Addicted to the Work of Ministry
I beseech you, brethren, ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints, that ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpers with us, and laboreth (I Corinthians 16:15, KJV)
So when’s the last time you read the good ole’ King James Version of Scripture? Read that verse again. Have you ever seen the word “addicted” in the Bible? It’s there. The Greek word, tasso, means addicted, or to fix, devote oneself to a station, work, or action.
Here’s a more understandable translation:
15 You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people. I urge you, brothers and sisters, 16 to submit to such people and to everyone who joins in the work and labors at it. (I Corinthians 16:15, NIV).
The household of Stephanas addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints and the Holy Spirit urged everyone to come into full alignment to such people.
THE GOAL . . . to see Jesus Christ enthroned in the hearts of all people. This is the goal of ministry. This is what Stephanas was addicted to
I grew up with some extremely devoted followers of Jesus. Very few of the ones I’m talking about served in full-time ministry; they were common servants in the marketplace. I never saw people raise their hands to receive Christ in a weekend Church service, but I saw hundreds of people receive Christ at school, in living rooms, in Bible studies, and then baptized in lakes, rivers, swimming pools, and even bathtubs at the end of hearing the gospel of Christ from a friend.
I didn’t know any other form of evangelism than to invite people to study the Bible, then share Jesus with them and lead them to personally receive Christ by faith. Believers then Followed Jesus into the waters of baptism, and plugged in to the church, small groups and personal discipleship.
This, dear friends, is the work of ministry—using your life to help others know Jesus and experience His love through the way you share your life, resources, time and space.
WHAT IS EVANGELISM?
1. EVANGELISM IS SOVEREIGN
God’s divine work in a person’s salvation is loving, wise, and just. God carries out His very inclusive plan to reach people by taking initiative through a variety of means. Sometimes God may directly intervene, or He may carry out His purpose by working through nature and/or removing His protection. All of these are sovereign ways God is working to win a person over to seek Him and find Him.
See Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, Romans 8:29-30, II Timothy 1:9
2. EVANGELISM IS PERSONAL
Not only is evangelism powerful work of God, it is also each person’s personal responsibility. One of the primary ways God calls a person to believe in His son Jesus is through another person’s words, deeds, and even demeanor or character. Here are a few thoughts about how to personally engage in evangelism:
- Responsibility: accept the personal responsibility to intentionally persuade others to follow Jesus Christ.
- Relationship: build personal relationships with people needing Jesus
- Story: practice sharing your personal story with others. If you don’t know your personal story, meet with a friend or pastor and get help discovering your personal faith story.
- Invitation: always give a personal invitation to come hear the gospel in the different settings you know it will be shared in person, online, or in church.
3. EVANGELISM IS TEAM
God uses all kinds of people to lead others to faith in Christ. None of us is completely gifted to be all things to others. There are things I’m not as good at as you are and vice versa. Here are different expressions of evangelism that each of us experience and express with different levels of ability:
- Hospitality: opening up your space for the benefit of others to hear of Jesus or experience Christ, making them feel welcome and genuinely included
- Teaching: the ability to explain the Scriptures in a way that helps people understand
- Invitation: the ability to magnetically include others, to invite without fear of rejection, and bring them in
- Preaching: the ability to proclaim the gospel boldly and with power to persuade
- Serving: the ability to do things for others in Jesus’ name, with no expectation of reciprocation, and to demonstrate the gospel in action
- Worship: the ability to facilitate an environment where people experience and feel God’s presence
- Confrontation: the ability to boldly confront sin in a way that convicts people and leads them to repentance
- Apologetics: the ability to persuade skeptics who struggle to believe intellectually or emotionally.
There are other styles of evangelism, but these are to prompt you to pray and seek God for ways He wants to use you today to change your world.
How have you seen God’s sovereign hand in evangelism where He either won you over, or someone else over, through means beyond words or human involvement?
What does “Addicted to the ministry of the saints” mean to you? If it were true of your life, what would be the evidence?
How have you experienced God using you to personally influence other people in their faith? Would you like for Him to draw you into a deeper experience of helping other people experience Jesus? What must change?
Father, I can see your hand in my life. I praise you for all the ways you have worked beyond the scenes and behind the scenes to draw me, protect me, and lead me to respond to the gospel of Jesus. Today, I praise you for the gifts you’ve given me and for the personal call to evangelism you’ve given me. I surrender to your will and ask you to fill me with power to play my part in your redemptive plan here in my area of influence. I love you, In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
- GROW – What aspect of evangelism mentioned above is an area you want to develop in? Write it down. Share it with someone. Pursue help until you get the help you need to take your next steps.
- GROWTH TRACK – register today for Step 1, 2 or 3 in the Growth Track at www.myanchorchurch.com/growthtrack. Then tell someone about what is happening in your journey to Know God.
- GET IN A GROUP – explore the opportunities to connect with other people in an Anchor Group at www.myanchorchurch.com/groups. You will grow and you will help others grow in their faith.