Romans series #18
A Beautiful Orchestra
Charles VI, the opera composed by Jacques Halevy in 1843, was killed by a superstition that began seven years later during a presentation in Paris. On three successive nights, someone in the theatre dropped dead after the singing of the aria "God, Kill Him!" which caused the work to be banned until 1858 when Napoleon III ordered a revival that he and the Empress could attend. On the way, their coach was bombed and, although they escaped unharmed, many others were killed or injured. The performance was cancelled and, as far as is known, the opera was never presented again.
1. Attitude of The Orchestra - What They Think vv. 3-5
Don't think too highly but have a sober mind - the picture here is of self conceit being "over-proud" and then sober mind is literally being "in your right mind" in other words this self-centered spiritual pride is seen as coming from the same species as insanity
Any musician if honest would say that there's always someone that can take their place!
You are NOT indispensable.
We are collectively ONE body with many members.
Each member has it's own function and does it without thinking twice.
The world does not revolve around any of the members of the body.
As a matter of fact, I usually don't even think about most of my body parts unless they are hurting.
As long as my body parts are doing their job, the way they are supposed to be doing it, I don't even really notice it.
Do you think about your toes while you are walking?
Well, break a toe!
Every time you get up and down and change directions, go up steps, I'm going to be thinking about that toe all the time until it is better.
A world class runner is not thinking about their toes, or legs, or pumping their arms or anything. They are focusing on staying down out of the blocks or exploding at the gun.
While they are running, they are focusing on the finish-line getting ready to lean.
Yet though no one is paying attention each body part is doing their job with one singular purpose, that the body is successful.
The nerves are firing causing the muscles contract and relax, the lungs are breathing in and out in perfect time, the heart is beating as the adrenal glands release adrenaline to empower the body to compete at the level necessary.
But the right little toe, and the adrenal gland, nor the lungs, or the 3rd cervical vertebrae,
they don't care that no one takes notice of them, because they are going across the finish-line just like the rest of the body!!!
That is all that matters.
Now is something hurts, the WHOLE BODY STOPS and throws their attention toward the injury to determine what is necessary.
In a beautiful orchestra we don't so much notice the individual instruments, just the beautiful music.
We only draw attention to one instrument if that instrument is out of time, too loud, too long, or out of tune
Oh yeah, instruments don't really care what you think, right? Their just instruments.
Let's paint a picture, Can you imagine this scenario?
The orchestra is in full swing.
The conductor is whipping himself into a frenzy of zeal and enthusiasm.
But who is that approaching him?
It is a member of his orchestra, the one who plays the triangle.
He is speaking to the conductor.
"Do you mind if I go home now-I've come to the end of my part of the score."
Is that the way it's supposed to be?
No, it is not like that because it's NOT about ME, it's ALL about Him, The Music
This helps us to transition to the
2. Aptitude of a Beautiful Orchestra - what they can do vv6-8
1 Corinthians 12:29-31 (NIV)
29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But eagerly desire the greater gifts.
1 Corinthians 12:7
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
Every part of the body is NOT the same, but every part of the Body has an ability, a function that is critical to the rest of the body.
The church is edified as you USE your gifts
The whole body is glorified when gifts are used
The individual body parts may receive recognition but it is the whole body and ultimately the Person who gets the Praise, Adoration, Attention, Glory.
So, Who's the Person?
The church itself? NO That's the Body
The Pastor, Staff, Leadership? No, those are ultimately just body parts or instruments as well. Important parts no doubt, but just are other parts.
What is the Personality? What determines that?
The Head, the Brain, who is that?
Jesus Christ, is the Head of the Church
Jesus Christ gets the glory, he is the one who receives the rewards, because it is him
But this scripture and others in Ephesians and the letter to the Corinthians tell us that God has given us certain aptitudes, gifts in order to become a beautiful orchestra, a complete body
Only a small number of spiritual gifts are listed here, they are not meant to be the end of the story on spiritual gifts, but he's not teaching so much about the gifts themselves but how they affect the body and how we should approach and use them.
He lists 6 gifts here
Prophesy, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leadership, and mercy
1. the gift is given for the purpose of being used -
Jesus doesn't give "KNICK KNACKS"
To be Put on a Shelf and Admired
Jesus gives no useless gifts
He gave you this aptitude so that you will USE IT!
