We’re in part number two of a four-part message series called Jesus and We.
Last week, we acknowledged that we are faith-filled, big-thinking, risk takers. We will never insult God with small thinking or safe living. Rather we will walk with big faith!!
Today let’s turn to John 4 – and we’re going to launch off of a couple of verses and look at our 2nd “We” statement.
Verse 31: “Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus…Rabbi, eat something.” 32 But Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.” 33 “Did someone bring him food while we were gone?” the disciples asked each other. 34 “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.” John 4:31-34
“My food, My nourishment, is something else. When everyone else thinks about, Fill me, fill me, what actually fills Me is “doing the will of God.” What nourishes Me is to pour into the lives of others, to do the work of God, and finish the task that He sent Me to do. I have a food you know nothing of…What fills Me is doing the work of God, and ministering to others.”
What’s interesting, to me, is that the disciples were all concerned about consumption – “We need to consume. We’ve got to take care of we!
- Jesus was not concerned with consuming. He was concerned with contributing.
That’s why today’s talk is titled, Spiritual Contributors…we want to like Jesus…
By nature, we are self-centered and selfish…but Jesus is saying,
“I have a higher calling than just thinking about Me. I want to contribute into the lives of others.”
[McDonald’s vs. Burger King: For those of you that are kind of around my age, you’ll remember what I’m about to tell you about. Growing up, if you enjoyed fast-food hamburgers, you would have remembered two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame-seed bun. Right?
Every single time, guaranteed, that’s what you got. Then something changed…. Some of you remember the moment. I was seven years old, and I remember it like it was yesterday. [okay maybe not, but still] The year was 1973, when Burger King changed everything. They came out with the slogan, “Have it your way.” Burger King said this: “Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us.”
Suddenly, when you walked in, you were in control. You say, “I want extra pickles.” “I don’t want pickles.” “I want mayonnaise.” “Oh, I’m a mustard person.” And all of a sudden, you were in charge. And now, here we are, some 40 years later, and the customer is king.
Right? “Have it your way. And all of a sudden, we become a consumer-minded society – It’s all about me. It’s all about what I want.]
? I want to have it my way. And, tragically, that consumer mindset has now bled over into the Church. People say…“Oh, I’m just church shopping. I need …if only this church…my kid liked…” I mean, even the very language – “I’m shopping for a church. I’m church shopping.”
And then, what I’ll hear, often times, is, “I just can’t find a church that’s right for us…just can’t find a church that meets our needs.”
Last week, we talked about being faith-filled, big-thinking, risk takers. This week, I want to talk about how …
? We are not Spiritual Consumers. We are Spiritual Contributors.
Why? Because we understand that, the Church does not exist for us, but we are the Church, and we exist for the world.
That statement changes everything, Who are we? We are the Church, and we exist for the world. We are spiritual contributors. We exist to do the work and the will of God, and that nourishes us.
If you’re a follower of Jesus, you recognize you are the Church, and you exist to bring the light and the love of Jesus into this world.
So, what I want to do, is ask you to rate yourself, Let’s see where we are. Let’s look as a scale of “one” to “ten.”
WE ARE NOT SPIRITUAL CONSUMERS; WE ARE SPIRITUAL CONTRIBUTORS. THE CHURCH DOES NOT EXIST FOR US. WE ARE THE CHURCH AND WE EXIST FOR THE WORLD.
Consumer 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Contributor
Don’t circle any number yet, let’s talk first. Ok don’t circle “10,” because unless you gave your life for the sins of the world on the cross, and rose again, you’re not allowed to be “10.” Conversely don’t circle “1” unless you are satan or one of his angels…so we deleted two numbers…
Let’s define some of the numbers…Circle “2.” If you’ve only benefited, but you’ve given nothing back, “2.” Coffee, donut, retreat, group…
Now, let’s say you’ve come to church, gone to CU@6 or Women’s groups a time or two, or let’s say you’ve contributed financially a couple of times, every now and then, when the Spirit moves upon you, or whatever. You might be a “4” or a “5.”
