Preacher's Pulpit by Dr. Joe Tims

Practical Christianity #6: Ministry Above and Beyond

Exodus 21:23-27

INTRODUCTION

(Lev 24:20) "Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again."

(Deu 19:21) "And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot."

The Law of Restitution:

Given to deter personal offenses

Also to ensure that the retaliation was not greater than the offense

It was given to protect the rights of the innocent

When Jesus came, He changed everything. He even began to change how people looked at the Law. He didn't really change the Law, but He did change how they were to understand it. That is what threatened the religious crowd the most!

Listen to what Jesus had to say concerning the law of restitution. (Matt. 5:38-42)

Although the Law protected the rights of the innocent, the righteous need not necessarily claim their rights! Instead of invoking their rights and striking back or demanding repayment they could do just the opposite.

During the time of Christ, the Roman Empire was in control. Any Jew could be compelled to serve a Roman soldier or official by carrying a burden or load. Roman law required them to comply and go 1000 paces (a Roman mile). After that they could go about their own business. But Jesus taught that although they had a right to stop at one mile, they could choose to go on farther and do more than what was required of them. This is where we get the common phrase of 'going the extra mile'.

We have been talking about practical ways for us to become more effective in our witness to others. I believe that one of the most important ways to accomplish this is to become known as a person who goes above and beyond the normal; one who will go the extra mile in ministry to others.

I. Above and Beyond in Forgiveness

A. Jesus taught that we should always exhibit a spirit of forgiveness.

(Luke 17:3-4) "Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. {4} And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him."

1. If you ask some folks to forgive you for offending them, too often their response will be: "I forgive you for offending me, but not for what you did."

2. That isn't forgiveness!

3. I do not find anywhere in the Word of God an excuse for us NOT to forgive!

B. But what about MY rights?

1. We may have a right to retaliate because of wrongs done against us.

2. But our rights need to be yielded to Christ.

C. Listen to the command of Scripture.

(Eph 4:32) "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

1. That command applies to every believer and every situation that we may find ourselves needing to handle.

2. It applies on the job, in the church, in our neighborhood, and even at home!

3. If we will go above and beyond in the area of forgiveness, we will exhibit the spirit of Christ to others.

4. This will pave the way for our witness and ministry.

5. We are to be someone who is willing to go that second mile in forgiving?

II. Above and Beyond in Giving

A. We live in a very selfish and self centered world.

1. "What's in it for me?"

2. We need to understand that philosophy is totally anti Christ.

3. As believers we should always be known for our giving hearts.

B. Giving is an expression of our love.

1. Not just our love for others, but also our love for God!

2. It is possible to give for the wrong reasons and in the wrong spirit.

3. You can give without loving, but we cannot love without giving.

C. To have a positive impact on the world around us and upon those whom we desire to minister, we need to go above and beyond in the area of giving.

(2 Cor 9:6-7) "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. {7} Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."

1. One who goes 'above and beyond' in giving is one who 'sows bountifully'.

2. He is one who cheerfully gives from the heart.

3. The result is that he will "reap also bountifully".

4. The reaping was in the lives of others impacted with the Gospel for eternity.

III. Above and Beyond in Service.

A. Uncommon Valor

1. This phrase speaks of the recognition of some who have served our country.

2. The key word here is 'uncommon'.

3. Their service is 'above and beyond' the norm; it is uncommon.

4. How would we evaluate our service to God?

5. There are many who do not serve at all, and more who serve half heartedly.

B. Our service does make a difference!

1. We represent Christ and Tabernacle Baptist Temple in our realms of influence.

2. Paul used the terminology of being an ambassador.

3. People consider us and evaluate our church and our Lord by what we do.

4. Our representation needs to be 'above and beyond' the norm.

5. 'Good enough for government work' speaks of an attitude of service, but is the wrong attitude for the Lord's work.

6. What do we say to others about our love for God and His church by our actions?

Conclusion:

If we are going to have a positive impact on those around us for the cause of Christ.

We must be willing to go 'above and beyond' in our forgiveness, our giving, and our service.

We need to be known as committed Christians.

Those who are willing to go the extra mile.

Where are we at in these areas? As God deals with us, let's be open and surrendered to do His will that we might be what He wants us to be.