What is ministry?

25 08 2012

Just as the character of Christ is expressed in the “fruit of the Spirit,” so the ministry of Christ is expressed by the grace-gifts of the Spirit. The charismata (Rom. 12:6-8; I Cor. 12:1-31), or the grace-expressions of the Spirit of Christ in the Christian are the means of Christian ministry (Eph. 4:11-13). These so-called “spiritual gifts” are not specialized job descriptions or trophies of spirituality. They are just the expressive means by which the Spirit of Christ serves others in the new covenant “ministry of the Spirit” (II Cor. 3:6,8). Christian ministry is not the actions we engage in to “serve Jesus,” since,

“God is not served by human hands, as though He needed anything” (Acts 17:25).

Rather, Christian ministry is the outflow and overflow of Jesus’ actions for others in the Christian. Barnabas and Paul returned to Jerusalem to report what,

God had done through them among the Gentiles” (Acts 15:12)

To the Romans, Paul explained,

“I do not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me …in the power of the Spirit” (Rom. 15:18,19)

In his epistle to the Ephesians, he writes,

“I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power” (Eph. 3:7).

In the context of ministry giftedness, Peter exhorts Christians,

“whoever serves, let him do so by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (I Pet. 4:10,11).

True Christian ministry is Christ’s action through our Christian lives. As priests Christians minister Christ to others and re-present God. Christians become praying and living intercessor for others, for Christ,

“always lives to make intercession” (Heb. 7:25)

Evangelism is not a specialized function we perform in order to win the world to Christ, but is the expression of Christ in our daily lives, “as you are going” (Matt. 28:19) through life, thereby allowing the living Christ to “draw all men to Himself” (Jn. 12:32), that they, too, might become disciples and Christ-expressers. St. Francis of Assisi is reported to have said, “Share Christ wherever you go, and if you have to – use words.”


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