Romans 12:3-8, Christian Gatherings Are Team Events
1. Understand The Positions On The Team
2. Team Positions Scale To All Gathering Sizes
3. Team Positions Defend Against Opponents
4. Can You Come Out To Play On The Team?
Romans 12, Christian Gatherings Are Team Events
Romans 12:3-8, Christian Gatherings Are Team Events
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Well, we're looking at Romans chapter 12 this evening, because as Jonathan was sharing on Sunday, he shared a little bit about Romans Chapter 12 as he was teaching about.
We are the church.
This was kind of a side point for him and as he was hitting those side points and kind of hitting some of the verses and ideas and concepts here in Romans chapter 12.
Of it really just began to stir some things in my mind and later on in the day as I was doing some things I I just began to continue to meditate on those things and and so this is a little bit of a Part 2 or an addendum to what Pastor Jonathan shared on Sunday.
And so if you weren't part of that, you can go back on.
On the website and listen to that message and understand that we are the church.
But tonight as we look at Romans chapter 12, I've titled the message Christian gatherings are team events.
Christian gatherings are team events.
This is one of those famous spiritual give.
Passages and these are things that I've shared many times over the years.
We have the equipped to serve course that we've done from time to time that goes into detail and the spiritual gifts and breaking down all of the different passages.
But if you need a little bit of a refresher, well, we're going to do that a little bit this evening, but also look at a.
A different aspect of this, then I think that I've really spent some time in.
For the three mean passages regarding spiritual gifts are Romans Chapter 12, First Corinthians, Chapter 12 and Ephesians Chapter 4, and so when you want to dig into the subject when you want to consider the subject, these are the passages that we turn to.
There's a couple other.
Passages a couple other verses here and there, but these are the ones that contain the the majority of the doctrine that we have in regards to the gifts that God gives to us as members of him.
His body and so these are the three passages we're going to be focusing on.
Romans Chapter 12 tonight, but the others are there if you want to spend some time later on and and consider a little bit further the things that the Lord wants to minister to our hearts tonight.
What usually happens with the study of spiritual gifts is these three passages.
They're kind of mushed.
Gather and the gifts that are listed in one are added to the gifts that are listed in another which are added to the gifts that are listed in the other and, and then you know you can sum them all up.
Usually the total is 21 gifts or 19 gifts, depending on who's doing the study, and they're kind of looked at as kind of like one big bucket.
Gifts, but if you've heard me share on these things, you understand, I see this a little bit differently that these are not three passages dealing with all exactly the same thing, but really dealing with different aspects of spiritual gifts and some concepts that we need to understand to really help us fulfill.
The body of Christ and what God intends for us as the body of Christ.
And so here's how I kind of describe these passages a little bit.
Further, the Romans chapter 12 passage is essentially the father, giving us the members of the body roles to fulfill within the body of Christ.
You can say it this way, or I often say it this way.
The father gives you membership in the body of Christ with a function.
To fulfill the father gives you membership in the body of Christ.
The father makes you a member of the church and as you believe in Jesus, the father gives you this role.
He gives you this function to fulfill as a member of the body of Christ.
Then as you look at First Corinthians chapter 12, we have what Paul refers to as the manifestations of the spirit.
That is the Holy Spirit, revealing himself or showing himself and and then the those manifestations aren't listed there, and so we see those as the Holy Spirit manifesting himself through you.
It's a little bit different than.
A role within the body of Christ.
These are what we typically mean when we refer to spiritual gifts.
But Paul literally says that manifestations of the Holy Spirit, that evidence that the Holy Spirit is working through.
And then as we look at Ephesians chapter four, I would describe that as leaders in the church that are given by Jesus.
And so these are not individual gifts given to an individual.
These are individuals given to the church as a whole.
It's people in positions of authority that Jesus has established.
And so Jesus gives you spiritual leaders, people to be an influence and have authority in your life.
Now as you look at these three descriptions as I'm giving them, you might recognize that there's the Romans 12.
The first Corinthians 12, the Ephesians 4.
There's the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit.
In each of these passages and and I do believe that that is intentional, that that is part of the.
The work and the things that we need to understand here that it is the aspect of the triune nature of God that influences each of these passages, and really ministers to us and teaches us something a little bit different.
In first Corinthians chapter 12 to kind of go along with.
This verses 4-5 and six I'm not going to go through it in depth, but you can check it out later.
There is a reference to the idea of gifts and roles within the body of Christ and also a reference to the different members of the triune nature of God.
Paul says there are diversities of gifts, but the same spirit.
There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.
There are diversities of activities but it is the same God who works All in all and so there is a correlation between the Father, the son, the Holy Spirit and what each member of the triune nature gives to you as a member of the body of Christ the Father.
Gives you a role, a function to fulfill the spirit manifests himself through you as you fulfill that role, and Jesus gives you leaders and authorities in your life to guide you and help you in your walk and in your relationship with the Lord.
And so in looking at all of this, I like to relate to these things as positions on a team or related to being on a team.
And so you can see here these different passages.
Romans chapter 12 really is equivalent to the idea of having different positions.
On a team.
And so if you think about a team sport, I'm thinking about baseball tonight.
And it's the sport that I know the most about, and so that's a easy one for me to choose.
And so I'm wearing my Dodgers jersey, remembering Chico and praying for the Padilla family.
