Summary: Sermon 1 of 3. This sermon is on Ministry and encourages people to get involved in Ministry based on Romans 12’s understanding of Mercy, Grace, and Faith.
Get in the Game
It’s How You Play the Game That Matters
Two Important facts about basketball
Only the last five minutes count
My wife, Donna, has a valid point in many games when the lead seems to seesaw back and forth between the teams. Then in the last five minutes the game intensifies and the contest is finally won in the last seconds.
Donna’s view: "Why don’t they just play the last five minutes of the game??"
The last five minutes take half an hour
Donna has another observation she has made in the past few years. The last few minutes take forever! What with the intentional fouls; timeouts; and occasional overtime’s the last five minutes can easily last over half an hour and include way too many commercials!
Donna’s view: "Why don’t they just play the game??"
Somehow, she has a point!
Perhaps the most important fact about Basketball is that it is a team sport that depends on the individual - Sounds a lot like church!
Only the last moments count. The Last moments are a lifetime of work!
To be on a winning team every individual MUST have evident in their lives three characteristics:
That inner motivation which drives you to participate and compete
The innate skill which can be cultivated and honed razor sharp
The execution of the skill under pressure and tension of real life
Romans 12 shows us that Mercy, Grace, and Faith are the foundations for the Attitude, Aptitude, and Activation of Ministry in our church
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God— this is your spiritual act of worship.
2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is— his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,
5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.
7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach;
8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
MERCY: deals with attitude and purpose
Mercy is best defines as not getting what we deserve
Let’s make no bones about it: You and I both deserve to die in hell.
We have - there are no exceptions - lived our lives in self oriented rebellion and corruption. What we deserve is condemnation and rejection which matches our own rejection of God.
Now I know that this is not very positive and uplifting - but it is also very true. Neither you nor I are worthy of being in the presence of God, because God is merciful he has provided a way of escape!
Paul in 1 Timothy 1:15-16 makes it very clear.
15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners— of whom I am the worst.
16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.
It is the knowledge of this mercy from God that provides the motivation for my ministry! It is not a matter of trying to pay back God for his mercy. It is merely the recognition that without his mercy I have no life. His mercy gives me my purpose.
This is the meaning of the words "Offer your bodies as living sacrifices"
Ministry is not volunteerism. Ministry is gratitude mixed with joy and relief.
I was watching a TV report this past week about a woman who recounted being struck by lightening while seated in a large stadium surrounded by thousands of others in the stands. Yet, lightening struck only her! She received 2nd and 3rd degree burns over much of her body. He clothes were burned through and some how she survived.