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April 11, 2022 4:00 am
The clear command of Jesus to his first assignment was follow me. I've got a job for you to do most of us understand that pastors are called to ministry in a similar way, but do we realize that all of us are called to follow him today on Truth for Life.
Alastair Begg explains how were listing to a message titled call to service the close of our studies here in first Corinthians is Paul obviously draws his letter to close.
It's good for us to remind ourselves that Paul was not writing Lancer which was primarily to me dealt with in the way in which we are dealing with it, but he was writing a letter to a real group of people living real point in time and a real place and time dealing with the rough-and-tumble of their day isn't trying to make their journey through life in much the same way that each advises doing this morning and although they were Corinth and near Cleveland, separated by geography and by history the principles and the practical elements to which he addresses himself here in these closing verses are is vitally important for us this morning as they wear for the real and ordinary people to whom they were addressed in the 1st Pl., Paul and providing these personal requests and practical statements as he draws his letter to applause provides for I somewhat inadvertently a perspective on ministry itself. Essentially, Paul gives us an insight into what he's doing why he's doing it and how he's doing it.
The word ministry may variously be translated service and he has been called to service have all who have been called to Christ Jesus in Matthew four and calling the disciples who are working along the shores of Galilee says to them in the midst of their preoccupations and their normal routine and day.
He says follow me and I will make you fishers of men. And I was following me I got a job for you to do something in which I desire for you to be involved. Jesus called people to himself and he called them to Sarah and whether we are called to sell in the capacity of an elder or an evangelist or a pastor teacher or whether we are called to a whole variety of forms of service within the body of Christ we are all called to service and any distinction between those who are quote full-time servants and those who are least sermons from the word Laos and Greek, from which we get Lane ministry. The distinction is not a distinction of value. It is always a distinction of function and service a square exact. Therefore, it's good for us to get the apostles perspective on Christian service or ministry service in the Bible's terms is not a preliminary or a pathway to greatness service is greatness. Jesus and Mark chapter 10 says I didn't.
The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many ministry in the body of Christ to the body of Christ through the body of Christ is not something that we do in the hope that we may be able eventually to step up a few runs in a way that is often true in our office or our common our story in our academic circles. No says Jesus. That's the way the pagans view. He says I want you to know that he wants to be great among you should first become the servant of all. And it will be a net expression of service that greatness will be realized now. Paul clearly understood this Christian ministry or Christian service is ultimately nothing more than the ministry of the risen Lord Jesus among and through his people. Galatians chapter 2 in verse 20 is a classic summary of this principle where the apostle says I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me and the life I live in the body I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. And as you take those verses there and look at them. The principle is this, he, namely Jesus gave his life for me that he in turn might take my life from me. I have been crucified with Christ that he then may live his life through me service now in wrestling with these verses this week and there are some verses to which one terms that are immediately obvious in terms of where one is going. I look at these for a long time without a great deal of encouragement. I must say. And yet, as the week went on, I decided that it would be true to the text and encouraging for God's people to summarize these eight nurses by considering these three simple factors in relationship to a Pauline perspective on ministry or service number one that we would understand that it is the Lord's work. Secondly that he uses a variety of people to accomplish it. And thirdly, that there is no ideal place in which to serve will notice each of these in turn. First of all, then noticing that this work in which we engage of service and of ministry is the Lord's work. This comes out clearly in verse 10. In referring to Timothy and what Timothy is doing. He says of him. He is carrying on the work of the Lord just as I am Aragorn cutie you ever get that works all the Lord. He works what it sets you want to know what he's doing. He is not establishing his name is not building a ministry in the Timothy ministry is not seeking to become notorious.
He is working the work of the Lord. We saw this in verse 58 of the previous chapter, give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord now broadly speaking, the work of the Lord is anything to which we might lay our hands as Christians both within the body of Christ and in seeking to minister to those beyond the body of Christ. It is as we noted before in Colossians 3 that whatever we do in word or indeed we should do it all to the glory of the Lord Jesus that when we do our work. We should be working as a where in serving the Lord and not ultimately in serving men, whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for man and that comprehensive phrase. What ever you do. Is there purposefully and to that we will return the whatever of Christian service is matched by the particular element of being involved in the work of the good news itself, namely, in seeking to position ourselves in such a way that we might be effectively involved in the activities of the gospel. Now that simply means that we might recognize that we were born to reproduce that we were born to be involved in seeing unbelieving people become committed followers of Jesus Christ. Some years ago, Alan Redpath, according to statistics that he had gleaned from the average American congregation said that although those whose names appear on the lists of congregations in the United States 5% of them don't exist 10% of them can be found 25% of them never attend 50% of them attend only once on a Sunday, 75% are never present for corporate prayer. 90% of no family devotions and 95% never lead another person to faith in Jesus Christ to some of us are hiding behind the whatever and missing the fact that we are each uniquely called and appointed to the specific task of allowing the light and the truth and the power of Jesus. So to invade and fill our lives that in turn men and women might encounter that same light and truth and power in the way in which we do our jobs in the way in which we fulfill our responsibilities and in the way in which we answer their questions. When the Asko is a reason for the whole that is within us that when Paul viewed the Corinthian's themselves. He actually saw them in relationship to the Lord's work. If you turn back to chapter 9 and look at it. His description all of these people to whom he writes is as follows.
The final sentence of verse nine he says to them, are you not the result of my work in the Lord, the very existence of the church in Corinth was due to the fact that the apostle was doing the Lord's work. He was not irrelevant nor was he preeminent.
He was purposefully appointed to a specific responsibility in the way in which God plans to purposefully appoint each one, whom he calls to himself within the framework of his family to specific and particular responsibilities in terms of Christian ministry, and of service and immediately this morning. You are to be asking yourself the question as we look at the Scriptures together. So where am I in relation to the particular and specific tasks of shining out and declaring the truth of the gospel as it relates to Parkside church and my involvement here. If I understand that I have been called, not simply to sit not simply to absorb, not simply to learn but I've been called to grow and to go to fish and you feed then where I in this equation this morning.
The Corinthians were the product of the work of the Lord through God's servant was in no question that it was the Lord's work and if you turn back another few chapters to chapter 3 you turn to probably the classic statement of this truth that is given to us in this first letter to Corinth. There was a problem in Corinth, and neither would a whole host of problems in Corinth and one of them was that they were stuck on personalities, and they began to gather themselves in little groups around different elements of the pastoral team that was ministering there and somebody was saying, you know, I am really of the policies. My main man and someone else it will you know I much prefer Paul and someone else. It I am of Cephas. It wasn't that Paulus was trying to get a group or Paul was trying to get a group it was that these people actually had an affinity in this way, for whatever reason, and as a result, there was division there was worldliness there was carnality there was fleshly nest. It was all very childish and in addressing this. Look at what Paul says in verse five first Corinthians 3.
He says what, after all, is upon us and what is Paul the question is in the neuter, it's not in the masculine is insane who are weak. He says what are the issues not who the issue is what we live in a world that is preoccupied with who the evangelical world is preoccupied with who God is interested in Fort first of all, what is to Paulus what is Paul answer their only servants, through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each his task. So there any reason to glory in what they did, says Paul, for himself. All I was doing was being obedient to Jesus. He told me that I was a chosen instrument to bear his name before the Gentiles and as soon as I understood that I said well I better go and bear his name before the Gentiles, so I don't have any reason to be particularly excited about the fact that all of you people have come to faith in Jesus Christ under reason to be discouraged that I've done such a job among you that there's all this fighting and partly in immorality and chaos, but I know this.
The only reason I did what I did is because the Lord assigned my task, and furthermore he said the same is true I do the job of blending reasonableness of the Job of what is now the way you divvy it up around your house or the way your wife wishes you were dimming up around the house would be some form of division of labor, one would plant and the other would water did you plant the plants. They walk up and down ago I planted these your wife welcomed a number yeah but that's irrelevant.
II what are these and you say that if I am planted in you good Waterman. She says you fight and water. The nature of a lot so it goes on and then you both realize that if God didn't make them grow. You bought me standing looking at nothing. That's the point here. Calvin says the key to usefulness in the kingdom of God begins with self forgetfulness going to be useful in the kingdom. Forget yourself will be effective in ministry dieters are well-nigh impossible without the spirits enabling services. Here's the deal. I planted the seed of Pollux wanted it, but God made it grow and then he gives these three statements are. I let me summarize a mystery statement soon as this in verse five God gave the ministry.
He assigned the task when walking around preening our feathers about the task you know who I am. In general, what I do so. The only reason you do what you do is because God said you could do it and I'm till now he still let you do. God gave us. Secondly, verse six, God gives the growth you know how many people are now in Corinth, Paul might've been prepared to say that he would have stopped himself and said no I shouldn't say that because after all I was only a sermon in his hands and nothing would have happened unless God gave the notice in verse eight.
It is God who gives the rewards the man who plants in the matter who waters of one purpose and each will be rewarded according to his own success. Bible your head should have gone like that when I said success you know it can be success, it isn't success. Each one will be rewarded according to his own labor get a reward for being a faithful labor. Not a successful labor people around you may not think you are successful, as you should be.
You may not even think you're as successful as you might be God rewards another to be given on the basis of success they're going to be given on the basis of faithfulness.
He gave the tax he made it grow. He gives the rewards so the ministry to which we are all called and in which we are all involved in is the Lord's ministry Lord service the Lord's work. Second principle to notice is that the Lord Jesus uses a variety of people to accomplish his work. Paul understood this was going to later on. Notice the impact of a transforming family down there in verse 15 can wait to get to were also going to look at these three characters in verse 17's the fan is for teenagers and a kind case. When they look like you won't know we can tell what they did positively refresh my spirit.
In other words, these guys were important in his ministry. He was not one man show you on the one-man band. One-man bands are no longer particularly compelling. I've noticed in Glasgow.
There used to be a whole host of one-man bands when I was a boy guys with drums strapped all manners and parts of their body and when they did this it did that and that this and that needs to stand and contort themselves and make all manner of sounds and you couldn't help but think gracious is there nothing this fella can do body of Christ is to replace for producing one-man bands. Pulses are not a one-man band the Lord's servant must be a one-man band. He says I'm keen that a Paulus comes up through is not a one-man band. He knew the territorial is and within the church. He knew there was a we group a favor to Paulus if he was looking out for his own interests.
Selfishly, he made sure that a Paulus never went back to Corinth because when a Paulus went back to Corinth. Maybe they would like his watering better than they like Paul's planting. What would save them from that. The fact that he was only concerned that the plants grew if his preoccupation was that he would like his planting more than a Paulus his watering, he wouldn't be charging a Paulus to go back and do some more watering because he would be fearful of the impact of what would take place when somebody else began to get a little bit of the focus in the Timothy the young rising lieutenant in his force. He says I can wait for Timothy to get to you and here's how I want you to treat Timothy a great variety of people to for teenagers is a list of fantasies in their cactuses and their policies in the Timothy's then all of the seminar like the same. There were no gift of the same, but they were all vital in the work of ministry.
You believe that and you know what the work is any doing the first of all you need to know there's a work. Remember you can do, then you need to know what the work is and you need to go and and look at the wonderful way in which God chooses to put these people together. Timothy, the man who was apparently so disqualified for service. Naturally timid. That's why he says all these things to say about make sure is nothing to fear when he's with you physically free LYS. They keep taking a little wine for his stomach's sake chronologically disadvantaged young let no man despise your youth, Timothy. He says he will look condensate. It doesn't make any sense at all that you, the mighty apostle Paul would take the batten of faith and entrusted into the hands of a fellow who is always getting an upset stomach who is always naturally timid amongst people can win amongst the crowd and he frankly looks far too young to be any use granite. Everyone looks at him and says why did you send a boy pulses. I understand that kind of thinking.
But here's the deal. God's signs the task. One of the reasons that people don't engage in ministry is because they're fearful. There were intimidating characters in Corinth for sure big mouth loudmouth strong arms. People who thought they knew how ministry ought to be operated and it probably was a daunting prospect for Timothy as he made his journey towards the city of Corinth to think of going in a meeting.
This group after all, the group pulverized and tyrannized his boss and his colleague and his mentor. The apostle Paul and if they give Paul such a hard time over the going to do to him. He must've gone in there with fear and trembling fear of rejection is one of the great debilitating factors in involvement in Christian ministry.
People are afraid of rejection. The answer is listen. If God puts his hand upon you, shows you the pink slip sign your name on the pink slip and do the job. Would you accept your limitations. You can do everything I assume your responsibilities you can do something and don't let the evil one tell you that because you're young, frail and timid that it's everybody else's job or that your old frail content. All of us who are called by Christ are called to service that's Alastair beg you're listening to Truth for Life. If you been enjoying our study of the book of first Corinthians Alastair talk through all 16 chapters in this book, the title of the complete series is firm foundation and you can hear any of the messages in this series for 40 or start at the beginning. Work your way through the entire letter from the apostle Paul just searched the title firm foundation on our mobile app or on our website to Truth for Life.org you can also purchase the entire study of a single USB for just five dollars now as we look forward to Easter your try to imagine what it would be like to have been present with Jesus and the disciples in the private a poolroom on the evening before his death. Theologian Sinclair Ferguson takes us into this seam that's described in John's gospel with vivid clarity. He's written a book titled lessons from the upper room and in this book Sinclair describes the atmosphere where emotions were ebbing and flowing. There's confusion. There's misunderstanding there's fear coursers comfort.
All of these are at play as Jesus washes the disciples feet else about his coming departure than promises coming of the Holy Spirit, request a copy of the book lessons from the upper room when you donate today to give you can click on the image of the mobile app or visit us firstname.lastname@example.org/about the pain. Thanks for listening. Where is your ideal place to serve God. Tomorrow will learn more about our calling and service to Christ.
I hope you can join us. The Bible teaching of Alastair beg is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living