But thinking about this idea of a baseball team and the different positions on the team, the the father has given you.
He positioned on his team.
And so you can begin to think about that and let that process in your mind the the different opportunities that might that might present to you.
The Holy Spirit gives you equipment.
It's the equipment for the players.
Those gifts that are listed there in First Corinthians chapter 12 are are the pieces of equipment, the things that are needed to help you fulfill your role.
And so you understand a catcher has different equipment than a pitcher, right?
And so there's different equipment that's needed.
Different skills, perhaps different essentials that are needed for each position on the team.
And so the Holy Spirit is what equips us with the equipment that we need to fulfill our position to play the role that God has given to us.
And then Jesus gives us coaches just as coaches are necessary for a team to help train the team to organize and unite and keep the team working together, Jesus gives you spiritual coaches to help train you to keep the team working together and united.
And that is one of the essential part.
Parts of what Paul is addressing there in Ephesians Chapter 4 and so Christian gatherings are team events is kind of the idea and subject for us to consider tonight understanding the the different types of gifts and different things that are involved in spiritual gifts and and now thinking about it in terms of gathering.
Together again, focusing on Romans chapter.
Of the roles within the body of Christ or the positions on the team, there's four points I'd like to walk you through four points to help us kind of navigate this idea.
This concept of spiritual gifts and our roles within the body of Christ and perhaps a different way.
A fresh way for us to be ministered to.
And to seek the Lord on what it is that he would have us to be involved in.
And so the first thing I'd like to walk us through and consider together is to understand the positions on the team.
Looking at these as the roles within the body of Christ or the positions on God team, we need to understand a little bit about what these roles are then so that we can begin to talk about them and understand them to a greater degree.
Let's look again at verses 3 through 5.
It says for I say through the grace.
Given to me to everyone who is among you to not think of himself more highly than he ought to.
Think but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
For as we have many Members in one body, but all the Members do not have the same function.
So we being many are one body in Christ and individually members.
Of one another.
Here is Paul is addressing this subject.
He's using the illustration of a body to help us understand how God has brought us together and expects us to operate one body.
He says many members and one of the key aspects of this is that every believer is a member.
Notice again in verse three he says, I say through the grace given to me to everyone who is among you every believer.
Is who he's addressing here.
He's not just addressing certain Christians or certain people.
He's saying every believer, everyone who is among you.
Everyone who participates in the church gathering.
I'm addressing this to you.
Don't think of yourself more highly than you ought.
But be sober, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
God has given you a measure of faith and a place within the body as we have many members.
All the Members don't have the same function, so there's different functions, different roles, different positions on the team.
And so we are one body and individually members of one another.
Again, it's every individual, every believer.
We have a spot on the team, one body and many members.
It's one team and many positions, many different parts to play, many different functions.
To fulfill and not everybody has the same function.
This idea of a function, it's a.
It's a action word, right?
Not everybody has the same action to do not.
Not everybody has the same office to fulfill or the same work to be done.
All members do not do the same things.
But all Members have something to do.
And and again, something to consider.
Something to think about.
All members do not do not do the same things, but all Members do have something to do.
Work one body, Paul says.
But individually members of one another united together Tide together just like members of a team are united together and and are part of the same work.
We're members of one another because we're on the same team, and so again thinking about this in terms of baseball, you can think about the positions on a baseball field.
There's nine positions.
If I have my math right, and if I am inaccurate in all of my sports ball talk, you can talk.
So Richard afterwards, 'cause he's my sports consultant but first base, second base, third base pitcher catcher, shortstop left, Field center field, right field.
These are positions on the baseball field, right?
So nine positions.
Each one has a particular spot on the field.
Each one has different responsibilities and are there for different reasons.
And yet at the same time collectively they all have the same goal.
Now if you ask any baseball player what position they play.
They could tell you easily, right?
They they could tell you I'm a shortstop.
I'm a pitcher.
I'm a catcher, right?
If if someone is playing now, I'm thinking professionally right?
If you're just hanging out with friends and you go to play, well, it might be a negotiation, right?
Well hey, this time I'm gonna pitch and this time you catch and it it might change a lot but.
For those who are, you know involved in this sport in a serious way.
They they have a part to play.
They have a a role that they've learned that they've trained in and practice and become good at, and this is the positions on the field in a similar way.
We have roles in the body positions on the field within the body of Christ.
That are listed here in Romans Chapter 12.
Verses 6 through 8 again says this, having then gifts differing according to the Grace that is given to us, let us use them.
If prophecy, let us prophecy in proportion to our faith or ministry, let us use it in our ministering.
He who teaches in teaching here.
Exhorts in exhortation.
He who gives with liberality.
He who leads with diligence.
He who shows mercy with cheerfulness.
Here Paul lists seven things.
These are the different functions Paul says.
If you have a function, he says you ought to be filling that function and he doesn't go into great detail here.
He just lists them.
Prophecy Ministry teaching exhortation giving.
Leading and mercy, and so for us to understand these different positions.
I I want to just walk through some definitions.
These are definitions that I put together as we went through the equipped to serve.
Of course, and so if you bend through that, it's a little bit of a refresher, but definitions to help us understand each of these different roles and functions so that then we can begin to build on that and consider perhaps what the Lord wants to minister to our hearts about, and so let's first consider prophecy.
