Ministry and the Word of God
“Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.”
In God’s word there are glimpses as to how His servants conducted themselves amid God’s people. The question of our day… where are those in whom this life is exhibited? Where are those who feel within their heart the necessity to “warn” God’s people to the point of tears urging them on to walk rightly before the Lord? We live in a day of great changes and those who see and understand the ferocity of the coming storm are warning God’s people to prepare themselves.
This was Paul’s last visit with the elders of the church at Ephesus and he is reminding them of the example he had set by the life he lived among them. He was not speaking easy things; he was filled with the fire of God to warn them to remain vigilant. Many in our day want to hear only good and smooth things. Those who desire truth know well the blessed ministrations of exhortation and admonition. It is the nature of man to choose soft and soothing words and to turn from the warnings of God.
“For they are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the LORD; who say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions…”
We read in Hebrews concerning the Word of the Lord: (May those who minister His Word compare their word with His Word)
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”
Many are inclined to choose soft and comforting words over the words which would cut and pierce our hearts to free us of our own soulish ways. It is His word that “divides asunder” that which is of the soul and that which is of the spirit.
There was an intensity in Paul to see God’s people walk and grow in God. Fire is the evidence of God within a heart. We must allow His Spirit to invade our hearts that we would know this same passion that was clearly demonstrated in Paul.
“…remember, that by the space of three years
I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears”
Night and day there was a flow of the love and wisdom of God in Paul’s life.
In the Book of Revelation God revealed the nature of his His word multiple times.
“And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.”
“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges…”
“And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God”
There needs to be a new reverence for His word and an acknowledgement of His Lordship and call upon our lives. Those who handle His word faithfully know the serious call to discipleship. We are not to coddle one another; we are to walk reverently “working out our own salvation with fear and trembling”. It is troubling to see God presented as “daddy” when in fact we have been called to the rugged ways of the cross. He truly is our Father who has “begotten” us in Christ; but we are to follow Christ in the daily dying to self that we may live unto God. There is a great truth to the kindness and gentleness of God’s dealings with us but the imbalance in presenting the Father’s heart is unhealthy.
“Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily”
The warnings of God threaded into the preaching and teaching of Paul were the result of the “strivings” of God’s working in Paul “mightily”. We must be balanced and truthful in our sharing of Him with others.
“So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others…”
2 Corinthians 5:9-11
May the Lord cause us to revisit His truth to us. A while back I was impressed by the Lord that those who know the fear of the Lord warn others; those who disregard this grace are unable to truly warn others to “work out their OWN salvation, with fear and trembling”.
In this critical hour may the Lord make us faithful in the fervor of His Spirit. There is a “striving according to His working” which produces in us the pure ministration of His word; a true representation of the fire of His love that we may represent Him clearly.
Does our ministration resemble that which is consistent with the ministrations of the early church?
“Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)”
In our desire to comfort and encourage others it is easy to live for the approval of men rather than the approval which comes from God. In our human sympathy we must be vigilant to not become “enemies of the cross of Christ”. Our safety is in the “two-edged” sword of the Lord dividing in us that which is of the soul and that which is of the Spirit. We become free to minister the true nature of the Call of Christ to others.
See: Preaching the Gospel