Stranger Things, In the Bible 4

Part 4

What am I doing here?

 

In our lives as members of the Body of Christ, it can sometimes become unclear what exactly each of us is supposed to be doing.

“Be a functioning and productive part of the Body of Christ” is the easy answer.

But what does that look like on a day to day basis?  We’ve all heard of spiritual gifts, maybe at one time we even took a spiritual gifts test and found out some potential gifting areas we may have.  We probably have certain things we like doing and find fulfillment in within the Church .  Maybe we have some formal training or expertise that we are using for the Church like counseling, maintenance, teaching or security.  All these applications of ourselves to the Church are good and can be productive and fruitful.  However, there are certain parts of body life that Jesus outlined during his earthly ministry that are often overlooked and passed over due to them not being “my thing” or “something I’m good at” or “someone else’s job” and lastly, “not my calling or gift”.  The goal here is to uncover a few of the big commands of Christ, (not the 10 Commandments) and contrast them with what we think our duties are as Christ followers, as well as supply a comprehensive list of the commands of Christ, then take a look at calling and gifts.  I don’t want this to come off as a “Works List”.  Works are never the point, its our faith that leads to works.  Likewise, faith without works is useless.  (James 2)

 

Calling or Command

A common saying in our culture is “Stay in your lane”, essentially, it’s gentle way of saying, you do your job and I’ll do mine and don’t get mixed up on what you’re here for.  Its sad, but his mentality has crept into the Church as well.  “I’ll do this, you do that, and he better take care of his area.” The truth is, that as a well-functioning body there are certain things we must all be part of. These are covered in the commands Christ gave.  We will get to those later.  In addition to these commands for us all, we all have a specific calling or gifting as well.

Callings and Gifts

The New Testament contains several lists of spiritual gifts, most authored by Paul.  Below is a full list with references of gifts, while each list is unique there is some overlap.  We all have at least one of the gifts listed below!

 

Romans 12:6-8 Prophecy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation (encouraging), Giving, Leadership, Mercy.

 

1 Corinthians 12:8-10 Word of Wisdom, Word of Knowledge, Faith, Gifts of Healing, Miracles, Prophecy, Distinguishing between spirits, Tongues, Interpretation of tongues.

 

1 Corinthians 12:28 Apostle, Prophet, Teacher, Miracles, Kinds of healings, Helps, Administration, Tongues.

 

Ephesians 4:11 Five-fold ministry offices, different from the gifts in that these are deeper.  Someone doesn’t just operate in these gifts from time to time but, they are these gifts, more than just the gift someone has being for the Church, these people are the gift to the Church.  – Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher

 

1 Peter 4:11 Speaking, Helping

 

The Bible indicates that the above spiritual gifts are enablements or capacities that are divinely bestowed upon individuals.  Because they are freely given by God, they cannot be earned.  Though worked through people, these are operations or manifestations of the Holy Spirit, not the gifted person. They are to be used for the benefit of others, and in a sense, they are granted to the church as a whole more than they are given to individuals.  No one individual will posses all the gifts.  The purpose of the spiritual gifts is to strengthen, comfort and encourage the church.  As mentioned above, each one of us has at least one spiritual gift.  If you would like to take a spiritual gifts test, you can find them online or I’m sure your Pastor has them available at your Church.

A slower but more accurate spiritual gifts test can be found in our actions and fruit.  Our gifts will become more and more apparent as we live out our lives in the Body.

 

Commands of Christ

The commands of Christ are the things He taught all believers and followers to do.  The list is extensive, roughly 50 clear commands that Jesus gave His disciples.  Below are a few that we tend to gift ourselves out of.

 

  1. Make and Baptize disciples, Evangelism. This was the first and last thing Jesus told his disciples, “I’ll make you fishers of men”, and “You will be my witnesses telling people about me everywhere.” Jesus teaches and instructs in great depth on this subject in Matthew 10 as He sends His disciples out two by two to witness.  This is a command that often gets put on the professionals.  It’s the work of the Evangelist to do that.  While that is true, it’s also the responsibility of all believers to spread the Good News, share the Gospel and be the light to a dark world.  It’s way too big of a job for a few Evangelist to do alone.  One reason the Church in America is declining may be because of the inability and lack of priority of the Body of Christ to evangelize.  I get so angry when I see this fallen world in action, school shootings, child abuse, suicide, transgender-ism being taught as common, etc, yet I don’t make it a regular part of my life to spread the Gospel like lives are depending on it.  Jesus wouldn’t have spent so much of His time, efforts and life on instructing the disciples on this command if it wasn’t a priority.  The truth is, if we don’t take this command from Christ personal, to “tell the world”, the Church will continue to dwindle, and the moral direction of our country will plummet further.

 

Bring in or serve the poor. Luke 14:12-14

He also said to the one who had invited him, “When you give a lunch or a dinner, don’t invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors, because they might invite you back, and you would be repaid. On the contrary, when you host a banquet, invite those who are poor, maimed, lame, or blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

This goes along with evangelism as well as discipleship.  As we follow this command and reach out to people the world has cast away as useless or a burden, we set the Church apart from the world.  We also offer the love of Christ to people who may not have received love anywhere else.  It’s when we meet people where they’re at that hearts and lives can be more open to the message of the Good News, Jesus made a habit of meeting people where they were.

It’s the power of God in us that precedes the move of God through us.

As for discipleship, the opportunity to pour the love of Christ into a new believer’s life is invaluable, as we serve them they see how to serve, as love is modeled to them they learn how to love.  As we bring them into the Church, they become a witness for the Church.  Jesus gives a very strong command on caring for the poor in Matthew 25.

Matthew 25:34-46

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.  For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.” “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’ “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’ I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’’

 

Teach disciples to obey. Matthew 28:20

Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Not only are we to know and keep these commands, we are also commanded to teach them.  This is another command of Christ that often gets left for the professionals.  A large part of that may be because first, we don’t feel qualified to teach and second, we aren’t confident in the subject matter.  Many times over, the Bible tells us to study the Word and know it, memorize it and write it on our hearts.  In Joshua 1:8 we are told to meditate on the it day and night.  If our knowledge and understanding of the scriptures isn’t growing day by day we need to take the necessary steps to make sure it does.  I can promise you, there are no shortcuts, and nobody is going to do it for you, we have to get in the Word.  If we make a real effort at knowing God and His Word more, He will reveal Himself to us.  By this alone, we will be more equipped, qualified and comfortable in teaching.

 

Conclusion

If the desire of our hearts is to grow and learn and walk in the specific call God has for us, the best place to start is by fulfilling the commands of Christ, evangelizing, discipling, caring for the poor and teaching are just a few of them.  When we say yes to these commands, the Holy Spirit adds to us the grace and power to do it well, as well as deeper insight into our giftings.  When I say no, the grace and power is invested elsewhere and the path to our calling and giftings is not revealed.  Not that we would be out of God’s grace if we say no, but the new and fresh infilling to do His command and will is withheld.  That’s the difference between walking in victory and unfulfilled expectation.

Go, be and do and God’s grace will fill you anew.  Stay, wait and see, and miss what you’re called to be.

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