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Priorities // The Priority of Generosity // Pastor Josh Evans

Union Grove Baptist Church / Pastor Josh Evans
The Truth Network Radio
February 28, 2024 1:08 pm

Priorities // The Priority of Generosity // Pastor Josh Evans

Union Grove Baptist Church / Pastor Josh Evans

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February 28, 2024 1:08 pm

Pastor Josh continues his series on priorities with a message about the Priority of being generous with your time, talent, and treasure.

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Amen. Amen. And I hope that, like Bob said, I hope that that is the prayer of your heart today for the Lord to have every single bit of you.

And I don't know what's holding you back, but I hope that after this you have an opportunity to give Him your entire life and let Him do with you what He wants to do with you. Well listen, it is so good to see you today. And if you're excited to be at church, can you say amen today?

And I'm so glad that that you are here. And we have a little bit of just, I mean, it's cold weather out there, right? And how many of you love this weather? You're just like all in on the cold weather? You like the cold weather? Okay, there's a few of us in here. And how many of you are ready for this to go bye-bye in a very quick hurry?

Okay, I'm with you, I understand. And I like some, I like a little bit of cold weather every now and then. And, but it was, it was flat-out cold this morning. And, but I appreciate you guys being here in the midst of our winter, winter wonderland, I guess you could call it today.

Why don't you look to your neighbor and say, glad you made it despite the cold? And well listen, I am glad that you're here and I appreciate you being in our service today. Hey, if we have not met before, I would love the opportunity to meet you. And I know we have new families popping in each and every week. And so if you have not, if we have not had a chance to connect, I would love to do that.

My name is Josh and I'm the pastor here at Union Grove. And it is my delight just to say thank you for being here. We recognize you could have been in a hundred different places and you chose to worship with us today. And we are so, so grateful for that.

And we do not count that likely. And so I hope today you have a chance to feel at home and connect with some people here. And we just want you to know we love you and we appreciate you being with us. Well if you have your Bible today, and I hope that you do, if you can turn to Ephesians chapter number four today. If you didn't bring a Bible or something like that, it'll be up on the screens to kind of help us follow along this morning. But Ephesians chapter number four.

Ephesians chapter number four. And I'll say this, we are in the middle of a series entitled priorities. Titled priorities.

Let's all say that word together. Priorities. And we're in the middle of this series and it's really a new year's series that we've been in here in the at the beginning of 2024. And I don't know how many of you feel about resolutions or goals and different things like this. But I do think that anytime you turn the page on one year and you go into a new year, it is an opportunity for us to kind of realign some priorities in our life. Rethink about some different things. And so we are looking at some priorities in our in our relationship with the Lord that will help you grow in that relationship with God.

And priorities are not anything new to us, right? Many of you, how many of you are married in here? Raise your hand, okay? And for you to have a successful marriage, you have to prioritize some things with your spouse, right? Okay, okay.

That's when you're supposed to say amen or something, all right? But if you're a if you're a parent in this place, right? You understand to be a successful parent and have a relationship with your kids, you have to prioritize things with your children. And so I say that priorities are nothing new.

If you want to be a good employee, you better, you know, you better prioritize your job and your career and things like that. Priorities are not new to anybody in here. But what I want you to understand is that just like all of those relationships with your kids, with your spouse, at your job, just like those, here's what's true in your spiritual life. You cannot expect to thrive in your relationship with God without prioritizing that relationship.

Does everybody understand that? You cannot expect to thrive in your relationship with God without prioritizing that relationship. In other words, you're not just gonna wake up one day and just say, wow, I have such a strong relationship with God.

It's gonna take you prioritizing things in your life. In week number one of the series, we looked at the priority of the word. That's where we instituted a Bible reading plan. I appreciate Pastor David talking about that here today. If you've kind of slipped in and you're like, hey, I would love to be a part of that so that I can have a plan so that I can be in God's Word each and every day.

You can pick one up out in the Welcome Center here today. That was week number one. Week number two last week was the priority of prayer, the priority of prayer, of daily spending time alone with God, not only reading His Word but also praying to Him. Today we're gonna look at this, the priority of generosity, the priority of generosity. Now I want you to know upfront, anytime we hear the word generosity, we immediately think that this is gonna be a sermon about money. We just think that this is gonna be a sermon about money. I want you to know if that's you today and you're kind of already zipped up your Bible cover or whatever and you kind of shut your Bible and you're like ready to head out, this pastor just talks about money all the time.

If that's you here today, I want you to relax. Listen, it's not a sermon about money. In fact, the scripture talks about generosity and it always has much more to do with your whole life than it does about money.

It has much more to do about all of you, every part of your life. And so as we talk about this idea of generosity, I want you to think as followers of Jesus, we must be generous with our time, our talent, and our treasure. And so we're gonna look at this from Ephesians chapter number four. The Apostle Paul is writing to a real church, a church much like this church. It's an actual church.

Sometimes when you see these letters, you might sometimes think that this is just, you know, the universal church and things like that. Now this is a real church there in Ephesus and he writes this letter to him. In fact, it's one of my favorite books in Scripture and if you haven't studied the book of Ephesians, you should because it really gives you such a description of the gospel. In fact, the entire book is about the gospel and living out the gospel in your life. It's about how when the gospel comes into your life and changes you, you have a complete new identity. You have a complete new identity.

