What Kind Of Christian Are You? No. 4.
For Dependable Christians! Part C
Reading Acts Ch. 19 v 23-41 + 3 John v12.
4. Demeterius The Dependable!
C. Let's Think About the Possibilities:
Whether members, attending friends, leaders or pastors, there are tremendous possibilities for men and women with a testimony like Demetrius within and without the church of Jesus Christ. Opportunities to be of service to our God and His Christ in this amazing time in which we live.
(i) The Character of Service! 1 Cor. 4 v 1-2. + Rom. 12 v 4-5.
You see, that's the way God designed the church. The church is to consist of people ready and willing to serve. Paul very ably reveals that thought to us in 1 Corinthians 4 v 1.
"Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants using the Greek word "huperetes", meaning 'an under rower' of Christ."
In these times, large wooden three-tiered ships were propelled by slaves chained to their oars in the hull. The slaves in the lowest tier were called "under rowers." Paul and his co-workers didn't want to be proud so they made themselves known as third-level galley slaves that pulled their weight. So many today want to big shots, but God is looking for people who will be humble, obedient servants. In verse 2 of 1 Corinthians 4 Paul says,
"It is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy."
God does not want us to be coming up with new fangled ideas on how to pull our oar and shear off everyone else's oar in the process! God is looking for faithful rowers who see themselves as willing servants. God is looking for faithful stewards to give the work of God over to, knowing they will carry through their responsibility with integrity. We need beloved to understand that God has a design for the order and function of His church whatever kind of order and design we might have. Demetrius is a man who works closely to the plan and design of God. Result! Faithfulness and blessing, the two go hand in hand.
Once again the Apostle Paul highlights for us how this plan and design work. It is most interesting; he uses the analogy of the body. Romans 12 v 4-5.
"As we have many members in one body and all members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another."
It really is the simplest illustration. While the body has many parts, they all do not have the same function. Which beautifully illustrates the relationship of individual believers to the entire body of Christ. We constitute one body, yet we have different roles that should complement one another. Like a human body whose parts all work together, believers form a spiritual body, who as parts of the one body should all work together expressing unity, while also expressing diversity. If one part of our body is not working as it ought then we have a real problem; we might even have to get medical or surgical help. Every part must work together for the body to function as it was meant to. So must everyone in the body of Jesus Christ work together or the entire church feels the pain. You see beloved, each believer has a very special part to play within the church, when we do not play our part as we are gifted and designed to do, we are the reason the whole body is not functioning as it ought.
Only as each member serves in some capacity does the church function, as it should. While a small percentage of people are called to lead the church, the rest of the congregation, both men and women alike, must serve.
There is a character to service that needs to be understood!
(ii) The Characteristics of Service!
Please remember it’s the church as a whole that is important to Paul and indeed all the writers of the New Testament. Especially its spiritual health and vitality. So he sets before us, not only men like Demetrius and the outworking of the body as we have briefly seen. He also takes time to write complete epistles to people like Titus in order to highlight, not only the character of the church but also the characteristics of the people who are the church.
So in Titus 1 v 5 he writes.
"For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I appointed thee."
Among other things Paul gives Titus a list of qualifications for the entire congregation and he breaks that list down into age group and gender, the idea being that Titus would focus in his teaching on having a healthy church.
In Titus 2 v 1 Paul says to Titus.
"Speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine."
The Greek word translated "sound" gives us our English word "hygiene" And it basically means "healthy". God is deeply concerned that His church be characterised by sound, healthy teaching that will result in sound, healthy living. Paul then takes time with Titus to deal with the kind of life God wants each age group or gender within His church to live out in the public domain.
In other words our God is interested in our characteristics, He desires that we be a healthy congregation.
He first mentions the older men giving wise counsel as to how they should behave in the congregation of God's people. What age group is he speaking of?
Well in Philemon v 9 he used the term "Paul the aged," and he was about sixty at that time. In other words, men who have reached the grand old age of sixty and upward need to listen carefully to what the Apostle is saying, it’s important. In Titus 2 v 2 he describes what is expected from such men.
"That the aged men be sober-minded, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience."
Men who walk with Christ for a period of years should have become spiritually mature and excellent examples for the younger to follow. There is no value at all in being old if you are not godly.
Secondly he mentions the older women Titus 2 v 3.
"The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things."
Again these older women are to live such lives that they become an example to the younger women teaching what is good. Instead of being occupied with gossiping or criticising they should be about teaching what is good, what is noble and excellent. The implication being, having already taught there own children who may well have moved on and set up home on their own, they now have opportunity to teach the younger generation in the church. They are to train the younger woman the art of self-restraint.
Thirdly he mentions the role of the younger women. v 4-5.
"They are to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands."
This is of course the opposite of what is being taught today. Woman are taught to love whomever they want, to farm out their children to someone else's care and influence, and not to worry about being wise and sensible or pure, but do whatever turns them on and brings satisfaction.
Fourthly he turns his attention to the young men. v 6-8.
Paul brings his instruction in this area to a conclusion with a strong word to young men. I believe in v 7-8 Paul deals specifically with Titus but his instruction applies to all young men. As a young man himself he now has opportunity to be an example to the young men around him. They are to act in a sensible manner at all time; youth is no excuse for foolishness. They are to be an example of good works in every aspect of life; they are to display pure motives in every area of their being, they are to be dignified and of sound speech. How different from many of the young men today who think it's clever to be foul, abusive, and rebellious.
Solomon gives this amazing advice in Ecc. 11 v 9-10.
"Rejoice, young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes; but know thou, that for all these things God will bring these into judgement. Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh; for childhood and youth are vanity."
While there is nothing wrong with enjoying your youth, one-day we will all stand before a Holy God and give account of what we did in those days. So Solomon encourages young men to enjoy their youth, but make sure they remove anything from their life that will produce sorrow in a day to come. How do you do that? By remembering "your creator in the days of your youth" Ecc. 12 v 1. By giving God the honoured place he requires in your lifestyle. Clearly, there are characteristics of service that we must observe.
Want the best?--give your best.
The Christian's place is on the front line, not on the sideline.
William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, was interviewed near the close of his life. This is what he said: "God had all there was of me. There have been others who had greater plans, greater opportunities than I; but from the day I got a vision of what God could do, I made up my mind God would have all there was of William Booth."
Service to Jesus Christ is a wonderful opportunity that all who are a part of the household of God are privileged to have. Only as we seek to live holy lives will our service have any bearing on the health of the church or on a lost world.
We are called to be those who honour God's Word by proclaiming it, pondering it in our hearts, and by practising it daily in every area of living.
Demetrius has left us an amazing example, it is our responsibility to leave a good example for others to follow, and may the Lord help us so to do so in these days in which dear people need so much the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ!