Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Internal Work of the Local Church

Temple Baptist Church - 2-10-2019
Romans 12:3-8


A.  In our context, Paul moves from personal sanctification to unity of purpose.  Here we find the importance of each member of the local church.  When our Lord went back to heaven, He gave the church gifts (the evangelist and pastor-teacher), and individual gifts. 

B.  It amazes me when I see the talent level of the people in the church.  Personal gifts of the Spirit to be used for the edification of the body and the ministry of the local church. 

C.  In our verses for tonight, Paul describes some of the work-related gifts found in the church.  I am not going to do an in-depth study of the gifts of the Spirit but want to emphasize the importance of each member of the body.

D.   The Bible gives an analogy between the human body and the church body.  Our physical body is a work of divine genius that only a divine Creator could create.  David said that he was fearfully and wonderfully made.

Psalms 139:14-16  I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.  (15)  My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  (16)  Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

E.  Every part of our human body has purpose and is essential to our well-being.  Every member of the local church has purpose and is essential to its well-being.

F.  As every individual part of our human body belongs to the whole, every member of the local church belongs to the whole and is essential to its edification and work.  NEVER THINK THAT THE CHURCH CAN DO WITHOUT YOU!

1.  We share the same Salvation.

2.  We share the same Lord.

3.  We share the same Church.

4.  We share the same Bible.

5.  We share the same Love.

6.  We share the same Blessed Hope.

G.  Paul mentions seven specific parts of the internal ministry of the local church in these verses.

1.  Prophecy.  Verse 6.  Prophecy here means to forth-tell, not fore-tell.  In 1 Corinthians, we find its meaning:

1 Corinthians 14:3  But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.  (Preaching that edifies, exhorts, and comforts the body of Christ.  (I once heard a man say that two things made him want to preach:  good preaching and bad preaching.  Good preaching builds up, presses the believer to continue, and comforts the troubled.)

2.  Ministry.  Verse 7.  This word comes from the same root word as the word “deacon,” which means servant or to serve. 

Galatians 5:13  For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

3.  Teaching.  Verse 7.  Sunday School teachers are very important in the local church.  They have the awesome responsibility of breaking down God’s Word to the level of their students.  The future of our children lies in their hands.

2 Timothy 2:2  And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

4.  Exhorting.  Verse 8.  This word comes from a root word that is used for the Holy Spirit.  It means to come along side of or to implore someone who is faltering.

Hebrews 10:2  For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

5.  Giving.  Verse 8.  Thank God for tithers and givers.  Without you, the church could not function, and missionaries would NEVER get to the field of their calling.  Let it be done with simplicity.  Simplicity – folded together.  I always place our tithing envelope face down.  God knows and a few people are privy to that information, but it is NEVER discussed among those who do know.

6.  Ruling.  Verse 8.  Ruling with diligence and compassion.  Not as lords over God’s heritage but as shepherds over God’s sheep.

1 Timothy 5:17  Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

7.  Mercy.  Verse 8.  Sharing with those in need.  Not just monetary but giving one’s time and efforts to those who have need of it.  A burden shared is half a burden!

Conclusion:  The work of the local church is diverse in nature.  It takes all of us to make the local church what it should and needs to be.

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