What Should We Be Doing?
This subject has been bothering me for a while now. There are some who donít believe we should be involved in Giving & Sharing or in trying to provide the Truth, in providing literature and material to others. They feel we are acting as a minister.
There are different gifts in the Church. Ephesians 4:11-12 and I Corinthians 12:28-31 state that God gave different gifts in the Church and there are gifts of healing, gifts of teaching, gifts of prophesying and all types of gifts that He gave and it doesnít necessarily say that it was given just to ministers. Of course, to be a minister, you have to have the gift of teaching, but just to have the gift of teaching didnít necessarily mean you were a minister. We shouldnít strive to be teachers, but there is nothing wrong with being willing to share what God has given us with other people.
One of the scriptures given to counteract this is John 6:29, the main scripture used by people to say "this is what we are to be doing." It says, "Jesus answered and said to them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent." This is given as a reply whenever you ask "should we be doing a work?" or "shouldnít there be some type of work carried on to publish the truth or provide it to others, or preach the gospel or do something?" This has been the standard answer from three different groups that we have been associated with.
When you look at this term, "believe on Him" what does that phrase or clause, encompass? To believe on Him? Does it mean like most people, and even some that were in the true Church of God, that have gone the full circle from the Protestant belief of some groups that all you have to do to be saved is to believe on Jesus? There are many, many millions today who claim they believe on Him. They believe that He was the Son of God, that He died and was raised from the dead and is alive now, that Heís going to save them, or has already saved them. So does it mean just to believe that He is the Son of God? I think we are very well aware of James 2:19, "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." So just belief is not enough, as many instances we know and can look up, that there are many kinds of people that believe that He was the son of God, the Messiah. The demons believe, the ones He cast out in one instance said, "have you come to torment us before our time?" (Matthew 8:29). So they believe that He was the Son of God. Satan knew He was the Son of God. Notwithstanding Luke 4:3, he instills doubts in people.
James 2:14-20 says, "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works . . . . But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?"
We donít show faith if we donít have works. If a brother comes to you and needs help, or if you know there are brothers who need food and clothing, and you turn them away, then you havenít shown true faith, because you havenít shown it by works. So in the same instance, if a brother comes to you and needs help, or if you know there are brothers out there who need help, isnít it more important really to help them if there is a spiritual need of spiritual food or spiritual help or spiritual reconcilement and comfort? Isnít it just as important to reach out and try to help someone that way? I donít see how you can separate one from the other. If a brother needs help whether spiritually or physically we must do it, Jude 21-23.
John 3:17-21 shows that deeds are a major part of belief. Righteousness is defined in Psalms 119:172 as "all thy commandments." So to believe on Jesus Christ and do His work involves a whole lot more than just believing He was the Son of God. John 3:36, "He that believeth [Greek pisteuo, Ďhas faithí] on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth [Greek apeitheo, Ďobeysí] not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth in him."
Hebrews 11:6 says without faith it is impossible to please God. John 14:12-14 says that the works the Savior does, he that believeth on Him shall also do even greater works. Verse 15, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." If you say you believe on someone, but deny everything they say and call them a liar, and you wonít do anything they ask you to do, then you donít really believe on that person. To believe on Jesus Christ is to believe the Word of God. He was (and is) the Word of God, verse 21.
In I John 3:22-24 it shows that he who keeps His commandments dwells in Him. Matthew 5:17-19 says that Messiah did not come to destroy the law. Yet worldly churches think He did! They say He lived the law for us so we donít have to fulfill it, He fulfilled it for us. But that is not what He said, I John 5:10-12. Galatians 2:20 says that Christ is living in us. Hebrews 13:8 shows that He doesnít change. The Church is the body of Christ. We are to be walking in the same steps that He walked. What did He do the whole time He was here on the earth when He started out preaching and teaching? He taught and published the Truth of God. He tried to share it with other people, to anyone that would listen, to those that had ears to hear, and eyes to see. So we should be willing to share it, and if anyone wants to listen to it, thatís fine. Hopefully some of the brothers and sisters and people that God is calling will hear, and respond to it.
Romans 10:14-15 says, "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" Jesus Christ brought the good news of the Kingdom of God, and the message of our Savior that died and was raised to life, so that we can have our sins forgiven and be resurrected in the future. Jesus Christ came and taught these things.
In Matthew 28:18-20, He commanded us to "teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." So if He were just talking to the disciples then, the end of the age would have already occurred. In John 17:9-26 it shows a continuous fulfillment of this, verse 20, "them also which shall believe on me through their word [the disciplesí teaching]." He was talking of those that shall believe because of the disciples, and we are believing because of them. Itís been progressive, all down through the centuries. The Truth has been raised up and passed on through the years. Read also John 15:1-15.
We should be glad that the disciples did not have the same feeling that some have today, that we shouldnít be do anything right now except obey God and develop the character we need to qualify to be in the kingdom. We should be doing these things, BUT at the same time we should have a giving and serving attitude that it is more blessed to give than to receive. In one case, the Apostle Paul said that some had let down and wouldnít work any more, waiting around for something to happen. Many First Century believers thought Christ was going to return in their lifetime, and they let down, like some in our age have done. Paul said if they wouldnít work, neither should they eat. If all the people had sat around and thought that, where would we be today?
Weíve got to want to publish the Truth, to share it with others and not worry about pain and suffering when people come along and pretend, or for whatever reason they cleave with flatteries, Daniel 11:34, and then fall away when the going gets tough. But we shouldnít let that get us down and cause us to cease wanting to share and help others. We should always be willing to give an answer of the hope that is within us, I Peter 3:15.
In many cases, David, who was not a Levite or priest, talked about how zealous he was in wanting to proclaim Godís Truth. In Psalms 108:3 he said, "I will praise Thee, O LORD, among the people: and I will sing praises unto Thee among the nations." Psalms 119:46, "I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed." Psalms 96:3, "Declare His glory among the heathen, His wonders among all people." Psalms 66:16, "Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul." If someone doesnít fear God, they arenít going to obey Him. If God is not calling them, they wonít pay attention to what you say, or they will want to get away from it. We should leave the matter in Godís hands. We should at least make the Truth available, to the best of our ability, and try to preserve it for our children, and for anyone else that wants to learn it. Psalms 51:10-13, "Create in me a clean heart O God . . . then will I teach transgressors Thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee." Psalms 30:9, "What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust preserve Thee? shall it declare Thy Truth?" There are many scriptures to show that David was zealous, on fire. We should be zealous also, to promote Godís Truth.
Iím not saying we should go out and stand on the street corners and knock on doors, or even get on the radio, because Iím no speaker and I donít know anyone else that is, that holds to the Truth. But there are people that have gifts, that can make tapes, that can write articles, that can talk or teach and help. Psalms 9:11, "Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people His doings." So thereís nothing wrong with proclaiming the wonderful God we believe in and the Truth that is His. And we shouldnít be ashamed or afraid if someone finds out that we observe the Sabbath. I donít believe I should go out and preach it to my neighbors. At the same time, we shouldnít go around hiding, trying to keep it to ourselves. When they ask a question, we shouldnít be afraid to answer. We should try to serve and help answer their questions from the hope that is within us. We shouldnít try to hide our light, Matthew 5:13-16. If we are not the salt of the earth, then we have lost our savor, and are good for nothing, and should be cast away.
Acting like ministers? A minister is one who serves. Aquilla and Priscilla privately taught and helped Apollos who was preaching and didnít have the full Truth, Acts 18:24-26. Apollos didnít get upset, but rejoiced in it. Ephesians 4:4-13 shows that "unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ." He gave some apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers for the perfecting of the saints. In I Corinthians 12:7, "the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal." There are different gifts. Not everyone can preach, or lay hands on, or prophesy. Not all the prophets in the Old Testament were Levites, but in many cases the prophets or the kings were used by God, who prophesied through them, like He did through David.
Acts 8:4 shows at the time of Saulís persecution against the Church, "they (the believers) that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word." These were not the apostles, verse 1. Nothing says they were all ordained ministers preaching. The church was scattered, and they preached. Philip went preaching in Samaria, verse 5. Yet, he was ordained a deacon (server) but nowhere is it stated he was ordained to be an evangelist. He just went and preached.
Mrs. Runcorn did a very big service when she showed Mrs. Herbert Armstrong the truth of the Sabbath, by just sitting with her and pointing out the Scriptures, and letting her read them herself. That lady did a very big service. What if she would have refused to answer questions, where would the Church have been? (Herbert W. Armstrong has done more to promote the Sabbath and Holy Days and more of the Truth of God than anyone in our age. He came to the Truth through his wife who was led to it by Mrs. Runcorn.) God could have raised up someone else, but someone had to teach.
I believe that if we have Godís Spirit within us, that it will cause us to want to do that, and if we do not share the Truth, we could be in danger of quenching the Spirit. If we sit back and force ourselves to fight against the urging to help others, serve others, teach others, and be a profitable servant, we could become guilty of stopping the Holy Spirit.
Mark 9:38-50. (Here is a case of someone performing a miracle in the Savior's name, but who was not "authorized" to do so.) Jesus said, "he that is not against us is on our part." He didnít condemn this person for what he was doing. In one part in Israelís history there were about four or five true prophets that were sent to speak or give messages. So itís not true that in every age there is just one person chosen by God, that has total responsibility and he is answerable to God and if you donít follow that one person you are lost.
Ezekiel 34:1-12 is a prophecy against ministers who feed themselves and not the flock. None seem to seek and search for the scattered sheep. This slaps in the face some ministers today because they have the idea "we will sit here and he that comes to us and acknowledges us as the only ministers we will help only them." The shepherd (minister) should physically and spiritually care for the flock, just as a shepherd takes care of the sheep first, and then feed himself.
Itís very plain that the ministers should be seeking out, trying to find the lost one. Of course, most probably will not respond. Yet if only one person would respond, get back to the faith once delivered, get his feet back on the ground, it would be worth it all. You canít put a dollar value on that or any value whatsoever, to help them regain eternal life.
We should be doing more than weíve been doing. Iíve felt guilty about it for years and I want to be a part of helping and trying to promote Godís Truth as much as possible.
ó adapted from a Bible Study by Ronald H. StewartW
This article was originally published as Bible Study No. 76.