Sermons & Sunday Schools

The Four-Fold Purpose of the Church: Christian Fellowship (Part 4)

In this sermon, Pastor Babij continues teaching on Christian fellowship and how to understand and maintain unity in the church. Pastor Babij explains that, because Christians are part of Christ’s body, they are to build an atmosphere of care and respect for one another and to practice the gifts that God has bestowed on each believer for the glorification of God and the edification of the church. Pastor Babij also gives instructions on how a Christian can discover his/her specific gift (or gifts).

Full Transcript:

Let’s pray and then we’ll look at our text this morning. Lord, thank You today for another day of worship. Thank You, Lord, for allowing us to have the Word of God in our hands, being able to read it, study it, meditate upon it. I pray we would never take for granted that gift and blessing that You’ve given us. I pray, Lord, that everyday we have peace, that we would grow stronger in our knowledge and wisdom of You. And I pray, Lord, that we would everyday get better in the sense of worshiping You, knowing who You are, what You’ve done, what You’re going to do. And I pray, Lord, that we would be so overwhelmed by Your kindness to us and the gifts that You’ve given us. It would just affect our lives everyday, and that it would come out of us. We would just learn to praise You with our mouths, whether in private or public, and give You the honor for everything that’s taking place. So we await Your return, Lord. Until then, Lord, make us servants. Allow us to use our gifts to build up the body and give You glory. And I pray this in Your name. Amen.

I’ve been looking at Acts 2:42, where the Bible says:

They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayer.

I have been on fellowship for the last several weeks, because fellowship comes right after the apostles’ teaching. So the first thing new believers want and desire is the apostles’ teaching. That is what all Christians want, actually real Christians. The second thing is they want fellowship. They usually are ripped out of a situation. They’re taken out of the dark world. Many times their family disowns them or doesn’t speak to them like they used to. And so you’re thinking differently now. You are a changed person. God has given you a new heart, and so things are different. But you come together in a group of people that are thinking and seeing the same thing you see, and then that’s where the fellowship begins. We have one thing in common and what we have in common is that we have come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and we desire to now live for Him and serve Him and serve His people. That’s what we want to do.

So by definition Christian fellowship is a relationship with each other. It is a partnership. It is a community of sharers. It’s detected when new life comes in and we become believers. We are in agreement and we are growing in agreement with biblical truth. It’s conditioned on walking in the light. It’s maintained by repentance and confession of sin. Of course, the privileges that we have is that we get to fellowship with the Father and the Son. We get the fellowship with one another. That becomes necessary and vital thing to our spiritual growth and health, and the growth of the whole body.

We do have obstacles that we have to overcome, mostly that come about because of our own sin and the culture that we live in. But the Lord gives us the wisdom to overcome those things. When we are brought together in Christ’s church, Christians were designed and are designed to be in constant fellowship with other believers and to be strengthened by quality Christian relationships within the local church.

And that of course moved us to the purpose of Christian fellowship, and the very practical things to encourage one another, to share experiences one another by carrying, devoting, honoring, praying, sharing, rejoicing, weeping. All those things are included in the one another passages in the Word of God. Then we are there to help the weaker brethren. We are there to exhort the backslider, to strengthen one another.

That brought me to looking at three scriptural truths which supply the foundation for the need of Christian fellowship. Doing that, we went to 1 Corinthians 12:12, and I’d like you to turn there right now. As we consider this today, we see that the first scriptural truth is that the Scriptures declare that there is only one body of Christ, even though there are many members in the body. The passage of Scripture in 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, it says:

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slave or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

The operative word throughout that is “one”. In those two verses, it points to the the fact that the body is one organic whole, yet it has various parts. The various parts perform widely different functions, but as a unity, and of course that becomes the body of Christ – the church. I identified last time a couple of problems that come up. The first problem is the problem of the inferiority complex. In verse 14 it says:

For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.

