Summary: Message 48 in our exposition of Romans. This message continues the discussion of message 47 exploring the signs of vital ministry.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
“Vital Signs of a Healthy Ministry” Part Two
Paul closes his letter with some personal matters which can be approached in a few different ways.
I have chosen to deal with this section by focusing on the insights it provides into successful ministry both personal and as a church.
Last week we covered four of the six signs of a healthy ministry.
When you go to the doctor or are taken to the hospital they continually monitor your vital signs; blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen.
When in a certain range, these indicators signal good health.
When one or more of the vital signs strays very far outside the “normal” range, the doctor assumes something is not healthy and some sort of action needs to be taken.
I would hope that those serious about the health of ministry as individuals and our ministry in this world as a church should pay attention and continually monitor the vital signs found in this passage.
I believe there are four stages that could be applied to each of these signs of health.
1. They are present and strong.
2. They are absent.
3. They are developing.
4. They are waning.
As we review a bit from last week and then finish up the final two vital signs, I encourage you to evaluate which of these four stages characterizes your own ministry and Chico.
? Convincing evidence of spiritual maturity
Paul had become convinced and was still persuaded by strong testimony and reports of what God was doing through the Roman believers in regard to the Roman believer’s spiritual maturity manifested by a lifestyle of goodness.
The believers in Rome had acquired quite a reputation.
So much so, that it convinced Paul of the genuineness of their faith and the level of their spiritual maturity.
This was a goodness that seeks ways to meaningfully touch people and pursue connection.
It is a strong sign of spiritual maturity.
As we mentioned last week, goodness is a broad term under which we might find many other associated terms.
Goodness has many facets like a skillfully crafted diamond designed to reflect the character of an infinite God.
God is good.
As that goodness touches the creature it breaks out in traits like love, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, grace.
By employing a particular tense and voice, Paul provided a grand clue as to the source and foundation of the Roman believer’s spiritual maturity or goodness-filled lives.
He used a perfect tense participle -- indicating an action in the past with continuing observable results (footprints).
He employed the passive voice -- indicating an action done to the subject.
Paul acknowledged that the Roman believer’s lives were filled with goodness first having been filled with a thorough knowledge of the truth which continued to impact their life AND then being continually enabled to admonish one another.
You might say their obvious demonstration of goodness was the result of having been well taught and continually being enabled (by the Holy Spirit?) to admonish one another.
“admonish” = to put in the mind, warn, advise, instruct, rebuke for wrong doing, exhort,
We need more than admonishment from the pastor in Sunday sermons.
These Believers were mature because God enabled them to effectively admonish each other.
This assumes two things.
Skill in the art of admonishing one another.
Humility in the heart to accept it from one another.
A healthy body interacts on a spiritual level.
A healthy body gets below surface chit chat to talk about things that really matter.
A healthy body is serious about sharing and living the ways of God.
When we are well taught and continually sharing the applications and implications of what we are learning to life, we will find ourselves manifesting a life full of goodness.
We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me. Col. 1:28-29
A healthy ministry exhibits obvious signs of spiritual maturity, Christlikeness.
The number of people is not necessarily an indicator of health.
The size of our budget is not necessarily an indicator of health
The beauty or size of a facility is not necessarily an indicator of health.
Even though these are the indicators most used to measure ministry success; buildings, bodies, bucks.
Our level of Christlikeness and obedience is one biblical vital sign of ministry health.
Even though we may be well taught, we still need continual reminders.
Continuous teaching and reminders must be part of a healthy ministry.
A related element of a healthy ministry then is continual courageous reminders of essential truths.
? Courageous reminders of essential truths
? Compelling sense of God’s calling and anointing