2. the gift is given to complete the tasks of the church
3. the gift is given to glorify God
Spiritual gifts are tools to build with, not toys to play with or weapons to fight with.
In the church at Corinth, the believers were tearing down the ministry because they were abusing spiritual gifts.
They were using their gifts as ends in themselves and not as a means toward the end of building up the church.
They so emphasized their spiritual gifts that they lost their spiritual graces!
They had the gifts of the Spirit but were lacking in the fruit of the Spirit-love, joy, peace, etc. (Gal. 5:22-23).
That's like technical musical ability without artistic musicianship
We have to learn how to use our gifts according to the grace we've been given.
If you can't be graceful with your gift then back it off a little bit.
- Use prophesy to the level of your faith, i.e. if you are not sure of it, be careful what you say.
- If your gift is serving - SERVE -
- If your gift is teaching - teach
- If your gift is encouraging - encourage
- If your gift is giving - give generously
- If your gift is leadership - lead with diligence, i.e. know where you are going, know who you are leading, know what they are capable of doing, in pace and strength
- If your gift is mercy - show mercy cheerfully
1 Peter 4:10-11 (NIV)
10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
KNOW YOUR GIFTS
DON'T Talk about it, Wonder About, Worry about the Outcome
Gifts are given By God, according to Love/Grace
Gifts are used or given back to God as an expression of love
Legend Of Thebes
"According to legend, Amphion built Thebes by the music of his lute, which was so melodious that the stones danced into walls and houses voluntarily."
We don't have to worry about how to build this church, if music of God is played through the beauty of this orchestra, as God intended, the spiritual bricks will simply fall into place as the Lord builds this house
3. Habitudes or How we Act vv 9-21
5431 Sheepherder's Request For "A"
"A Montana sheepherder wrote a strange request to a Chicago radio station. He lived a lonely life with his dog, 4000 sheep, a battery radio, and an old violin. He loved to listen to the symphony orchestra and wished he could play along with it in the parts that he knew. Unfortunately, his violin was out of tune. He asked, "Some time before you start the next program, would you have the orchestra play A for me?"
Just before the next Chicago Symphony broadcast, thousands of listeners heard these words: "The orchestra will now play A for a sheepherder in Montana."
Well, Let me play an A for you so you can tune up, here are the Habitudes, the Habits of a Beautiful Orchestra
There is a reason that 1 Corinthians chapter 13 follows the teaching on gifts in chapter 12 and precedes another teaching on misuse in 14, because the habits of the musician are what makes the orchestra great, average, or pitiful
The world will try and tell us how we should be if we are going to be successful and an orchestra that produces acceptable music.
I can't watch or listen to the world, if I'm going to lead this beautiful orchestra, I can't do it by watching and listening to the crowd.
A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.
What are the habitudes of a beautiful orchestra?
I've divided them into 3 categories
A. Passion vv9-11
1. Love vv9,10
One writer says Love is the circulatory system of the spiritual body, which enables all the members to function in a healthy, harmonious way.
a. how? sincerely
b. love is not meant to be done lightly or insincerely we must love with a sincere heart
c. be devoted to each other, it's not about you
d. show them honor
2. Hate v9
a. only one thing
3. Cling v9 - we want to cling to a lot of things, like our hopes and dreams, our position in life, our future
a. cling to what is good
b. let everything else go
4. Zeal - v 11
a. Jesus was zealous about God's house, David predicted it in Ps 69.9 and the disciples recognized and confirmed in John 2:16-17 as the said he was "consumed by it"
b. we should "never be lacking in it"
c. we need a "reserve" of zeal to get us through
d. how do we KEEP it?
1) SERVE - Get in the Game USE Your Gifts
2) The Longer you sit on the Bench, the LESS you will CARE about Playing your ZEAL wanes as you Fail to Participate.
3) A musician that hasn't played in years doesn't really care as much about playing again
4) "keep your spiritual fervor" can be translated "allow yourself to be set on fire by the Holy Spirit"
2nd group of habitudes
B. Patience vv12-15
1. Hope - joyful in
Taking Joy in what I'm hoping in and NOT in what I have maintains my patience
they don't worry me I live in patience because the afflictions don't affect my level of hope because I haven't hoped in the earthly but in the joyful victory that is mine
matter of fact, I will Bless those who persecute me and cause my affliction
I won't curse them, that would shift my focus back toward me,
so I will bless them and move on, I will not focus on the evil done toward me
a. complement your antagonist
b. lavish them with gifts
c. encourage them
d. they will want to know why
3. Prayer - Faithful
relating to God in prayer is how I keep my focus on my hope which keeps me playing the Song of Hope and practicing though it seems like I'll never play again, or never play it right
3rd category of Habitudes is
C. Perseverance and Peace
1. Live in Harmony -
a. share with Believers in need -
1) we are called on at times to minister to unbelievers in need, but there seems to be more of a choice
2) BUT when other members of the orchestra have a need, and you can meet the need, you are expected to do it. Why? Because our focus is on the Music we Play as an orchestra together so we meet the needs when we can so that our fellow orchestra members can help us produce beautiful music
1 John 3:17 says that if you see your "brother" in need and have the means but don't meet the need, how can the love of God be in you?"
b. there's no room for personal pride in the House of Harmony.
If you think you have some special position. Personal Pride will hinder the Orchestra from producing the most beautiful of music
c. Boast NOT in yourself but only in Christ and him Crucified
2. Focus on the Music not the environment in which you play
a. evil will come
b. hecklers are as much a part of performance as anything else
c. you can't do anything about that,
d. do what you can do "as much as it depends on you" - live in peace
3. you don't have time to be running to be chasing down revenge
a. leave it to God
b. he owns the theatre, let him take care of he hecklers, let's just play the music
c. feed your hungry persecutor
d. give them drink when thirsty
e. "burning coals" is NOT talking about punishing them but about bringing them to repentance as you play your music in the face of difficulty
Don't Let Evil Over Run You
Over Run it With Good
4. Why? You might say …
a. why keep playing beautiful music to a world that is our Enemy and God's Enemy?
b. they don't deserve our music!
We were enemies of God, fully guilty, worthy of God's curse and spiritual starvation and depravation of the beautiful melody of salvation
But while we were still sinners, the Bread of Life, came to earth in the Spiritual yeast of the Son of Man, planted in the Womb of Mary
For 9 months the Love and Word of God in Flesh, Immanuel grew to the child born of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem
The Bread of Life was allowed time to rise as the Child grew in Stature and in Favor with God and Man
The sweetness of the Bread was seen in Compassion and Love through miracles and message
That beautiful Bread was then submitted to the Fire of Persecution and ultimately the Fiery Oven of God's wrath, intended for sinners, was poured out on the Innocent Flesh of Jesus, the Bread of Life and the Water from the Well that doesn't run dry
And after the Baking was complete, he came out of that Grave. And though we were his enemies through sin, we were fed the beautiful, wonderful bread of life, when we simply opened our mouths to ask and receive.
We are allowed to drink deep of the soul-quenching water of eternal life.
NOT because we are worthy, but because HE is Worthy and has declared us eligible to receive from him
So, having tasted of this sweet bread and water, though undeserved,
how can we help but have the attitude of humility that is grateful for the
gracious Aptitude of the Gifts of the Spirit and let them spill over
into the Habitudes of our lives as ONE Undeserving Recipient to Another
Bless The LORD!!!
We are a part of the Beautiful Orchestra of the Lord PLAY ON
Jefferson And His Violin
Thomas Jefferson, had two rivals for the hand of the lady who finally became his wife.
One visiting day the two rivals met accidentally at the gate of Martha's home. Realizing that Jefferson was powerful opposition, they decided to combine forces against him.
As they tip-toed up the porch they heard music, the music of a violin. Accompanying it was a feminine voice, the voice of Martha. The violin player was Jefferson.
Looking despairingly at each other, the two rivals slunk away, never to return.
They knew that against Jefferson and his violin they had no chance.
The Devil doesn't stand a chance against a church that works together in their attitude, gifts and harmony to play a beautiful melody.
A watching, longing world can't help but join in and the devil must slump away in defeat.
There are too many Christians and churches fighting with each playing it's own tune, the devil he will spend his time with them instead of waste him time on the Orchestral Church working in harmony with one another by the Spirit of God
There's Room in the Orchestra for You