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What Can I Do?

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Ephesians 4:1-16

Introduction

      How does it happen in your house? Do your parents always have to ask you to do something or do you ever come up to them and say, “What can I do to help?”

      Yesterday evening, we talked about God’s intent. God wants people to know about Jesus. Remember we talked about the fact that He has asked us to be involved in this work. Have you ever said to God, “What can I do to help?” But what can you do?

I. Walk Worthily 4:1

A. Walk Worthily

      Do you know what the word “incongruous” means?

What would you think of a person who works for the Coca Cola company, but likes to drink Pepsi?

      Have you ever wondered how wrong it seems for a doctor to smoke?

      If one of your school teachers went on Jeopardy and the question was about something that the teacher had taught you and he got it wrong, what would you think?

      What do you think a person who doesn’t know Jesus thinks about Christians who don’t act like Christians? 

The first strategy for doing God’s work of making Jesus known is found in Ephesians 4:1 "...live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” Quite a number of years ago, it suddenly dawned on me that if I was no different than anyone else in my conduct and behaviour, then where was the power of God which changes us. God is changing us, and we are called to do God’s work by living differently than the rest of the world - worthy of our calling.

B. Beautiful Behaviour 4:2-6

      What is worthy behaviour? I suspect that the boys are checking out the girls and vice versa. What makes a guy or a girl attractive? You may think about their eyes, their hair, their face, their friendliness. Non-Christians are always checking us out. What makes us as Christians attractive? What does Ephesians 4:2,3 say about worthy behaviour?

      Divide into groups and think of situations in which Christians act ugly or beautiful. Especially take note of the items listed in Ephesians 4:2-6

      Illustrations I can think of.

      Family Fun Day in Manitou.

      Passion Play in Manitou.

      Jake Klassen and the cows.

      Esther and Edna or Bill.

1. Humility

            We should be known as humble people.

2. Gentleness

            We should be known as gentle people.

3. Patience

I once had a button with the letters, PBPGINFWMY. That is the attitude we need towards one another because we are not perfect, we are all on the way. We need to understand and endure other people's failures, refusing to be hurt. That does not mean that we do not have a responsibility to hold one another accountable, but we cannot be judgemental and dismiss people when they fail.

4. Bearing With One Another In Love

In a similar fashion, we are called to bear with one another. Bearing with one another assumes that others will fail, but that we are willing to carry them along in love.

5. Unity

      To say "keep the unity of the Spirit" means that we already have it and tells us where it is found. We have it because you can't keep something you haven't got and it is found in the Spirit.

      Paul has already described the unity which we have in Christ in chapter 2 when he describes the way in which Christ broke down the dividing wall of hostility and made one new man out of the two. He reconciled us to God and to each other.

      But when it says "keep unity" in the form of an imperative, it also means that we must make an effort to keep it. If you are told to keep something, it means that you can lose it, or give it away. Our kids have some silver coins and some other special coins. When they were younger, I told them to keep them, because I know that it would have been tempting to spend them. We have to confess as believers that we have not always been very good at keeping unity. We have been fractious and have split quite often. That is why it is necessary to say “keep unity.”

      Why is it so important that we keep unity? It is only as the world sees a unified church and as we have peace within the body of Christ, that the world will see the difference Christ makes. How many people have been turned off to Christianity because of fighting in the church? How many people have failed to receive blessings from God because they were not at peace with other believers?

      The first strategy of doing God’s work is making sure that we live in a worthy way and that involves living in a good relationship with one another.

II. Use Your Gift 3:7-16

A. Each One Gifted Ephesians 4:7

Have you ever watched people do a ceremonial kickoff or first pitch. Usually some dignitary is asked to do it and they can’t really throw or kick at all. They would never play in a real game because they are not equipped. But God sends out raw recruits, who have no experience and no apparent skills to accomplish a task that has cosmic importance! How can he do that?

Well, the fact of the matter is that he doesn’t. He sends us out each with a gift which we are to use in building his kingdom.

“Each one of us has received a special gift in proportion to what Christ has given.” Ephesians 4:7 TEV The Bible says this more than once that every person who is a Christian has some gift with which to serve God. That means you. God has given you gifts to serve. Just because you are young does not mean that you do not have the gifts or the command to serve God. If we are willing to serve, God has already given us the gift with which to accomplish His task. The first important thing is that we need to be willing to serve God.

What is a gift? A gift is something which when we do it, God’s work is accomplished. When we use it, we do not say, “I did it.” We are always aware that God is working through us by His Spirit in a special way. That is why it says that it is a gift that Christ has given.

      How do you discover your gift. I would like to help you start the process of discovery, recognizing that it is a process of discovery.

1. It is not surprising that it would be in the area that you care about, what you already have ability in and what fits with your nature because God has created all of these things in you. Think along these lines and see how you can serve God in these areas. Write out on a piece of paper what you care deeply about, what you are good at and what kind of a person you are. Get them to share some of their answers. Guide them into thinking about how that combination could be used to serve God.

2. Study spiritual gifts in the Bible. For example, I Corinthians 12:27-28; I Peter 4:10,11. As you read the Bible about this topic, you will begin to learn how to use your abilities for God.

3. But that is only the beginning of the process. As you do this, people may come up to you and encourage you and tell you that they were blessed as you served. If that ever happens, take note and use that ability more because that would likely be a gift. As you do it, if you have a sense that God is using you and blessing others and that what is happening is beyond what you think your ability is, that is a spiritual gift. Use it to glorify God.

      When  I was preparing for these talks, I asked Sherri Bartsch to make those gifts which I had in the first talk. I had seen some of her art work before and I knew that she liked art and could do it. She was excited to become involved in this way.

      I needed a woodworking project done for a certain illustration that I want to use in a message sometime this fall. I asked a man in our church who does woodwork to make it and he was glad to do so.

      When I was asked to speak at camp, I did not hesitate long because I really enjoy talking to people about God’s Word.

      When we use the gifts God has given us, we are effective in ministry and we have joy in doing it. I want to encourage you to find your gift and use it to serve God.

B. Working Toward The Goal   Ephesians 4:13,15

As we use the gifts God has given, it is not done to fulfill our own needs. It is always directed toward a particular goal. Ephesians 4:13,15 say, “And so we shall all … become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ’s full stature.” "we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ." The goal is people who look like Jesus.

      This means first of all bringing them to Jesus. We build the body of Christ as we help people move from the place where they do not even know Jesus to the place where they accept him into their lives. We often call this part of the building evangelism.

      But our task is by no means complete with this part of the work. We continue to build the church as we bring people to maturity in Christ.

      We will recognize maturity in that people who are mature will no longer be like a boat in a storm tossed sea being thrown about and tossed about by every challenge and different idea that comes along. They will not be like a bird tossed about by a strong wind. They will be solid in their understanding and in their faith. Mature people will also be characterized by unity. Like the spokes of a bicycle wheel which get closer to each other as they get closer to the hub, so we will get closer to each other as we get closer to Christ.

      Maturity is also described by honest, loving conduct. As we mature, we will learn the ability to speak the truth or to deal truly and with integrity. But we will also learn to do so in love. Truth can be brutal and insensitive if not governed by love.

      The essence, as I have said is Christ-likeness. We will have finished when we all look like Jesus.

      Our part is to use the gifts God has given to help other people come to Christ and become like Christ. There are lots of ways of doing that.

Conclusion

      What is God’s intention?

      You can do two things to accomplish it.

1. Live worthily.

2. Use the gift God has given you.

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