Posts Tagged ‘doing the work of the kingdom’

Next week is our baptism and recovenanting service! And as a part of this I am highlighting two different parts of our church covenant. Reminding us what we have and are committing ourselves to.

  • Last week we looked at Christian fellowship, how we are related as a family in Jesus and then how we are to relate to each other, to care and support each other, and how this takes an investment of our time.
  • Today our topic is Christian work, using our gifts and talents to serve God and do the work of the kingdom.

Let’s begin by remembering a foundational truth –

We are the body of Christ

So we are working with an analogy here, between the church and the human body. The human body is one, but is made up of many parts. In the same way the body of Christ is one, but is made up of many parts. This analogy shows up in Romans 12:4-5 – “4For as in one body we have many members . . . 5so . . .” with the body of Christ.

Christ is pictured as the head. Ephesians 5:23 says, “Christ is the head of the church, his body.” And we are the members of his body. 1 Corinthians 12:27 says, “now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”

We learn several things about working for God from this image of the body of Christ:

1. Each one of us has gifts

Just as a body has an eye that sees, a foot that walks, an ear that hears, a mouth that speaks – so in the body of Christ we each have a place, a function, a role to play.

By creation we all have natural abilities – music, leadership, creativity, social skills, business expertise ands so forth. And then beyond natural talents we all also have spiritual gifts – ways that the Spirit can work through us, given to us by God at our conversion.

Regarding these spiritual gifts, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:7, “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” Paul names some of these in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10. “For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.”

Each one of you has a gift or gifts from God, to use to do his work.

2. Our gifts are different

As Paul says, “the members (of the body of Christ) do not all have the same function” – Romans 12:4. And he says, we have “gifts that differ according to the grace given to us” – Romans 12:6. Each one of us in unique.

3. All the gifts are needed for the body to work

Sometimes we focus on certain gifts and say, “Oh, I don’t have that one – I’m not needed; I’m not a part.” But for any body to function, all the parts need to be working.

Paul talks about this in 1 Corinthians 12:14-19. “For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be?”

Your gifts are needed; your contribution is crucial. Think of a human body – when parts stop working, it’s not a good thing! So it is when we hold back, or don’t contribute in the body of Christ.

Here’s a question to ponder. Are there any age restrictions on contributing to God’s work? This is what I tell the young people I work with, if you’re old enough to be baptized, you’re old enough to work for God. And I would say this to those among us who are older, if you’re young enough to be of sound mind, you’re young enough to work for God.

As long as we are able, we are to do our part.

4. All the gifts need to be working in unison for the body to work

With all of our differences in gifting, we need to work together, not separately, for the body to function.

Paul addresses this in 1 Corinthians 12:20-26. “As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”

We are a team. And all are to be honored for their contribution – the one up front and the one working behind the scenes; the one in leadership and the one not in leadership. Because without all of us working together, the body loses its capacity to function.

So my exhortation to you today is –

Use your gifts and do God’s work!

Romans 12:6 says, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.” This is the whole message today. Let us use our gifts to do God’s work. We want to be a church where everyone uses their gifts; where everyone is doing God’s work.

So find what your gifts are and put them into practice. Find what gives you energy and life; what brings joy to you as you do it. And focus on this in your work for God.

But also just doing things that need to be done. You don’t have to have a gift or a calling to wash dishes, to wash dishes, when the dishes need to washed. You don’t have to have a gift or a calling to pick up trash on the church grounds, to pick up trash, when the trash needs to be picked up.

To use the language of Ecclesiastes 9:10, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might . . .”

Now, if you are already busy doing the work of the kingdom – blessings to you!!! Thank you!!! May you find joy and satisfaction in it now and may the Lord say to you on that day, “Well done, good and faithful servant . . . enter into the joy of your Master” – Matthew 25:21

But if you have some room in your life to work for God, or to do so even more, I invite you to consider several possibilities here at Cedar Street right now. . ..

William Higgins

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