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Making a Difference Wiersbe - 10 Power Principles for Christian Service Chapter 2 – The Foundation of Ministry Is Character (The following presentation consists of quotations from the text of this book, which you have purchased)
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1Corinthians 3:11
The Foundation of Ministry is Character
How is character developed? “It cannot be the mere training to certain tricks. It cannot be even the furnishing with abundant knowledge. It must be nothing less than the kneading and tempering of a man’s whole nature till it becomes of such a consistency and quality as to be capable of transmission.” Phillips Brooks
Character is the unconscious byproduct of applied truth. The “great purpose of life” according to Phillips Brooks is “the shaping of character by truth.” Character is revealed in the life of a person through the decisions they make and the response they give to circumstances they encounter. Great examples of Character given to us in the Bible are: Job – Who, even though he lost everything, refused to curse God. Moses – Who traded all the riches and glory of Egypt to lead God’s people. Joseph – Who would not yield to temptation presented by Potiphar’s wife. Shammah – Who stood when all others fled, defending a small pea patch. Daniel – Who faced the lions den because he worshiped God. Three Hebrew Children – Faced the fiery furnace for not worshiping man.
Character cannot be created in a vacuum! “Character is the raw material of life, out of which we either by diligence construct a temple or by negligence create a trash heap.” Wiersbe Every person must face the accountability of others and the responsibility they have to society. The Christian worker must face the disappointments and trials of serving other people. Even though the Scriptures tell us to not have confidence in the flesh, we are disappointed when the character flaws of other people are manifested in their actions. There is no easy way to serve the Lord. Loving the Lord enough to serve others will produce heartaches and disappointments. But, these struggles make us stronger and help us to recognize, even more, the need in people’s lives.
Character is not built in a day, but over time. Working in a ministry allows a person to grow at the pace God desires. Helping people overcome problems in their life, teaching the Word of God, witnessing to the lost and developing a strong personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the privilege of ministry.
“…what a man is in the dark.” … Evangelist D.L. Moody stating what character is.
Character “Character means living your life before God, fearing only him and seeking to please him alone, no matter how you feel or what others may say or do.” Warren Wiersbe
Character takes time to build, but a testimony be destroyed in mere minutes! Like an earthquake, a sinful act can destroy a person’s testimony in an instant.
Before a testimony is destroyed, there is an erosion of character that precedes this destruction. Just as character is built over time, erosion of character also happens over time. The main cause of erosion of a person’s character is a decay of that person’s spiritual life by the neglect of spiritual strengthening in the inner man. This occurs when a person fails to spend time in Bible study and prayer.
God working in our life “but he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10
“Like a great cathedral, character is built a day at a time, a stone at a time, with patience and deliberation, all the while seeking to follow God’s step-by-step plan. …like a great cathedral, character can be quietly destroyed, little by little, in many hidden places, unseen even by those who know us best, undetected perhaps by ourselves, but never unnoticed by God.” Warren Wiersbe
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23
Getting use to the dark… Warren Wiersbe said, “Sow a thought and you reap an action. Sow an action and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.”
The deterioration of character is an “inside job.” Warren Wiersbe
“Life is built on character, and character is built on the decisions we make.” Warren Wiersbe
The erosion of character usually begins with neglect. Along with an unprotected heart, a defiled conscience contributes to the decay of character. The womb of the imagination give birth to sin; and sin, being a murderer, grows up and starts to kill. No true servant of God tries to see how close he or she can come to sin and still remain eligible for service. Warren Wiersbe
“It is easier to build character and guard it than to rebuild it after you’ve lost it.” Henry Martyn
Is it possible to restore damaged character? NO… …If the person justifies or makes excuses for their failure. YES… …If they are willing to confess their failure in humility.
Qualifications for Service Past failures do not disqualify a saved person from future service in the ministry, if the person has been restored through a Biblical process. However, this person should also exhibit a strengthening of spiritual maturity, humility and sincerity in their life over a period of time before they are trusted with positions of leadership. A person who does not exhibit these qualities should not be placed in positions of leadership, but may serve under the guidance of other mature and discerning Christians until such time as they mature.