Summary: All Christians are gifted and expected to use that gift. Not all service is pleasing to the One who gifted us, however!
Note: Narrative is not normative, but see II Thess. 3:9
A BIBLICAL MODEL FOR MINISTRY
I THESS 2:1-12
1. Illus. of my call into ministry
• Knew God had called me to this work.
2. You may not realize it, but if you are a Christian God has called you to be a minister too! God’s plan is this: He gives each Christian at least one spiritual gift, and then He gives them a ministry where they can exercise that spiritual gift. He may not have given you to the same ministry He has given me, but He has called you to a ministry of some sort!
3. Many of you already know that. You have found your spiritual gift, and you are operating that gift in the ministry God has given you. Some of you have Sunday School ministries, some have ministries of evangelism, some have ministries with teens or children, some have music ministries, some have shut-in ministries, some have ministries like divorce care etc.
4. There are a hundred different ministries represented in this room, but all of them are meant to be alike in some very important ways.
5. Text: Paul holds his ministry in Thessalonica up to the church and says, “here are the principles of ministry that I want you to follow.”
6. Today: No matter what type ministry you have, there are certain fundamental principles God expects you to follow.
7. What are these principles?
I. WE NEED TO MINISTER FOR THE RIGHT REASON
1. Before we look at the right reason to minister, let me point out some of the wrong reasons:
Don’t minister for personal gain (vs 5). Illus. of dentist in Glencoe (its just good business to teach Sunday School at biggest church in area). Do you do what you do because it’s good for you financially in some way?
Don’t minister for personal glory (vs 6a). Here’s how to tell. If you don’t get an “attaboy” regularly from pastor, music minister, or congregation, you start thinking about quitting.
Don’t minister in order to increase your personal power (vs 6b). Paul had power and chose not to use it. “I’ll get this job, and boy oh boy, some things will be different then!”
2. What is the right reason to minister?
Vs 2a- reference to being whipped and put in jail in Philippi in Acts 16.
Vs 2b-3. When we got to Thessalonica we didn’t cut our message one iota. We gave it to you gun barrel straight.
Why would Paul do that, knowing he was just going to get run out of town on a rail again? Vs 4. God had approved (tested) them, and then entrusted them, with this ministry of the gospel. They did what they did because God had called them to do it!
3. Principle: If you are going to minister, do it because you’re convinced its God’s will for your life!
4. Illus. of Danny and hogs
• His dad worked at milk company- got all spoiled products to feed hogs
• I would go over every evening wanting to play ball. Danny couldn’t until he got through slopping hogs.
• “Why do you do this?” He looked at me like I was crazy! “Because daddy told me to!”
5. Why do you minister in the place you do? Is it because it’s good business? Is it because you want people to say, “my, what a spiritual person?” Or, do you minister because you are convinced that this is what your Father has told you to do?
6. Make sure you are ministering for the right reason!
II. WE NEED TO MINISTER WITH PERSONAL INTEGRITY
1. See VS 5- Thessalonica was a major city of its day. As such, it was well acquainted with traveling scam artists and alleged miracle workers whose smooth talk hid their real goal: to line their pockets with the money of those foolish enough to listen. In order that he not be mistaken for one of these guys, Paul refused to take any money from the Thessalonians. Instead he worked (probably as a tentmaker) to support himself (see vs 9). The end result of this is that he could say in vs 10.
2. Do you see what Paul is talking about? He made sure that he lived with such integrity that neither his message nor his God was called into question.
3. Principle: If you are going to minister, minister with integrity.
4. Illus. of Billy Graham
• When he started out, he had just a small team and limited resources.
• Team got together and sat down three guidelines that they follow to this day.
• #1- We will set up a board of directors that will handle all financial affairs.