Gifts & Calling // Part 4
For the last few Sundays, we’ve talked about the gifts and calling of every member of the Body of Christ; every member has gifts that are given to reveal Jesus and to finish His ministry. Every believer is called to use those giftings in service to others. You may remember that Bill Bright and Loren Cunningham came up with the seven societal influencers or as they were called “mountains”. These seven influencers are: Religion, Business, Government, Media, Entertainment, Family, and Education. God has called each one of you to minister on one of these mountains. So, we’ve said we should go, but how do we get started? Let’s start by hearing Pastor Parkey’s story.
Pastor Parkey came to Christ at 25 years of age and was blessed to be added to a church that was hotly seeking God. In his early days in the church, they taught him two revelations that have served to motivate him all his life – to this very day:
1. Contact Knowledge of God.
You may remember that this was included in Ephesians 4:11-13 as one of the areas that the body of Christ is to grow in and through. Pastor Parkey’s pastor taught him that to follow Christ meant to be in fellowship with Him daily. This was accomplished in two primary ways:
A. Knowing the Word of God – the Bible.
You can’t skip this and go on. The Bible is your safety net and your fail safe. It is the only thing on the Earth that reveal the nature and plan of God. 95% of the will of God for your life is found in the Bible. If you don’t know the Bible, you cannot know God’s thoughts or heart. You have nothing with which to discern if something is God or not. Every spiritual gift or method is dangerous without the Bible. If you don’t like to read or can’t, learn to read. Early education in America was founded for two reasons: first, as a skill to help people in business and society, and second, so that the citizens could read the Bible. If you don’t know the Bible, you miss 95% of God’s will for your life, and trying to find the other 5% is dangerous because of the possibility of deception.
Pastor Parkey’s pastor told him that without a prayer life, we get spiritually dry. He showed him what the Bible said about prayer and how to pray. He said that the Christian life went from natural to supernatural through prayer. We have a great privilege in that we get to hear the voice of God. It is in prayer that we get the other 5% of the will of God for our lives: take this job, marry this person, talk to this man, move to this place, etc.
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.” /// Psalm 27:8 (NLT)
"I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food." /// Job 23:12 (NASB)
2. The Calling to Minister.
Pastor Parkey’s calling to ministry didn’t come until after he accepted the calling to minister found in Ephesians 4:11-13. Knowing that as a member of the Body of Christ he was called to minister wherever God sent him changed everything in his life. His job became an opportunity to minister and apply the Word of God. His work reflected the Savior. He learned how to treat and manage his employees through the Bible. He discipled his employees at work, which he saw as a way to bring Jesus to people. So the two revelations, the contact knowledge of God and the calling to minister, have motivated Pastor Parkey’s life to this day!
Now, if you don’t accept these two revelations, the same thing happens that happened to the people Moses led. They were called to be a kingdom of priests. God told Moses to have them all come to the mountain to hear His voice and learn to fear Him. When God came down upon the mountain and the people saw Him and heard His voice, they responded this way: “What God is asking us to do is too transformational, so Moses – you do it for us and be the intermediary between us and God and what you tell us to do, we will do.” It didn’t work because there is a two-fold purpose in contact knowledge of God:
1. To learn to hear His voice.
2. To learn to fear Him.
If you reject contact knowledge of God, the same thing happens to you. You will not know how to hear God for yourself and you will not fear Him. So, we recreate a new breed like the children of Israel: a frustrated, floundering people who have a second hand knowledge of God without a true fear of Him which has produced in them a selective obedience and an unhealthy dependence upon Moses to be their sole source of revelation. Even knowing your spiritual gifts is not an antidote for this floundering. There is no common pathway to the calling of pastor or prophet. The first step for one may not be the first step for another.
How many of you will take your mountain? There is no substitute for the two things we have talked about today! No one can go to the mountain for you nor can anyone tell you how to get there but God!
- Joshua 14:6-12 (NKJV)
- Ephesians 4:11-13
- Psalm 27:8 (NLT)
- Job 23:12 (NASB)
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