Summary: Did you know that you have a ministry calling? Paul is not writing to a group of pastors but to a church. Do you know what your ministry calling is as a member of the Body of Christ? Do you know what to expect as you go out to minister?
4:1 Therefore, since we have this ministry,
Bernard L. Brown, Jr., president of the Kennestone Regional Health Care System in the state of Georgia once worked in a hospital where a patient knocked over a cup of water, which spilled on the floor beside the patient’s bed. The patient was afraid he might slip on the water if he got out of the bed, so he asked a nurse’s aide to mop it up.
The patient didn’t know it, but the hospital policy said that small spills were the responsibility of the nurse’s aides while large spills were to be mopped up by the hospital’s housekeeping group.
The nurse’s aide decided the spill was a large one and she called the housekeeping department. A housekeeper arrived and declared the spill a small one. An argument followed. "It’s not my responsibility," said the nurse’s aide, "because it’s a large puddle." The housekeeper did not agree. "Well, it’s not mine," she said, "the puddle is too small."
The exasperated patient listened for a time, then took a pitcher of water from his night table and poured the whole thing on the floor. "Is that a big enough puddle now for you two to decide?"
Did you know that you have a ministry calling? Paul is not writing to a group of pastors but to a church. Do you know what your ministry calling is as a member of the Body of Christ? Do you know what to expect as you go out to minister?
We can divide this passage in three ways: Characteristics of our Calling, Challenges to our Calling and Christ Who is our Calling.
CHARACTERISTICS OF OUR CALLING:
as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, 2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
There are certain things which should be part of our calling: Paul gives us a list of 5 things that should be indicators of a real relationship with Christ.
1) An Awareness of MERCY: as we received mercy
“Mercy cost nothing to receive, but it cost everything to give.”
People who know Jesus live with a constant awareness of what He has done for them. They know that they did not choose Him but He initially chose and drew them to Himself because of His mercy for them. An awareness of His mercy propels our ministry to others with a sense of understanding, forgiveness and concern.
2) A DILEGENCE in our HEARTS: we do not lose heart
Knowing what Christ has done for us becomes a driving force in our lives. Because of this knowledge we never stop trying in spite of the circumstances we face in life.
The worst defeat in a college football game came on October 7, 1916, when Georgia Tech played Cumberland college of Kentucky and beat them 222 to 0!
It was said that Cumberland never made a first down. The much smaller Cumberland players were mauled. Halfway through the first half one of the Cumberland backs fumbled the ball.
As the ball rolled toward his teammate, he yelled out, "PICK IT UP! PICK IT UP!"
The other player yelled back, "YOU PICK IT UP! YOU DROPPED IT."
Always looking for someone else to pay the price – let someone else do it
A walk with Christ that does not challenge us will have nothing to do with the kingdom of God. Many have a religion of wall plaques and pleasant experiences as they spend their time in God’s army far from the front lines. Those who truly enter the battle will encounter the enemy and the challenges that come with living in the world but not of the world.
It is said that Whistler, the artist, wanted to be a soldier, but he failed at West Point, and had to become an artist.
3) RENOUNCE the shameful things: we have renounced the things hidden because of shame
How many shameful things impact our lives in a given day: What TV show or movie would you not invite Jesus to watch with you?
How would you define something shameful? Offensive to God?
One way to determine what is shameful is to take the Beatitudes or the Fruit of the Spirit and INVERT them: unkind-lack of self control-unloving-impure in heart
4) A Right Usage of GOD’S WORD: not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth
“We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don't maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don't twist God's Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God.”