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CrossPointe Community Church
P O Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215
CALL TO WORSHIP
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through Him and for Him. He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together.
Christ is also the head of the church, which is His body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So He is first in everything. For God in all His fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through Him God reconciled everything to Himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were His enemies, separated from Him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now He has reconciled you to Himself through the death of Christ in His physical body. As a result, He has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault.Colossians 1:15-22
Before we praise God through singing It Is You, I want to note that Biblically speaking we do not have to ask God to “meet us here.” He is here because you are here! The Holy Spirit of God dwells in you who are in Christ.
This reminds me of a point I made last week: that sometimes we get a little mixed up thinking that by our coming to this place, we indicate to God that we are interested in Him when the much greater truth of the matter is the Bible says that God is interested in us.
I listen to the Billy Graham channel on Sirius Radio and he was telling a story to the National Religious Broadcasters about how one of their colleagues called the Presbyterian Church which the President attended to ask if the President was going to be in worship on that particular Sunday. And the man who answered the phone at the church was Biblically astute enough to say, “I don’t know for sure whether the President is going to be in attendance, but I do know for sure who will be; the Lord Jesus will be among us.”
And so He was! And so He is! And God is supremely interested in being here with us. And as we said last week, He has gone to great lengths to prove it!
Quick Review of the past two weeks:
If you are in Christ, that is, if you have decided to believe that Jesus died for your sins, at that very moment, whenever that was, 50 years ago or last week, you did receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The primary purpose of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Jesus. Jesus, speaking of the Holy Spirit said, “He will glorify Me” (John 16:13b).
And we concluded then by speaking about the awesome privilege that you and I share in doing just that; allowing God’s Spirit to work in us in order to glorify Christ Jesus.
Last week, we began to drill down on that a bit, by talking about the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to foster transformation into Christlikeness. “For God knew His people in advance, Paul writes the Romans, “and He chose them to become like His Son” (Romans 8:29).
And Paul the Apostle, in his second letter to the Corinthians, writes, “And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like Him (Jesus) as we are changed into His glorious image” (II Corinthians 3:18b). And we noted that the measure of our transformation is how much we love others. For to be sure, more than anything else, Jesus exuded love.
Today’s topic is also very much related to and is a follow-up to ‘transformation.’
But before I go any further, let’s see what God has to say to us in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians chapter 12; where the subject concerns a proper understanding of ‘spiritual gifts.’
Spiritual gifts are special abilities given through the Holy Spirit of God to His people to be used to minister to others and build up the body of Christ.
A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.
The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?
But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care.
So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church: first are apostles, second are prophets, third are teachers, then those who do miracles, those who have the gift of healing, those who can help others, those who have the gift of leadership, those who speak in unknown languages.
Are we all apostles? Are we all prophets? Are we all teachers? Do we all have the power to do miracles? Do we all have the gift of healing? Do we all have the ability to speak in unknown languages? Do we all have the ability to interpret unknown languages? Of course not! So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts.”I Corinthians 12:4-31
In addition to I Corinthians, Paul also talks about ‘spiritual gifts’ in Romans 12:3-10 and Ephesians 4:7-11, where in addition to the 14 listed here he adds 4 in Romans and 2 more in Ephesians for a total of 20.
Perspectives on Pentecost Power, Part III
Speaking of a trinity – there were three brothers who were having a discussion concerning the kinds of gifts they gave to their mother for her 90th birthday:
One reminded his brothers, “I had that big house built for mom.”
The second said, “I sent her that BMW I-5 Sedan with a driver.”
The third smiled and said, “I’ve got you both beat. You know how much Mom enjoys the Bible, and you know her eyesight has failed her to the point that she can no longer read. So I sent her an African Grey parrot that recites the entire Bible. It took twenty monks in a monastery twelve years to teach him. I had to pledge to contribute one hundred thousand a year for ten years, but it was worth it.”
Soon thereafter, Mom sent her three boys letters of thanks: “Leroy,” she wrote the first son, “The house you built for me is too big; I only live in one room, but I have to clean the whole house.” “Melvin,” she wrote to the second, “I am too old to travel, and I stay home all the time, so I never use the Beamer! Dearest Norman,” she wrote to her third son, “you were the only son to have the good sense to know what mother likes; that chicken was delicious.”
Speaking of the Holy Trinity, and the kind gifts He gives, we come to Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.
Where, reading through the lines, we discover that there was a group of people in that church who felt that the ‘spiritual gifts’ they received from God were more important, and; therefore; should be more desired than some of the gifts God gave to others. Now at first glance, we might think this was a bad thing, and that those folks should be chided for thinking that. But the big picture is that if they didn’t have that attitude, we would not have this very instructive and encouraging section of this letter that lets us know several things about ‘spiritual gifts.’
