Gifted - Marks of a Healthy Church
Good Morning,… it’s going to be a wonderful day as we celebrate.. Don’s 95th Birthday… and should be great game this afternoon… How many of you are supporting the Chiefs? We still love you!… Well, it should be a good game.
I have been pastoring Richvale for nearly a Decade… and during this time…I think that Don has made just about every service… and seeing him always makes my heart glad…He always in good spirits… A few years ago Don became quite sick.. I’ll never forget visiting him at the rehab and Don grabbing my hand and singing the Hymn - there is the Power Power wonder working power in the blood… He had a miraculous recovery…
Don is amazing example of faith and perseverance…
Don has set the bar really High for the rest of us…Every year Don surprises us by driving the harvester.. … Don has an incredible life… but his is always engaged in the present… he has load of interests and hobbies and he love people..We are going celebrate Don during snack time today… encourage to us join for that...
This morning we are going to Finish up our mini series on the gifts of the Spirit — I strongly encourage each of you to participate in the spiritual gifts test…if you haven’t done so already… I have had a couple of responses and there were some surprising results..
— we will put up the website on the screen at the end of service.. Once you have completed the test… please send the church office your results…
Spiritual gifts are all about God’s investment in our lives… I recently heard it put this way... that we that we all share about 80% things in common in life.. things that most of us can do.. for example drive a car… catching a ball…
Then their is about 15% of people that are specialized skills…represented probably in what you do for a living…maybe you are an engineer or accountant…there is a group of people that can do what we do..
But when it comes to Spiritual gifts the Margin gets even smaller.. it’s less than 5% of the population---- The 5% is uniquely you...
It is the 5% that we are interested in talking about because within that 5% is the spiritual gift that God has uniquely given you… And this gift is given for the purpose of building up the church body.
Our memory verse should be familiar by now
12 So also you—since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, seek to excel in building up the church.
The instruction is not only to be zealous for spiritual gifts but to excel spiritual gifts for the building up of the Church… It takes effort and an investment in building others up.
A team of researchers did a study where they identified a phenomenon that they call "The Ikea Effect."
How may of us love Ikea… Being Swedish company… we should be well represented here...
If you have never gone to IKEA ...you have to go… first off.. you will get a breakfast for a couple of bucks.. right… there is nowhere else on the planet where you can get a coffee for 50 cents.
After you have eaten.. you allow yourself to dream a little ... as you walk around the show room enjoying all the different living rooms and kitchens.. We normally do all that then end up buying a candle or something… but we have bought couple other things..
but Here is the thing if you decide to buy furniture from Ekea you have to build it yourself… and that is what the
The Ikea Effect…is all about.,..
… Researchers discovered.... that when you get personally involved in a project, you have a greater affection for the end product even when you know it isn't perfect.’
When we get personally invested in something we have greater connection.…
This is true about most things in life...
If you invested in Apple stock around 2002 you would be pretty happy right now…Apple stock has has multiplied over 130 times.. since since… When you make a personal investment...you have a vested interest…
As Church Body we have…a vested interest…not in brick and mortar and not in land and buildings… but we have a vested interest in People… People Matter because ee are interested in the Big picture…God’s eternal plan of redemption…Everything is framed by the love of God...
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
… we are invested… In God’s Redemption Story…
Collectively, we have shared Purpose.... and a Shared vision… That is to Know Jesus and Make Him known…
And the way that vision and purpose is realized is through our the expression…of our spiritual gifts
We have mentioned this before that there are 24 gifts listed and about 3 gifts implied.
There are four main sections of scripture where we are given Spiritual gifts… 1 Cor 12, Rom 12 and Ephesians 12, 1 Peter 4..
This morning we are going to see how these gifts contribute to the the health of the Church…
We are going to look at our text 1 Cor 12— Paul begin chapter 12 with the statement… Now, Concerning spiritual gifts, brother, I don’t want you to be uninformed.. the reason is that they caused confusion in the early Church… then in verse 7 he lists these gifts.
