A DISCIPLES PATH
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it is said,
“When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people.”
(When it says, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
When you join any United Methodist Church, you promise to support the church with your: Prayers
But as a follower of Jesus --- you promise to become an active participant in Jesus' ministry of service to the world.
One of the hallmarks of the Reformation is the affirmation of the Priesthood of all believers.
In other words, all followers of Jesus are ministers.
In the United Methodist Discipline (our rulebook) it declares:
"all Christians are called through their baptism to this ministry of servanthood in the world to the glory of God."
Whoever you are
clergy person --- staff person --- layperson
man --- woman
young --- old
skilled in the bible --- or one whom the bible is new
ALL are called! --- And that includes YOU!
One of the mistakes that we --- as ordained ministers make --- is in implying that calling is only something we get.
EVERYBODY IS CALLED
Every call is different
The task of the church is pretty simple in regards to this ---- we are here to help you discover your call, understand your spiritual gifts and help you find your place in service --- and then to support you in using them!
But what are these things that I am calling spiritual gifts?
Our scripture this morning reminds us that as followers of Jesus we are all given spiritual gifts
· these are not something that we earn
· God gives this to us and expects us to use them
· You could say that God pre-wired us to use our natural talents, our personality, our passions, and the gifts we have been given to become a part of God's transformation of the world through God's love
Remember, the purpose of the church is to "make Disciple of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world." THAT IS OUR MISSION.
YOU have been called to be a part of that mission.
Paul, as he was writing to the church at Corinth was trying to help them understand their spiritual gifts.
He tells them: (1 Corinthians 12 selected The Message)
What I want to talk about now is the various ways God’s Spirit gets worked into our lives. This is complex and often misunderstood, but I want you to be informed and knowledgeable. . . .
God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people!
Every follower of Jesus ---- Every Christian is gifted by God.
One of the best ways to find out what your spiritual gifts are is to take a spiritual gifts inventory.
A simple one can be found at www.ministrymatters.com/spiritualgifts
It is free and easy
Once we figure out what our gifts are, then we can figure out what God wants us to do with them.
And by that I don't mean that we are to volunteer.
God doesn't want volunteers
God wants us servants.
And there is a big difference between being a volunteer and being a servant
· being a volunteer describes a particular activity that is not at the center of your identity ---- but being a servant describes something about you as a follower of Jesus
· A volunteer gives of time and talent when it is convenient or when it fits into one's schedule ---- a disciple of Jesus understands that they are a servant ALWAYS
· A volunteer serves based on their interests or values ---- a disciple is guided by the Jesus' kingdom values.
Can one be a disciple of Jesus and not be a servant?
The author of James says NO (James 2:14-17)
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
Faith without action is no faith
Being a Christian is not just about BELIEVING certain things --- being a Christian is about a way of life.
On May 16, 2006 an auction was held at Christie's in London.
Up for auction was an old violin
People were in awe when the price for the violin went past $1 million, and then $2 million
When the gavel finally came down ---- the violin sold for $3.5 million, the highest price ever paid for a musical instrument.
The violin was one that was hand made by Antonio Stradivari --- without a doubt the greatest maker of violins ever.
George Eliot, the pen name of 19th century British novelist Mary Anne Evans wrote a poem simply titled: Stradivarius.
In the poem, a young, undisciplined painter named Naldo mocks Stradivari's hard work, telling him that he could have fame and wealth with a lot less labor.
Antonio replies that any musician who holds one of his violins will be grateful that Stradivari lived, made violins, and made them the best that he could.
Antonio says that God gives the musicians their skill, but that he gives them the instruments to play: "God choosing me to help him."
Naldo is shocked by the idea that God might need Stradivarius' help.
Not God Himself can make man's best
Without best men to help him . . .
. . . He could not make
Antonio Stradivari's violins
Stradivarius understood how God works in the world
God works in the world through us!
The churches job is to help you figure out what God has gifted you with ---
but not to stop there
to help you put those gifts into action
So that with the help of the Holy Spirit you can help in the transformation of the world