United We Serve, United We Grow, United We Are The Church
Quote: Because our gifts carry us out into the world and make us participants in life, the uncovering of them is one of the most important tasks confronting any one of us.
Citation: Elizabeth O’Connor, The Eighth Day of Creation
Ephesians 4:7–16 (NIV84)
7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says:
“When he ascended on high,
he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men.”
9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 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, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 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.
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. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 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.
Interesting Words: grace; apportioned; gave;
Background Notes: The letter to the Ephesians contains several lessons about the church and how Jesus designed it to function.
The Big Idea (Sermon in sentence): Jesus has given each believer a spiritual gift or gifts that unify the body of Christ.
1. The elders at GACC and myself are the men who are listed in his passage to prepare God’s people for works of service. (v.11-12)
a. Has anyone ever asked you if you “What is your pastor’s name?” The appropriate answer is “Which one, we have three?” Bud, Don and Phil (and an associate flunky).
i. 4166. ποιμήν poimḗn; gen. poiménos, masc. noun. Shepherd, one who generally cares for flocks.
2. United We Serve
a. Those works of service lead all of us towards maturity (v. 13)
3. United We Grow
a. Exercising our gifts in works of service builds us up in love as we each do our part. (v. 16).
i. It also helps us keep people from straying
ii. We are the body that provides what humans need to stay connected with God. Colossians 2:19
4. United we are the church
a. as we function as the supporting ligaments in the body by exercising our gifts under the headship of Christ. (v. 16)
Examples of application from Scripture:
Romans 12:3–8 (NIV84)
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
Application: (there may be a few you can think of pick ONE!)
GACC has needs for its members to serve by exercising your spiritual gift.
• We have an elementary age children’s church that is in need of your gifts. One person has been working this program for over a year. She needs your support and your assistance.
• The teen youth group has several activities coming up. They could use your help in these activities. Perhaps you could help with developing some fund raisers. Perhaps you could partner with Phil and Judy and they can mentor you into a teaching the high school age class.
• Perhaps you are gifted in writing warm notes. There are people in our congregation who need to feel the love that you have to offer during a hard week.
• There are adults and students in Rockwood that you could help connect with Christ just by giving them a ride to church….and you don’t have to have a key to the church van to do that!
• Perhaps you are one of the people at GACC that Bud, Don, Phil and I could help find and develop what your spiritual gift is.
These are only a few examples of the needs that exist within GACC right now. Needs that when they are filled will help our church grow in maturity and unity.
1 Peter 4:7–11 (NIV84)
7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 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.
Mary Green is a dear friend from Lakeshore Christian Church. She “gets it” and has made her stance public to the world on Facebook.
Mary added Lakeshore Christian Church to her "places worked" in her Facebook profile. She further explained:
"My thought is that anyone going to Lakeshore should be doing some work there."
1. 2. United ________________
a. (v. 13)
2. United ____________________
a. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ (v. 16).
i. ____________________________________ (v. 16)
1. ii. Colossians 2:19____________________
3. United _________________________________
a. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ (v. 16)