A Thousand Points of Light – Matthew 25:31-46

You were put on Earth to make a contribution.

You were created to add to life on earth, not just take from it. That is what it means to MINISTER IN HIS NAME.  Mary Nelson is going to come up and tell us about the way we MINISTER IN HIS NAME through our Clothes, Etc. Ministry.

Clothes, Etc. is an excellent ministry that you can be a part of. If you would like to be a part of the ministry, see Mary or Doris Lowe and they can get you plugged in.  The Bible tells us that we are to minister.

A term for serving God that’s misunderstood by most people is the word “ministry”. When most people hear “ministry,” they think of pastors, priests, and professional clergy, but God says every member of his family is a minister.  In the Bible, the words servant and minister are synonyms, as are service and ministry.  If you are a Christian, you are a minister, and when you’re serving, you are ministering.

Like we learned last week, we are to “love our neighbor” by ministering to his needs. Even our eternity is effected by our service.

Matthew 25:31-45 (NIV) When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’  40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’  45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’  46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Service Effects Eternity

Jesus teaches us the importance of a life of service. He describes the scene of the judgment and the determining factor is the work or service or ministry that was performed.  Now we teach all  the time that our salvation is based on the grace of God.  We are saved by grace through faith.  So how do we reconcile the two ideas, grace and works?  You cannot read Ephesians 2:8-9 without reading verse 10.  We are saved by grace through faith and we are also God’s workmanship, God’s creation, created in, through and by Jesus Christ so that we can do good works, which God has prepared in advance of us to do.  A believer in Jesus Christ will serve.  It is a natural outgrowth.  If you put a match to gas, it will explode.  Give a child a ball and it will play.  Give a dog anything and it will tear it up.  It is just what they do.  When a person truly gets Jesus, they will serve.

Serving is the opposite of our natural inclination. Most of the time, we’re more interested in “serve us” that service.  As we mature in Christ, the focus of our lives should increasingly shift to living a life of service.  The mature follower of Jesus stops asking, “Who’s going to meet my needs?” and starts asking, “Whose needs can I meet?”

Philippians 1:6 (NIV) he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.

General William Booth, the founder of the salvation Army, had lost his eyesight. His son Bramwell was given the difficult task of telling his father there would be no recovery. “Do you mean that I am blind?” the General asked. “Yes,” his son replied. The father continued, “I shall never see your face again?” “No, probably not in this world.” “Bramwell,” said General Booth, “I have done what I could for God and for His people with my eyes. Now I shall do what I can for God without my eyes.” David Ugsberger, 70 X 7, The Freedom of Forgiveness.

Saving Faith is Serving Faith

The book of James tells us very clearly that faith must produce works, acts of service, ministry, or it is dead. We will be Christians that serve, in one way or another.  You might think that you can’t do much.  That is okay.  Do what you can.  These in the story did not think that they had done much either.

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

Feeding the hungry, a cup of water to the thirsty, housing a stranger and clothing the poor, visiting the hospital or the jail, it might not seem like much, but it is everything to the Lord. You say you can’t do anything, just walk across the street and you will be a part of clothing the poor.  That is what God wants you to do.  There is no end to the good things that you can do.

Ways to Minister at First Baptist Church

  •  Prayer
  • Clothes Etc.
  • Radio Ministry
  • Sunday School Teachers and other roles
  • Church Choir
  • Vacation Bible School
  • Bereavement Ministry
  • Building and Grounds
  • Bus Ministry
  • Working with children
  • Flowers
  • Serving food and organizing Fellowships
  • Long Range Planning
  • Media
  • RAs
  • Senior Adults
  • Usher
  • Greeters
  • Missions groups – WMU
  • Mowing yards
  • Changing light bulbs and air conditioner filters for widows
  • Odd Jobs
  • Visiting your neighbors
  • Making new friends
  • Hosting a small group in your house.
  • Tutoring children
  • Bible Clubs at the lake.

God made you to be you. You have a certain personality.  You have certain gifts.  You have certain skills.  You are not all that you will be, but you are already special and unique.  If you are a believer in Christ, the God has gifted you for ministry.  God has something that he wants you to do.

There is no small service to God, it all matters.  There are no insignificant ministries in the church.  Some are visible and some are behind the scenes, but all are valuable.  Small ministries often make the biggest difference.  In my home, the most important light is not the chandelier over the dining table, but the little night light that keeps me from stubbing my toe when I get up at night.  Every ministry matters because we are all dependent on each other to function.

God wants your ministry to add to the kingdom of God. Many of you already work in careers of service.  That is great.  Make sure that you use your ways of service to add to the kingdom of God.  Begin to get comfortable about sharing your faith.  How do you do that?  You learn how and you practice at it.

I read about a Prayer Warrior named Marge. She was an elderly woman who lived in Vermont.  She had limited mobility and an unlimited desire to serve the Lord.  Marge’s ministry tools consisted of two baskets.  One was empty and the other was filled with more than 100 photographs.  Each photo was of a missionary serving God in a foreign field.

Her ministry began the same way every day. The basket to the right of her chair was filled with pictures and the basket on the left was empty.  Marge would take a missionary family in her hands, lift them up in intercession and, when done, place it in the empty basket.  One by one she would pray through the entire stack of photos until the basket, once full, was empty.  Her prayer was constantly sharpened by the hundreds of prayer letters she received from her missionaries.