About Me

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I am the Pastor/Teacher of Rivers of Joy Baptist Church in Minford, Ohio since August 2008.  I am married to Charity since June 14, 1969.  I have four grown children.   Having served in the local church for over forty years as Pastor/Teacher, Asso., Youth Pastor, Minister of Education, Building Upkeep, Camp Director, Sunday School Teacher, etc. Also I have worked in the public place for as many years as I have preached. Charity and her sister are co owner of Union Mills Conf. (Bakery) in West Portsmouth Ohio

Spiritual Gifts Study

Now let me just introduce our thinking from another angle.

There can be no genuinely effective service, genuinely reciprocated service that is service in which we are blessed, unless we have first offered ourselves as a living sacrifice.
Now what this tells us is that the offering of living sacrifice kind of attitude to God, where I give up all that I am for His service, is not mystical, it is not falsely pious, it is not simple, but it is tremendously practical.
It is greatly practical because the intention of offering myself to God is so that I may become immediately useful to Him, that's the point. And so we look at it then from both sides, offering yourself to God is not something so mystical it's unrelated to ministry.

In fact, let me say it as simply as I can, if you tell me you've given yourself wholly to God and I see no effective ministry, then I don't believe what you tell me.

On the other hand, if you tell me you're serving the Lord but I see no total commitment to Him, I don't believe that either.
It's an either/or proposition.

Service to God has meaning and joint blessedness only when it is the outflow of total commitment. And total commitment is only total commitment when it produces effective service.
The two go together.

There are a lot of people who would want to make themselves, along with everybody else, believe that they have made a whole life commitment to Christ but when you look at their life you don't see any fleshing out of that commitment, you don't see any ministry, any meaningful ministry, any God-blessed ministry. You don't see them driven with a passion to serve, but rather they appear to be driven with a passion to indulge their own needs and desires.

On the other hand, you find people who are very, very busy, but when you get behind the scenes you find them very uncommitted to the realities of spiritual dedication.

A man who said, "Please meet with me and please pray with me." He said, "I've driven my wife away because I taught her by example how to be a Sunday saint and live any way you wanted all week long. And then when things started to fall apart in our marriage and I tried to call us to prayer and Bible reading, she thought it was another one of my facades." He said, "I have outwardly lived as a Christian, been active in the church, and the rest of the time lived a lie."
Well, that's not acceptable to God. That's not the kind of service He's looking for. There can be results from....there can be results from a carnal life. It's true.

There can be results when you're serving God quote/unquote without really being committed to Him, when you're doing it because you like to see yourself doing it, or you feel good doing it, or others think well of you when you do it, or there's even a desire in your heart to do it. There can be results.

And the reason is this, because the truth is so much more powerful than your limitations.

But the results are not going to mount up to you in terms of blessedness.
In other words, you can be used by God even in the midst of your non-commitment if you speak the truth because the truth is so much more powerful than your ability to limit it, but you will not receive the benefit. You will not be blessed.
And furthermore, you will short-circuit what could be done...what could be done. I mean, the message is so powerful, God can get it through a clogged vessel but think how much more wonderful if the vessel was clean...was clean.

I know there have been times in my life when I have taught the Word of God and maybe it's been a prideful motive, and the Word of God has accomplished great things,
but not what it would accomplish...and I've learned this...
when my life is as it ought to be and my motives are right.

Now would you notice that nobody is left out of this. Verse 3, "I say through the grace given to me to everyone...to everyone." And then you notice in verse 4, "As we have many members in one body and all members have not the same function, so we being many are one body in Christ and everyone members one of another."
And again he doesn't let anybody out. Every one of us who has come to Jesus Christ is called to make a supreme dedication to Him, as we saw in detail last week, out of which is to flow a life of service...unique to us.
If we say we're dedicated but there's not that life of service, our dedication is questionable. If we function on the outside but the dedication is on the inside, our service is very limited and accrues no blessing to us.

Now we're talking to everybody here, me and you and everybody else.

I would like to think that we will never be able again to successfully patronize ourselves with the idea that we are totally committed to God but there's not any meaningful service going on.

And I know that's true of our church and let me tell you something, folks, it's probably not the case of you who are faithful. But I know there are people in this church who believe they're committed to the Lord but if you look at their life and try to see where that actually comes out into service, it just isn't there

And if we do nothing else but eliminate that illusion that you can be committed to Christ with no basic ministry, with no basic service, with no passion for using the gift God's given you, then we've done service to all of us.
People say, "Well, I realize that I'm really dedicated to the Lord but right for now I'm busy with my job, I'm busy working, I'm busy shopping, I'm busy hobbying, I'm busy recreating, I'm busy vacationing, I'm...I'm busy resting...or whatever."
And there is a time for all of that. But dedication works out in service, that's what Paul is saying. The person who is doing that kind of self-deception, I hope, doesn't survive this passage.

Now let me just go back to this thought that we saw in verses 1 and 2 for one more kind of initial concept.
You will never know your gift. People always say, "Well, how can you know your gift?" I get asked that question a lot. How do you know your gift? You will never know your gift and you will never really know its potential until you have lived out Romans 1 and 2.

Because if you're not at the point of total dedication, whatever you're doing in terms of function and whatever you're doing in terms of service is not revealing to you the full definition or potention of your gift. You understand that? Because you're not operating at the level of total commitment.

Here is what I am trying to day here: it's sort of like the human brain