Made for Purpose - Romans 12:3-8 - Nate Heitzig
Well, good morning and welcome to Calvary Church. Hope you guys are doing well today, turning your bibles to Romans Chapter 12. We're going to be in verses 3 through 8 this morning as we continue in our series, Heart and Soul.
As you're turning to Romans Chapter 12, I want you to pause for a second and think about how incredibly wonderful and beautiful God's creation is. Isn't it? What God has created us to enjoy what he has made for us to experience, to savor. What he has made is a masterpiece. It is a wonderful work. And hopefully you've made your way to Romans Chapter 12. And if you have, I want you to close your eyes for a second. And I want you to just think about what God has created. I want you to think about a place that you've been that you felt close to God just being in the majesty of his creation.
Perhaps you've had the opportunity to see one of the many beautiful New Mexico sunsets. As the sky is painted like a tapestry-- as though God made with a brush, a canvas just for you to enjoy.
Perhaps you've had the opportunity to go camping, and at nighttime, after the fire has gone out, you've looked up at the night sky and you've been able to see each and every star suspended in the heavens, the Milky Way galaxy laid out for you to see in all of its grandeur.
Perhaps you've had the opportunity to visit the mountains, and you had your breath just taken away as God's creation was all around you-- the trees, the rivers, the animals. And in that moment, it was as though God himself was standing next to you.
God's creation truly is wonderful, isn't it? You don't have to go far to see the majesty of what he has created, of his majestic hand. The Bible says that the heavens declare the glory of God, and nature praises him.
But do you know what a God's greatest work of art is? It's not the Alps, as incredible and impressive as they are. It's not the islands of Hawaii or Tahiti, though they're quite amazing. It isn't even the galaxies or the stars, the solar system. What is God's greatest masterpiece? Look around. It's you. It's me. It's the person next to you. It's the person in front of you. It's the person behind you.
We are God's work of art. We are his poem. We are his masterpiece. And although you don't have to go far in an incredible place like New Mexico to see his glory-- this time of year especially, when you wake up in the morning, If there's been precipitation, you see the snow capped mountains. In the fall, if you drive past the Rio Grande, you see all the beautiful trees changing color.
You don't have to go far to see God's greatest work of art-- the uniqueness, the wonder, the magnitude of his greatest creation, mankind.
Ephesians 2:10 says, we are his workmanship. Without question, man is God's greatest creation, his crowning achievement. And each and every one of us are made on purpose and we are made for purpose.
Now this masterpiece of God's creation, the human being, we are truly incredible in our capacity. I want you to consider a few facts about the human body.
Our nose-- take a look at your nose. Do the little cross-eye thing. Take a look at it. Our nose can detect over 10,000 different aromas-- some of them good, some of them very bad. Our tongue-- you don't get to do this in church. Stick out your tongue. Take a look at it. Stick out your tongue.
There are, on that little piece of muscle, about 6,000 different taste buds. Our brain-- you can't look at that without some pain. Our brain contains 10 billion nerve cells. It's estimated that, as adults, our bodies contain 60 trillion cells, and they've all been carefully organized to perform life's various functions all in harmony with one another. And each and every one of those brain cells, those 10 billion nerve cells, is connected to as many as 10,000 other nerve cells within the body. So that when you taste something or see something or feel something, it triggers your brain and the synapses in your brain to recall memory, to experience pain, to cause emotion.
This one really blew me away. Our body has so many blood vessels that their combined length could circle the planet 2 and 1/2 times. That's in your body right now. Pumping blood to your extremities, to your fingers, your hands, your toes, your eyes. God made that and he laid it out in the perfect pattern so that you would work. So that you could get out of bed in the morning. So that you could enjoy the masterpiece of the creation that God has made for you.
God also customized each and every one of us with our own special DNA blueprint, which is contained in every single cell. All of those 60 trillion cells, there is a blueprint that God has laid out for you. And it's been estimated that if our individual blueprint were written out in a book, it would require 200,000 pages. Think about that for a second. 60 trillion 200,000 page books are in your body. And of course, God knows the work on every single page.
One of God's most amazing gifts to man is his memory. We have the astounding capacity to store millions of bits of information, to keep them in order, to recall them when needed. As a matter of fact, scientists tell us that we never actually forget anything. It's all rather just stored away in the data banks of memory, like external hard drives. We have backups on backups on backups.
