A FAITHFUL MINISTRY
"Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." -- 2 Corinthians 4:1-7
Faithfulness is the one thing God requires of his servants and the one thing God honors in his servants. The Apostle Paul was an example to us all in this matter of faithfulness. And the Holy Spirit uses him to show us what is involved in a faithful ministry. What is a faithful ministry? Let the Word of God answer. Taking the example given in 2 Corinthians 4:1-7, every faithful ministry has, at least, seven identifying characteristics. Here are seven things which are true of every faithful gospel preacher.
1. EVERY FAITHFUL PASTOR LOOKS UPON HIS MINISTRY AS A GIFT OF GOD'S MERCY ENTRUSTED TO HIM (v. 1). He considers his call of God to the work of the gospel a gracious, merciful gift and high, high honor. The gospel preacher is a steward into whose hands God has trusted the affairs of his kingdom. What a privilege! What a responsibility!
2. FAITHFUL SERVANTS NEVER QUIT. "We faint not." The servant may be moved from one field of service to another by the will of God, but God's servants never quit their Master's service. There is no discharge from the warfare in which we are engaged.
3. FAITHFUL GOSPEL PREACHERS ARE CANDID, UNPRETENTIOUS, HONEST MEN (v. 2). They are open and above board, both in the way they live and in the way they preach. Their lives commend their message to their hearers.
4. FAITHFUL PREACHERS KNOW THAT SALVATION IS ENTIRELY OF THE LORD (v. 3-4), that all men by nature are dead, spiritually blind, and ignorant, and that man's natural blindness is compounded by Satan's delusions. We know that salvation comes only by the supernatural, life-giving revelation of God in Christ.
5. EVERY FAITHFUL GOSPEL PREACHER IN THE WORLD HAS THE SAME MESSAGE (v. 5). "We preach Jesus," our Savior, "Christ," God's Anointed One, "the Lord," our sovereign Monarch. And we are "your servants," not servants under your rule, but servants devoted to your souls, “for Christ's sake.”
6. FAITHFUL PREACHERS PREACH FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE (v. 6). They declare what they have seen, heard, felt, and know for themselves.
7. EVERY FAITHFUL GOSPEL PREACHER KNOWS HIS OWN PERSONAL INSUFFICIENCY FOR THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY (v. 7). Our sufficiency is of God. If we are useful, it is the Lord's doing.
Grace Baptist Church of Danville - Grace For Today Radio Message #867
2734 Old Stanford Road - Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438
Donald S. Fortner, Pastor -Telephone 859-236-8235 - Email firstname.lastname@example.org