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April 18, 2022 4:00 am
It can be easy for any of us to phone the trap of thinking that it's people who have obvious gifts or talent serving God effectively, but the apostle Paul tells all of us that were to display our faith through serving others today on Truth for Life. Alister Maggie explains why Christian usefulness has more to do with availability than any special were in first Corinthians 16 verses 15 through eight. You show me people who claim to be conveyed without being devoted. I wonder what it was.
None of this silly teaching about the various stages involved in a progression of a walk with Christ is if you can have the convention package which includes heaven and no hallow but nothing beyond that. Or if you would like a little more. You can have the devotion package which involves a little more commitment on your part but you special benefits while you can have and so many people I talked to, they think of the Christian life just like that. I just converted devoted I want to say to you if you're not devoted is questionable whether you're conducted. The interesting thing is that there devotion reveals itself in service. They devoted themselves to something.
What you doing over there on just devoting it doesn't work like that, you know, devotion, in relationship to something and they devoted themselves specifically to the service of the saints. Phillips puts it, they made up their minds to devote their lives to serving others. They imposed upon themselves a duty? What is there about your Christian life and mine that speaks to the issue of self imposed duty denies that duty and habits are not dirty words, we have made them dirty words, especially in relationship to Christian things. If anybody speaks to the issue of Judy that the knee-jerk reaction is the person is a legalist while what about the self-imposed duty of your physical life. The self-imposed duty of brushing your teeth.
The self-imposed duty of shouting the self-imposed duty of eating the self-imposed duty of speaking civilly to other people. None of those things are biological functions. Ultimately, they are decisions. They are choices you choose to brush, floss, shower, eat and be civil you choose not to, and it has radical implications not only for yourself, for everyone who spends time with right and the same is true in Christian terms. I ask you again what is there. What is the I'm being very specific. What is there in the seven day period of your life that is there is a result of a commitment on your part. Self-imposed duty is there anything or do you do everything just because you feel like or do you do everything just because you are coerced to manipulate it from the outside you see the freedom of Christian living is the freedom which the spirit of God brings to us to enable us to enslave ourselves to Judy self-imposed use, but I remember when I had the option in relationship to worship at church I still do, but it's it is more implications if I if I exercise the wrong option but I remember I was not here but was there was many a Sunday and the reason I went to church was not as a result of some kind of divine flatus.
Some great search when I waking up in the morning but I waking in the morning and I said you know what it's Sunday. What do I do on Sundays is it going to church on Sundays, but I don't feel like going to church today but I want to go. This is the self-imposed duty is figured that if I was there on my bill to speak a word of encouragement to some if I was there I might hear a word from God that I definitely needed to if I was there and I feel that my voice and so banning gopher points, adding gopher feelings. Frankly, I still don't self-imposed duty. If you only witness to people and traveling on a plane or on a trainer on a bus when you feel like it, get ready for not witnessing the people, but if you're prepared to speak a word in season for Jesus Christ as a result of the self-imposed duty you have unbelievable opportunities. Just ask yourself when you're sitting, then the person says you know I'm so fed up with things I can believe why the world's in a mess. In such a mess. You see yourself in the moment you say, what I do when this happens answers I speak a word in season. If you ask yourself the question, what I feel like doing right now is probably pulling Newsweek operator on your head and ignoring the kind of person even asked the question self-imposed. You now notice these dear folks, they stand out in the whole of the New Testament because they were converted and they were devoted and they were devoted to the service of the saints.
They were willing. They were spontaneous and they were useful. They were waiting for an assignment fed up with people waiting for assignments I mean are you a manager or supervisor Jenna factory to get students in your factory you the supervisor in the comings and Fred George and Bill and they're going to be here. You guys drive you nuts. That you say now go over here and then they go over there and then the just standing like like their brain-dead and then and there you go.
Teresa was from Georgia said what am I supposed to do next. What you could do this next and then 20 minutes later. What I don't know what to do now.
I don't want to do well. Pick something up this trash on the floor right that they need sweat sweat tools need cleaned your landscaper. You can moment for the whole thing is covered in grass and beds send is I don't know what I'm supposed to clean my jolly tools.
For one thing you have to be a rocket scientist to be told everything. Many people in our church of this size are all standing around on corners like you know what I'm supposed to what is most of doing this church. What you do come with me I'll show you what to do. See, in many cases where hiding behind the idea of I don't have the ability were not looking for ability right ability down and then put these lectures in front of it AVA. I now the issue is not ultimately ability. The issue is availability available and still found us and his family got converted and he just started doing stuff they ministered to the saints said this is what was going to do. We're just going to go to somebody over here is a blanket running over to somebody over here needs a cup of cold water will take that to the somebody needs me to sit with her children. Somebody needs a word of encouragement will give it to. Waiting for an assignment wearing for prominence. Waiting for position they were involved in ministry.
The idea for them given that it is a house church, especially the idea that for them ministry in Christian living would be about sitting in a lovely big auditorium like this one hour a week then walking out and doing veritably very little been completely mind blowing to them they could never have conceived of that said, I don't know what that is but it surely isn't convulsion plus devotion. Indeed, in the King James version.
The word is not devotion what is addiction to King James version is an action they were addicted to an addiction.
What happens becomes habitual activity. The more you get, the more you need until you're at the point where if you can have it.
You can plan that's what's Christian service income justified this. I find this phenomenally challenging. I'm going to tell you I don't know about you, if I reached anything approximating this idea habitual addictive Christian activity. They were not workaholics compelled to work for work's sake they were addicted to ministry for laughs started to minister in the morning ministered.
The more they needed until they got to the point where they couldn't live without song when I can live if living is without you went way up high you know who you remember right you can remember driving in the car in the 60s.
The remainder now not as good a car if your average average guy is exactly how I feel something. What you see and hear stuff that is in his friends that I can let if living is without Christiansen's seat as I can live again teach can live. If I can't leave again live if I don't have a position that I can't live if I can minister*conversion devotion. Thirdly, and fast submission submission. I urge you, brothers to submit to such as these. These are the kind of people to whom you need to submit. He says this is servant leadership. It is best instead of the Corinthians, fighting for the rights and for the privileges and for the respect they should be fighting for a chance to follow after, and Sarah the likes of Stefanos and his family. These people were not isolators. They were cooperators sooner going tie the word that gives her synergy there was a synergy about what they were doing. They were committed to the work component time they were committed to the point of exhaustion. This was not a leadership. The walks around with a clipboard. You know you do these things like cleanup days in your neighborhood. There's always some Charlie hasn't click I give me that job.
I like that Joe, yes I'll do that, you know you that pine needles in any year and you that stuff all of your fingernails here and I have broke the chain saw seven times as a guy up the street and around comes broadly with the click goes over other going over your get this job. This is unbelievable. It makes me want us take my clipboard and put it over on the side for a little bit and say okay some stuff on your fingernails. Would you clipboard clipboard leadership is killing the church charts and diagrams in folders and systems in lists and goodness knows what all dying for a few folds with the stuff underneath her fingernail. When I walked out after the first service. The first person I walked into was carrying a what, dear, dear girl walking the halls with a clipboard.
I said look out she sell what you mean. I said you'll find out. Let me tell you something.
The illustration she made 10 times better. The key to submission and service is to wear the garment of humility in first Peter five, the garment of humility is the end: Bouma the apron of sacrificial service in the girl with the clipboard was wearing the apron service so I guess it's okay to have a clipboard provided were wearing the clipboard without 1/4 and second last word. The word inspiration inspiration. Where does this come from this the one that is not there. He says I urge you, brothers to submit to such as these into everyone adjoins in the work and labor that I was so glad when Stefanik's fortune ageist in the Caicos arrived because they supplied what was lacking from you. The refresh my spirits and the refresher spirits do. In other words, he says they just inspired me. They wound my clock floated my boat. They rang my belly unfurled my flag league just the just talked up my battery. The importance of companionship. Why years after Carol King sang the song you've got a friend that's all whole new generation find itself drawn to the song, not so much for the melody line but for the sentiment.
It conveys when you're down and troubled.
You need a helping hand when nothing nothing is going right. Close your eyes. Think of me. Soon I will be there to brighten up in your darkest night yet this is the mighty apostle Paul, inspired by the spirit of God to write these in many selectors and yet he is man and that is all he is and he is longing for companionship. These three fellows walk in the door and they pick up his spirits, you might just have a problem. Said Stefanik's as he walked in that I understand we all need somebody to lean on lean on me. All he said when you're not strong.
How give you strength. How help you carry on you to stand up.
If you are so self-sufficient that you don't need three buddies like that. Okay you want to be a Stefanik's fortune ageist in the Caicos to somebody doing I'm not going to sign you what I'm going to match you up. Just walk around with your eyes open your heart in tune with Jesus and you'll be falling over yourself with an opportunity to be an inspiration, the very opposite of a drain that are people who drain other people's batteries every time they see is coming there going all know he comes again.
I know I can be that people take on that idea of ability and availability. My commitment to ability even though I don't have much ability is so bad that people want to make themselves available feel that with availabilities not of a certain standard.
They don't want to make themselves available because they might fail and I need to learn what it is to see people privilege of feeling.
Otherwise you just drain is not a nice thought, but when I look into the mirror of the word of God. I can really drain people's juice and I found myself saying, Lord, help me to be like these three guys I like to recharge a few people's batteries. I like to be an inspiration. Togetherness builds as RP users restores us togetherness prevents us from danger, disappointment, disaster, difficulty like cold water to weary soul says Solomon is good news from a distant land in these three men came walking in from a distant land. And Paul said I was glad when they arrive they filled me up. I was lacking my battery was low.
The refresh my spirit and yours also. Last word recognition folks like this deserve recognition you want to recognize some people, he says, incidentally, the individuals have no right to seek recognition, but we have no right to withhold recognition.
Indeed, in the King James version it puts it in the imperative accurately acknowledge Eve them that are such the NIV says these people deserve recognition. We can say yes certainly do the King James version gets it right. Acknowledge the recognized go up to them and tell that the simple words the little things that would was apparently inconsequential, has meant so much to see is a real disservice to God's people. When we create the idea in our church that ministry is about teaching that the real ministers are the teachers the real ministers are the servants.
Indeed, James the brother of Jesus. Give a warning about being a teacher. Remember though many of you he says become teachers because those who teach will be judged with greater strength lies become like the household of Stefanik's. They were sick and we went to them. They were in jail and we called on.
They were hungry and we fed them. They were thirsty and we give them something to drink. Nobody saw nobody knew all sorry Jesus saw and Jesus knows you see you may think that you're involved in a ministry in this church that is so inconsequential because of the profile.
Nobody really knows nobody really sees. Indeed, you may be involved in a ministry to an individual and the individual seems so downright unresponsive. You drive away from the house and why I should even go back there doesn't seem to remember the words of Jesus as he drew things in the minds of people to the thought of his return and he said the king was going to come and separate the sheep from the goats. Put one on one site and that he had the king would sit on the throne and he would draw the people together and he would tell them that he was hungry and they give them something to eat, and so on, and the righteous will answer, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you are thirsty and give you a drink. And did we see it was a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you when did we see you as an overseas student at Case Western student tautly removed from home from family and from friendship.
When did we see you at Parkside church not take you all, Jesus says, inasmuch as you failed to do it to the least of these Case Western University students.
You failed to do it to me, Lord, when did we see you in a jail. Inasmuch as you went to the dear folks behind bars.
You went to me want to tell you love ones of the whole future of Parkside church is write down all these lines whether this church has an impact in the coming years will not ultimately be directly related to many of the things which have the highest profile but I believe is going to be directly relate to God's people understanding the ministry of Stefanik's in this household. One of the greatest ways in which Cleveland and the environment will know Jesus is alive is through the loving serving devoted lifestyle of ordinary Christian families just like yours. Just like my conversion devotion submission inspiration recognition conclusion. It is through humble service that our faith is revealed open the walls of our own homes and extending into the church and broader community listing to Alistair Begg and this is true for life. I will tell you today about a book that we believe you'll want to add to your library called saints and scoundrels in the story of Jesus. It's written by Nancy Guthrie course title is intriguing. You'll find the content equally intriguing in this book Nancy examines people or groups of people who came into contact with Jesus. Some of them rejected him. Others welcomed him some did both can learn more about why well-known people in the Gospels responded to Jesus, the way they do and how Jesus responded to them request your copy of saints and scoundrels do that if you donate today to give click the image you see in the mobile app or visit us online at truthforlife.org/donate. I'm Bob Lapine.
Thanks for listing whether your church has just a handful of faithful members or thousands of regulars sure to join us tomorrow to hear how were all a part of something much bigger than we can imagine the Bible teaching of Alister Beck is furnished by Truth for Life is for living