So the foot thought it would not be part of the body because it was not a hand. Paul is using this analogy of the body to drive home a very important point about the unity, the complexity, and for him to show the church that we ought to work together, no matter what gifts God has given us, for the greater glory of honor to the Lord. We see here that the foot is generally unappealing, usually covered, and therefore not visible. So the feet conclude that I’m not as visible and gifted as a hand, so I’m not needed and not part of the body. Of course there’s a little bit of absurdity there. That’s what he’s trying to do. The principle that was brought about from this section was that no member can accomplish its own removal from the human body by complaining or depreciating its own importance. Therefore, everyone has a responsibility to accomplish something toward the growth of the body, no matter how inconspicuous their gift may be. So Christians need to realize that they have been given a spiritual gift that only they can actively use to edify the body.

So Christians you need to be content with whatever abilities God has uniquely bestowed on you. The reason why is that because the Bible says God distributes to each one individually just as He wills. The inferiority complex is something that’s a reality in the church. Paul wants to make sure that those kind of things are dealt with. Of course a second inferiority complex would be the ear inferiority complex. We find in verse 16. I’m just kind of reviewing here what we did last time. It says:

And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” is it not for this reason any the less a part of the body.

So the ear thought it was left out because it was not an eye. Eyes are visible, colorful, glamorous, and ears are not so glamorous. They’re not an ego building body part. And so they conclude that I’m not needed and not part of the body. In other words, the Corinthian church (and we have the same problem; every church has the same problem) was caught up in the eye and the hand gifts, therefore neglecting the other gifts. The visible and the showy gifts, they were spending more time with than they were the gifts that were done behind the scenes. And so that’s why Paul is bringing this to our attention. Paul’s analogy of the unity of the human body as contrasted with the unity of the church body counsels us that we cannot be individuals that stand alone in the church. I said last time being self-sufficient is actually Satan’s philosophy, not God’s philosophy. In verse 17 we see that no individual part of the body is equal to the whole, where it says:

If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?

Again, the principal being that there are no spiritual loners in the body of Christ. No organism can survive whre only one member is involved, no matter how prominent the member. No child of God should underestimate his or her own importance as a member of the body of Christ. In God’s design all are significant and have their proper place. Every single person who is a Christian is significant. Also from verse 18, we see that no individual chooses themselves where they are placed in the body. It’s God’s choice. It tells us in verse 18:

But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.

In other words, it’s God’s pleasure alone that determines the gifts that God gives a Christian when they become a believer. We have to rest on His sovereignty. Instead, we really should think rightly and soberly and thank the Lord for calling us to salvation and calling us to serve. And then with diligence actively use our spiritual gifts or gift to edify the body. This is the will of God for each of us. Again, Paul says in verse 19:

If they were all one member, where would the body be?

In other words, it would be absurd to think a body with only one body part. That of course would not be a body at all. It would be just a blob. He’s not looking at the church as a blob, but a functioning unit, everything doing what it ought to do. So health would come to your body and then health would also come to the church body.

The two primary reasons why some Christians never become involved serving their local body of believers is because some feel that they have no gifts or abilities that are worthy. So they sit back and let others do the work. Of course, they’re really missing a blessing when when they do that and think that way. That is of course not biblical thinking and it’s not right thinking. Some think I don’t come to church to do anything. I’m fine being a spectator. I really don’t have time to serve. All the excuses that come in there, and yet they’re all wrong excuses. They are excuses that Paul doesn’t want us to have, and the Scripture doesn’t want us to have. The Lord doesn’t want us to have.

So both groups that I mention are involved with the sin of pride. One said that they don’t need me, while the other say I don’t need them. And others would spout: I don’t have the gift. The second would say: I have a second-rate gift. Others would spout: it doesn’t matter because I’m so unimportant. Who looks at me. I’ve always been on the fringe of life. And so therefore why should that be any different if I come to the church? It should be. The Lord and the Scriptures addressing these issues so there can be unity. So everybody would actually look at everyone else and say: you’re important because God saved you and He’s giving you a gift. That Gift needs to be used in the body, and you get fulfilled when you use your gift.

No believer can biblically say I have no gifts or abilities that are worthy to build up the body. That would be saying you’re wiser than God. That’s where the pride comes in. No believer should sit back and let others do the work. There has to come a time that you decide that you’re not going to be a spectator anymore. You’re not going to just sit back and let others do things. You’re going to choose to be part of building up the body and using your gifts.

This brings me to a second foundational truth which supplies the need of fellowship and that is the Scriptures declare that all the members make up one body. Now what Paul is doing here in verse 20 is that he’s actually reversing the order of what he just did. Paul is saying in verse 12:

For even as the body is one and yet has many members,

Then now in verse 20 he says:

But now there are many members, but one body.

He just reverses it. That’s all he does. The reason why he does that is that’s a literary emphasis. It’s the same point said in a different way. The body of Christ is composed of people with a wide variety of gifts and capabilities. A few gifts are showing. Most are not. Yet all are needed for the body life to exist and continue as a unity.

So the passages from verse 12 through 19 show the considerable danger of underestimating one’s importance in the body. And now the caution focuses upon the danger of overestimating one’s importance in the body. Here we see that the more visible gifts are considered because these often enjoy greater importance or prominence within the body. So Scripture deals with a second problem. That second problem is that of the superiority complex. What is that? Verse number 21:

And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

The eye and the head refer to members in the body that are superior to the hand and the foot. The eye’s function in the body is more important and prominent than the hand. The head also functions with a complex task in the body, that is in a sense the computer of the body. It’s telling the whole body what to do. The problem would be: what would the eye be without the hand? It would be less than what it could be. There would be no eye and hand coordination. Or what would the head be without the foot? it would not be able to transport itself from one place to another. Both the eye’s and the head’s function would be greatly curtailed without the full function of the hand and the foot. Again, some absurdity there in Scripture because he’s driving home a point. He’s saying: listen, it doesn’t matter what gifts you have or what extent or measure of a gift you have that God’s given you. Everyone is needed. Let’s get rid of the inferiority complex. Let’s get rid of the superiority complex. Let’s take off the rank off our shoulders. Let’s work together as a body so we can get God’s work done and give Him the glory and the honor for what will be accomplished.

So the bottom line that I left with you last time is that whatever gifts God has given you, and He has given you at least one, whether they are quiet and behind-the-scene gifts and abilities or they are more grand and visible, no one has the privilege to act alone. But our duty before God is to cooperate with all the other gifted Christians in the body, so the whole body is edified and remains unified. So the church is interdependent on one another. Yes, I need you. You need me. I need the person sitting next to you. And you need the person sitting behind, in front of you. Everyone is needed in the church.

Now, if all those things are working the way they should and when the church body, Christ’s body, is understanding and is maintaining the unity already given to it by the Holy Spirit of God, and we’re all protecting that, then there will be at least four positive things that will start to be manifested among God’s church. This is where the Spirit of God and the Word of God is bringing us, to make sure that these things are developing in the body. And what are those things? I’d like you to turned to 1 Corinthians 12:21-27. There are four things and here’s the first thing. It’s that of an attitude of needing one another. Notice in verse 21, it says:

And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

In other words, we need each other. And so there’s an attitude that will prevail amongst the congregation of people that I need everyone. Everyone is important, and no one is less important in the body. As we all together begin to think that way, then we will again start understanding that this is the attitude that pleases God. Underneath that, we see that the superior organs are necessary. It says in verse 22:

On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary;

The superior organs are necessary. The weaker organs are necessary. To the prideful ones in the body or the church, they will think the feeble are unnecessary or the weak. They seem so, but they really are not. We can live and get along with some parts of our body, but the more hidden parts – the internal organs, the heart, the liver, the lungs, the stomach are more vital even though you don’t see them. I don’t see them, but they’re more vital. I mean, let’s face it. If your heart stops working, you’re done, right? It’s these things that Paul is getting into the minds of his hearers, that the less noticed parts seem to be weaker, but they are not. The sensitive internal organs like lungs and stomach are totally hidden from sight, yet are absolutely vital for supporting life and maintaining health.

