We can contribute to something bigger than ourselves when we are partners with God.
Introduction & Review
A. We are God’s partners.
B. Partners cooperate to advance their mutual interest contributing money, skills, and resources and share in the profit and loss.
C. We are God’s partners in creation, the gospel, and the church.
I. Think like a partner. If we are going to act like partners, we must first think like partners. It’s important to examine our thoughts, not just our feelings. Thoughts create feelings, which lead to actions.
- Proverbs 4:23 states “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
- Luke 6:45 states “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
A. Think differently about God. There are lots of different ways that people think about God.
- Tyrant or taskmaster making demands. People respond to God thinking that he wants to take the joy out of life. If we think about God as a tyrant, we won’t want to be his partner. God has rules, but they were created because he loves and cares for us.
- Absentee owner. Some people think that God is uninvolved and not present for us to work with.
- A genie or a vending machine. Some people think that if you rub hard enough on the lamp, God will work for you. Or, if you do good works and behave well, God will give you what you want.
- A spoiling grandpa.
- A therapist. Some people think that God is supposed to make us happy and work through anxieties. God does help us, but sometimes he needs to make us a bit uncomfortable and unhappy to change us.
- A projection of our imagination.
We need to realize that God is the creator and our savior. He wants us to be his partner.
B. Think differently about ourselves. If God is our partner, life is a bit different. We will think of ourselves as a worker and not a shopper. As a shopper, we think that we are just going to be taken care of. As a worker, we go with the expectation that we will help others and contribute. We are makers and not just takers. We should also think about ourselves as being producers and not critics. In Mark 10:43b-44, Jesus states “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.””
II. Act like a partner.
A. Accept responsibility. People try very hard to not accept responsibility. Partners don’t say “this is not my responsibility”. Instead, they want to be responsible. James 4:17 states “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” Partners don’t withdraw. Love does things, and does not just think things.
B. Get to work. Partners take action, they produce work. They are not just critics. Ephesians 2:8-9 states that we are saved through faith and not works, but Ephesians 2:10 is very important because it explains that we have work to do.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
This is why one of our values is “active faith”. There are many needs in the world.
C. Make a contribution. Partners make a financial contribution. When partners are involved in a business, they put their money in. We must make a commitment.
III. Recognize God’s provision for partnership.
A. Time, Talent, Treasure, Temple, and Testimony.
- Time. Everyone has the exact number of hours in a day.
- Talent. Everyone has talent.
- Treasure. We all have some money.
- Temple. 1 Corinthians 6:19 states “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;”
- Testimony. We have the ability to witness to others and share the gospel.
B. There’s a difference between natural gifts and spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are used to advance God’s kingdom.