Sunday Message 5/10 “Gifts in Times of Adversity”

See below for a recording and text of this week’s message. Pastor Steve will be out on the church front steps this Sunday 10 am to 1 pm. And we’re planning for the possibility of being able to reopen the church soon. Stay tuned for updates.

Call to Worship; 2 Peter 1:2-8

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Tithe and Offering Prayer: Father in Heaven on this Mother’s Day Sunday, we thank you for families, and relationships that you have put into our lives. Lord, you put the people we most need into our live, for growth, maturity, and just survival. Thank you! Now Father, as we offer our whole being, we pray that you use us to further your Kingdom in this hurting word. Amen.

Message Reading; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

Message; “Gifts in Times of Adversity”

Today marks a special day for our Congregation as we recognize a most American of observations; Mother’s Day. (And maybe I should say, brought to you by Hallmark the creators of Father’s Day, Grandparents Day, and Teacher appreciation day.) But more importantly, these are the days of observance that set a tone for our society. A tone of appreciation for all the kindnesses, and service, and love, other people have provided for us, just because we were here, and needed care from another person.

That selfless gift of service to other people, is why Mother’s Day is the anchor on which all of the other days of appreciation revolve around. It is the easiest of all observations for us to identify with, as we look deep within ourselves at all we have to be grateful for, and thankful to.

My thought is, Mother’s Day, also represents all of the other days that we set aside to reflect on the people in our lives that have walked a closer walk in the Lord, shimmering the light of His grace into a world that is many times, unclear and hurting for kindness and patience. It is right and good that we would take time for reflection on this office with such a calling from the Lord a path unique among all other callings.

And yes, it is my firm belief that motherhood is a vocation from the Lord. It is the one job and calling whose cord ties all of the loose ends of a society, a people, and a family together, hopefully in accord. Harmonizing all of the odds and ends a household, community, or a people truly require to progress forward in our walk in this life.

Motherhood does not depend on a blood connection. It is a state of mind that extends from the provider to the receiver, regardless of birth, but based on grace, kindness, and love. That is why this calling is so important to a stable society, a rooted family, or just an even-keeled down to earth, grounded, human being.

At some point, when we are able to worship together in this beautiful sanctuary, that we sometimes call God’s Livingroom, and other times the Holy place (not replacing the Holy of Holies that located deep within your heart), we hope to have a combined Mother’s and Father’s Day observance. For today, suffice to say to all mothers, both birth and chosen, who we may never even glimpse all of your sacrifices; thank you and we love you.

Our message today is in perfect accord with the selfless service noted above. It begins with the growth all of us must go through when we want to mature in the Lord, or just to develop as a functional person who also is a follower of Christ. So today, I would first like to start with growing in the Lord, and then reflect on the gifts of the Spirit available in our growth, then summing it up with where we began today’s message, those who have Spiritual Gifts. Or;

  1. The template for spiritual growth
  2. Gifts of the Spirit that come with growth
  3. An explanation of who Has those gifts

This list like every list I give you, is a starter list available for you to build upon, as you build your beautiful lives with the Lord.

1). The template for spiritual growth

Our template for growth comes from the Call to Worship for today’s message. It from the second letter of Peter chapter one verses 2-4;

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

First Peter, explains that grace and peace are yours for the asking. As spoken of last week in our message, both Peter and Paul are on the same page taking our needs to the Lord in Prayer, and along with the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5-7, we learn that we can dismiss of anxiety by calling on the Lord.

If you are struggling, hurting, tempted, rejected, traumatized, or just hypnotized into sin, you have the most powerful outlet in the universe; Your relationship with the Lord. Regardless of how young you are in the Lord, how long it’s been since you have come to Him, He is there, and He is waiting for you!

He is waiting for a walk with you in the garden, into the steps of eternity, providing you with the promise of His divine power, enabling each of us to participate in His divine nature, to further the kingdom of God in a hurting world.

Next, Peter goes on now to provide the template of how ordinary people like you and I can grow from a rudimentary faith, and build upon something that is little right now, into an eternity of majesty in the Lord. Not based on anything that we can do alone, but based on building a life with the one who made us.

Here then is one way as Peter explains to grow strong in and with the Lord:

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.

Provided are seven steps a person might use as a guide as you build your lives from faith, towards a perhaps purer way to care for other people, a more perfect kind of brotherly, sisterly, and yes motherly kind of love.

  1. Add to your faith goodness;
  2. To goodness, knowledge;
  3. To knowledge, self-control;
  4. To self-control, perseverance;
  5. To perseverance, godliness;
  6. To godliness, mutual affection;
  7. To mutual affection, love! (As in loving your neighbor)

This indeed is a template for success! It is not the only one available to you in scripture though. For instance, compare to Paul’s letter to the Romans 5:3-7, Paul’s template for growth is very similar:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

  1. Through faith, we have peace with God
  2. And access by faith into grace
  3. We glory in our sufferings because-
  4. Suffering produces perseverance
  5. Perseverance, character
  6. Character, hope
  7. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Both approaches begin with internal matters (faith and adversity and end in triumph through the power of Love. What we know as agape love. Pure love. Not only that but one approach rises to the love we have with and from the Lord (Paul / Romans), and Peter’s letter rises to our loving others (our Neighbor).

And here is our Lord’s teaching of these things. Those in our church will recognize from Matthew 22:37-40

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Romans 5:5 Love from and with God

       1 Peter 1: 7 Love/mutual affection our Neighbor

Peter goes on to say in verse 8;

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Becoming available/effective, for even more progress with;

2). Gifts of the Spirit that come with growth

As each of us begin to grow through any template you care to use in your walk in the Lord, the further down that path you go, the more receptive you will be to the gifts of the Spirit. Thinking back to our scripture reading today from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he talks about some of the gifts of the spirit. From 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 Paul instructs:

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

Paul mentions:

  1. Wisdom
  2. Knowledge
  3. Faith
  4. Healing
  5. Miraculous powers
  6. Prophecy
  7. Distinguishing between spirits
  8. Speaking in different kinds of tongues
  9. Interpretation of tongues

There are more than these listed throughout the Bible, and if they originate from the Lord within the person using them, they are a marvel to behold! A spiritual gift from the Lord is a gift to aid you and your congregation in your service to Him and the people God places in your lives to serve.

Here is my thought, and as always that’s all it is. You have the heavy lifting of praying, studying scripture, and then yes, thinking for your selves, as Christians of the working day. Our job is to equip you with the tools to do that very thing centered on instruction from scripture. My thought is that all of the gifts of the Spirit are there for you to partake in, based on your relationship with the Lord.

The Lord will provide liberally to those who come to Him in need. Sometimes, many times in ways outside of the box we have relegated Him into by our limited thought.

This in turn opens up our minds to what God can achieve in all of us, if we are open to the promptings of His Spirit, and that leads us to: …

3). An explanation of who Has those gifts

Again, this is my thought, what counts is how you process, study, and pray about all that the Lord is doing in your lives. My thought is that as there are many gifts of the Spirit both listed and assumed in scripture, and all tested through scripture, those gifts are available to all of us who desire a closer walk with the Lord.

From the very beginning the people of God have been called to be a blessing for others. Abraham and his offspring were called in Genesis 12 to be a blessing for the world; and God says:

“I will make you into a great nation, …
3…and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”

This would continue in Exodus 19:6 with Israel God said: you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’

Today we are a congregation of Ministers, with everyone having a calling. Our ultimate goal: To love God with all of our heart mind and soul, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. To be a blessing to others in this world. (What the observance of Mother’s Day is all about!)

God gives us the tools to do this job of service, called gifts of the Spirit, and they are liberally provided to all who seek to serve Him, and other people for Him. So, who has those gifts? Anyone who is ready to pass that grace and love on to someone else. The more you give, the more you have to give. If you have come to our church to be filled up with the gifts of the spirit, I can’t help you. If you are coming to serve other people, your cup is about to overflow.

It is my hope and prayer this week you find someone to serve in His precious name. Amen!

Our Benediction today is based on Romans 5:3-5

May we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that; suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.