Sermon: What Members Do

What Members Do
1 Peter 4:7-11
November 23, 2014

One hundred and two years ago, the Titanic sank quickly and unexpectedly in the Atlantic Ocean. But it took about nine decades to determine the reason why the Titanic sank:

Recent in-depth research into the sinking of the Titanic has discovered that faulty rivets may have been the main cause for the ship’s demise. It has been found out that builders of the Titanic were incredibly short on rivets and skilled riveters and had to ultimately settle for faulty materials in order to complete the project on time. Scientists believe that with the right quality of materials and skilled workers that the Titanic may have been able to withstand the impact of the iceberg without sinking into the Atlantic.

Scientists have recently recovered documents that tell tales of inferior metal used for riveting and less than skilled workers hired to install them. A modern marvel of her time, the Titanic was the largest passenger ship ever built, but it may have been far from the best constructed. Many documents have uncovered that much low quality slag metal was used in building the rivets in the Titanic. This type of metal does not hold its integrity as well in cold waters and become very brittle at extreme cold.

Archives found in regards to the Harland Wolff company of Ireland that was responsible for the Titanic construction states that over three million rivets needed to be used in order to construct the Titanic. Acting as the glue that holds the ship together, the archives also state that there was a shortage of riveters and the necessary materials to produce high quality rivets.

The archives also uncovered that there was indeed a lack of skilled riveters that were needed to complete the project. An incredibly difficult task to achieve, the rivets needed to be heated to the perfect temperature and put into place with the right number of consistent hammer strikes. Of course if the final result looked decent on the outside, shoddy craftsmanship could be easily hidden.

Only on the central hull of the ship were steel rivets used; other areas such as the stern and the bow used weaker iron rivets to hold them together. This is a mistake that would lead to tragedy in the end as the iceberg struck the bow of the Titanic. Scientists and engineers believe that with strong rivets and better craftsmanship that the Titanic could have stayed afloat long enough for rescue to arrive and may have saved many lives. [“Weak Rivets Might Have Caused the Titanic to Sink;” see also several stories about Jennifer Hooper McCarty’s book, What Really Sank the Titanic.]

One of the least expensive parts on the ship may have been the reason for its sinking, proving again that there are no unimportant components to any object or organization.

Over the past few weeks we’ve been talking about the nature of the church — and specifically about the responsibilities of the elders and deacons in the church. It might be easy to think, “let them do all the work…” But that is not the intent of God in the creation of the church. God’s plan was to create an organism in which all the members work and serve. In that sense, there is no such thing as an “ordinary” believer — we all have unique gifting and a unique position and role in the church in which God has placed us. And the church is dependent on each member fulfilling his role within the church.

The way we say it around here is, “Every member has a ministry.” That’s one of our core values.

But just what does that look like? What does each member do? Well, because each member has unique gifting and position, each member will function in a unique way. And yet there are some general principles that guide what each of us does, as Peter explains in 1 Peter 4:7ff.

While ministry in the local church is sometimes hard, it is not complicated; the basic responsibilities of each person are relatively simple. And what we will find in this passage is,

Service is essential.

Here, then, are three basics of ministry:

  1. Where We Serve: The Context for Ministry (v. 7a)
  2. How We Serve: The Nature of Ministry (vv. 7b-11a)
  • Pray for One Another (v. 7b)
  • Love One Another (v. 8a)
  • Forgive One Another (v. 8b)
  • Be Hospitable to One Another (v. 9)
  • Spiritually Care for One Another (vv. 10-11a)
  1. Why We Serve: The Purpose of Ministry (v. 11b)

Download the rest of this sermon on 1 Peter 4:7-11.

The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.

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