Thursday, July 26, 2012


1 Corinthians 16:15, “They have addicted themselves to the ministry.”

According to Webster’s Dictionary to be addicted is “to devote or surrender oneself to something habitually or obsessively.” There are a great number of things to which people are prone to become addicted—alcohol, drugs, gambling, food, video games, etc. People can even be addicted to shopping. Oniomania is the technical name given to that disorder.

We are prone, by nature, to addictive behavior. The lusts of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and boastful pride of life (1 John 2:16) constitute desires within us that beg for fulfillment. Pleasure in sin quickly diminishes (Hebrews 11:25), leaving in its path a hunger for more. Every lost person is a sin-addict (Cf. Ephesians 4:19), attempting in sin to fill a vacuum which God alone can satisfy. Sin-addictions are consistent to the “futile way of life inherited from (our) forefathers” (1 Peter 1:18), of which Paul spoke: “Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death” (Romans 6:21).

There is a healthy addiction to which God would direct us. Indwelt by the Spirit of God, the believer in Christ is freed from sin-dependence (Cf. Romans 6:7). The Spirit is at work to transform us and impart to us the mind of Christ. Jesus was an addict of another kind. His life was utterly devoid of sin (Cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21). He was addicted to serving—indeed, that was the purpose for which He came (Mark 10:45). To be delivered from sin-addiction and to be made a “slave of righteousness” is a glorious work He alone can do (Cf. Romans chapter six).

Paul commended the household of Stephanas. “They have addicted themselves to the ministry,” he said. The term “addicted” translates a Greek term means “to arrange, assign, order.” The thought here is that they had so ordered their lives that ministry came first (Cf. Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8:5). The term “ministry” is the Greek, “diakonia,” which speaks of service. It is the same term elsewhere translated “deacon.” The household of Stephanas was addicted to ministry in the sense that they had prioritized their lives such that the service of others came first. They were given to it. Their lives were characterized by it. They were devoted to serving Christ by serving others.

Paul exhorted the Corinthians to “be in subjection to such men and to everyone who helps in the work and labors” (1 Corinthians 16:16). Many in the church in Corinth were walking as “mere men” and behaving in selfish and childish ways (Cf. 1 Corinthians 3:1-4; 13:11-13). Paul directed them all to the better example of the household of Stephanas. They were walking in an exemplary fashion (Cf. 1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 3:17). The church of our day (in America) is characterized by a selfish brand of Christianity that bears little resemblance to its Biblical counterpart. Servanthood—as a virtue--has fallen on hard times amongst some who profess Christ. But there are still many who walk in same the manner that Christ has established (Cf. 1 John 2:6)—let’s be careful to look to their example.

Selfless service is the manner of life to which God has called us. It constitutes true worship (Cf. Hebrews 13:15-16; 2 Corinthians 9:12); will be rewarded at the judgment seat (2 Corinthians 5:10); and blesses others in many ways. “Through love serve one another” Scripture says (Galatians 5:13). Don’t worry about becoming addicted to serving; it is a healthy addiction of which God approves.

Pastor Jerry

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