You can think about prophecy this way, prophecy.
Is delivering the right word at the right time to the right?
It's delivering the right word at the right time to the right person.
We've talked about this many times.
Prophecy we often tide to foretelling the future, but really it means to speak on behalf of God and so it's the idea of giving forth a word from the Lord.
And so, as I'm teaching on Sundays and Wednesdays, as someone is up here, sharing the word.
We do believe and there should be words of prophecy that are going forth.
It's not just a teaching through the scripture, a teaching of doctrine, but also interspersed in the teaching is individual words, and I I'm sure that you've experienced that where God has spoken to you prophetically, as you have sat through Bible studies.
Have you, as you've been involved in services and sitting under the teaching of the word of God, and so it's the right word at the right time to the right person?
All right, the next gift to consider the next role to consider is ministry.
Ministry is serving with compassionate love to meet needs.
We have some kind of built in ideas.
When the word ministry is used that often refers to the official occupational, you know, role of a pastor or something like that.
But ministry simply means.
To serve, and so it's the idea of serving with compassionate love to meet practical needs to take care of things that need to be taken care of.
It's a very practical idea.
Practical role within the body of Christ.
Well then you have the role of teaching.
Teaching is the instructing in doctrine and truth, and in practice it's the educational aspect.
It's the laying out of what God has declared what God says in his word, and that is an important and valuable role within the body of Christ.
Then you have the gift of exhortation or the role of exhortation.
You can understand this as it's coming alongside people to comfort and encourage them to obey and trust God.
Exhortation is a side by side type of role where you come alongside and and really help people encourage people energized people to step forward to go forward.
And to press on in the things that God has called them to that they would obey and trust God.
It's a, it's a very helpful role to help us to engage further steps of faith and and continue on in the path that God has set before us.
Well, we also have the role of giving.
Giving is when God gives you resources to meet physical, practical or financial needs that he gives you the opportunity to be generous and he provides for you the resources to do that.
So he enables you and equips you with.
Finances with physical goods with whatever might be necessary for you to be generous and to give to these needs that exist within the body of Christ.
And so, giving is one of those roles that God has established here within his church.
It's one of the positions on the team.
Well then we also have leading.
And the idea here is really of administration.
It's overseeing it's organizing leading ministries, events, activities, putting things together, helping to, you know, set things in order, and set things in place that the team can continue to function and move forward.
And then finally the role of mercy.
And so this position on the team is fulfilled by showing compassion to the broken.
To the weary, to the discouraged, or to those who are experiencing the consequences of sin.
It's really a similar to exhortation, whereas exhortation is a, you know, kind of like a cheerleader role like come alongside.
Come on, you could do it.
Let's go, let's go let's go.
Mercy is a role of hey, I'm sorry this is going on in your life.
I know it's really hard, but God's with you and and it's that role of coming alongside to bring comfort to kind of.
Bring an ointment you know to those open wounds to to bring some relief to those who are struggling and suffering and and hurting.
And so this idea of mercy is an important role within the church within the body of Christ.
And so understanding these positions on the team is kind of where we're starting.
Just getting our feet wet a little bit, understanding these different pieces.
I know you don't have all those memorized just by going through them.
Once I did print out the worksheet from the the workbook they equipped to serve book and that's on the back table with those definitions.
And so if you want to grab that leader.
And you're like oh thanks Jerry.
Well now you tell me after I wrote down all those things sorry I meant to have mentioned it before but but it's there if you want to grab it, you're able to review those things.
But again, going diverse 6.
Paul says having then gifts differing according to the grease that is given to us.
Let us use them.
So these are the gifts.
These are the roles that God has given us and the the point that Paul is seeking to make is not so much look at all these definitions, but really.
Put these into practice.
And and these are the roles that are necessary.
These are the functions that need to be fulfilled within a gathering together of believers.
And so these roles as we look at them, we need to understand they're essential.
I would go Even so far as to say this.
If these roles are not being fulfilled.
Then what we're doing when we gather cannot really be called church.
It's it's not the body of Christ gathering together if these roles are not being fulfilled.
If if we're not engaging in these things, I was thinking about what Paul wrote to the Corinthians and First Corinthians Chapter 11.
He tells them therefore, when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord's supper.
Here for an eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others.
One is hungry and another is drunk.
Paul says what you're doing.
You're calling the Lord Supper and everybody.
Is under the idea.
And under the impression that it's the Lord Supper.
But Paul says I need to tell you it's not the Lord supper what you're doing in the way that you're doing it.
You're not remembering the Lord.
You're not partaking of the Lord Supper in that way, in a similar way, I think it's appropriate for us to consider.
These roles in the body of Christ are important.
They're essential, and if they're not being fulfilled then we need to understand that it's not the assembling of the brethren together.
It's not the gathering of the body of Christ, it's something else.
And and you know, we can become a club.
Or you know, just.
Friends hanging out.
Participating in a hobby together you know that kind of thing and and what we need is more than that.
We need to be gathering together in a way where the body of Christ is really in effect where these roles are active and these roles and functions on the team are being fulfilled.
And continue considering that I want to move on to the second point tonight and that is that.
Scale to all gathering sizes.
And this is.
Really, what began to?
Fester is not the right word, but I'm going to say it anyways.
It began to fester in my mind Sunday afternoon, that the idea of scale.
The idea of these positions, these roles being essential.
