November 4, 2018
Pastor Jeff Struecker
I’ll just tell you right up front; what you’re about to see is the most unusual Sunday of the year for us. This is one Sunday of the year when we celebrate our volunteers. To set the stage for the people we’re going to recognize today, I want to just remind you, if you are a born-again Christian, it doesn’t matter if you’re a member of this church or if you’re visiting us today from somewhere else in America, God has custom created a position for you in his church. Here’s how I’d like to say it to you today: God has an important role, kind of a custom designed role, for every single person in his church. God creates the person; he creates the position, and then he perfectly fits these two together, and he does it in his church. That means every single person you’re going to see stand up on this stage today is incredibly important. They’re important to Calvary Baptist Church, and they’re important to King Jesus.
I’m going to start where Chaplain Phil Kramer left off with us last week. I want you to see just how important one person is, and every person is important in the Kingdom of God. I think the perfect way to describe this for us today is the end of Acts chapter one. This is Peter standing up and talking to a crowd of followers after Jesus’s ascension and resurrection. Jesus walked among them and then he was taken up in their sight into Heaven. Now all of Jesus’s followers have come back to Jerusalem, and they’re looking at each other like, what do we do next? That’s where the story picks up in verse twenty-one.
“Therefore, from among the men who have accompanied us during the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us—22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day he was taken up from us—from among these, it is necessary that one become a witness with us of his resurrection.” 23 So they proposed two: Joseph, called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, “You, Lord, know everyone’s hearts; show which of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this apostolic ministry that Judas left to go where he belongs.” 26 Then they cast lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias and he was added to the eleven apostles.
Basically, Peter is saying, “We’ve got a hole to fill. In order to find the right person, this guy we’re going to use to fill this hole really needs to have been with us from the very beginning, because Jesus’s ministry started in the Gospels, with his baptism, and they end at his death and resurrection.” So, Peter is saying, “You really need to have been with us from the beginning.”
I want to point a couple of things out about verse 24. The crowd of Jesus’s followers realized they needed to fill this hole. They’ve kind of set the parameters as somebody who was there from the beginning until today, but then they realized, “We’re not qualified to fill this position. Only God himself could do that. In fact, we believe God has already filled the position, and now we just need to know who the person is that God selected.” The thing that’s really important about this verse is, notice the criteria. They’re not looking for a guy who is super smart or a guy who has all of these skills, talents, and abilities. According to this verse, there’s really only one thing that matters – his heart. They say, “God, you know everyone’s heart. You know my heart. You know the heart of these two men. God, we can’t select somebody based on the criteria of their heart. Only you can do that. God, you know their heart, so you tell us which one of these two guys needs to fill this hole.”
I. Church is a team sport
I think we can all identify from this passage before us today that church is a team sport. This means there is no such thing as going it solo in the Kingdom of God. You can try as hard as you can, but you won’t find an example of this in the Bible because when God called you, he called you into a relationship with himself, and when God brought you into his family, he also brought you into relationship with other people. The church is a team sport. Even Jesus himself didn’t try to do ministry all on his own. Jesus found twelve other guys and started to invest in them. They became seventy-two, and now we’re talking about a crowd of four or five hundred people when Peter is having this conversation at the end of the book of Acts.
A church is supposed to be a team of sport. It’s supposed to be a group of people. There is one leader. -many followers, but there’s only one leader. There’s one commander in chief. Jesus has a huge army, but there’s only one commander. There’s one coach and many players. That coach is not Jeff; it’s Jesus. Jesus leads his church, and Jesus does ministry through the people of his church. Church is a team sport. There really is no such thing as a guy or a gal who’s going it alone in the Bible. If you’re going it alone, there’s a problem, and that’s not a good thing. Church is supposed to be a team sport, but can I remind you of this? A team works as a unit, or it just doesn’t work at all.