So we need those who are faithful to prayer, who type the bulletin, who send the car to pick up a person for church, who silently and sacrificially give, who serve in the nursery, the sound booth, the media, the tech people in the church, the praise teams, those who clean and usher, those who count and prepare food and give hospitality, and all kinds of other ways. We need every single one of those people, because they all have a spiritual gift that build up the body. Those who have been given by God non-visible gifts are necessary. I would say absolutely necessary, just like the internal organs of our body are more necessary. You can live without a hand and leg, but you can’t live without a heart.

Again, he’s driving home this point to drive out any kind of fleshly and worldly thinking that’s brought into the church. The church is not run on business principles. It’s not run by a certain philosophy that is brought in from outside. The church runs as God has designed it. When we understand that and maintained that, then we will definitely have an attitude of needing one another.

Also the less honorable parts in verse number 23:

and those members of the body which deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor,

We bestow more honor or give special attention to the parts of the body that are not especially attractive, probably the torso, the parts we hang clothes on, the shoulders. Actually the word bestow there means to put around, to put on, to cloth in. So we spend more time clothing these parts so that we bestow more honor on them. We adorn them to make them more attractive. We need those parts in the church, those who labor, those who help, those who serve, those who do behind-the-scene tasks. A nation, it is said, can exist without astronomers and philosophers, but they cannot live without day laborers. Day laborers are essential to the existence of any society in any people. And then he mentioned the uncomely parts in verse 23. That means our unhonored, insignificant, unattractive members. Those are also body parts covered by clothing. This time it’s for the purpose of modesty. These are the private parts. Decent and civilized people hide these parts completely because they are unpresentable. They’re indecent.

So the lesson in all these verses remind us that the usual procedure we all take with our human bodies is to take the behind-the-scene parts and the delicate parts and give special effort and awareness to them. So we need to take the same careful approach with those possessing gift that are not as visible, and gifts given by God in a lesser measure. One thing is definitely clear. We should never look down at someone else who is less gifted, but instead devote ourselves to the well-being and the spiritual health of those not so well-equipped. Pride is such a horrible thing to see in the church. To think that people think that because they have degrees and because they went to school or they have a good mind or they have these opportunities, somehow they’re better than other people. They’re not. You’re not. Before God, we should be humble and say: Lord, how do you want to use me? I want to be used in any way You’ve gifted me. When you do that, that’s where the joy of serving God comes in. That’s where you get fulfilled in your Christian pilgrimage, when you actually use the gift God has given you for the building up of the bodies. In verse 24, the last part of the verse says:

whereas our more presentable members have no need of it.

See, it is the more attractive and functional parts of the body that need no covering or adornment. All the parts of the body working in unity adjust to the need of each member needing the more attention. So to give these more attention when the less gifted and not so well-equipped, those are the ones who need our attention – those who are more gifted and more able in the body. So Paul’s counsel and Scripture’s counsel to us on needing each other should cause our self-sufficiency to grow weak and our dependency on God to grow stronger. This one point should be the attitude of the whole church.

The second thing that will really manifest itself among the body is the affirmation of God’s sovereignty. It really does go with the Scripture in verse 24, in the middle of the verse. It says:

But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked,

Again, a reminder of who is in charge and designed it so, that the church body is designed by God’s wisdom. How can we improve upon that? We cannot improve upon that. In fact, the word “compose” means to put together, to arrange in the right place. Who better can arrange things and arrange you and I in the right place but God, right? And so God is pictured as arranging and adjusting. He separates the members of the body into a unit in such a way that every part stands equal. It stands on equal dependence on the rest of the parts, just like our body.

So God has composed the body with all its different kind of members and made one harmonious mutually dependent whole, also taking care of the members that lack – meaning that the members of the body will not have any deficiency because of the divine given honor that God gives to the body. God fit the human body and the body of Christ together, that the members function with an exact equality, a balance. In other words, gifted and not so gifted. God is the equalizer. Therefore we should take care and respect what the Lord has done so unity abounds. See, that’s how He’s made us. So there’s this affirmation that comes amongst all of us. Hey, this is what God has done. This is the gift God has given me. This is the gift that God has given you.

Once we recognize those things, then what happens is that a third thing that will manifest itself among God’s people. That is there will be an atmosphere of care and respect. Look at what it says in verse 25. Why is this so important for us? Verse 25:

so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

So division in the body cannot be tolerated. The reason for that is because division hurts the body. Unity thrives when each of us understand what the other person’s functions and gifts are, and then hold that person with the highest importance because it’s God’s work. This is what God has done. God doesn’t want any schism in the body. He wants there to be a unity. So if any limb or any organ ceases to really function in the whole body, the whole body is thrown out of whack. Division amongst Christians is not in line with divine intention. Jealousy and envy and strife can never be attributed to God’s will or God’s spirit. It’s all the flesh. It has nothing to do with God. But instead, we are to have a deep, thoughtful, anxious care and compassion for one another. When this happens, the church body has peace. It has harmony. It has harmony in her worship, in her fellowship, in her service, as God intended. Then what happens is that you prevent division taking place in the body. You actually prevent jealousy from rearing its head or staying around too long, or envy, or strife, or any of those fleshly sins that want to either exalt oneself or use words to demean others. That’s not called for in the body of Christ.

Which leads me to a fourth thing that will manifest itself among God’s people when these things are actually understanding and maintaining and growing in. It would be this last one and it would be an abundance of rescue, sympathy, and rejoicing. Here’s the end result of us working together as a church. Verse 26:

if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

There it is right there. When the church members maintain a mutual care and respect for one another, the outcome of such relationships is a growing intimacy. If one in the body suffers or have some kind of pain, the whole church notices. And what does the church want to do? It wants to mend the tear. It wants to mend and repair what’s wrong. If a member of the body is recognized for their usefulness for maintaining healthy growth, joy permeates the whole congregation. It’s just like if somebody in the body gets married. It’s a joyful experience and we all enter into that joyful experience. When someone uses their gift, we should be rejoicing that they’re using their gift and giving God glory because that makes the body strong. Therefore we can all rejoice together that somebody is definitely a part of building up the body of Christ.

And this is of course true of the human body. Have you ever stubbed your toe or suffered with a bad toothache or slammed your finger with a hammer or in a door? Your whole body react to that suffering and to that pain. Even the smallest hurt or pain can prevent the rest of the body from functioning well. This is so true of the body of Christ. Rivalry or competition or envy or malice or inferiority or superiority complexes should not exist amongst God’s church, but sympathy and care and love should exist.

It was Martin Luther who said this: see what the whole body does when a foot is trodden on or finger is pinched, how the eye looks grim and the nose draws up in the mouth cries out, and all the members are ready to rescue and to help, and none can leave the other. So that means not a foot or a finger is trodden on and is pinched, but the entire body is pinched. Again, when good is done to one another that suits all others and the entire body rejoices therein, this is how it ought to be. Also in the church since it too is composed of many members in one body and has one mind and one heart. For such unity naturally has the effect that one is concerned in the good and the hurt of the other as in his own.

In other words, he’s taking the same position as Paul and he’s understanding how important it is.

Now that would bring me to the last major thing in our text, where the Scripture declares that the body referred to is none other than the body of Jesus. Noticing verse 27 what it says:

Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.

I want to stress something in this passage. It says “you are”. Paul does not say you ought to be Christ’s body, but you are Christ’s body. Now may I say that this is significant because the Corinthian church was anything but an efficient running assembly. If you ever read through 1 and 2 Corinthians, you would find that out. They were jealous. They were bitter. They were misusing the gifts. They were seeking the greater gifts, the more visible gifts. Bitterness really was the rule rather than the exception in the Corinthian church. This is something that we can never forget while functioning in the body life of the church, that all who are in Christ enjoy an exalted position in God’s sight no matter how unfortunate their behavior may be at the times. Now, this should never be the standard, but it is a reminder of the enormity of God’s grace to his children. The whole application of the body analogy points toward us, Christ’s body, so that today we can properly use our spiritual gift with the utmost benefit of the health of the body. So the responsibility is really set directly upon our shoulders to implement what’s being taught in Scripture, so that our assembly of born-again, blood bought, baptized believers will run as a truly efficient body.

Yes, we are Christ’s body. The whole body of Christ includes all believers in Christ throughout the world and form every generation of every Christian era. So if you look at the second part of verse 27, you will notice that it says that we are individually members of it. Individually made up of separate parts of that body. So that should keep us humble. We are just a small part of the whole. Yet each local group of believers has within itself sufficient gifts to operate in its own local church. So each has an assigned position, an assigned responsibility that differs from every other part within Christ’s body. Remember as I said, the local church are the hands that do His work, feet to run upon His errands, a voice to speak for Him. So the body analogy reminds us that certain things need to exist within a healthy body. A body is healthy and efficient only when each part is functioning consistently in a proper way. Also the parts of the body do not act as if they are jealous of each other or covet each other’s functions or remain ignorant of what they are to do. The body works as a unity and not in competition with one another. All spiritual gifts that are given to God’s church, the body of Christ, have a common origin and function within one common organism.

The question would be: where are you using your spiritual gift to serve Christ’s body? The other questions would be: do you know what your gift is? If you do, you should be using it. If you don’t, you should find out what it is. I know not everybody would know what their gift is right away. I did not know when I first became a believer right away what my gift was, but the pastor of the church just kicked me into a place where he says serve. And I did. I ended up by that service finding out what the Lord was doing in my life and what passions He was giving me. Because of that, I learned what my gifts were. You can grow in the measure of a gift.

In Scripture, the Bible really gives us at least eleven permanent gifts that we’re using today. The first one mentioned in Scripture is prophecy – the ability to feed the flock with a capacity to handle the Word of God effectively. Second one would be teaching – the ability to make clear the truth of Scripture through systematic instruction. Third would be exhortation – the ability to encourage and admonish others in their work for Christ and with the Lord’s ability. The next one would be helps – ability to aid believers in need, especially in physical and material ways. Many people do have this gift in the church – the gift of mercy, the ability to deal effectively and lovingly with those who are sick and afflicted, to come along side of them. They have that particular gift. Believe me, that gift is so much needed in the church.

Leading – the ability to give the organizational and superintending leadership in the church on different levels. Then we have the gift of faith, which is the ability to believe God in such a way that God is free to act in powerful ways. Having people around you that have that gift of faith really is very encouraging. Sometimes we get negative, and so the person with the gift of faith say: no, God can do this. God is bigger than this. This is not impossible for the Lord. And that’s usually what happens with somebody who has the gift of faith. Giving – the ability to donate generously, cheerfully, and eagerly to the body of Christ. A person usually who has this gift is usually not just giving money but giving all kinds of things. Generally God’s gifted them in a way to actually give material things to the church because the church needs those things. People need those things.

Then of course discernment – the ability to distinguish between truth and error. Knowledge – the ability to understand God’s truth at a high level of understanding. And of course wisdom would be the ability to practically apply the Word of God to life’s situations.

So if you take all those and you read them in 1 Peter and Corinthians and Ephesians also, you’ll find that these gifts are there for you to examine yourself. What gift you have? If you don’t know, find out what it is. Discover what your gift is.

How do you discover your gifts? I mentioned something last week, but this week learn that each person has a special gift. Don’t say you don’t have one. You do have one. Learn about the gifts the church currently possesses. Look around and say: okay, not everybody’s a teacher right? that would not be good if everybody was a teacher. Then we would have to start all these churches and send them out to teach other places, right? There’s not all one gift in the congregation. There’s all these kind of gifts and we need all of them. So discover, learn what gifts are presently amongst us and see what your gift is. Then of course you want to pray about what your gift would be. You want to take into account your desires, your resources, your circumstances, your abilities that God has given you.

Also allow that a person may have more than one gift. Yes, you have one, but you may have more. As you use your gift, you will find out you may have other gifts. And then also you to recognize that there are degrees of giftedness. You may not have a large measure of a gift. You may have a small measure of a gift. That’s alright. That’s God’s department. That’s not your department. But you may have a large measure of a gift. That means the larger measure of a gift, the humbler you need to be. You have to realize that you need all the people around you too that are less gifted.

