The Meaning Of Cheer
Go cheerfully out of your way to help others -- without being asked.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing alright today? Well, I trust so, bless your heart. Glad to be back with you. This is your friend, Bob Cook. I’m glad to be back, just to share the Word of God.
We’re looking at the third chapter of the First Epistle of Timothy, Paul’s first letter. He wrote two letters to Timothy. And in this first one, he’s laying out the qualifications for the various church offices. We’ve talked about the bishop, which we would call pastor. And then we’re talking about the deacon and the deacon’s wives. That’s about as far as we got the last time we got together.
I wanna stop on this concept that’s found twice in chapter three, about the deacons. “Let these deacons first be proved, then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.” And in verse 13, “They that have used the office of a deacon well, purchased to themselves a good degree.” That means a good standing with people around you, “And great boldness in the faith, which is in Christ Jesus.”
So he says, “Let these deacons first be proved.” How do you prove them? Well, you go back into the qualifications that were listed in verses 8 and 9. “Deacons be grave.” That means mean business for God. It doesn’t mean gloomy, it means mean business for God. “Not double-tongued.” Say what you say, mean what you say. Don’t say one thing to one person and another thing to another. Every pastor has had the difficulty of having something come up in deacons meeting and be decided, and then before breakfast, the news gets around the parish and one of the deacons, mistakenly, either that or maliciously, as the case may be, has reported the thing out not quite accurately, let us say, in kindness. And so, there’s a big rhubarb about it. That’s what he’s talking about here, “Not double-tongued.” Be true to your word, be true to the truth. And mean what you say, and say what you mean. “Not given to much wine.” You know what that means. “Not greedy of filthy lucre.” That means don’t love money. It means that greedy of filthy lucre, actually, is a word that means lover of silver. Don’t be a lover of money.
There are some deacons that I’ve run across… Well, let’s see. I was ordained in ’31, so that’s 56 years of preaching the Gospel. I’ve run across some deacons here and there who would rather count the offering than listen to the sermon. Now, that may be because the sermon was so deficient of thrilling content. [chuckle] I don’t doubt that some of the sermons I’ve preached would make counting the offering a happy option for somebody, but it shows up. If your chief concern in life is money and the things it can accomplish, you’re not going to be serving God very effectively when it comes right down to it.
And then he says, “Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.” Now, the mystery of the faith is, how can God justify a sinner and keep him justified complete in Christ? The mystery of the faith is I confess Christ as Savior and I become a child of God. And I’m an heir of God, joint heir with Jesus Christ. And all of my dealings with God are on the basis of believing God. “He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He’s a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Without faith, it is impossible to please Him.” says the writer to the Hebrews.
The mystery of the faith is that God saves the sinful, hell-bent human beings and makes them His own children, and makes them complete in Christ. And all of our dealings with that kind of a God are on the basis of faith. That’s the mystery of faith.
But he says, “You hold that in a pure conscience.” That doesn’t give you any right either to trim the truth or to sidestep from the known will of God. Keep your conscience clean. A walk by faith that is accompanied by a clean conscience is a life that is gonna be characterized by miracle.
Now, these are the qualifications, then, you see, of people in leadership in the church. And he says, “Now let these deacons first be proved.” You find out whether or not they’re measuring up in this matter of being serious, sold out to God. Whether or not they’re telling the truth, whether or not their appetites are under control, whether or not they love money or love Jesus. Whether or not they have a clean conscience and they’re keeping close accounts with God and they’re not straying away from God’s will. You find out about that.
And that takes a little time, by the way. You don’t have a committee meeting and ask a few questions and say, “Okay, you’re in.” It takes a little time to observe the kind of life that a person is going to lead. And you remember the deacons that were selected, as recorded in the sixth chapter of the Book of Acts, said, “Men of honest report.” Why, you have to find out what their lifestyle has been during the past several years. Have they been walking with God? Can they be believed when they say, ‘Good morning’? “Men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom.” Do they have good sense? These are some of the things that you need to think about when you’re choosing the leadership in your church. Not just say, “Oh, who will we put up for this office that won’t decline the nomination.” And then shove the poor person into office. It doesn’t work that way, does it? No, it doesn’t. “Let them be proved.” he said. It takes a little time, but then you’re sure of the person, you’re sure how he or she is going to work out and you have more confidence.
