discover inner strength at the end of their journey. Some are utterly defeated at the end.
Scripture says that God is at work in us from the moment we are born. He shapes us. He smooths off rough edges. He takes our life experiences and teaches us. But until we surrender to Jesus we don’t enjoy what God is doing in us. That wizard did nothing for those on their journey. He encouraged them a little in the end, but that was it.
Jesus does so much more. He saves us. He speaks to the Father for us. He is preparing a place for us. He sent the Holy Spirit to work in our lives. At the end of our life we know that God has created His good work in us. The Holy Spirit takes all life has to throw at us and uses it to make us the kind of people He uses today and throughout our lives.
It started with…
Jesus was gentile when He spoke to those who were outside Judaism and lay Jewish people. He was harsh on the religious leaders. The biggest reason for this was that they were not caring through serving. They looked religious but it was only skin deep. They didn’t provide an example of what a servant leader looked like.
We live in a fallen world. It is a world filled with people that God created. He created us in His image. Given a good situation most people want to do good. Without the work of Christ from creation on, if there was still a world, the world would be an unbelievably horrible place. The truth is that God created us with some ability to love and care. It is a far cry from walking in the Spirit but people do good things (its doesn’t save them though). Jesus still needed to redeem people from the power and judgment of sin.
Two things need to happen for people.
- Everyone needs to know Jesus as their Savior.
- Everyone needs to learn (be discipled) to walk with Jesus. They need to know what God expects and requires of them.
The purpose of Spiritual Gifts is found in Jesus example.
Listen to what Jesus says about Himself in Matthew 20…
But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28
Jesus did not come to be the king or the boss. He was a King and had full authority but He was like no other before or after. Rulers and people of authority do require others to provide for them. They expect people to work for them while they do very little.
That is not the way believers are to live. We are to be servants. We are to be helpers and servers. We pitch in and help rather than thinking we are better than others.
Jesus did not come to have others serve Him while He did nothing. Jesus came to serve and all the while doing that He was also waiting for the time that He would ransom or redeem all mankind from the power and judgment of sin in their lives. He did not just come to die. That is what we are most thankful for but His practice and example for us was to serve others and His Father. We don’t have to die for Him though our actions might lead to that. We must serve God and those around us. That is …
I am indebted to Rick Warren’s book, “The Purpose Driven Life”. His book has influenced this sermon series. Some of the thoughts I share are from his book.
Rick Warren lists 5 aspects of the purpose driven life but I just want to focus on one. The other aspects are important to consider, so I would encourage you to read his book. For today our purpose in Christ Jesus is to serve others. Pastor Warren says that we are “Shaped for Serving God”.
Never forget that Jesus came to give us eternal life and He called us to serve others. We always have to keep this straight for our service is not a means of salvation but is the result of the work that That Holy Spirit is doing in us.
I believe this, not because Rick Warren believes it but, because God’s Word says it.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Eph 2:10 NASB
The fact is that what we are we owe to the hand of God upon us. We are born afresh in Christ, and born to do those good deeds which God planned for us to do. Eph 2:10 JB Phillips
We have been born again or born afresh in Christ. Not only has God planned to save us but also planned for us to be so changed that out of the overflow of our growth in Christ to be involved in building God’s Kingdom her on earth.
As God always does, God blesses us with what we need to minister to each other. The Holy Spirit comes into our life and brings gifts. The Spirit also helps understand experiences and struggles in life. things for us
How many of you have a degree that you have not used in your career? How many of your children got a degree that they are not using in their career? We even claim that we have our degree from the school of hard knocks. We too often stay in that school and never moving into trusting God with those experiences.
Truth is that we don’t really have that, “Hard Knocks” degree, until we surrender to Jesus and the Holy Spirit begins to refine what he started. God placed us in families that have helped to shape us. For goodness sakes, God even shapes us when our families fall apart. Nothing is wasted in the hands of the Father.
God can’t use the good stuff and He can’t use the bad stuff until we surrender to Him. When we surrender and begin to walk-in the Spirit God begins to use all of our experiences, our crisis and our training to bless others. Most of the time we have been enjoying God’s blessings but He wants us to bless others through our life experiences.
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
There are people who go to their jobs everyday and use their income to take complete care of themselves and their family but don’t even consider blessing others. Don’t think I am talking about socialism. Usually that involves someone else taking your money to help others. The early church used what they had to bless others.
Sometimes that meant money or food. At other times, that meant sending people to other cities. Paul and Barnabas were sent out. John Mark and Timothy were sent out. Aquila taught Apollos and helped him become a more effective preacher.
This how the Holy Spirit works. The Holy Spirit knows what is needed in certain situations and equips the right people for the right place to serve. Listen to what Paul says about this work of the Holy Spirit.
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. I Corinthians 12:1,4-6
A variety of gifts – roles or avenues to serve
A variety of ministries –actions to take for another
A variety of effects – results of serving others.
All of this is from God working in us. It is the Holy Spirit gifting us and helping us use what these gifts to benefit God’s people.
Jesus set the example for us while He walked among us. Jesus came to serve and to die for the sins of the world.
Did you bring the paper where you drew the 5 circles? If not draw 5 circles and label them this way. Title each circle like this…
Life Experience – divorce, loss of loved one, miscarriage, Financial disaster, Health scares – what have you learned or what have you wished someone would have shared with you?
Vocational Experiences – education, training, management – what are some ways that you can use these to help others?
Leisure Interests – hobbies, activities, – Can you connect with others through these interests? How could you minister to others through you interests?
Church Experiences – training, attendance, service, salvation – What past experiences could you use to help this body of Christ right now?
Educational Training – degree, classes, leadership – Do you have skills that would help another find a job or improve their skills?
Take some time to fill in each of these areas with info from your life.
As we close today consider these people of God…
Adam and Eve were created to serve
Noah was called to build an Ark
Moses was called to lead Israel from Egypt
Joshua was called to lead Israel into the Promised Land
Gideon like men and women in the book of Judges were called to deliver Israel from their oppressors.
Samuel was called to Spiritually Lead Israel to obey God.
David was called to lead Israel as their King
Nehemiah volunteered to serve by rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem.
Esther became a queen but was willing to forsake it all to help her people.
Isaiah volunteered to go and asked God send him to do what God wanted done.
Mary and Joseph received a call to serve and raise up the Christ child.
Peter was called to be a fisher for men’s souls.
The other 11 Apostles were called to follow and learn and lead.
Paul was called to proclaim Jesus to the Gentiles.