Welcome to Grace Summit!
Sunday services at 9:30 and 11:00 am
Grace Summit Community Church is a nondenominational church which focuses on authentically living out what the Bible teaches. It’s also a church with a big heart—toward its members, guests, and those in our community.
Grace Summit leadership and members desire to make a difference in our world by demonstrating through our lives that God is real, that He loves people and that He wants a relationship with each person. The mindset of “making room for more” underlies the plans and activities of Grace Summit as we strive to include and connect with more people in all we do. We’d love to have you be a part of what God is doing here at Grace Summit!
This Week's Message
I’ve been going through Psalm 23 using the technique we talked about last week – if this is new to you – keep at it. I heard an amazing testimony this week, but due to the confidential nature of this, I won't share it. Let's pray:
Lord, thank You so much for Your word and this time together. The enemy has to flee at Your name. Help us to love the name of Jesus. Help us to have His name deep in our hearts – to contemplate – every knee will bow before that name. There is no other name on earth in which salvation is found. It is You that we serve and You that we live for – not church or Christianity – but for Jesus. May we see You this morning.
12: 4 Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are different ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are different results, but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.
Charisma – we get the word Charismatic from that – a better way to say it might be Gift or Grace – we’ll focus on the grace gifts that God has given to us.
There are three foundational theological points in these verses –
Each of us has a special or particular expression of divine grace which is empowered by and distributed by the Holy Spirit. There are many different gifts and God’s divine grace is expressed in many different ways in His church – that is theological point 1.
5 And there are different ministries, but the same Lord.
2) Divine grace is given for the purpose of rendering service to others in the church. The gift will always be accompanied by a task.
Divine grace never lies dormant inside of us. God only gives us a gift to use the gift in a particular service to the church – it is not something we simply possess - it is given as it is needed for service.
There are different types of service, but the same Lord. This service should take on the nature of Jesus’ self-sacrificial service for us. That is what the service will look like.
6 And there are different results, but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.
3) from v. 6 – working and work – two forms of the same word – noun and verb – effect or activity – working – energy. It is saying – God takes His grace gift and the service He gives us – then He supplies the energy and power that we need to bring about the effect that God wants to bring about in the Church.
In this little phrase - We have Trinitarian theology in these verses – Son, Spirit, Father – all three are actively working to bless the church. And in this book of Corinthians – which is so focused on division – the unity in the body must resemble the unity of the Trinity. Obviously, we can’t get there on our own.
Practically speaking – very simply – First – God will give us all a special tool – a broom – some get chainsaws – some get hammers. And God gives us assignments to accomplish the task. If your assignment is to sweep the floor, He won’t give you a chainsaw to do it or vice-versa. And then, God gives the energy for you to accomplish the task.
So – that is the simple and practical.
When we think about this – we have to ask – So what? I have three.
First – God is the source of all divine grace – all the gifts, blessings, ministries and good stuff we have in our lives come from God – it is not earned, but given – so what? We need to learn to practice gratitude in the community of faith. We need to be grateful for the community of faith God has placed us in.
It is all about making the faith community work in such a way that it honors God. We need to be grateful for all the unique displays of grace – do you think of others that way? That will change your attitude dramatically. Someone remind me of that – it just came out! Unique displays of grace.
Gratitude – recognize the good.
We are trained to recognize the bad – as Americans – the media – everything, constantly – is about recognizing the bad – it is a complete lack of gratitude. We are so quick to recognize what goes wrong.
Second – this divine activity must include humble sacrificial service – so we need to change our approach from what do I get to what do I contribute. We come to church – and our thinking is so often – what do I get from this – what is this doing for me – and it is a 180 to say – what am I contributing today?
Third – the results of divine grace are up to God. The effect – the way our gift and tools accomplish – is determined by God – so we must never think that our gifts or ministries or results are superior to others – and even if our ministries are having enormous impact – it is only God who makes it happen.
Even God gives the energy – and Paul says – I labored more than all of them – but not I – but the grace of God working in me.
Without His hand giving grace, we could not work hard.
In Corinth – this is an issue of status – they are using the spectacular gifts – the gift of tongues – chapter 12 and 14 talk about this – and for them – it is a spectacular thing – and the thinking was that those who had that are more spiritual than others. That may seem that way in some churches today – not here – but in all churches, we have gifts that we look up to – like awesome speakers – and we think – wow – that is a gift a grace a service to have.
Powerful leaders who build huge ministries… Great Bible scholars – they can take every word apart. Worship leaders – talent – who can just bring a crowd into this incredible experience – and we think – those are the superior gifts. But God makes it clear – it is all the same – I choose to do this here and that there – and boy, would it change the way we do things. Results and effect and spirituality do not always go hand in hand. There are many who can build big and yet live small. God desires for us to live big, whether we build big or small. And next week we will look at how to live big - 1 Corinthians 13..
1 Cor. 12: 7 To each person the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the benefit of all.
Attitude is key – God has given us these gifts so we can use them for the good of others – for the common good. All of us have these gifts given by God that are not given for our pleasure or identity or status – but for the benefit of others. You cannot gain significance from your ministries. If we try to – it will wash out – we will wash out our faith.
God wants us to learn to use all that He gives for the benefit of others.
A personal example from me (that’s why it is personal!)
I feel called to give sermons – and there is a sense of divine grace in my life there – I love the study and preparation for this – I love to read and read and discover – to take a passage and break it down and get the context and discovering the background – so I just do that – I do that as entertainment! I know it is weird, but it is fun! Now – after doing that for a message – if I were to come and take all of that – and like a dump truck – and back it up on Sunday morning - and dump it on you – 1) some of you would be very bored – and 2) it would take hours, and nobody wants that! That study is really valuable. And let me say – study and theology are not just for pastors – but I would challenge you to do some of that. You might not have the time for it – but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it – become a reader – there is just so much to read - become one who studies God’s word, that we might understand it.
Third – I set all of that aside – and I keep it on the side as it will be of some value as I serve the church and in this ministry that God has given me to do. And I say – here it all is – and I ask – "So what?" It must be for the common good. All of this needs to somehow bless all of us. That is my job. But it doesn’t say – Look what I know! Aren’t you impressed with that? But then I think – usually on Tuesday – what is going on – what do people in this church need? How can I take all this and challenge, encourage, comfort and instruct? How does my study inform and help me to meet the needs of the church and to be faithful to what I understand?
What would God say to this church through this passage on this Sunday? Very simple.
That is what it means to serve for the common good. It is not about what I am interested in – it is about what is God trying to do and how does God want to use this in serving the church? Your gift in ministry is not about you and your preference and agenda - those things need to be left somewhere else – it is about service to the community you are engaged with.
1 Cor. 12: 12 For just as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body—though many—are one body, so too is Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body. Whether Jews or Greeks or slaves or free, we were all made to drink of the one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not a single member, but many.
Paul focuses on unity – unity in Christ – we are Christ’s body – and this unity is within diversity – we have mutuality, equality, and unity, yet within this very diverse group of people - it is what God is calling for. We should have this attitude – I am just one of many in the body – but because I am one of many, I am responsible to engage all of the other in my heart.
1 Cor. 12: 15 If the foot says, “Since I am not a hand, I am not part of the body,” it does not lose its membership in the body because of that.
The foot was the unclean part of the body – and that is why they would have foot washings – so the foot was the inferior part of the body – and Paul was saying – there is no inferior part of the body. There is no one of lower status.
Yes, the church must have a leadership structure and an order to how things are done – but not with status, superiority or power brokers. So many churches are run and ruined by power brokers. If you lead a ministry – your job is not to determine or decide what that ministry should do. Your job is to help those involved in the ministry determine what God wants your ministry to do. That is really different - There is a leadership role, but it is not about control – but leading that ministry into an understanding of what God wants for that ministry and to accomplish it together.
1 Cor 12.: 18 But as a matter of fact, God has placed each of the members in the body just as he decided.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you,” nor in turn can the head say to the foot, “I do not need you.” 22 On the contrary, those members that seem to be weaker are essential,
Everyone has something important to offer. For the church to function properly – each person must contribute. And especially those who are maybe outwardly considered the least important. It is critical, Paul says, for those to contribute. "The people we view as least important are the ones we need the most." The people you and I view as the least important are the people you personally need the most...
Here is what Paul says –
22 On the contrary, those members that seem to be weaker are essential, 23 and those members we consider less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our unpresentable members are clothed with dignity,
A good discipline to practice – engage those we think are the least important and give our full attention. When you walk into a room – think - who do I think is the least important? – and then give them extra honor by engaging fully - with all of my attention.
1 Cor. 12:24 but our presentable members do not need this. Instead, God has blended together the body, giving greater honor to the lesser member, 25 so that there may be no division in the body, but the members may have mutual concern for one another. 26 If one member suffers, everyone suffers with it. If a member is honored, all rejoice with it.
Paul goes all the way back to the beginning – the point he is making in this whole book - there are factions and divisions in the church, things are being used to divide, party politics are taking place, and God is giving gifts so that the church would be united – and they are taking them and using them to divide. And he simply says – here is the solution – have the same care for one another – That means no partiality – and it means loving each person fully and wholly.
Lord, thank You – and I pray – teach us how to take the things You have given and to use them for the good of others – to have the same care for one another – to not have an attitude of superiority – but to take all that grace that You have poured out into our lives that we might be grateful and a blessing to others. In Your Name we pray – Amen.