As I said before, your brain is connected to nerves and throughout your entire body, which explains why, when you taste something, or smell something, you can have a memory that you didn't know you had, a memory that you thought you had all but forgotten, suddenly flood into your mind. Because your synapses, your nerves, are calling upon the data banks of memory to bring to recollection things that you didn't even know you remembered.
It's estimated that, in a lifetime, a brain can store 100-- sorry, one thousand trillion bits of information. According to Think Magazine, the brain can store enough data to fill several million books. Truly, we are wonderfully complex. But that's just the tip of the iceberg for those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ. God's plan for those of us who have a relationship with Him is even more amazing. There is a unique, special, custom-designed work and plan and purpose that God wants to do in and through your life.
In fact, you were created to reach this very objective. God not only created each and every one of us uniquely in our DNA, our physical appearance and our personality, but he has created and given to each and every one of us a unique set of spiritual gifts.
You know, a lot of people ask the question, what was I made for? What was I made for? What was I created to do? Why do I exist? At its most simple form, a believer, you were made for purpose.
What were you made for? You were made for purpose. That's our title this morning, "Made for Purpose." And perhaps you hear that and say, Nate, you have terrible grammar. I don't know why you're delivering sermon messages, but that sounds weird, because you're missing an "a." Shouldn't it be made for "a" purpose, not "Made for Purpose?"
I intentionally titled my message "Made for Purpose," because yes, you were made for a purpose. But finding your purpose and living for purpose are two very different things.
See, a lot of people have found their purpose. A lot of people know their gifts, know their talents, know the things that God has prepared for them. They've maybe taken a spiritual gifts assessment, a personality assessment. They know how they're unique. They know how they're wired. They know the gifts they have. But for some reason, they're refusing to use them. For some reason, they're refusing to operate in the way in which they were made. And many of us are actually fighting against the way that we were made, and we want to be somebody different, or we want different gifts than what God has given us. There's a big difference between knowing your purpose, finding your purpose, and living for purpose.
There's a scene in the movie Thor where Loki, the trickster villain, stands before a large group of people. And he declares in a very godlike fashion, I am Loki of Asgard, and I am burdened with glorious purpose.
You are burdened with glorious purpose. You are blessed with glorious purpose. God has made a plan for your life. You were made for glorious purpose. He wants to use you to do things above and beyond what you could do on your own. You are made for purpose.
Now granted, it's a whole lot different than Loki's purpose. You're not on this earth to destroy the Avengers and usher in the apocalypse. Rather, God has a purpose for you on this earth within the body of Christ. You have a purpose within the purpose of this church. See, we as a church have a purpose. We actually have it labeled as our purpose statement. And every time you walk through those doors in the East Foyer you see it. It's big on the wall. It says, creating life change.
That's why we as a church, Calvary Church of Albuquerque, exist. We exist to create life change. We want to see people have their lives changed by the power of the gospel, for the glory of God. That is our purpose. But you have a purpose within our purpose. You have a role within our work. God wants to use you to do something within what he has called us to do.
And once you find your purpose, you can begin living for purpose. See, being alive isn't just a physical state, because we aren't just physical beings. God the Father spoke all of creation into existence in Genesis, and he made each and every living thing. But Jesus made a way for us to get to the Father. And in Jesus, we are made alive. And through the Holy Spirit, we are made for purpose.
The beauty, the pinnacle of God's creation, as incredible as it is, as complex as human beings are, we reach our full potential and beauty only when we find purpose through Jesus Christ.
We are made on purpose physically, but we are made for purpose spiritually. Romans 12, verse 1 through 2, Pastor Skip did a phenomenal job teaching it last week. Paul urges us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, which is holy and acceptable to God. It is our reasonable service.
But here in verses 3 through 8, Paul explains that, in this transaction, God gives something to us as well. We give ourselves to God, but it is not a fair trade, because God give something to us that is far greater. God gives us, of course, the assurance of salvation, hope, belonging, the knowledge that when we die we're going to go to heaven, a sense of purpose. But he also gives us the Holy Spirit. And through the Holy Spirit, he gives us a certain set of gifts.
And in this passage, Paul begins to explain how important these gifts were and how important they are today to a believer's life. Let's read Romans Chapter 12, verse 3 through 8.
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function. So we, being many, are one body in Christ. And individually, members of one another. 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. Or ministry, let us use it in our ministry. He who teaches in teaching, he who exhorts in exhortation. He who gives with liberality, he who leads with diligence, he who shows mercy with cheerfulness.
Now the first thing that we're going to look at, our first point, is the identity of your purpose. And I think it's important before we dig into this text that we set kind of a ground level understanding of who the Holy Spirit is and what the Holy Spirit's role is within a believer's life today.
Now it might not sound like it from reading that passage, but there is a whole lot of controversy around this guy name the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is an incredibly controversial figure, and the gifts the Holy Spirit gives are an incredibly controversial topic in theological circles today.
See, some people believe that the gifts the Holy Spirit gives, some of them are only relevant to the first century church, and many of these gifts have passed away and are no longer available to Christians today, as though the Holy Spirit is some kind of an electronic device, that the electoral charge it holds is just diminished over time. And it's like, well, the things that this phone could do five years ago it can't do today.
So the Holy Spirit, there's like a depreciation value on the Holy Spirit. What he could do 2000 years ago is different than what he can do today. He just doesn't have as much power. Some people were greedy. They used a little bit too much. And so some of the really cool things that he did back then he can't do now. Because, you know, it's just the way it works.
And this really leads to some weird theological views we're going to get to in a second. But before we get into this text, it's important we establish who he is. As we seek to find the identity of our purpose, the chief way that we do that, the chief way that we identify our purpose, is through the Holy Spirit. He is the source that helps us identify and discover what role we are to play within the body of Christ.
And so he's an incredibly important figure. Some people ask the question, are the gifts of the Spirit still available to Christians today? Let me ask you that. Are the gifts of the Spirit still available to Christians today? By and large, yes. Maybe some people are on the fence, aren't quite sure. Maybe some people don't even know what the gifts are, and they're just trying to figure out, like, man, I've been watching The Mandalorian and cute Yoda, baby Yoda. He's got some force powers. Is that with the Holy Spirit is? Because if that's it, I'm in. Sign me up. I want to hang out with baby Yoda.
Or did some of these gifts pass away? Are some of them no longer in use? Are some of them no longer important? You know without question, the Church of the 1st century, which clearly had and utilized these gifts, had a far more profound effect on their society and culture than the Church of today.
What the Church of the 1st century lacked in size, they made up for in power and effectiveness. Think about it. This relatively small group of people, who were hated by society, who didn't have a lot of money, who didn't have huge church buildings and incredible kids' programs, and massive yearly budgets, and the best PR marketing campaigns, this small group of people impacted the world, turned their world upside down, spread the gospel across the globe.
How did they do it? The power of the Holy Spirit, the power of God working in and through them as they worked in unison finding their purpose within the body of Christ.
And it's obvious that the modern church of today isn't having the same impact on our world that these 1st century believers did. In fact, these days it seems that the world is turning the church upside down more than the church is turning the world upside down.
So the question is, is the same power, the same gifts that the 1st century church utilized to make a difference, that God poured out in those early days, are those still available to believers today?
Now again, I mentioned there's a whole lot of confusion and controversy on this topic. And really, it relegates itself to two distinct camps. And that's the charismatics and the non charismatics. And really, probably depending on how you were raised-- whether you were raised in a charismatic environment or a non charismatic environment-- that probably dictated your belief on the Holy Spirit and his use within your life.
See, somewhere along the line, two primary camps have developed in the church. One, those that emphasize preaching, teaching, making disciples. These are identified as fundamentalists or as evangelicals. And the second camp is those who emphasize signs and miracles. And these are usually identified as Pentecostals or as charismatics. My question though, is why are the two mutually exclusive?
And really even are they mutually exclusive? Is it possible to be a charismatic evangelical? Is it possible to be a Pentecostal fundamentalist? Ultimately, I'm going to leave that up to the label making experts to decide if there is such a thing. Because personally, I hate labels to begin with. Oftentimes when I'm on an airplane, if somebody finds out I'm a Christian, the first question they ask is, well, what kind? The Christian kind. The kind that believes the Bible.
Now the reality is that sometimes doesn't fit in a nice, neat little box with a little bowl on top. Because there's a whole lot of topics in the Bible that are kind of in-between, that you have to fall somewhere in between in order to be able to call the entire Bible truth.
And one of the problems we have a society, in anything in life, is we want to polarize ourselves all the way to one end of the spectrum, whether that's politics, religion, or even what kind of Christian are you? And so what we'll do is we'll end up going so far to one side. But the problem with that is, if you go so far to one side, you end up running into certain verses that you have to try to figure out a way to explain them away.
And you have to say, well, this doesn't fit with what I thought I believed. And now I have to figure out a way around it. So I either have to call it a lie-- which, if I do that, I've got to throw it all away. Or I've got to find a way to circumvent it theologically and find some other verse that fits my personal theological bent so that I can feel better about what I believe.
