A Gospel Mobilized Church
Why does it seem that in church 20% of the people do 80% of the work? Perhaps it is because we have adopted a consumerist mindset: we go to church to consume and not to contribute. Or perhaps it is because we have adopted a professionalized view of ministry: only those who are pastors are really equipped to serve. Well, whatever the reasons are that keep us from serving, it is only through the gospel that we can overcome these inhibitors and serve. This week, we considered how the gospel motivates our service and ministry.
First, we saw how the gospel tells that our righteousness and our good works are God’s gift to us. Therefore, salvation does not stop with the forgiveness of sins, but includes the righteous persons we become and the righteous things we will do. Good works are not so much what we do for God, good works are God’s gift to us (Eph 2:10). Secondly, the gospel tells us that we have been tailor-made for a specific work, designed by God to accomplish a job prepared for us. While other believers were designed by God to do other things, even similar things, no one else is created to do those very things God has created you to do. The gospel tells us that God makes us useful.
While we were made useful, we were not made to be useful by ourselves. We only do specific gifts. Thus the gospel also tells us that we were designed to work on a team, to be part of a body, the church, which is made up of different people with different gifts and strengths. The implications of this for our service are spelled out in 1 Cor 12:12–13.
As 1 Cor 12:12–13 makes clear, we were not just saved into a personal relationship with Jesus; we were saved into a community, a body of believers and in that body, we all have a part to play. Thus the gospel also tells us that we were saved to be needed. This is not to say that we are without flaws. Of course there are areas of brokenness and sin in our lives. But God is greater than our flaws; and in creating us for good works, he can even use these flaws for his good purposes and our personal growth.
If all this is true, then the thing we need most to overcome our lack of service is to believe the gospel—that by grace God gives us specific works to do and in Christ has equipped us to do them.