Really means that they have to scale, otherwise you know only mega churches that could fulfill all these roles.
Could you know really be the body of Christ, but now these these positions scale to all.
Gathering sizes when they're when there's a gathering of believers, two or three gathered in the name of Christ.
There is a fulfillment of these roles that is possible if we will allow the Lord to direct US and guide us looking.
Universes 4 through 6 real quick.
Richard, can you turn off the copier in the office?
The causing the lights to flicker.
Thank you for filling your role on the team, Richard Alright verses 46, it says for as we have many Members in one body, but all the Members do not have the same function.
So we being many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another, having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us.
As Paul introduces this idea, these roles again, he makes it clear this is for all believers.
We have many Members, but it's one body.
Different functions within the body of Christ were members of one another and the exhortation is whatever that role is that you've been given.
Let us use them and and this teaching about these roles that Paul is giving was true for the Romans.
As he's writing to the Romans, right, this was true for the Romans.
The church in Rome, but it was also true for the church in Corinth.
And it was true for the church in or the churches in Galatia.
And it's true in Corona.
And so we're talking about.
Different scales because all of these churches are different sizes and have different capacities and and work and operate slightly differently and so these things are not just limited to you know the ideal situation with a fully equipped and fully staffed.
Congregation, but this is any time there is a genuine gathering of the body of Christ.
These roles are active or have the potential to be active and fulfilled in that gathering together in that meeting of those believers.
And I think this is interesting to consider and still applies to the team sport, idea, and thinking about baseball.
Now on the grand scheme of things you can think about Major League Baseball, right?
And at that scale, baseball is like a huge business empire.
It's a machine, right?
Uh, you know 8 to 10 coaches on the team.
You have all of these different like roles that are just within the coaching staff that are just in the administration and then the managers and then the you know advertising and sales and marketing.
And like all the back end the behind the scenes and then you have all the team that's on the field and those are playing.
But you have the backups for those teams and then.
You know, like there's not just nine people on it on the field when it comes to professional baseball, right?
But when you look at those nine positions on the field, there's there's a.
Consistency as you scale that down to you can go all the way down to just like kids in a neighborhood.
Playing baseball together, like all the fundamentals, are there and the positions are there, but but they might change and modify depending on the type of baseball that's being.
And so you can think about professional baseball and the scale at the like greatest degree.
You can scale that down a little bit to maybe think about school, baseball university or Community College or high school and and there's again, varying degrees, different levels of how many coaches there are, how many you know.
Second string, I don't know if they use second string in baseball, but you know, like the the backups of the the different roles and positions.
Like there's there's a lot of diversity, but at the same time there's a lot of consistency.
You go down to Little League baseball and again, it it all scales.
It's the same fundamentals.
But also the same positions on the field and you still probably have coaches, but it's scaled down quite a bit, right?
And so there's a different approach as Little League baseball is going on, and then again, thinking about the neighborhood.
And I think the the neighborhood picture you know so.
You want to go home and watch Sandlot later and think about these things.
There's some spiritual implications there.
You know kids in the neighborhood playing baseball, right?
Like kids in the neighborhood can play baseball, even if it's just two of them playing catch.
You're playing baseball, right?
I mean, yes, you're not filling all the positions literally, but in a sense, you're.
Filling the role right?
You're practicing the fundamentals.
You're you're playing baseball.
If you got three kids, you know maybe you start to to play pickle, right?
And so now you're practicing the stealing the bases or going from base to base or tagging people out and there's the throwing.
There's the catching.
There's a running like there's there's these different pieces.
And and it's.
All translatable too, although we scale it all the way up to Major League Baseball professional baseball.
I used to play.
I think I've played anyways or I knew about it, or someone told me about it.
But anyways, there was a game called 3 flies up right and and so basically this way you would throw the ball to yourself so you're fulfilling the role of the pitcher.
And the batter at the same time, right?
So you throw the ball to yourself, boom, you hit it.
And then you got friends out there to catch the ball.
And when someone catches the ball three times, then it's their turn and they come in then now they take the role of pitcher and the role of batter and they throw the ball to themselves and boom.
And so you have the outfielders and you know, like you're, you're filling all these different roles, but it looks a little bit differently depending on the scale.
Of the game that is happening, I think that paints some really important pictures for us to consider when we think about the team.
Of you know God, Church, the the body of Christ, that as we gather together, it's a it's a team event.
And in a similar way, these different roles and positions and these fundamentals are all at work, no matter the scale that we're dealing with in a gathering together of believers.
And so thinking about the roles within the body of Christ.
Prophecy Ministry teaching exhortation giving.
Leading and mercy.
These are the roles that again, are essential that.
Are an important part.
Of the gathering together of God, people and if we are not active in these roles, then we're not the gathering of the body of Christ were something else.
And that's true when it's two or three of us gathering, or when it's.
Our biggest gathering that we experience as a church.
But whatever the scale might be, there needs to be.
The role of prophecy.
There needs to be the speaking forth of God.
There needs to be those who give the right word at the right time to the right person.
And I would apply this across every concept and every idea of gathering of believers that you can possibly imagine and think of.
So tomorrow night, as the ladies gathered together.
I think there's 14 ladies signed up.
There needs to be this roll of prophecy.
And ladies, you ought to be seeking the Lord for the role of prophecy and and looking to be used by the Lord to bring forth.
Because ladies, as you gather tomorrow, there are those who are going to be there who need to hear from the Lord and the right word to the at the right time to the right person is a need that is there.
And when there is children, ministry that is happening.
Well, there needs to be the role of prophecy involved in that that it's not just.
Here, watch a video.
Be distracted while parents are, you know in church but.
But that God's word is going for it that you're able to bring forth a word from God at a level that four year olds can understand that they can know that that God was ministering to them and speaking to them.
When it's two or three of us, sometimes on a Wednesday night, there needs to be the role of prophecy and sometimes, as I mentioned, that's fulfilled as I'm teaching or whoever is teaching that there are words of prophecy that are going forth.
But I would suggest to you that it's not just that that's not the only way that that role is fulfilled.
In fact, it's the like least way that that role should be fulfilled, like the the majority of the time, that that should be fulfilled would really be in our own interactions individually as we're gathering together as.
Believers, and so if you're serving as an usher, if you're you know involved in a small study, a home Bible study, whatever it might be.
If it's going to be a gathering together of believers, a function that is the church, the body of Christ gathering.
There needs to be the role of prophecy at work.
In the midst of it.
There also needs to be the role of ministry.
Again, this is very practical.
Serving with compassionate love to meet needs and so ministry could be fulfilled in a variety of ways depending on whatever needs are there so changing diapers could be ministry, it's very practical serving.
To meet the needs that are there, it might be you know, cleaning up, moving things around it might be you know helping someone to their car or from their car.
It it, it's just whatever it needs to be done physically.
Practically as the church gathers together and so having compassion and love to meet one another.
Needs to help each other.
Again, not necessarily limited to the context of you know, service time before service after service, but any time believers are gathering together, and so it might be a dinner you know, and so it's a time of ministry.
It's a gathering together of three or four believers, and there is the practical cooking.
There is the practical.
Serving of dishes and and facilitating the rest of the ministry.
Opportunities that are going to be there.
Well, there also needs to be, as believers gather together the role of teaching.
Where there is some instruction, there's some doctrine.
There's practice that that the conversations are not just, you know, random, whatever, but at whatever scale.
Again, if we're talking about a service with thousands of people, or if we're talking about two or three people gathered together, there needs to be the the center of God.
Truth that is focused on that is navigated towards as conversations happen, as teachings are brought forth.
As you know people are talking and discussions into that that there would be the holding to the doctrine to the truth.
Of what God has revealed in his word.
There also needs to be the role of exhortation.
Now again, you can look at all these things and you can, just, you know, limit them to.
This all happens on the stage at a church service, but again, I would suggest like what happens on the stage is is a small piece of what God intends for the the team to be playing right?
We should not.
Think of it in the sense of baseball, as there's the nine people on the field. And then there's the 50,000 people in the stadium watching, right? That's that's not what God intends. Like if it's a 50,000 people gathering, then God intends.
This for 50,000 people to be on the team, right? That that there's as many positions as there are people at the gathering.
That that there is opportunity to be involved, and so in the stands in the stadium there is opportunity for Prophecy Ministry, teaching or perhaps exhortation.
The idea of coming alongside someone to strengthen to comfort, to encourage them to go forward and to trust God and so that can be fulfilled on the stage.
The worship ministry often times is a exhortation ministry.
Let's worship the Lord.
There's the the encouragement to go forward to trust God, to sing, to God, to cry out to the Lord.
But but also I would suggest even more important, you know that happens even when just there's two or three people gathered together, and there's the exhortation in regards to the things that God is doing and saying to press forward and to walk in faith with the Lord.
The role of giving is one that is essential and one that scales again no matter what size, no matter what gathering it is that we're talking about.
If it's a gathering of the body of Christ, then there needs to be the role of giving where there's the opportunity and the generosity to meet physical, practical and financial needs.
There there needs to be some generosity that's being expressed.
Some love that is being expressed in that way as a as a small gathering.
As a big church service, whatever the case might be that in a similar way it scales and there's you know as much giving opportunity when there's two or three as there is when there's hundreds or thousands.
Or maybe it's inverted.
Actually, maybe there's more opportunities to give when it's just a few.
Again, depending on the situation and the work that God wants to do.
But it's one of those essential roles that God has given to the body of Christ.
There's the role of leading and again any size gathering of believers.
Needs a little bit of leadership, a little bit of administration, a little bit of direction, and the involvement changes, right?
Just as you think about coaches, right?
Hey, there's not a lot of leadership needed when kids are playing baseball out in the street.
You know, playing three flies up, or you know, playing catch or just, you know, playing a unstructured game of baseball.
But but there always is.
Is some type of leadership some type of organization?
As you know people are playing different parts.
If the kids are fighting.
And you know everybody is trying to be the pitcher?
Well, then you're not playing baseball, right?
So there's some organization.
There's some administration.
OK, I'm going to pitch now and then you're going to hit and then we're going to swap.
And you know, there's some kind of thing, but then you go up the scale and now you begin to have official coaches and positions.
And there's leading and administration that increases as as you go up.
You know to professional baseball in a similar way with it, with a gathering together of believers.
Yeah, there might not be need to be like I'm the pastor of this gathering of two or three people, and so you must listen to me, right?
But at the same time, there's going to be those who say, hey, you know we should take a moment and pray, right?
