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Faithlife

Gifts for the Common Good

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Romans  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:09:32
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For the past two weeks we have been discussing the topic of missions.

Abraham was the first missionary.
God calling him from a land of idolatry.
Called to leave
Friends
Family
Familiarity
Not every believer is called to serve as a career foreign missionary, but every single believer can take part in missions.
We can shine - We can be involved in local missions, reflecting the light and life of Jesus.
We can pray - Praying for missionaries, pastor, workers, those in our sphere of influence...
You can go - short term mission trips, service opportunities
You can give - serving by providing the physical needs for others to serve
Our focus today, will continue to be on the fulfilling the mission of the church, specifically how God gives us various gifts for the common good of spreading the gospel.

The mission of the church is achieved by one body with many members.

Romans 12:3–5 ESV
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Paul calls us to a sound evaluation of our gifts, and to the realization that there are no little people in the kingdom of God.

Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought, and as a reversal of that, do not think you are insignificant.
You may be talented, gifted, called to some high position…but whatever you have been given, has been given from God, to be used for His glory.
So also, we may not all be called to a leadership position, or a position that typically gets recognition, but the “function” you provide the body is just as significant.
Paul takes this analogy further in 1 Corinthians 12
The eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you
The head cannot say to the feet, I have no need of you
The parts of the body that seem to be weaker, are indispensable
This is by design, so there is no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.
This sober evaluation of our gifts means...
We recognize that we are all loved by God and equally dependent on His grace, which further helps us to not think too highly or too lowly of ourselves.
We recognize that there is diversity within the body of Christ, that God has given us various...
Personalities
Temperaments
Backgrounds
Abilities
All of these things are God given and Eph 2:10 says that through Jesus, God has used all of these things to prepare us to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do.
So there is work to be done, and as a member of the body of Christ, we are called to find out how God has equipped us to serve Him best and then serve with all our might.

Paul will list several gifts that God gives, this list is not exhaustive, and there is more to be found in 1 Corinthians 12:8-28 and Ephesians 4:11.

Romans 12:6–8 ESV
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

The gifts from these lists can generally be broken down into three categories: Speaking, Leading and Serving gifts.

Speaking gifts - Prophecy, Teaching Evangelist…Knowledge
Leading gifts - Apostles, Government, Administration, Wisdom
Serving gifts - Pastor/Shepherd, giving, mercy, hospitality,(miracles, tongues, healing) the last three some would call “signs” gifts
All of these gifts are given so they can be used in ministries, particular channels of service that focus on peoples needs.A particular ministry may require one gift, but often a combination of gifts…consider what it takes to teach the Bible to Children vs. what would be required to minister to those an a shelter for the abused.
I want to go through this list Pal gives in Romans, but I don’t want us to look at any of these lists and put God in a box…there are so many ways that we can use our gifts, talents and abilities that God has given us individually within our church and community to spread the gospel…don’t forget the big idea here: There are no little people, and we are all called to work the mission field God places us in…local or foreign.

The gift of Prophecy here is not primarily a fore-telling, but rather a forth-telling.

Fore-telling
Many people think of the Old Testament Prophets when they hear of prophecy and how they relayed what God would do in future events with the nation of Israel.
I want to be cautious here, but I still believe that God uses the Holy Spirit to lead people in discernment and even in certain things to say.. I pray for God’s intervention and direction every time I stand and there are accounts of Charles Spurgeon preaching and saying “there may even be here a man with a gin bottle in his pocket”…and there was, and he became a believer because of those words from God.
Forth-telling
Primarily, prophecy is a forth-telling, this is why Paul says in proportion with our faith....speaking in direct relation to what we place our faith in…who God is. This is a “divine utterance” meaning it is proclaiming the gospel in by/in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The gift of service refers to those who excel at practical tasks.

I want to explain what I mean by practical....practical is not simple, it is not boring, it is not meaningless or “less”.
Practical Tasks means that these are people who are the hands and feet, they put “theory” into practice…these are people of action.
The word service here is “diakonia” where more traditional churches get the word deacon…these are people who serve. They are people of action that are absolutely necessary.
These are often people who are behind the scenes…and that is OK, they are still necessary.
We saw For King and Country, Caydence spent as much time pointing out the lighting, the stage and the fog as she did singing the song of the musician, it all added up to what she “experienced”

The gift of teaching is making the truth of the gospel clear and understandable.

A good teacher may not be a good preacher, and a good preacher may not make a good teacher.
Teaching gifts can vary greatly
Small groups
Large groups
Young
Old
A teacher excels in communicating in a way that their specific audience can understand.
There are teachers that can hold the attention of younger children and they seem to just cling to what is being said, they soak it in like a sponge. …this is a gift from God.

The gift of encouragement is the gift of support and inspiration.

Encourages are people persons…they have a magnetic personality
These are people who may or may not be formally trained, but people are drawn to them.
They are those who can greet and start conversations, these are people who are often called upon to be advisors or a someone who has a shoulder to cry on.
Many times these are counselors, these are people that are empathetic and caring…people notice that they are really being listened to and invested in.

The gift of giving is one of generosity.

This gift is not giving begrudgingly, not giving from fear or in order to justify yourself before God....this is not just about money!
This is giving out of joy, giving because you have been given much
These are people that like to give gifts, that remember birthdays and anniversaries, these are people that like to give cards or shoot someone an email or text..
These people give because it the joy their gift brings, large or small, brings joy to the one receiving it

The gift of leadership is the gift of organization and vision.

These are people who have a vision, they have a direction
These people are organized and have a plan
These people inspire others not by mere words, but also by action…they don’t just bark orders, they lead by example…they serve.
4. Leaders are the ones that plan events, plan ministry opportunities and provide ways for other members to excel with the gifts that God has given them.
5. Leaders recognize the gifts of others, and organize those to be used for God’s glory

The gift of mercy is a gift of compassion

These are people who are specifically moved to work with the poor, the sick, the weak, the imprisoned, the addicted…the outcast.
These are people who God has equipped with much patience, persistence and compassion.
These people have a heart for those who are often overlooked and will minister and organize others to minister with them.
Often times, they have personal experience with the group God has given them a heart for that helps prepare them for ministry.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT GIFT I HAVE AND HOW TO SERVE?
Ask, What do I enjoy doing?
Do I enjoy learning and sharing what I have learned?
Do I enjoy behind the scenes work, setting up and planning?
Do I enjoy people, conversation, meeting new people?
Ask, What problems do I notice?
Do I feel burdened for the poor or addicted?
Do I have compassion for those who need guidance/direction?
Do I feel that there is an area of ministry that I could help organize with new ideas?
Ask, Where am I effective?
In what areas do I help nurture growth?
In what ways do I truly help those around me?
Areas of ministry at First Light...
Teaching a class - various ages, small groups, bible studies, helping with youth, helping with kids while adults are in classes
Music - Singing, playing an instrument, learning how to set up or run sound or the presentation software
Hospitality - Greeting people, helping with parking at events, assisting with drinks and food that is served
Setting up - Preparing the cafeteria for the worship service, moving chairs and tables, bringing in carts…getting things ready for church
Promotional areas - Facebook, Website, Emails
Volunteering - Trunk or Treat, Rabbies Clinic, Mobile Health Clinic
Giving -Hope Ministries, Operation Christmas Child,
Prison Ministry - Visiting, Giving, Angel tree
9. Van Ministry - Picking up those that need a lift to and from church
10. Mission trips - Helping build handicap ramps, cleaning a yard, doing mechanic work, going to areas after disaster...
There is no shortage of opportunities to use your gifts, talents and abilities for the common good, to spread the gospel and glorify our Father....build your life on this!
Invest in this!
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