Luke 4:16-21, “So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
This Scripture shows us Jesus announcing His ministry and the reaction that followed. Now we can get into the particulars of Him being in the town of His youth and the relevance of His family growing up there and so forth, but the point that I want to make, is that at this point in history, Jesus announced the beginning of His ministry and He described what it would consist of. Jesus KNEW what He was called to do. He KNEW His mission as it were and He knew what it would entail.
No, He didn’t put a title or label to it, for what the ministry was called or titled wasn’t what was the important factor; the work, the service He would perform was what was important! So it is with ministries today. Titles are given for reasons of identification in the world we live in today. The title however doesn’t identify what that person’s true ministry or calling is; it is the work that is done, in faith and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
A couple of weeks ago, on my Facebook site, someone had shared with me a prophecy that had gone out in 2011 about one of our political candidates in the United States for today. It was a prophecy that also included blessings of harvest that the Lord has “promised” the U.S. for its work to other countries and nations in the past. It prompted me to do a teaching on what a true Spirit-led prophecy can be identified by; in other words, 100% accuracy. The problem is, we won’t know if this is 100% accurate until the presidential election is complete and actually a short time after.
So I taught on modern day prophecy. But I also did a section on the ministry of a Prophet (in our New Testament era) because so many church goers confuse the ministry of a Prophet with the gift of prophecy. The teaching of specific ministries is something that is often neglected in churches today and I have my “theories” as to why that is, but that isn’t what I want to center on today.
The fact is, I received about 3, maybe it was 4 emails from concerned Christians who thought I was coming out and claiming to have a Prophet’s ministry! After all, that is pretty arrogant of me if I was; but I guess they were basing it on some things I have taught, and putting together the teaching on prophecy and then the ministry of Prophet, they just ASSUMED I was claiming that ministry. First, let me say that it is because of the very thing I was trying to do, teach about the specifics of a Prophet’s ministry that brought this about. These things are NOT being taught today to the detriment of the Body of Christ. The ministry of Prophet, just like that of Apostle, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher as well as the other organizational ministries is NOT being taught and thus, those who actually have been called into a ministry may not even be aware that they have the ability and gifting to work in that area.
I personally blame most organized religious denominations for this, for if someone doesn’t go through THEIR channels, then there is no way God WOULD call them as individuals! But notice, Jesus didn’t wait for the religious leaders of His day to recognize Him either. He knew His Father’s calling at a young age and proceeded to pursue it, even though the timing for Him to come out openly hadn’t arrived.
I was fortunate to be mentored by a Teacher who understood the individual ministries and taught on each and every one specifically as well as the individual gifts given by the Holy Spirit, all of which I might add are for the edification of the CHURCH as a whole, save one, and it is the one gift that is given to only edify the believer and yet it is the one gift that some denominations have risen to a level of importance above every other gift INCLUDING LOVE!!
Again, just another important reason and proof of the importance of proper teaching and Bible study in our churches today!
Paul is one of the foremost of all the Apostles who, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit has taught on the ministry callings AND the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He does so not just in Romans and Corinthians, but in his other letters as well. He recognized, because of the Holy Spirit’s influence the importance these ministries and gifts would play, not just in the establishment of the NEW Church, but of the building up and edification needed to bring about unity within the Spiritual Body of Christ! Follow these Scriptures I have listed. I haven’t taken them out of context, but brought out the main points of his teaching:
1Corinthians 12:5-7, “There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all….”
1Corinthians 12:11, “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”
1Corinthians 12:18-20, “But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.”
I know this is a common subject for those of you who have followed me for some time, but it is because it is so vastly important in the continuing growth and maturation of a Christian’s lifestyle. There is NOT a single one of us who has been called to ONLY warm a pew! Each and every ministry, if acted upon in faith, is essential and vital for the health and well-being of the Body of Christ in its preparation for the coming Bridegroom!
When I first started the blog and before it, my other online ministries, I used the title of Pastor, because in the capacity of what I was doing, I was being a shepherd, I was being a Pastor and a Teacher; also, I have been a Pastor behind the pulpit. It helped those who were unfamiliar with the callings and gifts to understand where I was coming from. But for most of my brothers and sisters who understand, the title is not necessary. Now, in the “real” world, I go by Pastor (very seldom Reverend – I don’t care for THAT title) so that I can have access to the hospital when a patient desires prayer. Or when I have visited the jail to be able to talk to an inmate or share a Bible with them, etc. It is the government only, that looks for a label such as a license or my ordination papers. Our Heavenly Father doesn’t need that to use me nor does His Holy Spirit and it is the same with each and every one of you reading this right now.
I KNOW what I have been called to do. I KNOW my ministry calling and it was confirmed to me just like Paul’s “son” Timothy’s was by the laying on of hands and prayer by the elders. But I don’t need a title, unless someone demands for whatever reason clarification and then any title such as Pastor or Teacher, Reverend in the rare cases, will do!
We don’t have to as God’s children, make a ministry coming out announcement as Jesus did. Just as in Jesus’ case, there will be those who will except it as it is and others will scoff and ridicule. But, the question I have for you today is this; DO YOU KNOW WHAT GOD HAS CALLED YOU TO DO BY HIS HOLY SPIRIT?
Do you truly KNOW the specifics of your own personal ministry and if so, are you attempting to accomplish it by faith and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit? The title as I said doesn’t matter, but having a knowledge, a working knowledge and at least a degree of direction is important, otherwise, believe me, it is easy to become discouraged, disheartened and even start to question your place in God! This is the very reason why Paul was so adamant on encouraging Timothy AND Titus in their ministries.
If you are not sure about what the different ministries are and whether they are relevant today or not, seek out a Pastor or Teacher who is not afraid to tackle the subject. If you find a leader who tells you that the ministries listed by Paul in Romans and Corinthians aren’t relevant for today but were just for the establishment of the church, then run from them as fast as you can because they do NOT have yours NOR the Body of Christ’s well-being in mind. They are only concerned with their own position and ego.
And finally, if God’s children are taught the specifics of the individual ministries, there would be less conflict in the church because we would each recognize just what part each other is performing for the good of the whole! The church as a whole would be able to recognize when things are not as they should be and the proper ministry could deal with those problems in a loving and uplifting way. It all stems from whether we are willing to love one another enough to encourage one another or admonish one another as the need arises.
To put to rest any lingering concerns any of my brothers and sisters have concerning me claiming to have a Prophet’s ministry; NO, that is not my place in the Body of Christ. It is not my calling, though, at times, my ministry may appear in its teaching to touch that area, it is not my calling. But, I do KNOW what my Lord has called me to do and though I have skirted some of it for a while, I am determined to do all the Lord asks me to do without question, with Love for the eternal well-being of others and for my Love and gratefulness for His unconditional love for me!!