And the first is that every Christian has been given one or more spiritual gifts,
enabling each one of us to play a role in helping God build up His church. “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other” (12:7). And in verse 28 Paul says it slightly different words, using body language: “Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church.”
This truth begs the question, “Do you know what your spiritual gift is?”
And the answer is that many of you have discovered your gift or gifts, and are using it or them for the benefit of the church and to glorify Christ. In that case, you are a round peg that fits nicely in a round hole.
Then there are always some who are like a round peg trying to fit in a square hole. That is, you want to serve, that’s obviously a good thing, but you just haven’t found your ideal place of service.
Then there may be some here today who have never been introduced to this idea, or some who have, but have for whatever reason, never discovered your area of giftedness.
To those of you who have discovered your niche, bully for you; we are, all of us grateful for who God created you to be and using your Spirit-given gifts to glorify Christ. To anyone here in either one of the two other categories, I invite you to begin to discover your spiritual gifts by making use of a spiritual gifts inventory. You can click the following link, which, beyond containing a good inventory, contains a very comprehensive introduction to the subject https://www.logos.com/grow/spiritual-gifts-inventory-assessment/. It will begin to help you discover what may well be one or more of your spiritual gifts.
I say begin to discover because you will then need to ask those who know you well, a spouse or a close friend, if they see in you what you discovered in the inventory. And if they do, the next step is to offer yourself in some service appropriate to your gifts and time available to see if what you are doing is both enjoyable to you and effective for the ministry. For I am convinced that God would not give us a gift that would cause you or anyone else frustration.
“A spiritual gift has been given to each one of us so that we can help each other.”
The second thing I glean from this passage is that although all of us have different roles; depending on our spiritual gifts, but every role matters!
That’s why Paul writes 21 sentences about how each part of the body matters. Remember there were some at Corinth who felt that their gifts made them more important than others. This is why Paul writes in verse 12, “The human body had many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body.” And he concludes his though in verse in verse 27, “All of you together are Christ’s body and each of you is a part of it” emphasizing the truth that every role matters.
You see, some of us are susceptible to feel like some of the Corinthians did, that some gifts, particularly the speaking gifts are more important than others.
Little Jamie Scott was trying out for a part in his school play. His mom thought he desired a speaking role, but feared he wouldn’t get one. On the day the parts were awarded, he came home with pride and excitement. “Guess what, mom,” he shouted, “I’ve been chosen to clap and cheer.”
For those of you who might be reticent to either discover or use your gift to serve because you feel it won’t be noticed or make a difference anyway, please be aware that the power of the Holy Spirit is more often quiet than explosive.
I know, on the Day of Pentecost the power seemed to explode through Peter as he quite courageously stood up and accused those listening to him speak of being responsible for the death of Jesus. And beyond bold preaching the apostles were doing “signs and wonders.” But don’t be fooled into thinking that the measure of the Holy Spirit is always impressive, loud, grandiose or even explosive.
You can take ten gallons of gasoline and release a tremendous amount of power and energy by just dropping a lighted match into it. It will make a dramatic impact, once! But a more efficient use of that power would to place that 10 gallons in the fuel tank of a Honda and watch it cruise for 500 miles.
Explosions may be spectacular, but the sustained, controlled burn has staying power.
The Holy Spirit has not given us gifts that we might be a flash in the pan, but that we might sustain our ministry over the long haul, and, thereby; bring much more glory to Christ.
Every one of our gifts is vitally important to the health of the body of Christ! Which leads naturally to my next observation.
It is God’s desire that ALL of us discover our place to serve.
“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different way, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us” (12:4-6).
Again, reading between the lines, there were some in Corinth who were mistakenly holding back from getting involved because they didn’t feel the Holy Spirit was operating in their lives.
But please note the power of the Holy Spirit was not and is not meant to motivate you and I to discover and use our gift. The power of the Holy Spirit is manifested to begin to use our giftedness. That’s when the Holy Spirit takes our words and or our deeds and gets involved in supernaturally to accomplish God’s will through us. But the Spirit cannot work until we obey!
I listen to the Billy Graham channel on satellite radio. A week or so ago, I heard Billy preaching at one of his evangelistic crusades and he mentioned that he wasn’t a very good preacher. He said he had some scholars evaluate some of his sermons and was told that they weren’t particularly well written. And then he said, “If it was just me preaching these messages, they wouldn’t be very effective, but it’s not just me. The Holy Spirit within makes my words effective.”
Whether we have a speaking gift or a serving gift or a combination thereof, the Holy Spirit will get involved when we obey by using what we have been given. And then He will accomplish His will through us and Jesus will be glorified!
