YOU ARE ESSENTIAL – Part 2
Darrell’s spiritual gifts testimony – allow the community to affirm your spiritual gifts.
The tree is an excellent example of God’s rules for life. Life only comes from God. Our Father has given to each of his children gifts by which they will serve God and others. What will ensure the fullness of life in this tree? What will take us from this barren symbol to a full expression of life.
Two Essentials for Community
Many leaves come together for the expression of the tree, so it is with the church. The church has different functions that coordinate together, so we behave as God desires.
In the book, The Fingerprints of God, the scientist heart surgeon author says, heart cells will express life outside of the body but as they come together, they are able to beat that heart. If the members do not coordinate, life is not possible.
The Bible calls believers saints and a ministers. This designation is not just for super Christians and professional clergy.
(1) Togetherness helps to define the follower of Jesus. Ephesians 4:1 – walk in a manner worthy of the gospel. These gifts will motivate us to move together, just as Jesus has one message for the world. We are to accept one another in love. the world will know you are my disciples by your love for one another – John 13:35. Jesus championed togetherness. We must fight for unity.
(2) Togetherness is good theology. Ephesians 4:4-6 – notice all the “ones” used six times – the oneness of God is represented in the oneness of the church. Oneness even when we have two services at 11:00.
(3) Togetherness supernaturally encases the spiritual gifts. There are many leaves in a tree and ministries in a church, all of them are encased together. Ephesians 4:6-7 – in all and through all, closeness, unconditional love, God is present OVER us as Father, THROUGH us in Jesus, IN us with the Holy Spirit. Togetherness is supernatural, when he is present with us.
In the NCAA tournament years ago, in 2014, Dayton made it to the Elite Eight. One player said the key was togetherness, not who would take the next shot. Who is all in? Togetherness without a purpose is only a social gathering. A silo-ed activity. God needs to show up or all this we are doing is in vain, it is routine.
(1) Preparedness always begins with God. He is always working on us to make us different in this world.
(2) Preparedness becomes a result of the saving work of God in Christ. The source of the gospel is the saving work of God. Psalm 68, the spoils of the battle, gifts given to the people, believers, it comes from their brokenness over sin.
(3) Preparedness rests in the responsibilities of leaders and the availability of the saints. Ephesians 4:11-12 – fruitfulness as a follower of Jesus. Your calling is not reduced to taking up space on a pew, or agreeing once a year to serve on a committee. It is about being available to God.
(4) Preparedness always leads to a healthy church. Fruitfulness is evidenced by leaves and life. We are never reduced to a warm body in a church position.
(5) Preparedness moves toward one goal: the glory of God in Christ. Ephesians 4:12 – “of Christ” is the key. Unity of faith, and our knowledge of Christ.
1. There is only one goal in the function of the church, the budget, hiring, leaders, discipleship, curriculum, a Wednesday meal.
2. There are no member or ministries that function outside the body. No one is allowed to go rogue.
3. The goal is not good people doing good things but God’s people doing God’s things. This will not just happen, we must make sacrifices to ensure it. It is about listening, while God is present, when we are together, we invite his presence. We willingly listening to him and for him. What is your approach to Sundays? Casual? Just show up? Duty? Obligation? Or do you expect God to show up? God MUST show up so we can hear him and obey him.
4. Every ministry depends on God showing up, or it is all in vain. Don’t ask what people are looking for in a church, but what is God looking for in his church? What is he asking ME to sacrifice? Why do I want MY way? Maybe there is a relationship, a sin, an area of pain in my life.
We can’t go forward is we are not willing to let God have his way with this church. 50 years is worth nothing if it is all about us. How often is our activity not about God but about us desiring to have a lot of people involved?
Life Group Questions:
- What one quality would you like to develop in your character?
- What keeps sports teams unified?
- What do you consider yourself good at doing?
- What skill or talent would you like to master? What have you already mastered?
- What is your favorite part about King’s Grant? Name something that happened at King’s Grant that meant a whole lot to you.
- What does togetherness mean to you and why is it so important in the life of a Christian community?
- What did Paul urge the Ephesians to do? (Ephesians 4:1)
- What three virtues foster unity among Christians? (Ephesians 4:2)
- How should Christians conduct themselves toward each other? Why? (Ephesians 4:2-6)
- What are the seven elements of Christian unity? (Ephesians 4:4-6)
- How is Christian unity related to the nature of God? (Ephesians 4:4-6)
- How are we enabled to live at peace with each other? (Ephesians 4:7)
- Who gives grace to each believer? (Ephesians 4:7)
- How did Paul confirm God’s giving of gifts? (Ephesians 4:8)
- What commentary did Paul make on the Old Testament passage he quoted? Why? (Ephesians 4:9-11)
- Of what are you a captive, if not a prisoner of the Lord?
- With what kind of people does God fill the church? (Ephesians 4:11)
- What is the purpose of spiritual gifts? (Ephesians 4:12-13)
- What can you honestly say is the function of our church? Ken said the church’s one goal is to bring glory to God. In what ways are we at King’s Grant doing this?
- Why did Paul stress the theme of Christian unity to the Ephesians?
- When someone asks you about why you attend King’s Grant, what do you tell them?
- How do you get along with other Christians? What makes this difficult at times?
- What do you like about small groups in the church? What might be the ideal size of a group?
- What do you think about the idea of Life Groups continuing after the semester ends, like getting 6-8 people meeting in homes with a list of questions about a text?
- Have you ever known a group in the church, or a class, or ministry, to go rogue? What happened? Can you share that story?
- What is God’s prescription for unity among believers?
- Since our culture is driven by self-centeredness, in what ways is living in love, respect, and togetherness so counter-cultural?
- Ken talked about not just good people doing good things, but God’s people doing God’s things. In what ways do we live up to what God has for us? In what ways do we fall short?
- How does the Spirit help you maintain the “bond of peace” with others in our church?
- Ken talked about invoking God’s presence and listening. Have there been times when you just showed up at church but did not expect a movement of God to happen in the service or the congregation? How can we begin to live with an expectation of meeting God in worship each week? What prevents this in the lives of our people?
- How have you benefited from the Christian leadership in our church?
- What is your responsibility to help others in the body of Christ?
- How unified is our church? Or is it? (Think about age, worship location, personal preferences).
- Preparedness is inherently forward-thinking. How do you practice before the “big game” so you can serve and minister more effectively?
- Oscar Thompson once stated, “A person can never lead another closer to the Lord than he or she already is.” Do you believe this to be true and what is the significance of this statement in terms of how you view preparedness?
- How do you need to show humility, gentleness, and patience in dealing with a difficult relationship this week?
- Henrietta C. Mears stated, “What God asks us to do he fits us for, and what he fits us for he asks us to do.” What do you think God is preparing you for?
- What service can you offer another church member to help build up the body of Christ?
- To whom do you need to speak the truth in love this week, and challenge them to get involved in what God has in store for King’s Grant?