Our Sufficiency – Part One
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to account anything as from ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God; who also made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant…”
2 Corinthians 3:5
Latent in these verses are powerful revelations of the pulse of the ministrations in the early church. These things are often lost in the modern gospel of our day leaving us bereft of the influence and pervading wonder of the Holy Spirit.
The first truth to strike at the core of my heart is Paul’s usage of the pronouns “we, our, and us”. The very language employed depicted the corporate nature of the Church in that day. Through the years I have been made cognizant that the vocabulary of the ministry of the early church spoke of a unified worldwide assembly. This “we, us and ourselves” was not referring to a building on a street corner, or some distinct little fellowship under the auspices of a certain teacher, prophet, or denomination. Paul’s epistles were usually directed to The Church at specific locations i.e. Corinth, Rome, or areas such as Thessalonica.
“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth…”
1 Corinthians 1:3
It is hard in our day to comprehend the rapid growth, influence, and advance of the early Church.
“Wein (n.d.) suggests that “almost one-third of the Roman Empire
became Christian in little more than 100 years” (p. 1).
This incursion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and its impact in the known world of that day was because of the power of God expressed through the individual members of that One Church. Unity of Spirit is the secret and the source of HIS power in our midst.
If we could touch the fundamental desire that governed Paul’s purpose in pouring out his life, we would be revolutionized by the purity and the power of the Holy Spirit.
“my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth
until Christ is formed in you!”
“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy:
for I have espoused you to one husband,
that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ”
2 Corinthians 11:2
The purity of motive that burned within those who presented the Lord Jesus Christ to the world in that day resulted in the immensity of HIS influence and power.
Let us reconsider the foundation vital to the power of Him flowing through each of us.
“Blessed are the pure in heart…
For they shall SEE GOD”
When we have ulterior motives those very aspirations will cloud our seeing of Him and will proportionately limit our ability to reveal Him in His Wonder and Glory.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live;
yet not I, but Christ liveth in me…”
The depth of our experiential crucifixion will determine the substance and the “communication of our faith” (Philemon 1:5) through us. Selflessness is the vital element for His Glory to be revealed; how we need a baptism of repentance from our selfish motives, desires, and pursuits. Those who are becoming HIS know the pangs and anguish of spirit to see Christ FORMED in their brothers and sisters. It should not be that those who have attended a church, or a fellowship gathering for many years, have yet to discover the power and specific call of Christ to them; many have never touched the dynamic that arises from the formation of Christ within to be a fountain of His Life flowing into the world around them.
Any ministry that is content with a people who faithfully fill the pews (or some fellowship) with uninspired living, with no conception of their call to ministry nor ministrations that are the result of the giftings of the Spirit must give an account in the day of the Judgment Seat of Christ.
“But the manifestation of the Spirit
is given to every man to profit withal…”
1 Corinthians 12:7
How can true ministers of Christ be pleased with those they are ministering to if they remain unformed in their apprehension of Christ, incapable of expressing the power and unction of the Holy Spirit? True ministry is to continually inspire them to be “living epistles” known and read by all men by the demonstration of the works of the Spirit of God.
How long will we categorize our spiritual identity by some denomination, sect, or teaching? How long will we be content with something other than Christ alone? May we feel the earnest pleading of the apostle Paul to the Church at Corinth:
“For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.”
1 Corinthians 3:3-9 (Please read reverently to see more than just the words written here but to touch the Spirit that gave birth to such words.)
Ministry is God’s MEANS to His End, it is never to be an end in itself.
(Continued in Part Two – Unity of The Spirit)
This article is best read as one document but for the hope of maximum retention, it is broken down into shorter segments. It is my earnest desire that His people would cease from the exaltation of ministry and the choosing one over another and begin to touch the vibrancy and purpose for which ministry has been given. Ministry is given to usher in the wonder of a living Body of Christ where EVERY member functions in the gifts of His Spirit motivated by the love of Him fusing us, without division, whereas Paul declares “We speak the same thing” because we live and walk in the same Spirit by which we are baptized into ONE Body (1 Corinthians 12:13)!
“For we being many are one bread, and one body:
for we are all partakers of that one bread”
1 Corinthians 10:17
“Unto HIM be glory in the church”
Our Sufficiency Series: