Our Gifts, God’s Glory

We Are Called To Use Our Spiritual Gifts To Serve Others

Dan Franklin
Jul 23, 2023    40m
This inspiring message reminds us that we are to be good stewards and use our spiritual gifts to serve others. We're going to see Peter answer four questions about serving. The questions are what are we supposed to do, who are we supposed to serve, how are we to use these gifts, and we do this to bring glory to God. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Unknown: [00:00:19] Today's reading is from First Peter chapter 4, verses 10 and 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. 11If 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." This is the word of God.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:01] Amen. You can grab a seat. Good morning, everybody. So this morning, we've been in the gospel of Matthew for the last longer bit of time, and we're going to be right back in it next week, we're taking a one-week break this week. But I just wanted to say, if you've been around as we've been going through the gospel of Matthew and we just finished the Sermon on the Mount, you know, all scripture is God-breathed. We believe everything God has given us in his word is valuable and helpful and true. But there's just something about going through one of the gospels and looking at Jesus each week, isn't there? It's a reminder those of us who are Christians are primary faith is not in a bunch of ideas, our primary faith is in the person of Jesus. And so whether we're going through a gospel or not, just the idea that we can consistently have that reminder, our faith is not simply in promises God has made or proverbs or commands that He's given us, our faith is set on Jesus. And so getting to see him week in and week out, and if you're not a Christian, going through the gospel of Matthew is really great because you get to find out what is this whole thing all about. Because the central question for all of us that we come to is not the question of what precisely do we think of climate change or what precisely do we think of critical race theory, it's what do we think of Jesus and how are we going to respond to him?

Dan Franklin: [00:02:33] But we're going to take a one-week break this week because I felt like it was really important to do a dual movie review of Oppenheimer and the Barbie movie, so for the next 45 minutes, buckle up. I'm, of course, I'm just kidding. Actually, I wanted to take a one-week break because there's a really important statement that I want to make to you, and that statement is you need to serve. Now, when I say that, I know what you're probably hearing me say, what you're probably hearing me say is I need you to serve. Because that's the way this typically comes across in sermons like this, where it's sort of like, all right, the church leaders end up in almost an antagonistic relationship with church members, and we're trying to get you to do something that you don't want to do. And you kind of want to do it, but not too much, and we end up in this push and pull where we're trying to figure out as church leaders, how do we squeeze as much out of them as we can get? And as church members, you're sort of like, well, how do we not be freeloaders but not be exhausted? That is not my goal, and that's actually not what I mean when I say you need to serve.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:41] What I mean when I say you need to serve, is that the way that God has made us is not that we would be consumers, but that we would be contributors, and that applies to the church and that applies to all facets of life. In fact, one of the things I was just looking up more about this, this morning, some of you will know this, but during World War Two, there were a lot of young men who joined the military when they shouldn't have, they were too young. A lot of them were 16 or 17, so they were pretty close to the age where they'd be able to join the military, some were 15, some were as young as 12 and simply looked older than they were. They lied in order to join the military; they forged birth certificates or used an older sibling's birth certificate in order to get in. Now, just take this in once again for a moment, they lied to the federal government so that they could serve. They weren't doing this because they were getting on a cruise. Think of it, people lie now to say that they're older than they are so that they can get into a bar or a club. These young men were lying so that they could go for many of them to their death when they didn't have to. They lied so that they could serve because they believed so strongly in the cause of what was going on, and the precious importance of that cause, that they were willing to put their lives on the line even when if the truth would come out, they would not have been allowed to serve, serving was so important to them that they knew that they needed to do it.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:30] And those people, those young men that did that, they're not a different species than we are. We might feel like that's a far cry from where we are right now, they were human beings, we are human beings, this is how God made us. If you go as far back to the Garden of Eden and we think, man, before the fall, before sin came into the world, it must have been great. I mean, Adam and Eve must have just been sitting around, you know, sipping on Mai Tai's, feet up in the air. I don't know, maybe the animals are bringing them sandwiches, you know, who knows? We just imagine that life, that's not the way that it was, they were put to work by God. They were created in order to keep the grounds in order to subdue the creation, they were created to serve, and you are created to serve. This is also why sometimes when we feel like we're longing to have a day, or maybe even if you're ambitious, like a series of days, a whole week where you're like, I want a day, has anybody ever been like, I want a day where I can just do nothing? Where you're just like, I just want to do nothing, zero responsibilities, nobody telling me anything to do. And then sometimes you get that day, or even if you're really ambitious, maybe you get a full week where you're like, there's nothing to do, no responsibilities, this is it, this is real life. And by the end of that day, or by the end of that week, you just feel useless. You're just like, what did I do? I wanted that, and this is how I feel now. Like I ate whatever I wanted, I watched whatever I wanted, I did whatever I wanted, and I feel miserable because that's not what God has made us for. It doesn't mean we don't need rest; it just means that God has made us to serve. And when I use that word, serve, big picture umbrella, we were created not just to consume, but to contribute to work and to do something meaningful. So I'm not going to hide the fact that one of the natural applications of this sermon is going to be for some of you to volunteer to serve in specific ways here at this church. But the picture is much bigger than that, the picture is that we were made to be swept up in a cause much bigger than ourselves and even much bigger than the cause of World War Two, and that is the cause of loving Jesus and making him known. As we talked about all VBS week, for those of you who are here, to shine the light of Jesus near and far and wherever we go, we were made to do that and all of us were made to be contributors.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:08] So here's what we're going to do, we're going to go through just the two verses that you heard Terry read earlier. So if you have a Bible, and if you haven't turned there, you can turn to First Peter chapter 4, verses 10 and 11. If you're using your phone as a Bible, you can turn there on your phone, I will have the verses up here on the screen. But we've got two verses, and in these two verses, we're going to see Peter answer four questions about serving, the questions are what, who, how, and why, and we'll walk through those one by one in this message.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:38] And so we're going to start with the what, and this is in verse 10, and really the first half of verse 10. So the apostle Peter writes, "Each of you should use whatever gifts you have received to serve others." So here's the starting point, the starting point is the question, what? What are we called to do? What we're called to do in this passage is use the gift that you have received in order to serve others. Now, if you're supposed to use the gift that you have received, what does that assume? All right, good job. All right, we're getting warmed up, some of you got it. It assumes that you have received a gift. And there are many gifts we've all received from God, but specifically, here, Peter is talking about what we usually call spiritual gifts. So these are gifts that God has given us that are abilities that empower us to be able to serve others. And the others, in one sense, is the whole world, the whole world benefits from us using our gifts. But slightly more narrowly, the focus of those gifts is within the body of Christ, within other believers, to build up the church so that the church spreads a witness to the world. But he says, use whatever gift you have received. Just a quick reminder of, some of us have gifts that get more attention and that get more sort of accolades. If you have a gift, that's a gift you received and you don't brag about it, but you do, in the words of Peter, you use it. So real straightforwardly he says, this is what you're called to do, what you're called to do is to use your gift.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:56] We'll talk about this more in a second in the second half of verse 10, but I just want to pause here and say something. And this might be a little bit more for those of you that have been around churches for longer. Who here has ever taken a spiritual gifts test or a spiritual gift inventory? All right, a whole bunch of us, actually, not as many as I thought. But for those of you that have, what this typically is, if you're not familiar with it, is its sort of like a personality test where it's a series of questions that you answer, and then the test tries to sort of narrow down for you what might be your spiritual gift. You know, is it teaching, is it administration, is it help, is it mercy? There are all these different gifts named by the Apostle Paul in First Corinthians 12, where he's not trying to name every gift, but just a bunch of them. And so this test, again, a little bit like a personality test meant to give you a result so that you can say, all right, maybe this is where I'm gifted, and maybe this is where I'm meant to serve. Those tests can be helpful, but I have a couple of things to tell you about these tests.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:19] Number one, they are not authoritative, these tests are not given to us by God so that we put in the data, and it spits out our spiritual gift. It's as human beings, it's our best attempt just to try to give some help to somebody that might feel paralyzed to say the Bible says I have a spiritual gift and that I received it when I became a believer, but I don't know what it is. So it just gives a little help in that. So first of all, it's not authoritative, so don't take it as the final word on your gift.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:48] The second thing I want to make sure I say is this, if you have taken a spiritual gifts inventory at some point in your life, and if right now you are not serving, which might be for a variety of different reasons, maybe you were serving and then the shutdown happened, and you've just never got going again. Maybe something else happened where you were serving, and then you started taking care of an aging parent and then you just sort of faded out of it and you haven't reengaged. Maybe some of you have never engaged yet, you've either felt daunted by it or you just haven't known where to start. If you have taken one of those tests in the past and you are not serving, your next step should not be to go take another test. If you've taken one test, in my opinion, that's enough. It's giving you the basic idea of, all right, there are different gifts, this might be the area of my gifts. If you have taken one of those tests, and even if you haven't, do you know what your next step should be if you're going to serve? Good job, to serve, to just get going, to try something. You probably know yourself well enough to know at least to say maybe I'm an upfront person, or maybe I'm not an upfront person. Maybe I'm somebody that thrives on behind-the-scenes organization, maybe behind-the-scenes organization, they wouldn't want anything to do with me, I would mess them up. Maybe I'm musically gifted, maybe I'm not. You probably know at least something. And if you just start serving, one of the beautiful things that tends to happen, is you tend to, even if you don't immediately find the spot that God has gifted you to serve, sometimes you get to cross ones off the list that you find out you're not gifted for.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:27] So let me just give a quick example, let's say as a result of this sermon, 20 people signed up for LIFEkids and we're like, all right, we're going to start serving in LIFEkids. These are estimates, but let's say maybe 10 of those 20 might say this is perfect, this is exactly what I should be doing, and God is working through me. I'm loving this, it is work, but I'm seeing God move through me, this is perfect, this is where I'm meant to serve. Then there might be another 5 who would say, okay, I'm adequate at this. Like I can do it, and I'm not terrible, but it might not be my long-term area of most effective ministry, so maybe I'll keep doing it, but I kind of have an eye open to see if there's something more. Maybe there's going to be another 5 where you're like, I am terrible at this, like, they can't wait till my term is up and I finish it. Like I am not like, I'm going to look to be faithful, I'm going to look to follow through, but man, this is definitely not where I'm supposed to be. Good news, even if that happens to you, which is like the worst scenario to happen in that situation, even if that happens to you, here's all you get to do, you get to look at the list of all the ways to serve and you get to cross that one off and say, let's try something new. Then maybe you're like, I'm going to try being a greeter now, and I'm going to welcome people as they come and try to show them that God is glad that they're here, because I'm glad that they're here. And maybe you do the greeting for a couple of months and you're like, wow, I should go back to LIFEkids, I'm worse at this than I was at that. And you're like, all right, cross greeter off the list, and you keep trying stuff and then you maybe you get connected with John Eltiste and you start doing some teardown and some setup, and you're connected with other people and you're like, oh my gosh, this is perfect. This is something that I'm good at, something that I love doing. I look forward to it, I'm bonding with others, and God is using me to help get the facilities ready. You just keep trying stuff, if you are trying to find the place to serve using your spiritual gifts, do you think God is going to lead you on a wild goose chase and never let you find the spot? That's not going to happen. Just start using your gifts. That's the what? You've received a gift, now use it.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:36] But the second part of verse 10 is just as important because this tells us the who. It says, "Use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms." Which here, Peter, is inviting us to view ourselves in a certain way, to view ourselves as stewards. And we'll return to that word in a minute because that's a really important word in this passage, stewards of God's grace in its various forms. This is Peter pointing towards the idea when he says God's grace. God's grace has come to us in a multitude of ways, that through Jesus, God has poured out his grace and He's forgiven us, he's adopted us, he's promised us eternal life when we put our faith in Jesus, we became God's children. But the specific grace that he's talking about is spiritual gifts, saying God has poured out his grace so that you have spiritual gifts, and it's God's grace in its various forms. It's like a multicolored kaleidoscope of God's grace on display because everybody has a different gift set. And as Paul says in First Corinthians 12, when we use those together, we work in harmony, but it's a whole bunch of different parts. Thank God we're not all the same. Can I get an amen? We're not supposed to be the same, things wouldn't work if we were the same.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:01] And actually, I'll just spend one minute on this because I'm upfront frequently there are certain people who are part of this church that think that I'm terribly important to what goes on here. If you were to talk to our staff about what happens when I'm going on vacation, you would not experience anybody having any panic at all. Nobody would be like, what are we going to? In fact, my joke is whenever I get back from vacation, my first day back in the office, I come back and I say, everybody can relax, I'm back. And they just all laugh at me because they've been fine. There are certain administrative members of our staff that when we go on vacation, all of us are like, well, when are you coming back? What are you going to do? Did you leave us in good hands? Often the unseen parts of the body of Christ are the ones that are most vital, and often the upfront parts of the body of Christ are the most eminently replaceable. We have God's grace in its various forms.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:05] But let's get back to that key phrase, as faithful stewards. We don't use the word steward a lot in our culture, but a parallel word might be manager, as faithful managers of God's grace. In fact, Jesus uses the same word for steward, or the same Greek word for steward is used in a parable that Jesus gives in Luke 16, about a money manager. And you just think about a money manager for a moment, you've got somebody that has a lot of money and entrusts it to somebody else to manage it. That money manager, that steward, they are not the owner of the money, but they're responsible to do what's right when the money is entrusted to their care. In fact, some of you also know Jesus gave another parable where certain money was entrusted to certain servants, and the servants who were commended were the servants that went and used that money in order to get things done. And the servant that was rebuked at the end of that parable was a servant who took the gift that he'd been given and buried it so that he could give it back exactly as he received it.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:19] Now take this, you have received a spiritual gift, and here's what God doesn't want. God doesn't want at the end of your life, for you to dig up your gift and be like, hey, I buried it, it's exactly like it was when you gave it to me. God gave you that gift to use it. It also means, and this is a weird thing to think about, your spiritual gift, you are not the owner, you are the manager of that spiritual gift. And the English word used here is faithful, as faithful stewards. The Greek word is actually just the word good, as good stewards as opposed to bad stewards. But I think that the translators of the NIV put in faithful because that's how you can be a good steward. Sometimes we call this whole idea of if you're a steward, if you're a manager, you are given a trust. And if you were given a trust, the best thing that you can do is to be trustworthy with the trust that you were given. Faithful stewards, faithful managers, good managers of what you've been given.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:29] Friends, when we think about this whole idea that we need to serve, that we're called to serve, it's because we have an identity as believers in Jesus. And our identity is that we've been given a gift and we've been told to manage that gift, and if we don't manage that gift well, that means we've got to answer to the owner of what we did with that gift. We have a high calling before God in this.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:56] But let's go a step further. In a second, we'll move to verse 11, because we can take in what we've got so far, and we can say, well, this is good, here's what we've got. We've got the idea that we have gifts and we're meant to use those gifts. We've got the idea that we're managers of those gifts, and we're looking to be faithful with what we've been given. But now let's ask the question how? How are we meant to use these gifts? And that's where Peter goes in verse 11, the first half of verse 11, he says, "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."

