Summary: God wants His people to work as a team as they go about His unstoppable work.
God’s Dream Team
Intro: [Define synergy & relate how the body of Christ can accomplish much more together than separately.]
Prop: God wants His people to work as a team as they go about His unstoppable work.
Interrogative: How can we do this? How can Christians be team players as they do their part in furthering God’s work?
TS: I’d like to look at four thoughts from our text as we explore this idea of teamwork and working together to see God’s purpose fulfilled in our lives and our world.
I. Team Players Must Be Willing to Step up and Help Meet the Need
-The apostles had been in leadership training for 3 years under the greatest teacher this world has ever seen. They were students of Jesus of Nazareth, and had learned a lot about helping people as they watched Jesus at work. So, it is not surprising that after Jesus left them with a mission and sent the HS to help them accomplish it that the disciples are found distributing food to the many widows who had come to believe on Jesus. They helped distribute food when Jesus fed 4000 and then 5000.
-We read in Acts that some of the Christians in the early church sold extra property and laid the money at the feet of the apostles. The purpose for this money was to help meet the physical needs of those in the church who lacked what they needed. So for an unknown period of time, the apostles worked hard at meeting the genuine physical needs of people they ministered to. The largest group of those in need were widows.
-Scholars tell us that many foreign Jews who lived in other lands would move to Israel, especially Jerusalem, in their old age because that was where they wanted to be buried. Consequently, there seemed to be a large concentration of displaced widows in Jerusalem. Jews typically provided well for widows in obedience to the OT, which instructed them to take care of widows. However, there weren’t enough foreign synagogues in Jerusalem to adequately provide for these non-native Jewish widows.
-That is where the church came in. Many of these widows were receiving the gospel and turning to Jesus. Peter and the other apostles were doing their best to meet the needs, but the church by this time could easily have been 10,000 people strong. Even 12 leaders could not keep up with all the demands of providing spiritual leadership, along with making sure everyone had enough food to eat.
-But the point to be made is that the apostles had stepped up and were meeting this need the best way they knew how.
-The lesson for us is this: We will face times when people need help and we are in a position to help them. Ministry will need to happen, and if we do not step up and just do it, then the need will go unmet. This is common in both small churches and large churches. Sometimes you just have to roll up your sleeves and get to work- even if you are not especially gifted in that certain area.
-I appreciate how many of you have stepped up in this church and helped when there was a need. Some of you have been willing to teach, or visit, or call people, or clean, or drive, or all of the above – just because it needed to be done. Thank you for doing that. I believe God will bless you for it.
-However, I want to point out that we are all wired differently. God has gifted us all uniquely so that we can do certain things better than other things. So, through our willingness to serve and step up and meet the need, we may find ourselves tied to an area we are not really suited for long-term.
-That doesn’t mean that we should panic and bail out, but let’s look at this 2nd principle that the apostles had to grapple with.
II. Team Players Must Recognize When It Is Time to Get Out of the Way
-There may come a time when we need to make room for the gifts of others. Maybe God has been using us in a certain area, and we’ve been faithful to do the best we can, but we know we are not using our God-given abilities to their fullest.
[Use example of Principal/Teacher/Youth Pastor in Baker. There came a time when we needed to get out of the way so someone else could step in and take the youth to the next level.]
-This requires honesty and humility, and I would say a willingness to stay with it until God releases you. The apostles apparently weren’t doing an adequate job of distributing the food. They were not really equipped to run a food distribution center themselves. However, there were others who would be able to put the time and energy needed into meeting the physical needs of the Christian community.