If you really were ask me to put a label on my Christianity, it would be a really big, long messy term that wouldn't make a whole lot of sense. I'd be like a three point Calvinist, Armenienist, Baptist, evangelical, Protestant, charismatic, non charismatic, non-denominational Christian. It wouldn't make a lot of sense. Because the Bible has to be taken in balance as you read through some of these topics.
Personally, again, I believe the key word is balance. One way that I've heard this individual topic summed up is too much word and no spirit, you dry up. Too much spirit and no word, you blow up. Enough of both, and you grow up.
See there has to be a blending of the two. And I think this is the case, by the way, with most theological arguments. Most big theological arguments people fight over, really I think the answer is somewhere in between. It's somewhere in between free will and election. It's somewhere in between love and truth as we know-- speaking the truth in love. It's somewhere in between liberty in Christ and not causing a brother to stumble.
And any time we fall fully to one side on a topic that the Bible doesn't, we run into problems. Look, if the Bible doesn't take sides, you don't need to either. If the Bible doesn't clearly say, this is how it works out from A to Z, you don't have to give an answer of how it works a to z. And I don't think you need to. And I think you should, because I think there's some things that God puts in the Bible that are some pretty big theological topics and subjects that we need to be OK just saying, you know, I'm not quite sure how it works out but I'm glad it does. I don't need to know how the sausage is made. I just need to know that it tastes good.
I don't need to know exactly how God saved us and how the free will in election balances out. But I'm just thankful that I'm a Christian and that I'm going to heaven. If you could understand every facet an aspect of God, he wouldn't be that big of a God, would he? And he probably couldn't deal with your sin or your issues, could he?
The fact that he's a big God and works outside of time and space and outside of the confines of the human mind, to me, makes him a lot more incredible and a lot more worth serving.
See there's a great danger in interpreting scripture in light of our experiences or our lack of them. That is to say, I've experienced this, therefore it must be of God. Or, I've never experienced that, I've never seen that personally with my own eyes. So therefore, it can't be real. Instead, we should interpret our experiences in the light of scripture.
If we go to a church and we experience something, we see something, and we're like, man, I've never seen that before, we should look at the Bible and find out if what we just saw is real and is the Lord or if it isn't. Or if we've never experienced something, and we're kind of scared of it, before we just throw it out, we should look into the Bible to discover and see, this thing I've heard about, is it real? Is it true? Is it available to Christians? And if so, maybe I shouldn't be as scared of it as I have been.
And there's two ways we can go wrong in the question of our experiences relating to scripture. The first is claiming things that go beyond scripture or even things that contradict scripture.
Now, much of the charismatic movement does this by claiming health and wealth for all believers, by casting demons out of Christians, inner healing being slain in the spirit. They're claiming things for themselves that the scripture doesn't talk about and some things that the scripture even contradicts. That's the first problem. But the second danger is no less important. The second is the exact opposite of the first. It's from one extreme to the other. The second is being satisfied with something much less than what God has offered you in the scripture.
Understand this. If you're the type of personality that he has to see something to experience it yourself in order to believe that it's true, you're going to have a really hard time with the Bible. You're going to have a really hard time with the gifts of the Spirit. You're having a really hard time hearing about Jonah and the whale. You're going to have a really hard time hearing that God created the world in seven days. You're going to have a really hard time believing the miracles that Jesus performed in the gospels. And you're going to have to try to find a way in your mind to explain it away. And to say, well, you know, seven days, that's not possible. It was probably each day was a million years, so it was probably seven million years.
You know, Jesus, probably, there's no way he could have made all that fish and that bread for all those people. He probably had a cave. And in that cave, he had a bunch of fish and bread stored, and it looked like he was bringing it out and making it, but he didn't really make it. That's actually an explanation one commentator gives for one of the miracles Jesus did.
You're going to have to explain away the Bible. It sounds a whole lot like somebody else in the Bible. His name was Thomas. There was no way he could believe that Jesus actually rose from the dead. So he said, you know what, I'm not to believe it till I see it. I want to touch it. I want to feel his wounds. I want to see the scar in his side. I want to examine it myself.
And when this comes to aspects of the Bible that the Bible talks about, that is called quenching the spirit. Some people tell us that this power and these miracles were only for the early church, that they're no longer available today. That after the scripture was completed, these supernatural signs ceased to exist. And this theology is called secessionists. They believe that once the scripture was completed, once the scripture was made whole, there was no longer any use for certain gifts of the Spirit.
