INTRO: If you are what you have always been, you have never met Christ! No man can meet Christ and remain the same. What the eye sees it can never unsee!
What happens to a man who meets Christ as the Preeminent, Lord of Creation, Image of Invisible God, Firstborn from the Dead, Ruler Over All Things, Reconciler of all Things, the Fullness of the Godhead. WHAT HAPPENS?
HE IS MADE A MINISTER! He becomes the servant of that Christ. Paul says twice He was MADE A MINISTER, a servant. Service for Christ is the result of a head-on collision with Jesus Christ.
When a man is captivated by the Loving Lordship of Jesus, He is MADE a servant.
I. SERVICE FOR CHRIST IS SUFFERING FOR CHRIST.
vs. 24–”NOW’ as a result of meeting Him as Lord.
1. We must be READY TO SUFFER. This is far from the experience of must of us. Matt. 5:9,10; I Peter 4:12; II Tim. 2:3; 3:13; Phil. 1:29; Rom. 8:17; John 15:18
What Kind? Jesus left some suffering for us to do. Not the Calvary sufferings… “It is finished”. But the World wasn’t finished with Jesus. The word “affliction” is never used of the redemptive suffering of Christ.
(1) The Sufferings to Birth the Church
(2) The Sufferings to Build the Church
If childbearing were the only pain involved in rearing a family, it would be easy…even into adulthood. Gal. 4:19
The Sufferings of Obedience – “If I do what God says, I’ll have to give up, they’ll take advantage of me, etc.”
2. We are to REJOICE IN THIS SUFFERING. Your concept of Jesus will determine to what extent you are willing to suffer for Him. I read in one Pastor’s column where he there with being “stoned at Lystra”.
Paul and others were always rejoicing in their trials. II Cor. 7:4
II. SERVICE FOR CHRIST IS SHARING JESUS. vs. 25-28
1. The MESSAGE we are to share –“Whom we preach…”
(1) Preach – the authority to make an announcement.
We have the RIGHT to share Him. Divine commission.
(2) We have a REASON – “Christ IN you, the Hope of Glory” a daily experience. Some say the Keswick message discourages
evangelism.. IT ENCOURAGES EVANGELISM because we offer more than fire insurance–LIFE ASSURANCE! A life of
Not SOUP and SOAP, but the SAVIOUR.
2. The MANNER we share –
(1) “WARNING” — To put them in mind, to admonish. Present participle. Continually, training by word, AS CONTRASTED
TO “training by act.” To correct through instruction and warning.
An unforgettable experience.. .1 John 1; Amos: “The Lion hath roared, who can but speak?”
Jeremiah: ‘‘Thy Word is a fire in my bones.
Paul: “Woe is me if! preach not…”
Woman at the Well: “Is not this the Christ?” His disciples had been to town and hadn’t told anyone.
Andrew: “We have found the Christ.”
(2) “TEACHING’- instructing, indoctrinating them with all wisdom. That’s the method of the teacher. This is something we’d better
wise up to.
We are to EVANGELIZE and EDIFY.
3. The MEASURE – “Every man.
4. The MOTIVE – “In order that…present every man perfect.” Paul’s eye travels to the bema.
Present: “To cause to come to and stand beside, I offer.” TO PLACE BESIDE.
Perfect: Fulfilled, reaching goal, mature.
IN CHRIST JESUS – That’s the sphere in which they are made perfect. That’s why we preach CHRIST, because only IN
CHRIST are they brought to the GOAL.
III. SERVICE FOR CHRIST MEANS STRENGTHENED BY CHRIST.
eis–unto direction towards an object.. .the only way to reach the object. IT’S JUST PLAIN HARD WORK.
1. There is HUMAN EFFORT.
(1) Labor – work by effort, to grow weary, “laborious toil” , a “striking, a beating”
(2) Striving – athletic word, warfare word.
Our word, “Agonizing” — present participle—A habitual characteristic… our whole being is thrown into it. A man may labor or toil half-heartedly, but to labor while agonizing is throwing yourself into it.
2. There is HEAVENLY ENABLEMENT.
“according to…” KATA means “down”, has the idea of domination. Paul’s effort was dominated by God’s enablement.
MIGHTY - our word “dynamic”, not “dynamite”.
Dynamite: Bit noise, lot of dust, then nothing.
Dynamo: Continual SOURCE OF ENERGY.
THE KEY: Christian service is WORKING OUT WHAT HE WORKS IN.
Paul says His working out is determined by, to the extent of, what God has worked in.
OUR PROBLEM: We are trying to work out before God has worked in.
Illustration of the little boy playing “Cowboy and Indians” with a stick horse. His dad said, Son, you look “plum tuckered out”. He replied, “Dad, real cowboys have real horses. I have to do my own galloping.”
©Ron Dunn, LifeStyle Ministries, 2003