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At Your Service, Lord

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Ephesians 4:11-12

INTRODUCTION

WASHINGTON MONUMENT  It is  555  ft. 5 1/8 in. high.  From the lobby to the observation level it is 50 stories.  To get to the top you could either take the elevator, which is the easy way up, or you can take the stairs, all 896 of them, which is the harder way to the top.

ZIG ZIGLAR once told of going to Washington, DC, and visiting the Washington Monument. 

He said as he approached the Monument there was a line that seemed like it was a mile long.  He walked up to the front to hear what the guide was saying, and the guide announced that there would be a two hour wait to ride the elevator to the top of the Monument.  Then with a smile on his face, the guide said, "There's no one waiting to go to the top if you're willing to take the stairs."

*** Ask “What’s the secret of greatness?”

............. • Wall Street            "Money, and lots of it."

............. • Washington            "Political clout." 

............. • Hollywood and ask            "Fame." 

Jesus Christ had a different answer.  He said, "Whoever wants to become great must be a servant to others."  (Mt. 20:26 GWT) 

☞         Success and greatness in the kingdom of God are far different than what they are on planet earth. 

☞         In the kingdom of God there is no easy way; there is no easy elevator to the top. 

☞         To get to the top in God's eyes you've got to take the stairs of service. 

☞         Jesus said again, ""For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many”   (Mark 10:45 NLT) 

The secret to greatness in the kingdom of God is not how many servants you have, but what kind of a servant you are.

Remember last week: (JOHN 13)

Jesus approached the disciples in the Upper Room where they were going to have the Last Supper?    To their surprise He was wearing a towel around His waist and carrying a bowl of water.  Peter said, "What's going on?"  Jesus said, "It's time to wash feet."  Peter sneered and said, "I'm not washing feet, not even yours."  Jesus said, "I know, I'm washing yours." 

***** Now I want to ask you the key question for this day:  Are you more interested in being served in a church, or are you more interested in being a servant in the church?

A first grade teacher asked her class the question:  "What do you do to help at home?"  One by one the answers came back.  One little girl said, "I dry the dishes."  One little boy said, "I feed the dog."  Another child said, "I sweep the floor."  Everybody gave an answer but one little boy sitting in the back.  He didn't say anything.  The teacher looked at him and said, "Johnny, what do you do to help out at home?"  He said, "I stay out of the way."

*** Far too many church members in the church who just stay out of the way. 

A Gallup poll discovered that only 10% of church members are active in any kind of personal ministry in their church.  Well what is even more amazing is that 50% of all church members said they have no interest in serving in any ministry of the church.  

9.  Well, here at First Baptist we believe that every member is a minister, and every member should be involved in ministry. 

Let me go ahead and warn you that there is no excuse for a saint refusing to serve. 

FOUR REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD DETERMINE TO BECOME THE MINISTER THAT GOD WANTS YOU TO BE, AND GET INVOLVED IN THE MINISTRY THAT GOD HAS FOR YOU HERE AT FIRST BAPTIST!


I.    A SOVEREIGN GOD EXPECTS ME TO MINISTER TO OTHERS

EPHESIANS 4:12 tells us why we have evangelists, pastors, teachers, and missionaries. 

"for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry.”

You were created for ministry. 

EPHESIANS 2:10

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus [to do] good works

Ministry / Service — it’s very reason for existence.

Everything created by God was created for a purpose.

            • Birds were created to sing,

            • Bees were created to give honey,

            • Cows were created to give milk,

            • Fish were created to swim,

            ••••• And you were created for ministry. 

– God designed you to make a difference.

– God made you  the way you are so you could do what He wants you to do. 

                                                    EVERYONE’S DIFFERENT!

The reason why God makes you different is so that you can make a difference.  That's why you were created.

                   YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED TO SERVE!

The call to salvation and the call to service are identical. 

*** Jesus first met the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee:

MARK 1:17

“Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”

There was the call to salvation............................................................................. "be My disciples,"

and there was the call to service............................................................................ "fish for people."

Every Christian has been called to minister, and every Christian has been called to ministry. 

Now that doesn't necessarily mean obviously that every Christian is called to pastor, or called to work full-time in a church.  But at the same time, every Christian is called to full-time Christian service.  Listen to this Scripture: 

"Now you belong to Him...in order that we might be useful in the service of God."  (Rom. 7:4 TEV) 

Every Christian is to serve the Lord full-time.

In God's ministry, there are . . .

            • no part timers,

            • no half-days

            • no holidays,

            • no 9 to 5 rules,

            • You can't go on strike

            • and there's no retirement. 

BUT A SOVEREIGN GOD EXPECTS ME AND YOU TO SERVE

II.   SAVING GRACE ENABLES ME TO MINISTER TO OTHERS

2 TIMOTHY 1:9

“[It is God] who has saved us and called us with a holy calling”

"It is God who saved us and chose us for His holy work."  (2 Tim. 1:9 LB) 

Now holy calling there simply refers to ministry. 

MINISTRY = SERVICE

SERVICE = MINISTRY

SERVANT (in Bible) = MINISTER

MINISTER (in Bible) = SERVANT

One of the most misunderstood words of our day is the word "minister" because people  use it as a synonym for someone who is ordained.  When you do you reveal a misunderstanding of what the word really means.  You might be surprised to learn that the word "minister" derives from the Latin word for "servant" and is based on the root word minus which means "less."  Technically a "minister" is someone of a "lesser" rank or status  who simply wants to serve and not to be served.


