Monthly Archives: February 2019

A Total Greater Than The Sum Of It’s Parts

 

People who are following Christ and seeking to imitate him in word and deed are the most basic element of what makes the church the church. Look at Peter’s words to the church:

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ

-1 Peter 2:4-5

A few things you’ll notice, Peter addresses the people-

  • As a stone, just like Jesus, a stone rejected by men but chosen by God.
  • As a house, a spiritual house.
  • A priesthood.

Whereas in the Old Testament people had to travel to Jerusalem in order to go to temple, and have sacrifices administered by a priest, when Jesus initiated the church he made us both TEMPLE & PRIEST. No longer did you go to the temple and the priest, the temple and priest (the church) is now sent out to the people, to the ends of the earth.

Paul, speaking of people making up the church as a body, put it this way:

Many Members of One Body, Many Gifts with One Purpose:

Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. –Romans 12:4-8

The Church at it’s best:

The church isn’t the steeple, the sound-system, furnishings, or even programs. It isn’t buildings or events. The church is the people of God; where they are, with what they have, doing what they can. The people of the church, when they become the hands, feet, ears, eyes and all the other parts of the body of Christ, can effect the world around them greatly and positively-

We aren’t meant to just be introverted on Sunday mornings, and  otherwise inwardly focused. The church is called to enrich the culture it finds it’s self in, often in the areas of greatest need, be it music and art, areas of compassion and mercy, or whatever the need.

Synergos: There’s a Greek word, Syn-ergos, it means  “The total is greater than the sum of it’s parts” The term synergy comes from the Greek word syn-ergos, συνεργός, meaning “working together.” This is a great picture of how the church works together.

Hebrews chapter 10 says: “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” When we do this as the people of the Community of God, the total is greater than the sum of all it’s parts.

Come and Live! Kingdom Life:

We enter the kingdom through much tribulation…-Acts 14:22

Jesus said “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been suffering violence, and the violent have been seizing it by force.” -Matthew 11:12

This verse gives people much confusion on exactly what the meaning is, usually there are two camps of thought:

  • The Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people are attacking it. 

Or

  • People have been ardently pressing in to the kingdom with all their strength.

Which one is right? Yes. probably both.

We are hindered at every side, attacked, sometimes actually, sometimes verbally, sometimes emotionally, to keep us from participating in the unstoppable, moving, coming Kingdom of God. At the same time we must determine not to be deterred, slowed down or hindered in any way. We must ardently press in to catch the moving train that is The Kingdom if we intend to ride that train, if we want to be a part.

Sometimes I think we get sidelined, we forget, or think “I’ve been there and done that.” but we have to practice being attuned to the Holy Spirit, and practice sharing hopeful news, or just stopping for a few minutes to pray with someone.

YOU have a part in The Kingdom. You get to “play.” John Wimber, a leader of the early Vineyard Church said:

“When you joined the kingdom, you expected to be used of God. “

But then soon we lose vision, lose fire, we’re told to sit, be quiet and then soon we’ve forgotten about anything that has to do with being used by God, serving, using our gifts, or just being willing to participate. Wimber continues:

“Folks, I’m not saying,Do some-thing heroic. I’m not saying, Take on some high standard, sell everything you have and go. Now, if Jesus tells you that, that’s different. But I’m not saying that. I’m just saying,participate.”

We’re all made to do different things, we don’t all do the same things easily. But at the same time God can do anything He wills as is necessary regardless if we are “gifted” or not.

Here are some of the gifts that the New Testament speak about in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4: exhortation, giving, leadership, mercy, prophecy, service, teaching , faith, administration, discernment, healing, helps, knowledge, miracles, prophecy, teaching, tongues, interpretation, wisdom, apostle, evangelism, pastor, prophecy, and teaching

No gift is given to us just for us. Gifts are given to serve God and to serve others, to bring His kingdom in some way.

John Wimber said:

“Give some portion of what you have; time, energy, money, on a regular basis to this purpose, to redeeming people, to caring for people. That’s where you’ll really see the kingdom of God.”

Teddy Roosevelt said “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” We all can participate in bringing God’s Kingdom by simply doing what we can, with what we have, where we are;  just by participating. Don’t underestimate the small testimony of what God did in your life this week or last week. Don’t underestimate the significance of offering to stop for 60 seconds and ask someone if you can pray with them about anything.

This week ask the Lord to show you an opportunity to participate in The Kingdom!

Fuel

 

What fuels the gifts of the Spirit? What fuels us to do the things we are made to do day by day? We cannot operate effectively the gifts God has given us unless we operate those out of AGAPE love. This is a godly love, a love with no strings attached. No other love will do- not STORGE (family love), not PHILIA (brotherly love), or EROS. (love between lovers) The only place for us to receive AGAPE love is from God himself. He is the source.

The love of God has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.- ROMANS 5:5

 

Saint Paul writing to the Corinthians:
Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts… Love others and desire to be operating in your spiritual gifts…especially the gift of prophecy… everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.

-1 Corinthians 14: 1,3

Sometimes we think some spiritual gifts are hard, or difficult, or freaky, but look how Paul defines prophecy here: strengthening, encouragement, and comfort
The fact is ALL gifts should encourage, strengthen, or comfort others. In 1 Peter chapter 4, Peter is talking about living the good life. We’ve already lived long enough like people who don’t know God- But GOD is calling us to live differently now.

Everything will soon come to an end. So be serious and be sensible enough to pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:8-10

Love, and serve each other with your gifts: Love each other deeply. Be quick to forgive. Offer hospitality to one another without complaining or trash talking. Use whatever gift you have to serve others.

Paul instructs Timothy:

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity and fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:6-7

In other words: make full use of the gift that God gave you when I placed my hands on you. Use it well, God’s spirit doesn’t make us scared or fearful, The Spirit gives us power, and love, and self-control. Don’t sit idle, don’t let a talent go to waste. Paul said “Fan into flame the gift of God.”

He urges us to set the invincible power of the Spirit which God has given us, against those storms which may, and do come upon us. The gift of God is, as it were, a certain living flame kindled in our hearts, which the flesh and the devil go about to put out. Literally, Paul is saying blow the coals into a flame.

What are the reasons we sit idle? Why don’t we operate the gifts God has given us?Sometimes we lack direction. Sometimes we have to clue in to timing, life-changes, seasons. Sometimes I’m lazy, unsure, or may need affirmation. All these reasons are true,  several are temporary, but here Paul addresses the primary issue:
“You have not been given a spirit of FEAR”
The reasons we often  sit idle comes from discouragement and fear. It’s the last thing your adversary wants so he wants to intimidate you out of doing what God’s made you to do.

There’s a lie your adversary wants you to believe, and it usually sounds like:
– You can’t do that-
– You are no account-
– A Failure –
– Why try?-
– Why bother?-

If he can get us to buy the lie then we just sit and do nothing. But God has not given us the spirit of fear, instead He gives us the spirit of power, of courage and resolution to meet difficulties and dangers. We have the spirit of love which will carry us through opposition. We have the spirit of a sound mind, quietness and strength of mind.

Paul said “Stir up your gift Timothy”, don’t fear, do what God has made you to do.

The Holy Spirit is not the author of a timid or cowardly disposition, or of slavish fears. We are likely to bear afflictions well, when we have strength and power from God to enable us to bear them.- Matthew Henry