Sermon:  Purpose of Unity - Ministry

Summary:  We need to understand that preserving the unity that God has created at 
a great cost is for the purpose of carrying out God's purposes for the church, which
 involve ministry, maturity, and missions.   Every single one of us has a significant 
role in holding together the body of Christ so that we grow in these three things

Know:  The only way to fulfill God's purposes is together as a unified body.  Each one 
of us is significant and has a significant rule in fulfilling God's purposes in the body

Feel:  The need to not only get along, but to work together towards God's purposes 
and focus on God's mission rather than our own pet things

Do:  Reflect on the cost that Jesus paid in order to give the gifts that contribute to 
ministry and how that should affect our attitude toward the gifts.  Identify in what 
ways you can and do minister to others and how it contributes to God's purposes 
for the church.  

Text:  Eph 4:7-16

Scripture Reading:  Phil 2:5-8

1.  Two people were going up a hill on a bike built for two
	a.  Pedaling with great difficulty, finally got to the top
	b.  Guy at the front - Man! that was a steep hill!
	c.  Guy at the back - You said it!  If I hadn't been using the brakes, we 
	     probably would have rolled down the hill backwards!
	d.  What happen when people not understand how to work together 
2.  At end chapter one, calls the body/church the fullness of Him who fills all in all
	a.  Begins by talking about God's overall cosmic purposes
	b.  Prayer for eyes of heart to be enlightened, to know the fullness of God
	c.  Points out God made us into one new body
	d.  Preserve this unity.  How? - humility, gentleness, patience and love
3.  Why do we need to preserve this unity?  (Eph 4:7-16)
	a.  Answer using the body analogy
		- We have heard of multiple personality disorder
		- Imagine if body had multiple body disorder
- Each part had a mind of its own.  Wouldn't function
	- Mouth only eat if feel like it
	- Lung breathe only if feel like it
	- Maybe hand stop feeding mouth because it consumes
- Body would be sickly at best, and could even die
	b.  An non-unified body will constantly be in survival mode
		- Hand finally grudgingly feeds mouth in order to survive
		- Only cooperates enough just to stay alive
	c.  A healthy body looks beyond survival issues
		- Deeper more important and lasting things
		- Survival is not an issue
4.  We need to preserve unity so that we can fulfill God's purposes
	a.  As a Body, we have several purposes, Paul sums several up here
	b.  Boil down to three purposes:  Ministry, Maturity and Mission
	c.  Will deal with Ministry first
	d.  Why is ministry important?

I.  Ministry is part of our sanctification
	A.  Equipping of the "saints" for works of ministry/service
	B.  What is a "saint?"
		1.  Usually think of someone extraordinary, and dead
		2.  1 Thess 4:3 - This is will of God, your sanctification
		3.  (2 Tim 2:20-21) - Sanctified vessels for honor, useful to God
			a.  You have been set apart, devoted to God
			b.  1 Cor 6:19-20 - Bought with a price, you not your own
			c.  Similar idea to 4:1 - Walk worthy of your "calling"
		4.  God has "called" you.  You have a calling
			a.  Your "calling" is what defines you and your life
			b.  It orders your decisions and the direction you take in life
			c.  Everything you do is measured according to your "calling"
	C.  ILL:  Basic Training
		1.  Remember hearing the clicking of the instructor's boots
			a.  Our lives changed significantly after that time
			b.  Everything about us was changed
			c.  Our haircut, clothes, even our attitude
		2.  Instructor told us we were G.I.'s - Government Issue
			a.  You are now Air Force Property
			b.  Couldn't get sunburned, damage of government property
		3.  We had been set apart
			a.  Lived by a higher set of rules
			b.  There was a higher standard expected of us
	D.  As Christians, we have been set apart as his people
		1.  That makes us "saints" - Saint Ken, Saint Bill, etc.
		2.  We have been set apart to minister and serve
		3.  Ministry should be a central part of our life

