Summary: If the Spirit of God is being poured out on the end-time church, why is it not operating with more effectiveness? One key element is commitment to the local church. Are we committed to ministry?
Committed To Ministry
* What is God saying to the "end time church"
* As Joel prophesied, in the last days, the Spirit of God would poured out..."
* So why do we not see churches operating with greater effectiveness?
* I believe is in part due to our commitment to ministry
* The mindsets of many believers are this; that the work of the ministry is optional, occasional and/or based upon their convenience
* Churches are struggling to find committed members
* Members are struggling to understand the importance of being committed - it is not taught
* There is great benefit and reward to those who are committed to ministry
KEYS TO BEING COMMITTED TO MINISTRY:
32a Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul;
* Here is an important key to being committed to the ministry - agreement within the ministry
* It would appear they agreed on everything - NOT
* In fact we know that there were many disputes of doctrine, cultural preferences, ministry teams, etc
* However, we read that those who believed were of...
* Col 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
* When our focus is upon the furthering the Kingdom and not our own kingdom - we come into agreement
* You won’t agree on everything
* We must agree on our vision, mission & goals
32b neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.
* 2nd important key of being committed to ministry - they were committed to one another
* They broke down the wall of "self absorption"
* This is when you know that you are growing spiritually; when your concern for your own needs becomes eclipsed by your concern of others’
* They had all things in common - what is mine is thine
* We call ourselves covenant people - do we live up to that name?
* Rom 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.
* The third key is revealed here - it is not the great power (that is a benefit of commitment)
* They were committed to getting to work (rolling up their sleeves)
* They "gave witness"
* Our principle calling is to "give witness"
* It is the "cause", it is not a "vision"
* Vision is a strategy
* The Cause is the primary goal
* The leadership was committed to the cause
* **My commitment to this ministry**
34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, 35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. 36 And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, 37 having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
* The fourth key is one I have always been careful not to over preach
* They were committed to financially support the ministry
* Today, if a church had people selling off lands and valuable possessions to fund the ministry, they would be called a cult
* Yet, we see the first church did exactly that
* I am not suggesting everyone go home and liquidate their properties
* We need to see the principle at work here
* The committed to ministry financially committed - "where your treasure is, there your heart will also be"
* We believe & teach that we should be committed to ministry in our tithes and offerings
* The tithe is holy, it is to be brought into the local storehouse, from the first fruits of our increase
* **...even when we’re not here**
* Obviously finances is only one of the keys
* Our commitment to the ministry can be measured in three areas
Acts 5:1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God." 5 Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. 6 And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him. 7 Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter answered her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?" She said, "Yes, for so much." 9 Then Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out." 10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband.