Effective Christianity in the Body of Christ
October 25, 1998 Topical
We are in the body of Christ.
In the body of Christ, each part serves the other parts.
This service must have Christ’s perspective to be effective.
This effectiveness is the outworking of spiritual power.
Spiritual power reveals the Needs which require ministry.
Spiritual power imparts the Gifts which respond to Needs.
Spiritual power affirms the Call which divinely connects them.
Discerning the need, possessing and developing the gift, and obeying the call makes effective Christian servants.
In Christ, servants are leaders. (1John 1:3)
To be effective, a Christian servant leader must:
I. Be wholly dedicated to God’s glory. (Eph. 1:3-14)
A. God’s glory in us in the blessing of praise.
Eph 1:3 ¶ Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
B. God’s glory in us is timeless.
Eph 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love
C. God’s glory in us is Christ.
Eph 1:5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will--
Eph 1:6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
D. God’s glory in us saves us.
Eph 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace
Eph 1:8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
E. God’s glory in us reveals his will.
Eph 1:9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,
Eph 1:10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment-- to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
F. God’s glory in us reveals those who will perform his will.
Eph 1:11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,
Eph 1:12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
G. God’s glory in us empowers us.
Eph 1:13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
H. God’s glory in us rewards us.
Eph 1:14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession-- to the praise of his glory.
II. Understand the principles and practices of God’s grace.
A. God’s grace is compulsion.
Ac 20:22 "And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.
B. God’s grace is insight.
Ac 20:23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.
C. God’s grace is humility.
Ac 20:24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me,
D. God’s grace is power.
if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--
E. God’s grace is effectiveness.
the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.
III. Have a burden and concern for the entire body.
(1Cor. 12:4-27; Eph. 4:11-16)
A. The parts of the body are functionally diverse.
1Co 12:4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.
1Co 12:5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
1Co 12:6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
B. The parts of the body are each necessary to the whole.
1Co 12:7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
1Co 12:8 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,
1Co 12:9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,
1Co 12:10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.
1Co 12:11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
C. The parts of the body are God’s creation design.
1Co 12:12 ¶ The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.
D. The parts of the body are equal.
1Co 12:13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body-- whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free-- and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
1Co 12:14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.
1Co 12:15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.
1Co 12:16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.
1Co 12:17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?
1Co 12:18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
1Co 12:19 If they were all one part, where would the body be?
1Co 12:20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
1Co 12:21 The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!"
1Co 12:22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,
1Co 12:23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,
1Co 12:24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it,
1Co 12:25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
1Co 12:26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
E. The parts of the body are the body of Christ, the Church.
1Co 12:27 ¶ Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
F. The parts of the body serve the Head which is Christ.
Eph 4:11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,
Eph 4:12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
Eph 4:13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Eph 4:14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
Eph 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
Eph 4:16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
IV. Stand firmly for reconciliation. (2Cor. 5:16-21)
A. Reconciliation renews our view of others.
2Co 5:16 ¶ So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.
B. Reconciliation renews our view of Christ.
Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
C. Reconciliation renews our view of ourselves.
2Co 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2Co 5:18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
D. Reconciliation renews our view of sin.
2Co 5:19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
E. Reconciliation renews our view of purpose in ministry.
2Co 5:20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.
F. Reconciliation renews our view of righteousness.
2Co 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
V. Model godly living in his own family and the body.
(Php. 3:17; 1Thess. 2:9-10)
A. Godly living becomes a pattern for others.
Php 3:17 ¶ Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.
B. Godly living takes effort.
1Th 2:9 Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.
C. Godly living is a witness of holiness.
1Th 2:10 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed.
VI. Lead in accordance with biblical principle. (Lk. 22:24-27)
A. True biblical leadership is not condescending.
Lu 22:24 Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.
B. True biblical leadership is humble service.
Lu 22:25 Jesus said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors.
Lu 22:26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.
C. True biblical leadership is Christ-like.
Lu 22:27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
VII. Serve others willingly. (1Pet. 4:10-11)
A. Serving others is the fruit of grace.
1Pe 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.
B. Serving others reveals God.
1Pe 4:11 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.
VIII. Endeavor to make disciples. (Mt. 28:18-20)
A. Jesus said so.
Mt 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Mt 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,
B. Disciples are made through ministry process.
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Mt 28:20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
C. Ministry process is in partnership with Christ.
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
IX. Reproduce himself in new leadership. (Acts 11:19-30)
A. Reproduction is an act of God’s sovereignty.
Ac 11:19 ¶ Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews.
Ac 11:20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus.
Ac 11:21 The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
B. Reproduction is an act of Christian nurture.
Ac 11:22 News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.
Ac 11:23 When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.
Ac 11:24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
C. Reproduction works best as a team effort.
Ac 11:25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul,
Ac 11:26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
D. Reproduction produces reproducers.
Ac 11:27 ¶ During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch.
Ac 11:28 One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.)
Ac 11:29 The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea.
Ac 11:30 This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.
(The above outline was adapted from: Gangel, Kenneth O. Feeding and Leading. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1989, page 118.)