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Empowered for Purpose

Holy Spirit  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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God uses weak and unqualified people for His Kingdom purposes. The Powerful, Presence of a Personal God empowers us as believers for the purposes God has for us. Your gifts are not for you comfort, they are for Christ. Your gifts are not for your name, they are for the name of Jesus spreading. The Church needs you!

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Calling and Empowering the Weak

Abraham was an old, fearful man that God promised to make into a mighty nation.
Moses was a hot-headed, stutterer that God called to take on the most powerful nation in the world.
Rahab was a prostitute who God used to advance His kingdom agenda and whom would be a key person in the line of the Messiah.
Gideon was a timid, scared little man who God called to conquer a powerful army.
David was the young runt of his family whom God called to conquer the giant and lead His people as the true king.
Jeremiah was an emotional mess.
Elijah struggled with depression.
Jonah was a racist, hate-filled rebel.
The disciples we a rag-tag group of misfits that God would use to bring the messages of Christ to the world.
Paul was a religious terrorist, killing followers of Jesus, and yet God chooses him to be the greatest missionary in history.
You get the picture right?
God chooses broken, weak, sinful, unqualified people to do amazing and incredible things for Him.
Weakness in the Kingdom of God is a thing to be rejoiced, a thing to be embraced.
john 14
For in our weakness we have the opportunity to see God’s power at work in and through us.
We see it in our salvation, as we are too weak to save ourselves, yet Jesus is powerful enough to overcome
And we see it in our lives as we seek to live for Him.
We are utterly reliant on God to live the kind of life He would desire for us.
The way God takes weak people and does extraordinary things is through His powerful presence inside of us.
Working out in the gifts He gives us.
And they truly are gifts that we have not earn, nor do we deserve.

Concerning Spiritual Gifts

1 Corinthians 12:
1 Corinthians 12:1–13 ESV
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit. 4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. 12 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. 13 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.
j
They wanted to know which gifts were more important.
They were concerned with how certain gifts were being used.
There had been some disruptions in the church because of certain manifestations of the gifts.
And disunity seemed to be prevalent because of the gifts.
Not much different today.
There is value in the tests, but they are skewing our understanding of what Spiritual gifts are.
Barna Study
28% of evangelicals claim the gift of teaching as their spiritual gift.
while only 1% claim evangelism as their spiritual gift.
I know that not everyone here has the gift of evangelism, but with our weekly attendance we would have only 3 people gifts by the Spirit to pursue the first part of the Great Commission.
Perhaps our understanding of Spiritual Gifts are more a pursuit of comfort?
Paul wants us to understand how the presence of the Spirit empowers us for the greater works Jesus promised we would do through Him.

The POWERFUL presence of our personal God.

1 Corinthians 12:7 ESV
7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

Every CHRISTIAN is in EMPOWERED for SERVICE.

Paul says “TO EACH” not “TO SOME”
The Spirit transforms our purpose FROM LAST WEEK.
A mark of faith in Jesus and the presence of the Spirit of God is that we exhibit the Spirit of God working in us to use us.
1 Corinthians 12:1–3 ESV
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.
1 cor 12 1-3
A mark of maturing faith is a desire to engage in the purposes of God in the world.
The church in Corinth had sent Paul questions about Spiritual Gifts.
They wanted to know which gifts were more important.
They were concerned with how certain gifts were being used.
There had been some disruptions in the church because of certain manifestations of the gifts.
So Paul tackles their concerns and questions by beginning to talk about the work of the Spirit in their hearts.
Serving the church, reaching the lost, growing in faith, connecting with other believers, serving the least-of-these...
So Paul tackles their concerns and questions by beginning to talk about the work of the Spirit in their hearts.
He points back to the idol worship of their pre-Jesus days:
they were focused on “dumb” or “mute” idols
The idols of their day were whittled piece of wood or chiseled pieces of stone.
In our world the idol of consumerism rules our attention.
We are obsessed with stuff, experiences, entertainment, and what ever else tickles our attention or brings us pleasure or significance.
There is no room for consumerism in maturing faith
There is no room for consumerism in maturing faith
Maturing Christians think less about being served and more about being used.
Maturing Christians think less about what they receive and more about how they can serve.
If you are new to our church, new to the Christian faith, or curious about the faith, it is understandable that you are here to listen, to observe, to take things in.
Church member answer to question of why he joined our church.
And we want to serve you in that way.
If you

