It is the Spirit of God that qualifies and calls apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. The ministry is given for “the perfecting of the saints…for the edifying of the body of Christ. Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God” (Ephesians 4:13). Jesus commissioned His disciples, as He still does today, to go into all the world and preach the gospel (Mark 16:15-16). It is a serious commission to minister the Word of God, for eternal souls are at stake. “If a man desire the office of a bishop [elder/minister], he desireth a good work” (1 Timothy 3:1). It is not an office to be taken casually or loosely, but ministry is to be the result of a divine call and the anointing of the Holy Spirit in one’s life.
Ministers are called to be ambassadors for Christ and are to represent Him in every facet of life. It is imperative that ministers “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith” they are called (Ephesians 4:1). They should bring glory to the name of Christ through their spirit, conduct, dress and lifestyle. Ministers who are not qualified according to the scripture should not exercise their ministry until the time that they are measured to the Bible and called of the Lord. Ministers are entrusted to be “stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4:1) and to be defenders of the faith.
The work of God has been hindered worldwide because of false ministers and unqualified people handling the Word of God. Religion has become a business for many ministers. True ministers are servants of the people, laboring not for their own comfort but for the edification of souls. “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2-3). “Freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8).
Watchmen on the Wall
The Old Testament gives very moving and relevant instruction to those who minister. “I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night” (Isaiah 62:6). “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1). God has placed ministers as watchmen on the walls to preach the everlasting gospel which is the savor of life unto life and death unto death. If a minister sees the enemy working among the people and fails to sound the alarm and give warning, that minister will be held accountable for the souls that are lost (Ezekiel 3:17-21). If the minister declares the message from God and still people are lost, he is not held liable for their sin and wrong doing. What a serious thing it is to call oneself a minister of the Lord, for there is great accountability.
Duty to Preach the Word
Ministers are called to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8) and to speak “to the people all the words of this life” (Acts 5:20). It is a joy and a privilege to share the message of hope and salvation through Jesus Christ. Ministers are to be as Paul who stated: “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). Preaching truth will bring opposition from within and without the camp, but ministers are charged to be faithful and to “exhort and rebuke with all authority” (Titus 2:15). Ministers should not be preaching to please man but to please God (1 Thessalonians 2:4-5). Messages should be given without fear of man (Matthew 10:28) and of persecution which might follow.
Feed the Flock
God has made the ministers spiritual overseers and they are to fulfill that commission not as lords but as servants and shepherds. They are to “feed the church of God” (Acts 20:28) a balanced spiritual diet. Ministers are to preach the Word of God and to speak according to the oracles of God for His glory (1 Peter 4:11). Ministers need to be very careful not to preach opinion, mere tradition and history, but to preach from the foundation of God’s holy, unchanging Word. Many ministers are self-promoting and seek to draw people to themselves through entertainment, charisma, and intellectual thinking. A true minister of Christ recognizes that “all sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament” (2 Corinthians 3:5-6). “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord” (2 Corinthians 4:5). Christ is to be the center of all ministry and man should never be exalted.
A Balanced Ministry
Anointed, Holy Ghost preaching comes from knowing and walking with the Saviour and being faithful to deliver divine messages that are inspired from God. Paul stated that his preaching was not with excellency of speech nor of wisdom. He preached Jesus Christ not with “enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). While judgment is an integral part of true, sanctified ministry, the foundation should always be one of love. “But speaking the truth in love, [that they] may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:15). Some ministers focus so much on judgment that the deeper, more meaningful message of love is lost. Others focus on making people feel good in love, and fail to minister the whole truth which will bring growth and life to the honest soul. There is a needful balance in the ministry.
A Caring Ministry
Timothy was instructed to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2). It is vital that a minister be faithful regardless of feelings and the trials of life. Ministers need much longsuffering and patience, and should seek deeper levels of the love, joy, gentleness, meekness, etc. of the Spirit of God in ministry. A qualified minister will be there to comfort and support people in their needs and struggles (1 Thessalonians 5:14). He will be patient and kind, caring for the flock as Jesus, the chief shepherd, cares for His people.
A Prepared Ministry
As with any job or calling, to be effective, ministers should give themselves to the study of the Word of God. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). It is important to “meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them” (1 Timothy 4:14-16). Ministers should use “plainness of speech” (2 Corinthians 3:12) and speak that people would know and understand clearly the will of God.
A Faithful Ministry
May every true minister of the Lord be faithful to the heavenly vision and call of God. May the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ and the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit be upon you. Amen.