Go

Bible Church International

Fulfilling Your Ministry Calling

 

Back to Basics: (Part XX)
FULFILLING YOUR MINISTRY CALLING
Ephesians 4:11-12 (NIV):
11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists,
and some to be pastors and teachers,
12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be
built up
Galatians 6:9 (NIV):
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest
if we do not give up.
1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV):
58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves
fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is
not in vain.
In our study of the doctrine of the Priesthood of believers last week, we have
established the fact that God has saved us to serve Him. We said that regardless of
what you are doing in life; you maybe a nurse, an engineer, an accountant, or whatever
your work is – God is calling you to actively serve Him, and make a difference
in the lives of others. Indeed, God has given you and me the awesome privilege to be
His priests.
Now, our sermon this morning is a continuation of last week. After we said
that we are God’s priests, all of us should be able to ask ourselves whether or not we
are fulfilling the ministry that God has called us to do. Looking at Ephesians 4:11-12,
it is quite obvious that there are different ministries in the church where we could
serve – like some being evangelists, while others are called to be pastors. Just like in
our church, we have many ministries where you can choose to serve. You could be
one of the ushers, Sunday-school teachers, worship leaders, choir or praise band singers,
and many others. There are literally many opportunities and ministries to choose
from. And yet, in most cases, there are many believers who have not yet responded to
any ministry responsibility. According to a Gallup survey, in a typical evangelical
church, 50 percent of people have no interest in any ministry; 40 percent are interested
but had never been asked; and only 10 percent are active in the ministry.
Here in BCI, we know we have more than 10 percent of our people serving.
And because we believe that it is God’s will that we all serve Him, we want to continually
encourage as many members as possible to participate in our ministries. In
fact, one of the goals we have for this year (2010) is to increase active participation in
the ministries to 90%.
Let me ask you, have you already found the ministry that God wants you to
fulfill? If you have, how are you serving in that ministry? Do you think God is glorified
in the way you are serving today? I believe these are critical questions for all of
us who are serving the Lord. We don’t want to keep serving without experiencing that
sense of confidence and satisfaction that we are in the right track. We want to know
for sure that we are fulfilling exactly the ministry that God wants for us, and we are
doing it with the right motives and attitudes. Allow me to share to you some important
guidelines that will help us in fulfilling our ministry calling:

Back to Basics: (Part XX)

FULFILLING YOUR MINISTRY CALLING

Ephesians 4:11-12 (NIV):

11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,

12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up

Galatians 6:9 (NIV):

9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV):

58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

     In our study of the doctrine of the Priesthood of believers last week, we have established the fact that God has saved us to serve Him. We said that regardless of what you are doing in life; you maybe a nurse, an engineer, an accountant, or whatever your work is – God is calling you to actively serve Him, and make a difference in the lives of others. Indeed, God has given you and me the awesome privilege to be His priests.

     Now, our sermon this morning is a continuation of last week. After we said that we are God’s priests, all of us should be able to ask ourselves whether or not we are fulfilling the ministry that God has called us to do. Looking at Ephesians 4:11-12, it is quite obvious that there are different ministries in the church where we could serve – like some being evangelists, while others are called to be pastors. Just like in our church, we have many ministries where you can choose to serve. You could be one of the ushers, Sunday-school teachers, worship leaders, choir or praise band singers, and many others. There are literally many opportunities and ministries to choose from. And yet, in most cases, there are many believers who have not yet responded to any ministry responsibility. According to a Gallup survey, in a typical evangelical church, 50 percent of people have no interest in any ministry; 40 percent are interested but had never been asked; and only 10 percent are active in the ministry.

     Here in BCI, we know we have more than 10 percent of our people serving. And because we believe that it is God’s will that we all serve Him, we want to continually encourage as many members as possible to participate in our ministries. In fact, one of the goals we have for this year (2010) is to increase active participation in the ministries to 90%.

     Let me ask you, have you already found the ministry that God wants you to fulfill? If you have, how are you serving in that ministry? Do you think God is glorified in the way you are serving today? I believe these are critical questions for all of us who are serving the Lord. We don’t want to keep serving without experiencing that sense of confidence and satisfaction that we are in the right track. We want to know for sure that we are fulfilling exactly the ministry that God wants for us, and we are doing it with the right motives and attitudes. Allow me to share to you some important guidelines that will help us in fulfilling our ministry calling:

I.   SECURE YOUR ORDAINED PLACE:

     God in His great wisdom has wired us differently. One of the recent lessons we covered was about spiritual gifts.  Can you still remember the definition we have for it?  We defined it as - God-given capacities or abilities given to us in order to serve God and other Christians in a way that Christ is glorified and believers are edified.

     Every one of us should know exactly the spiritual gift/s we possess because this is the key in securing our ordained place of ministry. We need to function according to our gifts and talents. The Apostle Peter has plainly encouraged us to faithfully use our gifts:

1 Peter 4:10 (NIV):

10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.

     The problem occurs when we remain ignorant about our personal gifts.  The secret for you to know your gift is by trying out different ministry roles. While trying these roles, you have to constantly watch for two important elements:

     • Joy – Do you love and enjoy your ministry role?

     • Effectivity – Are you efficient in your area of responsibility?

     I really believe that if we are serving where we are wired, we will be most effective there; and once there’s effectivity, that’s where we will also experienced great joy and satisfaction.  If we are serving in a ministry and we don’t see these two elements, we need to move to another ministry and don’t be afraid to keep moving until you have secured your ordained place.  

