CARING AND DARING TO GET INVOLVED
INTRODUCTION: As we have said before, salt is only effective when applied. In fact if we leave the salt alone, it will ultimately become hard and useless, unable to accomplish its original purpose. We are salt, and unless we are used, we will also become useless, and unable to accomplish our original purpose.
ILLUSTRATION: Christian Growth
I met a young man not long ago who dives for exotic fish for aquariums. He told me that one of the most popular aquarium fish is the shark. He explained that if you catch a small shark and confine it, it will stay a size proportionate to the aquarium you put it in. Sharks can be six inches long yet fully matured. But if you turn them loose in the ocean, they grow to their normal length of eight feet.
That is like what happens to some Christians. I have seen some of the cutest little six-inch Christians who swim around in a little puddle. You can look at them and comment on how fine they are. But if you were to put them out into a larger arena—into the broad view of a whole creation—they might become great.
God help us not to be confined to a little puddle out of insecurity, but instead to see that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. He made us, and if we will both have internal integrity and relate ourselves to the larger structures in the ways he has ordained, we will be able to serve him according to a holistic vision of his purpose on the earth.
As we have learned in the previous weeks, we have com to the conclusion that we are ALL salt, and salt is our present, assumed, limited, and positive condition. Two weeks ago we also learned that saltiness is fleeting and its saltiness and savor can be lost, which makes us detrimental to the body of Christ. Last week we learned the importance of maintaining as our first priority our love for God. We discovered that our love for God should be and must be our most important relationship. As a result, I encouraged you to make your worship important enough to promise yourself that by God’s grace YOU would be in church on Sunday.
Now today, we move forward, going just a little bit deeper into what it means to be SALT! Simply put,, it means stepping up and using our gifts for the benefit of the church.
· IN ORDER TO GROW AS A CHURCH WE MUST FACE PROBLEMS
Several points to notice about the verse:
1. THE DISCIPLES MULTIPLIED. The early church was in a growing mode.
2. THE PEOPLE MURMURED. The church had problems. This problem rested firmly at the feet of the disciples. They were unable to deal with the problem. They could not meet the needs of the community.
3. CARING AND MINISTRY WERE BEING NEGLECTED. Churches cannot exceed their level of ministry and caring. The church will only grow to the level of its caring and ministry.
§ When we grow beyond our ability to care and minister things get overlooked.
§ When we grow beyond our ability to care and minister, we need to look at the reasons why.
o Why were the widows neglected?
o Was it on purpose.
o Probably a language issue, not a prejudice issue. The people in ministry did not have the gifts needed to adequately deal with the demands of ministry. In other words, the ministry grew beyond their ability to deal with it.
Every problem is an opportunity to prove God’s power. Every day we encounter countless golden - opportunities, brilliantly disguised as insurmountable problems. – Anon
If it weren’t for the rocks in its bed, the stream would have no song. - Carl Perkins, Loose Talk (Quick Fox)
· PRIORITIES EXIST WITHIN THE CHURCH AND ITS MINISTERS
§ The apostles realized what their purpose and priorities were.
§ The apostles realized what their gifts were.
§ The apostles realized what their responsibilities were.
§ The apostles realized that their responsibilities were not sufficient to meet the needs of the church.
On average, we can interact with about 40 people, when we move far beyond that number, certain people begin to get left out.
In other words, we are naturally limited in our ability to meet the needs of people.
In order to meet the needs of more people, more people must be involved in meeting needs!
· MINISTRY IS BEST ACCOMPLISHED BY THOSE EQUIPPED FOR MINISTRY
§ Ministry is identifiable
§ Ministry is limited. We all cannot and do not have the same ministry and ability.
§ Ministry needs to address the needs of the church.
· MINISTRY IS BEST ACCOMPLISHED WITH CHURCH APPROVAL AND SUPPORT
§ The church must see the need
§ The church must act on the need
§ God wants us to be involved in ministry. Just look at the result of people ministering where they should be ministering!
· MINISTRY IS BEST ACCOMPLISHED WITH SUPPORT
§ Support from the church. The church brought the people forward.
§ Support from the leadership.
§ Ministry needs PRAYER. Prayer for the needs to become evident, and to be burdened for them. Prayer for these involved in the ministry.
When We Pray, Coincidences Happen
“The leaders of the Clapham Sect of British social reformers such as William Wilberforce, daily gave themselves to three hours of prayer and organized Christians throughout the country to unite in special prayer before critical debates in Parliament. William Temple replied to his critics who regarded answered prayer as no more than coincidence, “When I pray, coincidences happen; when I don’t, they don’t.”
· MINISTRY BEST ACCOMPLISHES THE MANDATE OF THE CHURCH.
§ The Word of God increased. The message we are trying to get out GETS OUT!
§ People became believers, Believers matured
§ Some of the hardest nuts were cracked.
A CHURCH SHOULD DEVELOP THREE MAJOR QUALITIES:
All three are needed to be effective in ministry.
§ WORSHIP alone produces DEAD ORTHODOXY
§ CARING alone produces a CHRISTIAN ANONYMOUS
§ MINISTRY alone produces a SERVICE CLUB
§ WORSHIP AND CARING produce COMPLACENCY
§ WORSHIP AND MINISTRY produce BURN-OUT
§ CARING AND MINISTRY produce LIBERALISM
Which alternative could you be satisfied with?
Sitting in the Toolshed
Paul W. Powell, in The Complete Disciple, described this condition: “Many churches today remind me of a laboring crew trying to gather in a harvest while they sit in the toolshed. They go to the toolshed every Sunday and they study bigger and better methods of agriculture, sharpen their hoes, grease their tractors, and then get up and go home. Then they come back that night, study bigger and better methods of agriculture, sharpen their hoes, grease their tractors, and go home again. They come back Wednesday night, and again study bigger and better methods of agriculture, sharpen their hoes, grease their tractors, and get up and go home. They do this week in and week out, year in and year out, and nobody ever goes out into the fields to gather in the harvest.
You have in your bulletin today another card. This one asks for a commitment from you to become involved in the effectiveness of your church by discovering your abilities, and then involving yourselves in those ministries of Calvary Baptist that match your gifts.
So, here’s the plan. If you are willing to make this additional level of commitment, fill out the card and put it in the offering box as you leave today.
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