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I Am Not Ashamed: Minister to One Another

I Am Not Ashamed  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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We were made to be a part of God's family.

Notes & Transcripts
Text: ;
Text: ;
Theme: We were made to be a part of God's family.
Theme: We were made to be a part of God's family.
Date: 08/06/17 File name: Romans49.wpd ID Number:
Date: 08/06/17 File name: Romans49.wpd ID Number:
If you’re like a lot of Christians, you get to chapter 16 and you probably read through it like you’re reading trough the genealogies of Jesus — that is you read quickly and probably superficially, and in doing so you miss some really important truths. You do that because there are so many names in the chapter that are hard to pronounce. However, when Paul begins naming names we are reminded that the Apostle is writing to a real church, and to real people, in a real place, with real issues that need to be really settled.
If you’re like a lot of Christians, you get to chapter 16 and you probably read through it like you’re reading trough the genealogies of Jesus — that is you read quickly and probably superficially, and in doing so you miss some really important truths. You do that because there are so many names in the chapter that are hard to pronounce. However, when Paul begins naming names we are reminded that the Apostle is writing to a real church, and to real people, in a real place, with real issues that need to be really settled.
Chapter 16 is essentially a P.S. — a postscript to the main body of his letter. He ends chapter 15 saying, “The God of peace be with you all. Amen.” That sounds suspiciously like an conclusion, but remember — this is Paul, and the apostle has a few more things to say. In particular he needs to mention and commend some people. A few are mentioned in other parts of the New Testament, but the vast majority of these names are lost to the annals of church history.
In his Letter to the Church that is at Rome, Paul has defined the Gospel — that we’re saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. He has provided us a systematic theology and circumscribed basic Christian doctrines. He’s given us a lengthy practical section on how confessing Christians ought to flesh out the gospel that they have received into their lives. Now, in this last chapter, he’s going to lay down some essential ecclesiology — the theology of church life. In this chapter we get something of an insider’s look of an early 1st century church and what was important to them. We learn four things:
The Early Church Was Deeply Relational
• The Early Church Was Ministry-Minded
The Early Church Was Ministry-Minded
• The Early Church Was Doctrinally Careful
The Early Church Was Doctrinally Careful
The Early Church Was Gospel-Centered
• The Early Church Was Gospel-Centered

I. THE EARLY CHURCH WAS DEEPLY RELATIONAL

1. we learn from this chapter that the Church is family
a. we are part of a family of faith
1) to be a sister or a brother is not just an honorary title for a fellow believer
2) it is descriptive of the believer’s relationship with fellow Christian
2. what looks like a hodgepodge of names we can’t pronounce, interspersed with a few random thoughts of the Apostle, actuality paints for us a picture of what a healthy congregation looks like
random thoughts of the Apostle, actuality paints for us a picture of what a healthy congregation looks like
a. one of the characteristics of a healthy congregation is that they live in relationship with each other — there’s a unity and a harmony born out of genuine love for each other
with each other — there’s a unity and a harmony born out of genuine love for each other
b. and why wouldn’t we consider each other as family considering that we all have the same Heavenly Father?
same Heavenly Father?
3. the same verses that teach us that the early church was deeply relational, also teach us that ...
us that ...

II. THE EARLY CHURCH WAS MINISTRY-MINDED

1. the second characteristic of a healthy congregation is that they are deeply concerned about ministry — extending a loving hand to those in need in the name of the Savior
about ministry — extending a loving hand to those in need in the name of the Savior
2. Christian ministry is the activity of the local church in the fulfillment of its biblically defined mandate in the world
defined mandate in the world
a. it is God, himself, who has clearly laid out for us in the Scripture what the ministry of the Church is
the Church is
1) we don’t decide why the Church exists
2) we don’t decide what the purpose of the Church is
3) we don’t decide what the Church is supposed to do
b. God has already done that because the Church is His institution on earth not ours
3. the ministry of the church is spelled out in what we call the Great Commandment and the Great Commission
the Great Commission
a. 1st, the ministry of the Church can be defined by the Great Commandment — “Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind ... 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (, , NIV)
“Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind ... 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (, , NIV)
b. 2nd, the ministry of the Church can be defined by the Great Commission —
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”” (, NIV)
c. that’s it ... every ministry of a local New Testament church flows out of those two commandments
commandments
1) everything we do must be evaluated against those two commandments
4. the early church is our model for ministry as outlined in
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (, NIV)
a. the church is to
1) teach the apostle’s doctrine,
2) engage in fellowship,
3) commemorate the breaking of bread (i.e. the Lord’s Supper)
4) pray together,
5) care for one another,
6) worship God in spirit and in truth, and
7) actively evangelize the community
b. in we discover that there is an army of people doing ministry, and none of them are professionally trained or ordained
of them are professionally trained or ordained
5. the list represents a variety of social classes
a. many appear to be slaves or perhaps former slaves known as freedmen
1) we know this because names like Urbanus (vs. 9), Persis (vs. 12) and Julia (vs. 15) were common names among slaves
15) were common names among slaves
b. Prisca and Aquila (vs. 3), Phoebe (vs. 1), and Erastus (vs. 23) were probably wealthy and helped support the church, and men like Paul in their mission trips
wealthy and helped support the church, and men like Paul in their mission trips
c. Paul refers to a number of aristocratic families like the family of Aristobulus (vs. 10), and the family of Narcissus, (vs. 11) who would have opened their homes for church meetings
and the family of Narcissus, (vs. 11) who would have opened their homes for church meetings
d. the list contains the names of nine women ... Phoebe, Prisca, Mary, Junia, Tryphaena, Tryphosa, the mother of Rufus, Julia, and the sister of Nereus
Tryphaena, Tryphosa, the mother of Rufus, Julia, and the sister of Nereus
1) women played a tremendously important role in the ministry of Jesus, Paul, and the early church
the early church

