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AIM: To teach my class what a ministry is, what the ministry of suffering is, who has this ministry, and how they can use it to reach others for Christ, and be a blessing in the lives of Christians.

POINT OF CONTACT: Begin by discussing the different ministers of the church. For example - the bus ministry, nursing home ministry, Christian school ministry, etc. Then go into the lesson by giving a definition of what a ministry is, and the fact that each Christian needs a ministry.

I. DEFINITION OF A MINISTRY
    1. A ministry is a tool to be a blessing to others and to reach others for Christ.
    2. And ministry is something a few do for the benefit of everyone else.

ILL: Driving a bus, cleaning, teaching, etc.

3. And ministry is something YOU do for the benefit of others.

II. WHAT A MINISTRY IS NOT
    1. A way to make money - if I get paid for being the Christian school principal, I do not have a ministry, I had a job. ILL: Jesus did not have a place to lay His head Matthew 8: 20.
    2. A way to serve, grow spiritually, and spiritually build up self. ILL: Jesus came to save sinners and to bring glory and honor to His Father!
    3. A position of authority. ILL: Jesus washed the disciples' feet.

III. YOU NEED A MINISTRY
    1. When you got saved God gave you a gift / gifts (talents) to serve Him with.
    2. These gifts are not to be used for self. ILL: Preachers who quit the ministry will often times go into sales. God has given them a gift of speaking, yet they are using it for themselves to get rich.
    3. Everyone can be in a ministry!
        A) Bus ministry - Captain, driver, worker, cleaner, prayer, payer, etc.
        B) Nursing home ministry - preacher, baker (cookies, etc.) piano player, singer, etc.
        C) Sunday school - teacher, helper, secretary, visits, etc.
        D) Nursery.
        E) Building - labor, finances, maintenance, etc.
    4. No one has to be a DO NOTHING, CARE ABOUT NO ONE, PEW WARMING, BACKSLIDDEN CHRISTIAN! What ministry are you in?

IV. THE MINISTRY OF SUFFERING
    1. People who suffer for the cause of Christ - just as one drives a bus, etc. for the cause of Christ! Acts 5:40, 41, II Corinthians 1:6, Philippians 1:29, I Peter 4:19.
        A) Paul had this ministry - Acts 9:15, 16.
        B) Job had this ministry - Job 2:9, 10.
        C) Poor widow woman - Mark 12:41-44.

V. PEOPLE IN OUR CHURCH WHO HAVE THIS MINISTRY
    1. Mrs. Davis - lives alone, walks with a walker, etc.
        A) Faithful church attendance - if she could come to church this past Wednesday night during the ice storm, then there is no excuse for you to miss!
        B) If she can go through her heart aches and still come out smiling, you can go through yours and still smile!
    2. Mrs. Reese - migraine headaches.
        A) If she can work on a bus for two years in spite of her severe headaches, what excuse do you have not to?
    3. Cricket Boyd - migraine headaches.
        A) If she can serve God by teaching Sunday school and a kindergarten class five days a week, what excuse do you have for not serving God?
    4. Mrs. Aylor - bad health.
    5. Others - family problems.

ILL: Acts 16:22-25 - IF PAUL AND SILAS ENDURED WHAT THEY HAD TO ENDURE AND KEPT A GOOD ATTITUDE, WHY CAN'T YOU?

VI. WHY WE NEED THIS MINISTRY
    1. It encourages us.
    2. It motivates us - kick in the pants! If they can keep going, so can I!
    3. It shows us how petty our pity parties really are!
    4. To provide a ministry - There would be no Golden Years Club to serve and do for if there were no people over 55. There would be no nursing home to go to if there were only young, healthy people in the world.
    5. To show us we can still be used of God regardless of our circumstances, suffering, and problems.
    6. To show us how truly blessed of God we really are!

VII. WHAT DO THOSE WHO HAVE THIS MINISTRY DO
    1. Realize this is a God-given ministry! Ministries are not chosen by us but given to us by an all-knowing, all loving God!
    2. Realize we will be accountable for what He has given to us - Luke 16:1, 2.
    3. Trust Jesus regardless of the circumstances - Job 13:15.
    4. Keep your eyes on Jesus not the circumstances as Paul and Silas did.
    5. Use it for His glory.
        A) Time you hear someone griping and complaining, ask them, Isn't God good?
        B) The worst it gets the better you praise Jesus!

VIII. WHAT SUFFERING DOES FOR THE CAUSE OF CHRIST
    1. Suffering causes people to notice you and to listen - Acts 16:25.
    2. God uses it to speak to the lost - They have Me and that is how they can keep smiling through their suffering! You can't even smile as good as you've got it!
    3. God uses it to speak to the weak Christians - You're saved but you do not have the peace they have! You haven't been in the Bible as they have.
    4. God uses it to speak to discouraged Christians - If they came and smile through what they have to go through, why can't you?
    5. It glorifies God now and will glorify Him in eternity - II Timothy 2:12.
    6. It earns crowns that we can lay at Jesus' feet - Revelation 2:10, 4:10, 11.

IX. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUFFERING AND CHASTISEMENT
    1. With chastisement there are losses.
    2. What suffering / trials, there are no losses.
        A) No loss of fellowship with God.
        B) No loss of spiritual power.
        C) No loss of biblical understanding.
        D) No loss of answered prayer.
        E) No loss of Christian joy.

X. CONCLUSION
    1. God loves you very much!
    2. God has a will for your life!
    3. God has a ministry for you that will be a blessing to others.
    4. He cannot accomplish His work unless you faithfully perform your ministry.


                                                           

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