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Jesus linked the Spirit to our obedience: “If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit” (John 14:15-17a).
In an on-line article titled I Never Knew the Holy Spirit Until I Moved to New England, Pastor Josh Presley (no relation to Elvis) writes and I quote: “Our job is to get our agenda out of the way and to simply be obedient to how He wants to use us in exalting the love of the Father and the glory of the Son.” 1
If you are waiting on the Spirit to sort of kick you in the butt so that you get out there to be a witness or a servant, it’s not going to happen. Pentecost Power is manifested through people who are obedient.
I met my cousin, Dave Purdy, for breakfast Thursday morning. He’s getting ready to publish a book of some of his life experiences that have had a profound impact on him that might encourage others. When Dave was a junior at Berea High School, he was attending the year-end meeting of the National Honor Society. The President of that prestigious organization, Jeff Stinehelfer, was presiding and when it came time for him nominate someone to succeed him the following year, he nominated my cousin, Dave.
Dave said when he heard his name called, he kind of slunk down in his chair somewhat shocked and dismayed. For Dave was perfectly content to remain in the background, and was of the mind that he could never speak in front of other people. However; be that as it may, Dave was elected President of the NHS. And so in the fall of his senior year, it was with a little fear and trepidation that he went to the rostrum to speak publically for the first time. However; since that day, Dave Purdy has been a very effective speaker in many roles as high school teacher, coach, Principal, Superintendent, Chaplain and leader of many parenting seminars on national radio and television.
There are two Biblical morals to that story. One, that Dave had Jeff Stinehelfer in his corner encouraging him to step out of his comfort zone. And two, that if Dave hadn’t stepped out of his comfort zone, God, the Holy Spirit, would never have had the opportunity to accomplish His will through Dave and to bring glory to Christ.
With that in mind, may I be an encourager for you today. For I nominate you to step out of your comfort zone, to discover, if you don’t already know, how God has gifted you to serve Him, and then to do just that.
A spiritual gift has been given to each one of us so that we can help each other.
And I am so grateful for all of you who take seriously the call to be involved in the area of your giftedness to make a kingdom contribution: to care for infants in the nursery, to teach the children during kid’s worship, to serve as greeters, ushers, communion stewards, to use your gifts of music, to be an administrative leader, to be willing to work behind the scenes for the sake of Christ.
There’s a wonderful story about Jimmy Durante, one of the great entertainers of a generation ago. He was asked to be a part of a show for World War II veterans. He told them his schedule was very busy and he could afford only a few minutes, but if they wouldn’t mind his doing one short monologue and immediately leaving for his next appointment, he would come. Of course, the show’s director agreed happily. But when Jimmy got on stage, something interesting happened. He went through the short monologue and then stayed. The applause grew louder and louder and he kept staying. Pretty soon, he had been on fifteen, twenty, then thirty minutes. Finally he took a last bow and left the stage. Backstage someone stopped him and said, “I thought you had to go after a few minutes; what happened?”
Jimmy answered, “I did have to go, but I can show you the reason I stayed. You can see for yourself if you’ll look down on the front row.” There on the front row were two men, each of whom had lost an arm in the war. One had lost his right arm and the other had lost his left. Together, they were able to clap, and that’s exactly what they were doing, loudly and cheerfully.
What a beautiful picture of the body of Christ. We take what we has been handed to us and we use it to make a joyful noise unto the Lord!
So let us as the body of Christ re-commit ourselves to doing whatever we can so that the Spirit of Jesus will fill our sails and empower us to serve Him!
We are being invited to be a Pentecostal church and I am not talking a denomination. We already have the Holy Spirit at our disposal. Let it be said of us that we will also open our lives to be filled with the Spirit by committing ourselves to the disciplines of worship, prayer, Bible, as we spoke about last Sunday. Let it be said of us that will discover and begin to use the gifts that His Spirit has given us. Let it be said of us that we are doing everything in His power to reproduce the life of our Lord Jesus.
As we do so, our church will more and more resemble an Acts 2 church. We will see more and more people’s lives touched by God’s grace. We will see more and more people healed; physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. We will see more and more people exhibit genuine love for one another. We will see the fire fall, and the people of God rise up.
He has gifted us with salvation through a living faith in His Son, and with His Spirit to reproduce His life in extraordinary ways to build up His Kingdom!
Paul’s colleague, Peter, in his first general letter to the church also encouraged his readers to use their God-given spiritual gifts, and I close with this scripture: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen” (I Peter 4:10-11).
1 I Never Knew the Holy Spirit Until I Moved to New England
Lifeway Research, May 26, 2017