Every GIFT comes from the SPIRIT

Your personality, yours experiences, and your preferences are not the source of your Spiritual Gifts.
Spiritual gifts have become a personality test in our church
There is value in the tests, but they are skewing our understanding of what Spiritual gifts are.
Barna Study
28% of evangelicals claim the gift of teaching as their spiritual gift.
while only 1% claim evangelism as their spiritual gift.
I know that not everyone here has the gift of evangelism, but with our weekly attendance we would have only 3 people gifts by the Spirit to pursue the first part of the Great Commission.
Perhaps our understanding of Spiritual Gifts are more a pursuit of comfort?
Paul wants us to understand how the presence of the Spirit empowers us for the greater works Jesus promised we would do through Him.

As long as we’re comfortable and confident in our ability, we’ll never experience what it feels like to work in His ability.

Your Spiritual gifts are a manifestation of the Spirit of God in you.
1 Corinthians 12:11 ESV
11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
1 cor 12

Every GIFT is given for the COMMON GOOD.

There is a common misconception among Christians that your Spiritual gift is the place you are most comfortable with serving.
“I like kids so I will serve in kids ministry.”
“I am techie so I will run AV equipment.”
“I am handy so I will fix things...”
We often think the GIFT is for us, like a birthday gift for being born again.
Because of this we subconsciously think our GIFT brings us joy and fulfillment (not saying it won’t sometimes)
But the GIFT is not for you and me, it is for the good of others.
God empowers you to teach not so you get the joy of teaching, rather so you can help others to grow in Christ.
God empowers you for evangelism not so you can get the accolades from getting notches in your belt, but that the lost might be found.
God empowers you to serve not so you can feel good about yourself, but that others feel the love of God in their lives.
You, in a sense, are the gift being used by God for the service of others.
This is the thrust of …the “more excellent way...”
This isn’t just about the church, the Spirit empowers Christians for the
1 Corinthians 12:31 ESV
31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.
Desiring the higher gifts here is not a ranking of gifts, it is call to surrender to the Spirit of God in whatever way He may choose to use you.
The New American Commentary: 1 Corinthians (3) One Body, Many Members (12:12–31)

To desire the “greater” gifts is simply a different way of stating what the overall argument makes clear, namely, that all things should be done for the edification of the whole. In every way, individual members of the body should seek the welfare of others. To seek what is more useful is an exhortation to the church to recognize the value and the place of every gifted believer.

Seeking the GREATER GIFTS of the SPIRIT

1) ASK God to REVEAL NEEDS.

Our most powerful tool in seeking the Spirits power in His gifts is prayer.
Prayer takes the attention off ourselves and puts it on God and others.
It also takes our attention off our own power and ability and puts it in its proper place, directed at God.
We are asking the Spirit of God to make us aware of needs around us that He can then empower us to serve.

2) LOOK and LISTEN

It isn’t about creating a new ministry or everyone having their thing.
We don’t need a puppet ministry.
Where is God working in His Church that needs your help?
Parking lot
Children’s ministry
Building and grounds projects
Making coffee on Sunday mornings
Teaching and discipleship
Making the name of Jesus know in the places God has put you.
Look and Listen!!

3) LEAN in

Volunteer for a ministry, even if it isn’t your “comfort zone”
Think more about obedience than comfort or qualification.
You are not suppose to be comfortable
You are not qualified with out the Spirit.
God WILL, not may, lead you to do something you do not feel “gifted” or qualified for, and that is where you NEED and really WANT to be.
Lean in to those opportunities.
Lean into the Spirit.

4) SURRENDER yourself to the SPIRIT

4)
You are not naturally an evangelist, but what if the Spirit of God was doing the speaking?
You are not a teacher, but what if the Spirit of God was inspiring the words?
You are not a leader, but what if the Spirit of God was breathing strength, vision, and resolve into your heart?
1 Corinthians 12:31 ESV
31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.
Our Response
The more excellent way is the way of LOVE
It is the way of not thinking so much about what makes me comfortable
What makes me happy
What makes me feel good
What makes me safe
It is the way of Jesus
Philippians 2:1–8 ESV
1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Phil 2
May we embrace this incredible truth of the person of Jesus
And may the Spirit of God use us in a mighty way for the Glory of Christ and the Good of others.
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