December 2015 Teaching Letter - Practical Ministry
2 Corinthians 5:17-20, ”Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new. And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” Notice that the ministry of reconciliation “has been given to us”. The moment that we are saved or born again, we are called, appointed, and anointed of God, and separated unto the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are ministers of reconciliation. We are to announce to others the message of God’s grace. “Now we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be reconciled to God.”
Every believer is called to the ministry of reconciliation. Every believer is an ambassador for Christ. Every believer is called to preach, that is, to proclaim or tell the gospel with signs following. Mark 16:15-20, “And he said unto them, go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be condemned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” Acts 2:17, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” John 14:12-14, ”Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.”
As far as the five-fold ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, or teachers, it is God’s responsibility to tell you through the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:11, ”And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.” Other people may recognize the call of God on your life, but Jesus is the only one to call and place you in the five-fold ministry. Every believer, however, is called to be a minister of reconciliation.
God’s Grace Fulfills the Call to Ministry
Galatians 2:8, "For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me towards the Gentiles.” Our equipping to the ministry is supernatural. It is by God’s grace, not by human effort. God is mighty and He desires to be mighty in you. Ephesians 4:4-6, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” 1 John 4:4, ”You are of God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” God can only be mighty in us to the degree that we allow Him to be. God desires to be mighty in us toward
those that we minister unto. Galatians 2:9, “And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.” Grace here refers to God’s enablement. It is His ability, the power and equipment for ministry, which is His favor.
Ministry should not be struggle. What has God graced you to do? Well, we are all called and graced to preach, teach, heal, deliver, pray, and prophesy. Specifically, what has God graced you to do? In Paul’s case, he and Peter both received the grace to be apostles, but Paul’s grace was to the Gentiles and Peter’s to the Jews. Paul said in Ephesians 3:7, ”I was made a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.” It was God that motivated or inspired and fitted Paul and worked through him. We have been given the ability necessary to do what God has called us to do. We are to minister as good stewards of God’s grace.
1 Peter 4:10-11, ”As every man has received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God gives: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” The gift of the Holy Spirit and the grace given to minister to one another is for the express purpose of glorifying God, and that Jesus may be praised.
How to Allow God to Use You Mightily and to Be Effective
1) “Reckon yourself indeed dead unto sin and alive unto God.” Romans 6:11.
I don't preach much about sin, but our position exhorts us to make our experience conform to our position. Yield to righteousness, not sin or temptation to sin.
2) Be full of the Word and of the Spirit. 2 Timothy 3:16; Ephesians 5:8.
3) Prepare yourself in study and in prayer. 2 Timothy 2:15.
4) Stir up the gift of God that is in you through worship, praise, prayer, and study. 2 Timothy 1:6.
5) Be faithful to the call of God on your life.
6) Be humble before God and man. James 4:6-7.
7) Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 2:1.