I Cor. 16:15 I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)
Intro: This family – the house of Stephanas, were role models in their church.
- It was a Conscious Addiction – they have addicted themselves; they were not victims
- It was a Commendable Addiction – most addictions are bad; this one is commendable
- It was a Cooperative Addiction – vs. 16 Paul said, I want you to join in with them!
In researching this message, I came across a website that is dedicated to helping family members identify and intervene in their loved ones that have become addicted.
It listed a number of ways that you can identify if someone is addicted.
As I read that list, I was shocked at the spiritual applications of that list.
Every single one of the markers that identify a person as an addict had a spiritual application.
I simply copied and pasted this list straight into my outline and found a correlating Bible verse.
Again – I DID NOT MAKE THIS LIST. I copied and pasted it!!
Paul identified – he “outed” the house of Stephanas as “addicts”.
He wrote that they were “addicted”. Are you? How many of these markers do you have in your life?
Here is the list that marks the behavior characteristics associated with addiction:
A. Abrupt changes in the following areas:
1. work or school attendance
- Heb. 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
2. quality of work
- I Cor. 3:13 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 try every man’s work of what sort it is.
3. work output
- John 9:4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
- Hebrews 11:2 For by it (Faith) the elders obtained a good report.
- 1 Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
B. Unusual flare-ups or outbreaks of temper
When you are addicted to the ministry, you will have a fervent passion for God and His house!
Things will bother you that doesn’t bother other people.
Things that you used to tolerate will not become intolerable.
- II Cor. 7:11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
- John 2:17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
C. Withdrawal from normal routines and responsibility
Things that you used to be involved in will now seem unimportant.
Your priorities will change.
- Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
D. General changes in overall attitude
There will be a noticeable transformation in your spirit.
Life will no longer be about you; addicted to the ministry of the saints will transform you!
- II Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
E. Deterioration of physical appearance and grooming
Addicts let themselves go; they are not worried about themselves.
- Philippians 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
F. Wearing of sunglasses at inappropriate times
Addicts put up guards when it comes to their eyes; they are more sensitive than non-addicts
- Psalm 101:3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
G. Continual wearing of long-sleeved garments particularly in hot weather or reluctance to wear short sleeved attire when appropriate
When everybody else is taking their clothes off, an addict won’t do it!
When everybody else says it’s appropriate to take their clothes off, an addict will keep theirs on.
- I Peter 2:9-12 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:… Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
H. Association with known substance abusers
You can tell a lot about a person by who they hang around!
In fact, in our text – verse 15, 16 – Paul begged – beseeched the church to follow and help these addicts.
- I John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.
I. Stealing small items from employer, home or school
Your addiction will cause you to treat your family and friends in a manner than they are not accustomed to.
- Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
J. Secretive behavior regarding actions and possessions
You will have a secret life; one that is known only to you and God.
You will do things behind closed doors that others never see or witness.
- Matthew 6:3, 4; 6 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
K. Poorly concealed attempts to avoid attention and suspicion
An addict cannot hide his addiction for very long; people will notice it
The more addicted you are, the more obvious your addiction will become.
- Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.