Which by the way, the way they choose what gifts are valid and which gifts aren't to me is a whole other issue. It's like, well, that one's good, that one's bad. That one's scary, so that one's bad. That one doesn't exist anymore.
But they say, once the scripture came, there was no longer any use for the gifts. Because what the gifts did, the word now does in its place. And so there's no longer a use for the gifts. And the most often used proof text that they use is 1 Corinthians 13 verses 8 through 10. It says this. Love never fails, but whether there are prophesies, they will fail. Whether there are tongues, they will cease. Whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come-- I want you to underline that word "perfect." I want you to keep that in your mind. Perfect. Then that which is in part shall pass away.
This passage goes on to explain that right now we see in the mirror dimly. But there is coming a time when we're going to see face to face. That right now we know in part-- but there's coming a time when we will know him even as we are known.
See, the defining word that dictates this text, and what this text means, is the word perfect. Let me ask you, what do you think this word, perfect, refers to? Well, many secessionists say that this word, perfect, refers to the scripture. That when the scripture is fulfilled, when it is perfect, then these gifts will pass away.
But let me ask you a question. So if that's the case, then all of these things should be true. Do you think that right now you know God exactly the way that he knows you? I don't. And I'm up here talking. So if I don't, there's a big problem.
Do you think that, right now, you're perfect? That you're perfect just as he is perfect? Do you think that right now you see God face to face. Because I don't. If you're seeing God face to face, you've got to let me know what's going on. Because I want to try that. Actually, I don't want to try that, because it's probably super weird.
See, if this means the completion of scripture, then that means that our knowledge of God and His word as believers today exceeds that of John and Paul who wrote the scripture. That would also mean that we are superior to the early church, because that means that we are now in a position in which we know face to face. And that we know, even as we are known, God, because we have the scriptures--
Let me ask you. When do you think you're going to know God face to face? In heaven. When do you think you're going to know God the same way that he knows you? In heaven. When do you think you're going to be perfect? In heaven.
See, the logic and the absurdity behind this thought process is obvious. I would say that the word Paul uses for perfect isn't referring to the scriptures but rather to Jesus himself, and to Jesus and Christ's return to this earth.
As a matter of fact, Jesus uses the same word to describe his father in Matthew 548, where he says, therefore, you shall be perfect just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
As a matter of fact, Paul in this same epistle in 1 Corinthians said, come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So he says, come short in no gift. But that eventually the gifts are going to pass away. But keep using the gifts as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
See, when Jesus returns, we don't have any need for these gifts anymore. Think about it. When Jesus left the earth the first time he said, hey, I'm going to leave somebody with you. His name's the Holy Spirit. He's pretty cool. He can make you do some cool things. You're going to really like him.
He goes to heaven, leaves us with the Holy Spirit. It would only make sense that, when he returns, he's like, hey, I'm back! And by the way, I'm in my glorified body. I've got crazy cool powers. That guy, the Holy Spirit, you don't need him anymore. Why? Because the power that he has that I left you with is now found in me, now that I've returned to this earth and I'm going to take you to your permanent dwelling place, where he himself will rule and reign.
But until that day comes, can I tell you something? I need all the help I can get. Until Jesus comes back, until the revelation of our Lord, I need all the power I can get. And the result of this power in your life lies in receiving the much needed gifts of the Holy Spirit.
But understand this as well. The gifts of the Spirit are not the goal. They're the gateway. See a lot of charismatics believe that the gifts are the goal. And they believe that every believer should be operating in all the gifts whenever they want-- no rules, no regulation, just all believers should have all the gifts. And they actually point and say that, if you don't have all the gifts, and you don't exercise all the gifts, you're not filled with the Holy Spirit. And there's even a chance that you're not saved.
But see that's placing the gifts as the goal. But they're not the goal. The gifts are the gateway. They're not toys to play with, they're weapons to fight with, and they're tools to build with. That's what the gifts are.
So let me ask you, do you know what your gifts are? Do you know the gifts that God has given you? Well, let's look at our second point as we look at some of the preliminary statements that Paul makes, of how we can tell what the gifts are, how we can find the gifts, and also, what can impair our use of the gifts?
Our second point is the impairment to your purpose. Look at verse 3 again with me. It says, for I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly. As God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
So we saw the identity of your purpose, and that we find our identity, and we identify our gifts through the Holy Spirit. The second thing we see is the impairment to your purpose. And that is this-- nothing can put a stop to you being used by God any quicker than pride and arrogance.
When we begin to think that we're someone special, and that that is why God chose to use us, that God saw something in us and he said, you know what, because you have this personality, I'm going to give you this gift, because you're just going to be better at it than everybody else. And you deserve this gift. You earned this gift.
Paul tells us, do not think of himself more highly than he ought to think. Look, it might come as a shock to you, but God could easily throw us away and replace us in the blink of an eye. And often he does. Sometimes, as a matter of fact, I wonder and I question why God chose us to begin with. I'm like, man, God, angels could done a way better job than we can. Imagine if God just snapped and there was an angel in every single person's home, holding like a 12 foot flaming sword, and told him about Jesus. Everyone would be saved.
Or imagine if God poked his own thread through the veil of humanity and said, hey, I'm real! The world would be saved. And yet God has chosen people to do his work among people.
Now undoubtedly, there is an issue that arises, because each and every one of us is prone to hero worship to some capacity. When God used Paul and Barnabas to raise up a lay man, the people decided that Paul and Barnabas were gods. And they proceeded to worship them as such.
In Act 14 15, they respond to these men saying, men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and we preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them.
The irony of that situation is these very men who are worshiping them only a little while later decided to stone them. We can never forget these gifts that God so graciously instilled in our lives are given according to the grace that is given to us.
Paul starts it out. He says-- in verse 3 at the very beginning, he says, I say, through the grace given to me. See it's through the grace that God has given to us that he chooses to give us these gifts. They have nothing to do with a sense of merit. You don't deserve them. You didn't earn them. God gave them to you because he loves you.
This is why Paul wrote that he kept himself underless by any means when he had preached to others, he himself would be a castaway. See the scripture is so clear in its repeated warnings against becoming prideful. We should never become arrogant, as God graciously chooses to use us. And although it certainly is true that God has chosen to work through us as human vessels, it is certainly not because of necessity, rather it's because of desire. It's because of desire. God doesn't need us but he wants us.
Dads, you should understand this, when you let your five-year-old son help you on some kind of a project as he brings you the wrong tool every five minutes and then proceeds to walk in and tell Mom, hey, Mom, look what I built! You didn't need his help, but you wanted his help. Why? Because you love him. Not out of necessity but out of desire. You want him to be a part of the work. You love that he goes in and takes ownership and says, Mom, look what I made! You want your son. You want your daughter to rise up, to grow up to be strong, to be independent, to have confidence. You desire that for your kids, because you love your children.
I've come to realize that God can get the job done so easily without me. Probably easier. It's a privilege and it's an honor that he uses me as His instrument in any capacity. And it's certainly not because my skills or my abilities. It's because of his power working in me. And if I start to forget that, then my words are going to fall to the ground and have absolutely zero impact, as well as yours.
If we start to forget that, we will soon be pulling up empty nets as God sets us aside and finds a more usable vessel.
It's only when he is working through us that we are effective. As the Bible says, God resists the proud, but he gives grace to the humble. See, you can never be too small for God to use. But you can very quickly become too big.
So I pray that God would help us to be small. That he'd help us to see ourselves as we are. That if we start thinking we're God's gift to humanity, that we fall and we fall hard. That we fall sooner rather than later. Because one of the most damaging things that can happen is for a believer to get arrogant and prideful, begin to think that they're God's gift. And as they rampage and they push through society they end up doing more damage than good, hurting more people along the way, turning more people off to the gospel than turning them on to the gospel.
In a deluded moment, you might begin to think of yourself as indispensable to the work of God. If so, you're on thin ice.
I want to close this point with a story I read of a man who thought he was pretty great. He thought he was handsome. He thought he was strong. He thought he was intelligent. He really thought he was God's gift to humanity. More importantly, he thought he was God's gift to his wife. And he decided one evening to go to the fair with his wife. And they were walking around the fair, and they went to one of those penny arcades. And in the Penny Arcade was one of those scales that you can stand on that tells you your weight. But it also gives you a little card that tells you something about yourself. It gives you a little boost in who you are.
Well, he stood on the scale. He put his money in. And he was delighted to receive the statement that he got from the weighing machine. And handing it to his wife, he said, with much personal satisfaction, hey honey, take a look at this. And he handed her the card, and she paused and picked up the card and looked at it. And then, she began to read aloud, you are dynamic, a born leader, handsome, and much admired by women for your personality.
She paused, looked up at him, and then looked back down at the card. Taking a second look, she added, well, it looks like it got your weight wrong too.
You want to get a clear view of yourself, your strengths and your weaknesses? Ask the people close to you. It's good to have an accurate assessment of who we are, of our strengths and our weaknesses, to know the areas, our shortcomings, where we can get better, where we can grow.
It's important to do so, because it keeps us from getting an overinflated ego and a big head, and it keeps us in a place where we can be used by God.
Our third and final point is the importance of your purpose. We've seen the identity of your purpose, the impairment to your purpose. The last thing we see is the importance of your purpose. Look at verse 4.
For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function. So we being many are one body in Christ and, individually, members of one another.
Attending church is not a spectator sport. It is important that you use the purpose that God has given you to impact people. See, the Bible compares it and our involvement in the church to being part of a family. Here in Romans, it compares it to being a part of a body.
Now, this should be easy to understand, because all you have to do is take a look at your hand. Hold it up. Take a look at it. Look at your fingers. Look at how they move in unison. You can make a fist. You can do things with it.
Look at your nose. Do the cross eyed thing if you can. Look at your nose, like I said before. Look at your feet, your legs, how they move. Look at your body. And it should be really easy to understand that a hand can't exist without the rest of the body supporting it.
I don't care what Adam's family says. If you cut your hand off, it's not going to run around your house and cause havoc. Your body needs the hand and your hand needs the body. And God has commanded each and every one of us to be a functioning, vital part of the church.
If you're a hand, and you choose not to be a part of the body, you're not just hurting yourself, you're also hurting the body. Because now the body has one less hand for which to do the work that it has been called to. And the purpose for which God has called the body of Christ to, not just globally but locally, here in this city, the purpose that God has called this body, Calvary Albuquerque, to is impaired if you refuse to fulfill your purpose as part of the body.
If you refuse to rise up, if you refuse to step up, to serve, to be active in the body of Christ. If you say, you know what, I don't want to be a hand, I want to be a head. You know what, I don't like being a toe. I want to be an eye. So I'm just not going to serve. I'm just not going to be used until I can do what I want to do. You're hurting the body. You're hurting the person next to you. You're hurting the person in front of you, behind you. You're hurting yourself. Because we're all connected to each other.
Ephesians 415 says, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the head. That's right. None of us are the head. Jesus Christ is. From Him, the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love as each part does its work.
There's somebody else in the Bible who didn't like the role that they had been given, who didn't like the purpose that God had made them for. And they decided that they wanted to be the head. That person's name was Satan. Didn't work out too well for him.
He said, I don't want to serve my purpose. I don't want to fulfill the role that God has given me. I want to be the boss. I want to be the head. I don't like being the part that I've been called to fulfill. And he fell. 1 Corinthians 12:18 says, but in fact, God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them just as he wanted them to be. That means that God has put you exactly where he wants you. He's giving you the gifting, the talents. And he has made you for the purpose that he wants you to fulfill.
So if you question your gifting and your function in the body, you're questioning God. He says, if they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye can't say to the hand, I don't need you. And the head can't say to the feet, I don't need you. There should be no division in the body but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
You know, when we meet someone for the first time, one of the first things you notice about them is their eyes. You shake their hand, you look them in the eyes and you notice their eyes. Then maybe you notice their face and their hair. You don't often notice their feet when you meet them for the first time. You don't often notice the liver. Hey, nice to meet you. What a great liver you have. You don't know what's going on inside. You don't see their liver. You don't see their heart.
And yet in spite of the beauty of their eyes or their hair, they couldn't function without those less noticeable parts of the body, like the internal organs. As a matter of fact, if their liver is sick, if their heart is sick, if their lungs are sick, their whole body's going to suffer because of it.
Each and every part's important. Each and every part is needed-- the visible parts and the non visible parts. And we're not called to question the part or the purpose that we were made for. We're meant to serve the purpose that God has given us, recognizing that when each and every one of us serve our purpose, we can accomplish a far greater purpose than we ever could on our own individually.
When you serve your purpose within the body of Christ, what you do is you enable the body of Christ to do things it could never do without you. You're important. You are needed in the body.
This also means that, if you're not serving as a part of the body of Christ, if you're not being used for the purpose that you are made for, there are things that we could be accomplishing that we can't right now because you're unwilling to serve.
Our purpose is creating life change. That means, if you're not serving your purpose, there are lives we could be changing that we're not able to change right now because you're refusing to serve in the purpose that God has called you to serve in within the body of Christ. Every part is important. Every part is needed. Without you, we can't do what we're called to do.
