Gospel Gazette Online

Vol. 12 No. 3 March 2010

Page 10


Drifting Away

Raymond Elliott

The inspired writer of the Book of Hebrews gave an exhortation in Chapter Two, encouraging those early Christians to “…give more earnest heed to the things that were heard, let haply we drift away from them.” There is a constant need to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and sound doctrine to every generation. There is the danger of the untaught not learning and of the taught drifting away from what they have learned. The apostle Peter felt it necessary to remind his brethren of those essentials that they already knew (2 Peter 1:13; 3:1). Paul warned Timothy about a time when certain ones would no longer “endure the sound doctrine,” thus the need to “preach the word” continuously (2 Timothy 4:1-4). There is presently a yearning among many in the church to learn ‘new things.’ Of course, we should not extol traditions to a position of inspiration; personally, I’m not interested in propagating mere tradition. However, there are objective truths revealed by the Holy Spirit that are essential and must be studied, examined and proclaimed.

The desire to imitate other religious organizations in practice and teaching has caused many people to frown on the old ways of safety and security. Others, not studying the Holy Scriptures, are led away by “every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men in craftiness, after the wiles of error” (Ephesians 4:14). Often, when one expresses a desire for ‘new things,’ it is simply a rejection of ‘old truths.’ Presently, there is a prevalent attitude that the Bible is antiquated and should be relegated to the 18th century. The 21st century, they say, demands a more liberal view of the Holy Scriptures. In other words, our culture should determine the interpretation of the Word of God. What may have been acceptable in the first century is out of date in the thinking of modern men and women. Such rationalization has led to a digression and apostasy from the teaching of Jesus Christ and the holy apostles and prophets.

Oh, that we today, as disciples of the Lord, would possess the same spirit as did the psalmist when he exclaimed in Psalms 119:97, “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.” His will for us to follow is both relevant and refreshing. Let us never grow weary in hearing the words of salvation. It gives strength and guidance in our earthly pilgrimage, and if obeyed, the promise of eternal life when the journey on earth is finished (2 Timothy 4:4-6).


Ministry

Jeff A. JenkinsA close friend of mine who is a preacher was telling me recently at lunch about a sister he knew who made homemade pies for every man in the church on his birthday. One year she made pies on 220 days! That’s a lot of pies!She explained that it was her ministry. It caused me to think about all the people I have known through the years who minister to others.

In Ephesians 4, Paul speaks of equipping the saints for ministry.We sometimes have the misguided idea that ministry is only for professionals, you know the paid guys.The truth is that ministry is for everyone. The verb, “minister,” comes from a Greek word (diakoneo), meaning to serve. The noun, “minister,” (from the Greek diakonos) means servant or minister.Jesus made it very clear that anyone who wants to be great must be a minister (Matthew 20:26). Then, our Lord began teaching His followers how to serve one another (John 13). Our Lord performed the ultimate act of ministry when He gave Himself on the cross for us (Mark 10:45).If we wish to be like Him, we will be willing to give of ourselves to others (Philippians 2:5-8).

I remember seeing a church sign several years ago that said, “Minister—Every Member.” If every Christian is ministering to others, all of God’s people will have what they need most.It has been my experience over the years in my personal life that I am happiest when I am serving others.It has also been my experience that those who are busy serving others are the least likely to complain. Those who are serving others are the ones most likely to be evangelistic.

Please allow me to share a few personal ministries of which I am aware in hopes it might encourage others to find their own ministry.

The Bicycle Recycle Ministry A brother noticed he had several bicycles in his garage that were not being used, so he decided to clean them up, tune them up and give them away to homeless people who had no transportation. He started asking around and learned that there were many others who were in the same situation. People everywhere started bringing him bikes. Organizations have collected bikes for him. He now has given hundreds, perhaps thousands of bikes to people who are on foot.

The Calling Ministry We have a sister who attempts to make a personal phone call to every visitor who comes to our worship services. She gives each of them a warm welcome, learns what she can about their background and brags about the church. She has arranged numerous Bible studies, and I am convinced that a number of people will be in heaven because of her ministry.

The Email Ministry One of our elders emails every visitor to our services.He lets them know how glad we were to have them with us.He invites them back again, and he tells them he will be glad to answer any questions they might have about the church.

The Mowing Ministry I knew a man who would take his son and mow yards for elderly and shut-in folks who couldnot do it themselves. He never charged them a dime, and in the process, he taught his son how to serve others.

The Prayer Chain Ministry We have a handful of sisters who keep a running list of church members, as well as family and friends of church members, who need special prayers. They print a new list for distribution every time we gather.These sisters make calls or send emails to our elders and preachers to update us on those who need prayers. They also have emergency prayer calls when they are needed.

The Can Ministry One brother collects cans, sells them to be recycled, and thenhe gives the money to children’s homes.Over the years, thousands of dollars have been given to homes that have blessed the lives of countless children.

The Children’s Home Ministry Two teams of ladies go to a local children’s home each week to help however they are needed.They work primarily in helping get clothes ready to sell that raises money for the home. One of the sisters picks up bread from a local restaurant at the end of the day to take with them to the children’s home to be divided among the different houses.

The Pillow Ministry We have a group that meets in our building each week to make pillows that are taken to local hospitals. They stitch the name and address of the church on the pillow to let the people who receive them know they are loved by the church.

Consider a couple of observations and a request. None of these people care if anybody knows their names. They donot do this work to be praised or recognized. They do this because they want to be the arms, hands, feet and hearts of Jesus.They want others to know about the love of the Lord.

During the past thirty plus years of preaching I have occasionally heard someone ridicule the church for being unloving, uncaring or unsympathetic.Some will say that Christians are only interested in _________ (fill in the blank, e.g., doctrine, numbers, money). My experience has been that this type of statement is a smokescreen.People usually speak this way when they are angry, they don’t like something or they want the church to change. The Christians we have known are the most loving, charitable and caring people in the world.

Now, consider this request. Would you be willing to share information about your ministry? This article has only highlighted a few of many, many more. I know people who have given up their vacation time for mission trips, youth trips, work camps, etc. I know families who have worked in food kitchens. I know Christians who have gone to help people who have been through natural disasters in our country as well as other countries around the world. I know others who have anonymously supported worthy causes. Why not take a moment and tell us about some ministry you know about it. It can be yours or someone you know. You don’t have to tell us your name, but we can encourage more people to be involved by sharing with one another.

Dear God, thank you for so many wonderful Christians who give of their time, money and talent to help others. Thank you for those who are so unselfish and who seek no personal glory. Thank you, Father for the many doors of opportunity that You open for us. Help us dear Lord, to do as much good, for as many as possible, as long as we can. Help us to have the heart of a servant. Help us to be more like Jesus every day.


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