Did you know that you are a minister?
That's right. Each and every one of you is a minister, because if you have faith in God, he wants you to use that faith to reach out to a lost and hurting world. We have a ministry, even if we don't work for a church. We must proclaim the truth of God's love in thought, word and deed, as if we are a dying man or woman of God ministering to dying people.
As Christians, we focus on Christ and his love, but this love is just a vague concept to most people unless that love is reborn in each and every one of us each and every day and we learn to love others as Christ loves us. After all, Christ said that the two greatest commandments are to love God and love people.
As ministers, we are to show that love by shining a light on the Gospel. The Gospel has been hidden to those who are lost, in the dark and who follow Satan. The human heart is wicked and blind. For example, Paul's opponents didn't understand his ministry because they didn't know the meaning of the Gospel. Satan has been defeated, but he is still powerful. He is still a dominant force in our world. If he can trick people into thinking he is equal to God (as he did to Eve in the Garden of Eden), he can blind people to the truth of the Gospel. Truth that can be trusted is truth that changes and also testifies to others. We have been entrusted as ministers of the Gospel.
In the past century, the church has been divided among those whose focus was evangelism (the proclamation of Christ crucified) and those who were focused on social welfare or social justice. Which should we be doing? The answer is that we should be doing both. However, the proclamation of Christ crucified should be our central focus, and efforts to achieve social welfare or social justice should be an outgrowth of that focus--and not the other way around.
Jesus' name must be on the lips of those who believe in him. Their service in his name should confirm the integrity of their message, especially if the message comes from those who have been called to preach the Gospel. God does not shine his light on anyone's heart for his/her sake alone. Every believer's knowledge of Christ must shine on a world that desperately needs Christ's love. The light of the Holy Spirit shines on the world. It allows our lives to be touched and our faith to be kindled. Paul's preaching was open and sincere, but the Gospel is hidden from many people. The only way it can be revealed is by witnessing to others. This witnessing involves spiritual warfare because Satan is actively opposed to Christian witness. Nevertheless, we need to be lights in our dark, sin-filled world.
Paul was not motivated by money or the need for human approval. Consequently, he refused to water down or change God's word to suit what people wanted to hear. Paul is a good example for us to follow. We must not be motivated by earthly desires. We must be motivated by a deep and sincere desire to spread the Good News of the Gospel. We must not alter or change God's Word to conform to what people want to hear. We must not "tickle their ears." We must pierce their hearts, minds and souls. Honesty is beautiful and refreshingly simple, just like servants of God-no hidden meanings, no hypocrisy, no duplicity, and no political games.
When we do God's work, we must not tamper with the Gospel, no matter how much we are tempted. If we tamper with the Gospel, it loses power and our witness and ministry are negatively affected. The things of this world must not become more important than our devotion to Christ. He is the utmost authority we must obey. We must stay true to the Gospel and the teachings of Jesus. Everything we do must point people to Jesus. That is what evangelism is in its purest form.
Paul's ministry is an example of servanthood. Servanthood implies diligence, faithfulness, loyalty and humility. Servants don't compete, grandstand, polish their image or grab the limelight. They know their job, they admit their limitations, and they do what they do quietly and consistently.
We must not be discouraged when we face rejection or persecution. The evil in our world can easily discourage us, but we must remember that throughout history the evil nature of our world has rejected and persecuted those who preach the truth of what is written in the Bible. We must not lose heart, faith or hope. We have been given a specific ministry-something we can do and that God wants us to do. When we do what God tells us to do, we find encouragement about ourselves and about life.
We must constantly remind ourselves that God does the work in our ministry. We need to be faithful to what he has asked us to do and depend on him for everything. We have to count the cost and responsibilities for what we do, but God takes the responsibility to get us through. God said in Hebrews 13:5, "I will never, not ever, not ever, leave you or forsake you."
We must do everything we can to minister to the needs of those around us. These people can be in our family, our neighbourhood, our circle of friends, our church, or even in the staff and residents here at Queens Manor. We must be a daily witness and servant to everyone we meet.
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