And, and so you're bringing some structure.
You're bringing some administration we we should and and applying some organization or leadership.
To the event to the gathering.
But then again, as you kind of scale up as it's a bigger gathering and different people and more people are involved, then there is a greater need for administration.
And so there's those more kind of official roles of leading within the body of Christ in that.
Well and then finally mercy is a role in the body that scales from a gathering of two or three believers to a gathering of thousands of believers.
Anytime you get people together, there is the need for mercy.
There is the need for the love of God and the compassion of God to be expressed.
There's always struggles in our lives.
Difficulties and so if it's just a couple of US meeting for lunch, there's the need for mercy.
If we come to church on a Wednesday night, there's the need for mercy.
We gathered together on a Sunday morning or for a women's Bible study or a a men's event there. There is the need for mercy for.
People to be brought the the comfort from the Lord.
The encouragement to not give up to not quit that God is with them and is able to work with them through whatever it is that they are going through.
And so these positions, these roles within the body of Christ scale too.
Whatever size is happening as the body of Christ is gathering together, and if these positions are not happening, it's not a church gathering.
It's not the body of Christ at work, it's something else.
And so with that, I would encourage you to then be praying about OK, so as we're gathering who's fulfilling these roles and and for us as members of the body to be thinking about that right.
So don't put this all on me alright Jerry, you need to schedule the Prophet you know who's going to fulfill the role of prophecy for this gathering.
And then who's going to fulfill the role of mercy, right?
Like that's not really my role to dictate everybody elses role, right?
There's so much happening that's way beyond anything that I can understand or be aware of when the body of Christ is gathering.
And so I I want to share these things with you, and this was on my heart to share with the body so that we could be seeking the Lord as we're perhaps driving to the gathering.
Lord, what role do you want me to fulfill?
You know, sometimes we think about roles within the body of Christ and we're like making lifelong commitments, you know, and so we're not making any commitments because it's like, I'm not really sure if I'm ready to commit to that role for the rest of my life, right?
I would encourage you to think about it each time.
Just let it be new and fresh each time.
If the Lord wants to lead you to a commitment to something that is for the rest of your life, well, he will lead you to that, and that will be impressed upon you.
But you don't have to like blindly.
Just like, alright, I'm going to choose this and that's my role for the rest of like, no, no, hey you're coming to church on a Wednesday night.
Which of these roles?
Do you plan to fulfill?
Because, again, the in God's.
Perspective it's there's not people in the stands that are not doing anything like spectator is not one of the roles that Paul lists here, right?
Like there's a role.
There's some mercy that God wants you to show to somebody.
Or there's some exhortation that God wants you to give to somebody, or there's some generosity that God wants you to show to somebody that as we gather together, you should be looking through this list, thinking through, praying through Lord.
What role do you want me to fulfill?
I want to be part of.
The body tonight.
At this gathering and be part of the work that God is doing.
Well, as you continue to think about that I I think there's another aspect of this that's important for us to consider as well, and that is that team positions defend against opponents.
These positions are not just random arbitrary things.
But these positions got established.
In the body of Christ for strategic reasons, because these are things that the body of Christ needs. And so when we gather together whatever scale it is, two or three people gathering together thousands of people gathering together these roles, these positions on God's team are really important.
When it comes to the attacks of the enemy, when it comes to the battle that we face now again, if you think about baseball, like why is someone on first base?
Well, because it's a strategic place to be positioned.
If you're seeking to win against your opponent right, why is there someone in center field?
Or left field.
That's the thing that I remember about baseball, right?
Like left field center field, right field, those are the things that hardly nothing happens, at least in the little kid stage of it, right?
Like there's not a lot of activity and so you can just feel like I'm just out here for no reason.
I'm just, you know.
No purpose out here.
There is a purpose because when the ball gets hit there, if there's not somebody there, the opponent has a really significant advantage, right?
In a similar way as you think about the roles within the body of Christ, you need to understand these are not just random arbitrary things and concepts these.
Our strategic positions that are essential and crucial, and if we don't fulfill these roles within the body of Christ, our opponent has a significant advantage.
That kind of traditional enemies to consider for us as believers is the world, the flesh, and the devil.
And and I'm not going to go into and pursue like all of the different concepts that could be attached to this and all the ideas that it could be unfolded, but I want to encourage you to think through that.
The main point here is that.
These positions defend against.
The opposition listen the enemy wants to destroy people and when believers gather together he doesn't like it.
He hates it.
And if we don't fulfill these roles, we are opening up ourselves.
To some opportunity to lose.
To lose some ground to lose, some runs to have some victories on the enemy side on our opponents side.
Think about that.
The role of prophecy, right?
Started in the garden.
The enemy said, did God really say?
The right word at the right time for the right person.
Listen, there's people who gather in the midst of our gatherings and the enemy is bringing this attack.
And there's this struggle with did God say this and and there is the need then for people to hear the right word at the right time.
That there would be this opportunity for them to hear from the Lord, to have a word from the Lord to counteract that attack that is happening against what God is saying.
Now that could be fulfilled in the role of prophecy.
Or you could also think about it in the role of teaching, right?
Maybe it's not so much a.
A thing that is happening internally, but it's a more of a doctrinal issue, right?
And there's what is Seton?
He's the father of lights.
There's the lies that are being told and people are gathering together and there's lies that are being believed.
There's deceit that's happening.
There's there's issues that are going on and, and there needs to be a defence against.
That we need to.
Defend and and work against the opponent.
And so if we're not fulfilling this role, teaching Prophecy Ministry exhortation, giving leading mercy.
Again, I don't have time to go through all of these and to kind of explore all of the ways that this is fulfilled.
But but I would encourage you to.
Think through that that all.
Of these, each of these.
There's real attacks of the enemy that correspond with all of these roles, and when these roles are not fulfilled, we are really giving the enemy a significant advantage.
And again, this isn't all on me, Jerry.
You got to figure out how we're going to fulfill all these roles.
It is on me in the sense that I need to be praying.
I need to be seeking the Lord for these things.
I need to be fulfilling these roles as God gives me opportunity.
I need to be equipping you.
The body of Christ to be fulfilling these roles but but there's also your piece of this where you need to.
Be coming together to a gathering of believers.
Understanding this is not just me going to church because I I just thought you know, I really enjoy.
Well, I didn't know Jerry was leading worship, but normally I know I really enjoy worship and and then it's really great.
But you know that I'm coming because it's not just that I need the time with the Lord.
But also as the gathering of believers is happening.
There's battles that are going on.
There's there's an opponent that's on the field at the same time, there's attacks that are happening and I need to be part of the defense.
I need to be part of the offense.
I need to be part of the work of God in putting down the attacks of the enemy and bringing forth.
The work of God and the truth of God in the midst of that gathering of believers.
And so the final thing.
That I want to consider with you tonight.
As we talk about Christian gatherings being team events
Can you come out to play?
It's like knocking on your door.
Can Richard come out to play?
I, I think this is an important picture for us.
Again, this idea of neighborhood kids.
Playing ball together.
I think that's a better picture of the gathering together of believers than than we might realize sometimes.
And and so.
When I'm knocking on the door saying he can Richard come out to play and Richard runs out to play, it's not to go watch other kids play right?
It's like, yeah, I'm going to go participate.
I'm going to go be a part of the team, and even if it's just two or three of us throwing the ball around, playing three flies up or pickle, or maybe there's enough of us to have a.
A bit of a game, you know.
We only fulfill three or four positions on the field, but but we can hit.
We can run.
Someone can pitch to us and and we can pretend like we're in the major leagues and have a great time, right?
But we're all engaged, we're all participating.
Can you come out to play on the team?
Can you come?
Out and contribute.
To the gathering of believers together having then Versuchs gifts according different gifts according to the Grace that is given to us, let us use them.
The point is.
Use the gifts.
Put them into action, fulfill the role, do the work, do something, come together and be part.
Participate in the body of Christ.
It's an essential part, again just as.
Kids on a baseball team like you have a role to play.
You're the shortstop.
You're the pitcher.
You're the catcher.
If there's enough, we fill all the positions.
If there's not enough, then well, one person is fulfilling multiple roles.
And that's the same in the gathering of believers.
If there's just two or three of us, what all of these roles are shared between the two or three of us?
It's not one person doing all the roles.
But we also don't want roles left out right.
Those functions are necessary functions for the body of Christ, and so there's.
Single people doing multiple roles and married people doing multiple roles, but it's an individual who has more than one role more than one function in that gathering.
And that's true for us.
Again, whether it's two or three people gathering together or us gathering together for a service and so.
I want to kind of finish this thought.
Inviting you to come out to play with three specific things that are on my heart for us specifically here at living water and specifically at this time.
That that there's some things that I really believe the Lord is put on my heart for us to consider right now at this time at living water, different times maybe different things would be necessary to share, but at this time there's three things here that I believe God wants us to consider.
Pay attention to these roles.
More than stage roles.
You guys understand.
We are operating on a, you know, bare bones infrastructure right now and you can see as I lead, worship and then come over to teach and I'm thankful that Rick was here to lead prayer.
Otherwise, I would be leading prayer in between right?
I'm thankful that no is here.
Otherwise I'd be running sound and and we have things set up so that.
I can run sound and I can change the cameras and I can lead worship and I can teach and we like we have it set up so that we can operate just if it's only me I can operate.
Most of service myself.
And that is often what is.
On our mind, right?
Even Jonathan was mentioning this on Sunday.
He's like pray for Jerry, right?
And I appreciate that.
And I need your prayers.
I'm not going to dispute that at all.
At the same time I I think we need to shift our focus a little bit and stop being so preoccupied with.
Oh man, Jerry is doing so much like never feel sorry for me.
For the roles that I fulfill here at the church.
Like the Lord has plans to reward me for it so it's worth it right?
And and I'm paid to be here like this is my job.
This is my role to fulfill all the roles that need to be fulfilled as we gather together like that.
That is the job.
That is what I'm called to do.
The famous statistic that Jonathan almost quoted on Sunday, 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people.
You know that's that's true, and that's always been true, and that's not really going to change, because really, that statistic is focused on the obvious and.
Visible efforts of the body of Christ.
But I would suggest to you that the roles that are listed there.
In Romans chapter 12.
Are primarily not about what happens on stage.
But are primarily about what happens in between the members as we gather together, it's more individual.
And so be thinking like don't be distressed.
Oh man, what a what a tragedy it is that you know the same person is leading worship and then teaching.
