Friday, June 14, 2013

Our Ministry for Christ

Our Ministry - Ministry (to others) is for all believers in Christ, who are available to encourage, to teach and to comfort fellow members of the Body of Christ.

Have you ever read a verse in the Bible many times over, thinking you understood its meaning, or just had not thought about it much? Then suddenly, a new thought or understanding comes to mind? Test it with other scriptures, and with prayer, and know that God the Holy Spirit often works this way to teach us what we need for our walk or for our service in Christ. This has often times happened to me*, and still does. Once, many years ago, while listening to a radio preacher speaking on this verse:

"Not that we have dominion over your faith, but (we) are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand."
(2 Cor 1:24, KJV)

The preacher then shared what the Lord had shown him from that verse, and how it eventually affected his ministry to the church in a rather positive way! (Apparently, the Apostle Paul also had to learn the same lesson.) When your ministry or mine is directed in such a way as to control others, to exalt ourselves, or for whatever fleshly purpose, you are on your own. However, when in humility and prayer, and inspired by the Holy Spirit, what we speak (or write) can and will work to change ourselves and others for the better, and will bring about joy and blessing for many!

Allow me to outline a few verses in 2 Corinthians chapters 1-4 to illustrate:

Chapter 1: (Experience and minister JOY, see above) also this - the comfort of God:
1:3 "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 1:5 "For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ."  Our Father delights to comfort His children. Romans 5:1-5 also confirms this! Do you experience God as a comforter?

Chapter 2:  Forgive!
2:6 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.
2:7 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. 2:8 Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. 2:9 For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. 2:10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Chapter 3: Good ministry will change us when we Look to Christ for the Holy Spirit's help. (vss. 13-18)

"God; who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." (ch 3:6)

The ministry of the Holy Spirit (verse 8) is more glorious than other ministry, even from the scriptures, (of the letter, see vs. 6). Without that Help coming from God the Holy Spirit, we cannot be changed. We must always look for and wait on the Holy Spirit to help us! If we already think we know it, we may not receive His help! The Word of God is DEEP, and so much more will and can come to us when we look for and wait upon His help! He can and will change us!  But we DO change slowly! (my own experience)

"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the LORD. " (vs. 18)

Do you sometimes see someone who you may think is hopeless? ("He'll never change!") Stop thinking that right now, God is in the business of saving folks and changing folks. We are only vessels, to be filled with the Holy Spirit, who is the only One who can be used to impart the change so greatly needed! Don't just write off that difficult brother or sister you are dealing with. If he or she is a believer, God can change him! Only, He wants to use us to be his vessels, filled with the Holy Spirit, to work for Him!

Chapter 4:  We are priviledged to serve with God, but we need His POWER to work out from within!

"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. "

This work of God is ongoing! When God created the heavens and the earth, He rested on the seventh day. But His work in us is ongoing, and He will not rest until we are with Him!

Don't try to serve God, and also at the same time want to get the credit for it! Sometimes our role in God's work may for a time need to remain hidden. Fret not, my friend! God is faithful to see that honor is given to whom honor is due (Romans 13:7). In His own time He will honor his faithful servant. And I can see that I'm going to have some trouble with this word! (That's me!)

Sincerely, HJD
* Chapter three of 2 Corinthians was the most helpful...

A Treasure in earthen vessels

This is a great treasure that God has given to His children!

"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. "  (2 Cor. 4:6-7)

"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. "