The Work of The Ministry

Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

What is the calling to which we have been called? Well, we are called to belong to Christ, to be his possession, with him as our Lord/Master, and with us as his servants obeying his commands. And we are called to be saints, to be holy, but not just in status, but in all our conduct. And to be holy is to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ.

And we are called according to his purpose for our lives, not according to our own purpose. And we are called into fellowship with Jesus Christ which involves partnering with him and with his gospel, which is all about our cooperation and our participation in his saving work in our lives, and in his death and in his resurrection. And we are called to freedom, but not freedom to keep on sinning, but freedom from our slavery to sin.

And we are not called for impurity, but in holiness, so we are to live holy and godly lives, and we are to no longer live in sin. And we are called out of darkness into his wonderful light, which means we are called out of our lives of living in sin and for self in order to walk in truth, righteousness and godliness for the praise, honor, and glory of God. For he called us to his own glory and excellence to be a holy people unto him, free from slavery to sin.

[Romans 1:6-7; Romans 8:28; 1 Corinthians 1:9; Galatians 5:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 2 Timothy 1:9; 1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 1:3]

So, we are to walk, and to walk has to do with our lifestyle, with how we conduct our lives day in and day out, in practice. And we are to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called, and worthy means fitting or appropriate or suitable to that calling. And the calling is all the things mentioned above and more, but all which have to do with us surrendering our lives to Jesus Christ, leaving our lives of sin behind us, and now following our Lord in obedience to his commands (New Covenant).

And we are to do this with all humility (having a humble opinion of oneself) and gentleness (meekness, gentle strength, power with reserve), which is not moral weakness nor a compromise of faith and conviction. And we are to be patient (longsuffering, steadfast), bearing with one another (enduring, suffering, persisting, living out the faith God works in us with one another). But this is not about tolerating deliberate and habitual sin in the lives of our fellow Christians, for we are to speak the truth in love one to the other.

And with regard to loving one another, this love comes from God so it is a pure love, and it is holy, righteous, faithful, honest, forgiving, morally pure, and unselfish, so it does for others what is for their best, in God’s sight, and it will not deliberately and habitually sin against God and other humans to willfully do them harm. And the unity we are to have with one another is unity of the Spirit of God, not of human flesh, so no compromises with sin.

Ephesians 4:11-14 ESV

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”

God gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as proclaimers of good news (evangelists), and some as shepherds (pastors) and teachers unto the perfecting and equipping of the saints of God for the work of the ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ to unity of faith in the Son of God unto full maturity in our walks of faith in Christ. For this is what the work of the ministry is all about – the spiritual growth of Christ’s people.

For “the work of the ministry” is not just for people in positions of pastor and/or teacher, but all of us are to be engaged in the work of the ministry of God in this world and within the gatherings of the church (not the institutional church, but the body of Christ). All of us of genuine faith in Christ have a part in the body of Christ we are to be doing in the power of God, for the glory of God, and for the spiritual maturity of the body of Christ.

And this isn’t just so we reach spiritual maturity in our walks of faith in Jesus Christ, but this is also so that we are not led astray by charlatans and wolves in sheep’s clothing who are out to deceive the people of God and to lead them astray to false gospels of men. And we all have a part in this in helping one another to spiritual maturity and in helping one another to not be led astray by false teachers and false doctrines. I hope you all get this.

Ephesians 4:15-16 ESV

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

I think a lot of people who attend gatherings of what is being called “the church” have this idea that only the pastor is the one to minister to the people the teachings of the Scriptures, and that only he is the one to share the gospel message with others, and that he is the only one to exhort us in our walks of faith and to exhort us with regard to false doctrines, etc. But he is to equip US to do the work of the ministry.

And then WE are to encourage the body of Christ to maturity in Christ, and we are to exhort one another daily so that we are aren’t led astray, and so that we are not deceived, and so that we are not hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We, as the body of Christ, each have a part we are to do for the building up of (the maturity of) the body of Christ as a whole, and each part needs to be doing its work.

And this involves speaking the truth to one another in love, which seems to be taboo among most of the gatherings of “the church” here in America. Instead we are being taught to “stay in your own lane,” and to not say anything to anyone which might offend them, and to friend someone for at least two years until we earn the right to share the gospel with them. All of that is of man, not of God, and it is keeping the people of God from doing the work of the ministry to which God has called them.

So, don’t listen to what is of man and is not of God. Don’t be led astray by men in their deceitful scheming and in their craftiness and cunning, which is intended to lead you away from pure devotion to Jesus Christ, and away from helping one another to maturity in Christ, and away from sharing the gospel, and away from living holy and godly lives, pleasing to the Lord. Don’t just put a “like” on those memes which sound good but which may be lies. Test everything against the Scriptures in context and obey the Lord Jesus.

[Ac 2:42-47; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Rom 12:1-8; Gal 5:16-21; 1 Co 3:9,16-17; 1 Co 6:19-20; 1 Co. 12:1-31; 2 Co 5:1; 2 Co 6:14-16; Eph 1:4,22; Eph 2:19-22; Eph 4:1-32; Eph 5:17-30; Col 1:18-24; Col 2:19; Col 3:12-16; 2 Tim 1:9; 2 Tim 2:21; 1 Pet 1:13-16; 1 Pet 2:4-9,21; Titus 2:11-14; Heb 3:13; Lu 9:23-26; Jude 1:20-21; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 5:13-16; Matt 28:18-20; Ac 1:8; Ac 26:18; Jn 14:12]

Happiness is the Lord

By Ira F. Stanphill

Happiness is to know the Savior
Living a life within His favor
Having a change in my behavior
Happiness is the Lord!

Happiness is a new creation
Jesus and me in close relation
Having a part in His salvation
Happiness is the Lord!

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