You know, the early church I believe was effective not just because they had the power of the Holy Spirit but because every one of them utilized it. Every one of them was serving. Every one of them was volunteering. Every one of them was operating in their gift set. And because of that, they moved in unison and they accomplished incredible things. Imagine what the Church of 2019 could do if each and every one of us did the same thing.
What they lacked in numbers, we have. Imagine if we harness that same power, if all of us operated in unison together, if we knew our gift set, if we knew the purpose we were made for, and we were operating in that purpose. Imagine the ripples that could take place across Albuquerque, New Mexico, across the United States, across the entire world, if we moved, each one of us, and accepted the fact that we were made for purpose. If we believed that God could do even greater things in our day and age than he did in the early church.
If every person in this room said, I'm going to find my purpose. I'm going to find my role. I'm going to start serving, and I'm going to believe that God's going to use my service no matter how small it looks, that he's going to use it to help this church accomplish something that it couldn't without me. Because that's the truth.
Verse six-- and we'll close with this. He says, having then gifts differing, according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them. You know, Paul encourages us in 1 Corinthians 12:31. He says, earnestly desire the best gifts. So my personality, my question is, well, what are the best gifts? Because I want those.
Well, I think that all depends on what your needs are. The NLT translates that verse, says, so you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts. For instance, if somebody wasn't a believer, the best gift in that circumstance would be the gift of evangelism. Right? If somebody had a question, or they were confused about a particular passage, the best gift in that instance would be a teacher. But if you are broken hearted, downhearted and depressed, the last thing you want is a teacher trying to teach you out of broken heartedness.
Now, in that circumstance, you want somewhat the gift of encouragement, or the gift of exhortation. If I were in a hospital bed, I would think that the best gift at that moment would be the gift of healing or miracles. If I had a big project that I needed to get done, the last thing I would want is a bunch of teachers and evangelists standing around trying to teach me and evangelize. Rather, I'd want some people with the gift of helps and governments.
Each gift has its place, and I imagine it's got to be insulting to God for us to demean some gift that the Holy Spirit has given us and instilled in our life and say, well, that's just not important enough for me to use.
Because every gift has its place in the body of Christ, and every gift is important. And though there is the danger of becoming prideful in the gifts that God has given us, there's also the danger in having a false sense of humility and not using the gifts that the Holy Spirit has graciously instilled within your life. Each and every gift is vital and important, and it has a role to play within the church, as the church has a role to fulfill in the world.
So a question we could ask ourselves as we close is, what would my church be like if every single member was just like me? If every member was just like me, I don't think I'd want to go to that church. And we've already pointed out the scripture urges us to come short in no gift. So again, what is your gift? What are your gifts that the Holy Spirit has given us?
You need to identify your individual purpose within the body of Christ in order for you to be a part of our purpose as the body of Christ. Because what we do as the body is what makes what you do important.
This is why life track exists, to help you discover what you were made to do. We want everyone to answer three questions. Number one, what are we doing? That's our purpose. For us, it's creating life change. We want to see people's lives changed by the power of the gospel for the glory of God.
Number two is, why are we doing it? That's easy for us. It's because Jesus loves people and so do we.
The third, though, is a question you have to answer. Where do I fit in? Not what do I do, but what does I do fit into what we do?
Because what we are doing is what makes me important. But know this-- everything that God wants to do in and through this church exists in the congregation of this church. Which means that if you're not connected to what you were born to do, the purpose you are made for, you're impairing us from doing what God wants us to.
Too many people today are consumers instead of servants, consuming not communing, spectators instead of participators, customers instead of disciples. But make no mistake about it. God's power is still alive today.
And so let's pray for the same power that the early church experienced in their lives. Let's ask God to empower us with the Holy Spirit, to instill within our lives the gifts that he has chosen for us. Because they are the perfect choice for us. And then let's faithfully decide to begin to use those gifts so the entire body might benefit. You were made for purpose. Let's start living that way.
Lord, we thank you for your word and the truth that it brings. Lord, I pray that each and every one of us, Lord, we would begin to identify and find the identity of our purpose through your Holy Spirit. That as we do so, we wouldn't allow pride or a false sense of humility to get in the way of us using the gifts that we have, but we would understand the important role that we play within the church, and that the things you want to do through this church and through the church cannot be done without each and every one of us fulfilling the role that you called us to.
We were made for purpose. Help us live that way. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen. God bless you guys. We'll see you next week.
How will you put the truths that you learned into action in your life? Let us know. Email us at email@example.com. And just a reminder, you can support this ministry with a financial gift at calvarynm.church/gift. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.