This Sunday marks the beginning of the Advent season. It is the time when we focus on Christ coming to the world. God had a plan to redeem His people. He declared His plan to His prophets over the centuries and is fulfilling His Word even now. Advent is a beautiful season of reflection and anticipation. In our quitter moments, we sometimes are confronted with two questions: What have I done with my life? and What will I do with the rest of my life? These questions are not so much in regards to the details of life, what jobs we had, where we lived or what our college roommate will be like next year or who will we marry. Rather, we ask them in search of the significant purpose of our lives.
Advent is a time for asking the big questions of life, though this season tends to crowd out the quiet spaces, making us tired and worn out, and leaving us no room for reflection, let’s try to make room for some reflection. When you do find such time; ask this one big question of your life. What is God’s plan for me personally? Where do I fit in God’s overall purpose?
Two weeks ago we started talking about finding, “Your Place on God’s Dream Team.” I shared about how to assess our true potential, in order to know our true potential we need to employ sober judgment from Romans 12:1-3, Paul exhorted the Roman believers saying, “As your spiritual teacher I give this piece of advice to each one of you. Don’t cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance, but try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities by the light of the faith that God has given to you all.” J.B Philips. We learned that sober judgment means to have a sane estimation of our gifts, capabilities and weaknesses. Which means not to overestimate or under estimate our gifts, instead we take a realistic view of ourselves. After exhorting the believers not to have an elevated view of oneself, he compares human body, to church the body of Christ, whose head is the Lord Jesus himself.
I. MANY PARTS BUT ONE BODY (Vs 4-5)
“For as in one physical body we have many parts (organs, members) and all of these parts do not have the same function or use, So we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another (mutually dependent on one another) (AMP). The scriptures tell us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. The human body is a complete wonder. Here are a couple of facts about the human body:
The human body is estimated to have 60,000 miles of blood vessels. To put that in perspective, the distance around the earth is about 25,000 miles, making the distance your blood vessels could travel if laid end to end more than two times around the earth. Nerve impulses to and from the brain travel as fast as 170 miles per hour. Ever wonder how you can react so fast to things around you or why that stubbed toe hurts right away? It’s due to the super speedy movement of nerve impulses from your brain to the rest of your body and vice versa, bringing reactions at the speed of a high powered luxury sports car.
In our passage in Romans 12: 4-5, the Apostle Paul uses the graphic example of the human body. Why human body? There are three points from this analogy we can observe. First, the body represents completeness, a whole, a totality but a totality made up of different parts. Similarly, we who make up the body of Christ have different functions. We are not all the same. We are gifted in different ways. Just as the physical body needs hands, feet, ears and eyes to enable it to function properly, so the body of Christ needs those with different gifts to enable it to function properly. We are to have unity through diversity. Isn't it wonderful to know that we all don’t have to behave just alike? It is perfectly OK to be different.
Secondly, we see in this analogy we don’t have to do it all by ourselves.” We do our part and we will let others do their part. In the end together we will get the job done. Together we will do the work of the ministry for the Lord. Thirdly Paul emphasizes our mutual dependence in the Body of Christ. We really need each other. No member of Christ’s body can go off on a desert island and be a victorious Christian all by herself. God has purposefully made us so that we are incomplete without the ministry of other brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ.
It is important to recognize that it is God who has arranged all the body parts as he saw it fit in our physical body. Similarly God has placed different members in the body of Christ and blessed them with different gifts. Though we are individually separated from each other spiritually we are all interconnected and interdependent of one another. Let’s look at what those various gifts are and how each of those gifts corresponds to a part of the physical body.
II. DIVERSE GIFTS BUT ONE GIVER (Vs 6-8)
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. We see in this passage seven different gifts mentioned: 1. Prophecy (perceiver) 2. Server. 3 Teacher. 4. Exhorter (encouragement) 5. Giver 6. Leader (Administration) 7. Compassion person. Don & Katie Fortune in their book “Discovering Your God given gifts.” compares these seven gifts to seven part of human body. Perceiver (the eye of the body). Server (the hands of the body).Teacher (the mind of the body). Exhorter (the mouth of the body). Giver (the arms of the body). Leader/Administration (the shoulders of the body). Compassion person: (the heart of the body).
Let’s take a moment and identify where your place might be in the body of Christ; God’s Dream team! Whatever place you might find yourself in that is a very important place.We can put all these seven gifts into two broad categories. I Peter 4:10-11 “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
According to this scripture there are two basic categories of gifts: the speaking gifts and serving gifts.The first four gifts (Teacher, Perceiver, Exhorter, and Leader) can be placed under speaking gifts. The other three (Compassion Person, Giver and Server) can be placed under serving gifts. If we look around in our church each of us can either fall into one of the two categories. But it doesn't really matter which category you may fall into, the bottom line of these gifts is that they were not meant for ourselves but to use them to serve others. How do we do that? We do it cheerfully and by the strength God gives us so that in everything God may be praised through Jesus Christ. When we all faithfully function to our fullest potential; our church body will become healthier and more productive for God’s glory.
Let’s pause for a while and reflect on our own lives! Have we recognized the gifts that God has given us? If so how have we used those gifts, did we use them to serve others? Have we become the dispensers of God’s grace through our gifts? Have we brought glory to God through our gifts? Remember; whatever gift you may have received you did not deserve it; God gave it to you out of His own will; so that none of us can boast about our gifts. He gave those gifts so that we might work together in building His Kingdom in Quincy and beyond.
In closing, there are different members in the body empowered with different gifts by the same God who freely chose to give those gifts to us. The purpose of gifts has always been will always meant to be for serving one another and building up of the body of Christ. God desires that we all grow up, become mature and become men and women, by attaining the fullness of Christ and the completeness found in Him. Let’s be clear on one thing; none of us can attain to that stature all by ourselves; we need each other in the body of Christ. We all are connected to the rest of the Body of Christ; God’s dream Team.
This morning before you leave this service, I want you to understand that God has a plan God has a plan for you and a place for you in His Dream Team. Don’t settle for less than what God has for you. Do you realize that you are part of a Championship Team? You are a part of His Body on earth, in other words you represent Him. You actually become His Hands, His Feet, His voice, His heart, His Eyes and His healing agent wherever you are, whoever you talk too…. What an awesome responsibility to know God’s plan and our part on His Dream Team. Amen