A. EXAMPLES OF MINISTRY IN THE LIVES OF THESE BELIEVERS

A. EXAMPLES OF MINISTRY IN THE LIVES OF THESE BELIEVERS
1. Ministry of Patronage
“I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, 2 that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.” (, ESV)
a. there are all kinds of institutions, museums, non-prophet organizations, and colleges that could not exist without patronage
colleges that could not exist without patronage
1) patrons are people, or businesses, that provide financial backing to those individuals or institutions that are important to them
individuals or institutions that are important to them
ILLUS. When I was a trustee for Hannibal LaGrange College I saw first-hand how important patrons are to a college — especially when it comes to funding building campaigns. You love the small donors who consistently send their $50 a month, but it’s the million dollar donors who will make or break a building project. And, thank God, there are very successful Christian business men and women who serve as patrons to such institutions.
important patrons are to a college — especially when it comes to funding building campaigns. You love the small donors who consistently send their $50 a month, but it’s the million dollar donors who will make or break a building project. And, thank God, there are very successful Christian business men and women who serve as patrons to such institutions.
b. there are those in the Body of Christ who have the spiritual gift of giving, and these believers often become patrons of their local church, and other Christian ministries
believers often become patrons of their local church, and other Christian ministries
1) Phoebe, and Erastus, and Gaius, and Prisca and Aquila are believers who make it possible for the church to meet and accomplish its mission
it possible for the church to meet and accomplish its mission
ILLUS. Roman society was sharply divided between those who ruled, and those who followed. Only 5 percent of the people belonged to one of the three governing classes. Perhaps another 5 percent made up the merchant class — business owners, artisans, and small landowners who constituted "the respectable populace." The other 90% were day-laborers who often picked up whatever work they could from day to day; they were known as the "shabby people."
2) most of the early church was composed of the shabby people, and because of that the early church depended on those few in the upper classes who had been converted to the faith to make ministry possible
that the early church depended on those few in the upper classes who had been converted to the faith to make ministry possible
ILLUS. We have an example of such patronage in the Book of Acts. "A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, 'If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay.' And she prevailed upon us." (). As "a seller of purple," Lydia had the wealth needed to be a patron and the reference to her "household" suggests that she had a number of people in her employ. Lydia's offer was more than just an act of hospitality; she become a patron of the church.
woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, 'If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay.' And she prevailed upon us." (). As "a seller of purple," Lydia had the wealth needed to be a patron and the reference to her "household" suggests that she had a number of people in her employ. Lydia's offer was more than just an act of hospitality; she become a patron of the church.
2. Ministry of Church Hosting
“Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, ... 5 Greet also the church in their house. ... .” (, ESV)
• “Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. ... ” (, ESV)
“Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. ... ” (, ESV)
a. we tend to believe that the way we do church now is the way Christians have always done church
always done church
1) nothing could be further from the truth
b. we forget that for the first 300 years after the Church was birthed on the Day of Pentecost, that there were no “church buildings” as we know them today
Pentecost, that there were no “church buildings” as we know them today
1) congregations met in homes
ILLUS. Before Roman Emperor Constantine recognized Christianity as a legal religion in A.D. 313, corporate ownership of property by the church would have been illegal. But more than that, it would have been ill-advised ... and even suicidal. It would have been telling the local authorities, “Hey, we’re all gathered together in one place. Come arrest us so you can feed the lions.”
religion in A.D. 313, corporate ownership of property by the church would have been illegal. But more than that, it would have been ill-advised ... and even suicidal. It would have been telling the local authorities, “Hey, we’re all gathered together in one place. Come arrest us so you can feed the lions.”
c. the ability and willingness to host 20-30 fellow Christians for the Lord’s Day worship was an important ministry in the early church
was an important ministry in the early church
1) a city like Rome would have had dozens of house churches scattered around the city, and Prisca and Aquila evidently hosted one of these small congregations
city, and Prisca and Aquila evidently hosted one of these small congregations
3. Ministry of Serving
a. serving is another spiritual gift that the Apostle refers to in Romans, chapter 12
b. as you read through chapter 16 you read about fellow workers, and hard workers, and workers in the Lord
and workers in the Lord
1) Paul thanks God for such people
ILLUS. Every week there are those among us in this congregation who make sure the building is clean, and the is grass cut, and coffee prepared, and music practiced, and lessons learned so the bible can be taught to others.
the building is clean, and the is grass cut, and coffee prepared, and music practiced, and lessons learned so the bible can be taught to others.
2) I thank God for such people, and so should you
4. Ministry of Presence
a. the key word in our text is greet. It’s used 22 times in 16 verses ... Greet Prisca and Aquila ... Greet Epaenetus ... Greet Mary ... Greet Andronicus and Junia ... Greet Ampliatus, Urbanus, Stachys, Herodian, Rufus ... etc., etc., etc.
Aquila ... Greet Epaenetus ... Greet Mary ... Greet Andronicus and Junia ... Greet Ampliatus, Urbanus, Stachys, Herodian, Rufus ... etc., etc., etc.
b. the word greet in this passage means to enfold in the arms — i.e. Paul is saying, when ya all meet together give each other a hug
when ya all meet together give each other a hug
c. the commonality in these names is that these are all folk who are present — they’ve come together in the Lord
come together in the Lord
1) we don’t think of our mere presence in Church on the Lord’s day as a ministry, and yet you never know when your presence may be an encouragement to someone else who just needs to see a friendly face, get a warm smile and receive an embrace that says, I genuinely care about you
and yet you never know when your presence may be an encouragement to someone else who just needs to see a friendly face, get a warm smile and receive an embrace that says, I genuinely care about you
ILLUS. One commentator writes, “Never underestimate the power of ‘hello.’”
5. here is the question for you: Are you busy using your gifts and doing ministry in your church?
church?
a. if Paul wrote a letter to your church, would he mention your name?

II. APPLICATION

1. our responsibility as believers is to determine how to most effectively and appropriately achieve our biblical mandate in our local community at our time in history
achieve our biblical mandate in our local community at our time in history
a. how do we put feet to the Great Commandment, and the Great Commission?
2. let me help you apply a biblical theology of church ministry

A. 1st, the Foundation for Ministry Is the Accurate and Relevant Teaching and Preaching of God's Word

of God's Word
1. the exposition of the Scriptures and their application in our lives is fundamental to the spiritual growth and development of God's people
the spiritual growth and development of God's people
a. it is the responsibility of the pastor — and others in our congregation who have the gift of teaching — to instruct God's people in the "whole counsel of God"
the gift of teaching — to instruct God's people in the "whole counsel of God"
2. this means systematically preaching through books of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments
Testaments
a. such preaching and teaching does three things ...
1) 1st, provides God's people with the spiritual nourishment that they need to "grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ" ();
in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ" ();
2) 2nd, equips the saints "for the work of the ministry"; () and
3) 3rd, builds up the body of Christ, so that God's people "come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature believer, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" ()
faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature believer, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" ()
ILLUS. The noted American writer Robert Louis Stevenson once described a boyhood experience which illustrates what the ministry of the Christian is all about. He tells how he stood on the porch of his home and watched the lamplighter moving through his town lighting the gas lamps of that era and leaving what Stevenson describes as “little pools of light” behind him. As the lamplighter approached his house he ran to his mother and said: "Mother! Mother! Come and see a man who is punching holes in the darkness."
boyhood experience which illustrates what the ministry of the Christian is all about. He tells how he stood on the porch of his home and watched the lamplighter moving through his town lighting the gas lamps of that era and leaving what Stevenson describes as “little pools of light” behind him. As the lamplighter approached his house he ran to his mother and said: "Mother! Mother! Come and see a man who is punching holes in the darkness."
b. this it what preaching and teaching the word of God is meant to do ... punch holes in the darkness of people's souls in order that the light of God's love and knowledge may shine in
in the darkness of people's souls in order that the light of God's love and knowledge may shine in

