Acting a Part or Participating in a Role

by Benjamin Burks on November 28, 2012 · 6 comments

“Every man’s work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall test every man’s work of what sort it is” (1 Corinthians 3:13.)

I once heard a man speaking in the context of service for the Lord in theatrical terms.  I fully understand the point he was “driving home” when he made the statement “same play, different actors”.  He was basically saying that service for the Lord, ministry opportunities and jobs don’t change; that they are all the same “play” or script.  However, he declared that only the people change. Therefore, he concluded, the people will choose how they play their “part” generation after generation.

To observe the ministry and service in the Lords work as a “play” or “acting position” is a huge mistake.  Let’s look at the verse above, dissected and defined:  “Every man’s work shall be made manifest”.  In this context, “every” refers to those who are saved and are indwelt by the Spirit of God.  The Greek word from where “manifest” is translated is used 19 times in the Bible:  seven times as manifest; three times as being made known; three times as openly; and two times as outwardly.  Our motives will be shown on “that day”, which refers to the time of the judgment seat of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:10).

Our service for God will be examined by God and made manifest. That is, the character of our service will be revealed by God. This may be quite embarrassing to some who have been shoddy in their service and think they are getting away with it. If your service has just been a “stage” performance for the praise of men, this will come out when God examines your service.

“The fire shall test every man’s work of what sort it is.” The fire here represents the severity of the examination. In the context of this verse, Paul speaks of service in terms of gold, silver, and precious stones and also in terms of wood, hay, and stubble.
If your service is done in the flesh and is more show than substance, it will burn up in the examination like wood, hay, and stubble.

But if your service is sincere and genuine, it will withstand the fire just as gold, silver, and precious stones do. Our goal in ministry should be that we would “be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:10.) That word ‘sincere’ is a word that means ‘without cracks,’ and it was used to describe pots that hadn’t been damaged or cracked and repaired. Sometimes if a pot was cracked, they would fill it in with wax, but when the sun would come out, the wax would melt, and the crack would show. We should strive in our lives to not have cracks that we cover up with acts of service in our own power. The coming judgment will reveal them, and they will be burned up as wood, hay, and stubble.

“What sort it is” – The word “sort” puts emphasis on quality rather than quantity. Sort is more important than size. The sort is shifted like sand in a sieve, and we will be fully aware if the service was in His power or our own.  It will be revealed if it was for His glory or our own.

Hollywood and acting is not likened to what a believer does in the service of our Lord.  We do not do the work.  We do not do the acting; He does the work through us.  We are not here for showmanship.  We are here for Lordship!  Surrendering all to Him and letting the grace of God give you His desires, and His powers to do His will should be the life of every Christian. His will is not a play; it is perfected and for a greater purpose that we may understand by and by.

“For we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men” (1 Corinthians 4:9.) The word “spectacle” carries with it the idea of being in a theater, and Paul reminds us that we are on display before the  world, fallen and unfallen angels, and before saved and unsaved men. We are created to be conformed to His image, made in His likeness, through His power.  Someday, you will give an account for today, and tomorrow, and the next.  May we be found faithful in Him.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

markpadmore November 29, 2012 at 4:28 am

so blind that I couldn’t see our love was changing underneath our very noses” by Jessica Sharp.|”The feeble tremble before opinion, the foolish defy it, the wise judge it, the ski

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Alan Cutler November 29, 2012 at 6:31 am

The word was well meaning and well written, however there ae many that may say it is more about our faith than our works no matter how sincere. My true issue with the word is this; how does this help me with addiction? I am by the grace of God recovered from the pit of addiction for over a decade now and serve God as a counselor. This word seems geared more to a dicipleship group than a group of addicts and alcoholics looking to reform. I am very new to RU and have met some great people, but I see many disparaging issues that do great disservice to our brothers and sister in Christ who are bound by addictions. I humbly ask for clarification on the matter.

God Bless

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joe December 14, 2012 at 4:48 am

Good morning Alan. I must ask what is the difference between a disciple and an addict? Are they not both the same? It is said, “before we every did it we thunk it”. That is exactly holw th e Word helps us with our addction. I also spent 15 years as an adddict and all the couch counseling, getting to know myself, making amends etc didnt change the way I acted. It wasnt until my heart began to change (inside) did I begin to change (outside). The Word of God changes my way of thinking. The Holy Spirit gives me the gift of conviction. These two combined gave me a “fear of the Lord” Because the devil used drugs and or alcohol in our lives to bind us doesnt make us different. We need the same answer as the disciples of the first century needed. To give our minds are hearts and our bodys to Christ and his Way Truth and Life. No magic, but work by faith. For many years I thought I had a special problem that needed some special answer and the truth was I was just special enough for Jesus to die on a cross. OK thats pretty special.lol

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Julie Rogers February 7, 2013 at 8:45 am

Thank you for your response Joe, I was slightly set aback after reading Alan’s comment, but your response was excellent. I think that I too felt very much like Alan when I first strarted RU 2 years ago. I had 37 years of alcohol addiction and during that time had tried everything else that I was offered and liked all of it. I continued in RU thanks to some very good Christians that refused to give up on me and was led to the Lord six months after my 1st RU class. That truely changed everything. None of this makes much sense if you are not saved. It all sounds good or as Alan said “is well meaning and well written”. Salvation makes it all make sense. God will change you from the inside out and the addiction will be removed, because it does not “fit” with the Christian’s life. I suppose this is the reference to the “play”. I am so happy that I am not playing a part, this is me, I am not perfect, but God is still working on me and I will submit and surrender to His will and not my own. Praise the Lord. And thank God for Steve Currington and RU. I truely cannot imagine my life without any of them.

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Alan Cutler February 11, 2013 at 4:07 pm

To Joe and Julie my brother and sister in Christ. I seem to have been misunderstood in my coments or maybe not even heard at all. My main point was that any RU meeting I have attended and anything I have recieved from the ministry in my e-mails seems to have little or nothing to do with recovery from addiction. One can be an addict and not a disciple or you can be both as I once was. My point is for many years I was an addict and not saved, in fact I was a Jew and today am what many call a Messianic Jew. My walk with Jesus began just a few months before my walk to sobriety, but there were many issues that needed to be dealt with before I ever began my discipleship in Jesus. My fear is that someone who is not a believer or a young or weak believer would see the same sign I did for my local church where RU is held on Friday nights. The sign says addiction classes Friday at 7:00 PM. As I said the first time I went I met great Godly poeple who welcomed me with open loving arms, however the word addiction, alcoholism, nor anything of teh sort was spoken about for the 2 plus hours I was there. If I was not a believer already I would have felt decivied that these Jesus Freaks (which I am proudly one of) just want to brainwash me. I have a BS in Psychology and a MA in counseling, as well as studying to take my CAP certification test and find fault with anyone who says that relapse is not a part of recovery. Jesus never presented himself as anything other than what he was, the son of God, so that is why I originally wrote what I wrote. I welcome all comments that are inteligent.

God Bless,
Alan

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