You were saved to serve. 

                                              You were not saved to sit, soak, or sour. 

Think about this:  Why doesn't God take you to Heaven the moment you get saved?  There can only be one explanation.  He has a ministry for you to do.

Why does God want you in a church?  Because He wants you to minister in the church.  Why does God bring needy people to you during the week?  So that you can minister outside the church. 

YOU’RE NOT SAVED BY SERVICE

YOU’RE SAVED FOR SERVICE!


 

III.  Spiritual Guides Equip Me To Minister To Others

Now I have to confess this is one of my favorite parts of this message, because I get to show you what God expects out of me, and what God expects out of you. 

EPHESIANS 4:11-12

"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”

                          *** JOB DESCRIPTION FOR PASTOR AND PEOPLE ***

                   A.      GOD’S PEOPLE MUST ASSUME THE WORK OF MINISTRY

**        In other words, the pastor is not here to do the ministry of the church;

                                     The pastor is here to give his ministry to the church.

There is a huge difference.  The ministry of the church does not belong to the pastor; it belongs to the people. 

                   B.      GOD’S PASTORS MUST EQUIP FOR THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY

That is the primary job of the pastoral staff here at FBC. — to prepare you for the work of the ministry. 

You see some people have the idea that the pastor serves the church by doing the ministry of the church. 

☞If the pastors and staff do the ministry of the church, we won't be serving you,                                                          we will be crippling you.   

Not only would we be doing what you are supposed to be doing!

But we would be neglecting what we’re supposed to be doing!

FIRST REFORMATION – put the Word of God back into the hands of the people

NEED A SECOND REFORMATION — put the work of God back into the hands of the people

Now please draw up very close and listen to what I am about to say to you because it will determine the real future of First Baptist. 

When you read the New Testament you will never find the following words:  committees, majority rule, boards, parliamentary procedures, or business meetings. 

Too many churches have imposed a secular form of government on themselves and become bogged down in bureaucracy.

IV.  SUPERNATURAL GIFTS EMPOWER ME TO MINISTER TO OTHERS

God has given you equippers — pastor and staff

God has also given you equipment — spiritual gifts

THE BIBLE SAYS THAT EVERY BELIEVER HAS BEEN GIFTED BY GOD FOR MINISTRY!!!!

***  Now we do not all have the same gifts, but we are all equally gifted in the sense that God has given us the abilities and gifts we need to do what He wants us to do in the body of Christ.

                                                        God never wastes anything.

Every spiritual gift and natural ability that you have

God gave it to you to be used in ministry. 

1 PETER 4:10

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Spiritual gifts have not been given for your enjoyment,

but for His employment. 

                                                       WOULD YOU THINK OF

                                             GETTING A GIFT AT CHRISTMAS

                                                        AND NOT OPENING IT!

                                                                TOTAL WASTE!

                                                 NOT SPEND A LOT OF TIME ON

                                                                  NEXT WEEK:

                                                              SPIRITUAL GIFTS

                                                 SPIRITUAL GIFTS INVENTORY

                                                         HELP YOU DISCOVER

                                                             NOT EXHAUSTIVE

                                                          BUT INTRODUCTORY

Close by taking TWO THOUGHTS HOME WITH YOU:

1.       First Baptist Church needs you involved in ministry!

                                THINK OF SOMETHING AS SIMPLE AS A PENCIL!

Did you know that no one human being is capable by himself of making a simple lead pencil?

1.         Mine the graphite.

2.         Process the wood

3.         Produce the rubber

4.         Manufacture the paint

5.         How to put it all together

6.         Market it, distribute it, sell it!

                                         WHAT IS TRUE OF A SIMPLE PENCIL

                                           IS TRUE OF THE CHURCH AS WELL

*** It’s going to take all of us together to do what none of us alone can do!

                                                  WHAT A GREAT CAUSE IT IS!

2.       If you don’t already have it, you need to ask God to give you the attitude of a servant.

                                                                     YOU SEE:

                                                         IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU!

                                                          IT’S NOT ABOUT ME!

                                                                It’s about others!

When the average person looks for a church here is the question he or she asks:

‘HOW CAN THIS CHURCH MEET MY NEEDS?’

** When you get to the stage of maturity that you ought to be as a Christian, you’ll begin to ask instead:

‘HOW CAN I BE USED IN THIS CHURCH TO MEET THE NEEDS OF OTHERS?’

Immature Christian:

“Who is going to meet my needs?”

Mature Christian:

“Whose needs can I meet?”

Incidentally, I can tell you who will meet your needs.  When you begin to worry about the needs of others, God will take care of your needs.  

We are so obsessed with living as long as we can, so we do everything from watching our diet, to exercise, to taking vitamins. 

Well, if you don't hear anything else, hear this: 

What matters is not how long you live, but how well you live.

It's not the duration of your life that matters,

it is the donation of your life that counts.

Do you know what God is looking for in a church?  Servants.

Someone once asked Leonard Bernstein, the late New York Symphony conductor, "What is the most difficult position in the orchestra to play?"  Without hesitation he said, "Second fiddle." 

They said, "Why is that?  Is playing second chair violin so much tougher than playing the piccolo, or a bassoon?" 

He said, "No, it's not tougher, it's just that everybody wants to be first chair violin."   

Would you say today in your own heart,

"Here I am at your service Lord?"

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