Summary: This messager describes several ways we carry out the command to "Minister One to Another."
Minister One to Another
I Thess 5:11
The Apostle Paul in his writings teaches that we are to “minister to one another.” One of the hardest times in my life was when I started high school in a new city, Sterling, Kansas. I moved from Gypsum to Sterling a city four times as large as Gypsum. Sterling had a population of 2,000. My parents separated and I felt disconnected. I only felt somewhat connected when we started attending a small Missionary Church. In the church I found loving and caring people. My Sunday school teacher, a college student, became my mentor, friend and encourager. During my high school years we had no car and my Sunday school teacher would often pick me up to take me to various events. I saw in him the reality of the Christian faith. He was an authentic Christ follower. He demonstrated what PAUL said, “minister to one another.”
Paul praised the Christian in Thessalonica, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” I Thess. 5:11
To the Christians in Rome Paul had similar words of encouragement – one translation gives this statement of Romans 12:5 “We are ministers to one another.”
There are many ways we can minister to one another.
I. Minister to one another in love.
The Apostle Paul encouraged the Christians in Galatia when he wrote: “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge your sinful nature, rather serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13
Ephesians 4:2 Paul admonishes us to “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient bearing with one another in love.”
Given the fact that we by nature are selfish and tend to serve the unholy trinity, “me, myself and I” – how do we serve one another in love?
Biblical love is all about ministering and serving others with no strings attached. You know your quality of love when you do something for someone and they forget to thank you. You get bent out of shape and say in your heart that you’ll never do a good deed for that person again.
Biblical love serves and ministers in the light of eternity and not for public recognition. Biblical love is the work of the Holy Spirit in our heart and life.
While Jesus walked with His disciples they were quite a disjointed group. They were each one looking out for number one. They demonstrated jealousy, pride and a competitive spirit.
It took the work of the Holy Spirit to mold the disciples into a unified spirit with boldness and courage to take on the unbelieving world. When the Holy Spirit came into their hearts they were cleansed of all self seeking desires and their motives were transformed into Kingdom seeking motives. The only thing that mattered to them was living for Jesus, honoring Him, and pleasing Him.
The work of the Holy Spirit transforms selfish, conditional love into selfless, unconditional love. Paul said in Romans 5:5, “…God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Self-forgetting love is entirely the work of the Holy Spirit.
Biblical love is characterized by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
As we begin our “40 days of Community” let’s ask the Lord to help us minister to one another in love.
II. Minister to one another by bearing one another’s burdens.
Paul encouraged the Galatians, “Bear/Carry each other’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
One of the best ways to help others bear burdens is to get involved in a small group. One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is a listening ear. There is awesome power in a listening ear.
Have you had the experience of having someone share with you a problem they were having. You listened to their concerns and made a few comments, but never really said anything profound. When you finished the conversation the person says, “My you have really helped me. Thanks so much for your help.” You gave that person the gift of your listening ear.
It’s a sad commentary that the neighborhood bar is often the best place a person can find authentic concern and non-judgmental listening ears. The bar is a counterfeit for what the church should be all about. Conversation in a bar is nonjudgmental, permissive, accepting and inclusive fellowship. Those in the bar are not shocked by anything a person says. You and tell your secrets and they are safe. Bars flourish because they provide a caring community for the price of a few beers and liquor.