Sure, if we scale up and reach the major leagues, there will be plenty of space for different people to fulfill all the different positions, right?
That makes sense, but but.
I shared a while back.
And I think we need to to revisit this a little bit that we.
We kind of need to understand our church and have a kind of a perspective about living water that we're kind of like a church plant, right?
If we send Richard out to plant a church, we're not going to expect there to be a whole administration that goes with him, right?
We're going to expect Richards going to lead worship and Richardson be teaching.
And he's going to be printing the Flyers and he's going to, you know.
That there's going to be.
These multitude of roles that are fulfilled by the one like that's part of.
That process that's part of that stage in ministry and it's a little bit difficult for us because we didn't always.
We weren't always at this stage.
And so for those of us who've been around a while, it's really hard for us to kind of capture that church plant mentality, and so we think it's a shame.
Oh, what a shame that you know there's all of these different things being fulfilled by one person.
Or there's so few people to do these things, but that's just the natural process of growth.
And for us, it's the natural process of life that there are.
Full times and less times and so.
I would encourage you don't don't even be concerned about what's happening on the stage and and, well, you know how difficult that is and we need to like step in like that's that's all secondary.
The greater focus I would suggest is on these roles.
Individually between members of the body of Christ.
And so that's my next thing to encourage you each gathering.
Each time you get together, whether it's two or three people, whether it's you know an official service.
Whether it's a lunch?
A home Bible study or a home gathering or just a time of prayer?
Seek to fulfill a role.
You don't have to get hung up on making a life decision.
I'm always going to have this role right, but Paul tells us to desire earnestly to prophecy.
Like every time we gather together with other believers, there should be an earnest desire.
Speak through me.
Give me things to share on your behalf.
Like, that's the idea that Paul is conveying there in First Corinthians chapter 12.
We should always be.
Inviting the Holy Spirit to give us that role.
Within a gathering, and so each gathering each time we gather together, seek to fulfill a role.
You have some role to fulfill.
Each time there's a gathering together at the body of Christ, and if you don't have a role to fulfill or those roles aren't being fulfilled again, it's not a church gathering.
It's not the body of Christ gathering, it's something else.
And that not that those kinds of gatherings are wrong, but but we need to understand when we gather together as the body of Christ.
There's these roles.
These functions that God wants to work out in our midst.
They're important because the enemy is fighting against us and seeking to destroy our lives and destroy other peoples lives.
And so these are essential things for us as the body of Christ to engage in.
To participate in the giving and the receiving of all of these roles.
And then the last thing on the list there I would suggest is.
Let's not try to fill a Major League roster.
Again, this can be challenging for us because.
We've experienced different times of ministry and in the past we've had great variety.
You know we've had a consistent worship leader who you know was always here to lead worship and and that was a blessing and there was times in our password.
We had like more worship leaders and we knew what to do with where other pastors would look at me and say man, I'm so jealous of you 'cause it's like we're just, you know, playing a DVD for worship and and here you have like 50 worship leaders and.
You know, like oh, I'm so jealous you know of of your ministry and and so we were there.
We're not in that situation anymore.
I would suggest this is not like you know some.
Devastation this is just the natural progression of the life cycle that God is walking us through, and so we need to be careful not to try to.
Kind of match what we used to be able to do, which you might refer to as Major League, right?
We we we need to be careful not to try to like fill that roster well we need to have you know this many ushers and we need to have a parking lot attendant and this many children ministry teachers and we need to have this many events during the week and we need to have like like we don't have to try to fill.
And match what we used to do or what other churches are doing.
All of these roles can be fulfilled in the gathering if it's just two or three.
People, and so two or three of us show up on Wednesday night together.
That's not a tragedy, it's a gathering together of believers and all of these roles will be fulfilled as we give God opportunity.
He's kind of minister.
He's going to fight back the enemy and we're going to be blessed as we participate.
We're going to be blessed as we receive.
And so as a church, these three things is what I would encourage us to really consider pay attention.
To the roles of first kind of Romans.
Chapter 12 more than the stage roles more than the official capacities or signing up for some service in some way come to each gathering seeking to fulfill a role, not trying to fill a roster of like we've got to put all these positions in place.
Now just let's just come, let's let it be kids gathering together in the playground.
Having a good time, let's gather together.
With the willingness with the desire to be used by God to fulfill the role that he's given to us for that gathering.
Like later on, God may develop and establish more permanent.
You know, more long lasting.
Rules, but don't even worry about that.
You know next time you really gather together to play baseball in the park.
Like maybe I'm going to be the picture this time.
Maybe I'm going to be the catcher next time you know, like it's OK.
I just whatever roles available and whatever role God wants me to to use or to to fulfill, like that's that's what I want to do.
And as we gather together with.
Believers I I would suggest that's where we are as a church now we just need to come just expecting to be used by God looking for opportunity to fulfill one of these roles and functions ministering to one another, receiving from one another as God enables us.
Lord, I thank you for your word.
The opportunity to consider your desire for us to be part of your work.
I pray God that you would continue to allow these things too.
Work in our hearts and minds load that we might gather together in a way that is truly a outpouring of your Holy Spirit, a working fourth of your body, ministering to one another in the way that you intend.
And so Lord enable us, equip us, give us clarity and stir up in our hearts Lord.
The desire to serve.
You each time we gather together I pray this in Jesus name.