II. The team works as a unit
There is no quarterback on the planet that can win a ball game by himself. There’s no team that’s going to succeed when everybody on the team is trying to play the position of quarterback. There’s no team that’s going to be able to win when the quarterback is trying to play somebody else’s position. Everybody has a position to play, and when everybody is playing their position, then the team is going to succeed. That’s how Jesus designed his church. He designed it with people who have different shapes, different colors of skin, and different sizes. Some of them have different skills, different abilities, and different talents. You’re going to see them today. When they start to put all of those things together and they start to serve the same purpose, a team becomes really, really good. Different people, different skills or different abilities, all pursuing the same goal. That thing is an unstoppable force.
If you have been on our campus for fifteen seconds today, you’ve heard the goal at Calvary Baptist Church. You’ve seen it when you walked in the doors. We’re a church that exists to do one thing and tries to do it really, really well. That one thing is to make disciples. Jesus’s final instructions to his church were, “If you do nothing else, do this one thing, and if you get this one thing right, everything else will take care of itself.” These instructions are from Matthew chapter twenty-eight, the Great Commission, and from Acts chapter one, verse eight. “Go and make disciples.”
We use the words around here reach people with the Gospel, build them up until they understand the Gospel and how to share the Gospel, and then at that point, send them out to go do this with other people. Keep building, reaching, and sending until there’s nobody else to reach, until everybody to the ends of the earth have become disciples of Jesus. This is the one thing that Jesus has sent his church to do.
III. Every member is important
Acts chapter one really, really shows this last point very clearly. Every single member of the team is important. Do you know that on Sunday mornings, some people show up at five thirty or six o’clock in the morning? They don’t get paid for this. They show up at five thirty or six o’clock in the morning, and they make sure that this place is ready for you when you get here. There are people who work really hard trying to make it awesome for you when you get here. A perfect example of this is Matthias.
Picture this in your mind: There’s this huge crowd of four or five hundred people and there’s this obvious empty seat at the table. Peter sees it; the rest of the apostles see it, and all of the other crowd sees it. Peter says, “You know what? Jesus chose twelve for a reason.” One of those twelve was Judas Iscariot. If you were here last week, you heard Chaplain Phil Kramer say that joker was a faker. He was not a real Christian. He sold Jesus for some money then felt so guilty about it that he went and hung himself.
Peter says, “Now we’ve got a vacant hole, and we have to fill this vacant hole.” Every single role in Jesus’s church is important. So, Peter says, “Before we do anything else, let’s find out who God wants to use to fill this vacant position.” This is the one time and the last time in the New Testament that they used the Old Testament practice of throwing dice to see what the will of God determines. They narrowed it down to two men. They cast lots and it showed Matthias. This is the guy who God has selected to step in and fill the role that Judas left them.
Every role is important. It means every single person that you see walk up on our stage today is incredibly important to the mission of Calvary Baptist Church. Every person who walks across the stage today is important to God. Let me give you a couple of statistics. This year, 323 people individually have stepped up and done some kind of ministry in our church or on behalf of our church, in our community, and around the world. If it were one person doing one thing only, 547 things are happening around here each year at Calvary Baptist Church. Today we’re going to recognize every one of them. A statistic that I really want you to hear because I am very encouraged about this number is, 20% of the stuff that Calvary does is in our community because we love the Chattahoochee Valley or it’s stuff that Calvary does in our country or around the world because we love Jesus. We want people to hear about Jesus too. One of the marks of a healthy church is that they get outside the walls and they do stuff for their community, or they do stuff in their country and around the world and not just focus on themselves.
• Today, I learned that I don’t serve other people to make Jesus love me. I serve others because he already loves me.
– I’d like to find a place where I can serve in this church.
+ I’ll personally thank one of the volunteers who serves me at this church this week.
- What is the nicest thing that anyone has ever done for you?
- Some people work really hard at church because they think it will make God love them more. What is wrong with this kind of thinking?
- When you love someone, you want to do something to show it. How does serving Jesus’ church show him that you love him?
- Read Psalm 2:11. What does it look like in our church to “serve the Lord with holy fear”?
- What ministry has the biggest need at Calvary? What ministry has the most urgent need in our church?
- What is a practical way you can show your appreciation to those who serve you at Calvary?
- Pray that God would bless those who serve others in our church.