This Week's Message - How To Serve At Church

God has given each of us gifts and grace and we are to use them, both to serve the Body as well as to reach the world. In this important message we discuss five right attitudes to maintain as we serve in the context of the local church.
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Bangalore - Karnataka - India

Sept. 28, 2012 - PRLog -- Romans 12:4-8
4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,
5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;
7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;
8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

   Each one of us is a member in the Body.
   All the members do not have the same function - but all members do have some function in the body.
   God has given each of us gifts and grace – and we are to use them, both to serve the Body as well as to reach the world.
   Ministry is simply you using the gifts and grace given to you to fulfill the function assigned to you.
   Our attitude with which we use the gift and grace given to us matters:

He who gives...must do so with generosity or with sincerity. The opposite attitude of giving grudgingly or giving with wrong motives, would be the wrong attitude with which to exercise the grace and gift of giving.
He who leads....must do so with diligence, earnestness, zeal. The opposite attitudes, example being irresponsible, doing it out of compulsion, etc. would be the wrong attitudes with which to exercise the grace and gift of leading.
He who shows mercy....must do so with cheerfulness

God's plan is for all believers to be involved in ministry – in the church and in the world.

The reason He has appointed apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers and evangelists in the church is to equip all of God’s people (saints) to do the work of the ministry:

Ephesians 4:11,12
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

So, really if you have been part of a church that has been equipping you – the normal outcome is that you should start using the gift and grace given to you to fulfill the function God has assigned for you.
This is ministry. Every believer is a minister. (You don’t have to get a Bible college degree to be a “minister”. You just need to be equipped :-).

Today, we’ll discuss “How To Serve At Church” – right and wrong attitudes. Attitudes we must maintain, and attitudes we must avoid when using our gifts and grace to serve people.

1, Give off the overflow

Matthew 6:6
But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Matthew 10:27
"Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.
John 15:5
"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

See ministry as an overflow in public of what is going on in private.

If our personal private walk with God is barren and dry – then giving to people becomes a chore, a task to be fulfilled, rather than a joy and delight.

If our personal private walk with God is not where is should be – then what we do in public is more of a show we put on, a performance, rather than an overflow of God through us.

Unfortunately, in many cases people judge performance rather than discerning God’s presence.

People judge a preacher more by the one hour he spends behind the pulpit than by the life he lives off it. And this is wrong. So preachers become satisfied if they put on a good performance – and don’t really care about what goes on in private, as long as people stay impressed with their performance.

Hold yourself accountable in this area.

It is NOT that we are trusting in our works – of personal prayer, devotion, study, etc. – to obtain gifts and grace. Rather the reason we discipline ourselves in personal prayer, devotion, study is to that we can properly release and exercise the gifts and grace God has given us – to accomplish what God desires to accomplish with these gifts and grace.

Though Paul was a great apostle of the faith, he watched over himself, to ensure that while he had preached to others, he also personally continued strong in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 9:27

2, Serve with humility

Matthew 20:20-28
Maintain the heart of a servant – regardless of what your gifts and grace are.
I like the statement Bill Johnson makes: “Lead with the heart of a servant, and serve with the heart of a king”.

1 Peter 5:5,6

If you want to go higher before God, step lower to serve men.

Don’t promote yourself, don’t compete with others. Let promotion and exaltation come from God, rather that you getting it for yourself.

Your gift and grace does not make you superior to others with differing or less prominent gifts and grace.

Your identity is not in your gift. Be confident of who you are outside of your gift and grace.

3, Serve with excellence
1 Peter 4:10,11

Use your gifts and grace as a “good steward” – someone who handles things well and with excellence.
Do things with the empowering that God gives and do it in such a way that God will be glorified.

Sometime people take a very slack approach to doing the work of the Lord – because they say “after all its for God” or “I am just a volunteer”. So they give just the bare minimum to get by.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle.

Don’t give God anything that does not cost you something.

1 Chronicles 21:24

Don’t serve God only when it is convenient. Serve Him at all times, in season and out of season, when things are easy and when things are tough.
The apostle Paul surely did not serve the Lord only when things were easy:
2 Corinthians 11:23-33
4, Be thankful for the opportunity

Ephesians 5:20
giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Colossians 3:17
The opportunity given to you to exercise your gifts and grace is a privilege extended not a right that is deserved. Treat it with care.

Be thankful for the opportunity that was given to you – not everyone gets these opportunities.

5, Do it as unto the Lord

Colossians 3:22-24

The context here is of course a workplace situation – but we can apply the underlying principle to us serving at church.

Use your gifts and grace to serve people – but do it as you were doing it for the Lord. Do not expect appreciation and applause from man. Constantly remind yourself that whether you are appreciated by people or not – if you do it right, you will receive your reward from the Lord.

Live for the applause of heaven rather than the accolades of man.

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