What is the Ministry?

Study No. 31

There Are Many Different Ministries

We are to be a living sacrifice to God, Romans 12:1-3. Just as there were many types of animal sacrifices, there are many types of ministering. Every man has a measure of this gift, verses 4-13. Prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhorting, giving, ruling, and showing mercy are seven gifts, different aspects of love, which God gives to us differently. Some brethren have more of one gift than another. Some have several gifts. Maybe some even have all seven gifts. But we all are members one of another. We are not to think more highly of ourselves than others, but esteem and value one otherís gifts.

There are differences of administrations (same word as ministries) given to every man to profit, as God sees fit, I Corinthians 12:4-11, such as the word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues. We are not to question the gifts God gives, verses 18, 28-31, such as apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, healings, helps, governments, tongues. Some say: "God hasnít given us a prophet in this time." Are we to question God and say He must have all offices filled in all ages? Today we know of no genuine gift of tongues. God is in charge. He gives gifts to men, as He wills.

In Ephesians 4:1-16, especially verse 7, we are shown that everyone has a gift of grace, whether it be prophets, evangelists, pastors, or teachers. These offices are to make the saints perfect, to help them grow up and be fit together in the body of Christ, who is the head. The apostles and other offices are not the head of the Church. Christ is. He puts people in offices for service. Again, is it possible for there to be times when there is no apostle or prophet, but only teachers? Are these "offices" the result of ordination, or of the gift of Christ? Are we to be teachers? Hebrews 5:12.

Teaching, showing mercy, giving, etc., are all parts of the ministry. The ministry isnít something you are in, it is something you do, as the result of Godís gift.


Every Follower of Christ Should Have a Ministry

The church of Thyatira had "works, and charity, and service [ministry], and faith" Revelation 2:19.

"As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted" Acts 13:2, the Holy Spirit spoke and told them to lay hands on Barnabas and Saul for the work God had called them to do.

"Ministering to the saints" is a fellowship, a giving of the self to God, II Corinthians 8:4, 5, 9:1-2, 12-13. I Corinthians 16:15-16 describes the house of Stephanas, who "addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints," showing that everyone should help spread the word and serve the brethren.


Every Man Has a Ministry, Paul Had His

Paul received from Jesus the ministry to testify the gospel, Acts 20:24. He had a ministry to the Gentiles, Acts 21:19, Romans 11:13.

Paul and Barnabas fulfilled their ministry, Acts 12:25.

Jesus put Paul into the ministry, I Timothy 1:12.

Paul was made a minister for the churchís sake, not for his personal glory or aggrandizement, Colossians 1:23-25.


Women Can Be "Ministers"!

Romans 16:1 tells of Phebe, a sister, who was a servant of the church. And in Luke 10:40, Martha was cumbered about with much serving Jesus, which was fine, but she needed to also choose the "good part" of spiritual instruction from Jesus, verse 42.

These are the same words (diakonos, diakonia) elsewhere translated "minister." A Christian "minister" is not necessarily ordained to preaching and teaching.


Ministers Must Be Faithful

We as co-workers, are to give no offense in anything so that the ministry be not blamed. We are to approve ourselves as the ministers of God, II Corinthians 6:1-4.

Colossians 4:17, "Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it." Verse 7 tells of Tychicus, who was "a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord."

Ministers must be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God, I Corinthians 4:1-2.


What Are Ministers? Servants by Whom We Believe

Paul and Apollos were nothing "great" on their own, "but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man" I Corinthians 3:5-7. Ministers are only servants; the credit should all go to God, who gives the increase.


We Are Ministers of God

Every priest was a minister, Hebrews 10:11.

We are (right now) a royal priesthood. We are the ministers of God, I Peter 2:9. If civil rulers are the ministers of God, Romans 13:1-6, how much more should we be Godís ministers?

I Timothy 3:8-13 describes church deacons. The words translated "deacon" and "office of a deacon" mean in the literal Greek "those who serve" and "act of serving." Not everyone in the church are ministers, but those who meet these qualifications are. Everywhere else, the word "deacon" is translated "minister" or "serve."

So we see that the function of the "ministry" in the church is for more than ordained preachers. "Ministry" extends in one way or another to every member of the church. W

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