Dan Franklin: [00:21:40] So let's do a little bit of quick team Bible study just with what we've got here in the first half of verse 11. In First Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul doesn't look to name off every spiritual gift, but he names a whole bunch of them in that passage, and he names some other ones in Romans 12. So if we're looking for a full kind of list of a bunch of spiritual gifts, those are two key passages. Peter's not interested in doing that here. How many gifts does Peter name? See somebody say it out loud, I know you can see it, two. We got two gifts here, or two categories of gifts, speaking and serving. Now, everything, including speaking, is under the broad umbrella of serving. But for Peter's purposes here, he's basically saying, all right, there are spiritual gifts that you speak primarily, and that's the way that you use that gift. And then there are gifts that don't necessarily involve a lot of speaking, they're behind the scenes, you're having the gift of help, with getting things set up, you're doing administration, you're showing mercy to people and bringing meals to people in need versus when you're speaking and you're upfront as a teacher or you're leading a life group or LIFEkids, or EXIT83, or college group, any of these different things where the primary way that you're using your gift is speaking. So he breaks it into two broad categories.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:57] A couple of things about this. And the first is because speaking is such a big anxiety-ridden fear for many of us, even in a room like this, where, let's say we got about 400 of us in here, there's going to be like 15 of you that are like, I got a speaking gift. Odds are it's higher than that, there are probably some of you that have a speaking gift, but because speaking in front of people makes you nervous, you think you don't. Because somehow, you've got into your head that, well, if I had this speaking gift, I would not be nervous when I'm speaking. I want to bring this up because Satan would love to have you believe that if you really have a spiritual gift, that means using it is going to be perfectly easy, it's not. There are going to be times that you're going to have to move through discomfort. They are going to have to be faith-stretching times where you step out even though you don't feel fully equipped. Some of you have a speaking gift, it doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be doing sermons. But if you have a speaking gift, if you have an upfront gift of leadership and speaking, but you're not using it because you're assuming that if you're nervous that rules you out, that does not rule you out. In fact, what Peter says in some ways takes the edge off here because he says if anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. In other words, when you're getting up to speak, the primary thing that you're meant to do in the context of the church is not to give your opinions and your suggestions and your thoughts, it's to say what God has said. In fact, the word here for the very words of God, it's used in Romans, is to clearly just talk about the Bible, to talk about scripture.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:46] Quick story, I was a youth pastor right out of college. And I remember at one point I was driving a bunch of students somewhere and there was a student who was one of those in the car, and he didn't have a lot of church background really, being involved in the youth group was really his first church exposure. So being a youth pastor, I taught every Wednesday, and I taught every Sunday. And as we're driving around in the car with this group of kids, this one speaks up. And he says, so, Dan, where do you get all the ideas for what you talk to us about? It's just sort of like you talk for like a half hour, twice a week to us, like where do you come up with these ideas? And there was a part of me that was a little bit offended by it, but I was like, he's new to the church. And so I was like, well, I get my ideas from the Bible. He was like, so do you just, like, sit around thinking? And that's what you talk to us about? And I was like, no, I read the Bible, and then I try to say what that said. And afterward, he was sort of like, oh yeah, that does kind of make sense. But the reason it was funny to me is because, and this is what I love, any time I give a sermon here and afterward, somebody is like, that was a great sermon. One of the responses that I typically say is I have great source material, like originality is overrated when you're a Christian with a speaking gift. It's not that there's no creativity, there is creativity that goes into using the speaking gift, but we come back to saying our main goal is not to come up with a really creative thing to say, it's to come up with a way of communicating what God has said. So if you have a speaking gift, you get to take a big breath and say the pressure is largely off. God has already said what needs to be said, we're just looking to say it in a way that people can understand. So if you speak, God's Word is your source for speaking.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:38] And he says, if anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides. So once again, God is the source. He is the source because it's his strength, not your strength. Which means, man, you've got to be spending time in prayer to the Lord. Otherwise, you're probably going to run on fumes and your strength is going to run out. But it also means something else, at first, when I say this, it's going to seem really obvious, and you're not going to know why I'm saying it. We're called to serve in the strength God provides. You are not called to serve in the strength that God does not provide. And the reason I say that is that this always happens with a sermon like this, I'm always nervous about these sermons because there are some of you that man, you are serving in like six different ways here at this church. You're doing all kinds of things, and