You are a new creation. And so the first few chapters of the book talk all about the gospel. Ephesians chapter 2. We all could probably quote the first four or five verses of that because it's probably the best description of who you were before Jesus and what Jesus has done for you and what you look like after Jesus comes into your life. And so he transitions though in chapter number five and he talks about how, in chapter four rather, about how the gospel that saved you is now, chapter four, five, and six, is going to be on display in how you live, in how you live. And that's what he says here.

Let's pick it up. Verse number one. He says, I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, now remember we know this, that anytime you see the word therefore in Scripture, it's a reminder that you need to realize that he is, he's taking and connecting everything that he has said up to this point with what he is about to say.

And so we don't have time to really look at chapters one, two, and three, but here's what you need to know. It's all about the gospel. It's all about what Jesus has done for you and how Jesus died for you so that you could live, okay? He talks about how we were dead and because of Jesus we are alive in him. Because of all of that, what he's about to challenge the church to do should, should change you. He says, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, I beg you or beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called. Then he goes on, verse number two, with all lowliness, meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

In other words, what he's saying is because of the gospel there is a life that you should live. Because if Jesus truly changed your life and he truly came into your life to change you, then there is a response that comes from that. And I want you to be very clear.

I want to be very clear with you. It's not the response and the work that saved you. Does everybody understand that? It's not that that saves you, okay? It's not Jesus saved you by his grace.

All you have to do is accept the free gift of eternal life that comes into your life. And so that's salvation, but those that are, what he's trying to get at is those that are truly saved are gonna walk this way. Those that truly know Jesus are gonna do what he's saying because it is an overflow outwardly of something that has happened inwardly. So he says, verse number four, there's one body.

He begins to say, okay, you're supposed to walk worthy and here's what it looks like. And he begins to use this analogy. There's one body, one spirit, even as you're called in 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 you all. But into every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. In other words, what he's about to say is, hey, God now lives in you.

He's been given to you. You see that here, verse number eight, wherefore he saith when he ascended up on high he led captivity captive and gave gifts unto men. This is a direct response to Psalm chapter 68 in the Old Testament and he's bringing it up here. In other words, what he's referencing is the prophetic verse in Psalm chapter 68 about the coming indwelling Spirit of God. Remember Acts chapter 2 when everybody was gathered for Pentecost and they were all gathered for this Jewish feast and what happens? The Spirit of God comes and indwells the believer for the very first time. In other words, that when Jesus was here, when he ascended up into heaven, he said that there's a promise that's going to come. God the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. And what happens is Jesus went to heaven and he now lives through the Spirit in those that have been born again.

Okay? And here's what Paul's saying. Because of that, those who are saved have the indwelling Spirit of God and because of that indwelling Spirit of God it is going to be lived out in the way that they live. Verse number nine, now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens that he might fill all things. And then here's where it makes all the difference. He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors, some teachers.

