Jesus' method for ministry

“For we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves because of Jesus.” This sermon brings a comprehensive list of crucial lessons for people involved ministry. It is all about being a servant of Jesus - not about ourselves, not about self-promotion, but being a faithful servant of Jesus.

Small avatar of sermon author David Loader

David Loader


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Dylan I um want to talk to you this morning which um has a couple of implications of course one of those was was um going to dismiss everybody else and just have you sit down here somewhere so I could talk to you then I hear there's cake afterwards and I think if we releas everyone else that might be all gone before we get out there so I think everybody can stay in here it's not the real reason of course it's um this coming Thursday night will be the first time that our new church Council will meet so what I'm saying today um is also relevant to them couple of weeks as you heard it's our leaders connect and so what I'd say tonight is relevant or this afterno this morning is relevant to uh to our leaders as well and to everybody who's here um today it's um like uh 44 years and a couple of weeks ago Dylan Where I Stood where you stood this morning um not literally here of course because this was all Bush back in in those days but on the 1st of December 1979 I stood before a church and was inducted into my very first past um I have absolutely no idea what the preacher said that morning um I I wish I could remember um Dylan today I want to say things that hopefully if the Lord terries that in 44 years time you'll still remember these things I probably won't be around in another 44 years I'll be in a couple of places either I'll be with Jesus or else I'll be in the Guinness Book of World Records for the oldest person alive at the time I want to say some things about Ministry this morning that um and it's not all about Ministry it's not everything about Ministry but just one aspect of ministry that I want to talk to you about and just like yesterday Dylan and z and Adam and I met for an hour and a half and we talked about Ministry for most of that time once again we didn't cover everything about Ministry but some key things about Ministry so I've chosen this passage of scripture for us to read um and to look at this morning is 2 Corinthians chapter 4 and verses 1 to7 reads this way it says therefore since through God's mercy we have this ministry we do not lose heart rather we have renounced secret and shameful ways we do not use deception nor do we nor do we distort the word of God on the contrary by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to Every Man's conscience in the sight of God and even if our gospel is veiled it is veiled to those who are perishing the gods of this age has BL minded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God for we do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your servants for jesus' sake for God who said let light shine out of the darkness made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ but we have this treasure in Jars of Clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us so all the things that could be said about this passage of scripture one of the things that stands out for me in this passage of scripture is actually in verse seven where it says we have this treasure in J of clay it's a reminder to me and this morning when I went for an early morning walk just reflecting on this it just struck me again that we are just a bucket of mud um that's what we are made up of those who are in the know reckon that if we could somehow distill everything out of our bodies Our physical being take away all the chemicals and put all those chemicals together that those chemicals could be bought just for a few dollars down at the chemist shop and so we are just this bucket of mud put together but inside of that is this treasure is this treasure which as I was reflecting again this morning as I had been over these last couple of weeks in preparation for this time is that how can God in this uh God made bucket of mud within us is this is this treasure The Treasure of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus and so treasure which is too good it's not there just for ourselves but it's there within us to share with others so I could say a lot more about that and about other things in this passage of scripture but there's one verse which I want us to focus on this morning Dylan and that's 2 Corinthians chapter 4 and verse 5 I memorized it the way I memorized it went this way for what we preach is not ourselves but Jesus Christ is Lord with ourselves as your servants for jesus' sake the version which I have put up on the screen there which you see it's the home and Christian Standard Bible actually doesn't say servants but it says slaves and that's a far better rendering says for we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ is Lord and ourselves as your slaves because of Jesus now um that that will come out a bit clearer and what else I want to say this morning but there are a few things I want to gloss over but there's something that I want to spend a bit more time over one thing I want to gloss over this morning is that how this verse talks about we and ourselves and in those couple of words we understand and it's affirmed for us again about the plurality of ministry as it we're never alone I wonder what Paul thinks the Apostle Paul thinks when we talk about things that he has written things that he has done because whenever we read the letters we'll see what he's done he's never alone but often with someone else Paul and Silas Paul and Timothy co-authors of many of those letters and in Ministry they were together as well and so it seems to me that I wonder whether Paul might be disappointed at one sense but even disgusted at The Other Extreme about how we have singled him out as an individual when it's always been a team thing with Paul Dylan I want to remind you today that Ministry that you'll never stand alone of course some pastors try to do that and uh there's no place for L range Pastors in my previous role when I had to deal with pastors who gone off the rails one thing which was always common to them all was that they had been Lone Ranger pastors when I observed a pastor who tried doing it alone I always was cautious because he was the pastor who was headed for trouble Dyan and you are never alone but it's always a plurality of ministry te number one of course is that there's Jesus in you remember that Jesus is always a senior partner in this ministry as well but there's another team as well the second team is you and many other people round about you it's your family church leadership the church there'll be friends people in your extended family group a whole range of people who you need to teach together and work together as a team and for you to be a team member there's also this other aspect that I want to remind you of as well is this is that when you come into this ministry role today that you don't come in as the night in shining armor to rescue or to do things that have never been done before because you'll always build on someone else's family Foundation you come in where God and others have already been at work and you'll find out where you fit and take up with what God is doing what he has done it's also an important reminder as well to look forward and to ask yourself what sort of Legacy do you want to leave in the church so somewhere in the future should God call you away to another Ministry City that when this church at that time looks back what do they want what do you want them to remember you for what's the Legacy which you are going to leave some pastors leave an outstanding Legacy tremendous it changed lives people influenced under Ministry sadly there's and these are the exception of course there are some guys some pastors who just leave a mess behind them so there's this aspect of plurality of ministry but there's also another part of this verse that I want us to look at as well where it says for what we preach or what we Proclaim is not ourselves and about preaching or proclaiming is that this is what your primary what our primary role as pastors really is there's two occupation which always come in for a bit of light-hearted banter one of them of course is teachers and they said no and my wife was used to be a teacher um my I have a one of our daughters is a school teacher um getting ready to commence this week and um and and if every teacher had a dollar for every time they heard people say what a great job teaching is it's only 9 to3 10 weeks holiday a year um the number of times that teachers would have heard this they would have all been able to take early retirement um however those of us who know teachers know very well the extra hours that they have to put in often their own money which they put in are all the other things that go into that to make their role that but if teachers are sort of ribbed a bit in that way so are Pastors in another way because it's often said to us as pastors well you only work one day a week anyway um and probably if I had a dollar for every time I'd have that said to me Dylan both you and I could retire and uh enjoy life but of course as pastors we know and people seriously realize that pastoring is a lot more than that so what we do is this is that our primary role is to Proclaim to preach Jesus and it's not a head-to-head issue here Dylan of where you've been to college and you have all this information which you need to somehow get from your head into other people's head but it's from heart to heart it's your relationship with Jesus how that's going to be caught by other people and how they are going to be drawn into the presence of Jesus as well see what a pastor does is preaching or proclaiming Christ I was with one of our pastors once and he was asked what is it that pastors do and he gave this answer which I wish I had have thought about it and I wish I had heard it a whole lot earlier because it describes pastoral work in Christian leadership extremely well he said my role as a pastor is to help people connect to God that's your job is to help people connect to God it is the care of Souls which you were on about helping people to connect to God for the first time which is evangelism I'm aware that you're about to start evang uh Christianity explained with people in the church or connected with the church and that's evangelism but also about helping people to grow in Christ to help them to understand what their place in this journey of life is and where Jesus is in all of that sometimes they'll be interesting times like I remember one incident in my Ministry where it's a teenage girl in our church who uh having trouble at home and one night in the middle of the night I got a call from her dad daughter' run away will I help go look for it so we cruised the streets looking in the middle of the night trying to find his daughter when we couldn't find her finally we went to the police to report her missing and we went home and then if I remember rightly it was about 5:00 in the morning there was a knock on on our door and here she was she showed up at our place so I talked with her and after talking with her said would you like to pray about this and she said how about you pray because my prayers don't seem to be working these days Place yourself in that situation Dylan what would you do and what would you say or I remember another time being with a maor mechanic in his workshop and talking to him about the importance of seeing God in our everyday employment and he with the Bonnet of the car uh open and just looking around said how do I see God in this work how would you respond to that you see this is all about the care of souls to help people to connect to God for the first time evangelism or to be growing in God which is discipleship as a pastor Dyan people will expect you to help them with their Jesus Journey if tomorrow is going to see our accountant i' would expect him to be asking me about our finances if I went to our doctor I'd expect him to be inquiring about my health if I went to see a lawyer I'd be expecting him to talk to me about legal issues Dylan as a pastor as a Shepherd people will expect you to be talking with them about their Journey with Jesus Jesus how do you do that well you work out what's best for you some people here know that sometimes do it this way I say how's your life or your journey with Jesus going invariably people say it's going really good so it gives me the opening to say tell me about it or else I might say to people on a scale of 1 to 10 tell me about where you're at with your journey with Jesus and whatever they reply to say why is it that you've decided that and what would help you to get it up a number or whatever whatever it is however you go about it people will expect and you have the right you have the obligation as a Shepherd to care for The Souls of people and that's what we have called you about that's proclaiming preaching the message I proclaimed Jesus Christ as Lord um the kingdom of God is called Ministry in Mark chapter 1 we have Jesus beginning of ministry and uh he's let out and tempted and then he comes back and verse 15 say this the time Jesus says coming back from Ministry he says the time is fulfilled the kingdom is near repent and believe a few verses later he's calling disciples he's saying to follow me this is a message which is called business for pastors the kingdom of God is near repent and believe and follow Jesus Dylan if people just say you're a good Blake or if after a Sunday preaching I say with have tremendous sermon you've really miss a Mark if the focus is on you rather it's his father better to have them consumed by the Christ who lives in you and through you but when they leave rather than saying what a great sermon Dylan preach but to be saying I met Jesus this morning or wasn't Jesus really present today it's all about living in the Kingdom now I want to talk a bit about something that's a bit controversial well it might be seen that way but you make a choice with to do what the Bible says or do what's popular today because what it this verse goes on to say is this is that we preach Christ Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your servants or as your slaves for Jesus sake I encourage you Dyan be careful of the latest facts um people there's leaders around the church worldwide books and so on who everybody says he's the latest person to follow um churches can be the in church to attend remember a few years ago just being able to observe how young people who gathered together how went from about three or four different churches over a period of time because this was the in church for young people and so just be aware of people churches and programs is the pastor who I was in college with a great guy one of the best pastor evangelists who I ever have come across but we used to say about him that he was a product of the latest book that he read or the latest seminar he had attended it was always a new idea and just be careful of getting caught up in those fad ideas and there's this fad today which I I want to actually just name is a heresy and the FED is is this term servant leader it sounds very good it almost sounds biblical but uh but it's not it's a term which is popularized by the person by name Robert Greenleaf in his book which he was published in 1977 called servant leadership he himself wasn't even a Christian and he had this whole chapter on leadership in churches and he views churches and this is a quote from his book says as the institutionalization of humankind's religious concerns right there we ought to be having warning Bills going up because the church is not the institutionalization of humankind's religious concerns but rather church is the body of Christ and if we if we uh uh detour we divert from that we're running into problems you see the idea of servant leader sounds good but the problem is this is that it's all about nouns and adjectives and you see the idea of servant leadership you'll know this probably every everybody does that noun is the key thing and the adjective is the describ thing and and we have made that this whole aspect of leader is the noun and the idea of describing as a servant leader the Bible never talks about it that way but it always talks about servant as a noun is that what we are called to be is that we are called to be servants not a servant leader but a servant that In this passage of scripture when we are called to be the Servants of the church we are called to be that there's just this love of leadership today go to any Christian bookstore even and you'll find a whole section on leadership try to find a section on serving or servant and you might struggle to even find one book I want to say this is that God is not looking for more Super pastors he's looking for more servants people who will serve him but who will serve his people as well see it comes back to this on being a sin we don't have time to cover everything about this but whether you're going to be an entitled person or whether you're going to be a servant whether you say well I'm the pastor so I deserve it or rather I am a servant how can I serve you the Bible has a lot to say about servants and slaves it has very little next to nothing to say about leadership in fact I can say with some Authority that the Old Testament Le serving as a verb occurs 290 times or it's a noun 791 times and in the New Testament and there's various words used in the New Testament 8 six times as a verb and as a noun 203 times why could I say that as Authority because I've read every one of those I had to um when I was at College which was uh B BC um that's before computers I don't know what you were thinking of is that we had to do a thesis and uh and the topic of my thesis was on servanthood and Leadership I had to count all of those and categorize all of those start to look a bit worn now this uh this thesis but it was only 15,000 words that we had to do I remember saying to my supervisor in categorizing these that I've been through all 791 times and categorizing them um out by about seven or eight which I think percentage wise that that's fine and he looked me in the eye and he said David I think you can do better than that which meant that I had to go through all the references again and checking them again and again so I know little bit about s just by the way he's with Jesus now but uh when I redid it I was still out by a few three or four or something I can't remember exactly but I never owned up to that I thought I'm not doing that again but there's all of this about serving about serving about serving God about serving others and I just want to remind you of this is that the way that God sees Ministry is very different Mark 10: 35-45 there's this incident where James and John came to Jesus the parallel passage in Matthew says that their mother brought them to Jesus and sin there's nothing more damning than an ambitious mother and I know your mother very well Dylan and she does not fit that category but both your parents have released you into the hands of God what good parents you have but but this this passage in um in mark it says James and John came to Jesus said grant us one request Jesus says what is it that you want well when you come into your kingdom one of us wants to sit at your right hand and the other wants to sit at your left hand we want power we want want position we want prominence all next to you Jesus said you've got it all wrong F you've got it all wrong don't be like everybody else in society who want to put up leadership and have preeminence and have titles and position to have all these things they says that's not how it's going to be in the Kingdom he said if you ought to be great in the Kingdom then you've got to be the servant the words Greek word there is Theos from we get our word Deacon if you want to be great in the kingdom of God be a diaconos but if you want to be the greatest in the Kingdom then you've got to be a Doos you've got to be a Sly if you want to be great be a servant but if you want to be the greatest be a slave and so when we come to this passage of scripture Mark uh Second Corinthians uh what we have read for what we preach is not ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord with ourselves as your what the word is slaves as your slaves for Jesus sake the Way Up Is Down in leadership interestingly I wrote these words as a very young student Pastor still WEP behind the ears as a pastor and I said these words Dyan I wrote These effective leadership within the Christian Church therefore is not dependent upon personality power wisdom and attraction of the leader but is dependent on the extent to which that leader is prepared to in ens slave himself to a committed body of Believers so how does that work out let me just say few things quickly and we're through as you said out on Ministry Beware of the curse of the celebrity and success just shun that don't don't go there secondly don't be a leader who serves but to be a servant who leads if you follow Jesus others will follow you it's a given serve wisely you're not a doormat it's not talking about that at all serve wisely you're not a door man but also remember that no task is too meanor and above all stay close to Jesus and be true to him God bless you let's pray father we've all been guilty of wanting to be like James and John and saying we want to be right in the Inner Circle next to Jesus instead help us to yearn after these things to be Servants of the Living God to be slaves of the Living God to be and slaves to your people so that me we commit ourselves commend ourselves to you especially because of the significance of this day we pray this for our dear brother Dylan his dear wife sing that they might know your blessing as we know you will bless us through their Ministry in the name of Jesus. Amen.