I would also recommend that you grab Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life book, and study the chapters 29 -35. He coined the word SHAPE to serve as a guide in determining which ministry you and I should fulfill:

    • S – Spiritual Gifts

     • H - Heart

     • A - Abilities

     • P – Personality

     • E – Experience

     Do whatever is necessary to find out how you are wired, so you would know where you ought to be serving.

 

II.   STOP MAKING EXCUSES:

     There are many Christians who are missing out in having the privilege of serving God and making a difference in the lives of others because they have failed to overcome their excuses for not serving.  This morning, I would like to caution those who are so creative in making excuses.  Think of what you could be missing.  Remember Moses in Exodus 3 and 4.  When God was calling him to deliver Israel from slavery in Egypt, he also came up with some excuses why he should not be chosen:

Exodus 3:9-12 (NIV):

9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.

10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt."

11 But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"

12 And God said, "I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain."

Exodus 4:10-12 (NIV):

10 Moses said to the Lord, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue."

11 The Lord said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord?

12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."

     I love these verses because we can all easily identify with them. So many times, we feel inadequate or unprepared for the task that God is giving us.  Considering Moses who was well educated in Egypt, he could have easily responded and seized the opportunity. But, I want to say that the fear is quite natural.  None of us would feel comfortable on the front end to handle any spiritual task. We will always have some reluctance.  However, we need to focus on God’s responses.  For every excuse of Moses, God has an adequate promise.  When Moses felt unworthy for the task in chapter 3:11, God assured him with His presence.  And then in 4:10, Moses was not sure if he can fulfill the required task, God responded by assuring him of sufficient power.  God overcame Moses' excuses and in the end Moses had the great privilege of seeing God’s miraculous hand work through Him in delivering Israel.

     How about us? What could be our excuse/s for not serving? I want to assure all of us that God is more than sufficient to help us in all our endeavors.  Our feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy should compel us to run to the Lord.  Paul revealed God’s purpose for choosing unworthy and inadequate servants in 1 Corinthians 1:27-29:

27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are,

29 so that no one may boast before him.

     Without a doubt, God’s power is more active and visible through lowly instruments like us.  Let’s not allow anything to keep us from fulfilling our ministry calling from God.

 

III.   SHARE YOUR LIFE TO PEOPLE:

     Christian ministry is a ministry to people.  Everyone who chooses to fulfill a ministry must be motivated by his or her love for people who are so precious to God.  Jesus has absolutely demonstrated this attitude in His ministry:

Matthew 9:36-38 (NIV):

36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

37 Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.

38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."

     We should not miss the emotional response of Jesus when He saw the spiritual condition of the people – He had compassion on them.  Bible commentators translate the word compassion as being moved with pity from the very inmost bowels.  In other words, Jesus felt deep emotional pains because of what He saw. We too need to develop the same heart for people.  This kind of concern can compel us to share even sacrifice precious time and resources to make a difference in the lives of others.  When you examine the lives of great servants of the Lord in the Bible, you would find people who were willing to invest their very lives or even risked them for the sake of the advancing the causes of Jesus Christ.  Take Paul for example.  He wrote the Ephesian church saying:

Ephesians 3:1 (NIV):

1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—

     How many of us would be willing to go to prison for the sake of other people?  Paul went to prison because he wanted to reach the Gentiles with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He knew that was the calling God has given him - to reach the Gentiles for Jesus. We all need to acknowledge the same truth – you and I are not put on earth for our own good, but for the sake of others who need to know Jesus Christ.  

     Of course, because of the inherent sinful nature of people, we cannot expect the ministry to go without troubles. People could be abrasive, aggressive, unresponsive, and unappreciative.  Ministers should be prepared to meet all these manifestations of human depravity.  We have to keep in mind that ministry exists because sin  exists.  If people are perfect, then there is no need for ministry anymore.

     But there is also one positive note – the worst sinners can also turn into the best saints.  Paul was a primary example of this.  So, keep touching lives.  You might have the privilege of winning another Paul for Christ.

IV.   STAY FAITHFUL:

     Since the ministry has some share of pressures; time and again, God’s servants had been tempted to throw in the towel and quit their calling.  I hope before anyone would quit and give up, they would go back and examine two very significant verses:

Galatians 6:9:

9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

     First of all, sometimes when we give up on the ministry, we have given up too soon.  If we only waited a little longer, we could have experienced the harvest.  I can personally testify about this:  There had been times in the past that the Lord had allowed me to go through severe problems in BCI which almost drove me to resign, but by God’s grace, staying through allowed me to experience great blessings.  The irony in the ministry for me is, after great storms, came great harvests.  So, my challenge is: don’t give up yet, persevere and wait for the coming harvest.  Then:

1 Corinthians 15:58:

58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

     In serving the Lord, nothing is really wasted.  All the efforts we have exerted had been properly noticed and recorded and will have appropriate rewards.  I believe that there are rewards that can be experienced while we are here on earth.  But, most of the rewards will be given when we get to heaven.  The guarantee He gives us is that everything will be rewarded.  God is a worthy master and He will never shortchange us.  We can count on Him when He said that our labors will not be in vain.

     On this basis, Paul encourages us to keep ourselves fully in God’s work.  We have to see to it that we are totally plugged in or fully involved in the ministry until God calls us home.  We have to stay faithful in our ministry and in God’s appointed time everything will be appropriately rewarded.

 

Read More