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Love in Service

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PASSION - Service is motivated by the Giver not the Gift

The Corinthians were dealing with divisions that were coming up in the church over the spiritual gifts. Some were being venerated because of the fantastical and outward nature of their gifts. Those with gifts like prophecy, utterances of wisdom, healings, etc. were being held in high regard while those with gifts like discernment, service, and faith were feeling left out. But Paul notes an important truth that we cannot get away from:
The focus is not on the gifts but on the giver.
Notice verse 4-6
1 Corinthians 12:4–6 ESV
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.
And again verse 12-13
1 Corinthians 12:12–13 ESV
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
It is purpose of our spiritual gifts and our acts of service to give glory to God. God is to be the one put on display by our service. When we serve as a church it brings great glory to God.
Matthew 5:16 ESV
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
1 Peter
1 Peter 2:12 ESV
Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
So the reason why we serve is not:
So that we can impress God with our service.
So that we can impress other believers with our service.
The purpose of our service is so that God might be glorified before those who do not give him glory and that the church might grow and be more like him.
We see this in v. 18
1 Corinthians 12:18 ESV
But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.
Our gifts, our service, our purposes are not because of our giftings, nor because of our talents, but by the sovereign will of God.
So here are two truths:

When I glorify myself through my service I am taking glory away from God.

This seems simple. If my service, and my gifting is a gift of God, arranged in the body for the church’s edification and God’s glory then to take glory in myself, or for us as a church to give glory to another because of their gifting is to take glory away from God.
This doesn’t mean we can’t congratulate a great performance on Sunday, but it does mean that we must be careful to congratulate God for his good gifts and not the performer for the gift they were given.

When I refuse to serve in God’s Church I am in direct disobedience to his ordained will.

We tend to talk about pastors who run from the will of God in his call to preach. I’ve heard a multitude of pastors say they ran from God but God would not let them go, and I understand that. But I believe that the member in the pew who does not serve the local church and the community God has placed him or her in is just as disobedient to the call of God on their life.
The old saying say 10% of the people do 90% of the work in a church and 90% of the people do 10% of the work. This is probably true! But what could God accomplish through a church if every member answered God’s call to serve the body in some small way? What would happen if we had people who would say, “I’m not sure I’m a good teacher but I’ll teach if the church needs me” or I’m not sure if I can work with youth but I’ll do whatever it takes to help them grow,” or “I don’t know how to share my faith but I will join you pastor in learning how.” If everyone in this church would do 1 or two acts of service each week, this church would be an unstoppable force for the kingdom of God.
God calls us to serve. That’s what Paul says when he God chose us for his service.

PROCESS - Service is using your gifts to accomplish God’s purposes

Secondly, service has a process and it’s simply this: Using your gifts to accomplish God’s purposes. Now to understand that we first need to break down what we’re saying in each element of that formula.
First we must ask, what are Spiritual Gifts? Wayne Grudem, author of Systematic Theology, broadly describes a spiritual gift as “any ability that is empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in any ministry of the church
The word for gift in the Greek is Charis and mean grace. Thus these gifts, these manifestations of the Spirit, are any unmerited gift from God’s grace. It has been called a “particular actualization of this grace of God” and thus can be referred to any grace or endowment from God. To insist that the word implies miraculous grace-gifts is unwarranted. In the words of one able scholar, “It includes all spiritual graces and endowments.”
Spiritual gifts are the working of God’s Spirit through his people in both supernatural and normal ways to accomplish his purposes. They are seen in a nursery worker’s ability to calm a crying baby when no one else can, a teacher able to explain a truth from God’s Word. The activity does not have to be miraculous or fanciful to be a spiritual gift.
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Second, we must ask “how do I find my spiritual gift”? Now, there have been various tests and surveys that have been given to help one find their Spiritual gift. The problem is that these can be effected by our desires and our sins.
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Instead, we discover our giftedness as we willingly seek to serve God in the church. The gifts are for the good of the body, and when I in love seek to serve the body as God leads that a persons natural gifts surface.
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When we serve in love, God allows our gifts to shine forth. We don’t wait to discover our gifts to serve, we serve to discover our gifts. Spiritual gifts aren’t always permanent attributes, but graces given for the benefit of the body!
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PEOPLE - Service involves all of God’s people

Paul notes who those are that are to serve in our text. Look at v. 27
1 Corinthians 12:27 ESV
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
Who are those who are appointed apostles, prophets, teachers, and those who manifest the gifts in the church? It’s you! It’s all of us. All of us have a gift and we are all called to live out that giftedness in the service of God’s body.
The old saying say 10% of the people do 90% of the work in a church and 90% of the people do 10% of the work. This is probably true! But what could God accomplish through a church if every member answered God’s call to serve the body in some small way? What would happen if we had people who would say, “I’m not sure I’m a good teacher but I’ll teach if the church needs me” or I’m not sure if I can work with youth but I’ll do whatever it takes to help them grow,” or “I don’t know how to share my faith but I will join you pastor in learning how.” If everyone in this church would do 1 or two acts of service each week, this church would be an unstoppable force for the kingdom of God.

POWER - Service Energized and Fueled by Love

Finally, Paul notes that the fuel, the energy, the power for service is love. is one of the most famous passages in all of literature. Quoted by believers and atheists alike, the call to love has graced the services of millions of weddings throughout the ages. But Paul’s purpose in extolling the virtues of love is not wedding counseling, but rather family counseling. Paul is calling the family of God’s body, the ones who are no longer “greek or Jews, slaves or free” to love each other with patience, kindness, long-suffering and all the rest.
Why do we serve? We serve in love and for love. We serve in love for one another, and we serve because we love the Savior who died for us and set us free from sin and death!
So here are two truths:

When I glorify myself through my service I am taking glory away from God.

This seems simple. If my service, and my gifting is a gift of God, arranged in the body for the church’s edification and God’s glory then to take glory in myself, or for us as a church to give glory to another because of their gifting is to take glory away from God.
This doesn’t mean we can’t congratulate a great performance on Sunday, but it does mean that we must be careful to congratulate God for his good gifts and not the performer for the gift they were given.

When I refuse to serve in God’s Church I am in direct disobedience to his ordained will.

We tend to talk about pastors who run from the will of God in his call to preach. I’ve heard a multitude of pastors say they ran from God but God would not let them go, and I understand that. But I believe that the member in the pew who does not serve the local church and the community God has placed him or her in is just as disobedient to the call of God on their life.
God calls us to serve. That’s what Paul says when he God chose us for his service.
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