Redeemer Presbyterian Church Sermons
Paul’s prayers for the churches he wrote to can seem counter-intuitive. Despite the hardships suffered by the early churches, Paul never prayed for alleviation of difficulties. Instead, he prayed that through their sufferings, the church would identify with the sufferings of Christ, and experience a deeper realization of God’s love.
No one person has all the spiritual gifts. Some have the gift of speaking truth, some have the gift of encouraging, and others have a gift for organization. It is only when people with diverse gifts come together that the church will best minister to those in need. Yet—as important as spiritual gifts are—developing Christian character must take precedence. If we are mainly concerned with Christian character but think little about gifts, then Christians will be effective in ministry.
We need a calling in life greater than the selfishness of our own hearts. When Elijah takes Elisha as his successor, we see an example of the call of God. Elisha did not call himself, but was called by God. Though he was rich, he gave up his wealth in order to answer God’s call. Likewise, every Christian must follow the specific call that God has laid out for them, and must fall back upon the grace of God when we inevitably fail to measure up to all that God has called us to do and to be.
In this talk, Tim Keller tries to elucidate several issues concerning spiritual gifts. First, we don’t choose which gifts we have; they are given by God. Secondly, the church body plays a role (but does not have the final say) in confirming a person’s gifts. Thirdly, we must be careful to never mistake our talents for spiritual fruit. Finally, Tim discusses the three elements to discerning a call: affinity, ability, and opportunity.
What is the connection between faith and work? The Bible affirms the goodness of creation and therefore the goodness of work. In this sermon, we see how even 1st century slaves found dignity in their work through the Gospel. Yet, the Gospel provides us not only with the motivation to work but with the ability to rest—because the ultimate work is not dependent upon us, but has already been performed by Jesus.
Additional scriptural references made in this sermon are: Luke 5:10-11; Psalm 130:4.
We are called to work because God also worked - He created the world! We can work for God by using our gifts for others. We also need rest from our work, which comes from our security in God through Christ.
Many recoil at the thought of being called to reside in a large city. Jonah felt the same way when God asked him to go to Nineveh, and he made every attempt and excuse to avoid the great city. Like Jonah, we may see crime, pollution, greed, and moral decay as deterrents to living in a city; but in God's eyes its peoples are precious, and his grace and mercy are available to all. Once we glimpse the heavenly eternal city, the city of God, we will share God’s view of the lost and will be able reach out in charity and love to a broken world.