Summary: There is a lot of belief in the world today that the church is impotent, cannot do anything worthwhile. Psalms 126:5-6 will give us, very succinctly, six characteristics of a focused individual ministry.
THE PASTOR’S POINTS
sermon ministry of
CEDAR LODGE BAPTIST CHURCH
a Fellowship of Faith, Family and Friendships
February 1, 2004
Amos was the prophet who preached against the “good ‘ol boy” religious system. I preached a sermon one time entitled, A Good ‘ol Boy Amongst Samaritan Yankees. Amos was from the southern kingdom of Judah, and he went north and preached to the fat cats; there were those who ‘had’ and were ‘getting’; those who ‘had not’ could simply fly a kite for their needs.
23“BUT YOU ARE A CHOSE N PEOPLE, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD,
A HOLY NATION, A PECULIAR PEOPLE…1 Peter 2:9 (KJV)
A “peculiar” people, belonging to God really describes who we are, and what we’re trying to understand this evening. Peculiar people are different than the world; they are different that what the world expects. …judgment begins at the house of God. 1Peter 4:17 (KJV)
Judgment begins here…not “out there”. We tend to think that because we serve God that judgment is for those other people who are outside…not like us. Let’s face it, folks, some of us can be quite disobedient to God, even though we are in the house of God. We can be like that with our attitudes and actions.
This is background, then for the message tonight; we are supposed to be a peculiar people, a different people. I alluded earlier to the fact that the game [Superbowl] is already on – has been for 16 minutes – it takes 18 hours to play one quarter of football. I appreciate your being here tonight. We are supposed to be different from the world that values football games over worship. You are here, so tonight I’m “preaching to the choir”.
Because you are dedicated to serving our Lord I want to share with you tonight some things about our ministries, individually and together. Every single Christian believer has a ministry.
There is a lot of belief in the world today that the church is impotent, cannot do anything worthwhile. Because of that I want us to take a good, hard look at the picture of a focused ministry of the individuals who make-up the church body – the collective ministry of individual ministries.
How can I recognize what my ministry is? How can I see what the focus should be for the way God wants me to minister? What is my ministry gift? Psalms 126:5-6 will give us, very succinctly, six characteristics of a focused individual ministry.
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. Psalm 126:5-6 (KJV)
We sing “Bringing In the Sheaves”. This little two-verse couplet gives us, I believe an accurate picture of a focused ministry.
I. A Focused Ministry Will Be Specific.
It won’t just be that we say “I just want to love everybody”. That’s not specific, is it? A focused ministry is identifiable; it is something specific enough so that we can look and see where broken people and broken places are put back together. Because broken places and broken people are not general; they’re not just everybody, they’re individuals. How many of you have had a really tough time in your life? The fact is we are all – at some time in life – broken people.
Our text says that we plant seed. There are many different kinds of seed, but each kind is specific. You plant a seed in the ground and it comes up according to the specific kind of seed you planted. You don’t apply specific “seeds” (ministry) to general ideas or needs. Broken people are specific. If you are going to be involved in a ministry of any kind, it must focus on specific needs.
Don’t settle for, “Well, I’m just going to be the very best Christian I can be.” That may be a good place to start, but it is a terrible place to stop. If you don’t identify a specific area in which you’re going to involve yourself, you will get involved in such generalizations that there will never be anything to measure your progress in the kingdom; we become “Jack of all Trades, master of none”.
II. A Focused Ministry Will Be Significant.
Human needs met in some way must be significant. Notice again in the text how it says we bear precious seed. The ministry “seed” must be significant enough so there is“preciousness” about it.
Meeting human needs that are significant always costs – and it should. The text indicates that the sower goes forth and bears the seed, but he also weeps over it. Do you weep over insignificant things, or precious? There was a lot of weeping on Kendall Mill Road last night. I saw it with my own eyes. There was, to be sure, an alternating between weeping and joy; weeping because we lost a good man in Ed Suggs, joy over the prospect of the reunion.