you're going to hear this sermon and you're going to say, I should be doing more, like I'm not doing enough. You're like Oskar Schindler at the end of the movie, you're just like, I haven't done enough, I could have done more. If you are serving in several different ways, or just even a couple of different ways that you're convinced God has put you there, you don't have to think that you're not doing enough, focus on where God has put you. And on the other hand, too many times somebody who's not serving listens to this sermon and they're like, I'm sure they've got it, I'm sure they're taking care of it. Just like in most facets of life, in church, we often talk about the 80/20 rule, the idea that 20% of the people do 80% of the work. And that's true across, that's not just a church thing, that's true across all kinds of organizations.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:22] Let's just do a quick experiment here. Currently, over the course of the summer and things are kind of random during the summer, but over the course of the summer between our three Sunday services, we've been averaging somewhere around like 800, 850 people, just adults attending our services, so it's somewhere in that range. For every formal role on Sunday, whether it's with LIFEkids, whether it's greeters, whether it's our worship team, our tech team, we coffee house, the parking crew, we have all kinds of different things going on, all kinds of ways that people serve on Sundays. If we were to add up all the different positions, if we were going to say, all right, we're going to be fully staffed on a Sunday for everything that we believe God's called us to do, it would be less than 150 people. It would be somewhere bucking up against 150, but less than 150 people for a Sunday. Just take that in once again, how many people do we need on a Sunday for every job to be fulfilled? 150, somewhere in there. How many people do we have on an average Sunday? 850. We don't need people doing six jobs, we need a whole bunch more people doing one job. Because even though we have about 150 spots, and there's a lot I understand some of you, your primary area of service is not on Sunday morning, so I'm not trying to minimize that. I'm just saying we've got 850 people showing up, we've got 150 slots to fill, probably less than 150 slots to fill, and we're having trouble, we're not getting those slots filled. Some of you are going to hear this and you're like, I need to add a third thing. No, that's not what needs to happen. There are a lot of us that need to add a first thing.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:00] Man, I love Sundays, which is good because I'm a pastor. If I didn't, that would be, I mean, I guess I could do it, but it would be hard. But I don't know if you, especially if you're here and you're a family, or maybe just if you mostly attend on Sundays with a group of friends, sometimes after a Sunday morning, you'll sit around afterward and you'll sort of talk about like what was the biggest your, your biggest takeaway or your highlight from Sunday. And sometimes people might say, well, there was this point in the sermon, or it was when we sang this song, or it's when we took communion, and it might be something like that. Man, what I would love is I would love for conversations like that to be happening on Sunday afternoons and for the majority of people to not be talking about their highlight as a part of the sermon or a song that we sang, but of something specific that you saw God do through you as you served. Man, that if people are saying, you know what, I was a greeter and I kind of was thinking, I'm just saying hi to people. But there was somebody that it was their first time here and they didn't know where to go, and I took the time to show them around and I made sure that they were welcomed. And then they were feeling down, and so I connected them with one of the members of our prayer team and they got to be prayed with, or I just prayed with them right there. You're saying, man, I don't even remember what Dan preached on, but I got to pray with somebody who needed prayer. How powerful if we all, as a church family, come to Sundays, not saying, are they really going to bring it with the service today, but that we all come with our gift in tow saying, how's God going to move through me? And sometimes it's not going to be by you being in a formal role, it's going to be by you just being outside Sunday and having open eyes to say who's new, who's confused, who's sad. And I promise you, if you're out just looking around and you're just saying, I'm going to look for people that are new and don't seem to know what to do, I'm going to look for people that are confused and maybe I can help, or I'm going to look for people who are sad and maybe I can pray with. I promise if you start looking for people, they make themselves obvious. If you see anybody just sort of looking confused around with kids, you're like, let me get them to the station. If we all come bringing our gifts, how much more equipped could we be to shine the light of Jesus? So if you're going to speak, you don't have to worry about the content. God's providing the content. If you're going to serve, spend time with God to serve in the strength that he provides, and then don't take on extra burdens that anybody else, including me, makes you feel bad about not taking on. Do what God has called you to do.

Dan Franklin: [00:32:43] And finally, Peter gives one last movement here, at the end of verse 11, after saying, if anybody speaks, and if anybody serves, our source is God. He says, "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." The ultimate good that comes out of this is the cause. And just as there were a bunch of 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17-year-old young men back in the 1930 and the 1940s who lied in order to serve because they said it was that important, the cause is that important. And I'm going to be miserable going through boot camp, and I'm going to be away from home, and I may lose my life or get wounded, but the cause is worthwhile. That we, at the end of the day would say the cause for us, the ultimate target, is not a bigger church or more success in that way, the target is that God is glorified through Jesus Christ. That Jesus is lifted up and people who desperately need healing and grace are drawn to him because his church is at work and everybody is using their gift, that we are being faithful stewards of the gifts that God has given us.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:15] You know, there's no doubt that one of the natural applications for this and I said, I'm not hiding it, one of the natural applications for this sermon is that there are some of you who are not serving, and you just need to serve. And you might not hit a home run with the first area that you choose to serve, but God is going to be faithful, God is going to direct you to the right place and God will work through you, even if you're making your best effort in an area that's not your greatest fit. So for some of you, the next step is going to be literally the next steps. You'd be like, I need to go to the next steps area after this and I need to ask about an area of serving. Or to go on our app, or to go on the website, there's a next steps tab that you can click, and if you click on it, you literally can click on something that says ways to serve. Or for some of you, you might already know, God has been leading you and you're like, I know I'm supposed to talk to Jeff and look to see what I can do with EXIT83, I just haven't done it yet, and you can send Jeff an email and give Jeff a call. Some of you are saying, I know I should be serving in LIFEkids, I know I should be helping on Sunday mornings, I know I should be leading a life group, I just haven't quite done this yet. You know what to do, and I just want to encourage you, you don't have to know what's going to happen eight steps down the line, just take that next step of obedience, just take that next step of faithfulness.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:36] But what I also want to say is that this is not meant to just be a sermon that gets us more people serving, this is also meant to be a sermon that gets us away from the corrosive lie of the enemy that you will find your greatest joy and fullness if you can just rest and indulge. That's not what God made us for, and again, we get hints of it that when we get it, we know it doesn't satisfy. And even for some of us, when we retire and we think now it's time to really coast, we realize that doesn't work either. It's not that God never allows us to rest, it's that God has made us and gifted us to be useful for the purpose of lifting Jesus high. So your biggest roadblock right now might not be I don't know where to go, or I don't know where to serve, or I don't know what my gift is. Your biggest roadblock might be a spiritual roadblock, that you hear about this and you're like, I just don't want to. And if you don't want to, that's a spiritual issue, that's a burden, that's baggage to bring before the Lord.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:44] And so here's what we're going to do, let me explain to you how the rest of the service is going to unfold. As we often do when we do the sermon up front like this, we're going to get to respond with worship and with communion. One of the reasons why I love doing communion on a Sunday like this is once again because it brings us back to the heart of what we're all about. We are not all about just churning out a church where people are doing what they're supposed to do, we are about shining the light on the sacrifice of Jesus for all of us, his broken body, and his shed blood that are symbolized through the elements of communion. So if you're going to be helping out with communion, you can head to the back now as we get ready for this.

Dan Franklin: [00:37:29] But let me tell you what else we're going to do, that the elements will be passed during the next song. And then after that song, we'll all take them together. But after that, we're going to do something else, and that's that after Communion, we're going to have three more songs that we're going to sing together just to be able to pour out our worship to the Lord. But we're also going to have members of our prayer team up front, pastors, elders, and other prayer team members are just going to be upfront during those three songs, and we're going to be there because ultimately, we have all come together today to draw near to God. And so for some of you, there might be a burden that you're carrying that was somehow brought up by this sermon that you're saying, all right, I do have some baggage and I do feel bad. And in fact, I feel like I need to confess and repent of the fact that I haven't been using my gift. For some of you, you might have a burden that you're carrying that literally has nothing to do with anything I've said today other than the fact that Jesus saves us. You might have a sickness, you might have an injury, you might have a financial burden, you might have a relational burden and you're like, this is all I can think about right now, I know I need Jesus and I know I need help. So during that time, even if it has literally nothing to do with taking the next step to serve, you feel like I need some prayer, I need some help, I just need somebody to carry this burden with me. Then during that time, at any point during those songs, you can just get out of your seat, and you can come forward because we want this to be a time where we are together as a church family, seeking to draw near to God. But during this time of communion, let's take it to remember the ultimate gift that God has given us, which is His son, who was poured out for us. And let's take it as a time to remember that any time we use our gifts, it's in the cause of making him known.

Dan Franklin: [00:39:16] So let's pray together. Father, thank you so much that you've poured out your grace to us in Jesus, thank you that we've received your grace of adoption and forgiveness, and thank you that we've received your gift, your grace, and the spiritual gifts that you've given us. Father, we don't deserve that, and you don't need us, but you've created us to be a part of the great cause of making Jesus known. I pray that you awaken us from the ways that we're asleep. I pray that you lead us into the joy that you've set before us. And, Father, I pray that you show Jesus to the world through us. Father, use this as a time where our hearts are warmed by remembering the sacrifice that you were willing to make so that we could know you and belong to you. We pray this in the name of our great Savior, Jesus. Amen.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848