Why? For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man and to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ that we henceforth be no more children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness whereby they lie and wait to deceive. Verse number 15, but speaking the truth in love may grow up into him and all things which is the head even Christ from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth according to the effectual working in the measure of every part maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. Okay so here's the here's the point so he really there is a ton to unpack here and and I want to be as clear as I as I possibly can and and to help everybody this is always a challenge for me when I get up to preach on Sunday morning because we have certain you know ages all over the place from teenagers all the way up we have some kids in the room and and then also we we have different people on different stages of their spiritual journey and I get that and so I want to be as clear as I possibly can and bring clarity to what the Apostle Paul is trying to say so so walk with me so he's saying first few chapters of Ephesians the gospel that changed us that saved us that keeps us okay that gospel when Jesus ascended up into heaven the gospel you now if you trusted Jesus if you're born again in this place you have the indwelling Spirit of God you have a part of God inside of you indwelling you is what he's saying because of that you have now been gifted not because of you but because of who lives inside of you you've been gifted spiritually we call these spiritual gifts okay every single one of us that know Jesus in here you have been given a spiritual gift in your life to use that to further the kingdom that God wants to establish that's the challenge but Paul and I love the Apostle Paul because he's so direct he's so direct here's what what he's saying here is he's basically equating this question can you grow in Christ and be a good Christian without actively being involved in your local church that's the question he's proposing and it's an emphatic no it's an emphatic no he's saying this that you cannot say that man I'm growing in my relationship with Jesus and I'm actively growing but be disconnected from the body and what he's trying to do in the local church and and he goes as far to say and you see it in a couple of verses here his challenge is is he saying those who say that they're Christians those who say I've been born again those who say yeah I got the indwelling Spirit of God but do not exercise their gift he says two times verse number 14 he says don't be like children and then he goes on in verse number 15 he's challenging them to grow up in other words he's saying that those who say that they're Christians and those who say they have the indwelling Spirit of God those who have been born again but do not use their gifts for the furtherance of the gospel he's saying that they need to grow up now that's pretty in your face isn't it when I read this I was like Lord how are we gonna talk about this and his challenge is for all of us and if I was to tell you anything if you're in here today and you're kind of on the sideline of what what God is doing and and you're not exercising whatever gift that he's blessed you with for the furtherance of the gospel my challenge is to you and remember don't get mad at me I want you to read this and I want you to allow the word that I'm not the one that has the power the power lies in the book that we're reading here's the thing the challenge is this I want you to grow up I want you to grow up I want you to to grow up that's his admonition here and think of it like life right I mean I have kids so I have two kids and and we all tell our kids to grow up all the time right how many of you as parents say that a lot to your kids anybody in here is it just my family so we say that all the time I'm always saying the phrase grow up right or maybe you say it this way at your age right at your age nobody the reason why we say that is nobody likes an adult that acts like a kid right how many of you know somebody that's an adult that acts like a kid okay all right don't don't nudge the person next to you I saw a couple of you okay don't do that but here's what I'll tell you it's like we see this from time to time the last a couple years ago I guess now my son plays in these community sports programs and so we were playing basketball as our first go at basketball a couple years ago so we're playing in Arcadia and and they had scheduled us to play I guess we were at Midway or welcome or something like that and so so we were we were at this gym and so we were sitting there and and and the whole time there was a guy behind us that was just have you ever set at a game and and and you sat next to somebody that's just super super obnoxious you know I'm saying just never stops and just talks the whole time and just like he's kind of getting under everybody's skin and and nobody has the guts to kind of say hey chill out or anything like that right so well we sat right in front of this guy and and there was a man next to me and his son was on our team as well and the guy behind me had a son on the other team okay and so so we were there and and so it was getting kind of heated you know and and our team was just blowing a lead like terrible and and and we were just I mean we were up by like nine points and and kids basketball that's like that's a lot so you're not coming back from a nine-point deficit in like five and six-year-old basketball and so so it's like one of those things and and so we had a lead well we were blowing it we're just turning the ball over and they started scoring and and they were coming back and so they took the lead on it so our fans we were all mad and everything else well this guy behind me still hasn't stopped talking or whatever well little did I know that the guy behind me and and the guy next to me remember they're on opposing teams opposing teams parents I had no idea that they apparently had a history from high school together okay and by the way for some of you who have grown up in Davidson County this is a big deal to you guys I'm learning okay and and here's what what I learned and so the guy next to me he finally we kind of had blown the game there's about 30 seconds left and I'll never forget this cuz I mean Abby and I were new to this we're kind of brand new and Cameron had never played basketball before in this league and so this guy next to me turned around and he called the guy by name he said would you and I can't remember his name he said shut up like that and I was like whoa I work in a church we don't talk this way to people and and so he said and and the guy behind me he called him by name he's like kid you not two grown men this guy behind me said you're just mad about what happened in and called the great out like 11th grade and I'm thinking I'm like oh boy this is intense and so they begin to they begin to cut and Abby and I were just kind of sitting there and and you know there's a part of us the mature side is kind of like hey we need to leave this we need to be the bigger person but the immature part of me is like all right let's get this going I like it and so so there was this whole thing there and and so they they were bad and the kids you know here's where it ended the game ended so we get up and we're gonna go over there and and the kids don't care that the game ended because they're getting juice and crackers at the end and stuff like that and so they don't mad but parents are mad or here's how it ended between these two guys the one guy said hey I'll be waiting for you by your car kid you not and I thought I thought we were in a movie and so we were leaving and and so when we were leaving