II.  Ministry is part of the receipt of grace
	A.  We usually think of grace as mercy
		1.  Some would say "unmerited favor" that is mercy
		2.  Grace simply means "favor," merited or not
		3.  But it is more than just forgiveness and salvation
	B.  Eph 4:7 - Grace given according to measure of Christ's gift
		1.  Paul uses military imagery.  
			a.  Victory parade, following by the giving of gifts
			b.  Jesus paid a great price but attained victory
			c.  He came back and now gives gifts
		2.  Gift of grace more than forgiveness and mercy
			a.  Rom 12:6 - Gifts differ according to grace given
			b.  Rom focus is on the gift
			c.  Here in Ephesians, focus is on people
		3.  What are the gifts in Ephesians?
			a.  Lit: 4:11 - Gave some Apostles, Prophets, etc.
			b.  The gift is people
			c.  Focus is on people because focus is on church
			d.  Church is people, ministry is about people
		4.  Purpose of gifts - Equip saints for work of ministry
	C.  ILL:  Jeremy has been playing baseball for several years
		1.  Needed equipment.  Glove, hat, shoes, bat, etc.
			a.  Had to be the right length and weight bat
			b.  Had a professional help us find right one
		2.  Another kind of equipping - skill, practice, batting cage
			a.  Many days on the field practicing
			b.  Many days in the batting cages
			c.  Batting cages became dangerous with Jeremy
		3.  Coach helped hone skills of the players
		4.  In some respects, apostles, pastors…. Are like coaches
			a.  Their purpose is to "equip" the saints for ministry
			b.  Shows that God intends for us all to be "ministers"
			c.  "Minister" does not apply just to the preacher
	D.  God has given us a great gift
		1.  He has extended his grace to us
		2.  It is more than just forgiveness
		3.  It is also the gift of ministry

III.  Ministry is for all
	A.  At first is seems that this is just about leadership ministry
		1.  Apostles, prophets, etc.
		2.  But it is for equipping the saints for work of ministry
		3.  That is all of us
	B.  (4:16) - Every joint is important, and helps keep the body functioning
		1.  Imagine if you knee joint stopped working
			a.  Ask anyone with bad knees
			b.  Makes it hard to function normally
		2.  (1 Cor 12:20-25) - Every part is necessary
		3.  Never think that any part of the body is unimportant
		4.  Jesus does not want a lame knee. You are important
	C.  ILL:  Story of a new church building
		1.  People came and just loved the new building
			a.  Commented on the architecture, the color, decorations
			b.  Some loved the colored windows, the carpet
			c.  The pulpit was beautiful, and the murals
		2.  A little nail on the roof heard all of this
			a.  No one said a thing about him, didn't even notice
			b.  At first got mad.  Then got sad.
			c.  No one will miss me if I just leave, I'm insignificant
			d.  So he let go, rolled of the roof and into the mud
		3.  That night it rained, the shingle with no nail blew away
			a.  Roof began to leak
			b.  Rained all night long
			c.  Soaked the ceiling, ran down the wall
			d.  Ruined the carpet and the pulpit
		4.  Nail was obscure, both on the roof and in the mud
			a.  In the mud, it was useless, only gaining rust
			b.  It had an important part to play
	D.  God has a place for everyone in the body
		1.  Don't roll off the roof because you think you are insignificant
		2.  Jesus paid a great price to redeem you into his body
		3.  He wouldn't pay a great price for something insignificant 

1.  He paid a great price for you (invitation)
2.  God unified us into one body for the purpose of ministry
	a.  Understand unity, will both pedal the same direction
	b.  Will be able to fulfill God's purposes for us
3.  Ministry is part of your sanctification and your calling of grace
4.  After you become a part of the body, question is - What ministry would God have me do?  
How can I serve?

Small Group Questions:  Pedaling the Same Direction

Summary:  We need to understand that preserving the unity that God has created at a 
great cost is for the purpose of carrying out God's purposes for the church, which 
involve ministry, maturity, and missions.   Every single one of us has a significant role
 in holding together the body of Christ so that we grow in these three things

Open: (pick one)
- Which part of your body do you value most?  Which part receives the most attention?
- What is the nicest gift you have received?

Explore: (Eph 4:7-16)

1.  Do you find what Paul says about grace here surprising or new to you?  In what way?

2.  What does the military imagery say to you about the gifts that Christ gave?  In what 
way does it affect your attitude or the way you feel about them?

3.  The gifts that Christ gave in this passage are people with particular functions.  What 
does the fact that Paul identifies people rather than abilities as gifts say to you?  How does
 it transform your understanding, attitudes or feelings about ministry?

4.  In what way does the previous passage about unity fit in with a discussion about ministry?
  What is the purpose of unity?  What would unity and ministry look like together?  How 
does the body metaphor fit in with this?

5.  Paul identifies Christians here as "saints."  What does that have to do with ministry?


6.  Some of the gifts that Paul mentions obviously do not exist.  Identify some other "gifts" 
that exist here in Leavenworth.

7.  How does this lesson change your understanding of the word, "minister."  In what way 
does the word "minister" apply to you?

8.  In what ways can you be a "minister?"   In what ways can this group do ministry?  

Read Phil 2:3-8 as a prayer meditation