And then of course experimentation, I mentioned this last week. Where can I serve? That has to do with desire. At what level can I serve? That has to do with maturity. How long have you been a Christian? And how much do you know the Word of God? When will I serve? That has to do with availability. And then where do I begin to serve? That’s always the next step. Where can I start serving? Then you want to evaluate yourself. Since you’ve been a believer, what has God been doing in your heart? What real passions do you have in your heart that God has placed there?

When you start serving and you start realizing: wow, this is what God wants me to do. When I do this, I get so incredibly lifted up that this is what I want to do. Sometimes for me, going to the hospital is not the thing I want to do. But a person who has the gift of mercy, they want to go there. They’re singing hymns. They’re reading Scripture. They’re changing tubes. They’re doing all kinds of things. I go in there. I pray. I say: I can’t wait until I get out of this hospital, because I just don’t like hospitals. I don’t know why. I just don’t like them. So I said: I think I evaluated myself – I don’t think I have a large measure of spending time with someone who is sick in the hospital, even though I do care for them and do pray for them. But somebody I send that I know who has that gift, I send them there. They pray with them. They sing with them. They just love doing that. That’s so important in the body. And it doesn’t have to be in the hospital. It could be someone’s home, the nursing home, some facility that they have to care for people on a regular continuous basis.

Then one of the last things would be that you seek out the reaction of mature, respectable Christians. That means somebody’s going to come alongside of you and say: you know what, I think God is gifting you in this area. Because when you serve in this area, you just come alive. It’s like the light goes on when you do this particular thing. We need that encouragement. Believe me, your gifts are recognized by others. And so when you’re serving and I’m serving and we’re doing all this service, then God receives the glory, the honor, and the praise.

That brings me to the last thing: the card. Now the reason why we did this is because we just want to try to plug you in somewhere in the church. And so if you notice, there’s three questions actually. The first one is: have you been baptized by immersion? Put on there yes or no. And then are you a member of Calvary? yes or no. Then are you actively serving others in our local church? Yes or no. And then for each of the ministries below circle all in which you are actively serving or regularly attending. Underlined others which you are interested to serve or attend.

I want you to fill this out. You notice there’s a large list of ministries that we have. Some of the ministries that we have are not necessarily functioning yet. It could be also because we don’t have people to function in those ministries yet. If we don’t have a ministry, then start a ministry because you want to be part of something like that. So circle all in which you are actively serving and regularly attending. And then underline all others which you are interested. So if you are interested in something, please underlined it. Then if there’s some other thing you want to do or want to start, write that in the blank space. Now if you know all that stuff today, you can fill it out drop it in the box in the back. If you know all that stuff today, you can do it today. If not, we’d like you to have it. Think about it. Pray about it this week, and drop it in the box for next week.

What what we want to do is that for every ministry that we have, we want to develop a job description for it. So if you want to do something and you say: well I don’t know what to do. We want to meet with you and we were going to put out a job description for every single ministry in the church. I’m going to say: listen, this is what we want you to do. And this is how we want you to do it. It gives you the opportunity to be equipped to do that particular task.

That means that if you are working in a ministry already, we may be talking to you, asking you to help us develop these job descriptions. So we are including everything we need to so we can give you a good picture of some of the things that need to get done in the church, so you can be a part of it if you desire to be part of that ministry. you may say: well I don’t really know what my gift is, but I do want to serve in this area. That’s fine. Put it down. Underline it. We want everybody to be doing something. We want a church of servants. That’s what we want. I believe that’s what the Lord wants.

So if you have a gift that God’s given you, let’s use it. Let’s use it. I believe that if we do that, then it will be a great blessing to our whole church, the future of the church, and giving us an opportunity to reach out to the lost of the community and of our surrounding areas so the gospel continues to go out and not be hindered by anything that we’re doing wrong within the body.

So that’s what we like to see. So this message is a little different, little bit of a challenge to you. And we really do want to move forward on this thing. So by next week, please fill it out, put it in the box so we can start working on these job descriptions and get getting them to you and meeting with you so we can get you plugged in somewhere, something we’re doing or something we’re not doing that we should be doing. All right, so that’s this morning message.