I'll never forget Abby was like come on let's go and I'm kind of awkwardly standing around I'm kind of like I kind of want to see what happens so but here's what I'm saying I remember leaving there and us getting in the car and thinking these guys are acting like kids they're like like children they're like so immature and we got to thinking and here's the point I know that's a silly silly story but I would say this is like the point that Paul was trying to bring out here in Ephesians chapter 4 is those who say hey I've been born again I've been changed I have the indwelling Spirit of God but they're not exercising any of their gifts he would say that they those people that are doing that are acting immature and acting like like kids in their faith so his challenge and admonition for all of us is to grow up and here's the big idea of what he's trying to say is this the best way to determine spiritual maturity is not in how much you know it's how much you serve those around you now we we look at life differently right we look at man spiritual maturity it's all up here it's got to be in how much you know and I'm not good I'm not downplaying that I think we should study the Bible I think we should grow in our knowledge of Scripture you should know more now than you did last year at this time in your faith you should be growing but what Paul's trying to challenge the church at Ephesus is this is that the true test of spiritual maturity it's not all up here because there's a lot of people and I've met a lot of people that have a ton of knowledge a ton of knowledge about the Bible but they're not acting any of it out they're not serving the people around them they're not exercising the gifts that God has placed in them and that's the big idea of what Paul is trying to say he's saying those that are spiritually mature are gonna know their spiritual gift and where God has blessed them with and they're going to use it for the further furtherance of the kingdom so for a few moments I want to talk about being generous with your life through serving and giving of yourself the first thing I want you to see is the source of spiritual gifts the source of spiritual gifts he mentions a couple things here in verse number two the gospel it produces humility so you see here that he talks about lowliness and and meekness right and these words are are all about humility and and the point that he's saying is the reason why we have gifts in our life the reason why we have this gifted is because of what Jesus has done inside of us and so in other words all of these are character traits of Jesus that have now been birthed inside of you not because of you because remember you're on your very best day the scripture says that all you can bring before him are filthy rags we have no good in us okay so the only thing good in you is only placed there because of the righteousness of Jesus that have been placed in your life and so the point is he says the gospel produces humility in us we see that in Jesus remember Philippians chapter 2 Jesus made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men you see it again 2nd Corinthians chapter 8 verse 9 for you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though he was rich what did he do yet for your sakes he became poor why so that you right through his poverty might be rich the point is because Jesus was humble he now produces the gospel produces humility in you not only does the gospel the source of of your giftedness not only does it make you humble but it produces patience he goes on to say long-suffering you see Jesus was was patient some words that we use to describe our Lord and Savior long suffering or you've seen it in Scripture he is slow to anger or how about this he he's patient when he says he's not willing that any should perish right but that all should come to repentance you see he's patient with us and when you realize that he's been patient with you it produces that in you he goes on he says not only does the gospel produce patience and humility but he also says in verse number three the gospel produces unity in you let me just say this that if you're in here today and you love confrontation and conflict you do not understand the gospel you do not understand the gospel because what the Apostle Paul is saying is that because remember verse number one therefore because of the gospel has changed us now you're going to verse number three endeavor to keep that word endeavor it carries on the idea of maintaining in other words you're gonna fight to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace in other words those who truly understand the gospel those that have been saved because of the gospel they're not going to be the ones that love conflict they're actually going to be the ones that war against conflict they're the ones that get it not the ones that run around looking for confrontation you know people like that right we all do we know people that that they find themselves in conflict and confrontation all the time and here's what's true of a lot of people like that it's always the people around them's fault always right they find themselves and you're kind of like who's gonna tell them hey weren't you in this same conflict last month weren't you in this same issue a year ago didn't you have problems with the and it's a trail the point is what Paul's saying is that the gospel that saved us Ephesians 1 Ephesians 2 Ephesians 3 that gospel what it does in your heart is it changes you to where now you don't love conflict you don't love confrontation now you're warring against it you're maintaining and endeavoring to keep the unity are you still with me by the way okay you haven't left me haven't tuned me out right you haven't started googling local restaurants that you can go to here in a few minutes okay all right so the gospel produces unity in us it produces patience in us it produces humility in us but the gospel then produces giftedness or spiritual gifts in us by grace you see this verse number seven unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ verse number 11 and he gave and and there's a list here of giftedness that that he's blessed us with there's a couple of different passages in the New Testament that you can see how these gifts are but here's what I want you to understand and for the few moments that we have left we're gonna talk real specific about gifts and I want you to open up your heart about where God has gifted you today and how you should be using that gift think of it like this you know I'm a sports guy I love sports and so a lot of times I think about things in that mindset have you ever watched like a basketball game right and and you watch a basketball game and there's like one player that does everything have you seen that right where it's just like a we would call him a ball hog possibly or we would call him this like a one-man show on that team because he does he does everything and he feels the need I want you to know this that church a local church will be very very specific Union Grove Baptist Church this and everything that we do here it's not a one-man show the church is not a one-man show it is not about me it's not it's not about me in fact what he's saying is this is that the whole church the local church it's it's a body it's a team it's a team of people where everyone is carrying their own weight and everyone is serving and using their gifts to serve within the body that's his challenge that's what he's saying he's saying that those who have accepted Jesus trusted in the gospel the good news of the gospel it has changed you you now have been gifted the Holy Spirit inside of you and now he's challenging those who have been Christians grow up and the way that we grow up is we serve and we utilize the gifts that God has blessed us with in the local local New Testament Church you say why do we do that why do we do that well the Apostle Paul he answers that question in fact he gives us a perfect outline as a Baptist preacher I don't have to really come up with an outline here he gives it to us all right he says the purpose of gifts he gives you the exact reasons found in verse number 12 and 13 and there's several things the first purpose for why he's gifted you is this for the perfecting of the Saints that's the first reason you've been given a gift for the perfecting of the Saints you say what in the world is what is what does that mean the word perfecting means equipping or it can work mean maturity in other words gifts mature us and they mature those around us they mature the people around you in other words what he's trying to say when he says for the perfecting of the Saints is he's saying this that when you exercise your gifts it helps others grow does everybody understand that in other words I grow in a lot of different ways but I grow in some ways because of you exercising your your spiritual gift in my life that that's the that's the point and so that's what he's trying to say say here in other words like I come to know God better through your gift and your gift is to help everyone around you know God better so when you choose to not exercise your gift you're really robbing what God wants to do in the people around you because you refuse to grow up in your spiritual life that's what he's trying to do that's what he's trying to say for the perfecting of the same let me illustrate it to you to you this way is a lot of you and I can I could say this of so many of you and so I don't want you to think I'm trying to single anybody else or anybody out in here but I really want you to understand the point of why we've been why we've been gifted pastor Bailey can you come up here for me and I want to just I want to illustrate this to you so that you can see how this actively works in my life you guys can or you can come on up here pastor Bailey and he has a lot of spiritual gifts right and here's what I want you to understand is that everybody in here is gifted in different ways that's the beauty of the local church by the way everybody's gift so as we look at this I don't want you to think wow I wish I was gifted like that person no listen God's given you a gift and it's a beautiful gift and he's given it to you by his grace and because of the gospel at work in you and now if you exercise and figure out what that gift is and you use it what happens around you is a beautiful thing pastor Bailey has two specific spiritual gifts okay and I know this because he's told me and I see it and I sent some text out this way or yesterday because I wanted to prove this point to you today because I can see it in his life he has two specific gifts the first one is encouragement how many of you have experienced that the second one is the gift of helps he wants to help okay and so for me you take me you know I move up here a couple of years ago start working with pastor Bailey I already knew pastor Bailey I start working with here's what I found is that I in two years I was looking at this yesterday and evaluating my life I have found that on so many different times in fact we had one conversation about this this week where I was frustrated and I was discouraged and I was down and sometimes when I'm discouraged I say some things that I don't really mean how many of you like that okay and you need someone in your life that has the gift of encouragement and guess what I left there I was encouraged I was more he showed me some things because he was exercising his gift that helped me grow in that moment you see when he exercises his gift it does something in me okay Tony Boyd where are you at can you come here where's Tony at Tony's right on the front row perfect we didn't have this planned I promise okay Tony I want you to come here so Tony I remember this is when I came to candidate here a couple a few years ago Tony told me in and I'll never forget it he probably doesn't even remember this we were eating lunch down there and I was getting to know everybody and kind of figuring this thing out and stuff and Tony said if God ends up calling you here here's what I want you to know he's like I'd be happy to help you in any way so a couple of years God's like hey I'm gonna take him up on that so I asked Tony I said Tony I'd love for you to meet with me on a regular basis and I'd love for you to help me grow here's what Tony's spiritual gift is teaching okay and so I want you to know that outside of my personal Bible study as a pastor my personal time in God's Word studying here's what I'll tell you I have learned as much about this book out of my personal study from Tony we're in conversations all the time we do breakfasts is together and here's what I always come back with I learned something new about God and about his word because Tony chose I'm going to grow up in my faith and I'm gonna exercise my spiritual gift and guess what happens you got one over here now I'm learning about God through Pastor Bailey now I'm learning about God through Tony Lomax come here for just a second okay so Lomax has been a part of these conversations as well okay and Lomax is gifted in a lot of ways you know what one of his main gifts is this and this is not gonna blow your mind but this is true he has several of them but one of his main gifts you know what it is evangelism okay you can't be around Lomax long enough before you hear a little bit of a plan of salvation sometimes he shares the gospel with me and I'm like Lomax I've made that decision I'm your pastor and here's what I want you to know evangelism you know what I'm reminded about every time I'm with Lomax every time I'm with him in my life is that here's what I'm learning I learned more about the mission of why Jesus came to begin with he came to seek and to save that which was lost and I can't spend more than two minutes with Lomax without hearing about that and without being challenged to take the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth you see what's happening spiritual gift God blessed him with that by God's grace he implanted a gift into Pastor Bailey and now I'm learning about God through Pastor Bailey he implanted a spiritual gift because of the Holy Spirit through Lomax I'm learning now about my God through through Lomax I'm learning about my God through through Tony okay Jim Marshall if you can come up here I think you're at the back okay Jim has also been a part of this in my life and remember what I said I could literally point out so many people in this place that you guys are teaching me your pastor you think I'm here to teach you guess what when you exercise your gift you're teaching me as much as I'm teaching you so you have have Jim over here and Jim's on a different a different stage of his journey than some guys up here but here's what I'll tell you Jim has a gift that is very clear it's very similar to Pastor Bailey's gift of encouragement you know what Jim started doing a year and a half ago is he served maybe two years ago he started coming early on his own started coming early before it nobody knows this and I'm not trying to uplift him so I don't want you to leave here be like wow Jim is just a special thing I think Jim would tell you the what he wants you to leave with is wow we have an awesome God but here's the point started showing up early like I mean and I get here early he shows up at like 730 745 every single morning and he prays over everything on our campus and you know he started doing he started in and I mean he just we didn't have a lot of this in our relationship he started saying pastor I want to put my hand on your shoulder and I want to pray for you every single Sunday I am learning and growing in my faith because of because of him exercising his gift I'm not gonna embarrass her because Abby would refuse to come up here if I asked her to but you know what Abby's gift is Abby's gift is hospitality that's what she's very clear it's so obvious that's her thing it's what God has blessed her with and here's the thing it's like in our marriage and I love where God has this because she's able to exercise that gift in so many different ways and many of you have experienced that gift from her but here's what I'll tell you is that I learn as much about why God came and the mission of why he came through Abby using her her gift here's the point he says when we all every single one of you that are born again in here when you use your gift it matures the Saints around you that's the point and here's what's a shame is that there's some of you in here you're not using your gift God's giving you something specific in your life for the person next to you God's giving you something specific in your heart for the people around you God's giving you something specific in your life for the community in which we live and so many churches are built around one man behind a pulpit and they think that's the way the local New Testament Church should be run no here's what it is it's when every single one of us we should be able to bring every single one of you up to this platform and we should be able to do the very same thing and all of us should be able to see and see how God is using individuals to grow and mature our faith you guys can have a seat do you understand it do you get it that's the point so my challenge grow up because when you grow up and start using the way that God has gifted you it perfects the Saints but the second thing he does is this for the work of the ministry verse number 12 he says the second purpose forgives the perfecting of the Saints for the work of the ministry you say what in the world does that mean I'm not called to ministry that's pastors job that's the pastoral staff they're the ones that have called the ministry I'm not called to ministry listen I want you to understand something Church and this is gonna rub some of you the wrong way I'm just gonna go ahead and warn you anytime you have to segue with that you know that I just buckle up church is not supposed to be ran by the pastors I know some of you like in our country Baptist churches like that makes us a little uneasy you know pastor supposed to do everything pastor supposed to do this pastor said the ministry I mean I I mean you showed me after the service a different interpretation of this but the ministry should be run by the Saints the ministry should be run I don't see anything here that the pastors are the ones who do all of the work of the ministry now I'm not I'm not saying that I get to just play golf five days a week okay I mean if you want me to I will like I'll do it but here's the thing I'm not saying that I'm not saying that I just kind of sleep in and everything's fine here's what I'm saying though the actual work of the ministry it shouldn't be and I know most of you come to us all the time you know pastor bail I got an idea pastor David I got an idea pastor Josh I got an idea we should do this then do it do it I don't know why my voice just keeps going high but but grow up the point is is here we are to use our gifts for the work of the ministry I heard one pastor say it this way in a lot of ways when he became a pastor he left the ministry and now as a pastor you know what my job is to equip the Saints to do the work of the ministry my job now is to equip you to do the work of the ministry in the local church and in our community that's the point so I want to tell you this take your gift and serve the church and the community around you go all-in on it he goes on verse number 12 so for the perfecting the Saints work of the ministry for the edifying of the body of Christ for the edifying the body of Christ you see gifts are given to us to encourage and lift the body of Christ let me ask you this question who is being built up edified because of your gift who is it who in the local church who in the community is being built up and edified because you have grown up in your faith and decided to use your gift and then he says in verse number 13 the result of all of that when all of us are using our gifts to serve the church it's such a beautiful thing and he says till we all come in the unity he says that the result of all of it is unity I'm grateful that we have a unified church listen I want a war against anything that tries to come in and tear this church apart it does not mean that we can't have differing opinions that's fine but here's what it does mean is that if you find yourself bickering and complaining and fighting and gossiping about other people in this church and different things you are part of the problem that's what he's saying and he's saying this that in a local New Testament Church we if we're exercising our gifts because of the gospel at work in our heart we should endeavor and strive to maintain to stay unified so you say what is this what does this mean for us listen I'm grateful for our church we have some deeply committed people don't we I'm thankful we have people who have served I mean in our kids ministry for 40 plus years that's a pretty amazing thing we have people that serve every single week in the preschool ministry in the nursery in different areas and I'm grateful for them right it makes us be able to pay attention a little bit easier in this place right we're thankful for it I'm thankful that I have that I have people small group leaders on Wednesday nights who are who are investing in my kids and trying to come alongside of us while we try to parent my kids and teach them to grow up to love Jesus with all of their heart and we have people coming around us and investing of their time it's a lot it's not easy they lose a night during the week and and we have all of that and I'm thankful for it I couldn't help but think even and I don't want to single them out or play on emotion but I was thinking even about the song that the choir sang today thank you and listen I know this on a personal level that wasn't easy for Lori to do you want to know why it's because several months ago Archie walked up and I don't know what heavens all gonna be like but but Lori's dad showed up in heaven and there was probably a lot of what we just sang about that happened up there because of that people that he influenced over the years in the local church and and you know when he shows up and visitation and visiting people and all this stuff for so many years of his life there's no telling the difference that it made with people that are in heaven when he showed up there you see the point is is we don't ever know what hangs in the balance of us deciding to step out and use the gift that God has blessed us with the mission is so much more than you coming every single week and filling a seat when the doors are open the mission is so much more than that it's about applying and going and serving and obeying whatever God has told us to do here it's not about age it's not about ability I tell students all the time our young people listen this church is not a church that you get to be a part of when you become a an adult or when you get married or something like that no for teenagers I want you to know that you are gifted by God and if you're a Christian in this place God has given you a gift you too can serve in the local church I was so encouraged to hear this this week when I was kind of preparing this and I was asking some questions we have so many students that we don't even that you don't even realize that are on a rotation basis that are serving in our preschool some of them are down there