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Monday, October 10, 2016

Monday's Message: The Ministry

2 Corinthians 6:3-10
3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:
4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;
6 By pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,
8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;
9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;
10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

2 Corinthians 6:3-10 gives us a large list of ways we, as ambassadors of Christ are to approve ourselves as the ministers of God. Again, the qualities we are to exhibit as Christians are sobering and weighty and should be considered with all seriousness by the true follower of Jesus Christ. First of all it says, Giving no offence in anything. We know that we are not being told that the world will not be offended by our message. Simply by looking at the following verses, we see, In stripes, in imprisonments, and in verse 8, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report. And in 1 Corinthians 1:18 the apostle Paul tells us, For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. And in Luke 6:26 we hear Jesus say, Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

So we know that as Christians, our Gospel message will be foolishness to most of the world and that people will speak evil of us if we are preaching the truth of God’s word. I believe that when we are told, Giving no offence in anything, that the ministry be not blamed, Paul is speaking of sin. When we preach the truth and then hypocritically sin and the world sees it we are bringing shame to the name of Christ and giving more reason to the unbelieving world to blaspheme God and His word.

Titus 2:5 says, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. When we disobey God’s commandments and decide to live our lives according to our own rules it not only is destructive to us and to our families and our churches, but it ultimately is destructive to the greater Body of Christ. Ephesians 5:27, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

We as Christians are called by God to live our lives in purity and holiness, not because God is a cruel dictator, but because He loves us and the world and He knows that sin will only bring pain and suffering into our lives and He knows that it also can be a stumbling block to others getting saved. It is important to know that we as Christians are called to suffer for our Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:29, For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake. But our suffering should be as a result of people rejecting Jesus because of who He is and what He says and not because of our own sinful conduct. 

Jesus also said in John 15:18-20, If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. These words speak volumes to our present subject.  We should be hated of the world because of Jesus, not because of our sinful actions or words. Do we really think that if we are living as Jesus, who was crucified for His words, that we are better than Him and that we can follow Him and fit in with the same world that spit on Him and nailed His sinless body to a cross? Of course we would never say that, but when we say we love and follow Jesus and at the same time we are fully accepted by the world that is exactly what our actions are saying.

The apostle Peter tells us in 1 Peter 2:20, For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

So, as Christians, followers of Christ, ambassadors with Jesus’ Gospel message, we must strive to be yielded to the Holy Spirit every day, and deny our self to live lives consistent with the words of our master, lest we bring blame to our ministry. Next week we will begin to look at the list of attributes we should have to approve ourselves as the ministers of God.

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