Summary: A short sermon on how we can minister for God

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Through Our Works of Service - Spiritual Gifts & Heart?

Gladstone Baptist Church - 5/6/05

During experiments aboard the space shuttle “Columbia,” scientists discovered that there are twenty-six lakes underneath the Sahara desert. It’s heartrending to think of the people who are starving and dying of thirst because these hidden resources have not yet been tapped.

In a similar way, there are some churches and even individuals in our church that are starving and dying physically and spiritually because there are spiritual resources that are untapped. My fear is that we’re missing out on what the Christian life is all about. Some of us are settling for something far less than what God intended.

One of the 5 purposes that we learnt about in the 40 days of purpose was ministry or service. We were Shaped to serve. Can anyone remember the memory verses we learnt...

What on earth are we here for? For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do - Eph 2:10

That says that we were created to do good works prepared for us.

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others - 1 Pet 4:10

Peter says that we have gifts and should use them to serve others.

Our church’s mission statement affirms this. It says. Through our Worship, Witness and Works of service, we aim to reach people with the good news of Jesus and lead them to Maturity in the Family of God.

We’ve all got works of service we can do to influence people for Christ.

Did you know that there are 3 different types of service or ministry. Another way to put this is that you minister in three different directions.

1. First we minister to GOD - That’s upwards. We do it through worship. When we worship, we are actually ministering to God. We’re using what God has given us to serve Him.

2. Then we minister to OTHER BELIEVERS - That’s inwards. Many of the things we do here at our church are mainly for the benefit of other believers. The musicians for example, morning tea servers, welcomers, children’s church - they are all focussed on believers.

3. Then we also minister to UNBELIEVERS - That’s outwards. Matthew 5:13 talks about "You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world." Some of the things we do in this church reach out to people outside of this church. Brigades, KOGs, BYG House, Craft Group, the missionaries we support are examples.

Which of these are you involved with. I believe that every believer should in some way be involved with all 3 types of ministry. On your sheets - there is space to jot down some of the things you are doing in each of these areas. If one area is a bit blank, I suggest you focus your attention on trying to bring back some balance.

That is all well and good, you say, but I don’t know what I should do. There are basically 3 reasons why people don’t serve God and others.

„X they want to meet their own needs rather than meeting others needs. They are selfish. Sometimes they put God at the bottom of their list of priorities.

„X they don’t plan ahead to serve God. They don’t make preparations. They never actually get around to it. They are lazy. Basically they are not intentional about it and so it doesn’t happen.

„X they don’t think they are able to serve God. They don’t think they have anything to offer. They think that others could do a better job. But that is a lie - God has designed you with something to give.

A young boy came to church one cold winter day to get out of the blowing snow. He had been trying to sell newspapers but not a single customer had passed by because of the weather. He slipped into the back of the church, just hoping to get warm and catch up on his sleep. The boy really paid attention to the sermon that morning and was greatly moved by it. When the pastor was done, he called for the offering. The ushers went from row to row, and when the offering plate came to the boy, he stared at it for a while and then put it on the floor.

He then did something very strange and very special. He stood up and stepped right into the offering plate. By then, all the people had turned around and were staring at the boy. When he looked up, he had big tears running down his face as he said, “Pastor, I don’t have any money because I haven’t sold any newspapers today. All I have to give is me.” The person who has nothing to give but himself is able to give the greatest gift of all.

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