SERVE: It’s the Way of Jesus! (Week 5)

“The 5 Steps to Effective Serving!”  (PART 3 of 3)

(Romans 12:1-8)

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

Allow me to quickly review the first 4 steps from the last 2 sermons:

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.

Step 4: Commit to Being a Functional Member of Jesus’ Church! Romans 12:4-5 commands us to not see ourselves as a lone ranger Christian, but to become healthy members of a local congregation by seeing ourselves as each having an important function. Are you willing to be a healthy member of Jesus’ body by being a functional member of a local congregation?

 

Before I move on, I want to discuss a concern that has been expressed to me recently. First of all, let me say that I appreciate it when people share their concerns with me, the elders, or other members of the leadership. That is the right way to handle concerns, by being healthy and helpful. Please talk to us. I know trust is hard, but this is the better way. A concern has been expressed to me that there is no place to serve for some people. I hope the report I have received is isolated. As a pastor and fellow elder, speaking for the elders of the church, I want to publicly say that we want every person to find a place of service in and through the church—we desire to be a safe place for you to grow in Christ in every season of your life because we don’t believe in retirement from serving God. While there is process for some positions in the church (e.g. worship team try outs or qualifications for eldership), that does not mean that we don’t want people to find the right place of service. We are not in the business of hurting people, but healing people. But what happens when hurting people are not willing to be a part of God’s therapy through the church for their healing? We want each person in our church to find God’s will for his or her life. So, if you are actively taking yourself out of ministry, stop! If you are actively working against others, stop! If you feel like you have no place to serve here or have been told that by anyone, then talk to me or one of the elders or come to talk to the elders as a team or write us a letter (and please sign your name to it). We want every person who calls FBC their home to have a place of service, whether in the church walls or outside in the community. That is the 1 in our 7:1 Initiative!

 

Now, let’s finish with the last step of learning how to effectively serve as found in Romans 12:1-8. This step is important to the above issue because it is not our goal to get you busy, it is our goal to guide you in all righteousness to serve as God designed you to serve. The elders do not feel called to either direct your steps for you or derail you from using your gifts, but to disciple you into great fruitfulness for the ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ; the journey of maturity!

 

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.”

 

Romans 12:6-8 is not a comprehensive list of spiritual gifts, but it is an exhortation to fully engage with what you have been given by God’s grace to do God’s will.

 

What is a spiritual gift? It is a special ability, given by the Holy Spirit to every believer upon being saved, to be used to minister to others and therefore build up the body of Christ. All gifts are given to help the Church fulfill its purposes to the glory of God.

 

Here are three Bible verses to help us better understand the Bible’s view of spiritual gifts: Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:1 & 7, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware.” & “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” Peter says in 1 Peter 4:10, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

 

The Bible does not lock us into tight restrictions as to the number of spiritual gifts, or even their definitions. If you like would like to further explore the major lists of gifts beyond Romans 12:6-8; check out 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, 27-31; Ephesians 4:11-12; and 1 Peter 4:9-11.

 

The bottom line about spiritual gifts is found in 1 Corinthians 12—14: spiritual gifts are the temporary to build the eternal; don’t worship the gifts (nor those who are working more maturely in their gifts), but only worship the Gift-giver! Everything we have and every service we render unto King Jesus is by God’s grace and for God’s glory! All glory to God!

 

A couple teaching points regarding spiritual gifts: They show your ministry whereas the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) shows your maturity in Christ. At conversion, you are saved and given everything in Christ through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. No one person has all the spiritual gifts and there is no one gift everyone is to have (i.e. tongues) that manifests at conversion to prove you’re a Christian! The sign of salvation is a life that exalts Jesus Christ; God will grow up those who are His! That is His promise to His people; to you!

 

By following the steps in Romans 12:1-8, you will grow in His grace in your maturity and in the ministry Christ has gifted you. This is the means of grace found in Christian discipleship!

 

Let’s review the 5 steps as we wrap up these three messages on the steps to effective serving: 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!

 

We want to equip you to learn more about spiritual gifts so we are making 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 multiplying what God has given you for His purposes and His glory?

 

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 this message here:
 
 

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