Well then, he says, “They that have used the office of a deacon well.” Now, how do you use the office of a deacon? Well, the deacons as recorded in Acts 6 met human needs at the point of their need. Ministry of any kind-and this is a little Cook definition that I use- Ministry of any kind is sharing God with people at the point of their need. What their need is may differ. In the historian Acts chapter six it had to do with food, daily food. “Widows” it said, “were neglected in the daily ministration.” So these people had to supervise the distribution of food. That was the job that deacons did first, interestingly enough.
Well, in our day, we don’t do an awful lot of that except in special situations, perhaps on the mission field or in depressed areas. What we do do, however, has just as much importance, and that is to minister to the people of the congregation at the point of their need. What is their need? Some people are in sorrow, they need comfort, some people are unemployed, they need a job. Some people are on the verge of breaking up their home, they need counsel. What is the need?
This teenage boy, angry at his parents, he needs somebody to listen to him, to love him, and to point out to him from an objective point of view what his options are, and get him thinking and then get him praying. What is the need? Well, we can’t foretell what it may be. But to use the office of a deacon means that you find out where people are hurting and you help to heal the hurt. You find out what their need is and you help to supply the need.
Do you wanna work on that, my deacon friend, deacon or deaconess? You wanna work on that? You see, it’s more than just holding office. It’s ministering God to people at the point of their need. Ministry is sharing God with people at the point of their need. And it doesn’t mean give ’em a lecture, it means meet the need. Find out what they need, and then do it in Jesus name. “Whatsoever you do, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” says Paul in Colossians 3. You get the idea there?
Now he says, “They that have used the office of a deacon well, purchase to themselves a good degree and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.” Now, the way to attain credibility, and the way to attain effectiveness in ministry, is to be conscientious about meeting people’s needs. I’m oversimplifying this, obviously, but I do it because that helps me, and maybe it’ll help somebody else. The way to attain credibility, good degree, good standing, and the way to attain effectiveness in Christian ministry, great boldness in the faith, is to meet people’s needs. To minister to them, which means, sharing God with them at the point of their need.
Now, do you want people to believe in your Christianity? Be a specialist in meeting their needs and don’t make a federal case of it and say, “I’m gonna be a blessing to you, brother!” No, come on now. Just, if you see something that needs doing, do it. We tend to segment our activities especially in the business world, and you ask somebody for help in getting out a mailing and the answer may very well come back, “That’s not in my job description, I don’t have to do that.” Well, the person who gains real credibility as a Christian is the one who’s willing pitch in and help.
How long has it been since you went cheerfully out of your way to help someone else? I attended a class at the kind provision of Vic Corey, my old boss at Scripture Press. He sent me to a series of classes under the heading of Human Engineering, and it was very helpful. One of the points that this teacher kept putting across again and again in different ways but the point was the same was this, “Go cheerfully out of your way to help others without being asked.” Go cheerfully out of your way to help others without being asked. He said, “You ought to look at everyone as though he had a big sign hanging around his neck and the sign says, “Make me feel important.”
But even more than emphasizing the effort to raise the other person’s sense of importance and appreciation was this concept that I gave you. Go cheerfully out of your way to help others without being asked. Ministry starts oftentimes with seeing that a person is carrying a heavy load and just helping to carry it. Ministry starts with helping somebody.
Now, is that too simple, is that too basic? You see, Christianity boils down to good sense, oftentimes. And it boils down to the willingness to bend your back for another person and carry somebody else’s burden for a while, to help. To use the office of a deacon means that you’re ministering to other people’s needs. You’re sharing God with them at the point of their need. So if you want to be credible as a Christian or as a deacon for that matter, we’re asking about them now aren’t we? Deacon or deaconess. If you want your Christianity to be believable and be credible, specialize in meeting needs and do so cheerfully without being asked.
Then the other says, “Great boldness in the faith.” If you wanna be effective as a soul winner, meet people’s needs. Bob Pierce used to talk about the reason why he would bring a boatload of rice over to South Korea in the days just following the war when thousands of refugees were in a starving condition. He’d say, “You have to deserve a hearing. You have to deserve a hearing. You have to help these people, then you can preach to them.” Now, there’s a great deal to that. Look around today to find someone to whom you can be of help and then speak a word in love concerning the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Dear Father, today, help us to meet other people’s needs and lead them to Jesus, I ask in His name. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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