RECOGNIZING TRUE MINISTRY
Luke 22:25-27 – And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.
Jesus is the pattern of true ministry, so we need to look at how he operated in order to properly represent Him and His Kingdom here on earth now. All true ministry involves the working of the Holy Spirit in and through those who have been so endowed, as was Jesus. In addition, true ministry is founded on the Fruit of the Spirit, which is the character and nature of God as exhibited through Jesus Christ.
Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Much of Jesus’ ministry involved supernatural events that we recognize today as Gifts of the Spirit. Those in whom the Fruit of the Spirit is evident are those through which the TRUE Gifts of the Spirit are able to operate.
1 Corinthians 12:7-10 – But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
Please be aware that these Gifts are often counterfeited by Satan which he incorporates to deceive people to bring them into bondage of false doctrines and practices. This is why Jesus gave the warning to beware of false ministry as compared to TRUE miinistry.
Matthew 7:15-23 – Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Look what Jesus has to say about those ministers who are attempting to build His house by their own ways and means:
Matthew 7: 24-27 – Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise (minister) man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish (minister) man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
Verses 24-27 refer to the building of up the saints, His church – His house. Those in ministry who do their own thing, (which is iniquity), are building the wrong way and when the storms of life come to those under their ministry, they will not stand firm but will fall. Such ministers are not building on the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ and His Word; instead, they are building on their personality, their doctrine and ideas, which is like building on sand.
Jesus knew that in the last days that false prophets and preachers would rely on supernatural manifestations to deceive people and persuade them to follow their false ministry.
Matthew 24:4-5, 24 – And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
The Gifts of the Spirit are valid, even for today in spite of the teaching of some, but the true gifts operate as a result of the Fruit of the Spirit, namely, the first listed Fruit of Love (charity).
1 Corinthians 12:31 – 13:3 – But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
There are two key elements that are required for those who are to be recognized as having a true ministry as servants of the Lord. Both elements are derived from the Fruit of the Spirit: the first is COMPASSION – love or charity; the second is A SERVANT’S HEART – humility and meekness.
Compassion is defined as “to care for” and is a component of love/charity. From the Greek as used in scripture it means: sympathy; pity; inner deep seated concern for another; bowels of mercy; yearning to help or meet their needs; moved by the distress, needs or misfortune of others. Jesus provided the example of compassion, (love in action), as He was moved (motivated) with a loving concern for those he saw in need. In the Old Testament, God’s loving care and kindness was frequently referred to as “His Grace and Mercy that endures forever”. Jesus brought that grace and mercy to us by His compassion:
Matthew 9:36 – But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
Matthew 14:14 – And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
Matthew 15:32 – Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.
Matthew 20:34 – So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.
So ministers today are to be moved with compassion; and when they do so the power of God begins to flow through them with the Gifts of the Spirit to meet the needs of those being ministered to.
Jesus also provides us an example of a true servant’s heart in not seeking benefit for Himself, for the offering of Himself for the benefit of others, in what He can give them or do for them.
Matthew 20:21 – And he said unto her, What wilt thou?….
Matthew 20:25-28 – But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many
Matthew 20:32 – And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you?
Note that scripture shows that Jesus did nothing for himself; all he did was for the benefit of others. The only time He expressed a concern for Himself was while He was agonizing in the garden over what he knew he was facing on our behalf; nevertheless he yielded to the Father’s divine will and purpose as a true servant.
Jesus demonstrated humility and meekness in his service which is the opposite of the haughtiness and aloofness demonstrated by some well known ministers we have seen in recent history. Ministry without a servant’s heart and compassion for others is a ministry that is self serving; one that is out for personal gain of wealth, position, and recognition, (fame and fortune).
We should also note that Jesus did not do blanket ministry covering everyone, but only to those who came to Him. What He had to offer was not for those who didn’t seek Him. His compassion was on those who followed Him, came to Him, and asked of Him and sought Him out.
Matthew 7:7-8 – Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
From this we learn that not all people will receive of what the Lord has to offer, so don’t try to force the Word or the gospel on those who are not open to it, as the manner of some is in efforts to evangelize.
The work of ministry consists of meeting needs of others – physically, spiritually, financially; instructing in right living and in growing to spiritual maturity and conformity to Christ; and in comforting and encouraging. True ministry is to serve others and requires compassion.
1 Peter 3:8 – Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
Jude 22 – And of some have compassion, making a difference: