Evangelistic Outreach Ministries

By: Calvin Ray Evans

I Corinthians 1: 3 – 8

This is a special month for our nation. Not only is it the time of year when we recognize our veterans, it is also the celebration of Thanksgiving. We pause to count our blessings and praise the Lord for all He has done for us. During the great Welsh Revival it is reported they sang the song, “Count Your Blessings,” in every single service. The Psalmist said, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits…” (Psalm 68:19). This particular passage in the Bible is so bountiful in blessings that we need to count. There are certain things the Lord has given to us that we should thank Him for. Herein lies the key to a genuine Thanksgiving.

THE GRACE (vs. 3)

I read a sticker once that said, “Poverty is hereditary – we get it from our children.” For those of you who know the cost to raise a child, you may laugh at this but it is expensive. In fact, we all feel the high cost of living in these days. Sometimes the bills are more than we can pay. So many of us have seen times when there just seemed no way we could make it. According to the Bible, the Lord has given us the “riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7). I spend most of my time dealing with poor people. However, poverty is only limited to material possessions and money for Christians. The child of God may have very little of this world’s goods but they are still rich in His grace.

In this text, we find that we are not only rich in grace of the Lord but we are also “enriched” in Him (vs. 5). I know a little about enrichment. Many of my friends have worked at a facility where uranium was enriched. Literally, the process took the product and found a way to remove impurities to make it even richer. Hence, the term came to be known as enrichment. The Lord makes us rich in grace when He saves us. He makes us enriched in goodness as He sanctifies us. We are richer than rich!

When it comes to the grace of God, we know it is underserved. We do not work to get it. We can’t buy it. We know, “…the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ…”(vs.4). The reason the message of Christ is so important, there’s no other name given to us whereby we can be saved. It comes through Jesus!

A little boy was in need of some extra money. He came up with a brilliant idea. He made a list of all the chores he did for his mother. He wrote down every task he did and made a bill. At the bottom he placed a figure of the amount he felt his mother owed him. He then left the bill under his dinner plate for his mother to find.

When the mother found the bill she thought about it before responding. The next morning the boy found another bill beside his breakfast plate. His mother listed all the things she did for her son. From cleaning, to laundry, to cooking and all the special things she had done for her son all of his life. To the boy’s amazement, when he looked at the amount he owed his mother, he saw the words “Total Bill – NOTHING!” Hallelujah to the Lord. No matter what we do for Him it will never compare to the price He paid for us to be saved. For all the grace He has given, He says the charge is NOTHING! It was paid in full with His precious blood.

The grace of God is also undeniable. There is proof His grace has come and it is “confirmed in you” (vs. 6). You are a living demonstration of what His grace can do. I read about a local congregation who bought an old tavern and converted it into their church building. Above the doors of the church they placed a sign so everyone who entered could read it. Here is what it said, “Where sin did abound, Grace did much more abound.” How true it is!

THE GIFT (vs. 7)

We know the Bible teaches us the Lord “gave gifts unto men” (Ephesians 4:8). There has always been so much confusion about these gifts and the Lord did not intend for it to be this way. The truth is simple to understand. What God creates, He equips. He created the fish for the water and gave it gills to breathe there. He created the bat to fly at night and built in radar so it would not hit objects. He created us a new creature in Christ and gifts us to perform His duties. These are gifts. They are not talents or skills. They are not developed. They are imparted to us.

The gifts the Lord has given to us are not deserved. They are not based on individual worth but are divinely distributed by the Master. They are not chosen or earned by us. They are not given by preference of the person. They are never defective. God does no less for one person than another. Not knowing your gift is a tragedy. Not using your gift is a travesty.

These gifts are designed by the Lord. They are not toys to play with. They are tools to build with. They are not to profit ourselves but others. A prisoner of war by the name of Howard Rutledge wrote a book entitled, “In the Presence of Mine Enemies.” He shared in his writing how the prisoners had a need to communicate with each other since talking was forbidden. They would use coughing, tapping, sneezing, sliding of sandals and other natural activities to get their message out to others in the camp. They learned how important they really were to each other. Likewise, we all have different gifts in the body of Christ but we still need one another. Gifts are designed to bring us together in unity and not divide the church!

THE GLORY (vs. 7, 8)

The blessed promise that Jesus is coming again in all of His glory should still thrill our souls! In my studies of this passage, I was so blessed to discover the word “coming” in verse seven literally means “the removal of a covering.” The Apostle Paul talked about our inability to only see in part now, but when we meet Him face to face the veil will be removed. Now, we live by faith. In that day, faith will become reality.

Until He comes, we will continue to look for His return. We watch and wait because He is surely coming for us. We should continue to pack our bags and have them moved as close to the door of eternity as possible. Our Savior could come today and we need to be ready!

The manner in which we conduct our life shows the world we believe He is coming again. We live for His return. He told us to be “blameless” (vs.8). We are to do our best to live above accusations.

The story is told about Richard the Lionhearted during a time he had to be away from his throne. His brother John tried to overthrow the kingdom in his absence and seize the throne. The people suffered terribly. When King Richard returned, he toppled the armies of John and he went straight to the throne. The bells in the city of London began to ring and the people lifted their voices in praise. In unison they shouted, “The Lion is back! Long live the King.”

The devil thinks he has control forever but just any day the King of Kings, Jesus Christ, is going to come again. He too will topple the armies of Satan. Then the bells of Heaven will ring and the redeemed will rejoice. We will lift up our voices, “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah is back. Forever, our King will live and us with Him!”

Preachers: Print the above sermon and use it in your ministry. The Lord will get the glory. All we ask is that you pray for us, and let us know it is helpful. Please contact us and let us know of those being saved or helped. Return to our www.calvinevans.org Web site for more sermons.