right now while we're in here preaching they are making a difference and using that listen it's not about age and it's not even about ability you might be in here I mean I don't even know if I have any abilities or whatever let me tell you this you've got a god-given gift inside of you not because of you but by the grace that has been bestowed upon you and that gift we need to find out what it is and we need to use it because somebody in this church somebody in this community needs it so use it today I want to give you in this series we have had a next step you know week number one was a Bible reading plan we put some time of prayer in our service last week I wanted to give you a next step today of how can you directly apply this how can you apply this idea okay we need to find our gifts and we need we need to use them listen there are so many opportunities for you to exercise your gift in this local church for this community and we need every single one of you you say pastor I'm too old listen there's something for you I'm so grateful I'm so encouraged when I hear people that are older you know like 40 and it's a joke but when I hear people that are older who are saying hey pastor God's not done with me yet like I think about I think about this you know it's like a year ago Lomax I mean Lomax if you don't mind me asking how old are you 73 years old man just joking listen Lomax 73 years old you know what he did I mean he's a retired missionary and you know what he did like he should be him and Linda should be traveling the whole world they should be just enjoying life retirement enjoying it up you know what he did he came to me met with me in my office set up an appointment the whole deal I'm thinking wow is Lomax leaving the church what have I done and all this kind of stuff he sits down in my office I would never forget it 73 years old and he said pastor you know what I just don't feel like I'm doing enough for the kingdom and if you know Lomax like what I almost wanted to say knock it off you're doing enough he sat there he said no pastor I just I got to do more that's what started the rescue mission monthly ministry that we're doing downtown right here's all I'm saying you can be 75 years old you can be 80 years old you can be 12 years old age doesn't matter if you've been saved by God God has done something in you that our church and our community need so on your way out listen this is the next step I'm just gonna tell you if you're part of our church for any length of time and you say man I'm just kind of serving just coming in every Sunday sitting on a seat and that's my life and that's my church experience and I'm not really doing anything beyond that I want to give you an opportunity on your way out today to change that my challenge and admonition Paul's for you hey grow up it's time that you get off the sideline and you get into the game of what God wants to do in you where you can use your gift to further the people around you say what do you have for us around here there's a bunch of different things there's a bunch of opportunities we have what we call the production team and if you're a behind-the-scenes person and you say man I just I don't like to do anything up front I don't like to talk to people I don't really you know that and there are people that just are like man you asked me to be a greeter you're gonna turn everybody away right if that's you okay we probably don't want to put you at the front door all right but here's what I'll tell you is that there are people behind the scenes that that help us see things that that help us make things look good that make things sound good right we have you know in our production team like things like I know many of you probably don't even realize this but we have people that take photos you say what's the point in that right you know where a lot of people visit our church from it's because they see things online well we have to have things to put online like we have to be ready we have to do that because we are here for the community around us there's there's lighting and audio and video there's all this stuff happen there's a live stream that's going out many of you you know you're you're a part of that right when you're out of town or something and and and things like that you you experience that there's people watching right now all over the internet and on the radio we have people that are sending that out right that are watching that and making sure that everything's trying to sound as good as possible maybe today if you're if that interests you in any level if you're a teenager an adult like that might be your next step you might have heard something and say well God's given me a little bit of a gift in that area well then use it because you never know the difference that it's making I talk to people all the time that show up here for the very first time and I'll say how in the world did you hear about us in there with me and I've been watching your services for months if we didn't have people exercising their gifts and we didn't offer that or whatever who knows if that person would have ever found us and showed up here I'm thankful for people in our production team that are showing up and doing this and we could use you in that how about this worship music right like maybe maybe God's given you something here that you can use in your life like we have you know the choir and here's what I'll tell you and this isn't a knock our choir is incredible but there's a lot of people who have served in our choir for a long time and I'm so thankful for their faithfulness but if you've slipped in here today maybe you should jump into what God is doing up here like be a part of it like like that could be something that you could do and you could be a part of and listen how many of you have been blessed by our music at some point in your life raise your hand okay look around you keep your hands up for just say look at this you know how many people have been touched in this place because of people that just decided hey I'm gonna use my gift and I'm gonna stand up here and I'm going to I'm gonna sing praises to God and now it's like the people in our odd in our congregation are you learning about God because of people that have said I'm gonna use my gift and I'm gonna serve and I'm gonna give God the glory because he's blessed me and you're teaching people about God or we have a praise team that that sings from time to time and that leads us in congregational music we're always looking for more people that can that can do that it's important it's not a one-man show we're not gonna find just four people and say it's you guys every single week no I think it's healthy when we have a rotation of people because all of us are gifted in some way that's what we have to be using maybe it's worship maybe you play an instrument and listen like we we have instruments up here but at the end of the day here's what I want you to understand it's like if God has given you a gift and you you love music and you play something maybe this is the way you need to bring your guitar bring whatever you play and be a part of this so that you can be a part of helping people see God every single week or how about this Grove kids Grove kids isn't is an opportunity for you we have tons of different opportunities in our kids ministry department right we have the littlest ones nursery the infants the real little ones and hey listen on a good day maybe they sleep the whole hour and it's an easy job for you I don't know but here's what I'll tell you I'm thankful for our nursery I'm thankful for our volunteers and here's what breaks my heart and a church our size is when I hear in a staff meeting that Diane struggling to find people to fill the services that we have a church our size we can't find enough people to watch kids like what an opportunity nursery or or how about preschool there's preschool ministry happening now there's preschool ministry that's happening every Wednesday night and Heather and her team does such a good job and every now and then they come in here on Wednesday and we hear songs that they've been learning about our God and verses that they're learning and scripture that is being implanted into their heart you get what I'm saying why wouldn't you want to be a part of that say man I don't even like kids I hardly even like my own kids right I hear that from time to time listen be a part of that if you're a grandparent in here many of you come to me all the time and you're you're like just passionate about your grandkids this is an opportunity for you to implant something into other people grow up or how about elementary we have a bunch of volunteers on Wednesday night and Pastor Grady is down there right now preaching the gospel to them and surely and they're all doing a great job but here's what I'll tell you is that a lot of them have to serve every single week and they never get a break you wanna know why is because there's a lot of people that are gifted with that gift in this room and you are still willing to sit on the sideline before you go and be a part of what God wants to do in your life and the people around you go serve how about student ministry I got to get going I'm going long I'm passionate about this Grove students I was a youth pastor I understand what it's like to find people willing to serve with rowdy middle schoolers I get it I understand I have a middle schooler now you believe that Abby we got one it's crazy I get it but listen we have people that are there and I'm so thankful for people that that come alongside my children and what I'm trying to teach them at home and we have people during the week who's investing in my kids and coming alongside of us trying to teach them to love Jesus with all of their heart what an opportunity for you to be a part of or how about hospitality I talked to new people every single week people that visit our church and many of them will say wow I was so welcome there you say why in the world do they feel that way is that our building is it the incredible message that the pastor brought listen people don't return because of what I'm saying up here you know why people return to our church most of the time it has absolutely nothing to do with me most of the time it has everything to do with how the people in the parking lot how the people at the doors and how the people around this place make them feel that's the difference a lot of pastors think that it's up to them to drive home something to where everybody will want to come back listen it's not that it's that the people around us maybe first some of you need to sign up to be a part of a greeter team or we got medical heard about a medical emergency in the last couple weeks that happened in a church we need people that are prepared for stuff like that people that are gifted by God to serve people what an opportunity or how about this security all that's a part of our hospitality team we need people I'm thankful that we were secure today you want to know why might be because of the person packing next to you but not totally listen you get that because we're in Davidson County right now but here's what I'll tell you it's because we have people that are walking around aren't you thankful that that we have people locking doors behind all the awesome kids that are running into our buildings keeping us secure we have ushers Roger does such a good job every single week making sure that we have ushers in this place but I'm guaranteed Rogers not sitting over there saying wow we don't need any more got more than we need you know Roger would love that ushers or or parking lot volunteers I'm thankful that I always say it this way that we want to make people feel at home from the street to the seat that's what we need all the way from the street from the moment that they come on to our campus we want them to feel at home here we have such an opportunity or how about this outreach we have an outreach program here we go to the rescue mission every single week we do other outreach things or every month I mean that we go the rescue mission there's opportunities there for you how about helping hands who are helping some of the most vulnerable people in our society all the time serving doing something if you're in here today and you say wow I want to be a part of that what an opportunity you might have to give up a Friday night every now and then but what's the mission of God even worth to you if it's not worth that how about grief share you know one of the things that we don't talk about enough is the amount of people that are being helped on Monday nights in our grief share program lose a loved one they go through grief share and we have volunteers who are some of them have experienced loss and they're going and they're helping people everything yeah I got to give up a Monday just not worth it to me I work really hard listen everybody in this place works hard don't make that an excuse for you not using the gift that God has blessed you with go all in in ministry and in serving the local church here's the point we have to prioritize it every single one of you need to prioritize being generous with your time talent and treasure on your way out today you might have saw it on the way in everything I just referenced right there all those different teams and stuff there's tables out there with leaders who want you to join their team some of them decorated their table nicely and went crazy and we're making it fun for you but here's what I'm telling you if you're a part of this church and you're here and you're not a part of anything that we're doing today is the day that you get off the sideline and you say hey I'm I'm certain age I can't do everything but I can do something teenagers serve college students don't just sit up every week and sit there and don't do anything this is an opportunity I can't stress it enough we want you to be involved in ministry somewhere this is a church for you and you never know what or who is hanging in the balance of your decision to say yes to what God has gifted you to do would you bow your heads with me I'm not gonna extend the invitation I'm gonna ask everybody to stand for just a minute I've gone really long today and I apologize but here's what I want you to understand is that it you if you're a Christian in here you've been gifted by God simple as that you've been gifted by God are you using the gift you say pastor I'm in here today and I don't know Jesus maybe you haven't accepted Jesus as your Savior the gospel in your life and you say pastor Ephesians 1 2 and 3 I haven't accepted that well that's where it begins if that's you today would you please slip up your hand but just be honest I'm not gonna embarrass you I just want to pray for you if that's where you are today hey listen I'm here for you I want to pray for you in my closing prayer today say pastor I don't know Jesus I don't know I miss my Savior that means we're talking to a lot of Christians what are you doing in the ministry what are you doing for the perfecting of the Saints what are you doing for hey listen if you're not a part of anything today would be the day where I want all of you I want everybody to do I would love to have dozens of names of people that want to use their gifts teenagers college students adults senior adults everybody I want all of us working together so that we can show the people around us how good our God is how big he is now awesome
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-28 14:36:51 / 2024-02-28 15:00:28 / 24

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