Temple Baptist Church - 11-01-2009
A. The work of a church is vast and diversified. Sometimes, we think that things just get done. In these verses, we find a list of people that the Apostle Paul said to “salute.” To “salute” is to pay respect to a distinguished person. Not because they are rich or talented but because they have done something worthy of recognition and praise.
B. Doing all that needs to be done around the church takes either a lot of people giving very little time or a few people giving all of their time. It would shock most people to know how much gets done by people who are never recognized during the week.
C. One of the greatest assets of the early church was the involvement of the people.
Acts 2:41-47 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
D. In Acts 6, changes were already taking place within the church as murmuring was first mentioned in among the people.
Acts 6:1-4 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. (2) Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. (3) Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. (4) But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
E. One of the greatest blessings that I can remember back in the early years of the salvation of my wife and I was that of involvement. Our church, at that time, was going through some hard times and things needed to be done as people left their pews empty. We got busy in the church. It wasn’t “their church” or “your church,” it was “our church.” We took pride in it as young converts. We fell in love with the Lord, our pastor, church family, and the church building and grounds.
F. Our labor in the Lord may go unrecognized in this life but not unnoticed. People know that a church is clean and well cared for. I miss Virginia Dykas so much. She loved the church and when she cleaned, the church was clean. She spent so much time in the “Prophecy Chamber,” as she called the Prophet’s Chamber. I could always just imagine God’s men in there “prophesying” as in the days of Samuel. I miss Old Gordon. He loved his church, and when he was able, he took so much off of his pastor. I could just call and he would get something done. We have people now who work and do for the church. They are a blessing.
G. Our labor in the Lord does not go unrecognized by our Lord! He knows and sees our every effort.
Hebrews 6:10 For God [is] not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
1 Corinthians 3:8-9 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, [ye are] God’s building.
1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad.
HOW CAN I HELP MY CHURCH?
1. I Can Help My Church By Being Faithful! I was there. I knew my friend the pastor would be there - so I was there! My presence helped. I was one more and that cheered the pastor mightily. I need him and he needs me, too. When I joined the church, I promised to be there; I didn't join the church to stay away from it. So I helped my church. I was there! When I was going to be away, I called my pastor so that he would not spend the Lord’s Day wondering if I was sick or offended. What a shame it is that in our day people are so fickle and offense is taken so often that it effects my pastor in a negative way when people are missing from their places.
2. I Can Help My Church By Tithing And Giving! I paid my way. I did not let others pay my way any more than I permit them to buy my hat or feed my children. I pay my bills - my taxes - my upkeep. But I pay my way at my church, too. A manly, ample, competent sum must be my investment in my church. I should not wish to know that I had not paid my way. God has blessed me and I want to bless Him with liberal gifts. I give so that there may be “meat” in the Lord’s house. I give so that the missionaries can be supported. I give so that the church can be properly maintained. I give so that treasures are being laid up in Heaven, reserved for me.
3. I Can Help My Church Be Praying For It! I prayed for my church. I never have wanted much for myself - except strength - but I want every blessing and grace and health and power for my church. "For her my prayers ascend." I pray for her as naturally, as normally as I do for my dearest ones. She is one of my dearest ones. To forget her would be to forget everything lovely. I helped my church by praying for her. I pray for my pastor. I pray for my brethren. I pray for our missionaries. I pray for powerful, bold, and “free course” preaching and teaching of God’s Word. I pray for souls to be saved, saints revived, our children protected, and spiritual sensitivity and growth. I pray regularly, pointedly, and boldly!
4. I Can Help My Church Through Encouragement! I was the hand and the voice of my church in the homes of those who had forgotten or neglected the most important thing on earth. I went to them, not with a brilliant sermon or convincing argument, but with love and compassion. I witnessed for my Lord. I went as a friend to friends and found the door already opened for me in the longing and loneliness of the people who had been left out until I came. I helped not only a home that needed God and the Church, but I helped myself. I wouldn't take anything for the joy I have found. I helped lift the fallen, restore the sinful, comfort the sorrowful, encouraged the discouraged, and shared the burdens of the burdened.
5. I Can Help My Church Through Doing What Needed To Be Done! I saw something that needed to be done and did it. A floor need to be swept. The song books needed to be straightened. A piece of trim needed to be fixed. I did not wait to be asked or appointed to the job. I did it because it is the house of God and I loved it. I wanted it to look nice if someone just passing by happened to “drop in.” A dirty, unkempt, run down and neglected church is a reproach to my Lord who loves it!
There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done
6. I Can Help My Church Through Personal Involvement! I got involved. I got up off the pew. I saw an empty place in the choir and filled it. I saw a family in need and helped them. I saw a brother discouraged and encouraged him. I decided to be a blessing each and every time I came to each and every member of it. I left my pew and shook hands with each one and visited and made welcome every visitor. I saw my pastor and family burdened and got under the burden with them. Today, people do not get involved anymore. They come, they sit, and they leave. I want to be a part of everything that involves the church family.
7. I Can Help My Church By Not Getting My Feelings Hurt! When I was displeased, feelings hurt, disagreed, or just plain old “out of sorts,” I never “ran down” my church, pastor, or brethren. I always want my church to be spotless in its testimony. I realized that, sometimes I do not understand why or what must be done. I accepted the fact that I may be the one who is wrong in the way I perceive something. I gave my brethren the benefit of the doubt.
Conclusion: Be a help to your church. You can be a hindrance; you can be a hurt; or you can be a help.