Thursday, August 16, 2012

God's Godly servants share the load of ministry

Numbers 4:31“Now this is the duty of their loads, for all their service in the tent of meeting: the boards of the tabernacle and its bars and its pillars and its sockets"

Acts 6:2-3 So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. 3“Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.

For the past several days we have been understanding the ministry of Deacons as God's Godly servants - functioning as models to all Christians of every believer's responsibility to serve the Lord with gladness.  We have been using Numbers 3 and 4 to demonstrate the pattern God set for His people in the Old Testament for Godly service, and how that principle carries forward by illustration into the New Testament.

What God's Godly Servants Demonstrate
As we have noted, God's Godly servants, the Deacons serve to benefit the church in the following ways:

1. They demonstrate the benefit of working together or unity as God's people to get whatever needs done for the glory of God.  Thus they labor together for God's glory.

2. The second thing God's Godly servants demonstrate is love for the things of God.  They are to hold the the mysteries of the faith. (1 Timothy 3:8-9)

3. Thirdly, they demonstrate the importance of Godly families as foundational to God's work in the culture and the church.  Thus they are to be living Godly families. 

The key to understanding Deacon ministry is this: they don't just merely state God's Word with their lips - they also demonstrate God's Word by their lives.  Today we want to consider another benefit of God's Godly servants in the church - namely in how they help carry the load of ministry.  As we have done in the past few blogs, we will use the text of Numbers 3-4 as an illustration of what we see play out in the New Testament ministry of the Deacon.  Today's blog will feature the Levitical clan of the Merarites. We will see how God's Godly servants labor to share the load of ministry.

God's Godly Servants, the Merarites, were to share the load of ministry in the Tabernacle
The Tabernacle was designed by God to be a mobile worship center, which meant that whenever God led the people to set out, it would have to be torn down and set back up.  Over the course of 40 years the people had set up camp in some 42 places! The Merarties took care of the boards, the cords and sockets undergirding the tabernacle.  Quite literally the tabernacle was likened unto a tent.  To share the load meant taking on the responsibility of managing the facilities.  Aaron and Eleazer could not had done all the work and the people of God were not allowed to do this task, since they were not Levites.  The Merarites had been assigned this task, a task which was vital to the worship patterns of God's people.

Deacons share the load of ministry in the New Testament
In Acts 6:2-5 a major burden had grown in the early congregation at Jerusalem.  The Twelve Apostles oversaw a church that had grown to around 20,000 people.  Being composed of both Greeks and Jews, widows from each of those groups were needing care.  In the course of the church's life, one group was being neglected, and it was leading to potential for great disharmony.  The house of God needed men who could "share the load".

The Apostles instructed the church to select men who were full of wisdom, the Holy Spirit and faith who could "take charge of the task". (Acts 6:3)  Seven men were chosen who could represent the interest of these widows and deal with the matter of caring for the widow's needs.  The Apostle's needed these men in order to carry out their ministry of the Word.  Imagine if these seven men had not been called forth by the church.  The mission of the church, humanly speaking, could not had carried forth.

Thanks be to God for establishing the office of Deacon.  Whenever the church has Godly Servants, the load can be shared, and the example be reinforced to all of God's people of the importance of carrying the load of ministry together. 

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