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Ministry As Seen In Scriptures #2

          As ministers, servants, of the Lord we are all responsible to God. We are to use our talents to the fullest extent of our ability (I Peter 4:11). Paul wrote of a “glorious ministry” which was tried and honest (II Corinthians 3:7-4:7). The Christian ministry also includes many other aspects in which each member has a labor of love and action.

 

            Paul stated that the Christian ministry is one in which we can be “confident.” He wrote of the body as an earthly house and tells us that it was a temporary home for the soul. He stated that we are not at home in this body and that it will be replaced by a house which is from heaven (II Corinthians 5:1-2). He wrote that when this happens “mortality” will be “swallowed up of life” (II Corinthians 5:4). He concluded that we can be confident that when the Lord returns we will have a home in heaven. He stated, “Now He that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, Who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Corinthians 5:5-10). John wrote, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (I John 5:13).

 

            Paul describes his ministry as a “ministry of reconciliation.” He stated, “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 hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (II Corinthians 5:17-19). Isaiah wrote that sin separates man form God (Isaiah 59:1-2). Outside Christ there is no hope for salvation. Paul wrote concerning the Gentile nations “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:11-13).

 

            Paul’s ministry was also a ministry of suffering. He proved himself to be true through the things which he suffered and his faithfulness to God’s word (II Corinthians 6:4-10). In II Corinthians chapter 11 Paul gives a long list of the things which he suffered from the Jewish nation as well as others. At the end of that list he stated, “Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches” (II Corinthians 11:28). Paul didn’t use his suffering as an excuse not to do God’s will but instead counted it a privilege to suffer for the Savior who had suffered so much for him (Galatians 6:16-18). Paul also felt a great responsibility toward the churches he had established among the Gentiles. He stated, “Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches” (II Corinthians 11:28).

 

            Christ did not promise that our ministry would be easy. He told His disciples, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake” (Matthew 5:11). He also tells us through the inspired writers that we will suffer if we serve Him acceptably. Paul told Timothy “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (II Timothy 3:12). Peter wrote, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ” (I Peter 3:12-16).

 

            We cannot be sure where our ministry will take us while here on the earth! Neither can we know what the circumstances will bring upon us! We can, however, know that the reward for a faithful ministry will be far greater than anything which we may suffer here. Paul stated, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing” (II Timothy 4:6-8). As the old hymn states “Heaven will surely be worth it all.” Let us all be workers in the vineyard so that when the Lord returns He will welcome us into that heavenly home.

 

                                                                                                                        - - PER