7 A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good: 8 to one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit, to another, a message of knowledge by the same Spirit, 9 to another, faith by the same Spirit, to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another, the performing of miracles, to another, prophecy, to another, distinguishing between spirits, to another, different kinds of tongues, to another, interpretation of tongues. 11 One and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as he wills.
In this section in 1 Cor 12 we are given specific 9 spiritual gifts…In Classic Pentecostalism there is lot of emphasis put on these particular 9 gifts… because these are seen as being supernatural opposed to natural gifts.. they are seen as the real gifts…
What we need to be careful it to make the mistake of going either way… by either confining the gifts to just the “natural” gifts or assert “supernatural gifts” being the real gifts…and leaving out all the other gifts...
What we need to know is that all the gifts are valuable… but there are some gifts that are more beneficial... we are to excel in the gifts that build up the church..
.... Here is a quick list of Spiritual gifts mentioned in this chapter...
There are Wisdom gifts
Word of wisdom, Knowledge and the Discerning of Spirits
There are Miraculous gifts
Faith, healing, working of miracles
There are utterance gifts
Prophecy, Tongues and interpretation of tongues.
These are Specific gifts that are given and manifestations of the Holy Spirit.. and we should be open to these gifts.
What is important to notice is that these gifts are given with one purpose…
7 A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good:
To each is given a Gift — which Paul calls a “manifestation” of the Spirit…
… The word manifestation is to reveal or to make known… it is where we get the word manifesto… which means a public declaration..
What often happens with the Spiritual gifts is that we get tripped up in the delivery system… It is easy to get focussed on that ones person ability… or on that one spiritual gift…It is like going to a symphony and just listening to the guy playing the triangle… or hitting the symbols..... and not hearing anything else...
It doesn’t mater if it is a supernatural gift…prophecy… speaking in an unknown tongue or if it is a gift a natural gift like teaching, administrating, leading, serving, giving...
What comes with a spiritual gift is a benefit to the whole body… it is for the common good of the church… The reason Paul was teaching on gifts is because some of the more spiritual gifts were causing confusion....
What is the manifestation of the Spirit?
D. A. Carson tells us that “spiritual gifts” can also be translated as “grace gifts.” Spiritual gifts are not something on top of grace or better than grace, but are manifestations of God’s grace to his people...
When the church operates with all of its gifts --- what happens is we get to see this mosaic or picture --- manifestation of Jesus himself. When the church is uses its gifts what happens is that we reflect his image in the world… Christ is made known… Knowing Jesus is deeply connected to making Him known..
… The apostle Paul is going to give us an illustration of How the Church works effectively through our collective gifts…these are really some of the bench marks of a healthy church...
T/S The first bench Mark of a Spiritual filled Church is..
1. The Church is marked by its Unity
1. The Church is marked by its Unity
We have had the opportunity to visit Muir Woods just outside of San Francisco a couple of times… And it is always awe inspiriting to see these natural giants --- that sprouted sometime around the birth of Christ 2000 yers ago.
Redwoods are noted not only for their age, beauty, and fine wood. But another unusual characteristic of redwoods is they have a tendency towards unity.
Two redwoods may grow up together several feet apart, and then somewhere after fifty to a hundred years the trees begin to touch.
Quite often the bark begins to overlap and fill out so that the two trees ultimately become one. There are cases where a dozen trees have sprung up from the outer roots of a tree that has fallen and have formed a perfect circle.
After about 700 years these trees grow so close together that they appear as a single tree!
The power of unity is both the power of Presence and longevity…Those redwoods have survived forest fires, storms and tornados and through it all continued to grow in Unity… What brings the church together in unity is our connection to Christ..
12 For just as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all given one Spirit to drink.
The early church was diverse group of people - it was made up of two predominant cultures Jews and Greek Hellenic's… There are vast difference between these two cultures, especially when it came to some of the dietary practices. Some of these things caused problems in the early church…
You can add to the mixture of different socio economic backgrounds… Former slaves and the free joining together…in worship...
We need to Celebrate Diversity...
… Diversity is a wonderful gift… can you imagine how boring life would be like if we all looked and sounded the same....
Unity and Diversity is trinitarian - We have one true God existing as a single Being comprised of three Persons who are equal in every way, yet distinct in their tasks and relations to humanity…
It is interesting that the First Century philosopher Philo writes about the early church and he makes this connection between their view of God and the oneness of the church
Philo says that..
“the highest and greatest source of this unanimity is their creed of a single God, through which, as from a fountain, they feel a love for each other, uniting them in an indissoluble bond” Philo
Remember Philo is on the outside of the church looking in… What he witnesses - is a church who reflects the God who they worship.... Just as God is one so the church is One… This is what Paul brings out in this verse...
- When they received Christ they were baptized…into Christ (not water baptism) --- they were “ immersed into the One Body…”
Not only Baptized only into Christ in Salvation but into one body… the word baptized speaks of being submerged..
… Your differences… your preferences… your agendas.... submerged into Christ… We now all drinking of the same Spirit… When you drinking from the same spirit… it is going have the same effect..
A. W. Tozer tells us that this kind of unity can’t be manufactured…
Unity in Christ is not something to be achieved: it is something to be recognized. A. W. Tozer -
One of the bench Marks of a health church is that we have been submerged into Christ and his body and so we have the bench mark of Unity....
T/S A second Mark of health church.
2. The church is Marked by its Diversity of Gifts.
2. The church is Marked by its Diversity of Gifts.
Paul in his letter to Corinthians is dealing with the misuse of Spiritual gifts.. You see some
Christians in Corinth had gone overboard in their interest in spiritual gifts. Some had inflated ideas of their personal importance because of their possession of the more public and spectacular gifts.
Others wrongfully coveted the gifts that these Christians conspicuously exercised.
. Instead of uniting Corinthian believers, spiritual gifts bred division. This preoccupation with spiritual gifts made it necessary for Paul to put them into perspective.
Paul points to the importance of diversity of Spiritual gifts... because our diversity is what should strengthen our unity...
14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?
Now you have to use your imaginations with this section of scripture - Paul is using a bit of humor to demonstrate how ludicrous it is for a Christian to say he doesn’t need the body..
Paul gives this ridiculous picture — imagine if the foot could talk --- - and say because I am not a hand i have no part of the body.. or the ear should say that because I am not an eye I am less than the body…
Picture this... How scary would it be if the whole Body was an EYE or the whole BODY were an EAR… The whole body is needed… have you stubbed your baby toe… I don’t think much about my baby toe… but when it hurts the whole body knows about it… right.
Diversity in the body is an evidence of the wisdom of God. Each member needs the other members, and no member can afford to become independent. When a part of the human body becomes independent, you have a serious problem that could lead to sickness and even death.
In a healthy human body, the various members cooperate with each other and even compensate for each other when a crisis occurs.
If one stubs his toe, other parts of the body that have to do with healing will rush down to the toe in order to help in the mending process.
But what if some of the healing agents of the body receive the message to go to the toe and reply, “What? I am not going down to that toe and help again! I’ve been there several times to help that toe and that toe has never been up here to help me!”
God has arranged the parts of the physical body to be mutual aids for one another so that the entire body can stay healthy and grow and do its work
The instant any part of the body says to any other part, “I don’t need you!” it begins to weaken and die and create problems for the whole body.Paul says that the parts of the body that seem less honorable need to be given more honor…
The bench Mark of a healthy Church — Unity Diversity of gifts...
T/s The third Mark of a healthy church
3. The Church is Marked by caring for one another
3. The Church is Marked by caring for one another
A mother was preparing a pancake breakfast for her two young boys, Kevin and Ryan.
The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake, and their mom saw the perfect opportunity for a moral lesson.
"Now, boys, hold on a minute here. Let me tell you: If Jesus were sitting here, he would say, 'Let my brother have the first pancake. I can wait.'"
The two children sat silent for a moment. Then the five year-old, Kevin, turned to his younger brother and said, "Okay, Ryan, you be Jesus!"
