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Message Monday: Ministry that Multiplies God’s Glory

03 Oct

Click the following link to reacd more about faithful deacon minsitry: https://9marks.org/journal/deacons/

Intro:

  • When you think of the work of a deacon, what comes to mind?
  • Do you automatically begin to think of a group meeting in a room somewhere debating about some mundane detail of church work?
  • Do you see deacons as the uncooperative people in the church we must all answer to?
  • I find it humorous that Wake Forest University, originally a school for training pastors, settled upon mascot that would strike fear into the hearts of opponents – a Demon Deacons.
  • One parody account on Twitter known as the “Surly Deacon” posts regularly saying things like
    • “Called the police due to suspected vandalism at church. An investigation revealed the children’s ministry had a project that used glitter.”
    • Or “All I’m saying is church attendance is in direct proportion to AC tonnage.”
  • Does the New Testament want us to view Deacons in this way?
  • According to Jamie Dunlop a pastor a Capitol Hill Baptist in DC, in the New Testament the position of deacon is two things: a shock absorber and a servant. He says..
    • Deacons are shock absorbers because they “were chosen to preserve unity at a time when botched administration was creating fissures in the church.”
    • Deacons are servants because “their very name means servant, and their precursors in Acts 6 were chosen to handle the practical needs of the church.”

 

Hook:

  • If you have not already guessed it, today we are thinking about how the ministry of deacons fits into our church ministry.
  • To do that we need to talk about church problems.
  • Church problems very quickly become obstacles to God’s glory and disrupt the spread of the gospel.
  • Today we want to follow the three pronged approach of the early church to deal with church problems.

 

Image result for deacons

Message Points:

  • The reason that we need a cooperative ministry is very simple: problems come at us from every angle.
    • There are spiritual problems that arise out of the opposition the world, the flesh and the devil throw at us. For instance…
      • When we begin to reach out to serve our community and share the gospel, we will come into contact with people that ask questions for which we do not have answers.
      • We may also have trying situations like a prolonged illness or a lost loved one which cause us to have doubts about our faith.
    • There are also practical problems that arise because of the differences of people. For instance…
      • Not everyone thinks 72 degrees is a comfortable temperature for the church.
      • When people work together in the programs of the church differences of opinion can quickly grow into rifts.
    • Notice with me, that both types of problems primarily deal with people who are precious enough in the sight of God that He sent his Son to die on their behalf.
      • If these people are precious enough to God to send Christ, then shouldn’t we as his people be more proactive in cooperating together to give him glory?
  • Thus we have our 1ST point : Disregarding the needs of God’s people multiplies church conflicts (6:1-2).
    • Just in case you did not realize it, let me say that the vast majority of church conflicts do not bring glory to God.
      • Conflicts among believers are opportunities that the world, our flesh, and the devil seize upon to try to disrupt and destroy God’s glory in and through us.
      • Even in the most necessary and God-honoring conflicts there is always collateral damage.
    • For this reason, as God’s people we need to be careful to notice when fellow believers have needs that go unmet.
    • Notice that this passage identifies at least two very important needs that are going unmet.
      • The first is actually the reason for the passage found in verse one.
        • There is a need for the two groups of disciples in the church to unify.
        • The pressure point that pushes them apart is the fact that the Greek Jews are overlooked in the distribution of food.
      • The second need you can find in verse two.
        • There is a need for all the believers to hear God’s Word applied to their lives.
        • The pressure point that pushes the apostles who served as the pastor in the Jerusalem church apart from the congregation is the administration of the distribution of food.
    • Thus, as we think about our own church: by needs we mean the practical needs of God’s people.
      • Managing the issues related to a growing church is a practical need.
      • Handling complaints is practical need.
      • Serving the underserved is a practical need.
      • Building Unity is a practical need.
    • But before we major in these areas, notice that the apostles also make the point that: By needs we also mean the need for God’s Word in the lives of His people.
      • God’s people need to hear from God’s Word.
      • In life’s everyday problems, God’s people need to learn how His Word applies to their problems.
      • In moments of crisis or trial, God’s people need someone to help them approach His throne in prayer.
  • So the apostles answer to the people’s need is our 2ND point: Delegating ministry to gifted spiritual leaders multiplies God’s glory (6:3-4).
    • Notice with me that the apostles did not unilaterally appoint individuals to the task.
      • Instead the asked the congregation for help.
      • Biblical leaders do not act unilaterally, they seek to cooperate with those they lead.
      • I hope that you heard the godly desire to cooperate with you in Rick’s encouragement to pray about the need to fund God’s ministry here at Morningside.
    • Notice as well that the apostles did not ask for men best equipped to handle the specific needs.
      • Instead they asked the congregation to think of spiritual leaders wise in how to apply God’s Word.
      • We do not call the equipped as biblical leaders, we trust that God will equip the called.
    • Finally notice that this plan is dependent upon trust. Each group must trust that the others will do their job and cooperate together.
      • In Baptist Churches the Deacons… are entrusted with the practical needs identified by the pastors and congregation.
        • Deacons cooperate by minimizing obstacles for the gospel’s spread.
      • In Baptist Churches the Pastors… are entrusted with the need of the deacons and congregation to be guided in their work by His Word.
        • Pastors cooperate by maximizing the impact of God’s Word in the lives of His people.
      • In Baptist Churches the Congregation… are entrusted with responding to the servant leadership of pastors and deacons to facilitate an every member ministry .
        • The congregation cooperates by seeking the Lord, serving one another, and sharing the gospel with the world.
  • So finally, notice the 3RD point in this passage: Developing a cooperative ministry among believers multiplies God’s glory (6:5-7).
    • A cooperative ministry… internally focuses on God’s glory.
      • This is accomplished as we agree to empower with leadership those full of faith and the Holy Spirit as they do in verse 5.
      • If our focus was on aptitude we may easily drift into academics.
      • If our focus was on popularity we will certainly drift into politics.
      • If we focused on past experience, the drift will be towards resume building.
      • With the focus on the spiritual character of leaders, how can God not be glorified?
        • The focus is on faith in the finished work of Christ.
        • The focus is on the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit.
        • The focus is on wisely applying God’s will in specific situations.
    • A cooperative ministry also… externally focuses on God’s glory.
      • This is accomplished as the church works together to minimize obstacles and maximize the gospel.
      • In verse 7 this is referred to simply as the spread of God’s Word.
      • In other words people talked about God’s powerful, life-changing gospel instead of the problems they were having in church.
      • Notice that the by-product of this external focus on God’s glory was a multiplying ministry.

 

Conclusion:

  • How long has it been folks since you talked with your friends and family about God’s glorious gospel instead of Morningside’s problems?
  • Perhaps today before we have this ordination you need to confess that you have not cooperated to spread God’s glory.
    • Maybe you are here today as one of our pastoral staff and you would confess to God that you have not directed people back to Christ like you should have.
    • Maybe you are here today as a deacon an you would say that you have not minimized the obstacles to the gospel like you should have.
    • Maybe you are a member of the congregation today and you have taken more time to talk about the problems of this church rather than how Christ saved you.
  • In the next few minutes can I ask you to commit with me to expand God’s glory in the coming year by focusing more on the gospel than on our problems.
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Posted by on October 3, 2016 in Ministry of the Word

 

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