Waynedale United Methodist Church
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

Apr 24, 2016 Sermon

“Spiritual Gifts: Gifted to Serve”
Ephesians 4:1 – 13
Ted Jansen  April 24, 2016  Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        God needs each of you to open your heart, open your eyes, open your mind, and open your spirit.  As you create open places in your life you will allow God and God’s gift and grace to enter in your life. 
            You might be closed to God’s grace and gifts because of life, hurt, and struggle.  You might be closed to God’s blessing because you are too focused on your burdens.  You might not believe that God can forgive you and offer you a new beginning because of what you have done, or what was done to you. 
            Hear the Good News of God.  To each one of us “grace” has been given.  Those are Paul’s words to the church in Ephesus.  Each person receives God’s best love, forgiveness, hope, joy, love, peace, and life.  This is what I call “amazing grace.”  
 
2.)        The city of Ephesus, where the church was located that Paul was writing to, was a political center, a commercial center and a religious center.   It had a strong influence in those area.     
            The important people of that community had influence, position and prestige.   This city was one of the top three in the entire world at the time for its commerce and business.       
 
3.)        It was in this city that God gave birth to a church through the ministry of Paul.  A group of people believed the message of Jesus Christ and began to live out their faith.  
            In this city, Ephesus, where it was easy to be left out as unimportant because there were so many important people, a word comes.  A message comes to the church in this important city.     
            To each one “grace” has been given.   Wow.  These few words spoke a lot to the people of the day.   This “grace” was God’s favor and blessing.  Grace was not given to certain people, important people, wealthy people, business people, spiritual people, good looking people, or whatever categories you can think of.  Grace was given to each person!       
 
4.)        Paul teaches the church in Ephesians that one way the grace of God was given through Christ was in the spiritual gifts.  Each person was given spiritual gifts.  
            This is in contrast to the city where it seemed that only a few had been given abilities and gifts that made them special.  Each person got God’s Spirit and best gifts.  
 
5.)        I want to review some teaching on the Spiritual gifts.  I have listed 24 Spiritual Gifts that I used from the Ginghamsburg UMC gifts inventory.  Let us read over those gifts.       
24 Spiritual Gifts
Helps                           Leadership                              Hospitality                              Service
Administration            Discernment                            Faith                                        Music
Languages(Tongues)   Miracles                                   Craftsmanship                         Healing
Giving                         Mercy                                      Wisdom                                   Knowledge
Exhortation                 Teaching                                  Pastor/Shepherd                      Apostleship
Missionary                   Prophecy                                 Evangelism                              Intercession
 
6.)        A group of animals decided to improve their general welfare by starting a school. The curriculum included swimming, running, climbing, and flying. The duck, an excellent swimmer, was deficient in other areas, so he majored in climbing and flying, much to the detriment of his swimming. The rabbit, a superior runner, was forced to spend so much time in other classes that he soon lost much of his famed speed. The squirrel, who had been rated "A" as a climber, dropped to a "C" because his instructors spent hours trying to teach him to fly. And the eagle could no longer soar to the treetops because he had to learn how to swim. 
What happened to this group of animals portrays what often occurs in our churches.  We are all given certain spiritual gifts but some of us serve in so many areas that our tasks are not done well. As a result, the whole church suffers.
If God made you a teacher--be a teacher. Study diligently and do your best. If He's given you the gift of mercy, serve cheerfully and don't expect others to do what you do. Accept your spiritual gifts. Cultivate your capabilities. Stop comparing. Enjoy being you. Yes, use what you have! --R W De Haan               Do what you can, where you are, with what you have. –Moody
 
7.)        I did my best to summarize the teaching from 1 Corinthians 12:1 – 7 and Ephesians 4:1 – 13 in the following sentence.  Spiritual gifts are given:  from the Holy Spirit once a person has professed faith in Christ, for the common good of God’s Kingdom, to be used to strengthen faith and to strengthen the church. 
            That teaching is a good foundational support for the spiritual gifts.   Once we have a grasp of the purpose we begin to understand why spiritual gifts are given and how they make a difference in the church and in ministry.  
 
8.)        A visitor was being shown around a leper colony in India. At noon a gong sounded for the midday meal. People came from all parts of the compound to the dining hall. All at once peals of laughter filled the air. Two young men, one riding on the other's back, were pretending to be a horse and a rider and were having loads of fun.
As the visitor watched, he was told that the man who carried his friend was blind, and the man being carried was lame. The one who couldn't see used his feet; the one who couldn't walk used his eyes. Together they helped each other, and they found great joy in doing it.
Imagine a church like that—each member using his or her strength to make up for another's weakness. That's what should be happening in every congregation of believers. Paul likened spiritual gifts to various parts of the human body. Eyes see. Ears hear. Hands work. Feet move the body forward. All are essential. When each fulfills its function, the body benefits.
All of us have weaknesses, but we also have strengths. We are all different, but God has given each of us at least one spiritual gift to use. We need one another. —Dennis De Haan
  
9.)        Three questions follow that summary are vital to answer.  *Have you discovered your gifts?  Name the top three areas of giftedness.  *Have you discovered how your gifts can be used in the life of the church?  Name three ways you can use your gifts in the life of Waynedale UMC.  *What new ministries need to be started using your gifts?  Name an unmet need you can meet, along with others, using your spiritual gifts.  
 
10.)      These questions will guide our next step as we grow our faith and as we grow our church.  It is important to take that inventory and find your three areas of giftedness.  Then you need to do the hard work of seeing how they can be used in the life of Waynedale Church.  
            Or God might be needing you to start a new ministry with needs that you see unmet.  This is a strong possibility if you have a restlessness about your faith, or you believe that the church is not focused on areas it needs to.  
            I remember a woman who started a prayer ministry at Shiloh UMC in Kokomo who felt called to strengthen prayer in the life of the church.  That was almost 20 years ago and it continues. 
              
11.)      A concert violinist had a brother who was a bricklayer. One day a woman began talking to the bricklayer about how wonderful it was for him to be in the same family as the noted musician. But then, not wanting to insult the bricklayer, she added, "Of course, we don't all have the same talents, and even in the same family some just seem to have more ability than others."
The bricklayer replied, "You're telling me! That violinist brother of mine doesn't know a thing about laying bricks. And if he wasn't able to make some money playing that fiddle of his, he couldn't hire a guy with know-how like mine to build his house. If he had to build a house himself, he'd be ruined."
If you want to build a house, don't look up "violinist" in the yellow pages. And if you need someone to play the violin in an orchestra, don't hire a bricklayer. No two of us are exactly alike, and no one possesses every gift. In that way, houses get built and music gets played.
In the church, God has gifted us in different ways too. Our responsibility is to exercise the spiritual gifts that He has given us. When we do, we build each other up in the faith, and there is harmony in the body of Christ. --H W Robinson
 
12.)      Paul reminds the church that “to each one of us “grace” has been given.  This is important to remember and hold on to. 
Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden had an interesting rule for his teams. Whenever a player scored, he was to acknowledge the person on the team who had assisted. When he was coaching high school, one of his players asked, “Coach, won’t that take up too much time?” Wooden replied, “I’m not asking you to run over there and give him a big hug. A nod will do.”
To achieve victory on the basketball court, Wooden saw the importance of teaching his players that they were a team—not “just a bunch of independent operators.” Each person contributed to the success of everyone else.
Coach Wooden’s rule and 1 Corinthians 12 are both rooted in the principle of seeing our need for one another. Let’s use our gifts within the body of Christ to build up, strengthen, and help to carry out God’s purposes (vv.1-11).   —Fitzhugh
 
13.)      Have you ever watched a pit crew in action at an auto race? A man with the initials JDB had the opportunity to be in the pit area during a race, and he was impressed. In less time than it takes for most of us to put our seatbelt on and adjust the mirror, the crew had changed four tires, filled the gas tank, washed the windshield, given the driver a drink, and made vital adjustments to the car. It happens so quickly and efficiently because each crew member knows his job and does it right.
Speaking at a chapel service before the race, Chaplain Max Helton said to the drivers and their crews, "Imagine all the people it takes to put on a race. What if they all wanted to drive? It would be chaos." It's the same with the crew. If everyone wanted to change tires and no one wanted to fill the gas tank, the car wouldn't have a very long ride.
Likewise, in the body of Christ we all have been equipped with different skills to do certain tasks (Eph. 4:7-16). Some of us have to "change the tires" and "wash the windshield." And each job is as important as the other.  For the body of Christ to fulfill its purpose, we each need to concentrate on our part and do it the best we can. --JDB