Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Biblical Roles: The Brethren (Part 2)

The Work of Ministry

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-13 NKJV)

It is the role of the brethren to perform the “work of ministry.” Ministry is not to be relegated to a select few or to the “professional” clergy, but ministry is the responsibility of each and every member of the Body of Christ. All believers are to be “full-time ministers” regardless of whether they draw a salary from the church or not. There really is no such thing as a “bi-vocational” minister. Regardless of what we do to earn a living, we are all called to be ministers of the Gospel.

Unfortunately, many in the western church have grown complacent and have been content to leave the work of ministry to the paid ministers. We have become like those whom Paul referred to in the book of Hebrews. “Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers , you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” (Hebrews 5:11-12) We have churches full of people who, by now, aught to be teaches, yet for all the teaching they have heard, they still have need to be taught. The reason we have become dull of hearing is because we have failed to practice the Word we have been taught. “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:14) If we would get up and start doing the work of ministry, start practicing the Word we have heard, then we would begin to grow stronger and our ministry would begin to develop and grow. By practicing the Word of God we will progress from student to teacher, from one needing ministry to one who is a minister.

After departing Egypt, the children of Israel spent almost a year and a half on Mount Horeb being taught by the Lord. Their time there was pleasant. They were feed by the Lord, their possessions did not wear out, and the Lord was a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. One day, the Lord came and spoke to the congregation saying, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Turn and set your journey…” (Deuteronomy 1:6-7) The children of Israel had grown comfortable, they liked it at Mount Horeb and were content to stay, yet the promise land still awaited them. As long as they stayed on the mountain, they would never inherit what God had for them; they had to leave and journey to the land God had promised them. So it is for us today. Many of us have become comfortable in our churches. We like coming on Sunday, fellowshipping with our friends, and hearing the preaching by the pastor. We are content being spectators; watching the clergy minister in our midst. But God is speaking a new word to us. We have been on this mountain long enough. It is time to rise up and possess the promises of God. It is time to leave the comfortable place and journey to our promised land. It is time for us to start doing the work of ministry, not waiting on others to do it. This is our inheritance; this is our calling.

More to come… David Robison

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