Have you ever seen a professional Body Builder?
Muscles rippling and bulging, every part in sync, his whole body a perfect specimen of health.
Today, I want to talk to you about becoming a Body Builder.
Not the Body Builders we see on TV, but the Body Builders in the Church who work hard to make this Church Body a perfect specimen of health.
We’ve been looking at the five purposes of the local church (Fellowship, Discipleship)
Today, we’re looking at the third purpose – Ministry, service, meeting needs.
The first week, we asked the question, “How can we grow warmer in fellowship?
Last week, we asked, “How can we grow deeper in discipleship?”
Today, we ask “How can we grow broader in ministry?”
To answer that, I invite you to turn to Eph. 4:11-16.
This is a great passage on ministry, but it also is great passage on fellowship and spiritual maturity.
vv. 1-6 encourage us to make every effort to promote the unity we have in Christ.
vv. 7-10 speak of promoting this unity via the grace gifts Christ has given us.
In vv. 11-16, we see the purpose of the grace gifts in building the Body.
How can we grow broader through ministry? By becoming Body Builders.
You can be a body builder is just 4 easy steps!
I. BY UNDERSTANDING WHAT A BODY BUILDER IS.
By understanding five key aspects of ministry, found in this passage.
1. The foundation of ministry.
11It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,
He is emphatic. God gave these gifts of leadership to the Church.
Leaders in the Church help to lay the foundation for ministry.
In 1 Cor. 3:10, Paul says “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder…”
The foundation for ministry is leadership.
God gave these spiritual gifts of leadership to specific individuals for a purpose…
2. The purpose of leadership.
12to prepare God’s people (for the perfecting of the saints) for works of service,
The purpose of leadership is to prepare God’s people for ministry.
Prepare – has a rich meaning and background.
In Mt. 4:21, it’s used to describe James and John as they repaired and prepared their nets for fishing.
They had to prepare the nets in order to catch more fish.
In Lk. 6:40, Jesus uses this word to describe a student who is trained and prepared to imitate the model of his teacher.
In 2 Cor. 13:9,11, Paul uses it to refer to bringing people to wholeness and spiritual maturity.
In classical Greek, it referred to the setting of a bone, putting it back into proper alignment with the body.
The purpose of leadership is to prepare and align the Body and bring it to maturity.
for works of service (diakonia). It’s where we get the word “deacon” from.
A deacon is a servant, a “minister”.
The purpose of leadership is to equip the saints to minister.
That means that every saint, every believer, is a minister!
The Leaders are the administers – the people are the ministers!
Illus. A church once posted on their sign – Minister: every member.
The purpose of leadership is preparation.
3. The goal of ministry.
12so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity (oneness) in the faith
The central theme of Ephesians is unity.
In Eph. 1, we are reconciled into one unified organism.
In Eph. 2, the dividing wall of Jew and Gentile is broken down.
In Eph. 3, we are united because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In Eph. 4, our collective ministry within the Body produces unity.
13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the (full) knowledge (recognition, discernment) of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure (the full stature) of the fullness of Christ.
Mature - complete, perfect
In this context, it means Christlikeness.
My job as pastor will never be done until all saints become mature, like Christ.
Your job as ministers will never be done until all saints become mature, like Christ.
We need to have the attitude of a child or teenager – can’t wait to grow up!
We can’t wait to become like Christ!
The goal of ministry is unity; unity in faith and knowledge of God, which leads to maturity and fullness of Christ.
(foundation, purpose, goal)
4. The result of ministry.
14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
Ilus. We love babies! Whenever we see them, we smile. They light up a room.
It’s also exciting to see them grow.
But babies and children are gullible and vulnerable and easily influenced.
We have to teach them not to take candy from strangers or get in their cars.
It’s cute to smile and coo at babies, but nobody thinks it’s cute when a person remains a baby for too long.
Why? Because we expect babies to grow!
And we should expect spiritual babies to grow as well.
Spiritual infants are just as vulnerable to strangers and false teachers/schemers.
Last week, I spoke about the epidemic of spiritual infancy in the church.
There are so many believers who haven’t begun to grow up.
According to this passage, how can spiritual infants grow?
By serving/ministering in the Church according to their giftedness.
By everybody doing his/her part in building up the Body.
Spiritual infants need to grow up so they can be protected against false teachings and doctrines and cults.
Illus. What is the one thing you need in a hurricane or storm? An anchor point.
Our anchor point is maturity in Christ. Without it, we’re at the mercy of the storm.
15Instead, (as we mature in Christlikeness) speaking the truth in love (being truthful in love), we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
Christ is the Head of our Body. He is always the One in charge.
The goal of ministry is unity, but the result of ministry is stability.
(foundation, purpose, goal, result)
5. The structure of ministry.
v. 16 is really a summary statement of the Body.
16From him (Christ) the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
The idea here is of continuous progress.
This Body is joined together and grows together as EACH PART does its work.
This Body will NOT grow if each part doesn’t do its work.
Alone, we can do little. But together, we can be the perfect specimen of health!
The structure of ministry is Christ.
Message: He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christians in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.
No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.
How do we become Body Builders? By understanding what a body builder is.
By understanding what ministry is all about.
This passage is clear in telling me what my purpose is and in telling you what your purpose is.
My purpose is to equip the saints to do ministry, which leads to building up the Body, which leads to spiritual maturity and stability, which leads to Christlikeness, which leads to a healthy, growing, vibrant Body.
My job is to equip you and encourage you to serve, provide an opportunity for you to serve, and then to get out of the way and let you serve.
Your job is to serve God by doing your part in building up this Body.
The Body will never be healthy and complete unless EVERYBODY does their part.
My job is to administer. Your job is to minister. That’s what God says.
How do we become Body Builders? First, by understanding what a body builder is.
II. BY OVERCOMING EXCUSES.
Why do so many members (believers) never minister? They make up excuses.
1. That’s the Pastor’s job. That’s why we pay him.
Somewhere in history we developed the notion of clergy and laity.
Clergy are paid to do ministry. Laity pay to receive ministry.
That’s just not Biblical.
We need to eliminate the “laity” by equipping them to minister.
In Acts 6, the apostles refused to do ministry because it was taking them away from their God-given role and responsibility – to pray and preach the Word.
That’s how deacons came into being.
If I don’t have time to pray and prepare to preach the Word because I’m doing all the other ministries, I will never be able to feed or equip the saints.
Worse yet, I will have failed in my calling and responsibility as a pastor.
Ministry is NOT just the Pastor’s job. It’s everybody’s job.
2. I’m not gifted.
Eph. 4:7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
1 Cor. 12:7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
Every member of Christ’s family has a gift.
Every member has the responsibility to use his/her gift.
Eph. 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
We DO have talent and skill. God has gifted every one of us to serve Him.
3. I’m not prepared or equipped.
That’s why I’m preaching this message today.
That’s why I’m planning on a “Ministry” Seminar in the near future.
Start somewhere and go from there.
4. I’m not needed.
cf. v. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
1 Cor. 12:14ff Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body… 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be… 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
Dale Johnsen “Maybe you’re an eyeball, or kidney, or big toe, or gall bladder, or jaw bone. Whatever it is, you have a distinct and important function within the Body. You are needed within the Body to do what you were designed by God to do. There are no unnecessary parts in the Body of Christ! Even if you think of yourself as just a big toenail, just imagine how it would hurt the whole Body if you became ingrown!”
Romans 12:1-8 says that our ministry within the Body is an act of worship.
There is no excuse for not using our gifts and abilities to serve in Body of Christ.
How do we become Body Builders?
By understanding what a body builder is and by overcoming excuses.
III. BY GETTING INTO SHAPE.
We get into SHAPE by discovering our own unique SHAPE.
So often, we get caught up in discovering our spiritual gifts.
We need to realize God has uniquely SHAPEd us for a unique ministry.
Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Ability, Personality, Experiences
Our job is to serve God according to our God-given SHAPE.
We’ll cover this more in our Ministry Seminar.
We need to get into SHAPE if we’re ever going to be a true Body Builder.
We become Body Builders by understanding what a body builder is and by overcoming excuses and by getting into shape.
IV. BY REGULAR EXERCISE.
By exercising our SHAPE in ministry. By stepping up to the plate and doing it.
By continually working hard at being and doing the best we can for His glory.
Illus. The 1924 Olympics - A Scotsman named Eric Liddle was scheduled to race on a Sunday. Because he was a devout Christian, he refused.
The movie “Chariots of Fire” was written about him.
He believed God had given him the special ability to run.
“I believe God made me for a purpose—he also made me fast—and when I run I feel His pleasure.”
When we exercise our SHAPE, our spiritual muscles, we feel His pleasure.
Illus. Barry Bonds.
Sports experts have determined that there is a “sweet spot” on certain equipment (baseball bats, tennis rackets, golf clubs).
When an athlete hits the ball on that sweet spot he gets the maximum return.
Bruce Emmert - Have you ever been involved in some project or …done something at church that just felt right? When you did it you knew you were in the right place doing the right thing. We all have a sweet spot. We’ve all experienced the joy of knowing that something we did gave the maximum return for our effort. But we have also known the frustration of trying so hard to be good at a particular thing that we simply could not do. The effort was an exercise in frustration and pain.
God has given every one of us a sweet spot so we can produce maximum results.
Mark McGwire said, “When I feel the ball hit right on the sweet spot, a home run is just around the corner.”
When we serve Jesus from our spiritual sweet spot, our SHAPE, a spiritual home run is just around the corner.
Illus. If Barry Bonds spent his time watching batting videos or listening to his coach without actually hitting the ball, he would never have become the Home Run King.
If we as believers simply sit on the sidelines and listen/learn all about our SHAPE without exercising it, we will never become the children of God He wants us to be.
Worse yet, we will remain spiritual infants, vulnerable to the storms and schemers of life.
Not only do we need to learn how to be a Body Builder, we need to be one!
We need to get in the game and hit that sweet spot and feel God’s pleasure!
There is nothing more exciting than knowing and serving the King of Kings!
How can we grow broader through ministry? It’s the Bottom Line.
The Bottom Line: Be A Body Builder!
Discover your niche, your SHAPE, your sweet spot.
Then, get in the game and step up to the plate and hit a home run!
There are so many opportunities for ministry here – HO Sheet.
Challenge you to commit to one or more of these ministries.