ROMANS:THE ROAD TO RIGHTEOUSNESS

The Anatomy of a Ministry

Romans 15:14-33

Jerry A Collins

8/1/04

SCC

 

*               How do you define a ministry?

*               What kind of ministry can I have?

*               What aspects make up a ministry?

 

4 men of the cloth taking a short breather from their heavy schedules were on a park bench chatting and enjoying an early spring day. You know since all of us are such good friends said one, this mite be a good time to discuss problems that are disturbing us/ They all nodded in agreement. Well I would like to share with you that I drink to excess said one. There was a gasp from the other 3. Then another spoke up Since you were so honest Id like to say that my big problem is gambling. Its terrible, I know, but I cant quit. Ive even been tempted to take money from the collection plate. Another gasp was heard and the 3rd clergyman spoke. Im really troubled bros because I am growing fond of a woman in my churcha married woman. More gasps. However, the 4th man remained silent throughout. Finally, coaxed into opening up from the other 3, he said the fact is I just dont know how to tell you my problem. Its alright bro. Your secret is safe with us. Well its this way he said. You see Im an incurable gossip! Ministry is not just reserved for ministers. It is something entrusted to each of us. Ministry has to do with serving people. But it also is an attitude not just an activity. It has to do with eternal valueslooking to eternal or heavenly not temporary or earthly rewards. So, ministry is service to people with eternal values in mind. Here ends main body of letter. Next Paul gives 5 appendices or personal closings (1) His plans 15:14-33; (2) Greetings to people 16:1-16; (3) Purpose for writing to Romans 16:17-20; (4) Greetings from people 16:21-24; (5) A benediction 16:25-27. In our passage we have an anatomy of a ministry. An analysis of how a ministry is conducted and direction for us as we conduct our own ministries.

1. MINISTRY IS LIKE A PRIEST INTRODUCING PEOPLE TO GOD THEN PRESENTING THEM LIKE AN OFFERING TO GOD 14-16

14Here are a group of people considered spiritually informed and spiritually mature. Amazing that Paul knew this without ever having visited the groups of believers in Rome before. He is absolutely convinced of this about them. (1) Full of goodness morally. (2) Filled with all knowledge intellectually. Not in absolute sense but they had understanding of full scope of xian truth. (3) Functionally were competent then to instruct one another. You can only take people as far as you have gone. This is the parameter of your ministry.

15So here is the purpose for writing this section. As full as they are, they still needed reminding about the ministry. And he was qualified to do this because of his special position as result of grace given by God. First, it is good to review what you already know. In college a prof said read a systematic theology thru every year. Now I have had four years of college4 years of seminary but so had he. Second, It is good to build on what you already know. I will attend a ministry conference next week and I know a pastor will be there fervently taking notes. Sitting in front row, asking questions and learning. He is nearly 80 yrs old and pastored for nearly 50.

16 This ministry was carried out as a priestly duty. A priest is one who offers sacrifice. In this case on behalf of the gospelthe gospel that is Gods. So a priest brings people to God with the gospel. Then, these believers are growing thru your ministry to them as your offering to God. God accepts them and they become further set apart to God by the HS. Positionally and progressively.

2. MINISTRY RECOGNIZES ALL CREDIT GOES TO CHRIST EVEN AS WE PARTICIPATE 17-19

Ministry is effective not because of what I do but because of what Christ does thru me.

17-18 There is grounds for boasting when ministry changes peoples lives and that boasting is in what Jesus Christ has accomplished thru us. The results are always up to Christ. We cannot manufacture them. We make ourselves available. We find something we want to do that qualifies as ministry and do it. But only Christ can bring results.

19While recognizing that all credit goes to Christ, yet Paul was involved and so are we. God worked by what he had said and done. In his case it included sings and wonders that authenticated his work as an apostle so that from Jerusalem to Albania the gospel preached. We participate with God In what it is He is doing not inviting God to participate in what it is we are doing (My Story). Jesus is not doing that and neither is HS.

3. MINISTRY OPENS VIRGIN TERRITORY TO GOOD NEWS

20-21 It is always good to do something, go somewhere none has ever done or gone before. The desire to do pioneer missionary work grew out of zeal to preach gospel to those never heard. To go and do something no one has ever done before. The quote from Isaiah 52:15 gives him encouragement to pursue this virgin territory and new ministry. God wants newness for us. Deliberately pursue new ministry.

22-Up to this time he had always found new areas for ministry so that he had not yet felt free to look beyond Rome and Spain and had kept him away.

4. MINISTRY ENJOYS FELLOWSHIP THAT REFRESHES ONE ANOTHER SPIRITUALLY

23-24 The Greeks had now heard the gospel so further unreached fields appealed farther west. This coupled with the long-time desire to see them was reason he planned to do so. Spain is western limit of roman empire. Traveling there would only happen after enjoying or being filled full with their company. Mano called me up from India and I talked with him yesterdayhe wants to be with me he says to share, pray with me and be refreshed. He longs for this. But then we will both move on refreshed and renewed.

5. MINISTRY NEEDS GIFTS THAT SUSTAIN AND ENABLE IT

25-26 Money and ministry do go hand in hand in a good way. Contributions from groups of believers allow ministry to carry on and enable it to do good works. You should set some of your money aside for this. Do good works with your money.

27 The money collected was a love gift and an obligation. The givers owed it because the gospel had come to them from Jerusalem & Judea where the money was returning to help needy. Sharing in spiritual blessing they reciprocated with material & financial blessing. Be a giver. Be generous. (Boy at store asking for money for candy. I said no then returned and asked what fora boat for grandpa and himselfI gave extra).

6. MINISTRY IS PLANNED AHEAD BUT FLEXIBLE

28-29 His plans are clear and he got to Rome but not when or in the manner he anticipated (Acts 27-28). No way to know he would arrive in chains. He was confident of the outcome of his visit--with Christs blessings to share with them. Anticipated an effective ministry amongst them. It is good to plan. We should plan our ministry. But since God is in control of it, we must remain flexible. God may be up to something else.

7. MINISTRY NEEDS INTERCESSORY PRAYER SUPPORT FROM OTHER BELIEVERS AND ASKS FOR IT AGAIN AND AGAIN

30 Strive together with me in your prayers to God for me! Prayer is communicating messages to God while not visibly manifested. We need to pray.

31 Ministry is spiritual warfare but also spiritual service. It requires spiritual resources. Since forces against it are antagonistic, prayer for it must be energetic and specific. (1) Delivered & safe (2) Acceptablethis case money received.

32-33 The result would be a joyful arrival in Rome in Gods will and refreshed.