One of the hardest things to grasp as Christian is that we are to live our lives for others…
Our human nature is self-serving… The Bible calls us to consider others… to master the art … preferring others
Paul tells the Corinthian church to continually build unity...
23 And those parts of the body that we consider less honorable, we clothe these with greater honor, and our unrespectable parts are treated with greater respect, 24 which our respectable parts do not need. Instead, God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the less honorable, 25 so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other.
What is interesting about this verse… is that it deals with a personal perspective… those who we might deem to be less than… it’s not a reality it is your perception others… We can get very critical of one another.... we make judgments… That person that you are struggling with in the church body… and it happens.... do you know how you are to treat them according to Paul.. Give them more Honor… That is really difficult to do…
Phil 2 Paul says if there is any comfort from being in Christ — have the same heart the same love towards each other.
2 make my joy complete by thinking the same way, having the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.
In other words if Jesus Christ has made any dent in your life - It will affect all your relationships with others.. It is not addressed to those we love … or to the people we dislike… …
God has designed to love one another — to give preference to others... … it is taking on the attitude of Jesus who being God humbled himself an took on human flesh.
Purpose of Honoring one another is that it build Unity
25 so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other.
So there would be no divisions… the word here is “schisma (no tears or rips)… in the body.
Here is the thing when the church is not about the business of honoring each other an preferring one another… they are prone to tears. A little tear might seem like nothing at first.… but over time it can cause division in the Church.’
We Honor one another by
25 so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. 26 So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it.
4. The Church is Marked by Love
4. The Church is Marked by Love
“Anyone can love the ideal church. The challenge is to love the real church.” Bishop Joseph McKinney, Leadership.
If you looking for perfection you are not going to find it in “Church.” What you are going to find is broken people…
Unity and diversity must be balanced by maturity, and that maturity comes with love. It is not enough to have the gift of the Spirit and gifts from the Spirit. We must also have the graces of the Spirit as we use our gifts to serve one another.
Paul tells us in chapter 12 to earnestly desire spirtual gifts… but then he ends by showing us a more excellent way… Our gifts have to always operate within the bounds of love…
While the Corinthians were seeking greater gifts for their own status, Paul wanted to show them a more excellent way to live than seeking greater gifts.
And that more excellent way is to use whatever gifts, talents, and abilities we have with God’s dominant characteristic of love.
To fail to use our grace-gifts with unselfish love is to violate the purpose of those gifts. Without the unselfish love of 1 Corinthians 13, the grace-gifts of chapters 12 and 14 are absolutely valueless.
If you speak in the language of angels, if you have prophetic powers or the gift of faith to move mountains.. Without Love all you doing is making noise.. Mastering the art of OTHERING.... LOVING OTHERS… is the key to building a healthy church
In 2017, 400 musicians gathered in Philadelphia to perform "Symphony for a Broken Orchestra"
The orchestra included amateurs, professionals, and even members of the storied Philadelphia Orchestra. The youngest performer was a nine-year-old cellist; the oldest, an 82-year-old oboist. It might have been the most diverse orchestra in America.
The 400 brought with them broken instruments: a trumpet held together with blue painter's tape, a violin with no A string, a bow that had lost most of its hair, a cello carried in multiple pieces.
You see, the government had cut funding for music programs in public schools, and many school instruments fell into disrepair. But Lang made something beautiful of them.
As the musical piece opened many of the instruments were silent, but gradually they found their voices—while a trumpet might not be capable of a sound, the keys could tap a rhythm; the scraping of a bow over the silhouette of a violin body could add an unusual element.
At one point, a cellist made noise by turning a stringless peg.
As the 40-minute symphony progressed, the instruments roared to life. Some musicians struggled, like a clarinetist who could get out only short spurts of sound and a French horn player who kept losing his mouthpiece.
But together, the orchestra produced rich harmony.
The music was playful and joyous. As the performance wound down each section bowed out one-by-one, until all that remained was the humble squeal of a broken clarinet.
In the church each broken instrument adds its own voice to the symphony. The best that some can do is simply tap or squeak, but with each other the orchestra produces a joyful song of praise under the hand of the Director.