Lesson 7 -- third quarter 2000
July 16, 2000
© Copyright 2000, Christian Light Publications
What makes a church grow?
Do I need to know my gift?
When I read of a congregation that is growing in numerical size, I almost always wonder if corresponding spiritual growth is taking place. I have to wonder, though, if I'm not also inclined to excuse my congregation's lack of growth in numbers by saying we are growing in spirituality.
I believe that a congregation's spiritual growth will naturally and inevitably lead to its numerical growth. So what causes a church to grow spiritually? Let's notice some factors from today's lesson text.
GIFTS (11-14). In His desire and work to see His church grow, God has given her gifts. These gifts take the form of members, every member! I believe the Scriptures teach clearly that God has purposefully placed each member in each congregation to enable it to grow toward fullness and completeness in Christ. Furthermore, God gives gifts to each of these members. And the proper use of these gifts will bring spiritual growth to the church.
TRUTH (15). Truth alone will likely do little to cause spiritual growth. Truth must be expressed before it can effectively do its work. Interestingly, though, for truth to be effective it must be communicated in love. So where does truth fit in your life and in the life of your congregation? May each of us stand on, walk in and live by truth.
HEAD (15,16). Here you have an amazing truth: the Head of the church enables all the members to work together. And when we all work together, we grow and grow up together in Him! Without the Head as the source of and reason for unity in the church, we would never grow spiritually. Is Christ truly the Head of your church? Remember, for Him to be so, He must be the Head of every individual member . . . including you. (By the way, just what does it mean for Christ to be the Head of a congregation or of an individual?!)
MEMBERS (16). As we already noted earlier, God has gifted every member in such a way as to bring to the body what it needs for growth and development. For such spiritual growth to take place, each member must faithfully supply its part and effectually do its assigned task. Nobody is along for the ride! These verses behoove us to be faithful stewards of the gift and position God has given us for and in the church.
I believe that each of these four elements is so important to spiritual growth and maturity that we cannot do without any. Ultimately, of course, three of these depend totally on the fourth. Without Him we can do nothing.
Many Christians want to know what spiritual gift(s) they have been blessed with. They read books, listen to messages and entire seminars, and take tests in their efforts to nail down their gifts. Why?
One reason advanced has to do with understanding themselves and other Christians better. That makes sense. Another rationale on the matter is that if we don't know our gift, we can't be faithful stewards of it. That also makes sense. Then there's the angle that knowing our gift frees us to use it for the edification of the church. And that makes sense, too.
I suggest to you that more important than knowing my gift is being fully yielded to the Head who knows my gift. If I really and truly know Him, then is it not conceivable that at His direction I could faithfully exercise my gift without even knowing what it is? Think about it.
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