B. 2nd, the Confidence for Ministry Is Prayer

B. 2nd, the Confidence for Ministry Is Prayer
1. an active and dynamic prayer ministry is vital for the survival and growth of each believer individually and the church corporately
believer individually and the church corporately
a. you need to. be a believer who prays, and we need to be a congregation that prays together
together
b. the bible tells us to pray ...
1) for our congregation’s leaders (; )
2) for each other ()
3) for the authorities who rule over us ()
4) for the widespread and bold proclamation of the gospel (; Thess. 3:1)
3:1)
5) for those who are sick (); and
6) for the unity and testimony of the church ()

C. 3rd, the Power for Ministry Is the Holy Spirit

1. the Holy Spirit is the one Who makes the ministry of the church effective and powerful
a. He alone changes people's lives into conformity with the will of God and into the image of God's Son (; ; )
image of God's Son (; ; )
b. He alone has the power to convict people of sin () and grant us new life in Christ (; );
in Christ (; );
c. He alone enables us to live holy lives (; ); to pray effectively (; ); to minister the Word with power (; ); to glorify God in our lives (); and to illuminate our understanding of God's Word (; , )
(; ); to minister the Word with power (; ); to glorify God in our lives (); and to illuminate our understanding of God's Word (; , )

D. 4th, the Bond of Ministry Is the Fellowship of Believers

1. this is what we spent so much time looking at last Sunday
a. our common bond in Christ is the source of our fellowship and our unity
b. when believers are interconnected through authentic, loving relationships, they form a unity that provides strength and stability to the church
a unity that provides strength and stability to the church
2. because of this bond of love we care for one another physically, emotionally, psychologically, economically, and spiritually
psychologically, economically, and spiritually
ILLUS. Gene Getz Pastor, and professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, says: "Christians cannot grow effectively in isolation! They need to experience each other."
"Christians cannot grow effectively in isolation! They need to experience each other."

E. 5th, the Expression of Ministry Is Passionate Worship

E. 5th, the Expression of Ministry Is Passionate Worship
1. in worship the church expresses collectively its awe of God and its debt of gratitude to God for who he is and what he has done
God for who he is and what he has done
2. vibrant and dynamic worship is vital to the life and health of the church as a body and its members individually
its members individually
a. personal worship must be a lifelong, daily practice for all believers individually in order for corporate worship to be effective and meaningful
order for corporate worship to be effective and meaningful
b. if you’re not regularly meeting God in private during the week, don’t act shocked when Sunday worship seems dull and monotonous to you
when Sunday worship seems dull and monotonous to you
3. here again, the bible gives us clear guidelines for what should be included in the ministry of public worship
ministry of public worship
singing praise to God,
reading Scripture,
• reading Scripture,
corporate prayer,
• corporate prayer,
• preaching the Word, and the
preaching the Word, and the
• observance of the church ordinances
observance of the church ordinances

F. 6th, the Thrust of Ministry Is the Evangelization of the Lost

F. 6th, the Thrust of Ministry Is the Evangelization of the Lost
1. practical Christian ministry expressed in caring about each other as believers, but also in caring about unbelievers
in caring about unbelievers
a. Christian ministry boldly proclaims the goodness of God in the gospel in order to reach the lost for Christ
reach the lost for Christ
1) the gospel message of "repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ" must be regularly preached from the pulpit
Christ" must be regularly preached from the pulpit
2) and church members must be taught that they also bear a responsibility for being ministers of reconciliation in the community
2. but there’s more ... through prayer and financial support, we also contribute to world evangelization through missions
evangelization through missions
a. almost every denomination has a way of supporting missions and ministry outside its local community
its local community
1) we do it through the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention
b. 12% of our giving is budgeted to missions and ministry outside of our community, and that doesn’t count the three major missions offering we take each year
and that doesn’t count the three major missions offering we take each year
ILLUS. Over this last year over $30,000 went forth from this congregation to help accomplish the Great Commission.
accomplish the Great Commission.

G. 7th, the Scope of Ministry Is Church-wide

G. 7th, the Scope of Ministry Is Church-wide
1. ministry is a task to which every believer has been called
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. ... ” (, NIV)
2. for too long “ministry” has been seen as the providence of a trained clergy
a. coming back full circle to our text, none of these people — other than perhaps Paul himself — would have been trained in theology or ministry
himself — would have been trained in theology or ministry
b. they just did what the Scriptures told them to do
The early church was ministry-minded. Are you? Would Paul call you by name if he were writing a letter to our church?
The early church was ministry-minded. Are you? Would Paul call you by name if he were writing a letter to our church?
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