Summary: A CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE pastor preaches the simple reality that God has made us a special people for the special purpose of performing a special function--ministry.
"A Wide Door for
Let the Laity ’Move Out’"
Author: Dr. Neal Gray
Passage: 1 Peter 2:1-10, KJV
Purpose: The simple reality is that God has made us a special people for the special purpose of performing a special function--ministry.
This Sermon Series
This message is the 4th of a 4-part sermon series titled, "A Wide Door for Effective Service." The key verse for this series is:
"I will tarry...until Pentecost; for a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries." (1 Corinthians 16:9)
The emphasis for the series is this: each Christian member of this church is, in fact, a minister. The time has come for you to find a suitable and enjoyable service in your church; for you to contribute in ways more than you have practiced until now.
==> I believe strongly--very strongly--that there are many ways YOU can be in effective service in Christ’s church; and at the same time, YOU CAN BE MORE FULFILLED by doing the thing that you enjoy, but doing it for God and His people.
During the reign of Oliver Cromwell in Britain, they were running very low in silver for their coins, so they looked around the country to discover new sources of this precious metal.
Interestingly enough, when the men returned and reported to him, they shared with him that the place where they found the most silver in England was in the cathedrals. And really, IT WAS IN THE STATUES OF THE SAINTS! They had been formed out of nearly pure silver.
And Oliver Cromwell said, "Well, let’s melt down the saints and put them into circulation."
==> That’s what LAY MINISTRY IS ALL ABOUT, namely...
* Taking people like you and me in the Body of Christ,
* Finding out where their precious gifts are, and,
* Putting them into circulation--into ministry--
...for the advancement and glorification of the Body of Christ.
Meaning of Ministry
You see, MINISTRY IS A VERY SPECIAL WORD. It is, in fact, the ROOT WORD FOR DEACON, or "one who serves."
==> It is never a SPECIAL OFFICE, but it is a SPECIAL FUNCTION.
A special function, one that everybody--and "everybody" means you and me--it is a special function that each of us can do. In fact, I’ve given to you in the bulletin today a concise definition of ministry, namely: "MINISTRY IS AN ACT OF SERVICE GIVEN IN JESUS’ NAME."
To help clarify this, let me give you a little verbal quiz this morning. If you found that you have the gifts of helps, and this morning you were in the parking lot helping direct cars to park and you were doing that in the name of Jesus, IS THAT A MINISTRY? Yes or no? It sure is. It is a wonderful ministry.
If you were in the nursery, rocking the babies and making sure that they were protected and satisfied, and you are giving young mothers a chance to be in the service, is that a ministry? Yes or no? It sure is. It is a tough ministry!
You see, the tendency for Christians is to try to make "ministry" something very high and unattainable, something that is reserved only for those men and women in full-time ministerial service. But real ministry is simply taking your gift for the glory of God and using it in the name of Jesus. We do it for Him, unto Him, and as a pleasing thing in His sight.
And every one of us have gifts that we can use in Jesus’ name. Why? Because we have been made "the people of God...an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."
Let’s now read the Scripture for today, 1 Peter 2:1-10.
WHY EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD USE THEIR GIFT
Today, I have for you ten reasons why every Christian should use their gift in ministry. That’s my sermon. And I wish that you would write these reasons down, and then bathe yourself this week in prayer asking God, "Lord, can I do ministry? Will You show me how to do ministry for the good of Your church, and for the help of Your people? Thank You. Amen."
#1. The New Testament Lifts Christians
The FIRST reason is this: the New Testament lifts laity to a higher level of living and ministry. When we turn to the pages of the New Testament, we find there a "lifting" of expectations; all because of the grace and the calling of God.
The New Testament really expects us to use our gifts in ministry. Now, in the passage we read, Peter uses six terms to describe the followers of Jesus, namely...
* Living stones: the fact is that WE ARE A PART OF A CONSTRUCTION PROJECT THAT GOD IS STILL BUILDING. Jesus is our chief cornerstone, Jesus is our foundation.