SERVE: It’s the Way of Jesus! (Week 4)

“The 5 Steps to Effective Serving!” (PART 2)

(Romans 12:1-8)

Today, we are going to walk through the last 2 steps of “The 5 Steps to Effective Serving” based on Romans 12:1-8.

Allow me to quickly review the first 3 steps from last week’s sermon:

Step 1: Everyday, Dedicate Your Everyday life to Jesus!
Romans 12:1 calls us to daily submission to God’s Word. Are you experiencing rest in the easy yoke of Jesus Christ?
 
Step 2: Eliminate Competing Distractions!
Romans 12:2 calls us to focus on Jesus and to guard our hearts from that which will distract us from seeking first the Kingdom. Where is your treasure? What are the “patterns of this world” that are taking your mind, heart, calendar or check book away from Jesus and His Kingdom?
 
Step 3: Remain Humble in God’s Grace!
Romans 12:3 calls us to view ourselves humbly through God’s grace by the faith that has been given to us. Nothing we have is from our own hands—not our salvation or even all that which we think we have earned or done. Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking less about yourself.

 

Now, let’s continue with the last 2 steps of effective serving found in Romans 12:4-8.

 

Step 4: Commit to Being a Functional Member of Jesus’ Church!
Romans 12:4-5 communicates, “For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function,  so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” (emphasis mine)

 

As the Scripture is worded, everyone has a function. No one is called to sit on the sidelines. There are no stand-alone Christians, just like there are no coals outside the fire that are red hot for very long. We are members of a body, gathered by the Holy Spirit through the gospel of Jesus Christ, to do God’s will for God’s glory. Apart from the body of Christ we are neither healthy nor able to faithfully function as God designed us. Finding your place of service in a local church is an essential piece of God’s program. In fact, it’s what builds the body of Christ!

 

Ephesians 4:11-16 emphasizes this point, “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” (emphasis mine)

 

There can be no lone rangers in Christianity. We already have our hero and His name is Jesus. That job opening is closed. I am not asking anyone here to be anyone else’s savior and I’m definitely breaking down any preexisting codependency you may have with a pastor, especially if that pastor is me. I’m a horrible savior; I am a fellow beggar for grace! When I act like a lone ranger or like an omni-competent pastor, then I am doing just that—acting out of my own particular brand of brokenness! We are in this together, each of us doing our part as God calls us, because the health and effectiveness of the church is 100% dependent on each of us doing our own part.

 

One of my friends explained the imagery of “what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part.” In understanding the imagery we see the importance of it. Listen to her explain, “There are so many things happening in the joints of the body. 1) Ligaments attach bone to bone to stabilize the joints of the body. 2) Tendons attach muscle to bone to provide range of motion to the joint. 3) Synovial fluid in the joint is like oil to an engine, and allows all the parts to keep moving freely and without pain (i.e. when someone says they have “bone on bone” joint pain, it means all their synovial fluid is gone).”

 

This biblical imagery explains why the contemporary church looks like it is limping through life and groaning along the way. It is not supposed to be this way! The church accomplishing the mission to bring glory to God is 100% dependent on the individual members being healthy functional members of the body. That is why the Bible says in Hebrews 10:23-25, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

 

God wants us to be together on a regular basis. To do life together, face to face, in union with Jesus and united to one another. God commands this for His glory, for our usefulness as His Church, and for each of our good. We are designed by God to be in a faith community. Our salvation may be personal, but it is not designed to be private. In fact, salvation comes with commands for a very community-oriented, service-focused life. Are you willing to be a healthy member of Jesus’ body by being a functional member of a local congregation?

 

Step 5: Multiply what God has given you to use!
Romans 12:6-8 brings it back to God’s grace and how He has given you a S.H.A.P.E. for ministry by giving you spiritual gifts: “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”

 

This is not a comprehensive list of spiritual gifts and these are different than your natural talents, but it is an exhortation to fully engage with what you have been given by God’s grace to do God’s will! Get off the sidelines and start using all of what God has given you for all of His glory! We want to equip you to learn more about Spiritual Gifts so we are making Spiritual Gifts inventories with information sheets available for you on both the welcome and resources desks. Please grab a packet and work through this information. If you would like to learn even more, please email me or get in touch with the church office and we will send you even more information. God has given you a S.H.A.P.E. for service. Do you know it and are you using it?

 

God formed you in your mother’s womb with service in mind. When you came into union with Christ, the Holy Spirit sealed you for eternity with His presence and power. At the time of your salvation, God gave you spiritual gift(s) to build up the body of Christ, to fulfill your design for ministry, all to bring glory to God! Always for God’s glory!

 

Do you know how good God is and what He has given you to do the good works He prepared in advance for you to do for His glory?

 

What does this look like? I will need some youth to help me illustrate what this looks like. We are going to have some fun to help us all remember today’s lesson.

 

With the youth acting out parts, tell the story of Jesus’ Parable of the Talents from Matthew 25:14-30.

 

Are you serving effectively with what God has entrusted to you? 1) Submit to God in every area of your life, every day; 2) Keep your eyes on Jesus and get rid of the distractions; 3) Stay humble in God’s grace; 4) Be a functional member of the body of Christ; and 5) Multiply what God has given you to use! As Paul said in Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”
 
Listen to the message here:
 

^