Now, some of you, you’re an “8” or a “9.” You’re here every time the doors open, serving coffee, cleaning floors, leading classes, praying, working on the finances, inviting others, etc. You’re seriously all in.
You’re an “8,” or you’re a “9.”
Ok, so let’s circle a number. Call it what it is.
Now, if you find yourself “6” or below, this message is really designed to speak to you, and I believe God wants to stir you to something greater in your life. And I’m going to give you two easy-to-remember points about your gifts for God’s Church. If you are 8 or 9 take this Sunday off, go to Burger King and have it your way!!! Okay just kidding, we love having you here!!
1. God calls us to serve in His Church.
If you’re a follower of Jesus,
- You are Gifted
- You are Called
- Set apart to use your Spiritual gifts
…to make a difference in His Church.
The challenge with this is, in our world today – a lot of people don’t understand what the Church is.
? God always intended for the Church to be His people.
The Church is a place where God’s people use their Spiritual gifts in serving the church, and loving the World, look at Romans 12
6In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. [Paul is going to list 7 gifts of God’s many gifts here…] So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.’ Romans 12:6-8
? Prophecy, serving, teaching, encouragement, giving, leading, and kindness – 7 different gifts.
You may not know, particularly, how you are gifted. We have prepared a Gift Test that is available on the Impact Website to take the Spiritual Gift test.
For those of you who are Jesus followers…
? God has given you gifts, and He wants you to use them in the church.
God wants every person to be active, making a difference, in the Church. There is something for every person to do.
God wants His Church to be full of people that are not, What about me? Have it my way, but God wants His Church to be full of people using their gifts to make a difference in the lives of others.
Thought number 1, God calls us to Serve in His Church…Thought number two:
2. God calls you to serve AS His Church
Not only do we serve in His Church – that’s so important – to build one another up, but we serve as His Church in the world.
14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:14-16
5 Powerful Realities of Those who Accept this Call
1. They are the light of the world…sharing their faith and letting their “their light shine!” Let your light shine into all the world, that they may see your good deeds, that they may see that you are different, that they may see that you care, that they may see your good deeds. “What’s different about you? Why do you care about me? I can’t believe you’re so involved!…
- They love Jesus …and can’t get enough of Him. To be honest with you, those who I have seen who have Accepted the Call really love Jesus and have a powerful impact on the world.
- They don’t go to church, They are the Church. And we may use that language innocently – “I’m going to church” – that’s totally fine, as long as we understand that the Church is not the building. We are the Church, and we’re here for the world.
- This building is not a Sanctuary, you are the sanctuary…Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit. Acts 7:48 “the Most High doesn’t dwell in buildings…” he dwells in us.
[In 313 AD, Constantine passed laws legalizing Christianity and churches buildings, it changed things…for the good and the bad…churches could now meet in buildings and have structures to grow in without persecution, however they forgot that they were called to serve in the church and in the world.]
- They use their Gifts, and live out their faith .
- We are His Church, and I’ve got gifts, and I cannot, after all God has done for me, simply be a consumer.
- They are Called by God to do His Will. God has a calling for you. For all who call on God, He gives them a calling for life. They Accept this call and Live it out.
If you want to be a true spiritual contributor, making even a greater difference than you are, here’s what I want you to know…
God has set you apart. He makes us holy, puts gifts and talents in us and wants us to enjoy them…And He wants to use them in the church, and as the Church.
Can you say…
“I want to be a greater Spiritual Contributor. I want to live out my call. I want to make a difference: Using my God-given spiritual gifts in the Church and Being a Light to the world by sharing my faith and doing good deeds!”
Father, God, we recognize that You’ve called us, as imperfect as we are, but we are your people and your church. Use as and our gifts to build Your Church, and God, You call us to be the light in this world. Help us be bright.
So Please stir in our hearts today. Make us contributors, not consumers. That we would find, deep within us, the need to give back, to use our gifts in the Church, and not just in the Church, but as the Church, in the world, showing the love of Jesus, that people would praise and glorify Him.